Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Alliance Militia Materiel

The Alliance military is defined by a strategy of distributed defense. Where the empire manages the defense of all member worlds, the Alliance expects their military forces to manage their own defense, and where they cannot, the alliance calls upon aristocrats to ride to the rescue of member worlds with their highly mobile fleets. Thus, we might expect that each world has unique armaments informed by the nature of their worlds. To keep things simple, I’d rather focus on some basic core strategies likely common to all worlds, and then expand it out a bit to emphasize the unique nature of each world.

The commonalities of strategy mainly come in that distributed defense. The Alliance offers very little money to its worlds for defense, expecting them to defend themselves and, of course, quietly enforcing a dependence on the nobility who can come in to “rescue them.” This means that most militia soldiers are less professional soldiers and more reservists with a modicum of training combined with enthusiasts who like to practice on their own. It also means that their gear tends to be cheap, and usually what they already had on hand. The result might be less disciplined than a typical BAD -2 army, but it’s close enough to BAD -2 for my purposes.




The uniqueness of each militia likely comes in the nature of the worlds they have, and the sorts of strategies they might employ. We might expect a different soldier-type per terrain:


  • Desert militia have to worry about shifting sands, heat and a lack of water
  • Arctic militia need to worry about the cold
  • Mountain need to deal with rugged and uneven terrain
  • Jungle and Forest militia need to navigate overgrown regions and make good use of cover
  • Swamp and Island militia need to deal with wet and harsh terrain
  • Plains and urban areas likely have “typical” soldiers.


The primary differences here aren’t as likely to be approach as it might be equipment. Desert soldiers face different needs than arctic soldiers, and thus will need different equipment.

Each world might have its own strategy, its own unique approach to combat. This likely won’t manifest in the form the common soldier takes, as we can assume that a common militiaman is useful in any strategy. Instead, the strategies we deploy will manifest in the most well-trained of soldiers who supplement the standard troopers. Given that the purpose of a militia is defensive, we’ll focus on three broadly defensive strategies:


  • Hard: the militia has specific points it must defend. It focuses on extreme fortifications, and it puts its men in trenches to do or die when the Empire comes.
  • Mobile: the militia is willing to sacrifice any particular point, and remains constantly mobile. If it has fortifications, these spread out across the terrain, creating a series of hard-points that an invader must overcome to reach a point of interest or, better, to simply make up any ground. Mobile forces excel at vehicular use, and often slip in behind enemy lines, and likes to engage in aggressive counter-attacks.
  • Deceptive: The militia blurs the line between a civilian and military force. Each soldier is as independent as possible, and can disperse into the terrain. They prefer scorched earth tactics, ambushes, traps and assassinations. They resemble nothing so much as a highly militarized insurgency, allowing the Empire to conquer their world, and then giving them hell.


Thus, we might need:


  • Typical Militiamen, who come in 5 flavors (one for each broad terrain type).
  • Heavy militiamen, who use machine guns and missile launchers to support militia squads
  • Veteran survivors who have been through many a campaign.
  • (Hardened) Artillerists who specialize in using embanked guns
  • (Hardened) Combat Engineers, who specialize in building and repairing fortifications
  • (Mobile) Pilots and drivers who man swift vehicles and can mount a counter attack
  • (Mobile) Scouts who specialize in observation and quick hit-and-run tactics, delaying the enemy until their allies are in position.
  • (Deceptive) Rangers who know the terrain especially well and can vanish into it
  • (Deceptive) Commandos, elite rangers who know how to sabotage Imperial technology.


For equipment, we’ll need:


  • A cheap, reliable and standardized carbine.
  • A common weapon people on the planet might use for non-military purposes, such as a rifle.
  • A reliable sniper rifle
  • A portable automatic blaster to support advancing soldiers and to lay down cover fire.
  • A missile launcher to defeat heavy imperial vehicles
  • A large weapon that the Militia can use to entrench and fortify their position, primarily for defeating vehicles that the militia cannot take out on their own.
  • Entrenchment gear, including mines and tools
  • Melee weapons for commandos, rangers and those who fight in jungles or forests.


For Vehicles we need


  • Boats or hovercraft for rapid sea transportation (island/swamp)
  • Walkers for rough terrain (Mountains, forests, jungles)
  • Some means of transporting heavy guns or troops
  • Quick, rapid-response vehicles patterned after vehicles most people know well (such as a jeep)


Armor

Camouflage

All militia soldiers may have camouflaged armor at the GM’s discretion. Since militia know their world well, they can afford to use “low tech” camouflage systems that work best for the specific terrains of their world.

Any armor or uniform below may be camouflaged for $300, which provides +2 camouflage for appropriate terrain, -1 for inappropriate terrain, and -2 for contrasting terrain.

Militia Tactical Vest

The cheapest way to armor someone is a simple tactical vest. It covers only the chest, but that covers all vitals; it won’t stop your opponents from dropping you, but it’ll prevent them from killing you. On top of this, we need helmets to protect the militia man’s skull (in principle, we also need a faceplate to protect the face, but good luck talking militia men into wearing cumbersome faceguards!). Finally, we need boots and clothing to go underneath the vest: the typical combat uniform of the militia.

The obvious design for the armor is 45 DR of battleweave on the chest with “tactical inserts” that provide 35 DR from nanocomposite laminate. The resulting vest is 5 lbs and costs $2500 and the inserts weigh 6 lbs and cost $1500. It comes with no accessories.

Desert Armor

The simplest “desert armor” would be basic summer clothing (thin, flowing robes, or simple thin “pajama” pants, loose shirt and hat, etc) with a tactical vest. A “summer uniform” weighs 1 lb and, if responsive, costs $200.

If we want a true “desert armor,” then we can use DR 30 battleweave coverall (torso, arms and legs) with a Desert Environment Suit option and Climate Control (-40 to 120) with a c-cell for 5 days of energy. The result is 14 lbs and $6500. This requires some kind of face mask to work: the most basic costs $50 and weighs 0.5 lbs. The armor is a bit on the light side, but that keeps the weight down, as fighters don’t want to overexhaust themselves in heavy armor!

Arctic Armor

The simplest “arctic armor” would be basic winter clothing (thick jackets and pants, warm face-coverings, etc) with a tactical vest. A “winter uniform” weighs 4 lbs and, if responsive, costs $600. True arctic clothing weights a staggering 15 lbs, which pushes our fighters up to 32 lbs of just clothing and armor. They’re better off with the armor below!

If we want a true “winter armor,” then we can use DR 45 battleweave coverall (torso, arms and legs) with Climate Control (-100 to 90) with a c-cell for 5 days of energy. The result is 18 lbs and $8000. The DR is higher here to reflect the fact that characters are less likely to overheat with heavier armor, and the climate control reflects a “heated armor.”

Expedition armor

If the militia primarily fights in swampy locations or in the jungle, they face regular exposure to toxins and diseases, as well as intense humidity and often heat. Covering all of these might require a very light (DR 15) full suit that is sealed and climate controlled (5 days on a C-cell and -50 to 120 degrees). This prevents anything from getting into the armor (even if the soldier doesn’t wear a helmet, it certainly reduces the amount of bug stings he can take, or how much can leech into his system from simply walking in toxic mud). The result is DR 15, covers all hit locations but the face and skull, weighs 7 lbs and costs $3000. This armor also features trauma plate carriers, and some soldiers integrate the tactical vest plate carriers (which cover only the chest!), giving them a DR of 40 on the torso and brings their weight up to 13 lbs, if weight is not a major concern.

Armor Accessories

Quite a few armors above require an airmask, including arctic and desert armor, and useful with expedition armor if the environment is toxic or full of allergens. These cost $150 and weigh 0.5 lbs, and filter air.

Basic goggles that protect the wearers eyes provide Protected Vision and Nictitating Membrane 10; these cost $60 and have negligible weight.

Nightvision goggles, which jungle or forest fighters might use, provide the same benefits of basic goggles (Nictitating Membrane 10 and Protected Vision), and additionally 4x magnification and Night Vision 9, cost $1000 and weight 0.5 lbs.

A helmet that provides 60 DR, made of nanocomposite laminate, and weighs 3 lbs and costs $300. It has no additional features.

A uniform is responsive (“one size fits all!”) status 0 clothing, so 2 lbs and $400.

Weapons

Vibro-Blade

The last time I looked at the Alliance, I gave them vibro-bayonets, but in retrospect, that doesn’t work out so well. First, bayonets are a somewhat brutal weapon and, second, they’re not very practical. However, for jungle or forest soldiers, having access to a blade that can be used to cut through undergrowth is very useful! A typical “machete” type blade is a falchion, and inflicts sw+1d+2 (5) cut, weighs 3 lbs and costs $4000.

Startrodder SC 767 Blaster Carbine

GURB was so kind as to give me a bunch of weapons, as well as some corporations behind those weapons, and I found myself particularly enchanted by the Startrodder corporation as both a kooky, old-sounding name, and as a supplier for cheap-but-reliable weapons. So, for our Alliance AK-47 blaster carbine, I’ve chosen them.

What I want for a blaster carbine is effectively what we already see in GURPS Ultra-tech (that is, 5d), but with the “reliability” of an AK-47. We could simply make it more reliable (which costs more), or make it “rugged,” which increases weight by 20% and doubles the cost, but I’m going to increase the weight by 1.5x, and call that “enough.” The 767 carbine is remarkably robust for its price-tag! The result is: Startrodder LR 740: Dmg 5d(5), burn, Acc 8+1, Range 400/1200, Wt 7/C, RoF 3, Shots 45(3), ST 6, Bulk -4, Rcl 2, Cost $9500, Verify

Rook & Law 73 “Huntsman” Blaster Rifle

Many militia men might use a standard “military” weapon, many others might use a common weapon, like a hunting rifle. This might be especially common on planets rife with hunters and a strong blaster-owning tradition, and it makes for excellent snipers, though it should be noted that what makes for a good hunting rifle doesn’t always make for a good combat rifle.

Rook & Law Huntsman 73: Dmg 6d (5) burn, Acc 8, Range 750/2100, Wt 9.5/C, ROF 1, Shots 25(3), ST , Bulk -5, Rcl 2, Cost $8,000. May not fire hotshots.

Startrodder SC 515 Blaster Rifle

I must admit that I’m in love with the design of the DC-15A blaster rifle, from the Clone Wars: this long rifle resembles a kentucky rifle in length, and I love the weird angles that the rifle places is ammunition (tibana cannisters). If I wanted to make a similar rifle, the result is effectively just a standard blaster rifle. The weapon needs to be about 10 lbs, and it’s “more powerful than” a carbine, meaning it should do about 6d damage. It also isn’t a repeater, but nor is it slow, giving it an ROF of 3. Given its described length, it should have a bulk of -6, which is worse than what Ultra-Tech or the Beam Weapon design system gives us, but we can also argue for a 10% decrease in weight, as the longer barrel makes the weapon more effective for the same power ratio.

The result is: Startrodder SC 515: Dmg 6d(5), burn, Acc 8+2, Range 1000/3000, Wt 10/2C, RoF 3, Shots 50(3), ST 7, Bulk -6, Rcl 2, Cost $18,000, Verify

Startrodder LR 550 “Steam” Blaster

Part of Erik’s work on Psi-Wars blasters also spawned a discussion of coolant. While I’m not really interested in actually tracking individual shots, it adds a lot of character, and it turns out not to take up much weight or cost. Imagine a “machine gun” that when it’s finished blasting, opens and vents a burst of steam for a couple of seconds with an impressive hiss. It gives the weapon a cool, steampunk feel and a sense of something older, while making a certain amount of sense. We can even give it a rule, stating that the “stoppage” critical failure effect, instead of being an electrical or mechanical failure for a blaster, is an “overheating” effect, and you can automatically get rid of it by venting the light repeater.

Similar to the Startrodder 888, the Steam Blaster has a d-cell backback and 1 lb of ultra-tech coolant, which is included with the d-cell. This allows it to fire up to 250 shots without overheating, after which it needs a minute to recover. It can also fire for 10d (5) burn with ROF 1 by using up 8 shots.

Startrodder 550 Light Repeating “Steam” Blaster: Dmg 5d (5) burn, Acc 8, Range 600/1800, Wt 10.5/Dp, ROF 8, Shots 250(5), ST 6, Bulk -4, Rcl 2, Cost $32,000.

Rook & Law 74 Gatling Blaster

Gatling Blaster: Dmg 7d (5) burn, Acc 12, Range 750/2200, Wt 20/Dp, ROF 16, Shots 160(5), ST 11M, Bulk -7, Rcl 2, Cost $80,000.

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