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Mercenaries frequently gather at starport bars and taverns to trade stories and recruit new pilots between missions

Mercenaries, colloquially known as "Metal Mercs," play an indispensable role in the military and political machinations throughout the Core. These skilled pilots and their mech units are a common sight, offering their services to the highest bidder. Mercenaries are hired by all of the great houses of the Core to supplement their armed forces, execute military operations, and sometimes even to serve as the primary force in conflicts where deniability is key.

Mercenary Operations[]

Mercenaries come with the expectation of providing their own mechs, ensuring they are battle-ready for whatever their contracts demand. Compensation for their services typically includes a mix of direct payment and salvage rights, allowing successful mercenaries to profit and improve their arsenals with each mission. This arrangement benefits the great houses as well, providing them a way to engage in conflicts indirectly, maintaining a veil of plausible deniability and mitigating the risk of attracting direct retaliation or the disfavor of the Star Regent.

Drake's Landing: The Mercenary Hub[]

Drake's Landing is renowned as the central hub for mercenary activity within the Core. Named after the legendary mercenary commander Drake, who famously defended the planet against overwhelming odds, Drake's Landing evolved from a fortified stronghold to a vibrant world where mercenaries from across the galaxy converge. The planet's status as a neutral ground makes it an ideal location for mercenary units to recruit, resupply, and negotiate contracts. With a rich history steeped in mercenary lore, Drake's Landing embodies the spirit of the mercenary life: freedom, honor, and the pursuit of victory.

The Mercenary Guild[]

Overseeing the vast network of mercenary activity is the Mercenary Guild, a governing body established to regulate and support the mercenary community across the Core. The guild ensures that mercenary contracts are honored, providing a level of oversight and protection against exploitative practices. Their motto, "Where words bind war," reflects the foundational belief in the sanctity of the mercenary contract, emphasizing that agreements between employers and mercenaries are not just transactions but sacred bonds that must be respected by all parties.

The guild's influence extends to protecting even those mercenary units not formally bound to it, advocating for fair treatment and equitable contracts throughout the sector. By upholding these standards, the Mercenary Guild has become a pillar of the mercenary profession, ensuring that the system works for both mercenaries and those who seek to employ them.

Mercenary Companies[]

Field techs work on light mech

Field techs prepare a light mech for deployment

In the Core, major mercenary companies are categorized into Greater and Lesser companies. Greater Mercenary Companies are the largest units, often functioning as massive independent armies with their own fleets and bases across several worlds. They operate under fully established command hierarchies that resemble governmental or council-like structures, with no single individual owning or commanding the entire organization. These units typically encompass several divisions and are involved in extensive strategic operations.

In contrast, Lesser Mercenary Companies are still substantial but usually operate on a smaller scale. They generally maintain a single established base, command several starships, and consist of a few divisions. Leadership in these companies often centers around a single individual, making them more nimble but also tightly dependent on their commander's vision and capabilities.

Below these, countless smaller mercenary units exist, often referred to as the Minor Mercenary Companies. Varying in size from just a few columns to those spanning entire wards or marches, the overhwhelming majority of mercenary companies in the Core fall into this category. These units are typically commanded by individual leaders and frequently undertake sub-contracts from both Greater and Lesser companies, in addition to securing direct commissions from the Great Houses. This structure allows for a dynamic range of operations, from large-scale strategic deployments to highly specialized tactical missions. While many minor mercenary companies choose to maintain guild membership and protections, it is not uncommon to find completely independent outfits. Minor Mercenary Companies also range in loyalty and allegiance, from units that work solely under the banner of one or two of the Great Houses to free-agents that are willing to work for anyone. These companies are the most likely outfits to be commissioned by local leaders and magistrates, especially near the Fringe, who may be facing relatively smaller scale issues such as security details or pirate and bandit protections.

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