02 June 2018

Traveller Mercs

Something else occurred to me about mercenaries in Traveller.

The Imperium tends to let individual worlds do whatever they want.  Really.

A Nazi planet slaughtering its Jewish population would actually be ignored for a quite a while if interstellar trade was unaffected.

But the neighbors could object and mount a military campaign of their own to take-out Space-Hitler and free the Jews-Out-In-Space.

Again, as long as trade is unaffected, the Imperial Navy will not do much about this.

I pointed out, once, that mercenaries are a nice cheap way to get an experienced army on short notice.

I also mentioned that the Imperium subsidizes ships which are grossly unsustainable at the going rates for mercenary hires.

Why would they do that?

Ready availability of mercenary troops at cut rate prices encourages worlds to skip having a standing army of their own.

This comes in handy if the Imperial Marines need to apply a forcible correction to the planetary government's policies towards religious freedom, say?

No standing army, no resistance that can stop a Marine orbital insertion and then Imperial Army pacification landings.


  1. The subtle ways of the Imperium are rather elegant, no? And who exactly handles the Mercenary Bonding authorities...

    Then there's the not-so-subtle way of having the Imperials show up in full force no matter what. Use a nuke. It's okay to use orbital bombs, destroy whole habitats, blow up old starships, use gauss rifles, the whole nine yards of death, doom and destruction.

    Toss one stray electron or neutron out? Yer Dead! In a very public, messy, Orbital Drop supported by Spinal Meson Guns and real nukes way.

    It's okay to kill each other, just don't make each other glow in the dark.


    Almost as if they understood low intensity war kept all the minor powers destabilized and unable to really stand up to Imperial Authority, all the while keeping lots of trained and equipped troops busy just in case the Imps need to pre-empt any contracts to use against, oh, say, the Zhods or stray Vargr factions.

    The old British Empire, in Space, with Nukes. With Empress Victoria, I mean Empress Arbellatra in control, or not, as the case may be.

  2. Another way to get the Imperium on your case, REAL hard, is to do anything at all to the spaceport.


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