Monday, September 2, 2019

Redjack Military Doctrine

This month, we begin the third set of Military Doctrines.  I personally find the military materiel of Star Wars pretty constrained and binary: unless you go out into the Expanded Universe, or dive into the supplemental material of (especially) the Prequel Era, pretty much all equipment breaks down into "Empire" vs "Rebels" or their era equivalents.  In reality, I would expect to see material from a variety of cultures.  Redjack represents such an attempt, in which I explore the concerns of those who align with neither the Imperial military doctrines nor the doctrines of the Alliance aristocracy.  Mind you, you're likely to find some of these fighters or vehicles in the service of the Alliance, but you'll also find them in the hands of pirates or asteroid miners.

I've also been weighing the idea of "customizable fighters."  I personally really like the idea of exploring "set" vehicles, such as "Which version of the X-wing is best?" or "Is a TIE interceptor better than a TIE defender?") but a lot of players are going to want to "mod out" their fighters.  This is a lot easier with GURPS Spaceships than it is with GURPS Vehicles (a lot more meaningless, though, because Spaceships is a little too generic, though nothing stops us from stepping in an adding our own more specific components).  In the Vehicles model that I've been using, every change could possibly alter ever aspect of a vehicle's performance, making it a hassle to do.  I'd like to revisit generalized modding and upgrading at some points, so some pilot can slap their Valiant and brag about how is has "custom thrusters" with "direct hyperium injection systems," but as an experiment, I wanted to explore "modular" vehicles.  For the most part, these amount to minor accessories, but I have a few vehicles here with alternate armor systems, alternate engines, and loads of weapon load-outs available.

I hope you enjoy this series!

Redjack Military Doctrine

Thus far, we’ve looked exclusively at political powers. The Empire and the Alliance both build their own materiel with which to wage war and conquer the galaxy, but we have military suppliers outside of these major political powers, and Redjack Shipyards is one such supplier.

The population of the Galaxy do not split evenly between Empire and Alliance, with everyone picking a side. Powers exist on the edges of that great, galactic squabble, and entire populations have fled the trade-routes of empires for the politcal shatterzones of the Rim. Isolationist westerly tribes, devoted Shepherdists, asteroid miners, lost Communion temples and, yes, pirates all lurk just beyond the edges of civilization. Redjack caters to all of these castoffs, engaging in the surprisingly lucrative trade of arms with these disenfranchised exiles.

Redjack Shipyards began as an industrial cooperative between asteroid miners. They had specific vehicular and industrial needs, plenty of raw materials, and considerable engineering knowledge. By working together, they ensured they didn’t need to work with any of the big, greedy corporations of the Galactic core. This streak of stubborn independence suffuses Redjack culture today. Redjack customers want to be left alone to tinker on their machines, argue with one another about who has the better racing machine or mining rig, and fend off pirates or, if feeling plucky, turning to piracy themselves.

Redjack finds itself in the interesting position of supplying two sides of a war between miner and pirate. They make no distinction as to who buys their materiel (they routinely sell to aliens, especially in the Umbral Rim; the Pirate Lords of the Blood Moons of the Sanguine Stars are especially good customers), which has made them unpopular with the Empire. As a result, Redjack has recently petitioned for, and gained, a seat on the Alliance senate, which means they’ve chosen a side in the great galactic war, at least for now. Sometimes, Redjack Wildcats and Wranglers join Alliance fleets, bringing rugged Redjack know-how with them. They use their seat to defend their autonomy and sketchy business practices and, desperate for allies, the Alliance looks the other way.

The Redjack Way of War

Redjack customers aren’t soldiers, they’re engineers. They tend to concern themselves with building orbital stations, asteroid mines, or small outposts on lost planets. They primarily fear the attack of pirates, rival miners, or a sudden and intense interest from powerful authorities. They tend to be nomadic. If they find a good site for mining, they need to rapidly set up an operation, and if their operation becomes too “hot,” they need to leave quickly. Such installations tend to be pre-fab and rough-shod, though such engineers pay meticulous attention to what really matters (they may look terrible, but they have excellent life support and sturdy walls). They also see little distinction between “ground” and “space” war, as they tend to set their installations up on vacuum-swathed asteroids or mineral-rich but biologically dead worlds.

A typical redjack installation must be set up quickly and defended quickly. Miners and traders use sophisticated “early warning” sensor grids and often set up mine fields between themselves (and settle in dense asteroid belts). They’ll transmit navigational charts to desired visitors and open fire on unwanted company. If an enemy arrives, they’ll want to immediately engage it: they’ll use AA weaponry to shoot down incoming ships and rapidly move their forces to respond to any attack, ideally far from their mining or colony site, to give their allies or family as much time as possible to evacuate. When it comes to man-to-man combat, most Redjack customers know they need to fight with what they wear, so a lot of Redjack gear doubles as both mining and combat gear.

Redjack customers similarly favor speed and surprise on the offense. When Redjack customers attack, they generally raid rather than conquer. They seek to disrupt a rival or seize vital supplies (or wealth) for their operation. The ideal raid has their ships shunting into real space and launching fighters and dropships immediately. Their forces hit the enemy before they have time to respond, then load up their dropships with booty, return to their ships, and escape before anyone can do anything about it.

Redjack: Have It Your Way

Redjack customers prize function over form, reliability and customization. All Redjack craft have ruggedized power-plants, which means their craft can take fairly catastrophic damage and still run just fine. Many Redjack vehicles are modular; this means that an engineer can turn their perfectly reliable craft into a deathtrap, but as far as Redjack is concerned, that’s the engineer’s fault, not theirs, and their customer base agrees. This means Redjack ships tend to have a somewhat haphazard appearance and highly varied capabilities, meaning one can never truly be sure of what one faces when fighting asteroid miners or deep-space pirates.

These modules are cross-compatible, provided they all have the same volume. The modular sockets of a Redjack vehicle are also fairly compatible with other devices, so it’s possible to modify existing elements to create your own module (such as modifying an imperial plasma thruster to fit on a Drifter-class starfighter). Treat these as inventions. See B473. The GM might waive the cost for modifying existing parts with effectively the same function to fit into a module; to create something from scratch or spare parts, use Scrounging, with a modifier equal to the standard modifier for such an invention at -2, or require the players to acquire parts worth the equivalent of the retail price of the module. When determining the modifier for “inventing” the module, these modules always count as something that “exists,” and represents a variant of an existing technology, providing a +7 to the modifier, and add an additional +1 as Redjack module slots are extremely forgiving.

For simpler modifiers than those found in B473:

Switchback/Wolfhound Accessory Modules: +0, 1d days; for Quick Gadgeteer: +5; 1d×10 min

Nomad Modules:-4; 2d×4 days; for Quick Gadgeteer: +2; 1d×30 min

All other Fighter/Corvette Modules: -6; 4d weeks. for Quick Gadgeteer: +0; 1d hours

If purchasing a vehicle, you must also pay for its modules, which are not included in the price. If you purchase a Redjack Starfighter as a Signature Starfighter, it comes with a single of modules; you may directly purchase other modules if you want them, or you may purchase the starfighter at the next tier of Signature Starfighter, in which case, it comes with all modules. With corvettes, determine the final cost of the corvette with all modules you wish to have, and purchase the proper tier of Signature Starship.

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