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Mongoose Traveller: Book 1:- Mercenary

Mongoose Traveller: Book 1:- Mercenary

Within the Traveller universe, many people - or at least, many player-characters - decide to earn their living utilising their combat skills. This book is aimed at the specialised mercenaries such as private military companies available for hire, and provides a wealth of detail for creating such characters and running mercenary operations. The Introduction explains this, and the role of mercenaries in Mongoose Traveller, in detail.

Then we move on to character generation, which starts with some enhancements to the military careers offered in the core rulebook. Now characters can begin their careers in the sort of navy that sails in boats or in the air force. There are also extended Mishap and Events tables for those who are in the army or the marines. This is followed by detailed information on creating a mercenary character. Here it's assumed that the would-be mercenary has already served some time in the military before choosing (or being forced) to leave and join an established mercenary group. This system is designed to allow the character to gain some experience in that trade through serving one or more standard terms before entering play. If you are intending a mercenary-focussed game, with the characters as active members of a mercenary group, you might want them to take at least one term as a mercenary to model their initial involvement in the profession and perhaps to establish their prior relationships with each other. There are several different areas of mercenary activity to choose from, depending on the sort of background you want your characters to have. These include being a guerilla as well as more 'legitimate' forms of mercenary activity which include security work as well as out-and-out combat units. There are even opportunities to become a gun-runner or arms dealer!

Next comes a section on new skills and specialties. Although they mostly have a mercenary aspect, most might be made available to any character. Suggestions are given for incorporating some of them into the Core Rulebook system if so desired for characters interested in mainstream military careers.

The next section is called Mercenary Tickets. This is the core of the system used to generate missions for mercenary characters - the Ticket is the contract that someone makes with their mercenary company for their services. It also serves as the mercenaries' legitimacy, much like letters of marque were all that distinguished between a privateer and a pirate... and your enemies may not take a blind bit of notice if they have decided that whoever hired you is a legitimate enemy or a terrorist organisation! However it does detail what the mercenaries are required to do and what they'll be paid for doing it. There's an entire set of game mechanics to model the process, well worth reading through for ideas even if you decide not to use it in its entirety. It also allows you to generate random tickets if you do not have a specific mission in mind. There are plenty of examples and explanations to help you keep the whole process on track.

Then comes a section called Recruiting Unit Members, which looks at the recruitment process in detail. Perhaps the characters have been sent to find new recruits for their mercenary group... but it also serves well as an aid to Referees wanting to create entire groups, whether to be other members of the group the party belongs to or the opposition (or even that bunch of mercs you run into every so often in your travels).

We then move onto a section of New Combat Rules. As well as enhancements to those in the core rulebook, there's an extensive unit-based system to model the larger battles that might occur in a mercenary campaign or indeed if war breaks out around the characters. This is followed by a section on Mercenary Headquarters and Military Bases. After all mercenaries - and indeed all military personnel - need somewhere to call home, and this section shows you how to provide such locations. They can also, of course, be the target of an attack! There's an interesting discussion of how such places have developed as technology levels have increased, so you can pick ones appropriate to the planet on which they are situated. Finally, there is a section of New Equipment - everything the well-povided-for mercenary might dream about!

This book fills an interesting and specialised niche - and is quite unlike the original Mercenary book of the original Traveller ruleset which contented itself with expanding on the army and marine careers. Even if you do not want to run mercenary campaigns, there's quite a lot of useful material - especially if you decide that the party might run into some mercenaries at some point in the campaign - which makes it worthy of consideration for inclusion in your library.

Return to Mongoose Traveller: Book 1:- Mercenary page.

Reviewed: 1 June 2015