The Battle Scooter

With the imminent release of German Vehicles of World War II and the forthcoming Mercenary Second Edition, it seems like the perfect time to do this, the Battle Scooter. This is a real world vehicle used by the French in the 50′s (though I oh so wanted it to be true that the French Resistance used them during the Second World War!), and it is just brilliant. A scooter with a bazooka. Just doesn’t get better than that.

In terms of Traveller, this is a very cheap vehicle with which to equip mercenary forces – and given how expensive mercenary forces can be to run (as you will soon see in the new book), a low-priced attack vehicle is just the ticket. Its handy size also means it will not take up much room in the cargo bay of a scout or trader who needs an escort for the ATV…

And yes, we are choosing to ignore the fact that, in real life, the recoilless rifle was removed from the scooter before shooting. We want your characters to be bombing round the combat zone, letting rip with these rounds!

 

Battle Scooter

Designed by the French after the Second World War, a scooter (a Vespa 150 TAP) was married to a three inch recoilless rifle capable of destroying light armoured vehicles. It was used by airborne troops who could be dropped into a combat zone and have not only immediate mobility but could also engage enemy vehicles. The battle scooter also had the advantage of being very cheap.

Vehicle TL Skill Agility Speed Range Crew/ Passengers Cargo Open Hull Structure Cost (Cr) Shipping size
Battle Scooter 5 Drive (wheeled) +1 70 100 1/1 - Yes 1 1 4,860 1

 

Armour

Front 0
Right 0
Left 0
Rear 0
Top 0
Bottom 0

 

Weapons

Weapon Location Damage Range Auto Ammo
Recoilless Rifle Fixed Forward 7D AP7 

7D HE

Long No 6

Other Equipment/Modifications: Decreased Range, Decreased Speed

 

Weapon TL Cost (Cr) Damage Auto Spaces Range Ammo/Space
Recoilless Rifle 5 500 7D AP7 

7D HE

No 1 Long 3

Recoilless Rifle: The forerunner of the RPG, the recoilless rifle is typically mounted on vehicles or used upon a tripod to defeat enemy armour. It comes with a choice of AP or HE rounds.

Turf Grab – A Judge Dredd Battle Report

A street gang of punks and juves known as the Dusty Rainmakers have been terrorising the citizens living on City Bottom of Sector 27 for several weeks – this was not something the Justice Department could tolerate, and a patrol of Judges was sent in to neutralise the problem.

Must be time for a battle report!

 

Turf Grab

This is a battle report featuring a typical first game in an ongoing campaign, using forces built according to the standard rules in the Core Rulebook, to a maximum value of 500 Credits. The Turf Grab itself is a simple scenario, with forces either trying to capture as much territory on the table as possible or, failing that, wiping the opposing force out completely!

 

The Justice Department

The Justice Department player (a nice chap called James) has gone for a nicely balanced force. The Street Judges may be the ‘standard’ Judge, but they pack a real wallop with their standard issue armour and Lawgiver sidearms. The Riot Judge is a solid close combat model, but players should not forget they also come with the same Lawgiver as Street Judges!

Judge Smith

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Judge Smith 5” +1 +2 +2 2D +1 +5 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Aim, Leg Shot

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Standard Issue Armour, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

Judge Wessen

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Judge Wessen 5” +1 +1 +1 2D +1 +5 3

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Judicial Prodigy, Skilled and Deadly

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Standard Issue Armour, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

Riot Judge Grant

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Riot Judge Grant 5” +1 +1 +2 2D +2 +7 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Headbreaking, Shield Bash

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Riot Armour, Riot Shield, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

The Dusty Rainmakers

The street gang player (Alan, a long-time playtester for Mongoose) has chosen an interesting combination of models, and it seems his plan is clear. There is a great variety of tactics possible for street gangs but Alan has opted to go with two hard punk heroes leading a number of lesser juves, no doubt thinking to swamp the Judges with juves while his leader, Dead Eye Bron, picks them off at long range as a sniper. Meanwhile, his lieutenant, Indian Jo, will be using a combination of pyrokinetic psychic powers and a spit pistol, a weapon known in the game for being a Judge Killer.

Dead Eye Bron

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Dead Eye Bron 5” +1 +1 +0 2D +0 +6 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Accurate, Crackshot

Equipment: Long Rifle, Sports Armour

 

Indian Jo

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Psi Armour Hits
Indian Jo 5” +1 +0 +0 2D +1 4 +4 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Incinerating Finger, Resist Flames

Equipment: Concussion Grenades, Pad Armour, Spit Pistol

 

Juves

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Juve 5” +1 -1 -1 2D +0 +3 1

Type: Infantry Minion

Equipment: Leathers, Handgun and either a Knife or Club

 

As any good player should, Alan has named his seven Juves; Jim Gint, Phil ‘the Hacker’ Jones, Geoff ‘Cookie’ Smith, Fred White, Andy ‘Loud’ McCarthy, Lady Death, and Simeon Down.

The Juves are all classed as Minions, which means they do not get any Talents and do not accrue experience during a campaign. Then again, they are cheap and easily replaced!

 

Turn One

With the forces prepared, it was time for the battle! In Judge Dredd, turns are divided into Phases, with each player taking a Phase and performing actions with all of his models before his opponent does the same. Most models have two actions in each Phase, choosing between Shoot, Move, Melee, and Special each time.

Judges: James got the initiative for his Judges, and so they took the first Phase of the first turn! The Dusty Rainmakers were clearly expecting a judicial response and, wary of the number of opponents they faced, the Judges advanced cautiously, with only Judge Wessen left in the open as he moved below the walkway.

Street Gang: The gang moved to meet the Judges, ever conscious their handguns were somewhat out-ranged by the Judges’ Lawgivers. All except Dead Eye Bron, of course, who obviously prefers to ‘supervise’ from the rear! On top of a factory, Bron lined up the advancing Judge Wessen. He opened fire but, despite trying twice and having the Accurate talent (which allows Alan to re-roll misses with Bron), he missed!

 

Turn Two

Judges: As keepers of the Law, Judges cannot just go around shooting anyone they wish – instead, they have to try to arrest Lawbreakers before opening fire. With this in mind, Judge Grant ran round the corner of a Munce Burger Bar to order Indian Joe to lay down her weapons and get on the ground, and got two fingers in return (as a Hero, Indian Joe can ignore Arrest checks, but a Judge must still attempt them – it is the Law, after all).

Meanwhile, in the centre of the battlefield, Judge Smith ordered the juve Fred White to surrender. Obviously terrified at having met a Judge for the first time, Fred threw up his arms and is removed from the table, no longer in the fight. First casualty to the Judges, and they did not even need to fire a shot!

On the Judges’ right flank, Wessen considered his position in the open and ducked back under the walkway to take cover behind an abandoned truck.

Street Gang: Reassessing her situation, Indian Jo retreated from the Riot Judge to re-deploy nearer the centre of the battle, while Jim Gint tried to shoot Judge Smith with his handgun. His inexperience showed, and Judge Smith nimbly took cover from the fire.

Judge Wessen hunkered down behind the vehicle as both Down and the Hacker opened fire on his position. Down missed wildly but Hacker managed to get a rare critical hit – in Judge Dredd, critical hits cause double damage which will kill most starting Judges outright. Fortunately, Wessen was behind the abandoned truck (cover grants a bonus to Armour rolls) and the shot ricocheted down the street!

Dead Eye Bron Relocates

Dead Eye Bron found he had no targets, as the Judges had become wise to his sniping position, and was forced to relocate behind a barricade across a nearby road, in the hope he would have a better angle later on.

 

Turn Three

Judges: Riot Judge Grant advanced to cut off Indian Jo’s retreat, while Judge Smith opened up on the Hacker (he had already opened fire on Judge Wessen, and so an Arrest check was not required – though James still had the option of trying if he wished) with a full salvo of Standard Execution rounds. A common juve is no match for these rounds and so the Hacker would be leaving in a Meat Wagon.

Judge Wessen also used Standard Execution rounds, this time on Down, and he removed the juve with a practised shot.

Street Gang: Getting a little distressed that three of their number have now fallen to the Judges (one way or another), the juves scramble for cover and do not get any shots off at the Judges, though two try to flank Judge Wessen. Meanwhile Dead Eye Bron, heedless of the losses his Minions have taken, waits for the perfect shot…

 

Turn Four

Judges: Both time and space were running out for Indian Jo, as Judges Grant and Smith closed in on her from two different directions.

On the other side of the battlefield, noting the moves the juves are making to deprive him of cover, Judge Wessen retreated further under the walkway. In doing so, he caught sight of the Cookie, who had gone on Alert Status the turn before (this allows a model to react to anything that happens close to him in the enemy’s Phase – unfortunately, the Cookie got arrested before he could perform his action!) and promptly arrested him.

Street Gang: It seemed as though only a spirited counterattack could save the Dusty Rainmakers, so they rallied their (now flagging) morale and took action!

Riot Judge Grant Goes Down!

Jim Gint switched his target to Riot Judge Grant and fired – and, despite all expectations, the tiny round found a chink in the riot armour and scored a hit! Seeing the Riot Judge wounded, Indian Jo seized her chance and moved in for the kill. Summoning the power of her mind, she pointed at Grant and a stream of flame erupted from her finger to immolate the Judge (Incinerating Finger is a short-ranged and low-powered Psi Talent, but as it automatically removes one Hit on an enemy model, it is good for finishing off wounded Heroes – Alan used it perfectly here).

Lady Death Flanks Judge Wessen

Meanwhile, Lady Death had succeeded in flanking Judge Wessen and, deprived of cover again, he lost a Hit to her handgun. A second shot from Andy McCarthy, however, bounced off his armour.

 

Turn Five

Judges: The battle has turned quickly, with one Judge as a casualty and another already wounded. In response, Judge Smith opened up on Indian Jo and scored a critical hit, taking the punk out for good.

Judge Wessen nursed his wound and returned fire upon Lady Death, but his Standard Execution rounds just gouged the walkway support she had taken cover behind. He then switched to Heatseeker rounds (the Lawgiver has a choice of seven ammunition types, from Armour Piercing to Rubber Ricochet, which makes it really fun to play with – the Heatseeker round is less powerful than Standard Execution but it ignores cover). The round whistled through the air, found its target and homed in on Lady Death, ending her otherwise promising criminal career.

Street Gang: With another juve down and lieutenant Indian Jo gone, the Dusty Rainmakers are on shaky ground – one more casualty and they will all be making Will to Fight checks to see if they stay in the fight. One juve gets a shot off at Judge Wessen but misses…

 

Turn Six

Judges: Their confidence restored, the Judges advance. Judge Smith flushed out Gint, who retreated (he was on Alert Status from the last turn, and opted to perform a Move action to get away from the advancing Judge, possibly hoping to draw her out into the line of fire of Bron).

Enjoying the effectiveness of Heatseeker rounds, Judge Wessen opened fire on McCarthy, and the Lawgiver worked as advertised once again, downing the juve.

Street Gang: All that was left of the Dusty Rainmakers was the leader, Dead Eye Bron, and his remaining juve Minion, Jim Gint. As their force had been reduced so severely, both were forced to take Will to Fight checks, and both failed!

The (few remaining) Dusty Rainmakers spat curses at the Judges and ran, determined to return one day and get the revenge on the Law. As for the Judges, one of their number was down but, overall, it had been a successful operation.

 

After Action

As this was a campaign game, we had to see what had happened to the fallen. Would they have been simply scratched in battle, or were they dead? And would the arrested juves be able to escape from their iso-cubes?

In Judge Dredd, Heroes removed as casualties roll on a table to see what their injuries are, modified by the effectiveness of the weapon that got them.

Riot Judge Grant, immolated by Indian Joe, received only light burns as it turned out, and would be back on the street patrolling with Smith and Wessen soon enough.

For her part, Indian Jo received a full burst of Standard Execution rounds into the chest which killed her,  a loss the Dusty Rainmakers will struggle to recover from.

But what of the juves? Well, Minions do not get injured as such in Judge Dredd. After all, they are only Minions, and there are loads of juves just waiting to sign up with the Rainmakers, despite their very public loss against the Judges. Instead, a simple die roll is made for each Minion who was removed as a casualty. On a 7 or more, they are returned to the force with no ill effects, but on a 6 or less, they are lost permanently.

After rolling, Alan finds that the Hacker and Down lost their lives to the Judges, but McCarthy and Lady Death both return to his force, ready to fight again.

That just leaves Fred White and the Cookie, who were both arrested. Rolling on the last chart for these two, we find that Fred White is locked securely away for the rest of his life, while the Cookie actually made an escape attempt! He will miss the next battle but will later return with just a few scratches – a lucky juve!

 

Summary

This was pretty typical of a battle in Judge Dredd – varied forces, very fast action, and no one really knowing who was going to win until the very last turn! James and Alan both know the rules fairly well, and managed to complete this game (including interruptions from me as I took notes for this report) in just over 20 minutes. The game really is that fast, allowing you to get several blood-filled matches in a campaign completed in a single evening.

Both the Judges and the Dusty Rainmakers have retreated and are counting the cost of the battle. Both have received Credits with which they can recruit new members to their force or upgrade the equipment of existing members. All Heroes gain XP after every battle, and Judges Smith and Wessen have both earned enough to get to Level 2, meaning they get another Hit, a characteristic of their choice will increase, and both get a new Talent too!

Then they will be ready for the next battle…

Return to the Undercity

Like many habitats in the 22nd Century, the Undercity is a sealed environment. However, unlike the strictly controlled and regulated life support systems in the domes of Luna-1 or Viking City on Mars, the Undercity is an example of a closed environment that has been allowed to run out of control, with no monitoring whatsoever to keep the various life forms and habitats in a stable condition. The dark caverns have become the epitome of ‘survival of the fittest’ – only the strongest, adaptable or most numerous creatures are capable of surviving for any length of time. Isolation from normal sunlight has also had a dramatic effect on most plant-life – few species have survived the burial of the cities. Only a few mutant species of trees and flowers have survived in isolated patches. However, many new species of fungus and mosses have become common, thriving in the decayed darkness of the streets and buildings.

Structures

There is a huge diversity of man-made structures to be found in the Undercity. When the cities were buried, homes, offices and factories were evacuated and left empty. Lack of maintenance eventually took its toll and many ancient and historic buildings have collapsed. However, some have been appropriated by Undercity dwellers who have adapted them to suit their needs. Some have been reinforced into fortresses; others have been torn to pieces and used to make new buildings.

The Concrete Sky: The great rockcrete dome that covers most of the Undercity is almost universally known, incorrectly, as ‘The Concrete Sky’. In many areas of New York, the enormous structure is so far above the ground that it is almost impossible to see, giving the impression the old city is cloaked in a particularly dark night. In other areas, the roof is only a few feet above the ground to form claustrophobic caverns that constantly drip with freezing condensation. Huge stalagmites and stalactites are beginning to form in some areas – great, teeth-like growths that block large areas of the Undercity. The concrete sky possesses terrific tensile strength as it has to support the entire Mega-City, but individual segments are actually quite brittle. Many tribes have developed the ability to tunnel through the rockcrete walls, instinctively ensuring that the stability of the structure as a whole is maintained. The concrete sky is reinforced with hundreds of plasti-steel girders, which makes it far tougher than regular rockcrete.

Philadelphian Tunnels: Philadelphia was only the second United States city to be buried beneath the Mega-City, and the designers chose to use a radically different method. Colossal vaulted chambers were built over many important buildings and every street was converted into a tunnel to form a massive labyrinth before millions of tons of rockcrete smothered the entire city. Philadelphia became a claustrophobic nightmare of a city, regularly flooded by the stinking, fetid waters of the old Delaware River and overflow from the Mega-City sewer system. The tunnel and chamber walls are rather stronger than the concrete sky that covers the rest of the Undercity but is little more than a thin covering of reinforced vaulting. The rockcrete that covers Philadelphia is considerably thicker than the most of the rest of the Undercity – in some places over a mile. Some tribes of the stunted Philadelphia trogs are nevertheless capable of excavating their own passageways through the thick walls. Some areas have become a twisting, confusing labyrinth of low burrows interconnecting with the ‘official’ tunnels.

Sewer Tunnels: Sandwiched between the Mega-City and the Undercity is the vast sewer network, a convoluted warren of interconnecting tunnels and vaulted chambers. Some have speculated that the sewer system can be used to reach all areas of the Mega-City, but only a perp with an extremely strong stomach would actually use the tunnels as a method of moving from one place to another. The design and layout of the tunnels themselves tend to vary enormously from ancient, brick built three-foot high passageways to enormous reinforced tunnels and chambers to futuristic, plasti-metal clad shafts. However, before long every tunnel begins to look the same – dark, claustrophobic and extremely smelly. There are further dangers to investigating the tunnels – it has developed its own micro-ecology of savage life forms, from the giant white gators to millions of huge, vicious rats. There is further danger – explosive methane gas, an unavoidable side effect of the decay of sewage. Many Mega-City companies make a profit mining this gas as a valuable resource but pockets tend to quickly build up in hard to reach places. If exposed to fire or an explosion (such as a gunshot) a gas pocket will detonate as if it were a hand bomb (see page 98 of the Judge Dredd Core Rulebook)  Sealed manholes are placed on City Bottom and beneath cityblocks at regular intervals to allow city maintenance teams access to the sewers – ordinary citizens must keep out of them at all times. Anyone found attempting to access the sewers without a valid permit will earn themselves a minimum of six months in the Iso Cubes should they be caught by the judges. Manhole covers are usually constructed from a durasteel alloy, firmly locked and sealed against any tampering.

Pre-Atom War Building: Much to the horror and bemusement of the citizens of Mega-City One, the majority of the shops and houses found in the old cities consist of squat, boxlike buildings a mere two or three storeys tall. Once, these were sturdy homes and places of business but the decades buried beneath the City has left little more than shattered, worn out ruins. Over the years, time has taken its toll and many old buildings have collapsed into ruin, leaving nothing but a hollow shells or broken rubble. Some buildings have survived more or less intact – these have usually been taken as homes by some of the smaller tribes. Broken masonry and scavenged materials are often used to shore up collapsing or damaged buildings, making even serviceable abodes appear to be little more than piles of rubble. A typical low-level building has two storeys, plus a basement or cellar area. The ground floor is divided into four to six rooms including a kitchen and a living room; the first floor is usually subdivided into bedrooms. The basement area most often consists of a single, large area. However, the function of any occupied building has long since been forgotten. Houses in Philadelphia suffered an even stranger fate – many were smothered in rockcrete when the tunnels were built, leaving only a single façade with only the occasional accessible room.

Pre-Atom War Sky-Rise Tower: The majestic skyscrapers that once dominated the skylines of many cities in pre-Atom War America would be regarded as quaint, low level con-apts by the residents of the giant Mega-City. Even the tallest surviving building in the Undercity – the Chrysler Building in New York – is less than a quarter of the height of an average sized cityblock. Nevertheless, these structures are still regarded as valuable resources and their ownership is usually hotly contested by many of the Undercity factions. Even collapsed or ruined skyscrapers are regarded as a valuable commodity – bricks, girders and rubble are always needed to shore-up the slowly decaying habitats occupied by the Undercity dwellers. A typical sky-rise tower stands fifty storeys tall, although only the mighty New York dome is capable of housing such a large structure. Many tall buildings are cut off by the concrete sky, their top few storeys embedded in the great mass of rockcrete.

Troggie Hut: Most varieties of troggies have become adept at constructing themselves primitive shelters. As there are no natural weather patterns in the Undercity, these huts are generally used as protection against the other residents of the underworld and are therefore reasonably tough. Troggie huts usually consist of a single room, about ten feet square with walls made from salvaged junk or the remains of an ancient building, torn apart and reassembled in typical ramshackle troggie style.

Philadelphian Trog Roundhouse: The Philadelphian trogs are rather more sophisticated than their cousins that occupy other areas of the Undercity, constructing their own, individual style of buildings that, strangely, resembles an ancient Celtic roundhouse. Philadelphian trog roundhouses are large, circular buildings constructed using ancient methods but with more modern materials – salvaged metal and brick rather than wood and leather. As they are nomadic, the Philadelphian trogs ensure that their homes can be quickly dismantled to allow them to move with ease – this is typically to escape from the floods from the black water of the Delaware river that wash through their tunnel homes on a regular basis. Naturally, these temporary and prefabricated structures are rather more fragile than a permanent structure.

Flora

Isolated from natural sunlight, very few plants thrive in the Undercity. Most forms of vegetation have withered and died in the shadows, but, like their human and animal equivalents, a few mutant species have adapted to live without ultraviolet light and heat.

Fungus: Unlike most plant life, fungus thrives in the cold, damp darkness that forms most of the Undercity. Edible forms of fungus form a staple diet of many of the less aggressive species such as the great albino pigs known as hawgs, and many areas have been cultivated into huge ‘fungus farms’ by tribes of humans and the more docile troggies. Other forms of fungus are less beneficial. Some are deadly poisonous, bringing a slow and lingering death to any foolish enough to consume it. Other species bring decay, consuming and corrupting any substance that it can gain a foothold.

Moss: Moss is probably the most common plant to be found in the Undercity. Moss requires little water and can grow almost anywhere. It tends to cover vast areas of the desolate streets and buildings of the old cities. Unfortunately, this plant has very little nutritional value, although many species – such as the pathetic sub humes known as wretches – are forced to eke a miserable existence grazing on it. Another form of moss is far more valuable – the so-called ‘glowmoss’ is a mutant species of luminescent moss, often cultivated on walls and ceilings in order to provide dim lighting.

Mutant Vegetation: Many mutant plant species have appeared since the burial of New York, although, as yet, none have become particularly common. Most tend to be weak and feeble, capable of surviving in the darkness or in the toxin saturated slime of the Big Smelly. Others are more robust – a few trees have managed to survive, and clusters of pale grass exist in isolated places. Others have developed along more sinister lines, such as the deadly Boston Strangler Vine and the parasitic Hoxton Creeper.

Dead Vegetation: Dead and decaying plants are by far the most common sight in most of the Undercity. The majority of the dark underworld was at one time rural fields and wastelands that were simply covered by the great rockcrete foundations of the Mega-City, leaving the unfortunate vegetation cut-off from vital life giving heat and light. Most of the Undercity is cluttered with dense mats of stinking mulch.

Fauna

Humanity is not the only species to make a home in the Undercity, although as always they regard themselves as the most important inhabitants. Many creatures and monsters endure life in the darkness. However, there are several other forms of creatures native to the Undercity.

Rats: Rats are by far the most common inhabitants of the Undercity – some have estimated that there are over a thousand rats for every human resident. The ruins of the Undercity make an ideal home for these tiny scavengers, with thousands of nooks and crannies where they can make nests and warrens. The rats’ prolific breeding rate ensure that the Undercity dwellers never go hungry – in fact, rat has become the staple diet of nearly every creature that calls the Undercity home. However, the rats are not merely defenceless victims. The creatures posses a high level of natural cunning, and occasionally ‘gang up’ on isolated individuals, gathering together in groups of dozens or even hundreds to form a deadly tide of squirming bodies. Usually, though, they will only prey on the weak and defenceless – babies and infants are their favourite target. Many a time an un-attentive Undercity mother will leave a cradle for a few moments only to find nothing but gnawed bones and a few pitiful scraps of flesh on her return. In some areas, the rats have grown to colossal proportions – some have spoken of savage monsters the size of large dogs, or ultra-intelligent, two headed monstrosities somehow guiding the others.

Gators: No one seems sure how alligators, usually only found wild in tropical areas, came to live in the sewers of many American cities, but their existence is undeniable. Although the larger specimens have emigrated to the cleaner waters found in the Mega-City sewer system, the old sewer networks beneath most of the old cities still harbour a healthy population of gators, and the swamp-like tunnels of Philadelphia make an ideal home for the fierce beasts. Naturally, the lethal, armour plated reptiles are greatly feared by humans and troggies alike.

Werewolves: Lycanthropy actually originated in the Undercity. No one knows the whole story, but a strange pool in central park was found to contain mutagenic bacteria that could transform a human into a savage, wolf-like hybrid. Before long, many areas of New York had become overrun with the terrifying, savage monsters. Fortunately, Judge Dredd was able to eliminate the mutagenic pool and most of the werewolves, but a few managed to escape. Although far less of a threat than in previous years, werewolves are terrible opponents. Many tribes will put a great deal of effort into wiping out a werewolf nest should they discover one. Werewolves kill anything that moves, but nothing can eat the flesh of a werewolf without risking transforming into a similar creature. However, at least one tribe – the savage Grid Iron Union – take advantage of this phenomenon. Gridiron grunts have been known to deliberately eat werewolf meat in order to spark the transmogrification, so that they can become the elite ‘dogfaces’, fearsome monsters that are loosened at rival tribes before a battle. The Undercity dwellers have never had access to the cure for lycanthropy, so the transformation is permanent.

State of the Mongoose 2013

We have been crazy, crazy busy over the past few months, and this State of the Mongoose is much delayed. For that I apologise – I was considering skipping it altogether, but I seem to get an email or Facebook message every other day asking for it. Always happy to oblige, this is going to be a somewhat cut-down State of the Mongoose, rather than the usual 10,000+ word epic, but it will at least give you all a sense of what we have been doing and where we are going.

 

2013 Review (Abbreviated Version)

We had a number of issues in 2013, the biggest of which was that our warehouse and casting facility in Ohio had developed a number of systemic problems that resisted solution over the years. The sheer weight of the Judge Dredd Kickstarter, though managed in the initial months, ended up breaking the processes in place completely. In the end, we were faced with the choice of pouring (more) money in to solve the problem, or closing the place down.

This decision was aided by a change in the way we went about producing miniatures. We had already reached an agreement with the good chaps at Amarillo Design Bureau to pass manufacturing and sale of the A Call to Arms: Star Fleet game and models on to them, leaving us with the design of the miniatures. This, added to a very similar arrangement with Warlord Games for the Judge Dredd range whereby we designed game and miniatures while they handle manufacture and distribution, meant the only miniatures line we had left to produce ourselves was the barely started Victory at Sea range – and that simply was not enough to justify keeping an entire warehouse open.

Not that this did not create problems. The first and most powerful impact was upon the two Kickstarters we had run just a little earlier, for Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper. Moving to third parties for manufacture meant an increase in production costs that blew past the ‘buffer’ zone we had factored in for issues and emergencies, which in turn had an impact on the rest of the company as a proportion of the Kickstarter production now had to be funded from other areas.

Added to that, we had to include the truly monumental task of shipping the manufacture of a large and growing range of Dredd models from the US to the UK – in this, I cannot thank the chaps at Warlord enough, who went way beyond the call of duty to get everything ready as quickly as possible, under conditions and deadlines that were less than ideal.

All of this meant heavy delays on the Kickstarters, especially on Rogue Trooper. We apologise profusely to the backers for that – we did not foresee the circumstances that arose within production after the Kickstarters were complete, and it has taken us quite some time to get everything back under control. We are now just about there, with a great deal of Dredd models flowing out of Warlord’s production facility (as I type, another batch has just arrived), and Rogue Trooper now beginning to follow.

Then there were our RPGs, Traveller and Legend. Without a permanent base in the US, full distribution became more difficult and, for a while, we pulled out of general distribution altogether. That is why, in the US especially, you may have seen less of our books in your local stores of late.

However, we are working with another third party who already have an extensive distribution network set up, and hope to have some good news for you in the next couple of months or so.

With a concentration on design rather than production and, for a few months, digital rather than printed books, we were able to make a great many changes within Mongoose and the way we do things. Sadly, this meant the loss of some staff as our requirements for administration disappeared almost overnight (it seemed), and I made the decision to come back fully into game development, rather than just maintaining oversight of it.

As a company, we are now lean, mean and hungry – it feels like a return to the ‘old’ days!

Anyway, that was 2013. You will all now be wanting to know what is happening in 2014 for your favourite games…

 

Traveller

Here at Mongoose, we have a real passion for Traveller. In our regular office games, we normally take pains to play games from other publishers but since Traveller was released, this has been exceedingly difficult as it often gets the vote for a new campaign!

Regrettably, the issues with the US operations did divert our attention away from Traveller a little, but we are just going through a round of commissions for new title, and I made the decision to weigh in with a new book myself, the first RPG book I have designed from start to finish for a good few years – and I am rather enjoying it!

There are actually all sorts of exciting things happening in the wider Traveller universe, but we’ll be letting Mr Miller make those announcements as they become ready. For our part, you can expect to see the following this year and early next, but we are still in the process of commissioning so expect a few surprises along the way!

Alien Modules: Droyne is still in the process of being written, so don’t panic – it has not been forgotten! While we have not yet commissioned Hivers or K’kree, we have a fairly definite plan of how to handle/portray the latter and we are going to make the herbivores seriously cool to play…

Minor Alien Modules: Suerrat is being written right now and while others have not been commissioned yet, we are always on the look out to expand this PDF series. Once we get a few in our pocket, it is likely we will release a printed compilation.

Mercenary Second Edition: About two-thirds written thus far, this is a complete re-write of the previous book. I was never really happy with the first edition and the general consensus from Traveller fans is that it is the weakest of the core books. The new edition is going to change that, with a more focussed approach to mercenaries and mercenary campaigns, rather than a general ‘military’ supplement. We have been previewing this on Planet Mongoose, so please dive in and make comments!

Space Stations: Though we skipped the numbering on this supplement with subsequent releases, we have not forgotten it! Space Stations is going through final design and layout right now, and will be appearing first as a PDF release later in April or May.

Citizen/Scholar: Likely not the final title of this book, but towards the bottom end of the year citizens and scholars will finally get their career book. It has taken us a while to get to them, but we believe we have finally got a premise for players to get the most out of these characters.

Pirates: A cross between a campaign and career book, this does for pirates what Mercenary Second edition will do for mercs – allow players to create pirate characters (or go pirate with existing characters) and give the referee enough tools to run an extended campaign quickly and easily.

Wild West: We have for some time been looking at ways to expand Traveller to other eras and settings. We experimented with the PDF-only release of Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs, and have finally commissioned a full Wild West book. Expect to see familiar Traveller character creation, patrons and ‘trading’ rules, all adapted for exploring the frontier…

Steampunk/Mechs/Bioshock/Darkest Africa: As you may have worked out, this one has not got a name yet, but writing has already started on a Steampunk-style setting for Traveller, with a few other added components for good measure. We’ll be previewing this one throughout the year.

In Articulo Mortis: Another new setting, this one is slightly more traditional in that it is set among the stars and uses many of the ‘standard’ Traveller tropes. However, it does have an awful lot of zombies in it, plenty of dead worlds and a bunch of religious nutters who currently hold the balance of power over many systems. The players will be stuck between all three. We were planning for this to be a release fairly early this year, but the new Mercenary has grabbed my attention for now. Hope to get back to this very soon, as I think it will be a cracker.

2300AD: We are starting to ramp up proper support on this line, with Ships of the French Arm in art and layout right now, with more French Arm material already being written – and then we will be taking a trip to the Chinese Arm! We have also recently commissioned a brand new re-visiting of Bayern, so long-term 2300AD fans will be keeping an eye out for that.

Epic Campaigns: Albeit slower than originally planned, the Pirates of Drinax (by Gareth Hanrahan, for my money one of the best campaigns written for any RPG, ever – and it is free to download!) continues and we are already looking at the next epic campaign, a possible prequel to Secrets of the Ancients. We are also looking at a campaign, released in quarterly episodes, designed specifically for conventions and demo teams. More news on that a little later this year. Finally, to join the Adventure books, and very much in the style of Beltstrike, we have a campaign based around the recently released Rescue Ops Special Supplement, so if you ever fancied playing a Thunderbirds-style set of games, we will have you covered!

We have oodles more in the pipeline for Traveller (I have not even mentioned the Caribbean Pirates setting book…) so sit back, and enjoy your travels among the stars.

Here is to many, many more years of Traveller-goodness!

 

Judge Dredd

Given how many years the comic strip has been going, we have enough source material for new models and ways of playing the Judge Dredd miniatures game for eternity! We still need to polish off deliveries for the Kickstarter backers (the end is in sight though – with the packages going out this month, we will just have the ABC Warriors, biker gangs, Judda and Nero/Assassinator Droids to do for the full sets), and we need to get the vehicles into proper, full production. The latter include the Manta Prowl Tank, which will finally go on general release this Summer, the Pat Wagon (and its variants), Banshee Interceptor, ground car and Mopad (complete with open-top swimming pool!). We also need to gather some more regular sculptors together for the range, as our current sculptors are now splitting their time between Dredd and Rogue Trooper.

That said, we have managed to squeeze in the odd new model and already sculpted and hitting the moulds, among other things, are the Long Walk Judge, Acc-Div Judge, Cadet on a Lawmaster and a new Combat Droid. For full sets, aside from the Kickstarter models listed above, expect to see this year a full Brit-Cit force, Hondo City Judges and, a personal wish of mine, Crocks/Eldsters, ready to teach the young punks of their block a good lesson!

We are also continuing to work on famous characters from the comic strip (all of which will be useable in your games, as usual), such as PJ Maybe, Call-Me-Kenneth, Red Razors, Treasure Steel, Devlin Waugh and many others!

Rogue Trooper has taken the brunt of the delays involved in closing down our US operations, but we have finally started working properly on the models. Already done (and just going through a few tweaks as I type) are the three new Rogues, which should be shipping out to backers in just a few weeks. Work has already started on the Nort and Souther squads, and we look to be on course to tie up the Kickstarter range by Autumn.

 

Legend

Traveller has sucked a great deal of our RPG design time away from Legend, but we are striving to bring continual new releases to the many, many fans this game has. Recently we released a new ‘magic book’ in the form of Elementalism, and this is a line I would like to see greatly extended, with GMs and players using the ‘plug and play’ mature of these books to introduce variant magic systems into their game.

We also re-released the Dark Elf setting of Sheoloth for Legend, and made it a much grimmer and darker place than before (as a city, it is thoroughly nasty…). Darren Pearce has already written the first Cults book for this setting, and he is beavering away on more supplements right now.

Deus Vult is another setting close to my heart, and the new ‘digest’ format fits it perfectly. It has had a veritable salvo of adventures added to it, and you can expect to see not only a full sourcebook on the city of Rouen this year (likely around June), but also a new direction to take campaigns, with the Witch Hunter Training Guide…

Paranoia

We have been saying for a while now that Paranoia is on a temporary rest and that something big and new and exciting is about to appear. We are currently running a few months behind on this, our apologies, but we are carefully getting all the right people and components into position.

Please continue to be patient, I promise it will be worth it. This is going to be a good ‘un…

 

Victory at Sea

We have some big, big plans for Victory at Sea, but are also very much aware we are in a chicken and egg situation with the line in many ways. Everyone knows about the Victory at Sea 2.0 rulebook that is currently in development, and everybody tells us they want to see both that and a large range of models released before they start taking it to heart.

We can appreciate that. We’re gamers too.

First the rulebook. The core rules are all done. A decent majority of the fleet lists are complete. Playtesting has been going on, continuously, every week, for more than two years now. Our Official Naval Boffins have been scrutinising every word for historical accuracy. We have even started laying the book out.

And it currently looks like it will be a 400+ page tome. Hardback, full colour throughout, something you would be happy to have on your coffee table as much as your gaming table.

As things stand, we have not made the final decision yet as to whether it will be kept in one volume or, indeed, whether we will publish it or if it will pass to another company, perhaps with the ship models too. All rather academic anyway, as the book still ain’t finished. We need to fill out the fleet lists (and playtest the new entries), add more historical background material, and add way more scenarios.

As we have been telling everyone at shows, this book will be done when it is ready!

The new range of 1/1800 scale ship models we have been releasing, on the other hand, is going strong on the design front – we now have more than 150 different ships modelled in 3D, just waiting for rapid prototyping and production.

Up to now, we have been trickling these models out, and they have only been available at shows or via our own web site’s mail order. At some point, we are going to throw the switch on this range and put it into full distribution – but, of course, we cannot do that until the rulebook is ready and, well, I think you see the problem.

So, the good news is that Victory at Sea is coming on very nicely. The bad news is that we don’t have a schedule set yet. Expect to see more solid news for this line in a few months.

Oh, there is one more thing – Mr David Manley (all you nautical coves should already know this gentleman!) sent us his rules for Ironclads, a set of Victory at Sea-based rules for the American Civil War and related eras. We have found time to update these rules to 2.0 spec, and have started laying out and playtesting this book as well. It may only be a PDF release (again, no decision made there yet), but there is a rumour going round the office that Sandrine has already designed a 1/600 scale Monitor and Virginia…

 

New Games

As a company, I am rather taken with the idea of Mongoose dropping much of the sales and manufacturing it has done in the past (a hard truth is that neither have been our strengths), and concentrating on design, be it miniatures or games (they may or may not be to your own tastes, but we rarely get complaints about the actual games we do – doing good games is very much our strength). Recently, we have been working hard at raising the bar in the rulebooks we produce both in terms of graphical quality (we would quite happily stand the new Judge Dredd rulebook alongside anything else in the market at the moment) and games design (some of the new Traveller books in the works really are very, very good).

This is all in the early stages at the moment, and we still have to gauge how our working relationships with Amarillo Design Bureau (Star Fleet) and Warlord (Dredd) develop. It is possible that we will get to the end of 2014 and discover this is not the road for the future. But, as things stand, things are looking optimistic. We keep an open mind.

To this end, we have been reaching out to several manufacturers with the line ‘hey, you do great stuff – let us do a game for you.’ Again, the response thus far has been positive and we hope to make some agreements over the next few months that we hope will get many of you excited (we certainly are!). Some of these projects may seem a little leftfield for us, such as games rooted solidly in the historical sector – but many of these games are things we have been dying to do over the years; Mongoose just never seemed to have time to attend to their manufacture and, in any case, we tended to shy away from them because Company X had already started producing a range of models we thought were first class anyway.

This method sees the best of both worlds, with us getting to play with other people’s models while getting to write books about them.

I might fairly describe that as heaven, but you might think me rather strange.

We have also taken on some miniatures 3D design work for other manufacturers, starting with a few new designs for 15mm Hammers Slammers, allowing our 3D Designer (Sandrine) to stretch her legs on more than just robots for Dredd and battleships for Victory at Sea.

 

2014 and Beyond

2013 was a fairly rough year for us in more ways than one but, as a wise man once said, what is important to remember the most is that we are still here! Not being a manufacturer proper is a fundamental shift for us but, at the same time, Mongoose has reinvented itself over the years as the market shifts and changes, and I would hope we can continue to keep up.

Personally, I am looking forward to getting our teeth into lines both old and new, and producing the best games we have released yet.

Exciting times are ahead.

Visitors to the Undercity

The majority of Mega-City One citizens have no desire to visit the shadowy world of the Undercity.  Even in the direst of emergencies, most would rather face the radioactive wasteland of the Cursed Earth rather than the ruined streets and buildings far below the massive slabs of City Bottom.  Many remember the terrible monsters that have occasionally emerged to threaten the City and believe that the dark underworld is crawling with similar creatures.  Others are more straightforward and associate prestige with how high they live in the massive cityblocks – the very idea of living on City Bottom is repugnant; the thought of human life existing beneath the ground would fill them with horror and disgust.  Most, however, simply do not know – or care – that the Undercity really exists, too wrapped up with their everyday lives to bother with semi-mythical places.

A small minority of citizens are prepared to risk life and limb by organising expeditions to the old cities.  The adventurous, the desperate, or the just plain greedy, dare to venture below the City into the darkness despite the Justice Department strict prohibition of the practice.  However, any visitor must be careful to ensure that they can exit the Undercity as easily as they entered it – City Maintenance squads quickly seal up any holes and fissures that they find, which can leave the unfortunate intruders stranded in the dingy caves and caverns!

The Justice Department also have a vested interest in keeping the Undercity under control.  Despite existing beyond their normal jurisdiction, judges are occasionally sent on missions into the darkness in order to eliminate some terrible threat or apprehend some particularly important fugitive.  On more than one occasion, judges have been dispatched on the request of the Undercity dwellers themselves to deal with some new terror, but this is very much the exception rather than the rule.  A chronic lack of judicial manpower has ensured that regular Undercity patrols are a thing of the past, but there is still a form of regular law enforcement.  Judges can choose to take the Long Walk into the Undercity when they retire from active service.  Each takes an oath ‘to bring Law unto the Lawless – until death!’ but the midnight world of the Undercity is very different to the bright lights of Mega-City One and only the most exceptional lawman can last for long.

 

Citi-Def Squads

Probably the most common visitors to the Undercity are members of the Citi-Def, intent on gaining some ‘real-life combat experience’ without the inherent risks of starting a Block War and the certainty of a long stretch in the Iso Cubes.  Before the Apocalypse War, the Justice Department would allow carefully selected groups of Citi-Def access into the Undercity, and during the conflict the old cities even acted as a base for many units of guerrilla fighters, allowing them to launch lightening attacks against the occupying Sov forces before fading back into the shadows of the buried streets and buildings.  Following the extensive rebuilding programme that followed the massive destruction, many of the old entrances to the Undercity were sealed over and the judges decided that to allow visitors to the subterranean world was simply too risky and difficult to administrate.  Modern Citi-Def squads must take a more clandestine approach, sneaking in via the sewer system or even boring through the rockcrete foundations of their cityblocks.

Most Citi-Def squads take great pride in the fact that they are always ready for enemy action, and to this end they tend to over-prepare somewhat, often carrying awkward or inappropriate heavy weapons or specialist equipment when embarking on a training mission.  However, there are still the small minority of units that believe that they can deal with anything that the underworld can throw at them armed only with a handgun and a flashlight.  It is usually only Citi-Def Officers and Jaeger squad commandoes that will embark on training missions to the Undercity – the normal citizens that make up the ranks of the Citi-Def militia are either disregarded as unsuitable or are simply not interested in crawling about below the sewers, preferring to watch game shows and soap operas instead.  A typical Citi-Def training squad will consist of an Officer accompanied by three to six Jaeger squad commandoes, equipped with spelunker suits and Nightrider rifles with high-powered flashlights.  Most carry enough rations to last for some considerable time, but some will be expected to live off ‘the land’ – surviving on only what they can catch and kill.  Most find that they would rather go hungry.

Undercity dwellers tend to regard visiting Citi-Def as little more than an irritation – no matter how stealthy and well drilled the part time soldiers attempt to be, with their noisy equipment and blazing lights they cannot help but be conspicuous.  Most tribes and troggie clans are prepared to ignore or avoid the intruders, knowing that they will soon return home to their own environment as soon as they get bored or hungry, or get killed by something bigger and meaner than them.  Others, such as the peaceful Philadelphian trog tribes, will offer to act as guides, skilfully steering the intruders away from anything really dangerous in return for some small trinket or piece of technology.

 

Criminal Cartels

Attracted by the fact that the Undercity is outside of the jurisdiction of the Justice Department, many large criminal cartels have had the idea of establishing a permanent base below the streets of the Mega-City.  This is often a very expensive operation – transporting the raw materials to build a secure building from the surface world to the Undercity without attracting the attention of the judges is an almost impossible task that requires elaborate planning and an enormous investment of resources.  Many fall at the first hurdle, attempting to bore a tunnel large enough to transport large construction vehicles and robots through the slabs of City Bottom.  Naturally, this is a rather noisy and conspicuous business that rarely goes unnoticed!

However, an organisation that is able to establish a base is able to reap the benefits.  The most typical Undercity base is used as a manufacturing plant, able to churn out anything from illegal weapons to drugs without much chance of discovery by the judges.  In theory, the cartel should be able to flood the streets of Mega-City One with untraceable contraband.  In practice, things rarely work out that way.

The Undercity dwellers themselves are a major headache.  Unlike the temporary visits by the Citi-Def squads or the transient, nomadic fugitives and refugees, the criminal cartels clearly intend to stay on a permanent basis.  Many tribes naturally take great exception to this invasion of their territories and will do their best to make the intruders lives as difficult as possible – sneaking in to steal anything that is not physically fixed down or simply murdering anyone they encounter.

A typical cartel base is a collection of modular, pre-fabricated buildings that has been constructed in a specially cleared area of an old city, or a repaired and re-fitted ancient ruin.  Unable to connect to the City’s power supply, the cartels must ensure that there is a powerful generator available which includes more than enough power to run all of the outposts needs.  Large lighting rigs illuminate the surrounding area, and 30 – 50 human guards are supposed to ensure that the Undercity dwellers keep their distance.  A team of construction and assembly robots toil endlessly at production lines, churning out illicit contraband, which must somehow be smuggled into the Mega-City.  Short of investing a huge amount of capital by installing one of the new teleport systems (which are unreliable even in the best of conditions), this will require a tunnel, which usually leads into some structure located on City Bottom – an old warehouse or Ecom unit is the most common – but the need to maintain a stable entrance into the world above is often the most difficult part of the operation, as the judges and City Maintenance alike will waste no time sealing the fissure without warning.

 

Refugees

Mega-City One has had more than its fair share of wars, natural disasters and invasions.  Some citizens have become so accustomed to citywide death and destruction that they have established a well-practiced drill, which is put into effect as soon as the first signs of a threat appear.  Thousands of citizens pack up whatever that cannot bear to part with and make for the relative safety of the Cursed Earth or the Undercity until the danger has passed, taking elaborate measures to escape over the city wall or burrowing through the slabs of City Bottom.

The residents of the Undercity usually avoid the refugees if at all possible – they know that these ‘upsiders’ will only enter their shadowy home in the most desperate emergency, and they themselves should hide should the threat extend below the Mega-City.  Sometimes, though, the fleeing citizens find no safe haven as the crisis has a dramatic effect on life in the Undercity.  The corrupting influence of the Sisters of Death was able to reach into the simple souls of the deep troggies during the Necropolis crisis, sending them on terrible rampages of death and destruction.  During the Judgement Day war, the dead of the Undercity arose to attack the living, just as happened all over the entire world, and the most recent influx of refugees found themselves fighting side by side with the Undercity dwellers.  Many thousands of troggies, human tribesmen and refugees were killed in the brutal hand to hand fighting.  The Undercity has never quite recovered from the repercussions of this terrible battle – especially considering that some of the undead remained animated after the defeat of the necromancer Sabbat.  The Apocalypse War resulted in the population of the Undercity almost doubling, as many of the citizens that had fled to hide from the occupying Sov forces had no homes to return to afterwards.  Others discovered that the life of an Undercity dweller was more exciting than their own tedious existence and decided to stay, a few simply did not believe that the Mega-City One forces could possibly have defeated the apparently unstoppable Soviet war machine, dismissing any subsequent news reports as propaganda intended to flush them out of hiding.  Some were still suffering from the Block Mania contamination and had become so involved in fighting the various Undercity tribes that it has simply never occurred to them to go home!

What constitutes a refugee party varies enormously, from a lone individual fleeing via the sewer system to a massive, hundreds strong column that has made its way beneath the ground by using enormous construction vehicles or robots to bore a huge tunnel.  Many blocks have established an evacuation drill that is put into effect at the first sign of an emergency, but in the event of an actual alarm most citizens will panic, grabbing the first thing that comes to hand (no matter how inappropriate or useless) and fleeing.  Most refugees will be unarmed, but about one in ten are equipped with small arms or hand weapons.

 

Fugitives

A citizen fleeing from the judges is often prepared to take desperate measures to avoid a long spell in the Iso Cubes.  Those that can afford it make use of a perp runner, a criminal highly skilled in smuggling fugitives out of the jurisdiction of the Justice Department.  Even though it is the closest ‘judge free’ area, few perp runners will take the effort to deposit their charges into the dark underworld.  Boring a tunnel through City Bottom is a time consuming, costly exercise that often attracts the attention of the very people that the runners are intent on avoiding.  In any case, even ruthless criminals find the thought of life in the Cubes preferable to struggling for survival in the Undercity.

Most fugitives that find their way below ground make their way unaided, squeezing through fissures or navigating through the sewer system.  It is usually only the most odious of criminals who are prepared to try to make themselves a new life in the Undercity – vile murderers tempted by the lack of judicial interference hampering their ‘fun’.  These individuals often join with the most violent Undercity tribes, frequently rising quite high in rank.

 

Tourists

Taking a tourist trip to the buried cities is a relatively recent craze.  Naturally, the practice of arranging package trips to the Undercity is highly illegal, but this only adds to the attraction.  For an extortionate fee, groups of citizens are smuggled below City Bottom, taking rooms in a once majestic hotel or famous landmark, while costumed entertainers provide re-enactments of historical events for the tourist’s amusements.  Many of the visitors are attracted by the opportunity for sightseeing, but they are frequently disappointed – it is too dark to see anything in most of the Undercity.

Most of these tours are arranged by totally unscrupulous conmen, intent on draining their customers of cash for as little work or effort as possible.  Others are more sinister – chump dumpers who simply abandon their charges in some dark corner of the Underworld to be killed by troggies or some monster, or even slavers who had no intention of taking their customers to anywhere other than a Cursed Earth slave market.

Even if tourists have been forewarned of the dangers of the Undercity, they are usually poorly equipped to survive below ground, often bringing no more than a vid camera and a bad taste in clothes.  Some tourists are intent on a ‘hunting trip’ to the Undercity, loading up with heavy weapon and determined to bag a trophy – similar to the ‘dinosaur hunters’ that have been venturing into the Cursed Earth for many years.  The Undercity is a very different environment to the Cursed Earth, however, which requires a very different approach – many hunters have failed to take this into account and have paid the price.

Most Undercity dwellers, except the most territorial and aggressive, tend to ignore and avoid sightseers.  A non-violent exception is the pathetic troggie sub-breed known as wretches – the cadaverous, blind creatures tend to crowd around the visitors, begging for a few scraps of food.  This approach does not normally work, but the tourists seem to regard the creatures as ‘charming’ parts of the scenery.  Naturally, all tribes will react against any violent act, often tracking down and swiftly eliminating any group that seems to be a threat to them.

 

Treasure Hunters

Seedy bars and clubs in the Mega-City are full of tales of the riches of the United States left abandoned in the old cities before their entombment.  In a city where any pre-Atom War artefact is considered a priceless collectable, many of the more gullible citizens are prepared to risk life and limb in order to visit the savage underworld beneath their feet.  Many pongo’s can make a fine profit selling ‘treasure maps’ detailing the locations of valuable items.  Most of these are simply copied out of old atlases, giving a vague idea of some famous landmark that may still contain some valuable item, others are completely fictional pieces of artwork that ‘guarantee’ the owner will find huge riches, but bear no relation to reality.  A few are genuine, accurately showing a location rich in valuable items – Gloomingdales department store in New York is a favourite, as it once claimed that it stocked ‘everything’, or the old United States Mint in Philadelphia, still reputed to hold millions of credits worth of old coins.

Most treasure hunters are enthusiastic amateurs, who believe that they can conquer the Undercity equipped only with a spade and a flashlight.  This is almost always a fatal mistake – most landmarks are occupied, or at least claimed, by the various Undercity dwellers, who take great offence to upsiders arriving on their territory unannounced to steal their property.  Others come better prepared, with diggerbots, ultrasonic scanners and adequate lighting as well as a selection of weapons to keep the threat of the troggies at bay.  Most realise that they have been hoodwinked and quickly give in – everything truly valuable that was left behind has long since been looted or broken in the years since the long night began.  Some are more patient, or more stupid, often spending a fortune in time and money tearing old buildings or monuments to pieces seeking valuables that no longer exist.  The United States Mint, for example, has been visited by so many different groups of fortune seekers that the fortress like structure resembles a honeycomb, riddled with tunnels and pits and verging on collapse.

A few treasure hunters actually become successful, finding a cache of priceless lava lamps or un-opened self-assembly book cases, which he then sells for a fortune on the antiques black market.  These exceptional individuals can make a very good, if illicit, living from their subterranean activities.  Others make a living by scavenging illegally through the Mega-City sewer system, seeking valuables other citizens have accidentally flushed away.  Even these ‘sewer scrapers’ are sometimes surprised by what they find washed up in storm drains or channels.

 

The Junk Prospector

The Mega-City antiques market places a great deal of value on artefacts from 20th and 21st Century popular culture – items that a contemporary individual would regard as rubbish or of short term worth.  Ancient newspapers and books are often banned by the judges, which only adds to their appeal – old copies of the New York Times, comic books or one time blockbuster novels find their way onto the Justice Department’s vetoed list, boosting their ‘collectable’ value no end on the black market.  Other items can be legally owned, but are extremely rare.  Ancient craze items such as Rubik’s cubes were at one time produced by the million, but only a handful have survived into the 22nd Century.  Even packaging is valuable – tins, bottles and even carrier bags can fetch millions.  It is not unknown for a collector to kill in order to obtain some rare item that was simply thrown away by its original owner.

The absurd prices that some citizens are prepared to pay for an old Wellington boot or a Sylvester Stallone movie poster naturally attracts many perps into ruined Cursed Earth towns and cities, or the buried conurbations of the Undercity in search of valuable junk.  The savage environment or its inhabitants kill many before they can find anything of value, but a few manage to locate a valuable ‘seam’ of junk.  Some still speak of the legendary Filmore Faro, who rediscovered the town of Memphis in the Cursed Earth and made his fortune selling Elvis memorabilia to the Sov block.  Some still speak in awe of his priceless coat made from ring-pull tabs, but always seem to ignore the fact that he was driven completely insane as his brain was fried in the radiation saturated wasteland before he chanced upon the old city.  The chance of making a huge profit always outweighs the dangers.

 

The Justice Department

The forces of the Justice Department are usually the only legitimate visitors to the Undercity.  Unlike most intruders, the judges make use of the great Undercity Gates instead of having to find a tunnel or fissure through City Bottom – although it is not unheard of for a team of judges to be dispatched through a hole, even if it only to see where it leads.  However, the judges lack the manpower to do anything other than make occasional visits, usually only when there is some pressing emergency brewing in the dark underworld.  Unlike the Cursed Earth, there is little or no monitoring of the Undercity, no circuit patrols or Hotdog Runs to give an occasional update of the situation below the city.  It is often years between missions – the judges often find that any information that they possess is hopelessly out of date when embarking through the Gates.

Occasionally it is the Undercity dwellers themselves who request the presence of the judges.  They are fully aware that the great judges are able to deal with threats that they have no chance of coping with – troggies have emerged to request help against the terrifying Vampire Cloud and to end the insane domination of Brad Evil, for example.  The judges know that the troggies will only emerge into the hated light in the most desperate of situations and usually take their complaints seriously enough to investigate.

More often, though, the judges will venture into the Undercity to deal with some menace that has emerged to attack the citizens of Mega-City One.  These threats vary from the relatively mundane – such as Slick Willy and his troggie cult’s abduction of dozens of upsiders to act as slaves in his mad plan to bring the Mega-City crashing down in 2099 – to quasi-supernatural monsters emerging to bring carnage to the roads and pedways – for example, the werewolf attacks in 2105 or the Holy Fiend murders of 2114.  Most residents of the Undercity know enough to make themselves scarce whenever the judges venture into the Undercity – even the dumbest troggie realises that trouble always follows the black clad lawmen and he will need to find a safe place to hide until the shooting stops!

A judge’s standard issue equipment is usually enough to deal with anything that the Undercity can throw at them.  With their access to the large Undercity Gates, the judges are also among the only visitors who are able to bring any vehicles with them, although anything larger than a Lawmaster will have great difficulty on the shattered streets.

 

The Undercity Long Walk Judge

No judge is expected to remain on the streets forever.  Even the toughest lawman knows that, one day, their usefulness will come to an end and they will be forced to retire.  However, it would be foolish to expect old judges to live out their final days lazing around in a Crock Block.  Once retired from active service, there are still several valuable roles that they can fulfil.  The most experienced are given the opportunity to pass on their knowledge gleaned from their decades on the streets by becoming Judge Tutors in the Academy of Law, training the next generation of Cadets in the statutes and application of the Law.  Others are given administrative roles in Sector Houses, where they are able to offer guidance and assistance to their former colleagues.  But there are always a few who find such tasks tedious.  The only alternative is known as the Long Walk, when a retiring judge is given the opportunity to leave the confines of the Mega-City to bring the Law to the Lawless in the wastelands beyond the Justice Department’s normal jurisdiction.  Most who decide to ‘take the hike’ choose to venture into the radioactive wasteland of the Cursed Earth, but the blackness of the Undercity is also an option.  The Long Walk Judges are practically the only official law enforcement that exists in the shadow-cloaked underworld.  A judge who becomes disillusioned with the Justice Department is also given the opportunity of taking the Long Walk, but most choose to simply renounce their authority and become a normal citizen.  Unfortunately, the threat of the Long Walk has been used in the past as the ultimate disciplinary measure, particularly during the reign of Chief Judge Silver and the second term of Chief Judge McGruder.  Corrupt judges suspected of committing some terrible crime were permitted to take the Long Walk as the honourable alternative to a sentence on Titan or a Cursed Earth work farm – unfortunately, beyond the strict control of the Justice Department, these highly dangerous individuals tended to run amok.  Some of the most notorious maniacs and murderers to wander the Undercity and the Cursed Earth were former Long Walk judges.

A judge taking the Long Walk is marked by a great ceremony.  Twenty-one judges flank their departing comrade, each saluting him with a single shot as he passes.  The traditional lament is recited as he exits the Mega-City for the final time.  As the gates to the City clang shut behind him, the judge is alone for almost the first time in his life.  From now on, he can only rely on himself – there is no back up, no comrades to come to his aid should he get into trouble.  He has only his training and experience to keep him alive in a new, hostile environment.  It takes a truly exceptional individual to survive longer than a few months as a Long Walk judge.

 

Mercenary II: Mass Combat

In the last playtest preview, we showed you how to put your recruits together into a cohesive force – now we show you how to get them fighting!

 

Battles using the mass combat system use exactly the same rules presented for combat in the Traveller Core Rulebook, with just a few changes. These changes are listed below but, whenever in doubt, the Golden Rule is always assume that the standard combat rules from the Traveller Core Rulebook are used as normal. This will allow you to use rules from any Traveller book with no conversion or adaptation necessary at all.

 

Initiative

In mass combat, Dexterity is not a factor for determining Initiative. Each unit must instead make a Tactics (military) check, with Intelligence used as a modifier. This is made by the leader of the unit.

 

The Combat Round

A combat round in mass combat usually lasts for six seconds of game time, just as it does when it involves characters. This is increased to a minute if units of greater than Size 1,000 are present, and an hour if units of greater than Size 10,000 are present.

 

Minor Actions

As with characters, units can perform one minor action in every round (or two if they forgo their significant action), allowing them to move, change stance, draw/reload and aim as normal.

However, movement is increased to 50 metres if the rounds are a minute in length and 2,500 metres if the rounds are an hour in length.

 

Significant Actions

Again, the significant actions available to units are the same as those for characters.

 

Miscellaneous Actions

For both minor and significant actions, miscellaneous tasks are effectively unlimited for units, as a unit has many members that can be delegated to perform them. However, while a unit may perform many miscellaneous actions in a single turn, only one miscellaneous action of any one type may be performed in that turn.

For example, a unit may have someone make a Leadership check to issue specific orders to another member, one member use a psychic power, while yet another tried to break through the security systems to open a bunker door they are all attacking. However, the unit could not have two members make Leadership checks to issue orders to the same individual (they would likely contradict each other and the individual may not know who to listen to – or worse, would choose who they want to listen to…).

Any individual of a unit not actively engaging in the unit’s own action will instead act as though they were an individual character for that round, using the normal rules in the Traveller Core Rulebook.

 

Reactions

Units may make reactions just like characters. Dodging, for example, represents a unit taking best advantage of the terrain around it in order to avoid taking incoming fire. It also represents the effects of suppressing fire upon a unit forced to take multiple dodging reactions in a turn.

 

Attacks

Attacks are performed by units in the same way as for characters, using all the common modifiers to attack listed on page XX of the Traveller Core Rulebook, including the use of environmental conditions, cover, and automatic weapons. Range bands are also used as normal.

 

A unit takes damage to its Endurance score. When this reaches 0, the unit has ceased to function as a fighting unit. Its individual members are assumed to have been killed, seriously injured or disbanded, scattering themselves in an effort to leave the battlefield. The unit will take no further part in the battle and is effectively destroyed, though it may be possible to recover some of the individuals and rebuild the unit (see page XX).

 

Outmatching

When one unit is much larger than the enemy unit it is fighting, it will outmatch its enemy. The unit it is fighting will be outmatched.

This has an effect on both attack rolls and damage dealt, and is based on the unit’s Size. If a unit is at half the Size or less of its enemy, it will be outmatched. If it is at least twice the Size of its enemy, it will outmatch the target. In either case, the table below is consulted for modifiers to both attack rolls and damage.

Unit Size is… Attack DM Damage
At least ten times the size of the enemy or more +5 x10
At least five times the size of the enemy +3 x5
At least three times the size of the enemy +2 x3
At least twice the size of the enemy +1 x2
No more than 50% the size of the enemy -1 x1
No more than 33% the size of the enemy -2 x1
No more than 20% the size of the enemy -3 x1
No more than 10% the size of the enemy -5

Damage is further multiplied by the overall Size of the attacking unit. Larger units are able to carry a lot more guns and unleash a truly awesome amount of firepower. Damage is therefore modified by unit Size as shown on the table below.

Unit Size of Attacker Damage
10 or less -5
11-20 -3
21-50 +0
51-100 x2
101-250 x3
251 or more x4

 

Morale

Even the most disciplined and battle-hardened troops have their limits. When great adversity rears its head, be it through starvation, lack of ammunition or watching half one’s own unit get massacred, troops can lose the will to fight, becoming less effective in battle or even breaking into a full blown rout.

This is handled by the Morale score of a unit.

A Morale check is made the same way as a characteristic check, rolling two dice and applying the unit’s Morale modifier. Morale checks are necessary whenever one of the situations below arises. Referees can, of course, call for a Morale check in other circumstances as they see fit.

Situation Morale check Difficulty
Unit Endurance reduced to half of original score Average (+0)
Unit Endurance reduced to quarter of original score Difficult (-2)
Unit Endurance reduced to one third of current score in a single round Very Difficult (-4)
Unit suffers more damage in a round than enemy during close combat Average (+0)
Unit suffers damage from an enemy unit of three times or greater Size Difficult (-2)

Morale checks can also be subject to further modifiers, depending on the specific circumstances in which they are taken.  Some suggestions are shown on the table below but, once again, referees can change these modifiers or impose new ones dependant on the mission being undertaken and the actions of the players.

Situation Morale Modifier
Unit in a strong defensive position +4
Unit not paid last month -1
Unit not paid for last three months -4
Unit won last battle +1
Unit on the winning side in the campaign +1
Unit lost last battle -2
Unit on the losing side in the campaign -4
Unit not eaten in the past day -2

 

Recovering Casualties

The Endurance of a unit does not specifically track deaths of individual members though, after a heavy battle, there are likely to be plenty of those. As mentioned earlier, a unit’s Endurance is a representation of its ability to continue fighting through individual death, injury, surrender and cowardice.

At the end of every battle, a percentage of lost Endurance points can be recovered as those who were injured receive medical care and those who ran come out of hiding.

Roll 2D for each unit, modified as shown on the table below. Then compare the total on the next table which will show you the percentage of Endurance points that can be recovered.

Unit… Recovery modifier
Was reduced to 0 Endurance -4
Was reduced to at least 25% of its starting Endurance -2
Was reduced to at least 50% of its starting Endurance -1
Was reduced to at least 75% of its starting Endurance +2
Was reduced to 0 Endurance in close combat -6
Has at least one Medic for every 10 individuals + double Medic skill
Has at least one Medic for every 30 individuals +Medic skill
Has at least one Medic for every 100 individuals + ½ Medic skill

 

2D Endurance Recovered
1 or less None
2 10%
3 25%
4-5 33%
6-8 50%
9 66%
10 75%
11 90%
12 or more All

 

Characters Within Mass Combat

Generally speaking, the players’ own characters should be kept apart from mass combat – have the players make the rolls for the units under their command, by all means, but their actual characters should have a chance to perform heroics and necessary tasks beyond the skills and daring of the men and women they are leading.

The length of the round in most mass combats is the same as a combat round for characters (six seconds), so anything a character could attempt to do in a round of combat is equally applicable during a round of mass combat.

If a player’s character is within a unit engaged in mass combat, he should always have the chance to act independently, on his own initiative order (giving him every chance to act before his own unit, and thus perform some truly heroic/stupid actions).

 

Engaging Units

Individual characters may not engage units as such, but will instead attack individual members of the unit. This is done using the normal combat rules presented in the Traveller Core Rulebook. Every casualty they cause in an attack will reduce the unit’s Endurance by 1.

 

Morale

The characters of players are effectively immune to morale, with the players themselves making the choice of whether to fight on or surrender (though units trying to surrender may take a dim view of characters continuing to fight and thus provoking the enemy). Indeed, many actions by characters can have a direct influence on how the unit they are within or near will fight.

The table below lists a few options players may try to boost (or not) the morale of nearby units, though the referee is always welcome to add more as the need arises – all else being equal, a player should always be rewarded for bravery and earn the respect of the unit. The DM earned by the player is applied to the next Morale check the unit is called upon to make, though the referee may extend this to several checks if the action was particularly noteworthy.

Player’s Action Morale DM to Unit
Single-handedly killing an enemy leader +2
Single-handedly killing a minor officer or sergeant +1
Destroying an enemy vehicle +1
Destroying an enemy armoured vehicle +2
Fleeing the battle or hiding in fear -4
Reducing an enemy unit’s Endurance by at least 10% with one attack +1


Battlefields

The mass combat rules presented in this chapter handle battles between two forces simply and easily. Even when two entire armies are fighting one another, each is assumed to be acting as a single unit, even though both might have separate companies, air units, artillery and specialised troops. It is assumed all such components are acting together in the best fashion they can to achieve the combat results that are rolled for each round.

However, at some point, both players and referee are going to want to add a bit more detail to their battles. The players might want to detach a company from their main force, for example, and send it on a wide-flanking manoeuvre to make a direct strike on an enemy artillery position, thus making things easier for the rest of their army. They may want an armoured unit to take position in a thick forest and lay low, hidden as they wait to launch an ambush. Perhaps they issue orders for a company to split with its three platoons each assaulting a different section of trench lines.

This is when a mass combat using multiple units is desirable, with the players giving orders to each unit as they respond to the actions of units under the control of the referee. There are two ways to handle this.

 

Map-Based Battles

The immediate response of some referees will be to grab a few sheets of graph paper and start plotting out terrain and unit positions – and this is perfectly valid. Every unit uses the same rate of movement as it does in regular Traveller combat, so the referee need only pick a scale suitable to the units fighting and the battlefield he has planned.

For example, if two company-sized infantry forces are fighting, split into separate platoons and, possibly, squads, then the referee might use a scale of 50 metres to a square on graph paper. This will give enough room for each unit to occupy a square and a unit on foot will be able to move one square every ten rounds.

The benefit of using maps in this fashion is that everyone will know where every unit is, there will be no confusion during the battle and players will be able to make direct, tactical decisions.

The downside is that map-based battles take more time for the referee to prepare and can seem a little ‘flat.’ Traveller is, ultimately, a game of the imagination, and staring at graph paper with little symbols denoting units marked upon may not be the most exciting approach for some groups.

For when the referee wants to inject a little colour into his battles without spending a great deal of time preparing before the game begins, albeit at the cost of hyper-accuracy, we recommend using the freeform system described next.

 

Freeform Battles

Fundamentally, there is no reason why a mass combat cannot run in the same freeform way most firefights involving the players and a handful of enemies are played; the referee describes relative positions of the combatants, their actions, and how they respond to the actions of the players.

In this way, each unit is a single combatant and operates in much the same way as a single combatant in a firefight.

For example, the players might be leading their company against enemy-held fortifications, having first split it into three platoons (3 units) and then splitting a single specialised squad of explosives experts from one of those platoons (a fourth unit). The players themselves are each leading one of those platoons personally, or perhaps they have formed a temporary field base just out of range of the fortifications and are controlling their units via remote communications.

They have identified three weak points in the fortifications that will be the target of each platoon (perhaps a small bunker and two separate trench lines), while the demolitions squad has been ordered to approach one of the main walls of the fortified position while remaining unseen, using the platoons’ assault as cover.

This is where the combat begins. The referee will describe how long it takes for the platoons to reach their firing positions and begin attacking their targets, while the demolitions squad is making Stealth checks as it moves into position. The players make the appropriate roll and then perhaps start to react in alarm as the referee describes the gunships moving in to attack one of the platoons on their flank…

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the referee, his players, and their preferred style of play. If you and your players enjoy pouring over maps and figuring out the most efficient way to destroy the enemy, then map-based battles are likely what you are looking for.

If, instead, your players prefer to hear about the explosions ahead and bullets whizzing past their ears, while shouting orders at their men to advance, the freeform method may be more to your liking.

You will find Traveller can handle both styles, or even a mixture of the two, quite readily.

Mercenary II: Force Organisation

In the last preview of the playtest rules for Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition, we demonstrated the rules for basic recruitment. Now, how to organise your recruits into a coherent force that can be used in-game…

 

Force Organisation

Once you have recruited your first few soldiers, you will need to organise them into a fighting force. These will be formed into one or more units within the mercenary force.

Units are used in larger battles to handle dozens, hundreds or even thousands of fighting men without players and referees rolling for the attacks of each one. By organising a mercenary force into one or more distinct units, it will be all set to take missions and launch attacks (or fight defensive actions) against any enemy it is contracted to take on.

 

Standard Organisation

A mercenary force may ultimately be organised into any pattern its commander chooses as his whim, but there are certain accepted formations that have withstood the test of time, and most forces mirror these in at least some fashion.

The basic unit of any military force, mercenary or otherwise, is the squad (sometimes called a section). The size of a squad can vary wildly, dependant on the nature of the force it is part of, casualties sustained and its precise role on the battlefield. Squads typically contain between 6 and 20 fighting men (any more and it is probably best termed a horde), with 8-12 being most common. Larger formations are built by bringing a number of squads together to form a larger cohesive unit.

Again, how larger units are composed is up to the mercenary commander but there are tried and tested formations that have been proven in battle.

Platoon: 3-5 Squads
Company: 3-5 Platoons
Battalion: 3-6 Companies
Regiment: 2-5 Battalions

Larger formations, such as Divisions or Armies exist, but it is very rare for mercenary forces to reach such huge sizes. Many struggle to stay at Company size and most are based around a single platoon or two.

 

Units in Traveller

All units, regardless of size, are represented the same way in Traveller, with a unit roster. An example of a unit, in this case a squad of mercenary light infantry, is shown here.

Unit Name: Rawshack’s Razors                Organisation: Squad

Type: Light Infantry                                       Size: 12

Morale: 7

Endurance: 12                                                Attack/Damage: +1/3D

Traits: None

Skills: Gun Combat (slug rifles) 1

Weapons: Assault rifle (3D)

Armour: Cloth TL10 (5)

 

Unit Name

This is the designation used to identify the unit, whether in official terms (1st Platoon, C Company, for example) or a nickname, as shown for Rawshack’s Razors.

Organisation

These are used as an easy reference to define the unit, based upon its organisational size (squad, platoon, etc.). As with the unit’s name, this can be, in theory, anything the mercenary commander desires but most follow the standard organisation model described earlier.

Type

This is the unit’s role on the battlefield and, again, its definition is largely down to the mercenary commander.

Size

This is the number of men, robots or vehicles within the unit.

Morale

Even the most hardened soldiers have their limits. Morale represents the unit’s continued willingness to fight in extreme conditions. Most units will have a Morale of 7, though this can change depending on conditions and experience.

A unit’s basic Morale is modified by the factors shown on the table below. Other circumstances can affect Morale as shown on page XX.

Unit Morale Modifier
Leadership + Unit leader’s Leadership skill level *
Unit paid 10% higher salary +1
Unit paid 25% higher salary +2
Unit paid 50% higher salary +3
Unit paid 100% higher salary +4
Unit paid 10% lower salary -2
Unit paid 25% lower salary -4
Unit paid 50% lower salary -6
Highest unit skill level 0 -1
Highest unit skill level 2 +1
Highest unit skill level 3 +2
Highest unit skill level 4 +3

* Note that if the unit leader does not have the Leadership skill, the normal DM-3 for not having the skill applies.

Morale is treated as a new characteristic, and checks are made with it in the same way as other characteristics, such as Strength and Intelligence, using a modifier based upon its score as shown on page 6 of the Traveller Core Rulebook.

Endurance

This represents the amount of casualties a unit can sustain before it ceases to be a functioning fighting force. Normally, Endurance is equal to the Size of the unit.

Attack/Damage

This is a quick reference that shows how skillful a unit is in battle and how much damage it deals. Combat between units is covered on page XX. Attack is equal to the skill level of the unit’s main Gun Combat, Heavy Weapons or Melee skill, and Damage is equal to the damage of the weapon used by that skill. It is possible for a unit to have multiple Attack and Damage scores to reflect different weapons it carries.

Traits

These are a number of special rules some units have to reflect their capabilities in battle. Traits are covered fully on page XX.

Skills

While the individuals of a unit will have a lot of different skills between them, this lists just relevant battle skills that all share, taken as an average. It is assumed that some members may well have higher or lower skill levels but the skill level of the majority is used.

Weapons and Armour

While a unit is likely to be carrying a great deal of varied equipment, only its main weapons and armour are recorded here, together with the damage and armour protection for easy reference.

 

Creating a Mercenary Force

When starting a mercenary force from scratch, it is likely individual squads will be created from individuals recently recruited. A newly formed mercenary force, therefore, is likely to have just a squad or two, meaning it can be represented by just one or two unit rosters.

As mercenary forces grow in size, things can get a little more complicated and players may find it useful to have several unit rosters, each representing different levels of the force as a whole.

For example, let us return to Rawshack’s Razors, introduced above and assume they were the first squad recruited for a new mercenary force.

Two more identical squads are later recruited, Talman’s Tigers and Banoi’s Badgers. They all have the same unit rosters as the Razors, meaning this mercenary force has three unit rosters, one for each squad.

However, there will be times when the whole mercenary force fights as a single unit – under the standard organisation model, three squads make a platoon, so a new unit roster is created to represent all three squads fighting together as a platoon-sized force.

This can be done whenever you have several units with identical Morale, Traits, Skills, Weapons and Armour, combining them into a single larger unit.

 

Unit Name: Rawshack’s Regulars                           Organisation: Platoon

Type: Light Infantry                                                      Size: 36

Morale: 7

Endurance: 36                                                               Attack/Damage: +1/3D

Traits: None

Skills: Gun Combat (slug rifles) 1

Weapons: Assault rifle (3D)

Armour: Cloth TL10 (5)

 

Because we have brought together three identical squads, we can simply add their Size (and thus their Endurance) together to create the platoon. When this mercenary force is used in battles, its player can decide whether to use the platoon as a single, large unit which will be more powerful than its constituent squads, or break it back down into squads for greater flexibility.

This is why it is useful to have not only a single roster representing the bulk of a mercenary force, but also rosters to cover smaller units within the greater organisation, that can be broken off for individual missions and battles.

Note that if Rawshack’s Regulars were to add a different type of squad, perhaps a heavy weapons squad, it would need its own unit roster and could not be combined into the platoon as it would have different skills and weapons.

 

Traits

Some units have traits, additional rules that represent equipment and abilities not reflected elsewhere in the unit roster. Many can be added to a unit simply by recruiting people with the relevant skills and equipping them accordingly. For example, to add the Support trait to a platoon-sized unit, a player need only recruit a number of people skilled with heavy weapons, such as rocket launchers, and then purchase those weapons.

 

Marksmen xXD

The unit has several designated marksmen within its ranks, soldiers trained to pick out specific enemy targets or those within cover. These marksmen are armed with weapons designed to take advantage of their skills, typically with either dedicated sniper rifles or scoped versions of the main squad weapon.

The presence of marksmen allows one or more of the dice used to deal damage to be re-rolled upon a successful attack. The number of dice that can be re-rolled depend on the number of marksmen present, as shown on the table below.

Number of Support Weapons Number of Re-rolls

One per 5 men

3D
One per 10 men 2D
One per 20 men 1D

 

Support +XD

This unit has several members who carry support weapons such as machine guns and rocket launchers to lend a greater weight of firepower to the unit’s attacks. This increased the Damage dealt by the unit according to the number of support weapons in the unit and the damage they deal, as shown on the table below. Support weapons must either deal more damage or have a higher Auto score than the rest of the weapons carried by the unit.

  Damage of Support Weapons
Number of Support Weapons 3D or less 4-6D 7-8D 9-10D 12D or more

One per 5 men

Support +1D Support +1D Support +2D Support +3D Support +4D
One per 10 men - Support +1D Support +1D Support +2D Support +3D
One per 20 men - - Support +1D Support +1D Support +2D

 

Tough +XX%

The unit has exceptional tough members within its ranks who are able to shrug off adversity. If the unit has a majority of members with individual Endurance scores of 9 or higher, then the unit gains the Tough +10% trait. If their Endurance scores are 12 or higher, this increases to Tough +20% and if their Endurance scores are 15 or more, this becomes Tough +30%.

A unit’s own Endurance is increased by its Tough trait. For example, a unit that normally has Endurance 20 but also has the Tough +20% trait will instead have Endurance 24.

 

Weak -XX%

The unit has members within its ranks who are noticeably weak and susceptible to adversity. If the unit has a majority of members with individual Endurance scores of 5 or less, then the unit gains the Weak –10% trait. If their Endurance scores are 3 or less, this decreases to Weak –20%.

A unit’s own Endurance is decreased by its Weak trait. For example, a unit that normally has Endurance 20 but also has the Weak –20% trait will instead have Endurance 16.

 

So, now you have recruited some warm bodies, and got them to line up in specific units. Next preview will show you how they fight!

Building a Mercenary Force I: Recruiting

A core component of the developing Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition are mechanics that will allow players to hire their own squads, platoons and companies, and arrange them into fighting units. These rules are very much at the playtest stage, but we wanted you chaps to see them and make comment.

Without further ado, we first present the rules for recruiting mercenaries.

 

Recruiting

People are at the heart of the a mercenary force, be they frontline soldiers or support personnel. Well-defined recruitment procedures will ensure these employees will also be steady when under fire.

Going to planets in the hopes of finding the right personnel to hire, recruiters are often charismatic and persuasive, and attempt to get as many recruits as possible from each trip. To do this depends on the type of world they visit, the nature of mercenaries they are after, and their own personality. On a low-technology world, a charismatic recruiter might do a lot worse than visit settlements with the equivalent of a soap box, and harangue gathered crowds with stories of riches among the stars. On more developed planets, ploughing through networked databases and scattering advertisements online will likely prove more fruitful.

Recruits will have their resumes reviewed, checked and vetted before being passed on to the next stage where their skills are tested. This usually takes the form of several exercises designed to highlight any potential weaknesses and demonstrate the necessary skills, and it is at this point that a number of recruits will be dismissed, having failed to demonstrate those skills or shown to be mentally or psychologically unsuitable for the unit.

After this, recruits will be indoctrinated into the unit and taught how their skills will be applied within the context of other serving personnel. The ethos of the unit will also be made clear, as well as any rules or regulations they will be expected to follow.

Only after this lengthy process can the mercenary force be sure the new recruits will be a worthy investment.

 

The Recruiting Process

Despite any glamour that may be attached to the role of a dashing recruiter hitting a new world and beguiling young men and women to fight for his force across the stars, most of the work during recruitment involves going through reams of resumes drawn from immense databases.

To recruit personnel, a character must select the type of mercenary he is looking to recruit from the list on page XX, then make an Admin check.

This takes 1-6 weeks and includes selection, basic training and induction, assessment and shake-out of anyone who does not make the grade. However, multiple recruitment campaigns may be performed during this period, either for different types of mercenary or to gain larger numbers of the same type. The recruiter may make a number of Admin checks equal to the level of their Admin skill to recruit mercenaries during these 1-6 weeks.

A number of modifiers are applied to the Admin check, starting with either the recruiter’s Int or Soc modifier.

The rest are dependant on the type of mercenaries being recruited and the world on which recruitment is taking place, as shown on page XX. The referee is free to add further modifiers, dependant on his campaign and the actions of the players.

The Effect of a successful Admin check after all these modifiers have been applied will determine how many recruits have been found with the necessary skills and attitude. Roll a number of dice equal to the Effect – this is how many suitable recruits have been gained.

The recruiter is under no obligation to accept them all, but this is the maximum that can be hired with this recruitment campaign.

Population Code Recruiting DM
0 (Few) or 1 (Tens)
2 (Hundreds) –4
3 (Thousands) –3
4 (Tens of thousands) –2
5 (Hundreds of thousands) +0
6 (Millions) +0
7 (Tens of millions) +2
8 (Hundreds of millions) +2
9 (Billions) +4
10 (Tens of billions) +4
11 (Hundreds of billions) +6
12 (Trillions) +6
Government Code
0 (Anarchic) +1
1 (Company or Corporation) +0
2 (Participating Democracy) +1
3 (Self-perpetuating Oligarchy) –1
4 (Representative Democracy) +0
5 (Feudal Technocracy) –2
6 (Captive Government) –2
7 (Balkanisation) –2
8 (Civil Service Bureaucracy) +2
9 (Impersonal Bureaucracy) +2
10 (Charismatic Dictator) –2
11 (Non-charismatic Leader) +2
12 (Charismatic Oligarchy) +0
13 (Religious Dictatorship) –4
Law Level
0 +2
1 +2
2 +1
3 +1
4 +0
5 +0
6 –1
7 –1
8 –2
9 –3
Starport
A +2
B +1
C +0
D +0
E –2
X –4
Miscellaneous
Scout or Naval Base present –4
Pirate Base present +2
Halve recruiting time -4
Double recruiting time +2
Pay 10% higher salary +1
Pay 25% higher salary +2
Pay 50% higher salary +3
Pay 100% higher salary +4
Pay 10% lower salary -2
Pay 25% lower salary -4
Pay 50% lower salary -6
Recruits to have Tough +10% trait -2
Recruits to have Tough +20% trait -4
Recruits to have Weak -10% trait +1
Recruits to have Weak -20% trait +2

 

Planetary Population: The number of people living on a planet has a fundamental effect upon the efforts of a recruiting mercenary. The larger a population, the more likely there will be potential recruits. Planets with negligible populations (0 or 1) will usually have no chance of producing recruits, simply because there are not enough people to draw upon.

Government: The government of a world can affect the attitude of potential recruits. A democracy might give its citizens the freedom to choose a mercenary’s life, but a balkanisation of warring states might not take too kindly to mercenaries stealing their soldiers.

Law Level: Worlds with laxer laws, especially those based around the freer use of personal weaponry, tend to be happier hunting grounds for recruiters rather than those whose citizens enjoy a safer, if stricter, way of life.

Starport: Better facilities at a starport can greatly aid a recruiter’s efforts, while the lack of a well-functioning starport often means a population is not used to space travel and will be far less willing to leave their world.

 

Salaries and Equipment

Once recruits have been brought on board, they must be paid their agreed salary (the standard rate listed on page XX, plus or minus any adjustments made by the recruiter) and equipped. It is up to the owner of the mercenary force as to what equipment recruits are given, from weapons and armour to basic kit. However, referees will have the option to increase or decrease the effectiveness of mercenary units in battle if their equipment is markedly above or below the standard expected for those troops.

The table below lists typical mercenaries that can be recruited, but both players and referees should create their own to suit the requirements of the campaign and their own mercenary company.

In general, a monthly salary should be Cr. 1,000 for a recruit with a primary skill (the skill most applicable to the role they are being recruited for) of level 0, Cr. 2,000 for skill level 1, Cr. 3,000 for skill level 2, and Cr. 5,000 for skill level 3.

Skills the referee deems harder to acquire or otherwise be rarer in the marketplace (such as perhaps Heavy Weapons or Flyer) should command up to a 50% higher salary, as should recruits with multiple primary skills. The Tough +10% and +20% traits (see page XX) should typically command +25% and +50% higher salaries, respectively. In all such cases, the referee should be prepared to make final arbitrations for salaries of unusual recruits.

Recruits of skill level 4 and higher should be extremely rare, few in number and extremely expensive – mercenary forces are normally better off recruiting lower skilled personnel and increasing their skill levels through training and battle experience.

Recruit Salary Skills Recruiting DM Standard Equipment
Accountant Cr. 3,000 Admin 2, Advocate 1 +0
Combat Medic Cr. 2,000 Gun Combat 1, Medic 1 +0 Assault rifle, knife, flak armour, medikit
Computer Operator Cr. 2,000 Admin 1, Computers 1 +2
Electronic Warfare Operator Cr. 4,000 Comms 2, Sensors 1 -1
Gunship Pilot Cr. 3,000 Flyer or Grav, Heavy Weapons 1 -1 Autopistol
Heavy Weapons Soldier Cr. 2,500 Gun Combat 1, Heavy Weapons 1 +0 Machinegun, knife, flak armour
Intelligence Analyst Cr. 4,500 Recon 1, Sensors 2, Tactics 2 -2
Mechanic Cr. 2,000 Engineer 0, Mechanic 1 +0 Tool kit
Militiaman Cr. 1,000 Gun Combat 0 +2 Assault rifle, knife, cloth armour
Rifleman Cr. 2,000 Gun Combat 1, Recon 1 +0 Assault rifle, knife, flak armour
Sniper Cr. 3,000 Gun Combat 2, Recon 1, Stealth 2 -1 Sniper rifle, flak armour
Special Forces Soldier Cr. 5,000 Explosives 2, Gun Combat 3, Recon 3, Stealth 2 -4 Assault rifle, knife, flak armour
Tank Crewman Cr. 3,000 Drive (tracked) 1, Heavy Weapons (field artillery) 1 +0 Autopistol, flak armour
Truck Driver Cr. 1,000 Drive 0 +3

 

NCOs and Officers

Mercenary forces are not undisciplined rabbles (or, at least, they should not be), and require just as many NCOs and officers as government-backed military forces.

In general, NCOs should have the same skills (combat or otherwise) as the people they lead, along with one or more levels in Tactics (military), and perhaps a level in Leadership (the latter becomes more important the higher ranks they are).

Officers should have at least basic combat skills and one or more levels in both Leadership and Tactics (military). Effective officers should also have a level in Admin, though some mercenary forces have dedicated administrators to take this burden away from the fighting men.

NCOs and officers receive a salary dependant on their skills, as detailed previously, but gain an additional amount due to their given rank, as shown on the table below.

Rank Salary Increase (Cr.)
Corporal +500
Sergeant +1,000
Gunnery Sergeant +1,500
Sergeant Major +2,000
Lieutenant +2,000
Captain +3,000
Major +4,000
Lieutenant Colonel +6,000
Colonel * +8,000

* The Colonel of a mercenary force is often the owner or, at least, one of the owners and so will also receive a proportion of the profits the entire force earns. The salary, in comparison, is mostly symbolic and some Colonels forgo it altogether.

 

Alternative Pay Method

In an effort to defray starting costs, some mercenary forces operate on a split salary and share scheme for their recruits. While each member of the mercenary force is paid less on a monthly basis, they have a direct share of the (perhaps not inconsiderable) revenue the force brings in. A referee may choose to impose DM-1 to recruiting checks if this method is used, particularly if rival mercenary forces are not using it.

Under this salary-share scheme, salaries are halved.

Total payments to a mercenary force, after salaries and expenses have been paid, are divided up into equal shares. Each recruit receives one or more shares according to their rank and skill specialisations.

Before shares are determined, the mercenary commander (and possibly  his business partners) take 50% of all revenue after salaries and expenses as profit. Salaries of deceased members of the unit are paid to next of kin or another designated recipient; only surviving members of the unit receive shares. The remainder are divided into equal shares, with each recruit receiving one or more shares dependant on their rank in the force and level of skill, as shown on the table below.

Rank Number of Shares
Private 1
Lance Corporal 2
Corporal 3
Lance Sergeant 3
Sergeant 4
Gunnery Sergeant 4
Sergeant Major 5
Lieutenant 5
Captain 7
Major 8
Lieutenant Colonel 9
Colonel 10

Recruits with a primary skill of levels 2-3 will receive shares equal to one rank above their actual position. Recruits with higher levels in a primary skill will receive shares equal to two ranks above their actual position.

 

Design Notes

There are, of course, all sorts of things we could add to these rules, with more types of personnel being a start (don’t worry, they will be in the final version!). We could also lock down a far tighter regime for hiring people and what their skill sets are actually worth. On this side, we have kept things a little looser and provided guidelines rather than hard rules, as the buck always stops with the referee and he knows better than us what his campaign needs. An important consideration for us with these rules is that the players should be allowed to attempt pretty much anything (and you will see this line of thought come back in future previews when we start looking at, say, inadequate admin or medical facilities within a mercenary force). We also want to keep things fairly simple so a referee can leave the book in the hands of his players to work out what they want most of the time, but have the ability to make a quick (and easy) ruling when needed.

Anyway, have a wander around the Marches or the Reach and recruit a few willing men and women to see how this part of the rules work out, and let us know of any issues on our forums. Next time, we’ll show you how to organise your recruits into a proper mercenary force, and then we’ll go through the rules needed to get them fighting!

Mercenary 2: Skills and Specialities

The military requires individuals to not only adhere to discipline but also exhibit initiative to overcome obstacles. Personnel must learn to adapt existing skills to evolving situations and, if necessary, specialise in entirely new areas.

This sections introduces some new ways of handling existing skills and new skill specialities that will allow characters to expand what they are capable of doing. Those with the skills already will be able to use these specialities at level 0, while new characters or those undergoing training can go straight into a new speciality and perhaps get an edge on the enemy.

 

Using Existing Skills

The following are all suggestions for using skills within the Traveller Core Rulebook to cover a wider range of situations and tasks.

 

Combat Engineering

Combat engineering is the rapid construction of field fortifications, large-scale camouflage, appraisal of a structure’s ability to withstand enemy fire, and landmine placement and removal – the ability to mould a battlefield to best effect. This may be used defensively, to create a series of trenches and bunkers to resist attack, or offensively, breaching similar defensives as quickly as possible to allow an assault to take place.

This covers an enormous range of disciplines and so cannot be covered by a single skill or speciality, so a dedicated combat engineer needs to be well-versed in a range of skills. Instead, referees should call for checks on different skills according to what a player is attempting. A few examples are given below. All of these assume the players have appropriate equipment to hand.

 

Physically detecting mines during an assault on an enemy stronghold: Recon, Int, 10-60 minutes, Difficult (-2).

Using specialised equipment to detect mines on a road: Sensors, Int, 10-60 minutes, Average (+0).

Safely defusing discovered mines: Explosives, Dex, 20-120 minutes, Very Difficult (-4)

Build a short line of defensive trenches, barricades and obstacles: Trade (military engineering), Str, 1-6 hours, Average (+0).

Build a small bunker: Trade (military engineering), Str, 1-6 hours, Average (+0).

 

Instruction and Training

The transference of new skills and education is a vital one for any organisation, be it a small and tight-knit crew of a tramp freighter or a sector-wide military force. Although this can be attempted by anyone, some will always be better teachers than others.

Principally, training subjects in a new skill requires an understanding of the skill being taught (at least level 1) and use of Education and the Leadership skill. Those lacking levels in Leadership may still instruct subjects but will do so with the usual DM-3.

A character can learn new skills on their own, as covered on page 59 of the Traveller Core Rulebook, but having an instructor or tutor can speed this up the process considerably.  A good instructor can also teach skills to more than one subject at a time.

An instructor can teach one level of one skill at a time, starting at level 0 and going up to one level less than the instructor has himself in the skill being taught. So, an instructor with, say, Pilot 4 can teach subjects up to Pilot 3.

Teaching a level in a skill takes half the time it would normally take the subject to learn the skill by themselves, again as covered on page 59 of the Traveller Core Rulebook.

The instructor must then make a Leadership check, modified by their Education and the factors listed below.

 

+1 Teaching a single student
-1 Teaching 5-10 students
-2 Teaching 11-30 students
-4 Teaching more than 30 students
-2 Instruction time cut in half
-4 Other activities undertaken during instruction

Each subject being taught must then make either an Intelligence or Education check, modified by the Effect of the instructor’s own check. Success will result in the skill being gained, while failure will mean the lesson must be taught again, from scratch,

Quick and efficient training, therefore, requires a good teacher and a bright and receptive student.

 

Interrogation

The majority of interrogations can be handled using the Persuade skill. However, other skills can be brought into play by skilled interrogators to create a task chain, depending on how far they are prepared to go to get the information they want.

Most commonly, Deception is used to convince a subject that they should divulge information, perhaps suggesting that the lives of their comrades may be saved if they talk, or that the subject will in some way be rewarded. This also covers the classic Good Cop/Bad Cop approach, with one interrogator using Deception to soften the subject up, beginning a task chain that will end with another interrogator using Persuade. Social Science (psychology) is also a common skill among good interrogators and one that can be integrated into such a task chain.

The use of extreme methods of interrogation is not only controversial but their effectiveness is also disputed by some. One school of thought suggests that a subject will reveal everything if under enough stress or pain. The other counters that a subject will say anything it thinks the interrogator wants to hear. Nonetheless, some interrogators swear by these methods, which can be reflected by adding new checks into a task chain before the final Persuade check is atempted.

Typically, these will be skills such as Life Science (biology) and Medic, both being applied not for the benefit of living things but for deeper knowledge into the application of pain and the limits to which a subject can be pushed.

 

Specialities

The following specialities are intended for military characters (in service or mercenary) though others may find a use for many of them. Referees should also feel free to create their own and respond to requests for new specialities from players. Just remember – if it is already covered by a skill or existing speciality, you do not need a new one!

 

Athletics (archery): The use of bows and crossbows for hunting or in combat.

Drive (hover): For hovercraft and other ground-repulsion vehicles.
Weaving through a wooded area at speed: Dexterity, 1-6 minutes, Very Difficult (-4)

Gun Combat (energy carbines): Using energy weapons larger than pistols but smaller than rifles, such as laser repeaters.

Gun Combat (slug carbines): Using slug throwing weapons larger than pistols but smaller than rifles, such as submachine guns.

Heavy Weapons (flamethrowers): Using weaponry that projects a controllable stream of flame or acid.

Seafarer (personal): Used for any man-powered craft, such as canoes, kayaks, and rowboats.

Dino Rampage

In Mega-City One’s past history , recovered dinosaur DNA was used to create clones for the Dinosaur National Park. When the Atomic War ravaged the city, the dinosaurs were able to escape their confines and while most were recaptured or exterminated, many found their way into the Cursed Earth where they thrived.

In the present day, dinosaurs are a constant worry for every Cursed Earth settlement, who add them to the list of ever-present dangers along with rad storms, raiders and mutated vermin. Occasionally, a dinosaur may wander close to Mega-City One and slip past the defences unnoticed, where it will lurk in a ruined sector, preying upon the unwary.

Dinosaurs are a great way to challenge your campaign force in Mega-City One, as they are an unusual enemy that can pop up almost anywhere, and you do not need an opponent to face them! While we have not released any dinosaur-specific models, you will find a quick trip down to your local toy shop will furnish you with many different species eager to tear your forces apart.

The following dinosaurs can be used in games of Judge Dredd. All dinosaurs follow the Big and Dumb rule.

 

Big and Dumb: Dinosaurs were never noted for their brains and tend to follow their instincts, ignoring anything else. They never take Will to Fight checks and automatically pass all Will checks they are called upon to make (even against Psi Talents – they just do not have a big enough brain for a psyker to find!).

 

Large Carnivore                                      500 Credits

The most well-known carnivorous dinosaur is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, though there were many species of two-legged monsters equally capable of tearing Mega-City One apart. There is little more dangerous than a rampaging T-Rex.

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Large Carnivore 8” -2 - +6 2D - +5 25

Type: Illegal Minion

Equipment: Jaws

Weapon Damage AP Special Rules
Jaws 4 -5 Power Shot, Smasher

 

Large Herbivore                                      300 Credits

Dinosaurs such as the Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus fit this category, huge swamp-dwellers that became the largest creatures to ever walk the planet. Though normally placid, they are easily spooked and can become very unpredictable when scared.

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Large Herbivore 6” -4 - +4 4D - +7 30

Type: Illegal Minion

Equipment: Stomp

Weapon Damage AP Special Rules
Stomp 6 -6 Smasher

 

Aggressive Herbivore                            400 Credits

In a world of large carnivores, it pays to be well-armoured with a foul attitude if you just eat plants. Dinosaurs such as the Triceratops evolved with armour-plating and some useful weaponry to keep predators away. These defences work well in Mega-City One.

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Aggressive Herbivore 8” -2 - +4 3D - +8 16

Type: Illegal Minion

Equipment: Horns

Weapon Damage AP Special Rules
Horns 3 -6 Parry, Power Shot, Smasher

 

Dino Rampage

This scenario allows you to bring dinosaurs into your games of Judge Dredd, be they taking place within the city, Cursed Earth or some far off alien moon!

One or more dinosaurs has intruded into your force’s territory and must be seen off before it causes too much damage.

 

Forces

You can choose any campaign force to face off against the dinosaurs. You must choose a number of dinosaurs to face, their combined Credits equalling or exceeding that of your force.

 

Set Up

As with most games of Judge Dredd, aim to get as much terrain on the table as possible – do not make it easy for yourself, or we will bring in flying dinosaurs, and you won’t like that!

Place the dinosaurs in the middle of the table, no more than 6” away from one another. You must then deploy your entire force, at least 12” away from a dinosaur and no more than 18” away.

The dinosaurs have the first Phase of the game.

 

Special Rules

Dinosaurs are somewhat unpredictable but they rarely have a pleasant attitude. At the start of every dinosaur Phase, roll a die for each dinosaur, apply the listed modifiers and consult the table below to see what they do.

Die Roll Dinosaur Actions
2 or less Spooked
3-4 Confused
5-7 Irritated
8 or more Rampage!

+1   Lost one or more Hits last Turn
-1   Reduced to half of starting Hits
+2   Has Line of Sight to one or more of the force’s models
-2   Is a Large Herbivore
+2   Is a Large Carnivore or Aggressive Herbivore
-1   A Psi Talent was used on it last Turn
-1   Was Confused last Turn
+1   Was Irritated last Turn
-2   If attacked by a Fire weapon

 

Spooked: The dinosaur sees something it really does not like. It will take two Move actions to move as fast as possible away from the closest model it has Line of Sight to. Failing that, it will move directly away from the closest model.

Confused: The dinosaur tries to figure out where it is. It does not take any actions and will go on Alert Status. It will perform a Melee action against the first enemy model that completes an action within its Move, regardless of whether it has Line of Sight to that model.

Irritated: The dinosaur is getting testy and the slightest provocation may set it off. As it is, it merely follows its instincts, eating whatever is close by or trying to move little creatures off its territory. It will perform two Melee actions this Turn, chasing after the nearest enemy model that is in Line of Sight. If no enemy is in Line of Sight, it will instead become Confused.

Rampage!: The dinosaur is angry! It will perform three Melee actions this Turn, chasing after the nearest enemy model that is in Line of Sight. If no enemy model is in Line of Sight, it will simply go after the nearest enemy model.

 

Victory

You gain victory if you manage to destroy the dinosaurs or get them to run off the battlefield. Any other result is a loss and you must try to patch up your force after the dinosaurs have run through it!

 

 

As always, let us know what you think of these rules and if they go down well, we may add more dinosaurs and maybe some of the other monstrous creatures found in the universe of Judge Dredd!

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