Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Armed Groups in Traveller

From the stories I hear, some groups of Traveller PCs roam the galaxy armed to the teeth like bandit gangs of the old Wild West. I'm sure that's a lot of fun but where are all of the other people with guns?
Not an authorized law enforcement agent

The Random Encounters table indicates that many of the groups the PCs encounter may be armed, but what else could we know about them to make an encounter more rounded and adventure possible?

Speaking in Political Science terms, Armed Groups are those that "have the potential to use force to achieve political, economic or ideological goals, and that exist outside of the formal structure of a state". The Coast Guard is not an Armed Group, the Sinaloa Cartel is.

Armed groups face such issues as:
  • Recruitment
  • Control
  • Governance
  • Use of Force
  • Resilience
  • Collective Action problem
  • Coordination problem
  • Time-consistency problem
  • Principal Agent problem
Insurgents: Countering the State, creating instability, often seek removal or replacement of current government. Primary target is the government and its objective agents.

Terrorists: Motivated by ideology, will target civilians and noncombatants, use techniques of fear.

Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO's) Driven by economic goals, they contribute to instability, but do not seek overthrow of the State. They thrive on weak states, they use violence to control 'turf' or markets. In my TU, these are called ICOs Interplanetary Criminal Organizations.

Gangs: Like TCOs, but localized on one world or city, and pursue profit, perform commercial crimes, predatory and market crime.

Militias: armed forces of shadow governments or sub-state government where state forces are weak or absent.

Shadow Governments: These can be run by insurgents or by terrorist TCOs. They are competing with the legitimate governments, by providing governmental services and order/control within the territories where they hold sway.

All armed groups must have:
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Membership
  • Ideology
  • Objectives
And utilize:
  • Strategy, or big-picture, action-oriented methods (e.g. propaganda and terrorism)
  • Tactics, or the specific means to accomplish a localized goal (e.g. infiltration, ambush, sleeper agents)
  • Strategic Communication, with an eye to keeping their communications secure from interception by State agents
  • External Support, State or Megacorp backers who provide funds or material
in support of their objectives.

It is a general observation but still useful that armed groups will be shaped by whatever government they most often come into contact with or oppose.

Leaders are rally points. Charismatic leaders identify the problem in their followers group and give a vision for how to solve the problem. They explain why the problem is X's fault. The explanation and path to resolution is what attracts followers.

Armed groups will often have factions & internal rivalries. This hampers the groups effectiveness, as not all members are pursuing the same goals, or using the same methods.

When a charismatic leader falls, they often take the group down with them, or break the group down into factions which survive as smaller groups. Well-organized groups can have succession plans in place, but may have them overthrown by factional in-fighting.

Private Military Contractors or PMCs

Mission activities
  • combat – striker & commando missions
  • training – cadre missions
  • security – security missions
  • support
  • intelligence
  • reconstruction
Mission example:A criminal boss on this planet is getting control of the government via corruption. The PMCs are hired to take out the boss, which may enable the government to clean up his organization and have time to weed out its own corruption.

Political Goals
  • protection of assets
  • protection of personnel
  • military training
  • police training
  • intelligence support
  • counter-smuggling
PMCs deal with
  • demolition/destruction of captured military hardware
  • cleanup of combat fortifications
  • removing/disarming UXO and minefields
  • Constabulary operations
  • Personnel and asset security
  • surveillance
  • emergency response & field medicine
  • transport security
  • logistical support
  • counter-piracy
  • combating ICOs
  • Anti-terrorism

    A lot of the information in this post came from Private Armed Forces which I reviewed on my other blog. I also suggest reading Armed Groups: the 21st Century Threat.  

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