What are the Privateers/Salvageers?
Not pirates, that’s for sure. All the Privateers or Salvageers in Antarean space insist on working within the law. For salvage work, they ensure that the wrecks they recover and break up are truly abandoned when they begin work. And when operating as privateers, they 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.
In many ways, the Privateer/Salvageer lists represents the armies of rogue Freeborn and Boromites and the rejects of other societies.
The list defined in The Dronescourge Returns refers to the mainly Boromite and Freeborn infantry who scavenge wrecked vessels or who may launch raids on unsuspecting, often primitive, worlds. It is primarily a cross-faction selector as it includes many units from other factions, representing those who have either defected to the privateers or are groups of individuals who have acquired Concord, Isorian, Algoryn or other combat equipment. Indeed, the list includes entries for any who have fallen foul of the complex laws in their society, or who yearns for independence, or who has become isolated from their IMTel and have become a separate shard. Boromites feature strongly, the synergy between the Freeborn resharding techniques and Boromite engineering being extremely effective.
At times, even truly Outcast Ghar may seek service aboard a salvage vessel, taking on what jobs they may in exchange for freedom – of sorts, at least. The problem is that though the Outcasts are rejected by their own society and, having left the Empire, are now under a death penalty, from a panhuman viewpoint the Outcasts are still Ghar so not to be trusted!
Whilst the list allows Freeborn support skimmers such as the Skyraider, Striker and T7 transport, Privateers lack much of the heavy and strategic vehicles present in other lists, having access only to general purpose haulers and the lighter combat drones. Indeed, in order to make up for a lack of rarely used overhead weaponry, the Privateers frequently have to hire in Mercenaries from the Boromite Clan or Freeborn Adventurer List (in The Battle for Xilos), with the associated risks of betrayal. A similar lack is that the Boromites within the Privateer cartels 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 Privateers/Salvageers 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 from multiple Privateer/Salvageer squadrons, the ‘Freeborn Adventurers’ list in The Battle for Xilos is a more appropriate model, perhaps with Boromite allies.
Mixing figures in Privateer squads
Privateer 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. Similarly, Algoryn exiles will not appreciate being with Ghar Outcasts!
In the list selectors, there are options to take squads of C3, AI or Isorian troops. These are as likely to be rogue or broken shards as they are privateers having recovered armour from captured vessels. Specifically, Tsan Ra selections do indeed represent a broken shard and model the situation on the borders of Isorian space where combat or capture may have separated troops for some considerable time – perhaps leading to even more autonomy and, eventually, their rejection from the parent shard and adoption by a Privateer ship.
A Privateer force has to include a command squad, whether Boromite or Freeborn, and has to include units from a mix of factions. There are limitations beyond that in that only a subset of units from the Freeborn and Boromite armies can be taken, and the strategic options are limited. That said, this is an army for the game who loves to mix and match, perhaps taking the units they most like the look of, or even mixing figures within units!