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Mr. Touch

Sci-Fi Package Deals: Marines vs. Navy

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Working on a SH campaign, and I'm trying to create some basic package deals that could potentially represent a player-character's background.

 

My basic Marine (enlisted) PD (cost: 4 character points)

 

Abilities: Combat Driving (3 pts), Concealment (3 pts), Demolitions (3 pts), Interrogation (3 pts), Martial Arts (Commando Training - 24 pts), +2 OCV w/ Martial Arts & Combat Rifle (4 pt levels; total 8 pts), Survival (3 pts), Tracking (3 pts), TF: Tracked Vehicles (2 pts), WF: Small Arms - SF (2 pts). Total: 54 pts

 

Disadvantages: DF - Marine (-5 pts), Watched by Higher Authority 11- (-10 pts), PsychLim - Loyal to Government (-20), PsychLim - Always obeys orders of superiors (-15). Total: -50 pts.

 

Total Marine PD Cost: 4 pts.

 

So far, so good. But now...

 

My basic Navy enlisted...er...person (cost: negative value, read on). And I can't call them "sailors". "Sailor" just doesn't seem to work in a SF campaign; not for me, anyway.

 

Abilities: Concealment (3 pts), Interrogation (3 pts), Navigation (3 pts), +2 OCV w/ Small Arms - SF (10 pts), +2 OCV w/ Ship's Guns (10 pts), TF: Ship's Boat (1 pt), WF: Small Arms - SF (2 pts). Total: 32 pts.

 

Disadvantages: Same as Marine (Enlisted), except substitute "DF - Navy (enlisted)" for "DF - Marine". Otherwise, total is same: -54 pts.

 

See the problem? That makes the Total Navy (enlisted) PD Cost negative 22 (-22) pts. Not workable.

 

I can't really cut back on the Disadvantages for Navy because they apply just as logically to them as they do the Marines. So I guess what I'm really looking for is more "stuff" (Skills, etc. - but not powers) to add to the Navy abilities list. At minimum, I need the Navy (enlisted) PD to cost zero points.

 

And - having served in the Navy - I feel that Combat Driving, Demolitions, Martial Arts, Survival, and Tracking don't seem to apply in an overall capacity to your basic Navy grunt. I added Navigation, but I need more. A lot more. 22 points worth at least.

 

What else can I add that brings that PD cost to zero or better? (Bonus question: What's a good name for a SF "sailor" that isn't gender-prejudiced?)

 

Thanks in advance,

- Mr. Touch

Edited by Mr. Touch

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A ship's crewman will have at least some damage control training (mechanics aboard ship, for repairs and damage mitigation) as well as familiarity (both B/R and use) with multiple useful systems, like communications ship-to-ship, ship-to-surface, and interstellar; electronics tech; environmental systems tech; ship fire control/ target acquisition systems, etc., and other analogs to water-vessel roles or harbor-support roles. Frankly, I'd expect a different INT minimum as well.

 

"Starcrew" might be the non-gender non-species noun for "sailor".

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A ship's crewman will have at least some damage control training (mechanics aboard ship, for repairs and damage mitigation) as well as familiarity (both B/R and use) with multiple useful systems, like communications ship-to-ship, ship-to-surface, and interstellar; electronics tech; environmental systems tech; ship fire control/ target acquisition systems, etc., and other analogs to water-vessel roles or harbor-support roles. Frankly, I'd expect a different INT minimum as well.

 

"Starcrew" might be the non-gender non-species noun for "sailor".

 

I just use the tried and true "astronaut."

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"Crew" sounds just fine...Zero Gee training seems like a good one, for both. Maybe add some high tech training like System operations, repair, and damage control. How about interaction skills? Maybe the "Space Navy" cares about relations so much they give training to everybody?

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Appreciate the suggestions, folks. I've incorporated most of them. As far as semantics goes, I'm going to just stick with "Navy" [shrug].

 

Question: Should I give Navy crew any OCV in the Martial Art "Dirty Infighting" (read: Bar Brawling)?

 

Regards,

- Mr. Touch

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My first suggestion would be to ease off on the loyalty and obedience complications, probably for both branches. Yes, military personnel ARE trained to follow orders, but what you've got seems extreme to me. I would probably replace all the complications with Subject to Orders, 20 points. (6e, Vol 1, page 428)

 

Also, your skill packages, to me, look far in excess of what I'd expect to be common to all personnel. Are these package deals supposed to represent the basic starting point for all enlisted personnel? If so, they represent a VERY different type of military than what I'm familiar with. Based on my trip through US Navy boot camp, my version of the basic sailor starting package would look more like this:

 

WF: Small Arms; 2 pts

KS: Navy History; 2 pts

PS: Damage Control & Firefighting; 2 pts

Social Complication: Subject to Orders; -20 pts

Total Cost: -14 points.

 

If that seems too little to you, keep in mind that I mean it to be something which is 1) common to ALL Navy personnel, and therefore 2) representative of boot camp training only, excluding anything the sailor would learn at "A" School or afterward. In my case, I had an additional year and a half of training before I got to my ship. Six months of that was basic electronics technician training, very similar to what non-nuclear ETs would get, and the remaining year was broken down into six months each of classroom and hands-on training. None of that training would be given to, say, an Aviation Ordnanceman . . . and likewise, I received no training in explosives handling or any kind of weapon system maintenance.

 

The TL; DR version of all that is that IMO, such hefty skill packages should be rating-specific, not service-wide.

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"Spacer" can be used as an analogue for "Sailor".

 

A Spacer or Marine would definitely get training in space suit use; at the least KS: Vac Suit. Don't think anyone's mentioned that one. Unless the skill is considered so basic that it's not required, of course.

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My first suggestion would be to ease off on the loyalty and obedience complications, probably for both branches. Yes, military personnel ARE trained to follow orders, but what you've got seems extreme to me. I would probably replace all the complications with Subject to Orders, 20 points. (6e, Vol 1, page 428)

 

Also, your skill packages, to me, look far in excess of what I'd expect to be common to all personnel. Are these package deals supposed to represent the basic starting point for all enlisted personnel? If so, they represent a VERY different type of military than what I'm familiar with. Based on my trip through US Navy boot camp, my version of the basic sailor starting package would look more like this:

 

WF: Small Arms; 2 pts

KS: Navy History; 2 pts

PS: Damage Control & Firefighting; 2 pts

Social Complication: Subject to Orders; -20 pts

Total Cost: -14 points.

 

If that seems too little to you, keep in mind that I mean it to be something which is 1) common to ALL Navy personnel, and therefore 2) representative of boot camp training only, excluding anything the sailor would learn at "A" School or afterward. In my case, I had an additional year and a half of training before I got to my ship. Six months of that was basic electronics technician training, very similar to what non-nuclear ETs would get, and the remaining year was broken down into six months each of classroom and hands-on training. None of that training would be given to, say, an Aviation Ordnanceman . . . and likewise, I received no training in explosives handling or any kind of weapon system maintenance.

 

The TL; DR version of all that is that IMO, such hefty skill packages should be rating-specific, not service-wide.

 

As mrinku noted above, some sort of Vac Suit skill should be taught to all recruits.

 

I would also include some training in Zero-G Operations. (Environmental Movement?) All Spacers/Astronauts need to be familiar with this.

 

And depending on the technology level in the service, Spin-G Operations as well. Rotating habitat modules on spacecraft for simulated gravity can cause illness and disorientation; training and acclimation allows crews to tolerate higher RPMs at which smaller habs must rotate to achieve useful G-levels.

 

But if your fleet has artificial gravity, just show everyone the safety videos and teach them to strap themselves down.

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It is noteworthy to remember that Complications associated with a Package Deal do not actually reduce the Cost of the package deal. Rather they provide points towards your character's Matching Complications. The end result is similar in many cases, but the distinction is very important because of what happens in the 'edge cases'.

For example, in 6e/CC/FHC a Competent Normal is built on 100 CP with 30 points worth of Matching Complications (or 70 CP plus up to 30 CP from Complications). If said Competent Normal took the Marine Package Deal described in the original post, he would spend 54 CP on Game Elements included in the package normally, but he would only receive 30 points for all of the Complications included in the Package Deal. This is because a Competent Normal cannot receive more than 30 points from Complications, regardless of how many points worth of them they take.

 

Regarding the content of the packages themselves:

 

I think you've gone way overboard with the Complications/Disadvantages. Double dipping on Loyalty related Complications is more than a little abusive.

 

They should have:

​Military Uniform:  ​Distinctive Features (Easily Concealed, Recognizable, Detectable By Virtually Anyone). 5 points.

Subject To Orders:  ​Social Complication (Very Frequently, Major). 20 points.

and that is it.

 

Watched is inappropriate for the package deal because it assumes that the soldier is somehow important enough that there are literally one or more agents for every soldier watching their every move and reporting it to somebody.

Likewise, Psychological Complications to enforce loyalty are inappropriate for the package deal because that would indicate some kind of brainwashing or conditioning that renders the soldiers mentally incapable of disobeying orders; as opposed to simply being disinclined because of the harsh consequences of doing so (which is already covered by the Social Complication they should have taken).

 

Also, as others have said, content of the packages themselves should be trimmed significantly: Basic Training for 'Space Marines' doesn't need much more than:

WF (Blades, Small Arms). 3 points.

Zero-G Operations (either as a Professional Skill or Environmental Movement). 2-6 points.

KS: Military History. 2 points.

KS: Military Protocol. 2 points.

Total Cost: 9-13 points.

If I used the Armor Familiarity rules, Marines might also take AF (Vac-Suit) for 1 point. If Marines get Powered Armor they might also take WF (Powered Armor) and either AF (Powered Armor) or TF (Powered Armor) for 2 points, depending upon how the armor was built.

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Cantriped watched is a totally legit complication. It means that in this case, a hugh organization has ears out on you. Correct me if I’m wrong military people but as I understand it, if you were serving and messed up in civilian life, your base commander heard about it and so did you.

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Watched is inappropriate for the package deal because it assumes that the soldier is somehow important enough that there are literally one or more agents for every soldier watching their every move and reporting it to somebody.

While much of what you say is sensible, I do have to question this sentence. On what basis do you make this assumption?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary rearranges the contents of a jewelry store by moving their every watch.

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While much of what you say is sensible, I do have to question this sentence. On what basis do you make this assumption?

Watched as a Complication has always implied active surveillance to me. In order to be worth points, there has to be somebody in particular who cares about and is taking note of your every action (or as many of them as possible). Templates should only contain those game elements which apply to everyone​ who takes them. I don't believe every soldier is worthy of being Watched that closely, so I don't think such a complication should be included in the template.

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Watched as a Complication has always implied active surveillance to me. In order to be worth points, there has to be somebody in particular who cares about and is taking note of your every action (or as many of them as possible). Templates should only contain those game elements which apply to everyone​ who takes them. I don't believe every soldier is worthy of being Watched that closely, so I don't think such a complication should be included in the template.

 

I have to agree. Subject to Orders covers most of the mundane musters and duty assignments expected of the airman/marine/sailor/soldier. Failing to show up would be considered AWOL/UA, Missing Movement, or Desertion. I would reserve Watched for things like intelligence operatives/analysts, signal intelligence and other fields that have Top Secret or higher clearance. Just my own take on it. 

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Watched as a Complication has always implied active surveillance to me. In order to be worth points, there has to be somebody in particular who cares about and is taking note of your every action (or as many of them as possible). Templates should only contain those game elements which apply to everyone​ who takes them. I don't believe every soldier is worthy of being Watched that closely, so I don't think such a complication should be included in the template.

 

Perhaps, but what you said was (emphasis added)

 

Watched is inappropriate for the package deal because it assumes that the soldier is somehow important enough that there are literally one or more agents for every soldier watching their every move and reporting it to somebody.

I hardly think "Watched" implies anything like that level of surveillance. "one or more agents for every soldier" really?? Like one informant in the unit couldn't be keeping tabs on and reporting on everyone in the unit?

 

By that standard, almost no one would ever qualify for the "Watched" Complication.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I can monitor a herd of palindromedaries without assigning a full time operative to spy on each and every one of them!

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If your universe allows "boarding actions" on spacecraft all crewman might have some shipboard combat skills. Shipboard combat might be a special skill that helps minimize damage to a ship while defending it. Alien environment survival might be a skill for if you get stranded on a planet.

 

Could ship crew have some sort of standard cybernetic implants dealing with space based survival? Eyes that can see radiation leaks, built in commlink to the ship's computer?

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