Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Insurgency Personnel Part 1: Amateur Insurgents

The combatants who make up resistance movements vary as much as the movements themselves. Thus, the following list offers suggestions to help guide a GM who wishes to create his own resistance movement, or as a grab-bag of “generic” rebels he can throw at his PCs.

The characters listed below have no specific weapons. I have chosen generic weapons for GURPS Ultra-Tech or from previous iterations of Psi-Wars. These can be replaced with any similar or appropriate weapons.

Between the Insurgent Type and the suggested traits associated with each Personnel, a group might have a wide variety of disadvantages associated with them. These represent suggestions. Feel free to ignore, mix, or swap as you see fit. In principle, each Insurgency should have a unique character, and some flaws that a clever Imperial can exploit.

Lens: Insurgent Type

Different cells have different philosophies and approaches. Choose one of the following lens to represent the approach of a particular movement. Sometimes, multiple philosophies live within a particular movement, so a GM can mix and match as he sees fit. Furthermore, the lenses below offer a basic guideline on how to handle a particular philosophy, but also options for giving each movement some unique flavor.


Anarchists live for chaos. They rebel for the sake of rebellion and their fight with the Empire ultimately boils down to a disdain for authority. By default, their critical weaknesses are a lack of planning and an unwillingness to listen to others. Many anarchists fight for their own amusement and may have Trickster, while others do it for the sheer pleasure of watching things burn (Pyromania), or just to spite authority figures (Intolerance (Authority Figures)), or just because they’re so angry (Bad Temper). While most such characters do not last long, Anarchists, especially young ones, often have Overconfidence.

Default Traits: Impulsiveness (12), Stubbornness (12)

Freedom Fighter

Freedom Fighters fight for principles. They resemble Ideologues in this way, but they’re less devoted to a specific cause than that they’re just righteously indignant at the crimes of others. By default, they will not harm anyone not directly associated with the conflict, but nor can they just stand aside and do nothing as injustice is inflicted on those they know and love. This devotion to principles might manifest instead as Code of Honor (Rebel), and the drive to help others might become Charitable. Freedom Fighters tend to be derided by other factions as Gullible for their idealism; this may or may not be true.

Code of Honor (Rebel) [-15]: Only attack military targets or collaborators, never unassociated civilians. Never leave a a fellow rebel behind. Die before you betray your cell. If necessary, sacrifice yourself for the rebellion. When the conflict has finished, put aside your weapons and return to civilian life.

Default Traits: Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents), Sense of Duty (Community)


Ideologues fight for a purpose. By default, they devote themselves wholeheartedly to this ideal or, at their most generic, to the rebellion itself. What explicit purpose they fight for varies, and often determines the exact nature of their Fanaticism. Patriots devote themselves to the ideal of an independence movement or the safety of their people, and often have Sense of Duty (Nation). Fundamentalists devote themselves to religious ideals, and have some version of a Discipline of Faith. Ideologues who hold to more abstract ideals (like a deep devotion to some particular philosophy or economic model) might have a strict Code of Honor or be Hidebound. Those Ideologues who aren’t fanatics tend to be at least Selfless or have Intolerance (Outsiders or Nonbelievers).

Traits: Fanaticism.


Terrorists do whatever it takes to win; for them, atrocity is just part of the game! By default, Terrorists suffer (benefit?) from an overeagerness to shed blood and a complete disregard for the safety of others. Terrorists often enjoy the violence they inflict, and might have Bully or even Sadism. Most willingly engage in warcrimes for a reason, which might be Greed, Jealousy or Selfishness.

Traits: Bloodlust (12), Callous.

Amateur Resistance Members

Not every member of a resistance organization is a hardened warrior. In fact, most members lack decent training and believe that enthusiasm can make up for a lack of combat experience. In the most idealistic resistance movements, these eager allies assist on the edges of the battle until they’re skilled enough (or old enough!) to join on the front-lines. In more scrupulous resistance movements, they become cannon fodder, used to tire out the enemy before the resistance brings in its veteran fighters.

Child Soldier (Innocent)

Common Insurgent Types: Ideologues and Terrorists

Rebellion is often a family affair! Whether or not resistance members want children involved, children usually find a way to involve themselves. They might admire a big, strong resistance fighter that rescued them and want to be just like him or help him out. They might have lost their homes and only survive under the protection of the rebellion and seek to help however they can.

Innocent child soldiers don’t generally participate in combat, though they can; instead, they usually act as spotters, guides or distractions for the primary combatants. The stats below assume a human child of about 10 years of age.

Few resistance movements go out of their way to use Child Soldiers, but they’ll show up most often with Ideologues, who respect their devotion, and terrorists, who don’t care about the fate of the children. Anarchists tend to be dismissive of children, and Freedom Fighters actively oppose their use (It violates their principles!).

ST 8 HP 8 Speed 5
DX 9 Will 9/7 Move: 4
IQ 9 Per 10

HT 10/8 FP 11 SM -1
Dodge 8
Parry 7
DR: 0

Hold-Out Blaster (9): 2d(5) burn sur (Acc 5, Range 100/300 RoF 3, Bulk -1)

Rock (Thrown) (9): 1d-3 cr (Acc 1, Range 6)

Skills: Area Knowledge (Local)-10, Fast-Talk-10, Observation-10, Running-10, Stealth-10, Urban Survival-10.

Traits: Pitiable; Combat Paralysis; Easy to Kill -2; Pacifism (Reluctant Killer); Social Stigma (Minor);

Notes: Human; Untrained and largely unready for combat. Apply a -4 to shoot any recognizable humans (or other galactic sapients generally considered non-monstrous) with visible faces, or -2 if no face is visible. If they killed someone with a visible face, roll against Will or break down. If faced with imminent bodily harm, roll HT; on a failure, you are mentally stunned. The lower Will value applies to all fright checks. Always count as “innocent” for the purposes of Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents).

Child Soldier Tactics

Distract (10): Wave your arms, hurl insults and shout at the target. Roll a quick contest of Fast-Talk (10) vs your target’s will (if you hit the target with an attack in the past few seconds, including a thrown rock, add +1 to your Fast-Talk roll). On a success, the target must either chase you, attack you or suffer a -2 to combat for as long as you continue shouting at him.

Spot (10): If you see something, say something! Shout out advice to an ally and roll Observation (10). On a success, if your ally listens to your advice, he gains +1 to his next attack roll.


Common Insurgent Types: Freedom Fighters and Ideologues

The common man and woman serves as the backbone of the rebellion, not trained soldiers. The Partisan represents the civilian who takes up arms (whatever arms he or she can find) against the Empire. They tend to make poor soldiers, with an inability to handle direct confrontation well and, despite their enthusiasm, they falter when they come face to face with an enemy they must directly kill.

Partisans can show up in any resistance movement group, but they tend to be most common among Freedom Fighters, as they represent the every-day person pushed too far, or ideologues, as they represent the relatively common people who have given themselves over to some religious or philosophical cause.

ST 10 HP 10 Speed 5
DX 10 Will 10/8 Move: 5
IQ 10 Per 10

HT 10 FP 10 SM +0
Dodge 8
Parry 8
DR: 0

Blaster Pistol (10): 3d(5) burn sur (Acc 5, Range 300/1000 RoF 3, Bulk -2)

Cheap Assault Blaster (10): 4d(5) burn sur (Acc 8, Range 250/750 RoF 8, Bulk -3)

Cheap Blaster Rifle (10): 6d(5) burn sur (Acc 10, Range 500/1500 RoF 3, Bulk -1)

Blaster Butt (10): 1d+1 (Reach 1)

Skills: Area Knowledge (Local)-10, Observation-10, Professional Skill-12, Stealth-10, Urban Survival-10.

Traits: Combat Paralysis; Pacifism (Reluctant Killer);

Notes: Human; Untrained and largely unready for combat. Apply a -4 to shoot any recognizable humans (or other galactic sapients generally considered non-monstrous) with visible faces, or -2 if no face is visible. If they killed someone with a visible face, roll against Will or break down. If faced with imminent bodily harm, roll HT; on a failure, you are mentally stunned. The lower Will value applies to all fright checks.

Civilian Militia Tactics

Potshot (17, 20 or 22): After taking an Aim action, make a single, sighted, All-Out (Determined) attack against the target (+5 Acc with a pistol, +8 with an assault blaster and +10 with a rifle). If the target has a visible face, apply an additional -4 penalty. A successful hit strikes a random hit location. You may not defend.

Spray Fire (7): With an assault blaster, make a hip-fired All-Out (Suppressive Fire) attack against a one-yard zone. A successful attack strikes a random hit location. You may not defend.

Panicked Strike (10): Make an All-Out Attack (Determined) with your Rifle Butt at the nearest target to pose a risk to you. Because this is close combat and a “non-lethal” attack, it does not suffer from Pacifism. You may not defend.


Common Insurgent Types: Anarchists and Terrorists

Often, the angriest members of society, too young or too unstable for military service, find their way into resistance movements as an outlet for their rage. Punks serve on the front lines of riots, inciting violence and bringing the fight directly against the Empire. They also act as “strong arms” for less professional insurgency cells. They push for violence, and rarely consider the possibility of defeat at the hands of the Empire, until that inevitably happens. Punks often don’t survive long, or quickly evolve into harder opponents, like Fighters.

Punks are too undisciplined for Ideologues and too violent for Freedom Fighters; they tend to be most often found among Terrorists and Anarchists. Some particularly brutal Punks (especially working with Terrorists) exchange their clubs for vibro-blades or neurolash batons.

ST 11 HP 11 Speed 5.25
DX 10 Will 10 Move: 5
IQ 10 Per 10

HT 11 FP 11 SM +0
Dodge 8
Parry 8
DR: 0

Club (10): 1d+2 cr (Reach 1)

Neurolash Baton (10): 1d+2 cr + linked HT-5 (5) (Reach 1, parry 0)

Vibro Blade (10): 2d+3(5) cut (Reach 1, parry 0)

Weaponized C-Cell (10): 6dx4 burn ex sur (Acc 1, Range 40); Unstable!

Skills: Area Knowledge (Local)-10, Intimidation-10, Forced Entry-10, Running-11

Traits: Bad Temper (12); Overconfidence (12)

Notes: Human; Untrained; Highly likely to use tactics not properly trained for or to make unforced errors; Never resists distraction or “Draw Aggression” attempts. The weaponized C-Cell is a modified power-cell that explodes when thrown. A strike against the cell, or a critical failure could set it off!

Punk Tactics

Shoving Match (14): Make an All-Out (Determined) Shove. Your opponent may defend normally. If you hit, inflict 1d-1 dbk only (no damage!). If the target is pushed at least one yard, they must roll DX, Acrobatics or Judo or fall prone. You may not defend.

Beat Down (10): Against a prone target, make an All-Out (Strong) attack with your club. Your opponent defends at -3 for being Prone. Inflict 1d+4 crushing damage to the torso (or random hit location). You may not defend.

Night Nurse

Common Insurgent Types: Ideologues and Freedom Fighters

If an insurgent movement needs anything, it’s medical personnel who can help deal with wounds, whether those inflicted on the insurgents themselves, or upon poor civilians. Some such nurses amount to little more than local medical personnel with a strong stomach and a little medical training, but who find themselves sympathetic to the insurgents who come through their door and fail to report them to the Empire. They may even find themselves joining in battle, just to keep an eye on their fighters to make sure none of them go down.

Night Nurses tend to be most common among Freedom Fighters or Ideologues, as most medical personnel will only join their local insurgencies if their philosophies align, and both such organizations see a direct need for tending to the wounds of civilians. Terrorists and Anarchists tend to be too violent to attract civilian medical personnel, and generally don’t see the point in assisting wounded civilians or, worse, wounded Imperials.

ST 10 HP 10 Speed 5
DX 10 Will 12/10 Move: 5
IQ 12 Per 10

HT 10 FP 10 SM +0
Dodge 8
Parry 8
DR: 0

Blaster Pistol (10): 3d(5) burn sur (Acc 5, Range 300/1000 RoF 3, Bulk -2)

Pneumohypo (10): HT-3; penetrates up to 1 DR, Reach C, cannot parry.

Skills: Area Knowledge (Local)-10, Diagnosis-12, First-Aid-12, Physician-12, Pharmacy-12, Stealth-10

Traits: Combat Paralysis; Pacifism (Reluctant Killer);

Notes: Human; Untrained and largely unready for combat. Apply a -4 to shoot any recognizable humans (or other galactic sapients generally considered non-monstrous) with visible faces, or -2 if no face is visible. If they killed someone with a visible face, roll against Will or break down. If faced with imminent bodily harm, roll HT; on a failure, you are mentally stunned. The lower Will value applies to all fright checks.

Night Nurse Tactics

I don’t want to shoot you” (17): After taking an Aim action, make a “Wait” maneuver; if your target moves to attack you, you may attack first. If your wait triggers, you may make an All-Out (Determined) sighted attack. Success hits the torso. You may not defend.

Pnuemohypo KO (14): Against an unaware target, make a Telegraphic Attack with Knife or DX-4 (14). Unaware targets may not defend; other targets may defend at +2. A successful attack injects the drug, generally Morphazine or Soothe (both UT205), which can be resisted with an HT-3 roll. Failure generally puts the target out of commission for awhile.

Medic! (12): You attend to someone’s wounds. This takes 10 minutes; at the end, roll IQ-4, First-Aid or Physician (12). Success heals 1d+1 damage. You may use Medic at most once per victim for a given set of injuries.

Amateur Errors

Amateur insurgents don’t present much of a challenge. They largely serve as a back-up for superior forces, or as a story element, allowing the players to train plucky villagers into a decent fighting force, or forcing imperials to question the morality of slaughtering women and children. As such, the GM may wish to emphasize their lack of professionalism. The following represent ideas that the GM can inflict on Amateur forces, if he wishes. A successful use of Leadership instantly snaps an amateur insurgent out of this unprofessional behavior.

Action Hero

Many amateur insurgents only have an idea of what combat feels like from watching the holo-vids, and might have even joined an insurgency so they could feel like a hero. They expect a blaster to be a fire-hose spewing brilliantly colored shards of death at their opponents, who simply fall before they like grass before a mow-bot. Action Heroes will step out from cover, hurl some insult at the enemy, and then open fire. If they have a rapid fire weapon, they will make an All-Out Attack (Suppression Fire) at the nearest group of enemies. If they have two pistols, they will draw both, and make a Dual-Weapon All-Out (Suppression Fire) Attack by combining the ROF of both weapons. This is at -7 and has a maximum value of 7. Those with a single pistol or a single RoF 3 long arm will make a Fast-Firing All-Out (Suppression Fire) Attack. This applies a -4 to the roll, increases recoil to 2, and has a maximum value of 7. In all cases, the character cannot defend and those who target him have no penalty to hit him (he's not behind cover).

Big No

Many insurgents have family ties with one another, but only an amateur allows that bond to override his good sense during battle. When an ally falls (especially a child soldier), the amateur insurgent runs up to the fallen ally, cradles them, touches them, weeps and wails and may only choose Do Nothing for the next 1d6 turns. Thereafter, the amateur either retrieves the body and quits the field, or goes berserk (treat as the Berskerk disadvantage, but only against those who harmed the ally).


For many, blasters don’t “feel real.” When their adrenaline pumps, especially in close combat, they react on a primal level and lash out physically with their weapon. They’ll move right up against their opponent and either attack with the rifle butt (1d+1 cr for most insurgents), or turn it around and swing it from its barrel, often while screaming (1d+2 cr for most insurgents, and unbalanced). Treat this as an All-Out (Determined) Attack, giving most amateur insurgents a skill roll of 14 to hit.

Gangsta Shootin’

Some amateur shooters have peculiar notions about how best to fire their blaster pistols. Holding them at odd, dramatic angles to fire applies a -1 to all ranged attacks with the weapon, it reduces the Malf to 16, and the character cannot make All-Out Attack (Determined) sighted attacks or use a two-handed grip with his blaster pistol.

Gape and Point

Unless an untrained combatant has explicit orders to attack, if he sees the enemy, he may simply observe them in a detached way, without realizing the danger he is in. Unless the enemy is immediately violent (for example taking shots at the target), the amateur merely observes them, and makes comments to anyone nearby, saying things like “Hey, is that an Imperial trooper? Woah, I think it is. Gosh, I’ve never seen one this close. What do you think he’s doing?” When violence breaks out, the amateur is immediately mentally stunned for the next 1d seconds, as though totally surprised, not because he didn’t realize the enemy was there, but didn’t truly grasp the danger it implied.

Go Away!

The average person wants to survive, but feels a strong instinct preventing him from killing unnecessarily. When faced with combat, the character shouts at his opponents and makes an Attack, but deliberately misses, aiming over their heads, or even up into the air. Treat this as an Intimidation attempt.

Horrors of War

Most amateur insurgents have never seen the true brutality of war. The first time such an insurgent is the target of an attack or sees an ally hit or killed, they must make a Fright Check without the +5 bonus from combat. Remember to apply a -2 penalty if the amateur has Combat Paralysis! If the amateur passes, he still hunkers down and avoids conflict unless he gets a stern rebuke or hears a sharp command shouted at him.

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