Wilderness Encounter: Veteran

On page 245, Wilderness Encounters: Men, Inhabited/6 = “Veteran”.

It feels like it ought to be in there with “Merchant” and “Buccaneer” and “Berserker”, but it’s not.

So, what’s a “Veteran”?

I ran into a similar problem on the men entries when 1 is Bandit, 2 is Brigand, but there’s only Brigand under the men entry (and I searched the whole PDF for bandit, having no luck)

The difference between bandits and brigands is only alignment (bandits are chaotic, brigands neutral). I thought this had been addressed in one of the final proofs, but maybe it was left out. I’d check the errata thread.

I’m sure the “veteran” tag is inherited from games in which it’s the title for a 1st level Fighter-type. The intent is probably to use the rules for Brigands, but make them lawful (with Bandits rounding out the alignments).

I suppose my PDF may be out of date, I’ll go hunt down the errata and review it.

Bandits are chaotic and brigands are neutral? Well, that’s a bizarre distinction.

I assumed a veteran was a 1st level fighter, but it turns out I pulled that from Domains at War:

"Mercenary units with experience of real war are known as veterans. Veterans will generally be 1st level fighters or explorers They will have morale scores 1 point higher than the base morale for their troop type. . If recruited into a leader’s army, veterans must be paid twice the wages of normal troops of their type. Up to 25% of mercenaries hired (e.g. 100 out of every 400) may be veterans."

On the wandering monster tables I put together for my campaign, I replaced “veteran” with “lone 1st level warrior” and “acolyte” with “lone 2nd level clergy”; basically a recruiting opportunity, or an opportunity for some low-level healing.

Veteran used to be the level title for a 1st level fighter. I didn’t realize it had changed in ACKS!

IIRC, “Brigand” originally meant soldier. Generally professional enough to be decently equipped (hence “Brigandine” armour), but out of work soldiers tended to be a little rough on the local populations and it shifted towards being synonymous with Bandits.
I suspect that ACKS is using the term to differentiate between someone who’s just trying to keep himself fed between legit work (Neutral) and a Bandit who actively enjoys earning off the misery of others (Chaotic). In RP terms a brigand is probably trying to rob you: a bandit is trying to kill you so that he can rob your corpse.

“Veterans” were an encounter type in BX, possibly Mentzer, a mixed group of fighters levels 1-3. I just thought that was legacy code that didn’t get commented out.

I like that analogy!

The inclusion of Bandit and Veteran was definitely legacy code. 

The intent of the encounter is that your party runs into a group of low-level thieves (Bandits) and low-level fighters (Veterans), but you'd have no way of knowing this unless you owned a copy of the Moldvay Basic set, which lists Bandits and Veterans as monster types.

For ACKS purposes:
Bandits - Roll an NPC encounter; average level 1; all NPCs are Thieves

Veterans - Roll an NPC encounter; average level 1; all NPCs are Fighters