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> Interesting/Unusual Military Units
FlakJacket
post Jul 11 2008, 02:31 AM
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I'm sure most of us have run across, or been guilty of, PCs in games using the ex-military back story to easily explain away how the character learned the different and varied skills they'd picked up. And invariably they always seem to be ex-SEALS/SAS/KSK or some form of special forces soldier in similar vein, and often min-maxed to the limit.

So I was looking for some interesting or unusual alternatives to the usual suspects, be it special forces types like the Air Force Pararescuemen - who just scream DocWagon/CrashCart recruits - to regular troops like the Seabees that combine soldiering with engineering skills or units that just make you go, wow that's a bit odd/different. This line of thought got started when I ran across some references to the Danish Slaedepatruljen Sirius, long range dog sled patrols in northern/north-eastern Greenland that were just kind of surprising and yet also fairly relevant for Shadowrun in places like the Athabaskan or Algonkian-Manitou Council.

Edit: Ah, accidentally clicked the wrong button. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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VagabondStar
post Jul 11 2008, 04:58 AM
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Project Sun Streak (Stargate) would probably fit the bill for unusual, I don't know what the name of the actual unit was - if it had one. Sun Streak was a DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) program researching remote viewing - in reaction to suspected Soviet Programs with a similar goal. The program screened personnel (mostly military) who possessed, (or believed they possessed) psychic ability. The goal being to create a new intelligence collection discipline.

This kind of program would explain away the background of most any combat-oriented magic user or other paranormally-inclined character.


This is a reference from the Federation of American Scientists web-site.

http://ftp.fas.org/irp/program/collect/stargate.htm
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Flatliner
post Jul 11 2008, 06:58 AM
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If not just looking for real world fighters, there's always the Desert Wars teams and guerrilla groups in conflict zones around the world.

Being a former guerrilla wouldn't explain high speed gear, but would explain skills and also has potential for an interesting background.
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Ed_209a
post Jul 11 2008, 01:10 PM
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Operation Blue Fly.

They were (are?) trained to locate and recover fallen "foreign space vehicles"

In the non-tinfoil-hat world, this of course means Soviet and Chinese satellites. But who knows in _your_ campaign world.
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MGray
post Jul 11 2008, 05:10 PM
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Well in addition to USAF Pararescue which you already mentioned there are USAF Combat Controllers and USAF Tactical Air Control Parties (TAC-P).

Combat Control teams travel into hostile territory and provide air traffic control, fire support, and C3 support. They also provide "austere airfield support", in other words they set up airfields in combat zones.

TAC-Ps are two man air control and fire support teams attached to army ground units.

I met some of these guys in survival school and they are pretty hardcore guys.
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Tybrus
post Jul 11 2008, 05:11 PM
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I forget the names, but its like Spec boat services, the guys that run the seals around... The Army has that Helicopter Unit the Nighthunters? For Spec force insertion. can't forget the 10th Mnt. Division, Air Assult Troopers, Underwater salvage (The old Frogmen), DOD, Water Reclmation units, Down Pilot recovery, Medical service corp, Marine corp martching band =)
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nezumi
post Jul 11 2008, 05:33 PM
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Don't forget, there's also always 'hard-core survivalist'. Sure, he might not have the most SOTA gear, but someone whose been shooting since he was 2 can certainly justify having a 6 in firearms.

If he happens to be 'hard-core survivalist who hit oil', he would have all of that plus the cyber as well.

Edit: Also gives a good excuse for having military-grade training and still being batshit insane. Special ops, by and large, avoid hiring sociopaths. Survivialists make no such distinction.
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CanRay
post Jul 11 2008, 05:52 PM
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There's also regular units. OK, so he isn't SpecOps, but he might have been the best in his unit.

And some regular units train specifically in Urban Combat that Shadowrunners specialize at, like the Metroplex Guard and the Army Units there from the Arcology "Incident".

And the "Black Devils" I keep mentioning, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, which are "Light Infantry", the decendants of Skirmishers. They are trained to move quickly on the flanks of units and harry units, forcing them to divide their forces. They're also trained in Urban Combat, for similar reasons (Fast strikes in close combat. Light Infantry can't carry much in the way of heavy artillery, of course.).
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HeavyMetalYeti
post Jul 11 2008, 06:17 PM
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Dont forget about SWAT or the Department of Corrections S.O. unit. SWAT would be a perfect background for a runner with the urban combat training.
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nezumi
post Jul 11 2008, 07:05 PM
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Or the cook. We all know from watching Steven Seagel movies that the cook is generally the most deadly member of a unit.

(And since in the Marine Corp, ALL members are basically riflemen first and whatever else second, there's no reason you couldn't be a cook with Assault Rifles 6/Handguns 6/Intimidation 5/Ass-kicking 6.)
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WeaverMount
post Jul 11 2008, 07:23 PM
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All the ridiculously skilled people I know picked up there array of skills in different epochs of there life. I knew a guy in Austin TX, who was network admin (one skill set) who lost his job and decided to use his savings launch well equipped life without a house rather than look for a new job. This taught him a whole new skill set. Eventually he got an in with a start-up and "got back on his feet". I met him at a gun range where he was trying to port zen archery technique to hand guns. This guy could have just about anything on his sheet.
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Wesley Street
post Jul 11 2008, 07:32 PM
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Dictator-turned-pimp Muammar Qaddafi travels the world with his all-female bodyguard unit. Don't know if they actually serve any purpose other than eye-candy but it's definitely unusual.
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nezumi
post Jul 11 2008, 08:05 PM
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Hmm... My next character should be a deposed dictator-turned-pimp.
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martindv
post Jul 11 2008, 08:11 PM
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It'd be interesting to have a PC with a background in one of the antiterrorist units (as opposed to counterterror units like Delta) like the Air Force's Phoenix Ravens or the USMC Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams. since they'd come at the job with a background in knowing how places are, or are supposed to be, defended and where there are weaknesses.
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CanRay
post Jul 11 2008, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 11 2008, 02:05 PM) *
(And since in the Marine Corp, ALL members are basically riflemen first and whatever else second, there's no reason you couldn't be a cook with Assault Rifles 6/Handguns 6/Intimidation 5/Ass-kicking 6.)

"Every Marine a Rifleman." - Commandant Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
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Fix-it
post Jul 11 2008, 10:00 PM
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Intelligence Support Activity

mostly field sigint, but some humint as well.

also, don't forget EOD technicians. they are very similar to SEALS, but defuse IEDs in addition to being shot at.
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Zak
post Jul 11 2008, 10:02 PM
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QUOTE (Fix-it @ Jul 12 2008, 12:00 AM) *
also, don't forget EOD technicians. they are very similar to SEALS, but defuse IEDs in addition to being shot at.


wow, that definatly makes top 10 of all shitty jobs.
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CanRay
post Jul 11 2008, 11:29 PM
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I think any job in The Sandbox is 9-out-of-the-10 shitty jobs in the world.

The last being Tech Support, of course.
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Sir_Psycho
post Jul 12 2008, 03:39 AM
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Alamos 20k. The same with other policlubs, like Sons of Sauron etc. While the teams you hear about are just unskilled racist rabbles, they all have their own crack strike teams, well trained and rivalling a lot of special forces teams. An example is the Human Nation's Flaming Sword.

Docwagon and Crashcart have well trained personnel that can move into the shadows. They're physically fit, trained with equipment, and most of them can fire weapons, not to mention they're trained in rescue and field medicine. If you want to go less corp and more... Shadowrunner - The Anarchist Black Crescent is a another medical organisation with an Anarchist bent.

Speaking of anarchists. Black Star recruits, trains and maintains anarachist spec ops teams, and fluff dictates that they make some of the top shadowrunners.

If you want a Tir Native, but not a fascist/racist pseudo-monarchist, then you could play an ex Rinelle Ke'Tesrae operative. They managed to pull off subversive strikes in Tir Tairngire, with opposition like the Tir Ghosts (who incidentally, could be a good background group for a spec ops style shadowrunner.

The United Nations still exists, too. UNATCO seems like the most obvious choice for special ops types, but they could also come out of the UNAF. The blue hats can't usually compete with the size of other military forces, so they could certainly operate like special forces teams, not to mention that with the scope of their operations, they probably have many complimentary skillsets. Fluff also states that they often discreetly hire mercenaries, and even cross-train, so they could easily filter into Shadowrunners.

I could go on for ages. Mainly on the back of Threats, Threats 2, and Loose Alliances. But don't forget that nearly every corp has it's own security forces, such as ARES' Firewatch, Renraku's Red Samurai, Aztechnology's Leopard/Jaguar guards - I'm sure there's more, but I can't remember the other ones.

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Hatspur
post Jul 12 2008, 04:09 AM
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If you want to revive an old idea for awesome military units you could use the Turkish Jannisaries. At the very least they would be a cool character concept:

"Yeah I was there when Istanbul fell the first time. And I helped liberate it the second time."
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Method
post Jul 12 2008, 04:19 AM
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QUOTE (VagabondStar @ Jul 10 2008, 09:58 PM) *
Sun Streak was a DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) program researching remote viewing - in reaction to suspected Soviet Programs with a similar goal. The program screened personnel (mostly military) who possessed, (or believed they possessed) psychic ability. The goal being to create a new intelligence collection discipline.http://ftp.fas.org/irp/program/collect/stargate.htm


A friend of mine suggested the book "The Men That Stare At Goats". Haven't gotten around to it yet, but it looked interesting.
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VagabondStar
post Jul 12 2008, 04:29 AM
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QUOTE (Tybrus @ Jul 11 2008, 05:11 PM) *
I forget the names, but its like Spec boat services, the guys that run the seals around... The Army has that Helicopter Unit the Nighthunters? For Spec force insertion. can't forget the 10th Mnt. Division, Air Assult Troopers, Underwater salvage (The old Frogmen), DOD, Water Reclmation units, Down Pilot recovery, Medical service corp, Marine corp martching band =)




SWC - Shallow Water Craft. The Brown Water Navy - as seen in Apocalypse now.
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VagabondStar
post Jul 12 2008, 04:31 AM
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I wonder what the Gurkhas are like in 2070....
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toturi
post Jul 12 2008, 05:15 AM
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Where does the axe wielding troll get gainfully employed? The local fire department. Usually spec ops forces do not focus so much on melee weapons such as axes, but the fire department has lots of fire axes and people who are trained to use them. Beware the troll fireman.
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Kyoto Kid
post Jul 12 2008, 07:32 AM
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...I've written up the Serbian SSID which is basically a secret police bureau with several different divisions including Magical Threats Directive, and the nefarious Blacksuits (special agents who had nearly carte Blanche authority).

I also had the Nezavisnost Brigada (Croatian resistance) which was actually a fairly well organised operation.
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