Marauders and Mercenaries

Marauders and Mercenaries

As the Terran-Dindrenzi War sweeps through the Storm Zone and beyond, huge areas of space have been engulfed in conflict, from the busiest trading hubs to the most secluded stellar backwaters.

In the process, many spacefarers have become involved with the conflict in one way or another; either because their formerly quiet territories have been wracked by violence, or because the vast conflicts have created unrivalled opportunities for profit!

There are many such independent spacefarers; from the pragmatic Oroshan, a nomadic race whose society is built upon the mercenary’s trade, to shady organised crime syndicates with territories stretching between solar systems in a web of smuggling routes and protection rackets.

Syndicate and their Corsair allies (Left) face off against the OmniDyne and some Oroshan mercenaries (Right)

Syndicate and their Corsair allies (Left) face off against the OmniDyne and some Oroshan mercenaries (Right)

Independent merchant companies struggle to ply to their trade as the war rages around them, or align themselves with the great stellar empires in return for lucrative contracts. Innumerable bands of marauders and rogues plague the most profitable space lanes – sometimes working as chartered privateers, but more often simply creating yet another random threat to anyone who crosses their paths.

And in the darkest, most unsavoury depths of space lurk even greater dangers. Rogue penal fleets, their overstretched guardians overwhelmed by their savage cargo, survive as the most brutal kind of reavers, ruthlessly plundering everything they can find to survive and maintaining their secrecy by the extermination of any survivors.

Worse yet, though, are the rogue technologies – self-aware remnants of the devastating biological, chemical and nanotech weapons unleashed by all factions in the maelstrom of conflict, coalescing in strange unions given an unfathomable sentience by random chaotic chance. Considered no more than a dark legend by many, bizarre entities stalk the chilly void and woe betide any unfortunate enough to become their prey…

The Oroshan Imperium
The Oroshan are one of the many alien races to exist wholly as nomadic starfarers; their original home planet lost to the mists of time and legend. However, what makes the Oroshan so notable is that almost the entire race seems to subsist largely through the proceeds of mercenary contracts.

Oroshan Imperium Defiler Class Cruisers

Oroshan Imperium Defiler Class Cruisers

Individual Oroshan Hwyvirna, or ‘Bloodtribes’, are willing to sign up as mercenaries for virtually anyone willing to pay them enough. Pragmatic realists, the Oroshan are highly valued because of their reputation for reliability, but one must always remember that their loyalty to any other faction only lasts as long as the duration of their contracts.

Pirates and Marauders
Piracy is an inevitable hazard across known space. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of star-sailing vagabonds willing to live off the proceeds of violent wealth redistribution. They range from flamboyant and theatrical corsairs who pride themselves on their elaborate codes of conduct, to vicious desperadoes willing to cut even each other’s throats to survive one more day in the unforgiving black ocean.

Corsairs Brigand Class Cruisers

Corsairs Brigand Class Cruisers

Regardless, most pirate bands are regarded as simple nuisances – and often as a source of expendable fodder – by the great stellar empires. However sometimes, especially in more war-ravaged regions, a powerful coalition of pirates arises that can threaten entire star systems!

Stellar Syndicates
Not all space-based criminal activity takes the form of simple looting and reaving. Every stellar dominion harbours wealthy organised crime cartels, and many of these long ago realised that there were immense profits to be made in expanding their underworld empires offworld, with everything from puppet trading companies to illicit goods manufacture and smuggling operations.

Syndicate Spur Class Heavy Cruiser

Syndicate Spur Class Heavy Cruiser

These syndicates regard themselves as a cut above the common pirate rabble, sourcing high-quality vessels and technology from various unscrupulous corporations. However, also unlike common marauders, the syndicates often maintain a strange form of ‘tribal loyalty’ to whatever stellar empire their founders originated from. They are sometimes employed as ‘deniable assets’ by legitimate governments and intelligence agencies.

Trading Companies
There are millions of independent trading companies operating across known space. Although some are fronts for stellar governments or organised crime, the vast majority operate as part of innumerable leagues, guilds and similar organisations – many of which jealousy protect ‘their’ routes from rivals.

Some ‘companies’ can be as small as a single ship operated by a Free Charter Captain. Others are very wealthy, consisting of many hundreds of merchant vessels, protected by independent company security forces. Many still strive to operate independently, in spite of the dangers they face. Often, however, merchant fleets are either contracted or outright dragooned by major powers to supplement their own crucial transport and logistics assets.

Penal Flotillas

Supermax-89

Supermax-89

The Terran Alliance’s legal systems are notable for their lack of capital punishment. However, this apparent altruism exists only to provide a cheap and plentiful supply of expendable labour for hazardous projects. Thousands of penal transport fleets range far and wide across Terran space and beyond, hauling their benighted human cargos to the distant frontier zones where they will labour and, most likely, die.

However, the coming of the war heavily disrupted the Terran judicial system. Their resources have been stretched to the limit, with the result that they have lost track of many Penal Flotillas. Some are caught up in battles and forced to defend themselves from attack. Others, taken over by their inmates, have become home to the most aggressive and savage reavers. These rogues can be highly effective mercenaries – albeit an extremely risky prospect for their employers!

Corporate Raiders
Doing business in the Directorate can be cutthroat in the extreme. The many corporations competing for power, wealth and influence are all united by one thing – savagely gutting any of their rivals who collapse. Such unfortunate ventures are asset-stripped by their competitors, almost always with fatal consequences for their owners and employees. As a result, many smaller corporations, either seeking to pay off debts or to expand their profits, have taken to the stars, becoming wholly mobile operations.

The OmniDyne Foundry Class Dreadnought

The OmniDyne Foundry Class Dreadnought

Such companies become a bizarre blend of astute merchants and vicious pirates. The appearance of such a roving corporation can devastate a wide area, as they brutally pillage isolated colonies and sell advanced weaponry virtually indiscriminately to co-opted corsairs and other undesirables.

The Infected
Constant conflict and industrial activity has created vast amounts of highly dangerous devices, weapons and other materials. The by-products of bio-manipulation, cybernetic experimentation and discarded nanotechnology have become a feature of many regions of space. However, something strange has been happening in the areas where concentrations of such material are greatest.

Pathogen X9-V Infected Battleship

Pathogen X9-V Infected Battleship

Reports of strangely altered rogue starships have been on the increase. Often they are accompanied by mysterious disappearances, or unnerving encounters where vessels were attacked – or sometimes aided – by unidentified ‘ghost ships’. Some whisper that a whole new species is evolving at an incredibly accelerated rate in the stygian void, feeding on the cast-off debris of war and research. If this is so, who can say what their motives might be? Only time will tell…

Call To Arms
For now head off to our Online Store to see the various Marauder and Raider models we have available, but keep checking back for news on our upcoming boxed sets.