Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

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Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby msprange » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:17 am

We have just posted a preliminary outline of Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition, which you can read at;

http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/?p=678

We welcome comments on this and future previews we will be doing, so feel free to stick your oar in and influence the future of Traveller! The forum thread we will be keeping track of is here;

viewtopic.php?f=89&t=68106&p=797190#p797190
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:03 pm

The blog entry looks interesting, certainly getting rid of the rash of extra skills will be a good thing. Mercenary first edition was a weak supplement, so looking forward to an improvement, hopefully one which will take into account developments in equipment and weapon ranges in the 2nd ed vehicles book. That may be the place to add any additional combat rules (plenty of suggestions have been made on these threads over the years!). Will interesting to see if you can keep to the aim of "no new weapons"!

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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:41 pm

No new weapons, what?
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby alex_greene » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:01 pm

dragoner wrote:No new weapons, what?
Sounds good to me. The only place where all the weapons ought to be, outside of the TCR 2E, should be in CSC 2, providing they remember to update the core weapons in Traveller Core Rulebook Second Ed to match, so that a shotgun that does XD6 damage in the TCR 2E also does XD6 damage in CSC 2, with the same TL, skills, range modifiers, clip, costs, ROF, weight and all that.

M 2 should be devoted to mercenaries and the military - the whole culture of life in uniform. As a diehard civilian, I'd love to have a handle on that sort of life so I could either roleplay someone who's been through the grinder, or Referee military NPCs and units effectively.

I mean, the number of times I, as a Referee, have interrupted the characters' deliberations with "As you're discussing the Weird Event that's taking place, you hear the roar of Army trucks approaching and the tromp of dozens, hundreds of boots breaking into a run the moment they hit ground. Looks like someone's called in the Guard." It just makes sense to be able to portray the insufferable, inexperienced officer ("So you're the officer in charge of these Marines, Lt Gorman?") and the hulking meat brick of a Sergeant getting in the characters' faces.

Sergeants. The officer class's solution to every problem.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:30 pm

alex_greene wrote:
Sergeants. The officer class's solution to every problem.
Not if you are looking at the Soviets; assuming every military is going to work the same is a problem. I've experienced huge differences in how the function of the military works is viewed from just someone being enlisted vs being an officer.

I really liked the Ironmongery in the original, it also gave a nice tech overview.

Hammer's Slammers and Spica's Field Manual also have good material; CSC is good as an equipment catalog, ok otherwise, maintaining continuity would be nice between it and the core rules.

So what will replace combat engineering? In the original, I liked the idea of "Combat Rifleman" in that you could say that beyond just the use of a weapon, the individual was trained (such as an 0 lvl) in all the topics from the Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks, eg how to be a trooper.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby alex_greene » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:39 pm

dragoner wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Sergeants. The officer class's solution to every problem.
Not if you are looking at the Soviets; assuming every military is going to work the same is a problem. I've experienced huge differences in how the function of the military works is viewed from just someone being enlisted vs being an officer.
Now put yourself in a civilian Referee's shoes like mine, as he tries to imagine life wearing Army boots for the players.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:09 pm

alex_greene wrote:
dragoner wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Sergeants. The officer class's solution to every problem.
Not if you are looking at the Soviets; assuming every military is going to work the same is a problem. I've experienced huge differences in how the function of the military works is viewed from just someone being enlisted vs being an officer.
Now put yourself in a civilian Referee's shoes like mine, as he tries to imagine life wearing Army boots for the players.
The bar is set pretty high from the original, with Marc being an Officer and Decorated War Hero and Chadwick a Military Historian of note. The biggest criticism of the mong version is that people say it isn't written by an authority on the subject. Then toss into the mix just the average opinion of someone from different countries, such as from the UK and attitudes towards "squaddies"; or Americans towards the US military, which can vary wildly in the country and the nature of the service.

There isn't an exactly easy solution, but finding a common frame of reference between yourself and the players helps, and it isn't a crime to be wrong. But picking one example is good; such as with the Imperium, to me it looks like the Soviet military: it uses conscripts, promotes it's officers from within the ranks, and can be severely classist (nobles vs nomenklatura - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura ).
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby alex_greene » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:31 pm

It would be good to be able to look at how different societies could approach such topics as recruitment, organisation and so on, to allow a Referee to construct military forces operating under a different martial philosophy to that established in the 3I which still seems to be the default behind Mercenary.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:03 pm

alex_greene wrote:It would be good to be able to look at how different societies could approach such topics as recruitment, organisation and so on, to allow a Referee to construct military forces operating under a different martial philosophy to that established in the 3I which still seems to be the default behind Mercenary.
That could be an interesting subject, and one not covered so far; how different societies raise and view their militaries.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby alex_greene » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:45 pm

dragoner wrote:
alex_greene wrote:It would be good to be able to look at how different societies could approach such topics as recruitment, organisation and so on, to allow a Referee to construct military forces operating under a different martial philosophy to that established in the 3I which still seems to be the default behind Mercenary.
That could be an interesting subject, and one not covered so far; how different societies raise and view their militaries.
To take some different examples from science fictiion:-

Star Trek TOS-era Klingons
Star Trek TNG-era Borg
Star Trek Deep Space Nine's Jem'Hadar

Stargate SG-1's Jaffa
Stargate SG-1's Ori soldiers
Stargate Atlantis' Wraith

Babylon 5's Centauri
Babylon 5, Warrior Caste Minbari
Babylon 5's Soldiers of Darkness (muscle working for the Shadows, "The Long Dark"
Babylon 5's Drakh

Each of those forces had a totally different philosophy, one whose ethos is incompatible with the kinds of military that are the default setting of Miercenary and Traveller as a whole. It'd be interesting to have militias of different alien races which were based on, say, a caste system (Minbari, Drakh) or a terrifying hive-mind collective conscious where there were no individuals such as the Borg. Even the Zhodani from the 3I are alien enough for their forces to be looked at in terms of how their cultural philosophy affects the makeup of their forces - specifically, a caste-based system with a particularly insightful officer class.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:06 pm

alex_greene wrote: Even the Zhodani from the 3I are alien enough for their forces to be looked at in terms of how their cultural philosophy affects the makeup of their forces - specifically, a caste-based system with a particularly insightful officer class.
Yes, that is interesting, those examples would be good to flesh out; I was also thinking of from government type as well, maybe linked to a e-hex character, thus being able to be randomly applied, like the UWP stats.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby CosmicGamer » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:22 pm

alex_greene wrote:Now put yourself in a civilian Referee's shoes like mine, as he tries to imagine life wearing Army boots for the players.
as hinted at here
alex_greene wrote:It would be good to be able to look at how different societies could approach such topics as recruitment, organisation and so on, to allow a Referee to construct military forces operating under a different martial philosophy to that established in the 3I which still seems to be the default behind Mercenary.
It's a game of the far future and how one world vs another, especially one race vs another does things can vary.

We already see today how technology is taking over the battlefield. Use your imagination and take it another step. Instead of (no offense, just one of many possible variations)
alex_greene wrote: It just makes sense to be able to portray the insufferable, inexperienced officer ("So you're the officer in charge of these Marines, Lt Gorman?") and the hulking meat brick of a Sergeant getting in the characters' faces.
You might hear a shouting voice and an image on your HUD from a sergeant (if you saw them in person they are only 5'3" and covered in medals). "Don't they teach you anything in command school? Tech and tactics win wars not brute force. If you boys want to live switch your command link to me."
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:11 pm

CosmicGamer wrote: Tech and tactics win wars not brute force. If you boys want to live switch your command link to me."
Which comes back to my 'no new weapons?' question, it would be nice to see the ironmongery fleshed out with more c4sir gear. Really fleshed out though, some gear descriptions in other books, like the handpacs in scout, can become setting breaking.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby CosmicGamer » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:59 pm

dragoner wrote:Which comes back to my 'no new weapons?' question
I see no reason for more personal weaponry, but some stuff is like any other supplement, it's just the tools of the trade.

I believe it's supposed to be a setting neutral boook? But I'd love a section on how mercenary groups and their weaponry is treated. What the Imperium will allow, support, enforce. Are worlds still run by their own rules.. Why would they be inclined to let outside thugs work outside their laws and/or change the balance of power?

"ok, so you got Imperial permits. Go shoot up the starport if you want, I don't care. You're not taking your grav tank onto our world just because some company couldn't get a court injunction on a competitor and they want you to take them out."
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:13 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:
I believe it's supposed to be a setting neutral boook? But I'd love a section on how mercenary groups and their weaponry is treated. What the Imperium will allow, support, enforce. Are worlds still run by their own rules.. Why would they be inclined to let outside thugs work outside their laws and/or change the balance of power?
See, the old mercenary put it all together in a rational system; which is how I view it, as "systems", not just personal weapons, nor as just the CSC throws it out as a chunk or splat. As per the balance of power, that is the domain of the GM to maintain that or not, the book shouldn't being saying no to them, but to be offering new tools to craft a better game.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby Condottiere » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:29 pm

You probably would want to focus on Imperium military traditions and training, since I'd assume most of the activities would remain within it's nominal borders and against actors familiar with and trained similarly.

Though I think that military equipment on an interstellar scale will have the opportunity to widely vary, especially for lower tech levels.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby dragoner » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:26 am

Condottiere wrote:You probably would want to focus on Imperium military traditions and training, since I'd assume most of the activities would remain within it's nominal borders and against actors familiar with and trained similarly.
I have done a fair amount of that, spec'ing out the Imperial Army and such, to then use as a basis for other militaries. Here is a TOE of the unit shipped to Efate shortly before the Fifth Frontier War in the TNS blurb:

Image

One thing about the Imperial Military, it has size, so that the Imperium can overwhelm smaller militaries. This can hide deficiencies, Rome had a tendency to be this way, with easy victories against the northern barbarians had dire import as to when they met the Parthians.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby Wil Mireu » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:03 am

alex_greene wrote:M 2 should be devoted to mercenaries and the military - the whole culture of life in uniform. As a diehard civilian, I'd love to have a handle on that sort of life so I could either roleplay someone who's been through the grinder, or Referee military NPCs and units effectively.
If that's what you want, I think Spica Publishing's "Field Manual" already covers all of that. It's co-written by the late Bryan Gibson too.
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby Jak Nazryth » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:33 pm

Many posts over the decade on a variety of Traveller Game systems discuss..."What can I mount on my ship?". For the most part, people suggest particle cannons and any other "radiation damage" weapons are Government military only. Plasma, rail guns, and other "high dice" ships weapons above and beyond the standard pulse and beam lasers are somewhere in between.
I would like to see clear, concise rules on what type of ship weaponry is allowed on government military ships vs. private non-military ships vs. mercenary ships.

I've only found 1 obscure chapter on this subject in Freelance Traveller, and it's what I'm currently modeling my "Merc Licenses fees" on.

For Mercenary units and their ships, I would like to see a chapter or two on "how much does a Mercenary License cost". One the government authorities grant a license, then there should be a simple chart on what types of weaponry are available above and beyond normal citizenry weapons, and what weapons are still strictly prohibited (Spinal Mounts) etc...

I'm just going to throw this out there... loosely based on the freelance thread mentioned above
There could be a certain cost, for the Merc License which is an umbrella cost and defined as "sub-sector operations, sector operations, or "full Range"
Under that, 1000 cr per member per year
1,000 cr per vehicle per year
5,000 cr per small craft per year
10,000 cr per 100 tons of space craft per year

I also don't want to hamstring the fun of players going into "free" space, not controlled by the 3I and not have the ability to place larger weapons on their ships to battle raiders, pirates, and slavers... without HAVING to become a mercenary ship.

Maybe that's too much "book keeping" for an RPG, but in general I would love to see some rules in black and white in "official" rule format.
Thanks. :)
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Re: Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition

Postby Condottiere » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:32 pm

It's hard to imagine that more than a handful of customers could afford Falkenberg's Legion, or even Covenanters, since passenger fees would be enormous, and going low berth appears to be an iffy proposition.

Cadre plus indigenous troops and equipment would seem the striker economy package.

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