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KingNova3000

Mercenary Companies, a duty system for them?

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Okay, so first up, I wasn’t sure which forum to put this question in, I figured Edge of the Empire over Age of the Rebellion would be more fitting. Now onto the crux of the topic.

Currently the game I’m running for my group has a mercenary company theme, i.e. the players and their ship are stationed aboard a capital ship which roams the galaxy carrying out contracts with no questions asked.

 

Now initially I had been using the standard Obligation rules, but after a few sessions it started to feel as if that didn’t really fit. I came to the realisation that using a Duty system similar to AotR’s would be more fitting.

 

I’d be calling it something else, likely Infamy at this stage, but at its heart it will work more or less the same as Duty. Now this where I’m going to ask you guys, the community, for some ideas and suggestions! What types of “duty” could I throw together for the players to choose from?

 

I few that popped into mind:

Reputation – it’s your duty to uphold the reputation of you mercenary company. When others misrepresent you’ll step in and set them straight.
 

Contacts – knowing the right people can mean the difference from scoring that contract to losing it to the competition. You’re a smooth talker who always knows a guy. You weave a web of contacts that can prove invaluable to your mercenary company.

 

Expansion – you’re constantly seeking out ways to expand the mercenary company, either in reputation or actual might. Where there is an opportunity for improvement you’re on it - a new crew to join the fold? A lone bounty hunter to put on retainer? Or a shipment of experimental Imperial weapons moving through an isolated system to "aquire"?

 

I’m essentially looking for some ideas or suggestions along the lines of above. The equivalent of duties, but for mercenaries instead of the Rebel Alliance.

Edited by KingNova3000

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I've got a similar campaign going on. At a glance Duty seemed like it would work, but much of the flavor is geared towards achieving a greater victory, which didn't work for our game. The Duty mechanic could still work, but I ended up tossing it out completely and handled it through the narrative. I still had my players pick an obligation or morality as the case may be.

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I think you can mostly use duty unchanged. Just replace Rebel Alliance with Merc Inc.

 

I thought that, until we actually tried assigning stuff. Doesn't fit at all. Much of the Rebel stuff is very flavoured toward stoping the Empire - which mercs have no interest in.

 

 

I've got a similar campaign going on. At a glance Duty seemed like it would work, but much of the flavor is geared towards achieving a greater victory, which didn't work for our game. The Duty mechanic could still work, but I ended up tossing it out completely and handled it through the narrative. I still had my players pick an obligation or morality as the case may be.

 

Yeah I had that thought to. But my group are a little light on the RP side (which kills me), so unless they have something there in front of them on their characters they tend to just drive the character instead of RPing as the character. Having the "duty" there as a guide will help them a fair bit.

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I did a search for Merc Code and got nothing but the cheat codes to the old game by that name, then thought what about pirate code and a wiki page popped up and was looking down that and I think it might help the creative juices...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_code

 

Found some stuff for Mercs to help with the Merc brainstorming...

 

http://schlockmercenary.wikia.com/wiki/The_Seventy_Maxims_of_Maximally_Effective_Mercenaries

Edited by Osprey

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1. Pillage

2.  violence

3. wrath

4.  friendly fire

5. infamy

6.treason

7. coward

8.danger close

9. according to plan

10. collateral damage

11. trust

12. cheaters

13.No such thing as a fair fight

14. its just business

15 over kill

16. take no prisoners

 

Needs some fleshing out, but will help getting started, the idea of possibly being able to use this mechanic even for (insert guild type here) seems like a good idea. Scoundrels with infamy or rules.

Edited by Osprey

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I think the mechanical part of duty makes perfect sense for a Merc group, in the "do your job well, occasionally get shiny stuff" kind of way.  Its the specific jobs that might need readjustment, simply because Mercenaries don't have nearly as many concerns.  Combat Victory, Space Victory, even Appropriation all still work with a Mercenary company, while things like Counter-Intelligence are not relevant.

 

The point of Duty, as I see it, is to track what the Company thinks of the team.  A higher or lower duty score isn't going to do much to what John Doe things - John Doe is going to be judging by company reputation, not individual reputation.

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I think the mechanical part of duty makes perfect sense for a Merc group, in the "do your job well, occasionally get shiny stuff" kind of way.  Its the specific jobs that might need readjustment, simply because Mercenaries don't have nearly as many concerns.  Combat Victory, Space Victory, even Appropriation all still work with a Mercenary company, while things like Counter-Intelligence are not relevant.

 

The point of Duty, as I see it, is to track what the Company thinks of the team.  A higher or lower duty score isn't going to do much to what John Doe things - John Doe is going to be judging by company reputation, not individual reputation.

Agreed, but more can be added to the duty list to add more flavor.

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I think the actual Duties in AoR work well for Mercenaries.  Just change the description to match what a Mercenary Group would see things as.

  1. Combat Victory - Obviously if the Mercs get into a firefight, they're going to want to win.  A PC with this Duty may be one that relishes combat.
  2. Counter-Intelligence - Not a huge factor for a Merc Group but if the Group is a larger corporation then Corporate Espionage and spreading Misinformation would fall under this.
  3. Intelligence - Corporate Espionage, Contacts (Underworld, Military, Government, etc) are sources of Intelligence.
  4. Internal Security - pretty self-explanatory, can't have Mercs at each other's throats all the time.
  5. Personnel - a Duty suited for a Medic or Doctor in any group.
  6. Political Support - probably more important for a larger group (corporation) but having the support of the local government can be pretty handy.
  7. Recruiting - Merc Groups may have a high attrition rate.  Defections, retirements, deaths all need to be made up by recruiting, whether it's actively hiring or inviting based on merit and compatibility.
  8. Resource Acquisition - Buying, stealing, "borrowing" items the group needs.
  9. Sabotage - sometimes a Merc group is hired to sabotage something rather than outright destroy it.  A PC with this Duty may have an inclination to play practical jokes coupled with a decent Mechanics skill to do some creative sabotage.
  10. Space Superiority - Some Mercs are excellent pilots.  A PC with this Duty may have ego the size of the Death Star.
  11. Tech Procurement - sometimes a Merc Group is known for using technology not many others use.  Or sometimes stealing an advanced technology from someone can give you an edge.
  12. Support - Not every Merc group is made of ne'er-do-wells who have no interest in anyone but themselves.  Imagine a group of Clone Troopers that deserted in the middle of the Clone Wars.  They tend to have an intense familial bond and an interest in team-playing.

 

Strictly going by what the flavor text says does read that Duty suits the Alliance more than a Merc group but it still stands to reason that the actual types are well-suited for any organization with a military theme.  Duty is the PC's responsibility within the organization in question, not necessarily the actions that Mercs may do (Pillaging, take no prisoners, etc).

 

Reputation – it’s your duty to uphold the reputation of you mercenary company. When others misrepresent you’ll step in and set them straight.

 

Contacts – knowing the right people can mean the difference from scoring that contract to losing it to the competition. You’re a smooth talker who always knows a guy. You weave a web of contacts that can prove invaluable to your mercenary company.

 

Expansion – you’re constantly seeking out ways to expand the mercenary company, either in reputation or actual might. Where there is an opportunity for improvement you’re on it - a new crew to join the fold? A lone bounty hunter to put on retainer? Or a shipment of experimental Imperial weapons moving through an isolated system to "aquire"?

 

I’m essentially looking for some ideas or suggestions along the lines of above. The equivalent of duties, but for mercenaries instead of the Rebel Alliance.

 

Reputation could fall under or replace Counter-Intelligence, the same with Contracts could fall under or replace Intelligence.  Expansion is probably already covered by Recruiting, Resource Acquisition, and Tech Procurement.

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I'd actually see Reputation under Political Support.  In both cases, the PC with the Political Support Duty is the one in charge of making sure their team acts in a manor that is agreeable to the local government or power figures, at least as much as possible within the nature of the contract.  This is the guy in charge of making sure everyone has weapon license, the local PD know your operating in the area, everyone know the appropriate rules of engagement, etc.

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, while things like Counter-Intelligence are not relevant.

Yes it can be, you just have to adjust fire to fit.

 

Instead of rooting out ISB agents and feeding false info to Imperials, you can be rooting out Sector Rangers and feeding false info to targeted adversaries. Merc isn't exactly a legal job description...

 

 

Even something like Political Support is viable if you're willing to make the stretch. The old Strike Commander video game had a nice plot point where the featured Merc Squadron was based out of Turkey because the Turks passed a law allowing Merc units to purchase Diplomatic Status, allowing them to move more freely, as all another country could do when finding a Merc unit was deport them. Even the Merc weapons and equipment shipments could be marked as "diplomatic pouches"

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Depends on what kind of Merc your looking at.  There are perfectly legal Mercenary companies  in the modern era - usually under the name of Private Military Company, like blackwater.  Of course, this is a kind of discussion you'd have to have as part of game set up - how legal is the company?

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Depends on what kind of Merc your looking at.  There are perfectly legal Mercenary companies  in the modern era - usually under the name of Private Military Company, like blackwater.  Of course, this is a kind of discussion you'd have to have as part of game set up - how legal is the company?

If you have an Imperial License, would legality matter?

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Mechanically, Duty will fit, especially if it's a large and well known Mercenary group in a sector that is having problems.  Depending on your overall campaign, the Mercenary Group might try an either worm it's way into the Empire, acting as it's voice until the Empire decides to deal with the problems.  Or, it can become part of the Republic, especially if there have been instances where the Mercenaries had to fight against Imperial entanglements.

 

Either scenario will revolve around missions and situations that can help the mercenary company.  From supply runs to guard duty on to clandestine assaults and protection details fit this narrative.  As the crew become more successful, they in turn get assigned more dangerous assignments with greater rewards.

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Duty is a fantastic mechanic to represent the commitment and efforts of the Party to any organisation, so long as everyone is working for the same organisation. Our group is on hiatus at the moment, but the Party work for the Black Suns, they each have a Duty to them. It works very well so long as you spend a bit of time as a group working out what the function of each duty is before hand.

 

If a particular duty needs to be re-named then do so, but the basic needs of any organisation is covered by the current dutys given. the descriptions of each is all that needs to be modified.

 

This is a great way to start:

 

I think the actual Duties in AoR work well for Mercenaries.  Just change the description to match what a Mercenary Group would see things as.

  1. Combat Victory - Obviously if the Mercs get into a firefight, they're going to want to win.  A PC with this Duty may be one that relishes combat.
  2. Counter-Intelligence - Not a huge factor for a Merc Group but if the Group is a larger corporation then Corporate Espionage and spreading Misinformation would fall under this.
  3. Intelligence - Corporate Espionage, Contacts (Underworld, Military, Government, etc) are sources of Intelligence.
  4. Internal Security - pretty self-explanatory, can't have Mercs at each other's throats all the time.
  5. Personnel - a Duty suited for a Medic or Doctor in any group.
  6. Political Support - probably more important for a larger group (corporation) but having the support of the local government can be pretty handy.
  7. Recruiting - Merc Groups may have a high attrition rate.  Defections, retirements, deaths all need to be made up by recruiting, whether it's actively hiring or inviting based on merit and compatibility.
  8. Resource Acquisition - Buying, stealing, "borrowing" items the group needs.
  9. Sabotage - sometimes a Merc group is hired to sabotage something rather than outright destroy it.  A PC with this Duty may have an inclination to play practical jokes coupled with a decent Mechanics skill to do some creative sabotage.
  10. Space Superiority - Some Mercs are excellent pilots.  A PC with this Duty may have ego the size of the Death Star.
  11. Tech Procurement - sometimes a Merc Group is known for using technology not many others use.  Or sometimes stealing an advanced technology from someone can give you an edge.
  12. Support - Not every Merc group is made of ne'er-do-wells who have no interest in anyone but themselves.  Imagine a group of Clone Troopers that deserted in the middle of the Clone Wars.  They tend to have an intense familial bond and an interest in team-playing.

 

Strictly going by what the flavor text says does read that Duty suits the Alliance more than a Merc group but it still stands to reason that the actual types are well-suited for any organization with a military theme.  Duty is the PC's responsibility within the organization in question, not necessarily the actions that Mercs may do (Pillaging, take no prisoners, etc).

 

 

But put the list on a piece of paper and at your next session and spend 15min going over it as a group just throwing ideas around, its a lot of fun as your players become more invested in the Duty they choose as they will feel they contributed to the creation of the duty more.

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