“10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries”

As Traveller inspiration:

It takes a very specific sort of person to look at everything the world has to offer and say: “Yeah, give me some money and I will fight all of that.” Some call these people mercenaries. Others use different, more colorful expressions. But most people can agree that these guys have pretty… interesting lives, to put it mildly.

We’re not going to glorify the profession of shooting other people for money. Some of these people have done pretty terrible things. We’re just going to tell their stories, to show how different people end up in one of the strangest professions in the world — and what that profession sometimes turns them into.

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

Just mercing around on one planet is rather exciting – at least until you are killed. If you are just maimed… well, them’s the breaks.

Breaks the man will have to pay for, out of his own pocket.

10. Frederick Russel Burnham

Frederick Russell Burnham was truly old school: A fearless adventurer-mercenary who took part in some of the grittiest wars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The stories of his prowess are so legendary that they are frankly a little hard to believe. It’s said that he once outran a horse in a 22-mile race to deliver a message. The writer of King Solomon’s Mines,  who was a friend of Burnham’s, said that the man was more of an action hero than anyone in his books. Another friend, Robert Baden-Powell, cited him as an influence when he created the Boy Scouts. Even Teddy Roosevelt was so impressed by Burnham that he specially invited him to join the Rough Riders.

No matter what you think of these stories, Burnham was certainly always where the action was. His glorious mustache could be spotted in the Apache Wars, or serving as the chief of scouts for the British Army in the Second Boer War. He took part in the Mexican Revolution, and was one of only three survivors of the Shangani Patrol, Rhodesia’s version of the Alamo. There was no telling where the man would pop up next: You could find him in any corner of Africa, or cowboying it up in Tombstone, or casually panning for gold in Klondike. What’s more, he achieved a great many of these accomplishments before he even turned 35.

Of course, all of these adventures did not necessarily mean that Frederick Russell Burnham was a nice man. He was a shameless lifelong racist, and he treated his family as little more than an afterthought: Burnham missed the births of all his three children, and often left his wife alone with them while he was off adventuring.

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

Very Solomani, if I may say so myself. No one said that a wicked man couldn’t be a brave, intelligent, truly gutsy leader.

It just depends on how much weight you put on ethics, how the two types of goodness — “doing the thing right: effective, dependable and accurate” and “doing the right thing: just and morally upright” — mesh in the heart of a single man.

9. South Africa’s Elderly Mercenaries

In the 1980s, Leon Lotz was one of the Koevoets (“Crowbars”), ruthless paramilitary cops fighting for the white South African leaders. Like many people like him, Lotz got into the mercenary lifestyle after the Apartheid regime fell. He finally met his end like he had lived: In a conflict in northern Nigeria, possibly because of friendly fire from a tank. Here’s the strange part: This happened in 2015. Leon Lotz was fighting in the frontlines at the ripe old age of 59.

He was not alone, either. That year, approximately 300 former soldiers of Apartheid were still fighting in Nigeria, despite the fact that some of them are in their early 60s.  

There’s a very simple reason behind this strange phenomenon: Money, or more specifically, a lack thereof. “Former Apartheid thug” is not a marketable skill in most non-mercenary circles, so tons of these people became soldiers of fortune. It‘s the only skill they have, so if they don’t make enough money for a comfortable retirement or otherwise fall on hard times, it’s what they return to. Don’t take this to mean that they’re nice old guys who are just trying to make ends meet. They’re often literal relics of a time gone by — unrepentant racists who never really got around to updating their mental clocks beyond South Africa’s segregation heyday — though the ones who are still active tend to be professional enough to not let that show. Being old doesn’t mean that these people are bad at their job, either. On the contrary: They’ve been doing it for a very long time, and still consider themselves fit enough to do it. The people they were fighting in Nigeria found this out the hard way, as the elderly South Africans played a large part in turning the tide against the militant group Boko Haram, who were trying to sabotage the country’s election.

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

Lots of homeless men in the Traveller universe, their nation vanished and gone, doing the only thing they know to put food in their bellies, a roof over their head, and (maybe) make some sort of impact on the world.

8. Frank Camper

There’s a very special type of mercenary who trains other mercenaries and claims he doesn’t care what they do with the skills he teaches them. That type of mercenary is called Frank Camper. In the 1980s, Camper operated The Mercenary School in Jefferson County, Alabama, where he trained soldiers of fortune from all over the world. He was always a divisive figure: Some say that he was a very capable and effective trainer, while others insist that he’s a fraud and his training consists of little more than campfires and sing-song in the woods. Regardless of which version you want to believe, he was leading a double life: Apart from being a mercenary trainer, Camper was also a dedicated informant to the FBI and Army Intelligence.

These dual roles sometimes put him in strange situations, where he both helped instigate a crisis and prevent the same crisis. He once trained a group that attempted to kill India’s prime minister. When he learned what they were up to, he immediately leaked the information and foiled their plans. He has done the same to smugglers and professional right-wing assassins….

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

Mercenaries, just like regular armies, must worry about informants and spies. Especially those who loudly claim not to care what you’re going to do, or what you’re fighting for.

5. Robert C. MacKenzie

Colonel Robert C. MacKenzie was an expert mercenary who, despite the fact that his career took him to many mercenary-like jobs and contracts, heavily objected to the word “mercenary.” In 1965, the 17-year-old MacKenzie joined the US army and fought in Vietnam, but was severely injured while storming Mother’s Day Hill in 1967. After a full year in the hospital, he was sent back to the civilian life with a disability rate of 70%. However, MacKenzie wanted to be a soldier, no matter what. He traveled to Rhodesia, and joined their SAS forces despite of his disabilities. This proved to be a good career move: Over the next decade, he rose to the rank of Captain and earned numerous medals. After his Rhodesian stint, he joined the South African Defense Force to become a second in command in Special Forces.

In 1985, MacKenzie returned home, and started a second career as a longtime correspondent for Soldier of Fortune. For the next 10 years, he saw action all around the world and wrote well over 40 correspondent reports of said action. In 1995, he accepted a contract that would end in him meeting his fate in the most international way imaginable: After a stint in Bosnia, he was shot while commanding a troop of Gurkha warriors in a war in Sierra Leone.

The reason MacKenzie always disliked the term “mercenary” was that he never fought for the money alone. He treated “international soldiering” as a legitimate profession, and only fought for causes that he personally approved as good and just.

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

It’s natural to assume that all mercenaries are amoral sociopaths/ psychopaths. In truth: “some are… some aren’t.”

2. Bob Denard

French mercenary Bob Denard was one of the most infamous ‘dogs of war’ in modern history. His hands were elbow deep in virtually every conflict and coup he could reach during his 40 years of activity. Denard described himself as a “soldier, not an assassin,” but his actions did not always match up. He was once even accused of planning to assassinate the French Prime Minister. Despite this, he has said that he acts in the interests of France.The way his country kept reducing the prison sentences he kept getting for the… other stuff he was involved in certainly seems to back up this claim.

Denard’s exploits were many, and his tactics could be… unconventional, to say the least. He used many names: Sometimes he was Bob Denard. Other times, Colonel Bako or Mustafa M’hadjou. Occasionally, he even went by his real name, Gilbert Bourgeaud. He once attempted to invade a country with a small, bicycle-riding army. And he loved coups. He loved them very, very much. After fighting in Indochina, Congo, Gabon and Yemen, he got his first taste in the coup business in 1975, when he staged one in the poor island state of Comoros, on the east coast of Africa. After his next coup, a failed 1977 attempt in Benin, he apparently decided to stick to what he knows. He became obsessed over Comoros, and overthrew the country’s government whenever it didn’t please him. Which was often the case.

After Denard’s third Comoros coup in 1989, France had enough of his antics. Denard was swiftly deposed to South Africa and placed in house arrest. This didn’t last: In 1995, Denard returned to Comoros with 30 soldiers and staged his fourth coup. This time, France didn’t mess around, and sent three thousand soldiers to take Denard down. Outnumbered a hundred to one, Bob Denard was finally forced to concede defeat and break the cycle of endless coups.

10 Amazing Stories of Real Life Mercenaries by By Pauli Poisuo

“He loved coups. He loved them very, very much.”

Reminds me of people who really like fire.

Just the kind of exciting passenger to drop on your struggling PCs…

“This didn’t last: In 1995, Denard returned to Comoros with 30 soldiers and staged his fourth coup. This time, France didn’t mess around, and sent three thousand soldiers to take Denard down.”

So the mercenary finally earned the attention of a High Noble. Something for your own PCs to enjoy, one day…

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Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

The Worst of the Vilani

I have recently posted a sketch-up of the best aspects of Vilani collectivist culture: Marinov’s recent post gives me the key to set up the worst of Vilani collectivism.

First, a few quoted words on behalf of individualism:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan said in his inauguration speech as a governor of California; but the principle applies to everything, not only freedom. Not only is freedom never more than one generation away from extinction, the horrors of tyranny – the GULags, the gas chambers, the Holodomor, the prisoners skinned alive, the Christians burning as torches for the Emperor’s parties – are never more than one generation away from re-appearing, if we forget God’s Word and Law.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

I am confident that Vilani collective tyranny has its own unique horrors, with personality rewrites and a preference for efficient genocide being the most famous… but not the only one.

We have mentioned collectivism before in previous Axe to the Root episodes. I have mentioned it in other places, especially in relation to the doctrine of Biblical individualism – namely, the concept that before God, the individual is a legitimately independent moral entity.

[…]

The meaning of “independent” here is that man’s covenantal standing before God is not dependent in any way of his belonging to a human group or collective – family, local church, genetic, ethnic, or national entity, social stratum or status, professional guild, political party, etc. While belonging to or membership in any such entity or collective may be an important secondary or inferior cause (to borrow Calvin’s terminology) for a man’s willingness to obey God, or for his training to good works, in the final account, God deals with man according to man’s individual standing before God, without any regard for any collectives he may have been part of. This understanding of the moral value and significance of the individual has been central to the ability of the early church to break from the pagan relations or the Jewish traditions of its immediate culture – all early imperial edicts against Christianity accuse Christians of abandoning the traditions of their clans or ethnic groups or ancestors.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

Interesting, that last bit: “all early imperial edicts against Christianity accuse Christians of abandoning the traditions of their clans or ethnic groups or ancestors.”

A VERY Vilani way of thinking, I would suggest. “Tradition above all!”

It is for this reason the movement for Christian Reconstruction, from the very beginning, has recognized that Christian Reconstruction must be grounded in personal conversion and conviction, and in individual sanctification and purpose, for any other project of Christian Reconstruction to be successful. Men can’t get their families to be in covenant with God unless they are individually in covenant with God. Institutional churches can’t be in covenant with God unless the people in them are individually in covenant with God first, and only through that covenant, in covenant with each other. A nation can’t be in covenant with God unless there is a critical mass of socially and politically active people who are each individually in covenant with God.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

The Solomani are traditionally portrayed as individualists, compared to the Vilani. If so, then they have certainly lost their way, trusting in the power of men — secret police, centralized governments, etc — rather than in the power of God.

Shall we then be content to err — merely because the Church errs? Will our company be any excuse for our error? Will our erring in company with the Church remove our responsibility for our own souls? Surely it is a thousand times better for a man to stand alone and be saved — than to err in company with the Church, and be lost! It is better to “prove all things” — and go to Heaven; than to say, “I dare not think for myself” — and go to Hell!

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

The Solomani Party – much like the Communist and Nazi parties – are basically parodies of the Church.

And if the Church errs, believing Christians are expected to demand a correction, or even just cut the ties to the institution. Being a party to evil brings death and hell, even if it waves a cross about and spouts a lot of God-talk.

This legitimacy of the individual as an independent moral agent has always been a serious problem for all pagan religions and philosophies – and for many heretical teachings in the church as well, including the modern churches in America, including the majority of those who pass for “Reformed.” To be more precise, the serious problem is this: “How do you allow the individual to be a free, independent moral agent with his own will, aspirations, and individual purpose, and yet keep your people together, obedient to the same common will, pursuing the same common goals, and willing and capable of sacrificing for causes that are greater than any individual himself?” Biblical Christianity has no such problem; it has the Holy Spirit Who can work both as one and as many; He can have one overriding plan for history, and yet, He can figuratively “split” Himself (humanly speaking) into an infinite number of abiding places in the hearts of an infinite number of believers, and guide them to serve His plan while keeping each individual a free and independent moral agent, acting on his own free – but redeemed – will. But pagan and heretical religions and ideologies have nothing like the Holy Spirit that can ensure a shared cause and common action across large groups of people over long periods of time, while allowing for the freedom of the individual. Once the individual is given the freedom to be an independent moral agent, from a pagan perspective, chaos follows.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

When you turn away from the Holy Spirit, you are left with the force and fists of men to guarantee unity. “The gods you can see, not the God you can’t.”

But the arm of flesh will fail you, sooner or later.

(More often sooner nowadays, in this time of technological acceleration and the destruction of the information gatekeepers.)

The freedom of the individual to be an independent moral agent can lead to only two social outcomes: either individuals filled with the Holy Spirit produce a society of righteousness and justice for all, where the social order is based on mutual respect rather than institutional tyranny, or unredeemed individuals following the lusts of their own hearts bringing the society to collapse in lawlessness. Both outcomes together are a powerful testimony for the superiority of the Christian faith over all other faiths and ideologies. Thus, any ideology and religion that wants to rival Christianity, will have to ensure that the individuals in the society do not have the freedom to make their own moral decisions or even identify themselves as free individuals. Every pagan ideology and religion will have to chain individuals to a group or to an institution, and only allow then to define themselves in the context of that group or institution; otherwise there will be no effective means of control.

And that’s what the real covenantal meaning of collectivism is: an ideology which subjects individuals to the moral dictatorship of human collectives and/or elites, with the purpose of re-educating them into obedient pawns.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

Even the Third Imperium – a fairly free government, as it does not actively rule (most) member worlds – has issues with dissolving into lawlessness (see: pirates). The other direction, tyranny, costs real money… in time, too much money, as greater oppression lays the seed of more effective and profound resistance.

I will look at several main techniques here, taken from a book by Bruno Bettelheim, titled, The Informed Heart: Autonomy in a Mass Age. Bettelheim was an Austrian Jew. He graduated in philosophy and history of art from the University of Vienna in the 1930s. Since in that period, art was viewed entirely from a Freudian perspective (as an expression of the unconscious), a degree in history of art included multiple courses in psychology – heavily Freudian – and was naturally considered also as a degree in psychology. When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938, he was arrested and first in the Dachau, and then in the Buchenwald concentration camps. Less than a year later, in a very rare gesture of amnesty, Hitler ordered the release of several hundred concentration camp inmates for his 50th birthday. Bettelheim was one of them. He knew the amnesty would be short-lived, and he immediately got on a ship to the US, to join his wife Gina who had already emigrated. In the US, we was able to build a career as a psychologist and write several books, among which was The Informed Heart. The book is a scientific study into the conflict between human personality and mass collectivism, drawing from the 10-month experience he had as a concentration camp inmate in Dachau and Buchenwald.

The following is a summary of collectivist techniques of killing individuality. I have not done that summery myself; I am using the work of other authors who reviewed Bettelheim’s book. Nevertheless, the summary is correct and it agrees with my assessment after I read the book, so you can take it as something I agree with. When you listen about the techniques, notice their perverse covenantal nature – they are all about the ethical-judicial nature of man, and they are all trying to either destroy that nature, or to completely pervert it to its opposite. Bettelheim was a Freudian psychologist, which means, he believed that human behaviors is not self-consciously ethical but only subconscious. And yet, when he observed real-world interactions, he couldn’t help but see the ethical nature of human behavior.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marinov

If you want to protect your individuality, you need to know how others will attack it.

The first and most basic technique of any collectivist government is to make people engage in pointless work. Or, work of no value at all. Work for the sake of the work, not for the sake of results.

[…details & examples…]

The second common technique of all collectivist governments is the introduction of a multitude of mutually exclusive rules so that violations become inevitable.

[…details & examples…]

The third common technique of all collectivist governments is the introduction of collective responsibility.

[…details & examples…]

The fourth common tactics of a collectivist government is making people believe that nothing depends on them, their conduct, their moral actions, or even their obedience and allegiance.

[…details & examples…]

The fifth common technique was to make people refuse to see and acknowledge injustice.

[…details & examples…]

Once a person is trained to not notice injustice, they then develop a new insensitivity to injustice. From there, the step is very small to the sixth common technique of all collectivist governments: make people transgress all their moral boundaries and commit injustice themselves.

[…details & examples…]

Knowing these techniques is crucial for the modern Christian. Not so much because we want to remember the gory details of the past; but because, in one form or another collectivism continues raising its ugly head today, trying to brainwash individuals and lead them astray. Whether collectivism in the state, or collectivism in the church, or collectivism in the family, we are still fighting the same beast that is trying to control the actions of every individual (Revelation 13:17). As Christians, we ought to be capable of discerning that spirit and its manifestation in our society, and actively work to purge our society of it.

The Destructive Nature of Collectivism, by Bojidar Marino

And, now that the Referee knows the main outlines of a Vilani Occupation, he can both create it for the PCs to experience, and perhaps (by the use of NPCs?) help them learn how to fight such tyrannies.

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The Ottoman Imperium

A Different Islam

Let’s assume that the Ottomans really did manage to conquer Europe by 1800: but the Islam that they stood for was far different than the Islam we know today, as

  1.  Infidels and unbelievers, even pagans and nature-worshipers, are permitted to live so long as they don’t volently challenge their Muslim rulers.
    1. Tied to this, the Rule of Law – of life, liberty, and property – is extended to all men, and not only Muslims.
  2. It is permissible to leave Islam, or enter Islam, as a man pleases. But to gain Noble authority/a high government position, you must be a Muslim.
  3. The masses within conquered nations such as Egypt, Byzantium, India and Persia are permitted to retain their old beliefs without discrimination.
  4. The obligation for jihad remains… but it’s all about gaining more power and wealth to Muslim rulers, and has zero concern regarding the beliefs of the conquered.

Fundamentally, this flavour of Islam is shifted from a strongly egalitarian/tribal religion to an elitist/gnostic religion. It becomes a bit like Zen Buddhism, a ‘prestige religion’ for men of the sword and for the rulers and masters of nations, “a way of discipline and strength not meant for the common folk.”

As an elitist religion, it is far less concerned with preserving the old ways than today’s Islam is, and far more concerned with expanding the power, wealth, and prestige of the Muslim power-brokers. Humiliating and breaking the unbeliever is out; exalting and enriching the Muslim ruling class is in.

A Different Ziru Sirka

Even with a less oppressive, less obscurantist Islam, European technological advancement will be hindered by Ottoman rule… so let’s push things forward by the discovery of an Ottoman-dominated Earth by the Ziru Sirka in the early-mid 1900s.

This planet has Spain, Portugal, the British Isles, Scandinavia, the Baltic states, northern Germany, and Northern & Central Russia still outside of Ottoman control: but the rest of Europe is under Islamic rule. (A rule bolstered by a stronger Islamic grip on India.) The Americas are still dominated by Christians, as is Australasia. 

(The Ottomans are interested in controlling known sources of wealth — Europe, India, and hopefully China — not in creating new nations, new societies, and new centers of wealth.)

Starfaring Vilani emissaries arrive at the capitals of the Chinese and Ottoman Empires, and offer their military, economic, and scientific support in return for submission. After a demonstration of the power of the Vilani Grand Fleet – just a squadron of ships in the area, really, but still more than enough to make the point – both ‘planetary superpowers’ kneel.

(Also see: “Terra Conquered”, in GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars, page 235-6)

Vilani rule focuses on cultural conformity and corporate integration: but these policies don’t go over well in their new territory. Chinese and Arab businesses are based on family and personal contact, while the Vilani are more impersonal and corporate. Most critically, the Vilani long ago got rid of the ‘difficult-to-control’ money economy, so they could not determine what was profitable, while the Chinese could.

The Arabs, with access to European inventions such as double-bookkeeping and insurance, could do even better at building wealth than the Chinese or the Vilani. Arab Muslim rulers did not care to serve the Vilani much, and so saw no reason to leave their domains on Terra: but their European & Arab Christian subjects certainly did, spreading across nearby Vilani space in service to both Vilani and Arab interests, and demographically pushing the Vilani into minority status within three centuries.

Only after these Terran emigrant populations have dug deep roots in their new worlds, did the Vilani decide to transplant some of their “traditional Arab and Chinese masters” to rule them. The amount of actual authority these Terran nobles have varies, from quite influential to merely ceremonial. As they were late to the party, none of them have the truly autocratic power they had back on Terra.

The Fall of Vland

By AD 2500, the Vilani economy was undergoing a great deal of turmoil, with strong corporate growth (and semi-secretly, technological innovation) in the increasingly Terran-population rimward regions – dominated by the merchant-oriented Sharurshid bureaux – while the coreward regions (ruled by the noble/militaristic Makhidkarun bureaux) were breaking up into Vargr pirate-fiefdoms, regardless of the official maps and boundaries.

Things came to a head in 2528, when Vland herself was captured by an innovative — and surprisingly massive and well-organized (!!) — Vargr invasion. Huge but eminently predictable Vilani counterstrikes were expertly and efficiently defeated by the Vargr admirals, who had somehow struck a balance between their usual independence and a completely new and totally unexpected ability to co-operate.

(Later, it was revealed that the Vargr conquerors of Vland had assimilated quite a bit of Vilani culture into their way of thinking… and had brought in many conquered & kidnapped Vilani humans into their packs and populations.)

With the toughest and most militaristic of Vilani giving way to the Vargr, the Vilani merchants of Sharurshid panicked before this unprecedented, unpredictable, and unforeseen disaster. This turmoil gave weight to the opinion of the Vilani/Terran masses of Kushuggi and Amkarim sectors (“Solomani Rim” and “Alpha Crucis”), who turned to their traditional Ottoman and Chinese dynasts for leadership.

A New Imperial Dynasty

After several decades of struggle, a branch of the Ottoman dynasty has emerged to lead the Sharurshid bureaux/megacorporation… and eventually persuades Naasirka (the other surviving bureaux) to recognize them as the new Shadow-Emperor in 2584.

The switchover isn’t going so well: the new Ottoman-dynast has only a poor understanding of Vilani traditions, and is barely better at understanding the new Terran interstellar cultures. He’s really only at home on Terra, in the Ottoman Empire – and it shows.

Still, he’s the ruler for now. How long he remains on the throne, and what happens when he goes (and exactly how he leaves the throne) remains in the air. Even the survival of the Ziru Sirka is in doubt…

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Professionals and NPCs

In their travels in the Traveller universe,  the PCs will sometimes run into true professionals. They are not all alike, but they do share some features and attitudes.

If the Referee is really good at roleplaying such NPCs, some of that attitude might even rub off on the PCs!

Naturally, if the PC wants to play such a man, that PC should do a bit of research on how such leaders and stand-outs become what they are. It’s OK if the PCs just want to hit every target, but it’s definitely better if the Player acts in a way that shows he actually earned his stripes, abilities, and powers.


If you have read my Stellar Reaches works, you know I like to make deep and complex NPCs. (The phrase “frustrated novel writer” as a bit of a bite in my case…)

Most NPCs are not like this: not even most of my NPCs are — or even can be — so deep. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they just give directions, add colour, shoot at (and get shot by) the PCs, etc.

And even my deeper NPCs exist to give the universe depth for the Players, the real focus of the adventure. I want to give them some real meat to chew on, to react to, to reflect on and plan against.

BTW: I admit that I am amused by the NPC meme, so clearly sketched out by Black Pigeon. But it took a bit of time for me to realize that the term ‘NPC’ today mainly refers to computer-run characters on software role-playing games, not pen-n-paper NPCs who – however flimsy and shallow they usually are – are still run by a real human being, the Referee.

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Waiting

Just a note, that aliens are real in Traveller…

…and not all of them have been properly contacted and classified by the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.

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The Ships of Cowboy Bebop

An actual fishing boat as a spaceship.

Excellent.

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Good Tactics on a Shoestring

“Depleted Infantry Battalion: Each with an average strength of 20 men. Authorized strength of 200 men.”

So now, I know to use the term “Depleted unit” for beaten-up, but still coherent, armed forces. Good to know.

Traveller mercenaries, naturally, have to work wonders with just a handful of expensive men and equipment, brought over at great expense, who are expected to guarantee victory. They usually arrive with their full load-out, so it isn’t accurate to call them “pre-depleted”… but they can’t take too many casualties, usually.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission