Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
BigDogsRunning
Mongoose
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:54 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby BigDogsRunning » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:19 am

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:40 am
It also depends on whether the appointee adopts a stand offish attitude, gets fully integrated into the power structures of the locality, or is picked out from said power structures.
I agree with and run MTU similarly to several of the people in this thread. The "ruling" of an individual planet is generally subject to the government type indicated in the UWP. This can inform the involvement of the local Imperial Nobility at some level. Many worlds will have a fief with a Knight in residence as the local Imperial representative. This is a job that the Knight can be involved with on a number of different levels. He/She could merely hold the title, collect the Imperial taxes, pass along the bulk to whoever holds his fealty, and he lives the life of a dilettante. Conversely, an involved Knight, may be running world directly with the assistance of a staff, and fill the role of a government. Government types 3, 6, and 9+ could all represent this sort of direct rule by some Imperial authority, ranging from a local Knight, on up to an Arch-Duke. Not saying it necessarily would, just that it could.

It is also possible on some worlds, the local Imperial representative is put forth by the local populace to the next Noble up the chain, who would approve or deny the application and then forward up the chain for ratification, until it reaches someone, at whatever level, who has the authority. Perhaps it's just the next level, or two levels up, but it will continue and can be vetoed at a higher level. Customarily, it would not, excepting for specific circumstances.

Perhaps some titles are a different category of Hereditary (Imperial) Titles that revert to the Emperor, and cannot be bequeathed by a lower authority. Perhaps the titles granted by lower authorities are not inherited until/unless ratified by the Emperor himself. They would be more of an honorary title, and would revert on the death of the title holder. But, the Emperor himself can create a new peerage, in the form of a hereditary noble.

So you could have a Knight, or an Imperial Knight of x and such Order. They might have different powers and authority. The Knight might own property, and be responsible for collecting taxes and such, but an Imperial Knight has the right and responsibility to direct the local government as well as the rights and responsibilities of the honorary Knight.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6277
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:26 am

My reading of the Imperium nobility is that's it's hereditary and permanent.

Doing a Shaddam and switching fiefs seems unlikely; more likely is a promotion, though being in charge of all the oil production in the galaxy would seem that.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 729
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby steve98052 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:05 pm

One way to guess about what should be canon is to look at the creators of the game and setting. Marc Miller mustered out of the US Army, and went to Illinois State University in 1972, where he met by Rich Banner, Frank Chadwick, Loren Wiseman, John Harshman. They created GDW, and all but Banner were credited with creating Traveller. The Keith brothers added a lot to the setting too, but weren't among the creators. All were war gamers and history buffs, particularly interested in World War II and the Roman Empire, and very knowledgeable about US history from growing up in the US and paying attention, and about the British Empire because it was so important in so much military history.

From all that, one can reasonably guess that the canon Traveller setting is a pastiche of the Roman Empire, the British Empire, and the US military. Knowing lots about each -- and about 1970s US university culture -- is a good way to guess what their vision is likely to say.

The Sylean Federation, its transition to the Third Imperium, the barracks emperor era, and a lot about the Third Imperium, can all be seen as the Roman Empire in Space. The structure of the Imperium is most closely modeled on the British Empire before telegraph or radio -- probably with a touch of 1970s anti-colonialism as a counter-influence. The hostile relationship with the Zhodani Consulate is inspired by the Cold War, though it developed into something with more science fiction roots, as a psionic (wannabe) utopian culture. The Long Night is most inspired by the 1970s image of the Dark Ages after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, with a big portion of Great Depression. The Rule of Man is a blend of the European conquest of the Americas and US "Manifest Destiny". The Vilani imperium is pretty thinly described except is the fragile Goliath waiting for the Terrans to knock it down; the Terrans' initial survival seems analogous to North Vietnam's survival of war with the US and eventual defeat of the US-backed South, while the Terrans' defeat of the Vilani looks like the US defeat of British colonialism and subsequent eclipse of its former colonial ruler. The Ancients are a science fiction trope -- notably explored in the 1968 book and film 2001 A Space Odyssey -- necessary to populate known space with an assortment of humans.

-

So what does this mean in terms of the governance of the Third Imperium? I think the most direct model is the British Empire.

The Emperor is analogous to the king or queen of England. He or she is in some ways the absolute ruler of the Imperium, but the Imperium is too complex for any individual to rule by decree, so much of the administration is delegated to the Moot, and anything requesting quick response is delegated to nobles who are closer to the scene. The Imperium (unlike the British Empire) was founded to facilitate business, so business interests (both the successors to the Vilani bureaux and conventional corporations) are highly influential (like some of the British Empire's corporations, including the East India Company). Local government is largely beneath the interests of the Imperium, and is mostly left to the locals, as long as they don't mess with inter-system trade, don't use weapons of mass destruction,* and refrain from enslavement of sophonts.

Bringing that to a practical level, an Imperial noble on a world is the local representative of all power that the Imperium claims in a system. His, her, or its word is law over the Starport Authority and other Imperial agencies and facilities, military, civilian, and in between, unless other nobles or non-noble officials are granted autonomy by a higher ranking noble. (For example, if a planetary baron is perceived to be a skilled military leader but a klutz at administration of civilian operations, a civil servant might run the starport under the delegated authority of a count in another system.) On a fief, a noble would be the absolute ruler, unless a higher noble pulled rank.

A noble might enforce his rule over the fief through huscarles, police, security workers, or even trust in citizens of the fief. He or she might delegate some law enforcement to police invited from a planetary government's police force. He might even walk around the fief and shoot people who displease him.

Outside the fief, a noble likely has a status similar to modern diplomatic immunity. He, she, or it is not subject to local laws unless a higher noble has granted the local government powers. ("Baron Eneri is subject to all local laws in effect as of 1105, but exempt from arrest, imprisonment, or mandatory personal appearance in court proceedings, but is subject to fines for local crimes, and fines in lieu of imprisonment according to Schedule 989 Sections 22 through 26. All enforcement actions affecting the baron or citizens of the barony must be reported to the designated representative of the Imperial County within 14 Standard Days.")

A noble may have close relations with a local government, may be unpopular enough to be at constant risk of assassination unless protected by a few grav tanks, or somewhere in between. Nobles might be close to some governments on balkanized worlds and at odds with others.

Individuals may have various types of citizenship: national on balkanized worlds, planetary or system-wide, citizens of a fief, Imperial citizenship, and may hold several of those. A person's citizenship may affect the application of law, or not. As I see it, the only default privilege of Imperial citizenship is ability to pass through Imperial starports; applying for one is a necessary part of traveling outside one's home system. But many worlds may grant limited privileges to holders of Imperial passports, such as exemption from certain laws that are meant for locals, such as mandatory membership in the state church, deference to the planetary Bureau of Supervisors, etc. On other worlds, an Imperial passport that doesn't mark one as also a citizen of the world, one might be subject to tourist taxes, exclusion from citizen-only facilities, and routine bureaucratic stink-eyes.

In short, it varies a lot between worlds.

* Nuclear weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction if used in an atmosphere (or presumably against civilian space habitats), but they're permissible in space combat.
baithammer
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 628
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby baithammer » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:40 am

Have to understand not all nobles are landed, ie having access to a fief.

If a noble is a good war leader but deficient in other areas he is more likely to be assigned to lead a portion of the greater nobles house forces and can may be supported from the revenue of the greater nobles fief holdings without having direct control of it.

Further, the fact that the main ruling body is the high nobles makes it less of the colonial period Empire and more of the pre-house of commons era.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6277
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby Condottiere » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:20 am

The difference between the Roman and the British Empire could be one of deliberation.

The Romans were imperiously expansionary, whereas the British seemed to get their Empire by accident, following their commercial interests, and then defending them.
NOLATrav
Mongoose
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby NOLATrav » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:02 am

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:20 am
The Romans were imperiously expansionary, whereas the British seemed to get their Empire by accident, following their commercial interests, and then defending them.
This. If you grant a rather revolutionary tech advancement you can see the Roman bones grow British muscles. Suddenly the X Boat idea makes sense, even if the routes themselves don't.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 729
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby steve98052 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:09 am

The way my history classes described the expansion of the Roman Empire was that they had trouble with a neighbor, and responded by conquering them, and using them as a buffer state against other potential threats. Then as the buffer state was incorporated as a part of the empire rather than just a buffer state, and they had trouble with another neighbor, they conquered them too. That process continued until the combination of long lines of communication and logistics, natural barriers, and rot in the core of empire created instability.

And that seems to relate to Traveller to an extent; by the time the Vilani imperium encountered the Terrans, it was overextended and if not corrupt at the core, at least hidebound and self;absorbed.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6277
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby Condottiere » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:40 pm

You can compare the founding myths of Empires, the Arthurian Cycle and Romulus.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4263
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby phavoc » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:01 am

In responding to another question I found that this may be relevant:

Article III - The Moot, Nobility:

The recognized nobles of the Imperium shall provide their advice and counsel to the Emperor prior to any legislation or action by the Emperor. The recognized nobles, acting in this capacity, shall be designated as the Imperial Moot. The Imperial Moot shall have two powers over the Emperor: They shall have the power to declare the dissolution of the Imperium, and they shall have the power to disqualify an Imperial Heir Apparent from ascending to the Imperial Power.

However, the latter power shall only be exercised for just and proper cause. If the Emperor dies or abdicates having provided no heirs either by blood or by adoption, or if no heir of the Emperor is found fit to maintain the Powers of the Imperium, the Moot shall have the power to designate the next recipient of the Imperial Powers. Should the Moot find it necessary to exercise this power, the designee shall be a citizen of the Imperium.

A recognized noble of the Imperium shall be a citizen granted a Noble Title (by the Emperor or by one empowered by the Emperor to grant noble titles). Noble Titles granted by member worlds may be recognized by the Imperium on a case-by-case basis.


So Imperial-wide nobility wouldn't necessarily be spread through every world and system. A noble from a world isn't a noble in the eye's of the Imperium. While the Emperor and his children (included adopted ones) are recognized. A question would be does only the eldest child inherit the title of, for example, Duke/Duchess, and the rest would have lower, or no title?

From the Emperor Cleon's Warrant of Restoration - creation of the Third Imperium.
baithammer
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 628
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby baithammer » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:31 am

Nobility is only applied through the Imperium, but not all nobles are created equal. Some are simply titles, some have 'land' but very little real power and others are truly nobles with a place in the moot.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 984
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:23 pm

The lofty ideals of the founding of the Third Imperium didn't survive long, by the time of the Jullian War the Imperium had become the corrupt, militaristic, elitist, exploitative empire it would remain until Dulinor sorted it...

Another thing, until the advent of wafer technology, clones and personality/memory emulation and pseudoreality holographic comms how do the dukes from far away sectors even have a voice in the moot?
baithammer
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 628
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby baithammer » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:39 am

Proxies, nobles who are apart of the moot but too far out for regular communication can designate a proxy for the voting privileges.
NOLATrav
Mongoose
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:41 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:23 pm
... Another thing, until the advent of wafer technology, clones and personality/memory emulation and pseudoreality holographic comms how do the dukes from far away sectors even have a voice in the moot?
IMTU the feudal hierarchy takes care of this - planetary Nobles report to regional Nobles who report to the subsector Dukes who report to the sector High Dukes who report to the Moot personally, currently on an annual basis; the round trip is about four months. Thus the Moot is a rather small affair, dealing with larger regional issues while the Moot members are tasked with solving their own minor/local problems but bringing all the pertinent info they can to the Moot proper.

Having said that, my main campaign is an ATU that is much smaller than the canonical 3I, about a half dozen sectors. My 3I campaign in the Trojan Reach uses Nobles only as patrons but I'm looking to see if my ideas can work at that scale. I suspect the highest mucky-mucks will only be travellling to and from the Moot, being quite out of touch with their own local issues. Not sure which paradigm I prefer but we're not currently playing in the 3I.

Also, despite AotI, I haven't allowed electronic personality transfer yet. Still trying to decide how neuron impulses and sentient memories translate to computer language. I do have an adventure seed that deals with groat farmers on a low tech, superstitious planet making extra cash on the side selling groat brains to rather unscrupulous scientists so they have the funds to protect themselves against the boogeymen who occasionally snatch people in the night but we'll see if it ever gets off the ground.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 729
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby steve98052 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:35 pm

Some nobles, who are interested in the machinations of the Moot, will spend most of their time on Capital, fighting for their interests, the interests of their fief, and their image of the interests of the Imperium as a whole. They would leave a trusted representative back in the fief to manage affairs there in their name.

Other nobles, either less interested in the Moot or more interested in the goings on in their fief, would spend most of their time in their fief, and leave a trusted representative on Capital to work for their interests, the interests of the noble they represent, the interests of the fief, and their vision of the Imperium.

Some nobles might be largely retired from active administration, or engaged in some other role (military, business, etc.). They might leave trusted representatives in charge of both their seat in the Moot and their fiefs.

Typically, the trusted representative would be someone who is in their line of succession -- possibly the heir-apparent, possibly a back-up heir, or maybe one of several potential heirs competing for the title. Others in the line of succession would be in the military, to prove their worth to the Imperium so that the Emperor validates their elevation to a noble seat when the time comes. Still others might manage the noble's business interests. Some will be big happy families working toward the same goals; others will be competing for favor and hoping that those ahead of them in the line of succession will earn a posthumous medal for glorious military service.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6277
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Nuts and bolts of the Imperium (gov't - how it works)

Postby Condottiere » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:13 pm

Part of it is gaining experience; more important is networking, getting a feel for the current politics and building alliances.

Possibly, picking out spouses to cement alliances.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 9 guests