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Fahr
Specifically, i am trying to make some generic NPCs of varying ranks to throw at my PCs who are trying to cross a battle zone to steal a prototype.

using BP or Becks I need some thoughts on
A) how many BP or karma for various exp levels of soldiering (private, sgt, Lt.)
b) what specific skills would likely be gained from being in the army (as an infantryman fighting in moderate to heavy Brush) after basic training and through 6 months combat exp.

the army in question is not SOTA or 1st rate, they tend to get less expensive equipment and hope that training and exp. win the day... but they have been fighting for a number of years in border skirmishes (likely to go for reliable over flashy)

the opposition is guerrilla style warfare mostly with outside funding, so they are used to fighting well armed small groups with possibly superior firepower but inferior numbers and training.

my initial thoughts were
(no individual resources for these guys, so that is one reason low number)
private - 200 karma
exp. private 225 karma
sgt. 250 karma
exp sgt. 275 karma
Lt. - 225 karma - officer training
exp Lt. 250 karma officer training
(reasonable field ranking officer) - 275 karma officer training

using AK97 or 98 as primary AR.
Camo or armor jacket and plates?

what would a good standard loadout look like?
how much would an army like this spend on equipment per soldier?

lots of questions I know...
comments please? twirl.gif

-Mike R.
Backgammon
Using karma to build NPCs? I don't know your level of GMing experience, but as far as i'm concerned, that's insanity.

So, unless you have a specific reason to do this (of which I can see none possible), my suggestion is to put 3s and 4s everywhere.

Furthermore, the only differance between the various levels of command would be karma pool, leadership skills and planning skills. NOT fighting skills. The boss and mini-boss mentality is not a realistic one, I'm afraid.

Equipement would consist of assault rifles, grenades, light or no armour, machetes and squad support in the form of machine guns and rocket launchers. Add to that rations, plenty of water and radios.

What makes these guys deadly is a) numbers b) will not hesitate to kill you ass good and c) planning. Soldiers, by themselves, are no match for runners. It's the fact they they plan organised assaults and support each other that makes them dangerous.

Hope that helped.
Siege
In addition to Back's very good points, 3rd world "soldiers" may or may not be particularly well-trained or experienced, but they will not have a great deal of technology at their disposal.

Look at news reports of warlord factions today -- frag, for that matter watch "Blackhawk Down."

Skills + gear can still be overwhelmed with mass volumes of fire.

-Siege

Edit: For typo

Edit: More typos
Fahr
I am testing/using the GM program that McMackie uses so that is why the karma numbers...

additionally, I like to make sure that my opposition is reasonable in there skill level. it does not take me that much time to build one using becks, or bp, so I figure that is a good measure of comparative Exp.

I was not intending it to be boss, mini-boss,
i was actually trying to show that a battle hardened field sgt, might be better at his job than a green recruit. especially when you have long running campaigns. the basis would be like having the basic private with a skill set, than adding skills or upping skills as would be appropriate to exp. in the field or additonal training. same concept with the officers, I figure the officers are going to have different training than the private, so the basis there should be different too.

in reality i am makeing a whopping 6 NPCs to represent an army of guys. I just would like them to in some ways represent what an army like this might actually teach someone/look like...

Seige: this army has time to train but not a lot of money for equipment (long story why)

-Mike R
Nath
The Third world is large. To make a world tour nowadays, in Colombia, the FARC guerilla individual equipment is equivalent to what you see in poor regular army ; in Haiti, some guys were wearing green uniform, but the only thing that made a fighter was the AK ; in African ethnic clashes, the machete is a major piece of equipment. Civilian shirt or t-shirt ain't uncommon outfit. By 2060, I don't know if kevlar vest will be a common sight in Africa.

BTW, I'm not sure you become officer in a warlord band ransaking a region by displaying good interpersonal and management skills.

Besides, if you want to play as dirty as it really is nowdays in Africa, and like cyberpunk-genre is supposed to be, there would be tennagers barely tall enough to carry an AK. Some units would be high on drugs twice per day (pick up one effect in Man & Machine street drugs).
Austere Emancipator
Some stuff you might want to skim through for possibly useful stuff:
Some suggestions for attributes and skills (mainly) for 1st world armies
Mostly about ranks and stuff, but also some talk about skills and equipment
More UCAS army skills and equipment, and some general talk

I second Backgammon's suggestion to not use BeCKS or BP for such NPCs. Just make up skill sets that look reasonable. Most of those guys will have loads of skills and stuff outside of what you need to know about them, anyway.

For estimations of military budgets, quality of equipment etc. try comparing them to some RL countries and militaries. Are you going for a band of armed d00ds like you see cruising around on Toyotas in Central African cities on the news? Or closer to the soldiers that come in on APCs to "bring peace" to those cities from the neighboring countries?
Fahr
thanks for the link... more like the APCers... and this is not a warlord type situation, just a poor country with hostile borders, professional military, just not modern equipement budgets.

-Mike R.
Austere Emancipator
What large countries do they have/did they use to have the closest ties with? If the current or former governments are/were backed by Western countries, you're going to see a lot of Western equipment, and less of the AKs. Doesn't matter much stat-wise, though.

Using canon material, this is how I imagine a basic career grunt with ~1 year in the military (exp private) of an African country with a GDP per capita of around 2,000 nuyen:
B4Q4S4C2I3W3 R3 Init3+1d6 CP5
Assault Rifles/AK97-2/4, Small Unit Tactics-2, Throwing/Nades-1/2, Athletics-3, Stealth-2, probably a melee skill or spec at at least 2.
Armored Vest /w Plates, AK-97 + 4 mags, a few grenades (frags/defensive and maybe smokes), a first aid kit.

Add a few guys with a few LAWs per infantry squad with Launch/LAW-2/3 or 1/2. Probably one guy with the UB GL and a dozen defensive mininades, Launch/UBGL-2/3 or 1/2. Probably one guy with a decent medikit and Bio/1st-2/3. One guy with Ingram Valiant, 2 belts of 200 ammo each, and Heavy/IngVal-2/4 instead of AR/AK skill.

An inexperienced or just plain useless soldier might have his AR skill at only 3, all the other skills at just 1 or 2, and might also have lower attributes all around. Many will have less equipment, because it's been broken or used already. Some will have "bonuses" -- scopes on their weapons, tracers for the MGs, better heavy weaponry.

Sergeants are likely to be slightly better at basic soldiering skills, might have better attributes, and are very likely to have at least Charisma 3. The Small Unit Tactics skill is the most likely to be higher with higher ranking soldiers.

Posting what I got so far so I can check what others have written...
Slamm-O
those are the most pitiful stats ive ever seen, i a msure that the clilean army would be offended. I would think think those stats were crappy even if this was a warband a la africa, but he already stated that this is a solid country with ongoing border conflicts, id say 4-5 ratings in apporpriate skills (all specialized of course) though im sure the argument could easily be made to make them higher, 1 in 4 or 5 with smartlink (or eye mods or other cheap easy combat ware). and camo jackets with helmets. After all Nigeria is a 3rd world country whose armed forces have seen a lot of action (mercenary actions and such as well as homegrown stuff) and i always had the impression that it was quite a formidable fighting force, as far as infantry goes, im sure their armor/navy/AF wouldnt shallenge any european power much, but still its something.
Backgammon
No, I agree with those stats. You have to understand that soldiers are deadly beacuse of how they operate, not because they are all marksmen.
Nath
Oops, sorry, when I read "the opposition" I thought you were talking about the PC's opposition, not the NPC's opposition.

Concerning the regular armies, there's still a whole realm between poor and poor. You can consider they have at best 1 APC for 100 soldiers, and probably less. Jeeps and civilian trucks paint in green or brown would remain the main way of transportation for most units. I don't think they will be given kevlar jackets as long as their governments don't have to make with an aware public opinion disapproving dying soldier. They' ll find artillery and vehicles much more useful that saving some soldiers life. If nightgoogles get easy to maintain and cheap enough, they could be interested though. But long before deciding what equipment they can buy, they have to pay their soldier regularly, and some hardly do so. And since salary ain't gonna become cheaper, that will stay the main problem.
Austere Emancipator
The above is for a low-priority front-line light infantry unit, with only squad-level stuff mentioned. At platoon level, you might see an ATGM and/or light mortar, with enough basic ammo to cause serious trouble to the runners. A platoon not currently attacking or marching long distances will most likely have a HMG as well, maybe two. The crewmen of these weapons will probably have lower AR skills and the respective heavy/launch weapon skills at 3 or 4.

If the soldiers are in defensive formation, there's going to be plenty of basic anti-personnel mines, as well as a few anti-vehicle mines. A squad might have only a few, but anything from a platoon up is going to have quite a lot.

Additional "bonus" gear not mentioned above include foregrips and shock pads for ARs. There might be the occasional low-light goggles and scopes. Both far more common with the experienced troops, the latter more likely with Sgts, scouts and pointmen.

For higher priority units, like "Guard" units, you are going to see a lot more of electronics. Instead of 1 transceiver per squad, they might have 1 transceiver per pair. Small C&C networks, such as probably Battletac FDDM in vehicles of mechanized infantry, might be present. Lots more low-light and thermographic vision enhancement gear. Such units will always have the LAW-guys and the ATGMs, too.

I'm going to take a pause now, in case I'm not making any sense...
Slamm-O
i dont think that the gun stas were so bad, id say 4 or 5, maybe 5 for the sarges or more experienced units, it was the other skills that struck me, looking back they werent so bad, i think the attributes were good, at first i thought some of the 1/2s were '1 or two in said skill' then i saw they were specializations, i dont think any of the specializations should end up below 3, 3 is average profiniancy i would hope that an army with combat experience would be proficient in grenades/navigation/stealth/etc., at least proficient enough for a 3 , and their medics proficient at first aid, a medkit has 3 off the bat and its pretty damn cheap


edit: am i the only one who saw that faher posted that this is not a warlord situation? the only thing they should be lacking from something like the cas or tir armies are : special forces/units, equipment, mainly as far as Navy/armor/AF, after all i suspect that a polish grunt has comparable skill to a usa gi, there is just an equipment difference.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Slamm-O)
I would think think those stats were crappy even if this was a warband a la africa

Umm, have you ever seen those warbands fight? They just shoot wildly into the air, running around like headless chickens and shouting gibberish. A significant number of them obviously have no skill with their weapons whatsoever, and none of them knows what the fuck "tactics" means, let alone utilizing them.

The skills I put forth are what you'd expect from not-very-well-trained but somewhat experienced grunts. I think they do that rather accurately.

The gear might have been a bit off, though: If they're mostly fighting small units, they'd be mostly concentrating on mobility, and would probably not have a lot of mortars or HMGs. Expect more radios and better observation gear, with a smattering of sensors -- ~ might have low-light or thermo goggles or scopes, every 4th might have a radio, though they wouldn't use them much, and a platoon might have ~5-10 separate sensors they'll put up whenever they are camping or on defense.

I couldn't find stats for actual helmets anywhere -- only the Sec and Mil helmets and the headgear from Victory (which only add Impact). They'd certainly have those, though. They probably wouldn't have Camo Jackets, because those would cause penalties for everyone under QUI 5 (ie most). They would certainly have camo clothing, though, as well as basic (N)BC gear.

QUOTE
and i always had the impression that it was quite a formidable fighting force, as far as infantry goes

Compared to what? The usual stats we see for experienced US Army infantry grunts on these boards are pretty similar to what I put up above, except a few higher skills (usually, UCAS grunts are put at 3/5 for their main weapons, will have First Aid and such skills more often, etc). One die less for shooting than the opposition doesn't mean a whole lot. On the scale of a war, it doesn't really mean shit.

QUOTE (Nath)
You can consider they have at best 1 APC for 100 soldiers, and probably less. Jeeps and civilian trucks paint in green or brown would remain the main way of transportation for most units.

Agreed, and the APCs will mostly be in the hands of the high-priority units, like whatever units guard the capital, etc.

QUOTE
I don't think they will be given kevlar jackets as long as their governments don't have to make with an aware public opinion disapproving dying soldier.

I'm not sure, but I think I've been seeing quite a lot of body armor on African army regulars in the news as of late. I'm sure whoever the guys were who were first to roll into Liberia after the president skipped town there wore kevlar vests. And since a brand spanking new Armored Vest + Plates only costs 600 nuyen in the SR world, they might be more prolific.

Still, not everyone might have them. IMHO, the majority would.

QUOTE
They' ll find artillery and vehicles much more useful that saving some soldiers life.

True, but in the case of this particular unit that might not be the case. Against small, highly mobile and well equipped guerrilla units artillery won't be very useful. On the scale of the whole military this might well be the trend.

In general, you'll be better of believing Nath than me, though. I just supply some random muttering to keep Nath going. wink.gif
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Slamm-O)
i would hope that an army with combat experience would be proficient in grenades/navigation/stealth/etc.

How proficient at throwing hand grenades do you need to be? In my 9-month stint (no combat experience, though), I fired an AR several thousand times with live ammunition. I threw 2 live grenades. I practiced firing the AR hundreds and hundreds of hours. I practiced throwing grenades for 3 hours. I practiced stealth for ~10 hours. Navigation for maybe 20 or 30 hours, and that's one skill those guys probably should have, but isn't very important for enemy mooks.

QUOTE
am i the only one who saw that faher posted that this is not a warlord situation?

No, that's why I and everybody else has always been talking about infantrymen in an army.

QUOTE
the only thing they should be lacking from something like the cas or tir armies are : special forces/units, equipment, mainly as far as Navy/armor/AF, after all i suspect that a polish grunt has comparable skill to a usa gi, there is just an equipment difference.

I have no idea what the level of infantry training is in Poland, but the levels sure as hell do vary. In the most central skills, like main weapon, Athletics and Small Unit Tactics, the levels might be pretty similar (as they pretty much are in everything I've written above). In the more peripheral skills, the levels will vary a lot.
Rev
I think they might be quite competenat at wilderness survival/wherever they live. These guys are used to being very poorly supported, so they can take care of themselves. Could easily be thier highest skill. There might be individuals with quite high b/r skills of various types to keep thier decrepit equipment functioning.

Sergents and officers could also have ok negotiation, intimidation, and interrogation skills.

Also even a poor army is going to have some amount of air and artillery support. Even if it is just a few helicopters or spotter drones and a handfull of fighters.
Austere Emancipator
That's true. Haven't got the book where that skill is located in, but that skill would certainly be present for just about every infantryman, even for those in better supported units. The level of the skill would vary depending on the type of unit and what kind of missions they usually get.

If the unit is one that is usually just tasked with the defense of a populated area or a military concentration, they wouldn't need survival skills much. If they often do long-distance patrols well away from cities, survival (specialized in jungle, savannah or something) might be 2/3 or 2/4.

Spotter drones might be useful for the kind of unit in question. These would be of the cheapest possible kind, though, and wouldn't stray too far from friendly troops.

Manned aircraft and (especially heavy) artillery isn't that useful against small guerrilla units. They might be around, but not very likely to be encountered, unless the PC group hangs around for an extended period. Light arty, like the light mortars mentioned before, might come into play pretty soon, however.
Rev
Yea but the reason small gurilla groups operate the way they do is that it is the only way they can survive against the artillery and air support an army has.

If the PC group does get pinned down someplace where the army can bring these resources to bear they are going to die. The army will be trying to pin them down in that way. If you forget that the heavy stuff is coming, eventually, you might have some stupid situation where the runners mow down 200 soldiers over the course of a couple hours and actually win a full on engagement because of their superior stats.
Austere Emancipator
Very true. One of those things that, while perhaps doesn't require a whole lot of book-keeping on the GM's part, is very good to keep in mind.
Siege
QUOTE (Rev)
Yea but the reason small gurilla groups operate the way they do is that it is the only way they can survive against the artillery and air support an army has.

If the PC group does get pinned down someplace where the army can bring these resources to bear they are going to die. The army will be trying to pin them down in that way. If you forget that the heavy stuff is coming, eventually, you might have some stupid situation where the runners mow down 200 soldiers over the course of a couple hours and actually win a full on engagement because of their superior stats.

It's not unheard of -- all things being equal, superior position will give a sufficient edge to counter numbers.

Of course, this only holds true while the ammo holds out or until the attackers bring mortars and similar heavy weapons to bear.

-Siege
Austere Emancipator
If this is an infantry company or few, prepared for combat, the light mortars would not take long to bring to bear. Assuming decent communication and small possibility of friendly fire or significant collateral damage, maybe between 2 and 20 CTs.
Crusher Bob
The only way to get your mortars to react within six seconds is to have priority fires, have the target preplotted, and to be talking to the mortar platoon directly, with them holding the rounds in thier hands. And then tere's the flight time...

Unless they've dug in and have seen you comming, it's going to take at least 2-4 minutes to get any fire support, much more if you weren't 'expecting' anything.

Remeber that the military has to operate on a training budget too. For poorly funded militaries don't expect skills over 2 for most soldiers (skilled hobbyist) simply because there is not enough money to train your troops to that level. First world states will have enough money to train their soldiers in 'all' infantry skills, whereas most of the pooer countries will let a lot of training (like grenade use) slide.

For a poorly funded, but highly professional force (not many countries qualify for this, most poorly funded militaries aren't that professional) expect fieldcraft (athletics, stealth, survival) skills to be 'high' (3-4) with other skills depending on the cost of the training. So rifle skill would be 2-4 (depends on troop retention), but things like grenades, missiles, etc will be around a 1 (they had some lectures and maybe shot one once).

Most 'warlord' style units won't have a skill over 2 (except maybe stupidity and scoring dope) simply becuase they've never had any real training, and have not had the combat time against a real force to learn the hard way.

One of the things you really need to decide on when stating out an army is how well it holds on to personnel. Is it using long service NCOs? voluntary or or conscripted infantry? How is the officer corps trained? Does the government worry about a military coup (will reduce training)?

Using the Red army model with conscripts, no long service NCOs, but a reasonably well trained officer corps will lead toward troops with skills of around 2 in most infantry skills (reasonalbe allotments for training, but no time to pick them up, and no NCOs to learn from).

Using a western style army with long service NCOs, but mostly conscripts you'll see skills in the 2-3 range (usually the threes will be specializations). There are NCOs to learn from, and a reasonable training budget, but just not enough time and moeny to train every conscript that come in.

It's only in the all volunteer long service armies that you get line troops with skills in the 2-4 range (4s will probably be specialization). By the time you get better than that you are probably a NCO and not a grunt.

Assuming the following skill levels:

1 saw/done it a few times
2 skilled hobbyist
3 young professional
4 long service professional
5 intensive training or natural aptitude with good training
etc

Most line animals won't rank more that 'professional' (i.e. 3-4) in anything. The long service NCOs and specops guys will tend to stat out closer to runners (i.e. a starting runner is an ex NCO or specops operator).

Note that starting runners are already very good at what they do, this tends to give a warped idea of what 'average' is when people try to stat normal folks out.
toturi
I ran a campaign in a war torn country once. And I had a player ask me,"Goddamnit! Doesn't Country X have any green troops?"

My answer was,"Yes, the graveyards are full of them. You get the survivors."

Personally my take on armies are that a professional volunteer army that is well trained and equipped would have soldiers with 4 or 5 in their core competencies. For example, officers would have Small Unit Tactics at 5, but the Sergeants will have 5 in Assault Rifles or Heavy Weapons or Stealth depending on their vocations.

Professional but largely conscripted army has a core of very well trained and equipped senior officers and non-coms (core skills at 5 or 6) but junior officers and privates in combat roles will have 3 to 4 depending on training time(usually 2 years at least).

In war time countries with professional armies, the surviving troops will all have core skills at 4 or 5 and have a karma pool to match.

In war time countries with conscript armies with professional core, any surviving troops will also have 4 or 5 and karma pool to match.

Conscript armies originally poorly led and equipped will continue to be poorly eqipped but will be eventually well led and troops will have 4-5 in skills.

You will notice that I kept my skill levels at 4-5 and increased karma pool for battle hardening of professionals. This is because in battle, people who can't hack it will be dead in short order. There can only be so much training one can have before he can't learn anymore without actual combat. And I've pegged it at 4 or 5(depends how well they learnt from combat).
Crusher Bob
Notice that skills of 4-5 take several years of training, line grunts will become NCOs after that long. My take is that professional armies have plenty of people with that level of skill but they either muster out or become NCOs. Regular 'private' soldiers don't get that good, (at least in peace time). They either muster out or aren't privates any more. Rember that the lin grunts are the 'most junior' members of the army, so they will have the 'lowest' skills you are liekly to encounter (expect for officers).

toturi
Skills rated 3-4 are not difficult to achieve in 1-2 years, all you need to do is edit out all the monkeying around a parade square crap and spend 24/7 out in the field and at the range. Line grunts (conscripts) may have better actual combat skills than those instant NCOs or Lts conscript armies seem to churn out.

For example, in a conscript army, the junior officers and NCOs usually have better leadership skills and a rudimentary grasp of tactics, whereas the troopers will usually be much more proficicent in their area of expertise. For example an Lt will not question a tank driver (usually a private) on how to drive a tank, often the driver does it better than the Lt. Hell, I know privates that scold their officers when the latter take the tanks out on orientation drives, "Sir, you're totally fucked up! I'll drive!"
Austere Emancipator
I tried to use the Karma cost of raising a skill to those levels as a guide to how high the skills should be. One skill/spec at 2/4 costs 7 Karma, less than one base skill at 3 (8 Karma). One base skill at 4 costs double that of a spec of 4 (14 vs 7).

QUOTE (Crusher Bob)
The only way to get your mortars to react within six seconds is to have priority fires, have the target preplotted, and to be talking to the mortar platoon directly, with them holding the rounds in thier hands. And then tere's the flight time...

Unless they've dug in and have seen you comming, it's going to take at least 2-4 minutes to get any fire support, much more if you weren't 'expecting' anything.

There were a few important assumptions on my part. First of all, I assumed that even light mortars of the 2060s would be linked to rudimentary fire control computers. This might not always be the case, but considering the extremely high benefit/cost of such a system (maybe less than 500Y with 2060s tech), there would be some such systems.

The other was that the mortars are deployed and ready to fire. If the crew is in a tent a hundred meters away, it won't take very long to get the alarm there, throw LBV on, run to the mortar, pick up the coordinates on the FCC and start firing.

If the mortars aren't deployed -- troops moving or resting -- it would certainly take a minute or several to start firing. If there are no fire control computers, it would take an additional 10 - 20CTs to figure out where to shoot, depending heavily on conditions (how sure they are of the enemy positions) and experience (speed of communication).
Siege
While we're deviating from developing nation standards, skill levels can be affected by motivation and unit emphasis.

Marines spend _a lot_ of time on the range and learn the inner workings of their weapons like a date book. US Army infantry, on the other hand, don't drill to that level of expertise.

-Siege
Apathy
How about this for estimates of their generic stats (see spoiler below)

(First time I've tried using spoiler, so I apologize for extra-long post if it doesn't work)

[ Spoiler ]
toturi
Yes, I think Apathy has got it fairly correct. But I think the fresh Lt has at least as good Assault Rifles as the Private, but as the Private goes corporal the corporal may have higher Assault Rifle than his officer.
Nath
On the other hand, to go back on the original subject, a third world country might not have any military academy like Western countries use to. I don't know the subject enough but I think it's fairly imaginable that they would instead pick their officer from the NCO ranks. Thus all officers would be as much or more experienced in combat than the men under their orders. Well, unless he has an influential father if corruption is common in that country.
Fahr
Wow... thanks guys, this is exactly what I wanted!

thatnks a whole lot!!

(AE, I like the stats for that, that gives me a good comparison)

-Mike R

This army spends there money on retention and training, rather than on equipment, there budget is not big, but they emphasize training first.
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