This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 1998 and reprinted in the March/April 2017 issue.
It all started when I first read Ken Pick’s notes on Wayne Shaw’s old Traveller campaign at Freelance Traveller.
There it was in black and white; all services apparently had “elite” branches, requiring a second Enlistment roll, and which were provided bonus skill rolls. I thought the idea was pretty interesting. Then, after a bit more reading, the hook was very firmly wedged into the roof of my mouth…
The Imperial Death’s Head Cybercommandos (apparently cyborg-enhanced covert operatives) was just too cool a name not to immediately latch onto.
Well, since they were elite Cybercommandos, I got to wondering just how that condition occurred exactly—if they were originally the “normal”, fully-meat type commandos you see in other services, who, through a survival roll failure, is maimed, and given a bionic prosthesis before normally being mustered-out-into-the-game.
Now if becoming a newly-cyborged trauma victim suddenly makes you just what these Cybercommandos are looking for, then the mustering-out-into-the-game mechanism would obviously be overlooked to give the brand-new cyborg a pretty much automatic enlistment into the ranks of the Meat-n-Metal Cybercommandos. Or maybe they’re extensively cyborged as part of the Basic Training portion of their 1st term with the Cybercommandos; kind of like being absorbed by Star Trek’s Borg Collective before your first day on the job.
I find the option of overlooking-the-muster-out-mechanism for joining the cyborgs the more likely. But, if this same idea of cyber-repair and automatic re-enlistment is used once the character is actually in the ranks, the cyborg could effectively be repaired and re-enlisted repeatedly, making for an extremely scary individual.
So anyhow, being still unsure, I decided to drop the idea of the cyborg from the Commando for the moment, and concentrate on the Commando part.
I looked at the enhanced character-gen section in the MegaTraveller Player’s Manual (which, IIRC, is the same as the stuff in Classic Traveller Book 4: Mercenary) to see what the commando gets, canon-wise…
Hmmm, Commando School gives a 5+ on 1D chance of each of the following: Brawling, Gun Combat, Demolition, Intrusion, Stealth, Survival, Recon, Vacc Suit, Blade Combat and Instruction; while the Commando MOS skill table offers Gun Combat, Gun Combat, Heavy Weapons, Demolition, Environ, Recon, and Battledress.
After a little reading on the web, I discovered that aside from different
delivery systems/vehicles and a few specialties, most SpecOps groups seemed
to me to be pretty similar, skill-wise, so I decided to try to knock out a
version of Commando that could be used to cover all the services’ SpecOps
|Career Progression: Commando|
|DM+1 if||END A(10)+|
|DM+2 if||attempting to enlist after succeeding
at survival roll in other military service.
|DM+2 if||INT 9+|
|DM+1 if||EDU B(11)+|
|DM+2 if||Rank 2+ from other military service
at time of Special Ops enlistment
* Note that, by definition, each assignment undertaken by these folks is
a Special mission; hence the low Special roll. I think the Special roll
might even do fine being lowered to 3+, in fact.
|Service Skills||Advanced Education||Advanced Education
(EDU 8+ only)
|1||Physical+*||Hand Cbt||Hvy Weap||Space|
|2||+1 END||Gun Cbt||Demolitions||Vice|
|4||Vice||Spec Cbt||Environmental||Space Cbt|
|5||Hand Cbt||Spec Cbt||Inborn||Inborn|
* Physical+ represents any physical characteristic (STR, DEX, END), but additionally allows choosing Swim or Climb skills. While anyone can perform either task based solely on their stats, these skills definitely help under especially stressful circumstances.
** Special Combat+ skill allows the usual choices of Battle Dress, Combat
Engineering, Combat Rifleman, Demolition, FA Gunnery, Forward Observer, Grav
Belt, Heavy Weapons, High-energy Weapons, High-G Environ, Stealth, and
Zero-G Environ, but it additionally includes the choices of Archaic Weapons,
Hand Cbt, Holster (essentially Fastdraw), Instruction, Interrogation, Heavy
Equipment (the same skill as for the Construction Worker and Emergency
Tech), and Jump (essentially Parachute, Gravbelt and Dropcapsule skills) to
|Rank and Rank Skills|
|0||Operator||Vacc Suit-0, Cbt Rifle-1, Gun Cbt-1, Jump-1, Tactics-1|
|1||Ops Officer||Handgun-1, SMG-1|
|6||Operator E||Admin-1, Leader-1|
* I liked how the Delta Force called themselves “Operators”, so I wanted
to include it in the Rank table. With this being designed with all the
services in mind, I didn’t feel too comfortable with Rank 2 being Capt, then
3 Maj, etc; hence greek letters. Besides, I think it just sounds cooler,
anyway. [Note: Original used Greek letters Alpha (α) through Epsilon (ε).
Changed to Galanglic A through E simply because Galanglic is far more widely
used in the Traveller milieu. -Ed.]
|Mustering Out Benefits|
|7||+2 SOC or SOC B(11)*||75000|
* If the character has SOC A(10)+, receive +2 SOC; if the character has SOC 9-, raise SOC to B (11).