d20 Redshirts

Index > Basics > Military vs Mercenary

Military vs Mercenary

While the Redshirts campaigns are designed assuming that the party are all members of a military faction, they generally work equally well when the party is a roving band of mercenaries, whether they are a small outfit or part of a much larger group. Listed below are typical differences that players will come up against between the two situations.

As a side note, mixed groups should generally be discouraged due to the difficulties involved in balancing party members against each other.



While members of the military are paid a regular monthly rate, it is assumed that the bulk of this money is sent home to their bank accounts - either to support their families, save for high education, or for some other purpose. They are also generally discouraged from carrying large amounts of cash on them at any given time in order to discourage the robbery of military personnel, though they do typicaly carry at least some cash to cover incidental expenses. Typically, a military man would have roughly 50+d100 credits on them at the start of any battle.


Unlike their military brethren, mercenaries are paid purely on performance. A typical contract would offer a reward of roughly 1000c for killing an enemy trooper and 5000c for killing an enemy officer. That said, mercenaries are only paid for confirmed kills. The preferred form of confirmation is generally dog tags, though video and other forms of evidence can also be accepted in some situations.

Mercenaries can also earn bonuses through the capturing of live prisoners, completion of vital objectives, gathering of useful intelligence, and other endevours. The size of these bonuses will generally scale with the usefulness of their actions, but it is not uncommon for targets of the highest priority to be worth hundreds of thousands or millions of credits.

For longer time assignments in less hostile areas (such as security jobs), Mercenaries can sometimes arrange a per day payment instead.  Typically a Mercenary could expect to be paid a rate of 100+25*level credits per day, though room and board will often be taken out of that sum in areas where it must be provided.




Military men have all of their equipment provided for them by their host service. The following is a list of typically issued equipment.

  • Standard Gear: Most characters will be issued the following equipment: a small headset radio with batteries, a small roll of military duct tape, a knife (utility or combat), and a single use med kit. They will also be issued a set of uniforms for everyday wear.
  • Sidearm: A character will be issued one sidearm (pistol or sub-machine gun) of his choice, as long as he is proficient with it.
  • Armour: Choice of Military Vac Suit, Combat Armour, Flak Jacket, or Tactical Vest. Players with levels of Recon Marine or Sniper may choose Stealth Armour instead. Due to it's expense, Powered Armour is considered Special-Issue equipment.
  • Main Equipment: A character will generally be issued another piece of equipment based on his training (generally one of his choice). Typically this will be a larger weapon, a first aid kit, or a tool kit of some variety. Specialist weapons are generally considered Special-Issue Equipment, and are only issued on an as-needed basis.
  • Extra Equipment: As well as the above, a character can requisition a number of additional items equal to his character level. These items can consist of weapon or armour upgrades, additional weapons or tools, and other forms of equipment drawn from the Other Items section.
  • Special-Issue Equipment: Some items are expensive or dangerous enough that they will not be issued as standard gear. These items are only given out on a mission to mission basis, as they are needed. These items will generally include Powered Armour and Specialist weapons, but the exact list is up to the discretion of the DM.


Mercenaries must purchase all of their own equipment, from weapons to armour to ammo to vehicles.

While many things that they need can be founded in hardware, sporting goods, and other civilian stores, some items (especially advanced weapons) must be found from more specific sources. Typically these can be bought either on the black market, a (rare) licensed dealer, or from the quartermaster of a military unit whose commanding officer owes the players a favour.

Level:Starting Cash: (in credits)
1 1,000
2 1,500
3 2,250
4 3,380
5 5,060
6 5,790
7 11,400
8 17,100
9 25,600
10 38,400
11 57,700
12 86,500
13 130,000
14 195,000
15 292,000
16 438,000
17 657,000
18 985,000
19 1,480,000
20 2,210,000



Members of the military go where they're told, when they're told, how they're told - although someone else generally pays for the cost of the ticket and arranges the details.


Mercenaries can generally go when and where they like - but they have to make their own arrangements and buy their own passages.




Members of the military have little to no choice in which missions they're assigned.


Mercenaries can generally choose which missions they want to accept, though they only get paid for completing a job, and failing or abandoning missions can have negative effects on their long term employability.