Ship's Troop

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A Zhodani Consular Guard Reports to his Commander on the success of the mission.

Ship's Troops such as Marines and other types of security forces make up the complement of a ship's troops, and usually appear on ships over 1,000 tons in size. [1]

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Ship's troops exit their Broadsword class Mercenary Cruiser and begin to take prisoners while establishing a perimeter.

Ship's troops can be placed in low berths as part of the frozen watch for a ship, being revived at the start of hostilities or on approach to a new port of call, when their services are needed. They also perform normal shipboard security operations such as anti-hijacking and passenger check in on larger cruise liners. These forces may also operate a brig to keep prisoners in when dealing with hijackers or stowaways.[2] Some species, such as the Zhodani[3] and the Hivers[4] will supplement or even replace their organic Ship's Troops with robots. The robots perform the same function as organic ship's troops but have a reduced cost in life support and medical needs.[5]


As a general rule the Marines of a species are outfitted with the best available Battledress and weapons for their empire. Other forces, such as the Imperial Colonial forces, will use the best available equipment they can afford. This always includes as a minimum:

  • A Vacc Suit or better to protect the trooper from the vacuum of space but also to provide some form of personal armor.
  • A Low recoil weapon such as a Snub Pistol or an Accelerator Rifle for shipboard fighting.
  • A combat Blade or Knife.
  • An assortment of Grenades.
  • Some form of restraining device for prisoners
  • Many specialists use hull breaching charges for boarding actions or bunker busting.

Other forces such as mercenary units working as ship's troops will have a more random selection of equipment based on individual preferences and affordability.[6]

Image Repository[edit]

You can find a number of images related to this article here:Category:Ships Troop Images

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Additionally, these troops are usually, but not always, equipped to the same tech level standard of the ship. Ship's Troops can and do deploy outside the ship on the surface of planets as required by the dictates of the mission or their captain. Finally, they are used and trained to become effective damage control parties, and they can man various weapons systems throughout the ship as needed.[7]

Traditionally, Marines are better trained in shipboard combat and generally perform much better at that task, be it in defense of their own ship, or in the taking of another. Regular security forces are also trained in shipboard actions but usually not to the same standard as Marines. However, they are considered much more effective at boarding actions than regular crew are.[8]

Ship's Troop's by Major Race[edit]

Aslan Ship's Troops[edit]

  1. An Aslan Corsair boarding a derelict merchant ship in search of survivors and clues to the culprits of a pirate attack...
    Aslan-Boarder-RESIZED-T5-Joey-Docil 15-August-2019b.jpg

REMARKS: The Aslan military structure is very different compared to most other militaries of the Major Races. Most of a ship’s troop are males, but there are a few non-combatant females in support roles. These troops are generally in one of three possible unit types, Assault, Security and Support[9] these divisions hold true for all of the clans but not all clans are created equal. [10]

Planetary Space Forces:[edit]

These are units made up of the available clans from the planet they are guarding. Each soldier will have the best equipment his clan can provide and thus there will be variations among each individual in the unit. Additionally, unit cohesion is not very good, unless they are fighting against an enemy that does not respect the Aslan rituals of war.[11]

Clan Space Forces:[edit]

These forces are created to protect the various worlds of a clan and its vassals[12]. They are equipped to the best standard of their clan. However, while vassal clans will be present, they too will be equipped to the controlling clan’s standard. These units are better trained and have good unit cohesion during operations.[13]

Tlaukhu Space Forces:[edit]

These units are equipped to the highest standards of the Hierate, and are better trained than all the other forces. Typically, they have tech level 14 battledress and PGMP-14s with other various weapons either attached to their primary weapon or as side arms. During ritual conflict these units will board with bladed weapons drawn. They will resort to heavier weapons as dictated by the level of escalation the war is at or if their advisory starts using them.[14]

Privateers or Corsairs:[edit]

Aslan look down on piracy as a dishonorable profession[15]. However, Aslan can be hired by a clan to act as privateers during a conflict. The soldiers aboard a ship are generally equipped to the same standard as the ship. Additionally, depending on the clan that the ship or company originated from, they can be very well equipped for hand to hand fighting.[16]

Droyne Shipboard Warriors[edit]

  1. A Droyne warrior in full combat armor.
    Droyne In Combat Armor.png

REMARKS: While it is unusual for the Droyne to be encountered in space, it is possible within several parsecs of one of their higher tech level worlds. Additionally, when in a system controlled by the Droyne it is possible to get caught up in one of their inter Oytrip ritual wars.[17] The naval forces of the Droyne should not be underestimated and their shipboard warriors should be treated with equal respect. Shipboard droyne warriors and their leaders are usually outfitted to the best standard of their Oytrip. However, given the psionic abilities of the Droyne, they become a very formidable force in boarding actions even with low tech equipment. In addition to the Droyne's normal shipboard combat load, they also have clawed feet and a tail that they can use to attack their enemies with. If the Droyne is in battledress or combat armor the tail can become a deadly and unexpected weapon to the unwary.[18].

Hiver Ship's Troops[edit]

  1. One of the more fearful sights an errant pirate of the Rim can encounter: An Ithklur in Battledress.
    Ithklur in Battledress.png

REMARKS: It is well known that the Hiver's themselves tend to become catatonic when personal combat occurs nearby[19]. Therefore, they rely on either their allies such as the Ithklur, or in automated warbots to fulfil this important shipboard role. [20]


Equivalent in many ways to an Imperial Marine and superior in others, the Ithklur make excellent ship's troops. They are usually armed with Battledress, a FGMP-15 with a coaxially mounted Gauss rifle a small short range pistol and occasionally a polearm. It is rumored that many pirates quickly learn how to request sanctuary[21] (surrender) rather than fight these well-equipped, implacable foes.[22]


Hiver warbots are of such a quality and intelligence they are illegal in Imperial space[23]. Generally speaking, a warbot is more akin to a tank and is capable of outperforming the best ship's troops that other races have to offer. However, they can be defeated, and the smaller versions of these, used for ship boarding and defense, cannot carry the heavy armament and armor that their ground force counterparts enjoy due to the confined spaces.[24]
  • Typical load out for a ship troop type warbot is equivalent to an Imperial Marine in Battledress with a reflective coating, a FGMP-15, a Gauss Rifle, a few grenades and a bladed weapon of some sort.
  • These warbots do not suffer the effects of Zero-G-Combat disorientation and can easily compensate for its effects.

Imperial Ship's Troops[edit]

REMARKS: The most feared of all ship's troops are the Imperial Marines. Highly trained and very well equipped compared to most of the other forces in known space, the Imperial Marine is deadly and efficient. However, Imperial Marines are not the only type of ship's troops that can be encountered in the Third Imperium. [25] These other types include the Huscarls, or house troops of a Noble house. Colonial Marines supporting a local system's navy[26]. Corporate security forces protecting a mega-corporation's assets. Specially trained Imperial Army soldiers who are dedicated ship's troops aboard the Army's many transports to protect their cargo, be it more soldiers, vehicles or supplies. Finally, the Imperial Scout service also operates its own security forces and usually places them on large exploration vessels for protection.[27]

Imperial Marines:[edit]

Wherever the Imperial Navy goes, so go the Marines. These ship's troops are the top of the line best hand to hand combat fighters in known space. They fight for and owe loyalty only to the Emperor himself. Marines are carried aboard ships to provide security, assault forces and to conduct boarding actions. If you are a peaceful citizen of the Imperium they are a sight to behold as they come charging in to save the day. However, if you have violated Imperial law, the marines are there to ensure you are dealt with properly. [28]
  • It is rumored that some of the more elite units of the Imperial Marines are equipped to Tech Level 16 as a standard and possibly even higher.[29]


Huscarles are the house troops of an Imperial Noble. Depending on their noble's rank and assets the Huscarles can be very well equipped for military operations. For example the 4518th Lift Infantry Regiment is owned by the Duke of Regina, is equipped to Imperial Marine standards and frequently trains with Imperial Marines serving on detached duty with the regiment. Another less well known Huscarles unit is Count of Albe's 43rd Guard detachment from Albe. This unit is equipped to TL-14 standards and extensively trains for ship board rescues.[30]

Imperial Colonial Marines[edit]

When a system is able to provide for its own defense the Imperium allows it as this frees up its forces for use elsewhere. Depending on the system's forces, referred to as Colonial Forces, they can conduct anti-piracy, customs inspections and safety checks. Additionally, during times of war if the colonial fleet is capable of jump, they may add their strength to the Imperial forces which they fall under. Or alternatively stand and defend their home world as needed. [31]
Colonial Marines are trained much like their Imperial cousins and depending on the technology of their system's war factories, nearly as well equipped. Generally colonial forces are equipped locally with the best arms and armor the Main world can provide. Variations exist depending on the make up of the local population.[32]

Corporate Troops:[edit]

  1. A SuSAG Corporate Trooper in full Battledress.
Megacorporations usually have security troops aboard their starships, and they are frequently equipped with the best gear available. Additionally, these troopers are also frequently supplemented with Drones and or security bots. Especially, when the corporate assets they are guarding are the corporate executives and corporate secrets. In addition these troops form the basis for ships troops in systems or around worlds owned by Megacorporation's. Although many of those forces are almost entirely mercenaries.[33][34]

Imperial Scouts, Special Security Service:[edit]

Until you have encountered them first hand you Likely do not know just how tough the Scout security forces are. Compared to Imperial Marines they are lightly armored and armed, but just as deadly and highly trained as their well respected brothers. In truth many a former Marine has switched services to join the Scouts' operations office, security branch. These Scouts can be found on any large exploration vessel operated by the scouts, but are also set up as law enforcement operatives protecting certain interdicted worlds. They even go and perform prisoner rescues that the Marine corps will not touch.[35][36]

K'kree Ship's Troops[edit]

  1. A typical K'Kree warrior.
    K'Kree Warrior in cloth Armor.png


The K'Kree do not perform well in confined places such as non-K'Kree ships[37]. Therefore, most of their ship's troops are used for planeside operations and not boarding enemy ships. However, they do have access to non-robotic drones[38] and will use them to board alien ships when necessary. Additionally, the K'Kree will defend their own ships personally and do so quite effectively. Each K'Kree trooper on a naval ship is equipped with TL-13 battledress, grenades, an accelerator rifle or recoilless rifle, and a sword or polearm. The polearms are usually highly effective against G'naak boarders easily penetrating the Battledress of an unlucky opponent when a K'Kree's full weight is applied during a charge.[39]


K:'Kree ship boarding drones are generally equipped to TL-13 standards, and come in several varieties. Each has a anti-grav drive, armor equivalent to Battledress-13, and carries one of a variety of weapons systems.[40]

Solomani Confederation Marines:[edit]

REMARKS:The Solomani Navy is structured similarly to their Imperial counter parts, and this shows in their use and structure of the Confederation Marines[41]. Effectively, there is little difference between a Confederation Marine and an Imperial one. However, Confederation Marines do not enjoy the same reputation as Imperial Marines do among their civilian population. This is something that SolSec attempts to suppress, along with the great host of other things they attempt to keep under wraps.[42]

Vargr Ship's Troop[edit]

REMARKS: The Vargr Corsairs are well known and feared through out Known Space. However, it should be noted that while they must be treated with respect, they are not always the best trained or experienced group of individuals, you will ever encounter. In addition to the Corsairs the Vargr governmental navies usually have specially equipped Army soldiers assigned to their ships to fulfill the role of ship’s troop[43].[44]

Army Soldiers:[edit]

Vargr Army Soldiers are decently trained for combat and are fairly respectable on the battlefield. However, the units that get assigned to shipboard duty are usually given their specialized Ship’s troop gear, such as battledress or more usually vacc suits, and then put on a ship where they then have to figure out how to perform the job by training themselves[45]. This leads to issues with poor morale unless their leader is of sufficient Charisma that he can overcome it. Frequently, ship borne Army Vargr will defect to, or form part of a Corsair band.[46]


Known Space is full of stories regarding Vargr Corsairs. The important thing to remember about them with regards to ship’s troops is that the entire crew of a corsair is a ship’s trooper[47]. However, there may be some individuals on board who are assigned to function specifically as ship’s troops. The quality of these troops is a function of their leader’s charisma and training. Additionally, Vargr Corsairs are much like human pirates, they equip themselves as best they can with what they have captured, stolen or even purchased. Thus, the complement of a ship's troop on a Vargr ship is much like a motley crew with mismatched armor, weapons and fighting styles.[48]

it should be noted that there have been documented cases when a Corsair has boarded a well-equipped and trained Human ship, and in mid boarding action where it was not going well for the Vargr, they turned on their leader. Sometimes even starting to fight amongst themselves in mid battle with the original Prey all but forgotten while they sort out who is really in charge of them.[49]

Vilani Ship's Troops[edit]

REMARKS: The Vilani Naval Infantry is very similar to Imperial Marines. Organizationally, they are the same however, their major difference is in how they are equipped. Most Vilai Naval infantry is equipped to tech level 14 standards and they also include a number of robots that support them, especially during shipboard operations. these types of units are normally encountered as part of a systems colonial forces set up to protect a system from Vargr or other piratical threats.[50]

Zhodani Ship's Troops[edit]

  1. Two Zhodani Consular Guards aboard a vessel they just helped capture.
    Zhodani Counselor Guard.png

REMARKS: The Zhodani Navy is similar in make up to its imperial Counterpart, but the names are a bit different. On most navy ships the Ship’s troop are supplied by the Army and are properly trained to do the job[51]. However, depending on the mission, a ship’s troop may also be provided by the Consular Guards, and can be expected to function at an elite level of competency. Finally, the Zhodani supplement their military forces with warbots. These are highly effective both planeside or in the halls and corridors of an enemy ship.[52]


The Zhodani Army provides the navy with specially trained soldiers for shipboard duty, and they are highly effective at their job. However, while not trained to the level that an Imperial Marine is, they do have the advantage of psionic abilities that can sew confusion and fear among their adversaries in combat. Typically equipped to tech Level 14 standards with battledress and powered weapons, a Zhodani soldier should be treated with respect.[53]

Consular Guard:[edit]

Similar to the Army are the ship’s troops provided by the Consular Guard. These guardsmen all have strong psionic abilities which gives them a heavy advantage in shipboard operations. They are also trained and operate as elite units and thus tend to cause fear by their mere presence. While they are equipped to the same standard as the Army, it must be remembered that all of the Consular Guard are commissioner officers because of their psionic abilities[54].[55]


Zhodani warbots are highly feared by most of their opponents. They are implacable, fast, and deadly. The usual form is that of a floating can weighing about 200 to 300 kilograms on which various sensors and weapons are attached or inserted[56]. These robots are not as effective as Hiver warbots and thus are not placed on guard duty, but rather are usually located near to a guard so that they can be activated in a moment’s notice to assist them. Additionally, the shipboard versions of these robots have a thruster pack installed that allows them to function with out penalty in a Zero-G environment[57].[58]

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.
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  2. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  3. Frank ChadwickMarc Miller. Azhanti High Lightning (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), 18.
  4. Frank Chadwick. Striker Rule Book 2 (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 13.
  5. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  6. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  8. Marc MillerFrank ChadwickJohn Harshman. High Guard (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), 43.
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  10. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  11. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  13. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  14. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  15. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Aslan (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 6.
  16. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  20. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  22. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  24. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  25. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  27. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  28. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  29. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  30. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  31. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  32. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  34. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  36. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  37. J. Andrew KeithLoren Wiseman. K'kree (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 3.
  38. Joe Fugate. Robots (Game Designers Workshop, 1986), 12.
  39. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  40. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
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  42. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards>
  43. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Vargr (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 6.
  44. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  45. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Vargr (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 6.
  46. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  47. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Vargr (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 10.
  48. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  49. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  50. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  51. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Zhodani (Game Designers Workshop, 1985), 23.
  52. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  53. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  54. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Zhodani (Game Designers Workshop, 1985), 24.
  55. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards
  56. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Zhodani (Game Designers Workshop, 1985), 18.
  57. J. Andrew KeithMarc MillerJohn Harshman. Zhodani (Game Designers Workshop, 1985), 19.
  58. An unpublished factoid written by William Richards