Opening with some dramatic images of space battle, this supplement concerns all matters military and in particular the armed forces of the Empire and the Federation. It provides resources for characters wishing to have a military past, and of course for those who want a military-oriented game with serving characters. Characters may also be reservists, or even have honorary ranks to show their affiliation. It is also possible for those with military connections to acquire military spaceships...
First up, though, is a more general article about the Federation and Empire and their military. Indeed, it's noted that every state and corporation and planet is expected to be able to defend itself, understandable when you realise that every spaceship capable of interstellar travel carries sufficient weaponry to level several city blocks... However, when it comes to the Empire and the Federation themselves, their own armed forces are massive (and well-funded) - and they are continuously engaged in an arms race of epic proportions. The Federation Military is the first described. It's thought to employ 2% of the entire population of the Federation due to excessive duplication with separate land, sea, air and space forces each with administration, research and other departments operating in support of them. The Federal President is their commander-in-chief, and as you can imagine there are large numbers of general officers, admirals and such like 'brass'. The best funded is the space navy, although the 'ground-pounders' of the army are more numerous. Despite all this, military personnel are somewhat looked down upon, it's not a popular career for the ambitious although there's one major benefit: you can get an excellent technical education for free by enlisting!
The Empire has a different approach. The Imperial Navy serves as the representive of the Senate and is very high-profile, whereas the Federation's forces are mostly only seen when they are needed. They undertake diplomatic missions, aid neighbouring independed systems, and undertake exploration and colonisation missions. It's a unitary force, the Navy - even if many members specialise in what most of us would call army or air force or 'wet' navy roles. Whilst they all serve the Emperor, in effect fleets are usually commanded by a senator appointed by the Emperor. The minimum term of service is ten years, and it is hoped and assumed that people will serve longer - unlike the Federation, where a stint of five years is quite common before moving on to civilian life.
Next there's a look at military careers. As well as those directly employed, enlisted in Federal Military or Imperial Navy, there are many more who serve via corporations or even as independent freelancers, contract by contract. Honorary non-active ranks may be given to such independents, giving them prestige and status and - when senior enough - even allowing purchase of military ships not available to other pilots. Such ranks are gained by doing military-style jobs for the Federation or the Empire. Characters get special badges to wear, and if they display their rank gain the respect of those they encounter. Of course, if you are playing a military campaign, that rank is real, conferring responsibility and power on the holder in equal measure.
Mentions of 'military ships' are now made real with a section on them, with the same level of detail as the ones presented in the core rulebook. There are eight in total, four for each of the Empire and the Federation - and each has several variants. The Imperial ships in particular are rather good-looking! The next section contains similar details of an array of military weapons, as if the ones in the core rulebook were not potent enough!
The next section, entitled Military Life, provides new backgrounds for characters wishing to have served during the character creation process (or indeed, suitable for those still serving if you are playing a military game). The Federation has a large reserve programme, so characters may be Federal Reservists. Both polities have Couriers, and the Imperials have, alas, Slave Soldiers. There's also a Drone Controller background and some new Karma Capabilities with a martial theme.
If you have military characters, you're going to need appropriate opposition, covered in the next section. All are from the space combat scale but further divided into military, criminal, and assassins. This is followed by an extensive section on Robots, and finally more on the Random Generation System. Here it is suggested that you can use the RGS to play solo without a GM and gives details of how to go about it. Of course the details here will be just as useful to a GM planning military-themed adventures, particularly the notes about types of mission and the marterial on creating military bases.
This makes for a comprehensive introduction to both Imperial and Federation armed forces and a lot of useful material for whenever they are encountered, never mind if you want a military-themed game. One thing not covered is how a character chooses which side to freelance for, and if some ever work for both (not, probably, at the same time) perhaps concealing past contracts with the other side. In one game the party set up an entertainment complex on the border, troops of either polity were allowed in provided that they did not fight whilst there. Very profitable and quite entertaining! The extensions to the RGS and notes on how to use it for solo GMless play are also good, especially if you have difficulties getting a group together.
Return to Military Supplement page.
Reviewed: 5 April 2018