Warrant Officer: An Expansion for Military Careers in MegaTraveller
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Freelance Traveller.
Background and Rationale
In 35 years of playing GDW’s version of Classic Traveller and MegaTraveller, I have always felt that something was missing: the character generation was too basic for my tastes. The Classic Traveller books Mercenary, High Guard, Scouts, and Merchant Prince fixed things a bit. I was happy for a while. MegaTraveller carried the advanced character generation idea forward. But as I got more experience in both gaming and the “Real World” (mainly military experience), I saw a need to carry character generation further, and incorporate my experience, along with piecing together the scattered background information provided in various GDW and DGP magazines into something that made sense for me.
This is intended as the first of a series of articles, in which I will be expanding on character generation; adding items described in Challenge and The Traveller Digest magazines, such as The Imperial Guard Corps and the IISS Imperial Personal Protection Unit; some ideas picked up from the Web, like alternatives to Commando School; and ideas I have thought of out of my years of military and gaming experience, such as combat medics and this article’s subject: Warrant Officers. My writing will be set up mainly for the MegaTraveller character generation system, but with a little work, they can be used in any of the other Traveller incarnations. Feel free to incorporate it and adjust it to fit your game/campaign. Now let’s get the show on the road!
What Are Warrant Officers?
These are the “experts in the field” of the military arts. They are highly skilled in their military field of training, usually the field they trained in as an enlisted. Warrant Officers can and do command detachments, units, activities, vessels, aircraft, and armored vehicles; usually put into a position of command mainly where an officer with a goodly amount of technical expertise is needed, but not an officer with the rank to match the expertise. The Warrant Officer’s duties also include the need to lead, coach, train, and counsel subordinates and less experienced officers. However, the Warrant Officer’s primary task as a leader is to serve as a technical expert, providing valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and organizations in their particular field. One thing to remember, if you want a Warrant Officer to be a commissioned officer, they need to go to OCS. They advance no further than Master Warrant Officer.
Warrant Officers receive their authority, their “warrant” from an authorized responsible party, usually the minister of War, Defense, the Army etc. In the United States, for example, the various service secretaries issue the warrants for WO1s (the lowest grade of Warrant Officer), and the President issues the rest. Feel free to do things your own way.
I am using a modified form of the Warrant Officer as used by the United States military, as most other militaries include “warrant officers” in their senior enlisted ranks. An example of this would be the British and Commonwealth militaries Regimental Sergeant Major. I am also not using the archaic “warrant officer” used in the 17th- to 19th centuries, as these particular warrant officers’ duties were turned over to commissioned officers or were made obsolete. Examples of these Warrant Officers would be Sailing Masters (responsible for navigation), Pursers, Surgeons and Chaplains for the Navy; the Army and Marine equivalent would be Gunners, Master Gunners, Quartermaster Clerks and Paymasters.
Why add Warrant officers at all, when Commissioned officers can handle these jobs just as well? For starters, some jobs require the authority of a junior officer, but the experience that one generally finds only with senior officers. A naval example of this might be in the shipboard storage of supplies, spares and equipment. Do you really want a wet-nosed ensign on their first cruise doing this lowly, but important job? So give it to a Warrant Officer, call him “SuperCargo”, and just sit back. An Army example would be the motorpool. Again, why put a snot-nosed 2nd Lieutenant in charge when a crusty CW-4 will do?
Adding Warrant Officers to Character Generation
|Warrant Officer Ranks|
|WO1||Warrant Officer 1|
|WO2||Warrant Officer 2|
|CW3||Chief Warrant Officer 3||1|
|CW4||Chief Warrant Officer 4||1|
|MW5||Master Warrant Officer 5||2|
Warrant Officer Candidate School (All Services)
Open to rank E4 to E9. If rolled by E3-, reroll. If WOCS is rolled again, a waiver is granted. Advance to WO1 (E7 to WO2, E8 and E9 to CW3) in current or cross-trained branch. WO1 and 2 roll once on staff and branch skills tables. CW3 roll once on the staff officer table only. Warrant Officers roll for command duty as per assigned branch, but receive command on an unmodified roll of 12 only.
As in the real world, I feel characters should have the ability to receive awards for outstanding work in non-combat assignments. These are not awards for valor, but awards for achievement. Just use the same modifiers and die rolls as combat medals. One possible set of equivalences is shown above to the right.
|Combat Award||Suggested Non-Combat Equivalent Award|
|Starburst for Extreme Heroism||Distinguished Service Award|
|Medal for Conspicuous Gallantry||Meritorious Service Award|
|Meritorious Conduct Under Fire||Service* Achievement Award|
|* Replace Service with name of service, e.g., Army, Marine, Navy, COACC, etc.|
I could go on and on, but I feel this is enough. If you want, go ahead and research military awards and make up a table of your own.
Warrant Officer Life Tables
Characters with Warrant Officer rank roll on their service Warrant Officer Life Table, below, instead of on NCO Life or Officer Life Tables.
|Warrant Officer Life|
|1||Heavy Weapons||Vacc Suit||Aircraft|
|DMs (all services): +1 if WO2+, +2 if WO4+|