Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

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Spartan159
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Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Spartan159 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:00 am

Where does one go to get Mercenary accreditation? The IMoJ? I'd hazard a guess that there are ranks based on unit size? How much would it cost? What would be the requirements? Applicable skills? Social standing?

What about weapons permits? IMoJ again? How much for individual permits? Blanket permits?

Possible situations: Merc units of various sizes, Troubleshooter organizations, Starship crews, other?

What does it take for an organization to be able to issue merc tickets and permits? Let us say I'm using the corporation rules in Merchant Prince. 1) I want to have armed guards 2) I want to arm starships for operation in border areas. 3) I want to arm said starship crews. I might even want to hire merc units for trade wars.

On a related note, what does it take to get a weapon permit on a particular world? Timeframe, cost, skills, social standing?

Yes, I can just arbitrarily make up numbers, but I'd like some guidance here.
phavoc
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby phavoc » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:51 pm

Any permits that would be acceptable from world to world would have to come from Imperial authorities to be valid. Otherwise a permit issued by one world may be useless on another. So it makes sense that there is some sort of agency or part of an agency responsible for issuing them.

No permits are required to arm starships. The only caveat in the rules is that nukes are illegal by all but world governments and the Imperium. and using them generates a LOT of paperwork! And the occasional visit by an Imperial taskforce if one is too liberal and/or indiscriminate with their use.

There would be no agency required to issue a merc ticket. That's simply a contract. Trade wars between corporations and worlds are allowed, but they can't be overly disruptive to commerce or people. And other limitations, like no multi-world governments, no worlds controlled by megacorps, etc. There's probably more Shadowrun-type corporate intrigue than we might expect. However I would see the Imperium squashing anything that is getting out of hand or annoying to local Imperial authorities. As a ref it gives you a lot of latitude in managing the unexpected from players.

I would think weapon permits on the worlds would vary quite greatly, depending on local law and government levels. It's a good question, but I haven't seen anyone ever post their home rules on such a thing.

You could be the first! :)
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby JMISBEST » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:04 pm

A question that I have often wondered and generally use the same rules, laws, regulations and so forth on all worlds, with some differences depending on each worlds law level, government, culture/cultures, race/races and level of Imperial influence and defences. But in the end its your campaign, do it how you want
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Condottiere » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:20 pm

Permanent mercenary units of brigade size likely need Imperium Charters, issued by the local sector duke; the upside is that it practically an endorsement of their reliability; the downside, you pay a premium and they'll stick to the laws of war.

Likely, high technology reinforced battalion size formations also need an Imperium Charter.

A mercenary ticket will, or should, be a local operating licence, which can be yanked under certain circumstances.

Mercenaries operating under the aegis of interstellar authorities or organizations, tend to be covered by whatever licence their paymasters have.

It's always a good idea to have a permit from their home or base jurisdiction.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby AndrewW » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:50 pm

phavoc wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:51 pm
I would think weapon permits on the worlds would vary quite greatly, depending on local law and government levels. It's a good question, but I haven't seen anyone ever post their home rules on such a thing.

You could be the first! :)
This is covered some in Freelance Traveller issue #061 (January 2015) under the Building Security adventure page 12 (Trying to Obtain a Mercenary License).
Spartan159
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Spartan159 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:57 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:50 pm
phavoc wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:51 pm
I would think weapon permits on the worlds would vary quite greatly, depending on local law and government levels. It's a good question, but I haven't seen anyone ever post their home rules on such a thing.

You could be the first! :)
This is covered some in Freelance Traveller issue #061 (January 2015) under the Building Security adventure page 12 (Trying to Obtain a Mercenary License).
Thanks for the heads up, looking at it now.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Spartan159 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:37 pm

OK, someplace to start:

A Third Imperium permit is good Imperium-wide and will supersede a Local permit. Local permits good only in the Imperium recognized government of issue.

Weapons Permits:
Local Cost = Law Level(^?) x Cr(?) x (Category(^?)), Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of ((Time unit?) x Law Level), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DM - (1/2 Law Level rounded up?), Career experience DMs?) Reaction rolls?

Third Imperium Cost = (?) x Cr(?) x (Category(^?)), Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of (Time unit?), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DMs?) Reaction rolls?


Category 1 - Unrestricted - Melee, Archaic, Non-Lethal, Specialist

Category 2 - Civilian - Revolvers and most other pistols, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and similar non-military weapons.

Category 3 - Paramilitary - Light automatic weapons (Autorifles, assault rifles, submachine guns, and so on), specialized ammunition, laser weapons, cloth armor and flak jackets.

Category 4 - Military - Gauss weapons, advanced combat rifles, support weapons (such as grenade launchers and machineguns), military-grade electronics (such as sensors), electronic warfare equipment, combat armor, and light military combat vehicles (including armored cars and armored personnel carriers).

Category 5 - Restricted Military - Plasma and fusion weapons, missiles, heavy military combat vehicles (including tanks and fighter aircraft), battle dress, and combat robots.

Category 6 - Special - Nuclear weapons, antimatter power systems, chemical and biological weapons, starship-grade meson guns and particle accelerators, and electromagnetic pulse weaponry capable of large-scale effect. - Fat chance.


Blanket Permits:

Local Cost = Law Level(^?) x Cr(?) x (Category(^?)), Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of ((Time unit?) x Law Level), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DM - (1/2 Law Level rounded up?)), Career experience DMs? Reaction rolls?

Third Imperium Cost = (?) x Cr(?) x (Category(^?)), Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of (Time unit?), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DMs?) Reaction rolls?


Category A: Blanket Category 1 -

Category B: Blanket Category 2 -

Category C: Blanket Category 3 - Honorably discharged Imperial veterans automatically have one of these, unless revoked.

Category D: Blanket Category 4 -

Category E: Blanket Category 5 -

Category F: Blanket Category 6 - Governments, Ducal Huscarles, Imperial Services.


Mercenary License:

Local Cost = Law Level(^?) x Cr(?) + (Cr?) x Unit strength, Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of ((Time unit?) x Law Level), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DM - (1/2 Law Level rounded up?)), Career experience DMs? Reaction rolls?

Third Imperium Cost = (?) x Cr(?) + (Cr?) x Unit strength, Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of (Time unit?), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DMs?) Reaction rolls?

Noble Bodyguard License: Up to (?) Bodyguards.

Local Cost = Law Level(^?) x Cr(?) + (Cr?) x Bodyguards, Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of ((Time unit?) x Law Level), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DM - (1/2 Law Level rounded up?)), Career experience DMs? Reaction rolls?

Third Imperium Cost = (?) x Cr(?) + (Cr?) x Bodyguards, Requirement: Background check, Soc or less to avoid delay of (Time unit?), Average (Admin) check to avoid problems. (DMs?) Reaction rolls?

Thoughts?
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby phavoc » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:09 pm

Just as an aside, Imperial authority on a planet ends at the Imperial down port demarcation line. Planets, so long as they observe certain principles and laws, are considered independent, and Imperial anything doesn't have to be observed.

Now in the space between the stars Imperial laws reign supreme.

Just something to think about.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Condottiere » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:12 pm

Mercenaries need some form of imperium to carry out their trade, either theirs or on behalf of someone else's.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Nobby-W » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:21 pm

It might be worth looking at how PMCs (private military contractors) work now. By and large, they're operating in jurisdictions that are considered war zones to a greater or lesser extent, so local laws within (say) Europe or the U.S.A. aren't relevant. If, however, you took your M4 back home with you I imagine that Customs would probably have kittens and would be very unlikely to let you just wander out of the airport with it.

One can get permits to manufacture or deal in military kit that would otherwise be restricted by domestic legislation, and this is how outfits that manufacture or deal in this type of kit do it. Even in the UK you can get a Section 5 licence to do this if you have the right connections. This is roughly how outfits that (for example) do security for ships operating in waters where piracy is an issue operate. I imagine that outfits like Blackwater (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) operate in roughly the same manner.

Essentially, the process of getting permits to do this sort of thing is more a case of who you know than anything else - very much operating through informal behind-the-scenes power networks within the establishment. The unifying point here is that the outfits are well enough connected to be considered trustworthy by somebody within the establishment - or have sufficient political or economic clout. This is how it works in today's world - a setting without an actual Imperium, but with a de-facto global superpower and political establishment that exerts a similar type of influence.

If you add in an officially recognised Imperial or federal authority, then similar licenses could be available through this, and this type of licence would apply in interstellar space or regions without any effective local law enforcement (i.e. war zones or remote areas).

However, you would likely have to obtain permits locally to go tooling around in a grav tank with a live Z-gun - at least in areas where the police might want to have a say in the matter. Generally, such permits are unlikely to be issued to riffraff without political connections or otherwise demonstrating the ability to fall in compliance with relevant legislation. Admin, Liaison, Legal or Bribery might help here but this process might be quite long winded and still dependent on connections and expensive compliance requirements.

This means that in most cases you're likely to be beholden to your employer for permits unless you're sufficiently well connected to obtain one of your own (who says Social Standing is a dump stat?) Characters from appropriate backgrounds (e.g. military) and senior rank may also be better positioned for this if Imperial old-boy networks have any influence with the local authorities (for example, Blackwater was started by a former Army Colonel).

Interstellar law in most Traveller universes would typically allow a ship's captain to maintain an arms locker. IMTU I make the assumption that pretty much any personal weapons that might be issued to infantry would be considered acceptable, but something like a tac missile launcher or plasma gun would raise eyebrows. Taking such kit off the ship would be subject to local law (or means such as bribery to circumvent it), and a heavily armed party loitering around a starport is likely to make the starport authorities a bit twitchy. Regulars known to the locals at a particular starport might have an easier time with local officials, possibly being able to obtain local permits - and this also provides an incentive to keep your nose clean.
Last edited by Nobby-W on Fri May 19, 2017 4:51 am, edited 3 times in total.
Spartan159
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Spartan159 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:48 am

Nobby-W wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:21 pm
It might be worth looking at how PMCs work now. By and large, they're operating in jurisdictions that are considered war zones to a greater or lesser extent, so local laws within (say) Europe or the U.S.A. aren't relevant. If you took your M4 back home with you I imagine that Customs would probably have kittens and would be very unlikely to let you just wander out of the airport with it.

One can get permits to manufacture or deal in military kit that would otherwise be restricted by domestic legislation - this is how outfits that manufacture or deal in this type of kit do it. Even in the UK you can get a Section 5 licence to do this if you have the right connections. This is roughly how outfits that do security for (for example) ships operating in waters where piracy is an issue operate. I imagine that outfits like Blackwater (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) operate in roughly the same manner.

Essentially, the process of getting permits to do this sort of thing is more a case of who you know than anything else - very much operating through informal behind-the-scenes power networks within the establishment. The unifying point here is that the outfits are well enough connected to be considered trustworthy by somebody within the establishment - or have sufficient political or economic clout. This is how it works in a setting without an actual Imperium, but with a de-facto global superpower and political establishment that exerts a similar type of influence.

If you add in an officially recognised Imperial or federal authority, then similar licenses could be available through this, and this type of licence would apply in interstellar space or regions without any effective local law enforcement (i.e. war zones or remote areas).

However, you would likely have to obtain similar permits locally to go tooling around in a grav tank with a live Z-gun - at least in areas where the police might want to have a say in the matter. Generally, such permits are unlikely to be issued to riffraff without political connections or otherwise demonstrating the ability to fall in compliance with relevant legislation. Admin, Liaison, Legal or Bribery might help here but this process might be quite long winded and still dependent on connections.

This means that in most cases you're likely to be beholden to your employer for permits unless you're sufficiently well connected to obtain one of your own - who says Social Standing is a dump stat? Characters from appropriate backgrounds (e.g. military) and senior rank may also be better positioned for this.

Interstellar law in most Traveller universes would typically allow a ship's captain to maintain an arms locker. IMTU I make the assumption that pretty much any personal weapons that might be issued to infantry would be considered acceptable, but something like a tac missle launcher or plasma gun would raise eyebrows. Taking such kit off the ship would be subject to local law (or means such as bribery to circumvent it), and a heavily armed party loitering around a starport is likely to make the starport authorities a bit twitchy. Regulars known to the locals at a particular starport might have an easier time with local officials, possibly being able to obtain local permits - and this also provides an incentive to keep your nose clean.
What is a PMC?

I am horrible when it comes to estimating worth. Can someone throw me some numbers for those proto-formulas I tossed out?

What kind of leverage can characters use to get legal permission to carry weapons on a particular planet?

Will nobility and decorated veterans of high military rank have any factor?

Will having someone like Marc hault-Oberlindes as a patron make any difference?

In the particular situation at the moment, the characters are at a law-level 4 multi-government world in a state of war and under martial law. The adventure does not go into specifics about what martial law does. They are looking to carry gauss pistols and stunners along with blades. They are not blatantly armored either.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby phavoc » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:04 am

What is a PMC? - Private Military Company, like Blackwater (ne Xe)

What kind of leverage can characters use to get legal permission to carry weapons on a particular planet? Tossing out names, making veiled threats, begging... But really characters wouldn't / shouldn't have much leverage on a planet they have no links to. What would they threaten the planet with? Attacking it?

Will nobility and decorated veterans of high military rank have any factor?
Possibly, but consider this. Just because you are nobility doesn't necessarily mean squat. If Prince Harry came round and wanted to try and get something from, say, Suriname, he might be able to finagle a free room, but not much else. Now if Prince Charles came round and asked for the same stuff it would be different. Just like if Patton or Rommel came round knocking... but unless their social renknown precedes them, their famousness is useless because nobody knows who they are or what they did.

Will having someone like Marc hault-Oberlindes as a patron make any difference? Yes. The Oberlindes name is well known, there is wealth and power behind the name. But only in the Spinward Marches, and probably only towards the Vargr area. Sternmetal Horizons would have more impact across the Imperium.

In the particular situation at the moment, the characters are at a law-level 4 multi-government world in a state of war and under martial law. The adventure does not go into specifics about what martial law does. They are looking to carry gauss pistols and stunners along with blades. They are not blatantly armored either. Martial law would normally imply that openly carrying weapons would get you arrested, or shot on sight. Very high law levels like that, even if temporary, make the armed constabulary and military authorities leary of anyone who might oppose them or cause trouble for the government.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Condottiere » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:37 pm

No one bats an eye if ships' lockers are equipped with shotguns and autopistols, or even assault rifles.

Advanced combat rifles might.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Spartan159 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:46 am

Condottiere wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:37 pm
No one bats an eye if ships' lockers are equipped with shotguns and autopistols, or even assault rifles.

Advanced combat rifles might.
And for those weapons that might cause a twitch or three, how might one go about getting legal sanction for?
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby xnet445 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:14 pm

IIRC a weapon you get as a mustering out benefit, such as an ACR, comes with all the appropriate licenses.

No license? Keep it stowed away while in port.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Condottiere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:07 pm

You can buy any weapon, if your contacts are good enough.

I like to think that those weapons may be untraceable, or at least, won't be traced to you if you take normal precautions.

As regards specifically the onboard weapons locker, taking it from the default Third Imperium viewpoint; you're permitted to have the means for self defence, and it would seem a discrepancy, considering that on the hull, the turret is packing laser cannons and Tomahawk, which make considerably more impact.

However, protecting your ship doesn't require long range, large calibre, automatic antipersonnel weapons, except if you happen to be in range of Vargr raiders; you should be able to demonstrate a need for a weapon with such features, as compared to having a collection that has a subset of one or two of these traits.

Also, having an arsenal also looks suspicious, moreso to system regimes, who may suspect you of gunrunning.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Nobby-W » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:31 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:37 pm
No one bats an eye if ships' lockers are equipped with shotguns and autopistols, or even assault rifles.

Advanced combat rifles might.
That sort of thing will likely depend on conventions - as much a function of your universe as any. The reasoning I went with is that assuming interstellar law allows a captain to carry an arms locker for defence, any weapon considered fit-for-purpose in this role (i.e. anything that might be issued to an infantryman as a personal weapon) would be viewed as reasonable. This is roughly how it works with guards providing security on ships around Somalia. You definitely need special licensing to bring them on-shore, though, and the agencies that provide these staff manage that licencing (this is how it is done in the UK).

In the case of a ship's locker, then the convention might be that if they stay in the locker then they're subject to interstellar law but bringing them on-shore makes them subject to local legislation. If you turn up too heavily armed (why have you got a VRF gauss gun in your cargo bay?) then you might raise eyebrows for different reasons. Yes, if you can fly in with a ship packing heavy artillery in your turrets then a few small arms aren't going to register much - unless you do something with them that's in contravention to local laws.

As to the influence of nobility, it would really depend on what status an Imperial patent of nobility holds. Depending on your universe it could be largely irrelevant to local law, or it could open a lot of doors. Positions of authority are likely to be occupied by folks from the upper classes in a situation where an aristocracy is running the show, and institutions of this sort have a history of getting quite nepotistic. You might actually be third cousin twice removed to the police commissioner.

There have been eras where being armed was considered a part of being appropriately dressed; I have done a setting in which reserve or retired officers of a certain polity were expected to have a side arm as a part of their dress uniform.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:32 pm

We're told the advanced combat rifle is the evolutionary apex of conventional firearms, and weapon of choice for many military units.

A large capacity, long ranged, automatic, sighted, probably caseless, targeter, gyroscopically stabilized, and with an integral grenade launcher.

It looks extremely underpriced for what it does.

Energy weapons are kept out of civilian hands, while gauss weapons seem to be the choice of advanced technology armies, so anyone under that would be using the advanced combat rifle.

As an individual personal smallarm, probably it would be noted and ignored, but having boxes full of them wouldn't be.
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby h1ro » Fri May 19, 2017 4:52 am

We interrupt this thread for a quick dose of smart arsery:

Kinda ironic that we're talking about the vagaries of keeping an ACR with it's pissy little bullets on board a ship that's probably armed with ship sized lasers and missiles...

Back to the thread now...
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Re: Mercenary Accreditation and Weapons permits

Postby Nobby-W » Fri May 19, 2017 9:48 am

h1ro wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 4:52 am
[ . . . ]
Kinda ironic that we're talking about the vagaries of keeping an ACR with it's pissy little bullets on board a ship that's probably armed with ship sized lasers and missiles...
[ . . . ]
Arguments of this nature go back to the dawn of Traveller - at least until the publication of LBB4: Mercenary, where the first of the OP weapons were introduced into the game. In practice, I think the arguments really proxies for the underlying problem of 'Gauss Rifles are overpowered - we need an excuse to keep them out of the hands of our munchkin players.' Similar arguments can be made for several other weapons in the OTU canon. PGMP's and FGMP's are the examples that immediately come to mind, although they're by no means the only kit with significant balance issues.

In practice, I think that the arguments for some elaborate hierarchy based on law or technology levels are addressing the wrong issue. The issue is not whether Imperial law should restrict players from getting hold of super weapons, but that the system has a design flaw to begin with and the weapons are OP and unbalance the game. A TL15 super weapon that costs half a million credits and is only available to Imperial forces is a pointless object. It serves no purpose in the game if it is so overpowered as to be impractical to use without upsetting game balance.

The correct answer to this problem is to nerf the high tech weapons so they're not overpowered. I've argued this in other places, and for much the reason you state above I don't have a lot of time for contrived arguments as to why parties shouldn't have access to technology that must logically have been available on the grey market for literally centuries - or millenia in some cases.

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