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Black Moon Bandoleros

This article originally appeared in Vuelo Raso N. 7 and was translated for the May/June 2024 issue of Freelance Traveller by Google Translate and Jeff Zeitlin. Lea este artículo en español.

“Black Moon Bandoleros” is a mercenary group with a criminal character. This group is strongly inspired by the work of Federico García Lorca and his poem “Canción de Jinete”

Star Nomads

Originating from the depths of Foreven sector, from a secondary satellite known by the nickname “Black Moon”, this small group of mercenaries has slowly been building a reputation among the frontier worlds. When work is plentiful they subsist as mercenaries. However, the rest of the time they act as criminals with a clear Robin Hood complex. The worlds that host them do not like that the mercenaries that helped them a year ago, are now assaulting the government properties, so the contracts usually include a transfer clause to another system once the service is finished, and as they do not have their own ship, this is highly desirable. Although some systems have tried to keep them on the payroll, no offer has managed to arouse the interest of these bandits and much less, that of their leader Federico.

Currently the group is made up of a total of 36 members (including its leader) of which only 13 are members of the original company that started from Foreven. The initial formation was made up of a total of 40 members plus their mounts, and although they often recruit members who demonstrate their loyalty, Federico rejects the vast majority of candidates.

The Bandoleros use very effective guerrilla tactics in a low technological level system, but which can leave them clearly exposed to more advanced systems once they lose the element of surprise. The most common tactic is to leave their mounts hidden while they prepare to ambush an objective, and once the ambush is completed, they leave at full speed along with their mounts in the shortest possible time. This may involve the use of “archaic” strategies such as gunpowder kegs with mechanical detonators buried in the ground or downed trees blocking the path of their victims. Using the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, one could say that the Bandoleros apply this in reverse: “You can teach a new dog old tricks”, referring to the fact that the archaic nature of their mechanisms and ambushes usually work perfectly against enemies adapted to more current conflicts. An example could be the aforementioned gunpowder kegs with a mechanical or fuse detonator; any current sensor that searches for electric fields or cancels wireless detonators could not detect this trap due to the “common” and primitive nature of its components.

However, this can take its toll since once the surprise element is lost, they are at a clear disadvantage, especially against well-equipped professional armies and with a technological level above the average.

In addition, each Bandolero must have a mount, if possible a giant caterpillar from Urnian. If the Bandolero’s mount dies, it must be replaced as soon as possible. A Bandolero without mount is not a Bandolero. If the rider dies, the company will keep the mount.


Federico is the only known name of the leader of the Black Moon Bandoleros. Most people consider Federico a man of good who often does undesirable things for a greater good. The truth is that he likes to live outside the law as an inveterate revolutionary, always looking for new struggles and always thinking about a better tomorrow for the systems that he leaves behind. However, planetary laws are generally not in accordance with this way of seeing life, so Federico has a price on his head in many systems. He is always looking for new recruits, who must complete a series of non-decisive physical tests over several days. When the trials are over, he rarely recruits any other members, while most of the time he recruits no one at all. Although his motivations seem mysterious, in reality they are not so mysterious. Federico is a quite capable telepath and only recruits those who will be loyal to him and whose ideology matches his own.

Federico 9B7A59-9 Age 54
Mercenary Leader
Animals (handling) 3, Animals (veterinary) 1, Animals (train) 2, Gun Combat (slug) 2, Melee (blade) 3, Streetwise 1, Explosives 1, Leadership 3, Reconnaissance 0, Persuade 1, Deception 1, Telepathy 2.

Urnian Giant Caterpillar

Despite being called “caterpillar”, these invertebrates are not larvae, although their similarity with the larval caterpillars of other species has guaranteed the common nickname of “giant caterpillar.” This invertebrate species can reach up to five meters in length, and although its exact origin is unknown, it is known that it only reproduces and thrives in systems with a gravity between 1.8 and 2.2. It is a stubborn creature and very difficult to handle (the related rolls have a DM -2), however, it is really resistant and does not feel fear. Although in its source systems it is not a standard or desirable mount, the thing changes when gravity is reduced. Its bodybuilding and length adapts really well to systems with a lower gravity so it is a surprisingly fast mounting both horizontally and vertically. When transported, these caterpillars can travel in a state of semi-hibernation in the holds of the ships, where they will consume a total of 1 ton of organic plant matter (or not) each one for a period of one week and will occupy a space 1.5 T load.

Bandolero Equipment


Predecessor of the shotgun, this muzzle-loading (front-loaded) firearm uses heavy-gauge slugs and has a flared shape.

5-spring shoulder knife

Characteristic knife of bandits especially designed to circumvent certain weapons possession laws, since the folded knife can be considered a kitchen utensil or can be easily hidden, while once opened (with a loud cla-clack-clack) it can reach a total of 45 cm (21 cm blade) and can be used as a threatening melee weapon. It could be considered an intermediate step between the dagger and the sword.

Black gunpowder barrel (explosive)

As archaic as it is functional, a barrel of black powder connected to a mechanical spring that sets off a spark when steel rubs against flint inside the barrel of pressed powder. Works equally well with modern fuses or detonators.

Weapon TL Range Damage Mass Price Notes
Blunderbuss 3 10 3D 6 11
Ammo: Ball 3

5 each
Shoulder Knife 3
2D 1 20 sharp, concealable
Black Powder Barrell 2 - 3D 20 200 Explosives 4

Transporting the Bandoleros

In the event that travelers want to transport the company, they must have a ship with a good load capacity or a few ships at their disposal.

The company always moves at the same time and needs:

Total tons of load space: 96 T.