RPG Thursday – Broadsword Mercs in Tomorrow’s War

Broadsword and ATV (biomassart)

Looking to create a small unit in Tomorrow’s War, I drew inspiration from Classic Traveller Adventure 7 -Broadsword. The Broadsword-class mercenary cruiser is an 800 dton spherical-hull ship (an obvious nod to Nemesis from H. Beam Piper’s Space Viking novel). The ship carries a 28-troop mercenary contingent along with a pair of modular cutters and an air raft and ATV for the ground force.

The Vargr require special rules. Treat the Vargr squad (Third Squad) as an Irregular Unit. Vargr attributes are Augmented Senses (see exception) and Natural Weapons. Generally speaking, a Vargr unit has higher morale but lower confidence than a human unit. Vargr units use the Morale of the Leader for all Morale Checks. If the Leader dies the next-highest leader assumes command. If there are multiple leaders of the same rank the unit takes on the Animosity Attribute, though Vargrs will only snipe amongst themselves. Vargr have Augmented Senses except for at night where the Night Fighting rules (TW p. 80) apply unless using night vision equipment. Twice per game, a Vargr may use Special Rapid Movement which is 2x the usual Rapid Movement distance. Once both Special Rapid Moves have been used, the unit can only use Tactical Movement (no more Rapid Movement allowed) for the remainder of the scenario.

Using the data and personnel presented in the adventure, the unit  in Tomorrow’s War terms could looks like this:

Basic Force Attributes
Initiative Level: D8
Confidence Level: High
Supply Level: Normal
Body Armor: Combat Armor (TL2/2D)
Fusion Gunners wear TL2 Standard Power Armor (3D)
Troop Quality/Morale: D10
Overall TL: 2 On Grid: Normally, No.
Attributes: Medic, Old School
(Vargr use special rule; see Third Squad)

Broadsword Mercenary Contingent
Command Element

Troop Commander w/Auto Pistols (Gauss Rifle Available) (Leader +2)
Leading Sergeant w/ Gauss Rifle
Runner (Vargr) w/Gauss Rifle

First Squad
Squad Leader w/Gauss Rifle
Fire Team Leader w/Gauss Rifle
3x Trooper w/Gauss Rifle
ATV Driver w/Auto Pistol
Medic (Unarmed)
Fusion Gunner w/FGMP-14 (TL3, Hvy. AP: 4/AT:4 (H)

Second Squad
Squad Leader w/Gauss Rifle (Leader +1)
Fire Team Leader w/Gauss Rifle (Leader +1)
3x Trooper w/Gauss Rifle
ATV Driver w/Auto Pistol
Medic (Unarmed)
Fusion Gunner w/FGMP-14 (TL3, Hvy. AP: 4/AT:4 (H)

Third Squad
Squad Leader w/Gauss Rifle (Leader +2)
Fire Team Leader w/Gauss Rifle
3x Trooper w/Gauss Rifle
Demolitions Specialist (Carries Breaching Charges, Sticky Bombs, Satchel Charges/Limpet Mines)
Medic (Unarmed)
Fusion Gunner w/FGMP-14 (TL3, Hvy. AP: 4/AT:4 (H)

Available Assets
[Asset/Operational Momentum Points Expended]
ATV/4
Man-Portable Tac Missiles/2 (Different versions available: Anti-Air – treat as Light AD Environment; Anti-Armor – treat as TL2 ATGM; Anti-Personnel – TL 2 ABW Lt AP:2; each soldier can carry a single round; can be fired in lieu of regular weapon)
Modular Cutter in Interface Strike Mode/12
Modular Cutter with Assault Boat Module/10
Modular Cutter with ATV Module/10
Modular Cutter with Weapons Module/8

Vehicles/Landers
ATV
TL:2, Wheeled
Armament: Gatling Laser (TL 1 EWS, Lt. AP: 2/AT:1 (L)
Front/Side/Rear/Deck Armor: each 3D8

Crew: 1+15
Attributes: TL2 Armor, Amphibious
Note: The ATV does not carry a dedicated gunner; gunner must come from carried passengers

Air Raft
TL 2, AGV (but treat as DTV for movement)
Armament: Light MG (TL2 ABW, Lt AP: 2)
Armor: Soft-Skinned 1D6
Crew: 1+3
Attributes: Open-topped

Modular Cutter
As Interface Strike (6x Medium PGM)
As Dropship – Combat Modules Carried:
– ATV Module (1xATV)
– Assault Boat Module (16x troops in 2x sections; upon landing power spades scoop out entrenchments and troops drop through bottom doors; troops in entrenchments are in Improved Cover (+2D))
Other Combat Modules Available:
Weapons Module (Triple Laser Turret, TL2 EWS, Hvy AP: 4/AT:2(H); can only fire when Cutter is grounded)

Gauss Rifle

I originally made the design decision to ignore the 4cm RAM GL but now am thinking twice. Some of the color commentary from Central Supply Catalogue (CSC p. 81) is needed to understand a few of my (new) design decisions:

“Rifle, Gauss 4mm…The round itself consists of a dense armour piercing core…excellent stopping power and good armour penetration…A single-shot RAM grenade launcher is fitted…takes two full combat rounds to load a new grenade…either the rifle or the grenade launcher may be fired in a given round….”

Comparative damage in Traveller terms is 4d6 AP for the Gauss Rifle and 6d6 for a 40mm grenade (CSC p. 81/p. 109).

With all that in mind, I propose:

Gauss Rifle w/4cm RAM GL, TL2 (Lt. AP:0*/AT:1(L) *Note: Armor Piercing – When used in Infantry Combat target reduced by 1D of armor/cover; Grenade Launcher can be used as Support Weapon (Lt. AP:1) in lieu of Gauss Rifle in ONE Round of Fire or Close Assault per turn (no armor piercing bonus)

The Lt. AP:0 looks funny but this is to avoid making the Gauss Rifle a super weapon. With Lt. AP:0 each figure has a Firepower of 1D when firing the Gauss Rifle; whereas if I call it Lt. AP:1 each figure gets 2D Firepower (Number of Figures + Special Weapon Dice – see Firepower Table on P. 62 of Tomorrow’s War). Also, by making it Lt. AP:1 (representing the 4cm GL) the weapon gets the advantages of a Support Weapon – making it worth 2D FP in combat (TW p. 60-61) – but not so much that it counts as an Advanced Support Weapon (TW p. 74-76).

Sources Used: Adventure 7 Broadsword (Classic Traveller), Alien Module 3 Vargr (Classic Traveller), Mongoose Traveller Pocket Rulebook, Mongoose Traveller Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright 1977 – 2008 Far FutureEnterprises.

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