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Easy E
06-05-2005, 02:20
Greetings,

In several fluff references they make comments on mercenary troops and pirate forces. This has lead me to speculate on the nature of mercenaries in 40K. What ideas do you have around this topic.

How prevalent are these forces in the galaxy?
How do they obtain equipment (such as warp capable crafts, tanks, lasguns, food, etc.)?
Are they organized into a larger organization similar to a Guild or are they independent organizations?
How are they employed?
Who employs them?
How are they paid?
What type of organization do they have?
How do the other major forces view them?
What races provide mercenaries (major races and minor)?
How are these forces integrated with standard military forces?

This is an area that allows for a great deal of opportunity for modeling, creativity, and fluff that I would like to explore. Any thoughts you could share and fluff references would be great!

Thanks.

Getz
06-05-2005, 06:00
By the sounds of some of the fluff, Mercenaries are as common as muck in some sectors. I think that GW have really missed a trick by not doing something similar to the "Regiments of Renown" for 40K.

Sai-Lauren
06-05-2005, 09:38
Greetings,

In several fluff references they make comments on mercenary troops and pirate forces. This has lead me to speculate on the nature of mercenaries in 40K. What ideas do you have around this topic.

There's very little fluff, but IMO:-

How prevalent are these forces in the galaxy?
In the core of the imperium - virtually non-existant, on the fringes and close to disputed territory, more common.

How do they obtain equipment (such as warp capable crafts, tanks, lasguns, food, etc.)?
Battlefield salvage, gifts from patrons, black/grey-market trading.

Are they organized into a larger organization similar to a Guild or are they independent organizations?
Probably independant under a mercenary commander - if they were too organised they'd be a threat and hunted down accordingly.

How are they employed?
Patron makes contact with the commander or a representative, or they travel to a warzone hoping to get employed by the theatre commander.

Who employs them?
Planetary governors who need a little extra military help, inquisitors, rogue traders, anyone who can afford them bascially.

How are they paid?
Money (including gems, precious metal) possibly things like local artefacts or works of art to be sold off elsewhere, food, fuel, armaments and ammunition. Whatever the patron and the commander/paymaster agree to.

What type of organization do they have?
Ranging from highly organised to a barely controlled rabble, most would be comparable to imperial guard.

How do the other major forces view them?
Some might be highly regarded, most would see them as a potential threat (if they'll fight for you for money, will they fight for your opponent if a better offer comes along?)

What races provide mercenaries (major races and minor)?
Human, Kroot, possibly races like Hrud, Nicassiar (spelling?) and Demiurg. Dark Eldar might act as mercenaries, taking their pay in slaves.

How are these forces integrated with standard military forces?
Depends on the situation. They might be placed to stiffen the backbone of local pdfs - maybe even taking overall command of the conflict. Most likely they would be given an officer at the campaign headquarters as liason, given targets which if they complete would be useful to the effort but not too debilitating if they're not and let loose.

milmot
06-05-2005, 09:44
Well the Kroot are well known for being Mercs.

But i would assume the majority of mercs would be veteran imperial guards that no longer have a war to fight.
eg war is over and they are to restless to colonise a world
renegade PDF troops or navy troops
guns of hire type people banding together

Although come to think of it, i doubt the imps would hire much mercs as they have the resource of the entire empire at their disposal. So more likely small independent individuals or private companies would hire them - rogue traders, planetary governors to bolster their forces. Maybe even some inquisitors.

Most likely would have adhoc organisation i'm guessing, but the larger bands i would imagine would follow that of the imp guard structure.

I doubt other races would have mercs as "getting paid to wage war" is a human concept. i think...

Minister
06-05-2005, 10:18
Another major employer of mercinaries would be the Navigis Nobilitae, who have a great demand for private troops but lack any large-scale infrastructure with which to raise them, and so hire mercinaries and raise slave armies by the regiment.

hairyman
06-05-2005, 11:31
I doubt other races would have mercs as "getting paid to wage war" is a human concept. i think...

Orks? Sure there'd be a mercenary band or two of orks selling themselves to the highest bidder round a local sector?

I always thought a mercenary kill team would be especially good. You know, led by a deserter marine, couple of random orks, a kroot and some human guys. God knows if they'd ever actually all get along, but it'd look pretty cool.

Anyone think there's room for a mercenary codex?

Sai-Lauren
06-05-2005, 12:10
Anyone think there's room for a mercenary codex?
Maybe, but it would have to be well done to stop it being turned into a power-gamers paradise. Maybe as doctrines (assuming guard as the basis), or similar rules sets for other races?

hairyman
06-05-2005, 12:44
Yeah, it would have to be done very well... but if they did it as a fluff/conversion opportunity & made things overly expensive for what you got, then I think it could be done. I agree you'd have to be very careful, though, to stop people min maxing across lists (drop Ld all round for starters??). I've actually got a few ideas and rules and the like, but I'm too scared of Brimstone to post them all here :p

Not being a 40k lore expert, (and as the original postee/poster/posterette asked), would the fluff support this?

edit: maybe a few different lists in one codex...? eldar pirates, deserting marines, Guard mercs, Xenos mercs...?????

Easy E
07-05-2005, 00:25
The main hang-up I have with Mercenary forces is how they travel from one system to another. If you are mercenary unit X and your employer Z no longer needs you, how do you get to Employer Y.

I would assume travel on Warp capable craft is very expensive and/or restricted by the Imperium. They could own their own ships, but that too would be expensive and there is the problem about Navigators. This leads me to think that mercenaries maybe a local/planetary institution but not interstellar. This dove-tails into how you view the nature of Interstellar travel in 40K.

The second area that interests me is who are the mercenaries. Former IG seems unlikely as a regiment that is resettled is near the end of its fighting efficiency. granted a few of the regiments members may still be spoiling/desperate enough to keep fighting for money, but would they be enough to make a credible force? If they are former IG from several planets then we circle back to how they transport themselves to gather.

Do Xenos mercenaries and Human mercenaries mix? Are there different technology levels mixed together. For example; a Kroot with a rifle and a human with a Lascannon in the same unit? How about Tarellian Dog Soldier infantry mixed in with an Armored Unit?

Getz
07-05-2005, 00:45
If you want to play some form of Mercenary force, LatD could be a good place to start...

The different flavours of Mutants can be used to represent differnt aliens. Traitors for human Mercs. The low Ld neatly represents the fact that they're fighting for money and may bug out when the going gets tough and the restricted access to (overpriced) wargear and armour is characterful too.

sulla
07-05-2005, 01:09
Do Xenos mercenaries and Human mercenaries mix? Are there different technology levels mixed together. For example; a Kroot with a rifle and a human with a Lascannon in the same unit? How about Tarellian Dog Soldier infantry mixed in with an Armored Unit?

I hope that different races mercanaries don't mix. IMO, that's where DOW went wrong in fantasy. you could have skinks, dwarves and elves all in the same mercenary list.

Tau should be the only race decadent enough to trust aliens within their own army on the field. Expanding Tau should be where niche aliens (who are never going to get their own codex) should happen. Tarrellians and squats or their replacements could turn up in an expanded Tau book without needing an entire armylist.

For DE or Ork mercenaries, just play that army. They wouldn't make themselves part of another force, instead remaining independant.

As for human mercenaries, either traits for IG or a chapter approved list based on IG (or a combination of the two) would suit IMO. It could also double as a rogue trader list.

Sulla

Khaine's Messenger
07-05-2005, 01:17
Anyone think there's room for a mercenary codex?

To be honest...? As an armylist, no. Something like Regiments of Reknown, sure, and a judicious use of the "allies" rule like the DoW units in Ogre Kingdoms, but a mercs list, no. The "tilea/estalia" DoW armylist for FB is at best a "blank slate" army, and there are lots of 40k armies that could be described that way, especially considering the extent to which people have historically used the counts-as rules. So...no. /Edit/ At best, a merc. codex would/should be background heavy and mostly a modeller's/collector's guide.

Easy E
07-05-2005, 04:30
I agree that the LaTD or IG traits could be used to field a merc type list.

What I would really like to know more about through educated guess, background sources, creativity would be how such a force would operate in the 40K universe.

If I was a Mercenary commander how would I recruit people. I'm assuming I would not be able to go to any old Hive world and start gathering a large force of armed men. The authorities might not like it.

Therefore, I would assume they would have to gather under my banner. Two problems then. How would they find out that I was recruiting Mercs and how would they get to where I was?

These are the first obstacles.

Getz
07-05-2005, 15:33
Well, if memory serves me right, at least some Navigators work Freelance, and even they didn't mudane interstellar transport has to go on to move cargo around. Therefore, there must be some form of commercial interstellar shipping infastructure.

Where there's a will, there tends to be a way. If you're rich enough to hire mercenaries then you're probably rich enough to hire a ship to move them around.

Also, the larger and more successful mercenary organisations would probably take pains to invest in a warp capable transport and a Navigator of their own.

venusianfurs
09-05-2005, 16:16
By mercenaries, are we talking about Space Pirates? Or would they be in a class of their own? Plus how plausible would either of these be in the current fluff - eg. would they have their own ships, vast and expensive as that would be? Could they ever conceiveably steal or buy one?

Talkie Toaster
09-05-2005, 18:09
By mercenaries, are we talking about Space Pirates? Or would they be in a class of their own? Plus how plausible would either of these be in the current fluff - eg. would they have their own ships, vast and expensive as that would be? Could they ever conceiveably steal or buy one?
Presumably they could steal commercial transports by booking passage then going psycho inflight, but I'm guessing most spare pirates operate within systems (since ships must have to travel for days to get from the outside of systems to the cetnral planets).

mikemanc
09-05-2005, 23:11
In one of the Eisenhorn books (Hereticus?) he is attacked by a Mercenary force.

From memory they come from a planet inhabited by clans who would send groups from a few men upwards upon payment. The payment could be made in any form the tribe leader felt appropriate. These men were well trained, I think especially in hand to hand combat and wore Carapace armour. I think they also had some pretty high tech equipment.

Each member had tatooes which stated that he was a soldier of fortune from planet X and that if he were returned there a ransom would be paid.

Probably best represented by Guard with carapace, hardened fighter and some other doctrines.


All of this is from memory and I can't be bothered to walk to the other side of my room and pick up the book :D

Easy E
10-05-2005, 01:01
Well, if memory serves me right, at least some Navigators work Freelance, and even they didn't mudane interstellar transport has to go on to move cargo around. Therefore, there must be some form of commercial interstellar shipping infastructure.

Agreed, there must be an interstellar shipping infrastructure. However, I thought warp capable ships were run by charter captains. These charters were ancient and valueable. Would a charter captain lose his charter by moving bodies of soldiers (human and Xenos) and their gear that aren't Imperial forces? Or is their not enough oversight for anyone to notice? Is it possible that Xeno traders could fill this transport role?


Also, the larger and more successful mercenary organisations would probably take pains to invest in a warp capable transport and a Navigator of their own.

So your of the opinion that space travel is fairly easy to obtain in the 40K universe. This would make things much simpler. I was under the impression that it was not easy and strictly regulated.


By mercenaries, are we talking about Space Pirates? Or would they be in a class of their own? Plus how plausible would either of these be in the current fluff - eg. would they have their own ships, vast and expensive as that would be? Could they ever conceiveably steal or buy one?

Precisely my point! This discussion involves pirates or Mercenaries.


In one of the Eisenhorn books (Hereticus?) he is attacked by a Mercenary force.?

Thanks, this is our first "Fluff" reference. I do not have enough access to the Black Library. I'm not a Harlequin afterall.

Let's assume space transport can be provided by Xeno traders, unscrupulous charter captains, or other means. This still leaves the question of how mercenaries (or pirates) are recruited. Is it world based like the IG or is it more ecclectic. Do mercenary forces contain humans and Xenos? How do mercenaries know who is hiring and who isn't?

Getz
10-05-2005, 01:41
Agreed, there must be an interstellar shipping infrastructure. However, I thought warp capable ships were run by charter captains. These charters were ancient and valueable. Would a charter captain lose his charter by moving bodies of soldiers (human and Xenos) and their gear that aren't Imperial forces? Or is their not enough oversight for anyone to notice? Is it possible that Xeno traders could fill this transport role?

Well, the Imperial Beaurocracy is vast and impenetrable. I guess if enough money was involved people would take the risk and hope it went unnoticed in their lifetime. I also believe that Xenos traders would be much happier to oblige. Although they rarely appear in the Game or Fluff, we do know that numerous Xenos civilisation survive and even thrive within the Imperial reach. These Xenos would not be in any way restricted by Imperial laws and could transport Mercenaries pretty much on demand. After all, the "playable" races aren't the only warp capable species out there. The H'rud and Nicassar are both definately capable of warp travel.


So your of the opinion that space travel is fairly easy to obtain in the 40K universe. This would make things much simpler. I was under the impression that it was not easy and strictly regulated.

I'm not so sure of that. I'd guess that warp travel is available if you are prepared to go to the (considerable) trouble to aquire it, but it isn't nearly as simple as, say, chartering a ship or aeroplane is today.

My point is that aquiring their own Warp capable transport would be something that Mercenaries would aspire to, even if it involved firing Xenos ships and navigators. You can make a lot of money in the Mercenary business (15th century history proves that) but if you are unable to leave a star system after your employer welches on a deal it won't do you much good...

Delicious Soy
10-05-2005, 01:56
Larger Merc companies would probably have their own ships. There's more than one way to traverse warp space than navigators. If they operated in a star cluster, short computer navigated jumps would be all they needed.

The main problem with mercs, human or otherwise, is that they are heretical in the Imperium. Any purchase has to be clandestine, Xenos mercs for obvious reasons and humans because the have turned from the Light of the Emperor.

It is possible however that the Depmartmento Munitorum has special regiments that can be sub-contracted for a price if the governor believes their response has been inadequate, they are a section of the Administratum afterall.

Easy E
10-05-2005, 02:21
It is possible however that the Depmartmento Munitorum has special regiments that can be sub-contracted for a price if the governor believes their response has been inadequate, they are a section of the Administratum afterall.

That is an interesting angle that I have not thought of. It also would ease the question of space travel. If your a "sanctioned" imperial force than you can travel without restriction. Of course that leaves Xeno mercenaries out.


I'm not so sure of that. I'd guess that warp travel is available if you are prepared to go to the (considerable) trouble to aquire it, but it isn't nearly as simple as, say, chartering a ship or aeroplane is today.

My point is that aquiring their own Warp capable transport would be something that Mercenaries would aspire to, even if it involved firing Xenos ships and navigators. You can make a lot of money in the Mercenary business (15th century history proves that) but if you are unable to leave a star system after your employer welches on a deal it won't do you much good....

I see your points and they ae all valid. Where does this leave us?

1. We all agree that interstellar travel is essential if you are to be a successful Mercenary force.

2. Interstellar travel is not cheap

I propose that on the Eastern fringe at the very borders of Imperial space a loose structure (or guild) of mercenary forces exist. The mercenary captains are registered into the guild for a fee. The guild uses these fees to purchase or hire interstellar ships. The guild sends a ship around to pre-assigned spaceports to pick up potential recruits that are willing to be hired on. (Or the merc captain can do his own recruiting on planet) The captains can then recruit these men and either begin a new force or replace losses in their own. The guild can also act as a holding agent for mercenary payment (for a fee, of course). Finally, the guild acts as an arbitrator in disputes to attempt to avoid hostile conflict between merc and ex-employers.

This solves the problem of recruitment, transportation, and payment.

The main problem is (as Delicious Soy pointed out) that mercenaries are heretical in the Imperium. They would not be tolerated and may in fact be hunted down by the authorities. (I wonder how this was dealt with in Hereticus?)

milmot
10-05-2005, 05:38
to solve the interstellar travel problem:

mercenaries for hire. must provide own transport.

milmot
10-05-2005, 05:42
also, i think mercenary bands are likely to be created from groups of IG deserters.

Perhaps they were ordered on a suicide mission (eg WW1 style attacks). on transit to the warzone, they conviced (via force perhaps) the captain of the transport and his crew to change course and make a run for it.

another source of mercenaries could be from experianced arbiters who realised they could make more money hiring out their skills. they could accumulate more members from other arbiters, or guns of hire, thugs, convicts escaping from the law, deserted or abandoned imp guard etc

Kensai X
10-05-2005, 05:57
Well see the problem with Regiments of Renown in 40k is that it wouldn't be fluffy because in WHFB there on one world and mercenary band doing good in a country can be known worldwide. Yet in 40k how is a group of people supposed to rise up and above the standards set by billions of other people on one planet let alone an Imperium of a million worlds. That would take away from the "Renown" perspective of it.

Yet still I'd love to see the return of the original Last Chancers....man they were fun.

Easy E
11-05-2005, 02:47
Yes, I agree that human mercenaries would be composed of former PDF and IG troops. However, let's not forget the hive gangers, rogue traders, and mutants.

As far as "Regiments of Renown" in 40K. I agree that they would probably not be known across the galaxy. Just like Gaunt's Ghosts are not known in every planet across the Imperium. However, you can bet they would be known locally. For instance, around the Maelstrom everyone might know of Bob's Discount Mercenary Boyz.

Do mercenary bands exist within the Imperium or only on the outskirts?
Would a license be required from teh Departmento Munitorum, and if a license is required could they be considered auxilary forces for the Imperium?

Edit: This link has helped me solve some of my interstellar transport concerns. http://www.specialist-games.com/battlefleetgothic/assets/pdf/official/fabimp.pdf

Sai-Lauren
11-05-2005, 09:31
The main problem is (as Delicious Soy pointed out) that mercenaries are heretical in the Imperium. They would not be tolerated and may in fact be hunted down by the authorities. (I wonder how this was dealt with in Hereticus?)
Heretical? Not really. Amongst other things, one of the duties of every planetary governor is to provide defences for what he's in charge of. Whilst employing mercenaries may not be approved, they might be sanctioned for situations where a planet cannot provide sufficient defensive forces (for example a low population agri-world) to repel a stronger attack than normally received, in lieu of regular imperial forces being sent - providing a veteran core to an otherwise inexperienced army. The inquisition may then show up and ask why there was insufficient troops, but if the governor gives good answers (and the inquisitors in a good mood), he'll probably get away with it.

Transport. There might be one or two merc forces who have their own vessels, but it's more likely IMO that they simply hire space on the next transport of sufficient size going somewhere near their next warzone. Most would have at best a few light ground vehicles (like the 40k equivalent of trucks, jeeps etc) as transports, they're not going to have anything like a baneblade, and military tech (like Leman Russes) would be uncommon at best.

Easy E
17-05-2005, 01:35
Amongst other things, one of the duties of every planetary governor is to provide defences for what he's in charge of. Whilst employing mercenaries may not be approved, they might be sanctioned for situations where a planet cannot provide sufficient defensive forces (for example a low population agri-world) to repel a stronger attack than normally received, in lieu of regular imperial forces being sent - providing a veteran core to an otherwise inexperienced army.

Hmmm. So mercenaries are tolerated in Imperial space provided they are hired to protect Imperial worlds?

I envisioned 1 large mercenary group contracting with more than 1 planet for protection when called upon. In return they are allowed to recruit and are paid a regular maintenance fee.

For Example, Mercenary Force A is contracted With planets 1 through 6. Planet 3, an agri-world, allows 1 recruitment facility and provides enough grain to feed 1,000 men per year. The mercenaries in return provide advisors and trainers to the local PDF at all times. In times of crisis they will provide 5,000 men plus equipment, 25 AFV's, and 5 MBT's. Planet 6 , an industrial world, allows 3 recruitment facilities and 1 logistics base. They also provide 5 MBT's and 10 AFV's plus parts per year. In exchange the Mercenaries provide 2,000 men year round and will muster the entire force in times of crisis. The mercenaries themselves are gambling that all of their contracts will not be attacked at once.

This arrangement will allow an Imperial Governor to bolster his forces at a lower yearly operating cost than maintaining an equivalent number of PDF. They can then conscript less, and have those bosies working on another more productive project.

P.S. I now feel that transport to where they need to go will be regular enough for mercenaries to travel where they need to. The costs would be paid by the employers. Once on planet they will recruit as needed.

Delicious Soy
17-05-2005, 02:13
Heretical? Not really. Amongst other things, one of the duties of every planetary governor is to provide defences for what he's in charge of. Whilst employing mercenaries may not be approved, they might be sanctioned for situations where a planet cannot provide sufficient defensive forces (for example a low population agri-world) to repel a stronger attack than normally received, in lieu of regular imperial forces being sent - providing a veteran core to an otherwise inexperienced army. The inquisition may then show up and ask why there was insufficient troops, but if the governor gives good answers (and the inquisitors in a good mood), he'll probably get away with it.That may hold true provided that the mercenaries are only human and only ever fight with the Imperiumm which would make them more military sub-contractors than mercenaires. True mercenaries (ie fighting for whoever pays the most, even if they are xenos) would be branded as traitors and hunted by the nearest Ordo Hereticus taskforce.

Easy E
17-05-2005, 04:29
So we may have two paradigms for mercenaries in 40K. We have the "Sub-contractors" that are all human and possibly licensed by (if not part) of the Departmento Munitorum. Then we have the "true" mercenaries that can be composed of humans, humans and xenos, or just xenos (and maybe even mutants). They are definitely not looked kindly upon by Imperial authorities when in Imperial space.

This leads me to wonder what status Kroot mercenaries play as they can be used in Imperial armies. Are some xeno considered acceptable as mercenary troops and others considered unacceptable?

Delicious Soy
17-05-2005, 05:21
On more centralised and older Imperial worlds I'd say it would result in iquistorial investigation (resulting in the 'you saved the planet but not in the right way' execution). Out on the borders, like the Eastern Fringe, governors would be far more likely to get away with it.

olbivion
17-05-2005, 08:16
it helps to think of the imperium as an empire of islands seperated by rough seas...
just becuase the local sea trafic might be monitered and they ultimatly have to answer to the central authority on earth doesn't mean they aren't far more reliant and invovled with lord slugworth on the local agriworld that supplys the food to their waystation, or lord hobbler on the nearby hive worth that makes the filters for their life support system...
and if one of these lords (or their political suporters) wants to get some clandestine merchandice delivered theres not much stopping joe bloggs the glorifyed sucurity guard looking the other way when an unregistered ship floats into the the sector...
hell if said ship offered joe bloggs a decent kick back he'd probly let them pass with or without slugworths say so

Sai-Lauren
17-05-2005, 08:47
Delicious Soy and Easy E.

That's mostly my interpretation, I'm really working off modern day mercenaries, who're more usually employed as things like bodyguards for workers in hot zones (places like Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq and so on). It's only going to be the occasional place in the world where they're actually operating as combat units in a conflict.


True mercenaries (ie fighting for whoever pays the most, even if they are xenos) would be branded as traitors and hunted by the nearest Ordo Hereticus taskforce.
If you don't mind me saying, I think you've got a slightly distorted view of mercenaries. Above all they're totally professional soldiers (no adrenaline junkies or psychos, they'll analyse every situation, look to turn it to their advantage where they can and know when to retreat to a better one when they can't, quite a lot of modern mercs are ex-elite forces - Paras, Marines and up) - some may get greedy and switch sides for a better offer, but for the majority, their reputation is all. Betray an employer and they're unlikely to work again.

But, yes, there probably are mercenary armies who're considered traitors by the imperium - they may be, or at least on the way to becoming, pirates. Would an imperial governor employ them? If he had no other option, yes. The imperium's a big place, and he may have enough time to hide the records (especially if he doesn't ask too many questions, pays cash and otherwise keeps his nose clean) before the inquisition show up "wanting a word".

Would xenos mercs be barred by the imperium. I don't think so either. Yes, the more puritan inquisitors might have something to say about it (such as light the pyre under the heretic scum), but some might view it as better that they die than one precious human. Don't forget that the blood axes are virtually treated as mercs by the imperium in order to set the orks to squabbling amongst themselves, rather than uniting against the imperium.

Azhrahg
17-05-2005, 10:42
Also remember that even standard IG has xenoz hired to fight, eg. ogryns and ratlings. In my eyes this is crap, and they should have been removed from the list, but as they are not, we must accept that not all imperial forces is so hung up on the "suffer not the alien to live" ideology. An other example that has already been mentioned is the kroots.

Azhrahg.

olbivion
17-05-2005, 11:41
Also remember that even standard IG has xenoz hired to fight, eg. ogryns and ratlings.
no... it has abhumans and they've been in the game far longer than any real crap like s4 t4 marines...

Azhrahg
17-05-2005, 11:52
no... it has abhumans and they've been in the game far longer than any real crap like s4 t4 marines...

Well calling them mutants hardly makes it any better - hmm these mutants are a threat to our galactic order, so lets train them as snipers, and attach them in cells to various IG regiments, so they can easily infiltrate all of our beloved Empire...

Sure they are old, but that's hardly an excuse for inconsistancy - I didn't like them any better in 2nd edition. I know WD had an abhuman article, but Ratlings (and ogryns) have a homeplanet, and is thus different from most other - especially because of the role ratlings have. I can accept equiping big brutes with lowtech weapons and point them at your enemy, but make them capable of hurting your organization by making them snipers is ridicoules from an Imperial logic.

Sorry that was off topic, I'll stop here.

Azhrahg

Iuris
17-05-2005, 12:11
Actually, several premises of this discussion are not necessarily true.

First, "Mercenary" forces are present even on Holy Terra itself. However, they are usually referred to as "Security forces" and similar. The Imperium is a varied and violent place, and everyone who could afford it would likely purchase some people to protect him. Not everyone wants to be a gunslinger himself, remember? There are thousands of rich merchants who do not want to spend hours on the shooting range every day but can afford a bodyguard or two (add thousand for the really rich).

While these bodyguards may not seem to be the same as MERCENARIES, they are available all over the Imperium and high demand makes for large organizations. And when trade wars overheat, guess who get's hired to go to offensive battles, for some extra "hazard pay"?


The Imperium necessarily tolerates these (even in the lower case, as long as "things are kept under control"). After all, even Administratum higher ups may feel they could use some extra bodyguards, with some actual armour (to encourage actually taking the bullet) and at least a pea shooter (IG has lasguns "made by the lowest bidding contractor", remember?).


I hope I have also demonstrated that mercenaries do not unnecessarily have to be an interplanetary enterprise. After all, when times are right, even a post-medieval Terra is enough for a thriving mercenary community...



However, a "Mercenary Regiment" is another thing. A Mercenary force comparable to the battle forces we are used to (regiments, warhosts, companies,...) are rare, mostly for the reasons already presented. However, specialized elite forces operating under contract with the administratum should be quite possible, having whole territories assigned to them to actually govern (under supreme administratum authority, of course, but who in the administratum doesn't have too much extra work to and welcome not having to write THOSE reports as well). We do have a precedent - the Space marines. (who says only space marines got autonomy, rogue traders did, too...)

Iuris
17-05-2005, 12:24
However, even regular mercenaries could be included in a WH40K battle. When full out war comes, mercenaries often stay where they are (if they don't break contract to get away, that is).

Possible scenarios:
-Mercenaries make a brave last stand against the onrushing cultists who just finished storming the planetary governor's palace. (MERC vs. IG/Lost and the damned)
-A wealthy noble is stranded in quarantene. Mercenaries are hired to get him out. (MERC ve. Imperium)
-A wealthy noble wants something (xenos artifact, competitor's ancient but unrepealed business license, beautiful neighbour (who says they have to be GOOD)) - and mercs are sent to get it.
.
.
.

Generally, imagine a rich, ambitious noble's whim and add mercenaries, and presto - there you have it.


As for rules, the characteristics of a mercenary force would be:
-variety
-higher level of equipment (where cost is the limiting factor)

Suggested "masked lists":
-IG heavy on the veterans, who get to mix weapons a lot
-all inquisitors, you just rename units to suit your needs
-guardian heavy Eldar
-Dark eldar

Iuris
17-05-2005, 12:32
Xenos on mercenaries: Get'em where you can.

-Tau: we know.
-Eldar: they manipulate whole armies and you would not expect them to consider the possibilities of "gold instead of spirit stones"?
-Dark eldar: whatever gets the job done (get eaten insted of paid...)

Easy E
18-05-2005, 06:02
I hope I have also demonstrated that mercenaries do not unnecessarily have to be an interplanetary enterprise. After all, when times are right, even a post-medieval Terra is enough for a thriving mercenary community...

Yes, you have made your point rather well. I agree that there will always be people hired to do violence and to protect others from said violence. I also agree that mercenaries are most likely a home grown affair the way you describe them.

However, I am actually more interested in large bodies of mercenary forces. For example, in the Eye of Terror codex it states that mercenaries from all over the segmentum were gathering under the banner of Chaos. Does this imply that small groups of "bodyguards" made their way to the Eye to sign on with Abbaddon? Or does it imply that larger bodies (regiments, armies, chapters, What have you...) were willing to make the journey to swell the ranks of Chaos?

Small mercenary forces fit weel into the background of Necromunda or Inquisitor games. They do not fit well into the background for 40K or Epic. Is it possible for mercenary forces to fit into 40K or Epic background-wise?

Iuris
18-05-2005, 08:31
Well, it would be possible.

Mercenary advantages:
-buy exactly what you need. Cannon fodder is generally available. Veterans, specialists, extra equipment are not. They could be cheaper, come withour political baggage (Want tanks? Sure, pay for them AND let the Adeptus Mechanicus build ANOTHER $$$$$$$$ temple, exteritorial, with tech guard that is not under your influence.)
-no need to maintain -once the battle is over, they pack up and leave (and leave half of their salary in your spaceport, er, houses of negotiable affection)
-the mercenary is loyal to the paycheck. See the advantages? (See the disadvantages, too?)

First, nomadic mercenary forces are possible. A rogue trader could make a lot of money by using his ship as a base and travelling to conflict zones to ply the mercenary trade. The problem is finding customers with both enough money and a willingness to actually pay. This does not, however, exclude most Imperium officers. While an administratum or ecclesiarch VIP (or an inquisitor) could always decide that "IT IS YOUR DUTY TO THE GOD EMPEROR!!!!!" and conscript the mercenaries, a wise one would do this only in emergencies. Mercenaries are called when you need something "extra" - that little bit that will let you prevail. Planetary defence force getting overwhelmed by an ork invasion, the IG regiments will take months to arrive (not to mention that they come under the command of an outsider who could get quite impertinent) - who do you call? The mercenaries under the command of Rogue trader Buxy Greedy! You are a bit/lot poorer, but you stay in control/alive. And you don't have to pay them once you no longer need them.

Second, planet bound mercenary staging grounds. A deathworld planet could gain a good reputation for the quality of its mercenaries, the society could adapt to it and now all you need is to send an emissary to get as many as you need. We have a precedent here, the Janissaries from the Eisenhorn trilogy.

Third, veteran IG. Veteran regiments may get to settle a new world. Ideally, they all start farming. In reality, many will not be able to adapt to civilian life and may choose to continue to ply their warrior trade. Except now you get more money (BTW, I do hope the IG get at least a small allowance), you can quit any time you want, you can choose the battlefield and there are no commissars...

Iracundus
18-05-2005, 12:41
Battlefleet Gothic rulebook entry on Iconoclast escorts says they are similar to ships turned out by shipyards for pirate forces. So while not incredibly potent, these ships could be acquired by a pirate leader through shady channels. Either renegade Navigators can be used or perhaps they use calcluated warp travel instead of Navigator warp travel, or perhaps they are purely intra-system pirates.

Easy E
20-05-2005, 03:22
Good, another solid fluff reference. I will look at the online living rulebook version. I think these two links provided some good fluff references to use as a base line for mercenary groups as well. In addition, they answer many questions about space piracy.

http://www.specialist-games.com/battlefleetgothic/assets/pdf/unofficial/WolfPacks.pdf

http://www.specialist-games.com/battlefleetgothic/assets/pdf/unofficial/priveteer.pdf

WLBjork
20-05-2005, 13:14
Another source of info about mercs would be Kill Team - the second "Thirteenth Legion" book. There, the Legion poses as mercs and meet several other races who are acting as mercs.

Easy E
24-05-2005, 02:35
Thanks, for the fluff reference!

Typheron
25-05-2005, 14:47
well the tau can do limited warp jumps just skimming warp space so whay not an imperial ship ownded by merc forces.

There was a story about a merc force that joined abbaddon during the one of his black crusades. The capatin of one of the ships that the mercs had was starting to think it was a bad adea as he noticed his bone structure in his face was becoming more angular.

In older fluff there were several small forces of marines that were effectivly merc forces, they had become independant of there origional chapter through various circumstances and had nothing to do with chaos. They were paid in equipment and supplies.

Easy E
26-05-2005, 02:44
I have some of the older books. Could you direct me to which book for the Marines? I have the RT Rulebook, Compliation, and Compendium. Is it one of those? I guess I'll have to dig those out again.

RE: Kill Team- My library and local Book Seller does not have this work. Can some one let me know how the 13th legion posed as mercenaries? Who hired them and how they were suppose to be paid?

On another note, a few posters have referenced equipment. Would human mercs have access to Leman Russ, Basilisk, Chimera, and other armored vehicles? Or would they have their own local varients like the Blood Pact have or during the Kreig Civil War?

Easy E
03-08-2005, 02:06
Bump and hopefully someone can answer this question.

On another note, a few posters have referenced equipment. Would human mercs have access to Leman Russ, Basilisk, Chimera, and other armored vehicles? Or would they have their own local varients like the Blood Pact have or during the Kreig Civil War?

Khaine's Messenger
03-08-2005, 02:25
Who hired them and how they were suppose to be paid?

They were "hired" by a Tau Commander (iirc, "Brightsword" was his name) as a general call to arms for the conquest of a few Imperial worlds. I'm not sure if it specified method of payment...I would guess, pillaging/settlement rights. ;)


Or would they have their own local varients like the Blood Pact have or during the Kreig Civil War?

They would field whatever they could get their hands on, which would most likely be local variants or patched up versions of the "general" chassis vehicles, which, depending on how you like your fluff, will most likely be superior to the local stuff, thus making the ruleswise performance of the local stuff confusing to work out (that is, would the quality difference be enough to make them significantly different ruleswise, or are the differences just slight enough so that equivocation is not a problem?).

Sai-Lauren
03-08-2005, 08:58
On another note, a few posters have referenced equipment. Would human mercs have access to Leman Russ, Basilisk, Chimera, and other armored vehicles? Or would they have their own local varients like the Blood Pact have or during the Kreig Civil War?
In general, probably not. There would be people who would be very concerned if such military hardware wound up in the hands of people outside their control. Of course, there might be mercenary groups out there with a chimera or two that they've taken as payment for services rendered, or a leman russ that they've salvaged from a battlefield, but mostly they'll be using other kinds of vehicles that have been up-armoured, had gun mounts welded on and have been pressed into service, for example, trucks that have been made into ad-hoc IFVs.

Anything they do have is almost certainly two steps short of breaking down permenantly, as they're not going to have AM help exept in very unusual cases. Specialised ammo - like battle cannon shells - is going to be in short supply, and they may even have taken such a weapon out and refitted it to a less powerful weapon that they can be assured of getting ammunition for.

TheRoadWarrior
18-09-2008, 01:07
the way i see it, they "have" the vechiecle, hey just dont have the ammo that the armed forces can get.

however, that doesnt mean a couple of Imperial Guard soldiers can't be bribed to look the other way if a couple of mercs come in and want some ammo.

Templar Ben
18-09-2008, 02:00
We had a thread on this before. You can look there for references.

http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148147&highlight=mercenaries

kylsnik ironhead
18-09-2008, 05:04
Another mercenary force would be the Blood Axe's they are renowned for fighting for humans and most orks don't like them


and as for getting a ship why not just pretend to be a Guard rigment to get abord and take over the ship midflight.

Sai-Lauren
18-09-2008, 10:05
the way i see it, they "have" the vechiecle, hey just dont have the ammo that the armed forces can get.

however, that doesnt mean a couple of Imperial Guard soldiers can't be bribed to look the other way if a couple of mercs come in and want some ammo.

Except the munitorium would take a very dim view of it - IIRC, the penalty (according to the munitorium handbook) is flogging, incarceration, then execution by firing squad. ;)

I'd say the most likely way for mercs to get any ammo other than las cells, shotgun rounds or standard bullets is by battlefield scavenging. Stuff like plasma cells, missiles, grenades and bolt rounds may be available on the black market, but tank ammo won't be.

As I said earlier, it's more likely that if a merc unit does have something like a russ, they'll have pulled the battlecannon out and replaced it with something like a missile launcher, that's easier to maintain, easier to find ammo for and more adaptable for different enemies.

In fact, as an example load out
Turret - Missile Launcher
Hull - Lascannon (roll after each shot, on a 1, it's out of power or broken)
Sponsons - twin-linked heavy stubbers
Pintle mount - heavy stubber

Iracundus
18-09-2008, 11:19
Just because the Imperium's official institutions take a dim view of certain things doesn't prevent it from happening or local authorities from turning a blind eye. It is important to distinguish between the Imperium's official ideological position and what may happen in reality.

In ideology, the Imperium claims authority over every single human and outright rejects any non-hostile contact with aliens. In reality, there are pirates and outlaw bands or even planets and mini-empires that may not be under the Imperium's control and Imperial citizens or even Imperial Governors may have covert trade or diplomatic relations with aliens. These actions may be punishable if discovered by some Imperial representative prepared to enforce the law to the letter, but it is possible low profile actions may go undiscovered or be deemed not worth the bother to enforce.

Master Stark
18-09-2008, 11:39
Let's assume space transport can be provided by Xeno traders, unscrupulous charter captains, or other means. This still leaves the question of how mercenaries (or pirates) are recruited. Is it world based like the IG or is it more ecclectic. Do mercenary forces contain humans and Xenos? How do mercenaries know who is hiring and who isn't?

Well, you're going to have mercenaries on all kinds of scales, from the three thugs who hire themselves out to different gangs in the underhive, to the elite units hired by planetary lords and inquisitors to do all kinds of dirty work. Recruitment methods are going to range from 'Want a job?' to actively advertising vacancies.

Sai-Lauren
18-09-2008, 11:46
Just because the Imperium's official institutions take a dim view of certain things doesn't prevent it from happening or local authorities from turning a blind eye. It is important to distinguish between the Imperium's official ideological position and what may happen in reality.

All true, but it's a lot easier to walk out of stores with an extra couple of las cells in your pockets or a full heavy stubber ammo box in a duffel bag than it is to take a pallet of battle cannon shells - you need a sentinel power lifter to carry the thing for starters. ;)

Not to say there aren't black marketeers sneaking into supposedly concealed ammo dumps and taking a couple of shells at a time, until the PDF turn up in an invasion and find everything that's not nailed down gone (and probably someone with a claw hammer taking the nails :p), or bribing store clerks to drop off a box somewhere on their travels, but they're not really going to be able to fulfill the needs of all the mercs in the galaxy.

The other possibility is that they make their own, but considering the resources they'd need to do so, and that they're tying themselves to the factories, I don't think that's too likely.

malika
18-09-2008, 12:42
I remember that the fluff about the Fallen Angels from the 3rd edition mentioned that some of them became mercenaries.

Master Stark
18-09-2008, 12:45
All true, but it's a lot easier to walk out of stores with an extra couple of las cells in your pockets or a full heavy stubber ammo box in a duffel bag than it is to take a pallet of battle cannon shells - you need a sentinel power lifter to carry the thing for starters. ;)

Not to say there aren't black marketeers sneaking into supposedly concealed ammo dumps and taking a couple of shells at a time, until the PDF turn up in an invasion and find everything that's not nailed down gone (and probably someone with a claw hammer taking the nails :p), or bribing store clerks to drop off a box somewhere on their travels, but they're not really going to be able to fulfill the needs of all the mercs in the galaxy.

It's probably more likely that there are a couple of very rich, very corrupt quartermasters getting about.

"Why do we need an extra forty thousand battle cannon shells?"

"Well sir, the boys have been putting in plenty of extra range time. Keeping sharp sir."

"Ah yes, very commendable!"

*signs requisition order*

Sai-Lauren
18-09-2008, 13:52
It's probably more likely that there are a couple of very rich, very corrupt quartermasters getting about.


Named Bilko and Pertwee no doubt ;)


"Why do we need an extra forty thousand battle cannon shells?"

"Well sir, the boys have been putting in plenty of extra range time. Keeping sharp sir."

"Ah yes, very commendable!"

*signs requisition order*
The problem with your example is that somewhere along the line, someone's going to want to inspect the range firing drills - most likely the commissars, who won't announce their inspections for precisely these reasons, plus snap inspections of the armoury and stores.

Think of what mercs today have - sidearms, assault rifles (usually AKs, possibly M-16s depending on where they are in the world and what ammo's going to be available if tehy need it in a pinch), maybe a couple of grenades. A few may have "freedom fighter" kit like sniper rifles or RPGs, or maybe a pickup with a .30 cal or something welded on a pintle mount, but mostly they're going to be limited to what they can either procure in place, or sneak through the local customs.

They certainly don't drive up in an Abrahms or T-90.

And your 40k mercs are going to be similarly equipped, lasguns, autoguns, pistols, possibly shotguns for close quarters work, maybe a few with something like a heavy stubber, missile launcher, and possibly a merc leader with a plasma pistol or something similar.

If they're there at the behest of the authorities, then they may be able to get some heavier weapons (bolters, lascannon) and a supply of ammo as part of their contract, but even PDFs don't usually get Leman Russes.

Plus, any merc with that kind of "state of the art" military kit is a serious threat - who's to say that they won't suddenly turn on you if they get a better offer, whilst your forces may be unable to stop them, and it's not like you can get a commissar to execute them if they suddenly mutiny.

Templar Ben
18-09-2008, 17:25
Named Bilko and Pertwee no doubt ;)

The problem with your example is that somewhere along the line, someone's going to want to inspect the range firing drills - most likely the commissars, who won't announce their inspections for precisely these reasons, plus snap inspections of the armoury and stores.

Think of what mercs today have - sidearms, assault rifles (usually AKs, possibly M-16s depending on where they are in the world and what ammo's going to be available if tehy need it in a pinch), maybe a couple of grenades. A few may have "freedom fighter" kit like sniper rifles or RPGs, or maybe a pickup with a .30 cal or something welded on a pintle mount, but mostly they're going to be limited to what they can either procure in place, or sneak through the local customs.

They certainly don't drive up in an Abrahms or T-90.

And your 40k mercs are going to be similarly equipped, lasguns, autoguns, pistols, possibly shotguns for close quarters work, maybe a few with something like a heavy stubber, missile launcher, and possibly a merc leader with a plasma pistol or something similar.

If they're there at the behest of the authorities, then they may be able to get some heavier weapons (bolters, lascannon) and a supply of ammo as part of their contract, but even PDFs don't usually get Leman Russes.

Plus, any merc with that kind of "state of the art" military kit is a serious threat - who's to say that they won't suddenly turn on you if they get a better offer, whilst your forces may be unable to stop them, and it's not like you can get a commissar to execute them if they suddenly mutiny.

Actually mercenaries have access to armor, aircraft, and naval vessels. There are laws to prevent the transfer of MI-24 Gunships but you can sell MI-24 helos for humanitarian purposes and then sell the missiles to the same person. You just can't ship them together.

Mercenaries tend to not have the latest in armor or aircraft mainly for reasons of maintenance. It is not cost effective to use the latest tank when you can accomplish the same thing for a fraction of the price with a Chieftain.

My own experience with paramilitary organizations is they prefer to modify civilian craft or purchase dual purpose craft as it is easier for maintenance.

On Cessna's own website for the Grand Caravan they say

Long revered by bush pilots, charter operators, research expeditions and paramilitary forces, the rugged, versatile Caravan has also become the hands-down choice for personal or corporate use when traveling within a 600 to 800 mile radius. because it is cheaper to operate those and CASAs than it is a secondary market C-47.

So given that the equipment we are talking about has been available for over 10,000 years and every bit of fluff on the Leman Russ speaks to the ease of maintenance and the flexible nature of the fuel, I would be surprised if there was a mercenary company that didn't have some.

Templar Ben
18-09-2008, 17:30
As to the fear of the mercenaries turning, that could happen. Then again that hasn't stopped the US government from giving most of the high threat protection to Blackwater as well as helping them build technicals for covert operations supporting US Spec Ops.

Iracundus
18-09-2008, 18:40
As I mentioned on the last page, in the BFG rulebook it describes shipyards turning out escort vessels for pirates and renegade groups. Those are still warships akin to a destroyer. Compared to the might of the Imperial Navy they may not be much, but they are still assets that would still qualify as military grade. It shows that in the militarized society of the Imperium, non-government affiliated groups can get their hands on very sizable amounts of weaponry.

So long as it doesn't threaten the larger scale stability, the means by which these groups acquire the equipment may be tolerated or ignored by Imperial authorities. It might even be promoted. Take the above case of the Iconoclast in BFG. One planet's government might see it as business for their shipyards and give economic incentives for what may seem to be good business. They may not know (or care if they did know) that the buyers may be off to pirate or act as mercs in other systems.

Or to take the case of the cannon shells...A certain number might be written off as faulty duds failing to meet quality control standards or rendered unusable due to inadequate storage conditions and "disposed" of in official records, only to be quietly sold on the black market.

TheRoadWarrior
18-09-2008, 20:40
Think of the Mercsenaries getting there weapons like the Arms Dealer in the Lord of War. He might pick up some weapons that were written off, sold off, something like that, he then later sold it in a Warzone where a Merc boss ought it, and used it.

And just rember, just because the Comassir doesnt aprove of it, that doesnt mean inqustior wanting a Mercenary outfit to do a favor for him can make it happen.

Templar Ben
18-09-2008, 22:11
Well wasn't there some throw away sentence about clerical errors erasing thousands of worlds. Think of what a decimal place could means in terms of tons of equipment.

TheRoadWarrior
18-09-2008, 22:53
i think inthe book 15 hours the company that was supposed to go to one world was instead was sent to anthoer, due to only one of two numbers.