Monday, September 26, 2016

The Veteran's Jacket

In some regions, it is common to see men and women who have served in an armed force or who have traveled for long journeys across the stars to either purchase or obtain a jacket of this type.

Usually, it is either a jack or mesh jacket, but in some areas a synthetic fiber jacket is the base. The left breast has the individual's name, final rank, and service in all cases. Pilot will wear flight wings appropriate to their service, Army veterans may wear regimental insignia here, and Marines wear the badge of their Corps. Call signs would go here as well. The right often has a command insignia, or may be blank. The right shoulder carries the national or mercenary command logo the wearer is most comfortable with. The left may have a different command's insignia, especially if the wearer served in combat. The back of the jacket, though, is often the most intricately decorated. It often has patches of vehicles the wearer drove, ships served on, major exercises, and historic incidents avoided or participated in. It is almost a visual resume of the wearer's experiences. So if you hear the old Sarge is going out to the frontier, a good retirement gift is a mesh or jack with something to note his service. It might save his life or get him in with the right people.

Cost: Easily twice to three times the base cost for jack or mesh armor. This could be Cr 300 or more.

Legality: Because these are mostly seen as 'keepsakes' and a part of Travelling culture, most law enforcement will not overly harass wearers of these jackets. However, if the 'privilege' is being abused, expect some kind of social sanction, such as being followed, or denouncement by a local veterans organizations.

I got this idea from having seen customized MA-1 jackets by more recent US veterans, and the old flight jackets with custom paint jobs. My grandfather had a custom silk embroidered jacket made for him in Japan during the Korean War.

Adventure Seed: The Old Jacket in the Window
While going about their business in startown, one of the characters (preferably of a military or related background) notes the presence of a veteran's jacket in the window of a pawn shop. The insignia is one of the familiar 179th Fighter Squadron (The Bulldogs), with several familiar looking . Examining the jacket, it turns out it was the property of one Lieutenant Willem Amador, an acquaintance of the character's. A check with the owner turns out that it had been sold to him a few weeks before by a spacer who was in need of quick cash. It's on sale for only Cr 200, well under what these jackets are made for, and it's sentimental value.

1. The jacket was sold by Amador. He was medically retired, and can barely support himself and his family. He will be grateful for any assistance, and would greatly appreciate it's return.
2. Amador died on a journey to or through this world. It was sold by the crew of the ship he was traveling on. His body is preserved in a cryogenic capsule in the starport morgue, with no next of kin on world. It turns out his homeworld is a nearby world. Would the character help an old comrade home one last time?
3. There is a storage chip hidden in the lining, containing a message. It turns out that Amador was murdered while serving as an officer courier. The message tells the characters to turn in the message to the Senior Naval Officer present in a nearby system. What the information does is up to the GM. It may start a war, prevent a war, or draw the characters into a web of espionage.
4. As above, but the message reveals the free trader Amador was on working with a pirate gang. He gives valuable information about where this gang operates from.
5. Amador is very much alive. His jacket was lost on a voyage near the system, and the man who sold it to the pawnbroker was a spacer who was ordered to get rid of it. Help Amador embarrass the man who wanted to be rid of the jacket rather than return it, and earn either a hefty reward, or an ongoing patron, as well as maintain a contact.
6. Amador passed away, but the Bulldogs would like his jacket back. It turns out their main ready room has a collection of fallen members jackets. Return it to them, and become members of their family. Merchant PC's may get charters to support them on operations, and passengers from time to time from the squadron. Who knows what help a network of fighter pilots might offer you.

Image by Rod Thompson at http://alesmiter.blogspot.com/
UPDATE: 9:46 PM:  here's my grandfather's jacket from the Korean War era.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Uniforms and Rank Insignia In My Traveller Universe

I admit: I enjoy militaria, and can get really engrossed in the minituae of uniforms. If I wore them more often, I would get a set of liberty cuffs for my dress blues. My preference for the Imperial Navy in Traveller is heavily based on modern, since World War II, navy uniforms

Interestingly, the Navy has not recieved the sort of description of it's  uniforms in the materials I have available. GURPS Traveller: Ground Forces notes:
The Marines of two levels of full dress uniform. The first, more common outfit is dress black. This uniform is a variation of the Navy's dress uniform and is cut the same way, a black high-collared, single-breasted jacket, trimmed in Maroon, with a prominent Imperial sunburst. (p.39)
Of course, the Navy's would have a gold sunburst, and no maroon trim. Marin J. Dougherty's Sector Fleet, provides for a "Duty Suit" on page 88, noting "The standard duty uniform of the naval personnel is a TL-14 tailored vacuum suit," and goes on to describe it as more of a plug-in to a ship's system than an independent duty suit. Standard vacc suits are available for personnel whose duties require them.

Sean Connery in "The Hunt for Red October." Image from IMDB
So, I am thinking the standard dress uniform looks kind of like the picture at right, except a large gold Imperial sunburst on one sleeve at the seam. I also would replace the Russian-style rank insignia with a more common one. I prefer the ranks of the Royal Canadian Navy as a basis, with the obvious addition of the Royal Navy Admiral of the Fleet sleeve insignia. Part of it is how Naval officer insignia, especially sleeve insignia, are easily recognized internationally. Another is how the Imperial Navy, like the Third Imperium, draws it's legitimacy and past from the Rule of Man, which was set up by the Terran Navy, who I would think, being descended from the various National contingents of the Interstellar Wars, would have standardized on insignia quickly. It may be parochial, but it's also an easy visual shorthand, and immediately understandable.

Artist:  http://robcaswell.deviantart.com/
Found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/travellerrpg/
Then, there's the Scout Service. Largely an informal group of people doing a great deal of things for the Imperium. In my Traveller Universe, they don't really wear official uniforms. Yes, they will have a largely similar appearance, but that's more from function. I am thinking of some sort of European Imperialist trying to set up a 'government' in Darkest Africa circa 1870, or Roy Chapman Andrews in Outer Mongolia. Hardwearing clothing, sometimes in various shades of tan, or whatever color the scout desires. The cut and design may be different, but there is always the blood-red on black sunburst, and field office emblem. Larger ships, like the Lightning-class cruisers assigned to the IISS are going to have more official uniforms, and may even wear airline style epaulets designating rank. Members of the bureaucracy working in offices are going to mostly be in pretty standard civilian dress for their jobs. Personnel, administrators would be dressed for an office, scientists will be appropriately set up for a lab, base crew ready for work in the worst possible weather. Office bound types in suits would wear the blood red sunburst as a lapel pin, while many ground crew would also have a badge or jersey denoting function. X-boat pilots, as part of their complete disregard for other sophonts and good taste, wear Aloha shirts and cargo shorts. The other exception would be security forces for large scout bases. They could wear typical police or army duty uniforms, but with Scout Service badges.

So, comments, questions, or do you think I am barking up the wrong tree here?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

CPL Bartlemo Afari, Marine Ship's Boat Pilot and the Crew

I have had this character profile done for a while, I am just being lazy here.

Imperial Marine Corporal Bartelemo Afari is a native Terran who joined the Imperial Marines at the age of 18. Noting his incredible reflexes, he was quickly trained as Marine Flight Crew. Like many natives of humaniti's homeworld, Afari had to prove his loyalty to the Imperium, considering it was about a year after the end of the occupation. He found himself in a closely watched role as flight crew for the Imperial Legation, where his talent got him noticed as an excellent Marine and loyalty for the Imperium.

The next term, then Marine 1st Class Afari was assigned to support anti-terrorism forces in the Rim, where he quickly became the go-to man for flying. He worked with now GMT2 Chishan as well, who was supporting some of the operations as part of a Naval Fire Support Team, the guys calling in the fire from "Big Daddy", in support against occasions where insurgents had found heavy weapons.

He has spent the past year as a duty small craft pilot assigned to Naval Base Terra, and was on frequent runs to Luna. His assignment to the Boxing Kangaroo is much awaited as a return to a more operational role.

Mongoose Traveller 1e Stats
STR 8
DEX C
END 9
INT 8
EDU 9
SOC 8

Animals 0
Athletics 0
Battle Dress 0
Carouse 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1
Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0
Melee (Blade) 1
Mechanic 1
Pilot (Small Craft) 2
Stealth 1
Streetwise 0
Tactics (Ground) 0

The rest of the crew is going to get very short write ups, pretty much a UPP, and skills. They will get further descriptions when they

Spacehand Apprentice Amos Owen 889986, Human Male Age 20, Discipline 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 0, Gunner (Turrets) 1, Pilot 0, Mechanic 0, Vacc Suit 0, Zero-G 0

Able Spacehand Opal Hall 698683, Human Female Age 21, Discipline 1, Gun Combat (Slug Pistol) 0, Gunner (Turrets) 1, Pilot 1, Mechanic 0, Vacc Suit 0, Zero-G 0

Spacehand Recruit Ollie Castillo 887768, Human Male Age 19, Discipline 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 0, Gunner (Turrets) 1, Pilot 0, Mechanic 0, Vacc Suit 0, Zero-G 0

Fireman Silas Kidd 758796, Human Male age 21,  Discipline 0, Engineer (Jump Drive) 1, Gun Combat (Slug Rifle) 0, Pilot 0, Mechanic 1, Vacc Suit 1, Zero-G 0

Fireman Apprentice Valentina Maurer 764885, Human Female age 20,  Discipline 0, Engineer (Maneuver Drive) 1, Gun Combat (Slug Rifle) 0, Pilot 0, Mechanic 1, Vacc Suit 0, Zero-G 0

Marine First Class Comgan Appledorn B78956, Human Male Age 21 Athletics 0, Battledress 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Perform (Bagpipes) 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 0

Marine First Class Sadaf Fini 8A7676, Human Female Age 20 Athletics 0, Battledress 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Perform (Drums) 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 0

Marine Adan Hoedmaeker 878976, Human Male Age 19 Athletics 0, Battledress 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 0

Marine Jian Yap 886686, Human Male Age 20 Athletics 0, Battledress 0, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Medic 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 1

Marine First Class Dionyz Franke A98774, Human Male Age 21 Athletics 0, Battledress 0, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Mechanic 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 0

Marine Azubuike Binici 77B648, Human Male Age 19, Athletics 0, Battledress 0, Flyer (Grav) 1, Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1, Heavy Weapons (Manpack Artillery) 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Stealth 0, Tactics (Ground) 0

Friday, September 2, 2016

Classic Traveller Generation For Fun

So last night I rolled up a couple of quick Classic Traveller characters using my copy of The Traveller Book. It was pleasantly fast, only about half an hour or so for two characters. My only complaint is how unforgiving the re-enlistment rolls are in CT. I rather like how Mongoose Traveller pulls re-enlistment in to promotion, as it gives the player more decisions to make.

Here is who I rolled up:

Major Arne Hilton 787AA6, 2 Terms Army, Rifle-1, SMG-1 Grav Vehicle-1, Electronics-1, Tactics-1, CR 50000

Commander Baroness Marian Burch 4759AC 5 Terms Navy, Foil-1, Administration-2, Computer-2, Engineering-1, Vacc Suit-1, Pilot-1, Gunnery-1, CR 26000, Foil, 2 High Passage, Pension Cr4000

Got any ideas on how to flesh them out? They may still be useful as NPC's in any Traveller edition.

Below the fold are the die rolls for generation.

UPDATE: My read on the Major, as well.