Building a Privateer or Salvageer Army

Privateer Admiral Taras Kalemon and bodyguard

Tim Bancroft runs through how a privateer or salvageer force can be built using the Antares 2 Freeborn ‘Vardosi’ selector. 

Both the privateers and salvageers of Antares would deny they are pirates, that’s for sure. All insist they work within the law. For salvage work, the salvageers ensure that the wrecks they recover and break up are truly abandoned when they begin work. And the privateers ensure they have a Letter of Marque permitting them to do so from a legal entity such as a system, orbital or planetary government, a Freeborn House or a Boromite Guild.

Nevertheless, the worst of the privateers and salvage operators form a sinister underbelly of Antarean spacebourne society. When investigating the innards of their activities, it seems that sometimes the ‘legal entities’ may be more closely related to the privateers than might be expected. ‘House Emari’, for example, has been known to issue Letters of Marque to a ship called the Emari Star, captained by the notorious Taras Kalemon. And there are rumours that some of the more unscrupulous salvageers make sure the wrecks they find are completely cleared of any surviving occupants through means that are best left unmentioned.

Whilst there is no explicit salvageer or privateer selector, both can be built using the models and units in the Freeborn vardosi selector with, perhaps, the addition of a mercenary Boromite unit or even allied Boromites. Indeed, the Freeborn lists were deliberately built with this in mind rather than over-complicate an already complex list even more!

Privateer Admiral Taras Kalemon and bodyguard
Privateer Admiral Taras Kalemon and bodyguard

For the privateers, Here, the domari stats act as the basis for whatever motley set of models you deem appropriate for the privateers and the vardanari for those very few, elite bodyguard the privateer might have on board. A rogue Concord strike squad could take the place of a vardanari unit with its one-point upgrade to resharded armour – the normal impact cloaks being replaced by an overlaid impact web, perhaps. The army should include models that reflect those who have fallen foul of the complex laws in their society, or who yearn for independence, or who has become isolated from their IMTel and have become a separate shard. 

The commander of such a force could be Amano Harran, Taras Kalemon or Batu’s Baray Tsulmari. All would slot in perfectly with the Fleet Command unit, even if the character’s own stats were not used.

A salvageer force would also use the vardosi selector but should use the optional Boromite Captain in the Domari Command squad, adding in a second Boromite squad (as stated in the lists). It should then focus on frag and direct-fire weapons, just crewing the weapons with Boromite figures because it loks good (or even upgrading their to Boromite for a single point stats – it’s your game!).

Boromites investigate wreckage at a crash site

If you are being honest to the concept, both a privateer and salvageer force should lack any of the heavy and strategic vehicles present in other Freeborn armies: indeed, they should only access general purpose haulers (bring one in from the Boromite list) and the lighter combat drones. Indeed, in order to make up for a lack of rarely used overhead weaponry, both forces have to hire in regular Freeborn or Boromites, with the associated risks of betrayal. A similar lack is that the Boromites within the privateer cartels would have very little access to the lavan species as it is difficult breeding and enclosing the rock-loving and lava-spitting creatures within the confines of starships.

In short, all privateer and salvageer forces are focused on operations within the confines of a large TOR or other enclosed space, or for raids on poorly defended settlements where overhead weaponry and slow vehicles are largely inappropriate or could even hamper operations. For larger, ground based operations with plenty of armour, a full Freeborn-with-allied-Boromite force should be used.

Mixing figures in squads

Privateer and salvageer crew squads can look effective if they contain a mix of figures with varying armour, equipment and even morphs. For example, a single squad could contain a mix of Algoryn, Freeborn fighters and C3 renegade figures, though the whole unit would still have the statistics and weapons of that squad type, not the individual. For example, a unit normally classed as ‘Freeborn vardanari’ could contain humans in Algoryn armour, a feral, a domari trooper with an impact cloak and a number of ‘true’ vardanari figures.

Neither squads nor forces should mix Isorian and Concord members together as the remnants of their nanosphere will conflict!

Broken Shards

Amongst the Freeborn units there are enough options to take squads of C3, AI or Isorian troops (vardanari, for a start, but also domari). These are as likely to be rogue or broken shards as they are privateers wearing recovered armour from captured vessels. Again, for 1pt, a unit could be upgraded to true Algoryn, but those in Algoryn armour are just as likely to be normal panhumans in stolen rescued armour!

A note: Tsan Ra are extremely unlikely to turn away from the Isorian Shard, simply because they are more dependent on the IMTel’s control of their physiology than they like to admit. We got a little bit carried away, here, in BtGoA v1!

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