Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zhodani Lift Infantry Squad - How would you organize it?

From the old JTAS a Zhodani Lift infantry squad has the following characteristics;

8 infantry
1 gunner(which we assume is the vehicle gunner)
1 vehicle commander

equipped with;
Gauss rifles
 1 PGMP-14

1. Though apparently inspired by 1960-70's vintage Soviet motor rifle organizations, these organizations are quite outdated by early 21st century standards. The squad lacks team leaders. All riflemen have limited LSW capability through the generous distribution of 'shoot through" RAM grenades. "Indiviually carried tac missiles are issued as the mission warrants", indicates that there could be more support weapons issued if needed.

2.  In the Soviet BTR model, the BTR has as driver and a gunner.  We could assume this is a typographic omission. The APC is listed as a 12 passenger vehicle. The listed numbers total 11. The empty seat is in line with BTR organization as stated in FM 100-2-3.

An updated squad organization could look like this;

Squad Leader (NCO)

Assistance SL (vehicle commander)
Vehicle Gunner

Team 1
Team Leader
2 Riflemen
1 Man-portable ATGM ('tac missile' in Striker terminology)

Team 2
Team Leader
2 riflemen
1 PGMP-14 support gunner

A. Alternatively, place the ATGM and PGMP together in one team to form a base of fire and use the other team as the maneuver element
B. Does not factor in supporting fire from APC - includes VRF gauss gun and on-board ATGM.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zhodani Colonial troops

 Here is an organization inspired by an article in the old Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society (JTAS).

Querion Garrison Battalion
(TL1) Fielded by a relatively low technology world, these troops are used exclusively as garrison troops (Source: JTAS #9)
Battalion Headquarters, with;
Headquarters Company, with;
            Battalion Headquarters
                        1  Colonel
                        1 Major (XO)
                        1 Senior NCO
                        4 Staff Officers
                        8 enlisted staff
Military Government / Administration Platoon
                        40 men total (Y)

Military Police Platoon
                        Platoon headquarters
                                    1 Lt.  (Y)
                                    1 NCO (Y)
                                    2 Interrogators (Y)

                        3 Squads, each with;
                                    1 squad leader
                                    1 assistant squad leader
                                    5 police teams;
Team leader (Y)
Military Police

2 Infantry Companies each, with
            Company Headquarters, with;
                        1 Captain (CO)
                        1 LT (XO)
                        1 NCO
                        1 Comm Operator
            Weapons platoon, with;
                        3 Heavy Support machinegun
                        3 light mortars
                        3 Air Defense team with Light SAM
3 Infantry platoons, each with;
            Platoon Headquarters, with;
Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier
Platoon Leader
Platoon NCO
Comms Operator
            3 Rifle squads, each with;
                        Squad Leader (Laser Rifle)
                        2 team leaders
                        6 Riflemen
                        2 Light Support Gunners

Lift Cavalry Platoon, with;
            2 Grav Tanks (laser and slug thrower)
            2 Grav APC

Transport Squad, with;
            5 unarmed G Carriers

            Artillery Company, with;
                        Company Headquarters

                        2 Batteries, each with;
                                    3 Self-propelled MRL

            Engineering platoon, with
                        Platoon Leader
                        Platoon NCO
            3 Engineer squads, with
                        1 Squad Leader
                        10 Engineers    

Notes: The symbol (Y) is used to designate units with telepathic capabilities.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming attractions and musings

Cincy con is a few weeks out (March 4-5, 2012). we'll be hosting a small scenario that pits some Imperial Marines against a force of Zhodani troops. Set on Regina, it gives a a good overview of the interactions of the rules, and weapons that give the game the feel of  Traveller. If you make it, stop by and say and hi - if I'm not hosting a game, I'd be happy to talk Traveller with you!

The past couple of weeks have seen the the basics of the rules modifications and some unit organizations posted. With that done, I'm left wondering what you want to see? More pictures? More organizations? Scenarios and AAR?

Any thoughts?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ine Givar Insurgency

We often forget that the Fifth Frontier War was more than just hi-tech armies blasting away with fusion guns and nukes.  Asymmetrical warfare played a role in the war as well  mostly in the form of the Ine Givar insurgency. 


"We demand an end to the nobility. We demand that the Imperium remove all corrupt and oppressive local governments. We demand that the Imperium restrains the predatory economic activities of Imperial corporations, and we demand that the Imperial security apparatus be replaced with a system not riddled with corruption and brutality."
- the Ine Givar manifesto

No government is perfect…and the Third Imperium was far from perfect. In addition to external threats such as the Zhodani, the Swords World and the Vargr, the Imperium faced ‘home grown’ threats from disaffected individuals within the Imperium. While their stated goal is the overthrow, or modification of the “Imperial” political system, the movement includes factions dedicated to anarchy, or criminal gain under the flag of patriotism. In the Spinward Marches, the IG is widely believed to be a front or puppet of the Zhodani Consulate.

The definitive work on the Ine Givar movement remains, Andrew Moffat-Vallance’s classic “Secrets of the Ine Givar” published by Pyramid magazine. An excerpt of which reads…

Ine Givar was born on Rhylanor in 948, to noble parents. His family were minor nobility - political "placeholders" in the hierarchy, of a kind that became increasingly common in the latter Imperium. Much of his childhood was spent traveling, brought along on make-work "fact finding" missions that were the lot of the petty noble. Young Ine Givar saw world after world, and saw many oppressive regimes that the Imperium had turned a blind eye towards. These travels were to have a profound influence on him, leaving him a deep feeling of disillusionment regarding the Imperium.
He enrolled in the University of Rhylanor in 966, to study political science. A talented student, he gained his Bachelor's degree with honors in 970. However, he had become increasingly involved in politics during . . .

By the time of the Fifth Frontier War, the memory of Ine Givar has spawned a full fledged revolutionary movement across the Imperium. In the Spinward Marches, a full scale insurgent war has broken out on Efate. Ine Givar cells operate on a number of other Imperial worlds conducting terror attacks and occasional full-scale assaults on the Imperium, the mega-corparations it protects as well as their local minions.
The insurgency’s organization and equipment varies from planet to planet. On Efate, the ‘insurgents’ are practically a regular military force, well organized and supplied.  On other worlds, the movement’s forces are less organized and resemble a ‘rabble in arms’.


Ine Givar forces on Efate

Equipped to Efate TL standards
Some stocks of higher tech weapons (captured, imported)
Zhodani Consulate ‘advisors’ frequently present
Forces are a mix of regulars and irregular troops

Template for other Ine Givar forces

Size based on local population
Equipped to local TL standards (+/-) Some off world equipment possible.
Rarely have Zhodani intel operatives assigned.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Tavrchedl’….Zhodani Thought Police

Something I've been noodling around with for post-invasion occupation games. Good force to use as regulars against Imperial insurgents on an occupied planet.


The Thought Police can be found on planets occupied by the Zhodani and throughout the consulate. A cross between law enforcement, social services and garrison troops, the Thought Police are small teams of psionic specialists paired with regular security forces.

Proctor platoon
Platoon Headquarters, with;
            Platoon Leader (officer) (Y)
            Platoon NCO (prole)
2 Squads each with;
            Command fire team, with;
                        Team Leader (Y)
                        2 Riflemen
                        Grenadier, with G/L
            2 Fire Teams
                        Team Leader (Y)
                        3 Riflemen

Inquisitor team
                        Tavrchedl’ lead officer (Y)
                        Tavrchedl’ junior officer (Y)
                        2 security troopers with tranq guns and basic body armor

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zhodani Lift Infantry Platoon

Lift Infantry Platoon
Platoon Headquarters, with;
            1 Command Grav Sled (APC) ZTR-70PU
            Platoon CO
            Platoon NCO
            Vehicle commander
Point Defense Section, with;
            1 ZSU-14A Point Defense Sled
            Vehicle commander
3 Rifle Squads, each with;
Squad Leader (Gauss Rifle with 4cm RAM shoot through grenade)
            Vehicle commander
ZTR-70 Lift APC
            1 Fire Team with;
                        Team Leader(Gauss Rifle with 4cm RAM shoot through grenade)
                        2 Riflemen (Gauss Rifle with 4cm RAM shoot through grenade)
                        1 Support Gunner (PGMP-14)
            1 Fire Team with;
                        Team Leader(Gauss Rifle with 4cm RAM shoot through grenade)
                        3 Riflemen (Gauss Rifle with 4cm RAM shoot through grenade)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Imperial Marine Platoon TO&E

Marine Platoon
Platoon Headquarters, with;
            Support APC (Heavy Fusion Gun - Fire Support APC)
            Platoon Leader (Lt) with FGMP-14
            Assistant Platoon Leader (NCO) with FGMP-14
Five squads, each with;
            Marine APC
            Squad leader, with FGMP-14
            2, four man fire teams, each with;
                        Team leader, with FGMP-14
                        Marine, with FGMP-14
                        Marine, with FGMP-14
                        Marine, with FGMP-14
Note 1. All marines equipped with battledress and FGMP-14–even vehicle crew. Medical personnel are equipped with battledress and specialized battlefield trauma equipment.
Note 2. The Marine APC is detailed in section F-6.5 Vehicles.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What's on your mind? Psionics!


In the setting of the Fifth Frontier War, psionics are an ability reserved to the Zhodani Consulate.  Imperial anti-psionic hysteria prevents any official, organized use of psionic talents by the Imperial military. Psionic skills can be classified into four broad talents.

Teleportation: A mental talent that allows the user to displace himself and his personal equipment. The Zhodani form entire units (known as commandos) of teleports that allow for insertion into or behind the lines. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Telekinesis: A mental talent that allows the user to manipulate physical objects. This talent is used by specialist ‘assault’ teams that attempt to use an enemies own weapons against themselves – pulling pins on grenades, flipping safeties and squeezing triggers. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Telepaths: a mental talent that allows the user to identify and read thoughts. Used by recon teams and intelligence officers. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Clairvoyance: The mental ability to ‘see’ a location remotely. Clairvoyants are employed as recon specialists and as part of the support team that finds safe locations to which Commandos can teleport.

Effects of telepathy in the game

Initiative: For each psionic recon or scout team in your force, you may gain an additional die to your initiative roll.

Reactions: psionic recon and scout teams gain a +1 to all reaction die rolls. If attached to a squad, the entire squad benefits from this modifier. A recon or scout team can detect hidden units by rolling a successful TQ check. It may perform this action twice a game before exhausting their mental strength..

Morale: If an officer (platoon leader or higher) has the telepath trait, he may use his talent to motivate his troops twice per game in one of the following ways;
  • he may impart his morale level to a subordinate unit for the duration of the game – even if out of line of sight of the leader. If the leader’s morale changes, so does the unit’s morale. If the leader is killed, the unit takes an immediate morale check using their original morale.
  • He may cause a unit to immediately rally from a shaken result.  

Telekinetic attack: A psionic assault team may launch a telepathic assault against an enemy group. To resolve the attack, treat as a small arms attack that is always at optimal range. Line of sight is not required.

If defender has psi shield helmets, they receive additional defense die equal to their tech level. All Imperial forces above tech level 11 include the psi shield as part of the helmet and armor.

Teleportation: Treat a teleportation into the battlefield as similar to a fast rope insertion. The entry point is marked on the tabletop. Each figure is placed within 4” of the target point. The unit may not act for the remainder of the turn. It may not react in any fashion for the remainder of the turn.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finally the rules you all been waiting weapons! We've used these a bit and they give fairly bloody results. Then again, you are using energy weapons!

Plasma and Fusion Guns

While the core Tomorrow’s War rules cover energy weapons, Traveller has slightly more detailed rules regarding these powerful weapons.

PGMP-12: The original plasma gun. PGMP-12 is a high recoil weapon and has a -1 to all reaction tests. The PGMP-12 does have some capability against armor. AP 2 / AT 1 (Light Support Weapon).
PGMP-13: An advance over the PGMP-12, the PGMP-13 is a high recoil weapon that requires battledress to be effective. PGMP-13 has a -1 to all reaction tests. AP 3 / AT 2 (Medium Infantry Support Weapon).
PMGP-14: PGMP-14 has a gravitic generator to reduce weight and recoil of the weapon. It does not require battledress to use. It does not suffer a penalty to reaction tests. It does not suffer the movement penalty of a medium support weapon.  Treat the PGMP-14 as a small arm that throws 3 AP / 2 AT. (Medium Support Weapon)
FGMP-14: An advance over the PGMP-13, the FGMP-14 contains the hydrogen plasma long enough for fusion to take place improving penetration and damage. This is a high recoil weapon that requires battledress to be effective. FGMP-14 has a -1 to all reaction tests. This is a medium support weapon that throws 3 AP / 2 AT. (Medium Infantry Support Weapon for AT purposes). Personnel casualties are resolved as if the target was hit by a flamethrower.
FGMP-15: Like the PGMP-14, the FGMP-15 has a gravitic generator to reduce weight and recoil of the weapon. It does not require battledress to use. Treat the FGMP-15 as a small arm that throws 3 AP / 2 AT dice. It does not require battledress to use. It does not suffer a penalty to reaction tests. It does not suffer the movement penalty of a medium support weapon. (Medium Infantry Support Weapon for anti-tank fire purposes.)  Personnel casualties are resolved as if the target was hit by a flamethrower.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

'Til they glow in the dark...

The draft of the rules for nukes. Yeah, that's right nukes. The little ones are not too bad, but the bigger ones don't really fit on the table without a crap load of blue on blue going on. We've barely used these. The last game we played had the Marines tossing .1kt tac missiles at the advancing Zho. This is really where PD and damper systems earn their costs back.

These are very much subject to revision. I'm already thinking the damper rules need some tweeks.


Nuclear Weapons

At the scale of the game typically modeled, nuclear weapons are truly ‘overkill’ weapons. Even though the Imperial “rules of war” are designed to restrict their use, when two Empires clash, all bets are off. Nukes can be scaled down to relatively small sizes (as small as 0.1kiloton) with devastating, though limited effects.

Effects of nuclear weapons:

Yield: Yield of the weapon in kilotons.
Crater: Size of the crater in inches
Induced: After detonation, the area remains within the tertiary blast radius is contaminated with induced radiation for 15 turns. After that time, only the are listed as induced radtion is effected. Non-protected personnel that remain in an area of induced radiation for two turns roll on the wound table for the effects of radiation sickness. Protected troops include, combat environment suits, combat armor, battledress, vacc suits and sealed-environment vehicles.
Primary: Radius in inches of the primary blast zone. All figures and vehicle models touching the primary blast zone are KIA and removed from play.
Secondary: Radius in inches of the secondary blast zone. All units within this zone suffer a firepower attack of 8D8. Vehicles use deck armor. No cover modifiers are allowed.
Tertiary: Radius in inches of the tertiary blast zone. All units within this zone suffer a firepower attack of 6D6. Cover modifiers are allowed.

Nuclear Dampers

Technology offers a solution to the problem of nuclear weapons – the nuclear damper. Suppressing the strong nuclear force, the dampers can render a nuclear weapon inert and harmless. If a force has nuclear dampers available, a TQ check is made against each nuclear round fired. A success result indicates the round has been neutralized.
The roll is modified by the tech level of the damping equipment.
TL3 (TL15)   +3 to TQ roll
TL2 (TL 14)  +2 to TQ roll
TL1 (TL 13)  +0 to TQ roll

In addition, a nuclear damper may be used to neutralize an irradiated area on the battlefield. A successful TQ result means that the irradiated area is rendered permanently safe.

A damper can attack a nuclear weapon equipped unit. A successful result indicates that all nuclear rounds present in that unit are neutralized and must be replaced before they can be used.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pulling out the big guns!

 Here are the general rules for Meson guns. Yeah, I know - "Too much club". In our first game, an Imperial Marine meson strike ended the game (taking out the last intact fire teams, plus the squad leaders and platoon leaders). Sadly, the meson gun is one of the clubs in the Marines bag, so I feel compelled to include it.  They don't always show up, but when they do...boom.

The lesson - don't bunch up...and meson guns can really ruin your whole day.

Meson Guns
King of the battlefield, the meson gun fires a beam of meson particles calibrated to decay at the target zone, releasing massive amounts of radiation into the target.

Meson guns are lethal. If a meson strike is successfully called in the results are as follows;
  • All personnel in the blast area are killed. There are no casualty checks.
  • All vehicles in the blast area are destroyed. There are no casualty checks.
  • All buildings and structures are automatically reduced to rubble.
  • Smooth ground becomes broken
  • Field Artillery meson strikes have a 6” radius from the target point.
  • Orbital (spinal) meson strikes will have a larger impact zone corresponding to the size of the meson weapon being used.

Meson screens

The only defense to a meson gun is a meson shield. Meson shields are either fixed defenses (part of a city’s or fortresses’ permanent defenses) or smaller mobile defenses attached to battalion or brigade headquarters units. In some cases, a meson screen unit may appear in a tabletop game.