12 Aug 2014

Fun With Traveller - The Mercenary Marine

Working on a few ideas, and character generation helps get the vagaries to solidify.  One idea I keep meaning to try is a multiple level story about a mercenary unit, looking at the things from three points of view - the high command level, the field command level, and the grunts in the field.  To see how things could go, I'll use Traveller Book 4: Mercenary.  I could use Vamsi Ng, but she's more of a story of a person who regretted her commission than anything else.  Vamsi wants back in the field.  While being a mercenary would work, that pesky rank of Major General is in the way.

I will use the house rule from last time, that is, I'll try to reach seven terms instead of stopping at five, though if a mishap or even just rolling too low to advance occurs on or after the fifth term happens, I'll stop then, unless the character isn't a mercenary yet.

First up, the character.  Once again, in the Spinward Marches sector of the Third Imperium.  This time around, I want someone from a world that's at most Early Stellar, a more typical tech level in the Marches.  Adabicci, in the Lunion subsector, fits, plus a possible tie to Philomena.  Adabicci has no world codes, which can happen in the Traveller world creation but is rare, but does have an Imperial Naval Base, which can help.
Name: Sonja Nolan
Species: Human (Solomani/Vilani mix)
Homeworld: Adabicci/Lunion (A57189B-B, Naval Base)
Tip of the hat to Seventh Sanctum and the name generator for Sonja's last name.  Naming can be tough at times.  Next up, the rolls for the characteristics.  I got, in order, 5, 5, 7, 9, 12, and another 9.  Since Adabicci has a Naval Base, I want to see if Sonja gets into the Imperial Marine Corps, a switch from both Cuddy and Vamsi.  Marines need Endurance and Education to survive and to be promoted.  Social Standing helps with commissions, but becoming an officer may not be high on Sonja's agenda.
  Str 9/+1
  Dex 9/+1
  End 12/+2
  Int 5/-1
  Edu 7/+0
  Soc 5/-1
Sonja's healthy, athletic, has an average education but isn't as bright as the average person and comes from a seemier side of Adabicci.  She gets three background skills, and since Adabicci has no trade code, she has no required choices.  Sonja picks up Computer, Drive, and Trade.  The last skill is used for creating items, and can have specializations such as Biologicals and Cooking.  Next up, enlistment.  To become a Marine, Sonja needs to make an Endurance check of 6 or higher.  Her roll is 9, modified to 11, and the Imperial Marine Corps welcomes its new recruit with open arms.

As always, the first term starts with basic training.  Sonja gets trained in Athletics, Battle Dress, Tactics, Heavy Weapons, Gun Combat, and Stealth.  As a Marine, she also gets either Melee (blade) or Gun Combat (any) at 1.  She then needs to choose a specialization, and opts for Ground Assault, the Marines who take beachheads after being shot down from orbit.  From there, she takes her first skill roll on the Ground Assault table, getting more training in the use of Battle Dress, the Marine Corps' powered armour.  To survive the term, Sonja needs to make an Endurance check of 7 over better; the roll is 10, modified to 12.  No problem, and this lets her roll on the Events Table.  Book 4 introduced extended tables for the Army and Marine careers, so I'll use that.  The d66 roll is 65, assigned to the security staff of a space station, letting her take Zero-G as a skill.  Nice gig for a first term, with the implication that she spent time outside the station in her battle dress.  The commission roll is a 7, modified to 6, missing the 8+ needed.  Sonja tries for a promotion, needing 5 or better on an Education check.  The roll total is 8, thus Sonja makes Lance Corporal.  The promotion gets Gun Combat (any) 1 and another skill roll, taken on the Personal Development table, resulting in +1 to Strength.

The second term looks good for Lance Corporal Nolan.  She's had a nice simple position already but she wants to see some real action.  The first skill roll is taken on the Ground Assault table, getting Sonja more Heavy Weapons training.  She takes Man-Portable Artillery so she can fire the heavy plasma and fusion weapons the Imperial Marine Corps is known for.  The survival roll is 5, modified to 7, just enough to continue.  The event this time is 45, a Wartime Event.  Similar to the core rulebook's Life Events, the Wartime Events covers what happens on the battlefield.  Sonja rolls 8, Weapons Cache, letting her choose an armour, weapon, or combat implant when she musters out of the Marines.  With a shiny new toy in her possession, Sonja aims for a promotion, rolling 8.  Corporal Nolan takes a look at her other new shiny, a new rank insignia, before rolling on the Service Skills table and getting Athletics.

Term three, Corporal Nolan is still a Marine.  Her firsl skill roll is again on the Ground Assault table, getting Battle Dress again.  The survival roll is 4, modified to 6, a Mishap.  Rolling on the new Mishap table gets 8, Injured.  The roll on the Injury Table is 6, lightly injured.  Something is up; a light injury isn't enough to force someone out, unless there's something else afoot.  Still, Sonja has to muster out.  With two complete terms and being rank 2, she gets three rolls on the Mustering Out Tables.  Her first is on the Cash table, something to keep her going between careers.  The roll is 6, for Cr30 000.  The other rolls are on the Other Benefits Table.  With 3 and 4, she gets +1 to Education and a weapon.  At this point, Sonja declares she found a Laser Rifle in the cache, and gets a +1 to her Energy Rifles skill.

In the fourth term, Sonja still wants to see action.  She looks through job listings and finds a few mercenary listings.  The Striker career, in Book 4, has two ways to enlist.  The first is an Endurance check, requiring 6 or better.  The second is to have one term in a previous military career.  With her three terms, including the disastrous one, in the Marine Corps, the mercenary company has no problems welcoming her, albeit as a recruit.  Sonja needs to go through basic training again, but this time, she just gets checked through after the company teaches her the basics of Explosives.  She chooses to be a Rifleman, and takes her first skill roll on that table, getting Recon.  The survival roll is based on Endurance, needing 6 or better.  Sonja rolls 5, modified to 7, squeaking by.  The event roll is 33, a Life Event.  The roll on that table is 3, a birth or death.  Sonja has no allies or contacts, and it'd be odd if she died, so either she gave birth, or a family member either produced a child or has died.  I'll put this choice on the back burner for now.  Next, the roll for promotion; Sonja gets a 6, modified to 8 by her Endurance, more than the 5 or better needed.  As a Trooper, Sonja gets Gun Combat (any) at 1.  She chooses to specialize with Shotguns this time.  At this point, Sonja has more skill levels than Cuddy got, but he put all of his into one specialization.  Sonja also gets a skill roll, which she takes on the Advanced Education table, getting Flyer (Grav).  With the fourth term coming to a close, Sonja has to check for aging effects.  As long as she rolls 1 or higher, she has no problems; her roll, modified by terms served, is 6.

Term five looms.  Trooper Nolan is ready.  Her first skill roll is again on the Rifleman table, getting  Survival.  That leads to the survival roll, again modified by Sonja's Endurance; the roll is 8, more than enough.  The event table roll is 24, Sonja needs to be the unit's spokesman to deny criminal allegations.  She needs to make a Diplomat skill check of 8 or better.  Too bad Sonja's version of diplomacy is to shoot the negotiator.  Her Diplomat check, modified by Education and the -3 untrained penalty, is 3.  Sonja now has a rival spreading baseless rumours about her and her unit.  However, Sonja's career can continue as she now checks for promotion; her roll is 10 total, and she becomes Strike Specialist Nolan.  The promotion comes with Gun Combat (any) 1 or Heavy Weapons (any) 1; again, she can't add the skill level to an existing rating.  Sonja grabs Heavy Weapons (Launchers) 1.  The skill roll is taken on the Personal Development table; Sonja gets Survival again.  At this rate, put Sonja in Battle Dress, drop her in the wilderness, and she'll take the target out single-handedly.  Before that can happen, she needs to check for aging effects again; the roll is 3, so she's safe for now.

The sixth term dawns as Sonja remains in the mercenary company.  At 38, Sonja is not ready to slow down.  Her first skill roll is taken again on the Rifleman table, getting Recon.  The survival roll totals 7, squeaking by on the strength of her Endurance.  The event roll is 45, a Wartime Event.  Rolling on that table gets 4, a double-cross as a member of the company switches sides.  The promotion roll is 8, another promotion for Sonja.  The resulting skill roll is taken on the Advanced Education table, getting Weapon Engineering (any).  Sonja picks the Energy Weapons specialty for the skill.  The aging check is 2, close again, but still no effect.

Strike Leader Sonja Nolan enters her seventh term, her fourth as a mercenary.  The first skill roll is taken under Personal Development this time, getting +1 to her Dexterity.  Could be handy when the aging effects are rolled.  Sonja checks her survival, and gets a total of 11, no problem.  The event roll is 55, the mercenary ticket doesn't go the way it should have, and Sonja needs to make an Intelligence check of 8 or more to get either Instruction of Jack of All Trades.  Sonja rolls 7, modified to 6 by her Int mod, and gets neither.  She checks for a promotion, and rolls a total of 6.  That's enough to be promoted to Unit Leader and get Recruiting as a skill, but not enough to continue as a Striker.  At age 46, the company feels that Sonja's getting too old to be in the field and lets her go.  The aging check is 1, even closer than last term.  Maybe the company's command is right?

Sonja now musters out of her company after four successful terms.  She gets four rolls from terms served plus two more for rank achieved.  Sonja can only roll twice on the Cash Table, so she does so now, getting snake eyes, and Cr10 000 total.  Because she was a mercenary, she has no retirement pay, so the Cr40 000 she has needs to last her long enough to find work.  The remaining four rolls, 2, 6, 4, and 6 again get her, in order, +1 Dexterity, a combat implant, a gun, and another implant.  As before, Sonja can't take a plasma gun or a fusion gun; they're heavy weapons and very illegal to own.  However, since she already has a laser rifle, Sonja can boost her Energy Rifles skill.  For the combat implant, Sonja chooses to take Dexterity Enhancement twice, allowing her to take a higher tech level implant that results in +2 to Dexterity.

Mercenary adds a new table for mustering out, to make up for the lack of retirement pay and for not providing a ship like the Scout Service does.  Sonja gets one roll for each term after the fourth on the table.  She rolls 7, 7, and 11.  The two sevens result in old debts being paid back, Cr5000 each.  The eleven, though, gets Sonja a choice of vehicle that was "lost in transit", either an Air/Raft or a Ship's Boat.  Since Sonja doesn't have the Pilot skill, she takes the Air/Raft, an open-topped grav vehicle that seats four.  Looks like someone in the motor pool doesn't care much that Sonya was let go the way she was.

For fun, I'm going to refer to the Traveller 5 core rules, aka the Big Black Book, and randomly generate the units Sonja served in.  First, the Imperial unit, starting with the flux, or d6-d6 roll.  The result is -3, the <City> Ortillery Regiment.  Um, no, that doesn't fit with Sonja's career in the Marines.  Next roll is -5, the Joint <World> Lift Infantry Regiment.  That's better.  For the mercenary unit, the roll is -1, the <three-digit number> Lift Cavalry Squadron.  Filling things out, Sonja enlisted with the Imperial Marine Corps and was assigned to the Joint Adabicci Lift Infantry Regiment.  When she was let go, she was recruited by the 725th Lift Cavalry Squadron, a mercenary unit based in the Spinward Marches.

Former Imperial Marine Corps Corporal Sonja Nolan, a former unit leader with the mercenary 725th, is now on her own, filled with expensive technology, and only possessing skills suitable for military work.

Sonja's character sheet:
Name: Sonja Nolan
Age: 46
Species: Human (Solomani/Vilani mix)
Homeworld: Adabicci/Lunion (A57189B-B, Naval Base)
Rank: Corporal/Unit Leader

  Str 10/+1
  Dex 11(13)/+1(+2)
  End 12/+2
  Int 5/-1
  Edu 8/+0
  Soc 5/-1

  Athletics 0
    Endurance 1
  Battle Dress 2
  Computer 0
  Drive 0
  Explosives 0
  Flyer 0
    Grav 1
  Gun Combat 0
    Energy Rifles 3
    Shotguns 1
    Slug Rifles 1
  Heavy Weapons 0
    Launchers 1
    Man-Portable Artillery 1
  Recon 2
  Stealth 0
  Survival 2
  Tactics 0
  Trade 0
  Weapon Engineering 0
    Energy Weapons 1
  Zero-G 1

Career - Marine/Ground Assault; 4th to Striker/Rifleman
Term 1: Assigned to space station security.  Promoted.
Term 2: Wartime Event: Discovered a weapons cache.  Promoted.
Term 3: Mishap: Lightly injured.
Term 4: Life Event: Birth/Death.  Promoted.
Term 5: Forced to be spokesperson to defend against criminal allegations, but failed.  Promoted.
Term 6: Wartime Event: Double-cross.  Promoted
Term 7: Ticket does not go as advertised.  Promoted, but cannot continue.

Cr 50 000
Retirement Pay:

  One spreading baseless rumours.
  Ex-company-mate turned traitor

  Dexterity Enhancement/TL12 (+2 Dex)

  Laser Rifle
As always, if you wind up playing this character, let me know how it goes.

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