Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

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ottarrus
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Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:17 am

So in my never ending attempts to spark discussions that are interesting but absolutely unimportant....

There seems to be two schools of thought in Traveller about how the Imperial Family gets around if any members leave Capital.

The first is the 'Titanic in Space' version... the absolute height of luxury that's positively dripping with every conceivable decadence.
The second is the Star Wars version, where an entire fleet's worth of dreadnoughts follows the Emperor around like so many trained Labradors and maids in Battle Dress turn down the Imperial Sheets.

IMTU is a much different thing, but does take a little bit from both.
Strephon is consistently portrayed as a very temperate, very thoughtful man... almost a 'philosopher king' in the style of Marcus Aurelius or Tokugawa Ieyasu. He does not appear to like extravagances, pomp, and ceremony very much, and keeps such things to what is required for the Imperial Dignity and very little more. He also does not seem to be impressed with appearances or social climbers. He appreciates results and those who can get them. While his nephews [Varian and Lucan] are certainly stereotypical indolent nobles, Strephon and Iolanthe have take great care to raise Iphegenaia to be of the same mold as her father. So I don't imagine the Imperial travel arrangements to be a pleasure barge and Strephon has better things to do with first class dreadnoughts than to have them keep Capital in orbit or follow him around like a pack of hounds. With that all in mind, this is how I think the Imperial Family travels.

Firstly the Imperial Flagship [and NOT by-God 'the Imperial Yacht'] is traditionally to top-tier dreadnought named the INS Zhunastu and, yes, it's nicknamed 'the Zoo' by crewmen. An Imperial Accommodations Module takes the place of much of the troop space aboard, and features quarters for the Imperial family, it's close staff, security details from the Guards Division and IISS Security Branch, and a select group of VIP's, ministers, or aides. It includes conference rooms, a working office for the Emperor and three or four aides /ministers, a comprehensive galley, a dining room that can seat 12, and an audience hall.
By ironclad tradition Their Imperial Majesties do NOT interfere with the functioning of the ship, nor it's accompanying squadron. The Emperor/ess NEVER enters the bridge or flag bridge without an invitation -- though it's fair to say that any request by Their Imperial Majesties is quickly agreed to. At least once during a jump Emperor Strephon has made a habit of requesting dinner at one officer's mess and one enlisted mess [there are several of each aboard any dreadnought]. When visiting an officer's mess, his addressed as 'Admiral Alkhalikoi', referring to his titular rank of 'Grand High Admiral of the Imperial Navy'. When visiting an enlisted mess, he is referred to by the entirely fictional 'rank' of 'Sergeant Major in Chief'. Empress Iolanthe is treated in all respects as the lady of a visiting member of the mess, as is Princess Iphigenia. Only officers /enlisted men assigned to that mess are to attend these dinners... no social climbing captains invited, thank you very much.

The Zhunastu is routinely accompanied by a small task force [defined as 'a detached group of ships from an official squadron'] consisting of 4 cruisers, 4 escorts, and a gaggle of courier ships. Any of these ships may be detached at any moment to execute Imperial orders, but it is rare for the task force to be reduced to anything less than 2 cruisers, 2 escorts and supports.
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Condottiere
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 02, 2021 11:01 am

It's going to be depend on who, their place on the line of succession, current geopolitical situation and any message they want to send, to either their subjects, the aristocracy, or other interstellar polities.

Britannia got retired, I suspect due to age and operating cost, though as I understand it, forgotting about diplomacy, it made it's costs many times over in international commercial deals, lubricated by the prestige of just receiving an invitation. It was also convertible to a hospital ship.

The Vanguard was turned temporarily into a Royal Yacht, for an international cruise for the heir to the throne, and I think the Admiralty had a fast cruiser prepared in case they had to make a dash to Canada.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:03 am

Condottiere wrote:
Thu Sep 02, 2021 11:01 am
It's going to be depend on who, their place on the line of succession, current geopolitical situation and any message they want to send, to either their subjects, the aristocracy, or other interstellar polities.

Britannia got retired, I suspect due to age and operating cost, though as I understand it, forgotting about diplomacy, it made it's costs many times over in international commercial deals, lubricated by the prestige of just receiving an invitation. It was also convertible to a hospital ship.

The Vanguard was turned temporarily into a Royal Yacht, for an international cruise for the heir to the throne, and I think the Admiralty had a fast cruiser prepared in case they had to make a dash to Canada.
Well only the Imperial family [that is to say, the Emperor, Empress, and Grand Princess] would have personal access to the Zhunastu, and that's only if they're on an assignment given by the Emperor. There's only one 'Zoo', after all. Should the Imperial travel separately, a line dreadnought could be detailed from the Core Fleet along with escorts from the Imperial Bodyguard Squadron. In the late Loren Wiseman's GT no-Rebellion timeline, Strephon celebrates his Golden Jubilee in 1121 and he sends the Imperial family as ambassadors to all 4 corners of the Imperium. The Emperor will visit Illelish Domain aboard the Zhunastu, while Empress Iolanthe travels Rimward and visits Sol and Earth. Grand Princess Iphegenaia travels Coreward to Vland, Antares, and Lishun. Prince Varian travels to the Behind the Claw region, and Prince Lucan [who was packed off to a dreadnought in the Core Fleet to serve as a Midshipman after his screaming match with Varian over women at court] is detailed to Trailing, Delphi, Fornast and Ley sectors. So you can see that such arrangements would be necessary in such an event.
BTW, I get this Jubilee Tour info from the GT main rulebook and GT Nobles, which I highly recommend even if you play a different rules set and timeline. 'Nobles' really does a great job of making sense of how the Imperium's 1% live and their surprisingly vital role in keeping the Imperium together.

As an aside the US had a Presidential Yacht for some years, the USS Sequoia [which was sold off in '77] and USS Potomac [which was Roosevelt's private yacht brought into Navy service during his tenure]. No matter how luxurious, a yacht isn't half as efficient and secure as Air Force One, so Congress did away with it.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 03, 2021 11:32 am

A difference between modern American practice, and what's likely to happen in the Third Imperium's case, is a question of command, communications and control.

Two reasons the modern mode of Presidential mobility was encapsulated in a jumbo jet, besides being the largest commercial jetliner acquirable, it serves as both moving target and flying command post, in a world where the decision to retaliate with nuclear weapons is windowed in minutes, not days, weeks or months.

While I'm not saying that decision making is more relaxed in an interstellar polity where communication lags can be measured in months, if not a year, it does provide the opportunity to have a larger number of resources or counselors you can have around you to advise, or lobby for their perceived interests.

For the scale the game envisions, it's a lot closer to the old style Royal or Imperial courts that mobilize themselves, moving around from and to important regional capitals, needing facilities to accommodate the masses of security and bureaucracy that would allow the ruler and his privy councilors to continue to control the Imperium.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:24 pm

Go and read Marc's novel Agent of the Imperium - you will learn a lot about how Emperor's travel.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Fri Sep 03, 2021 2:50 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:24 pm
Go and read Marc's novel Agent of the Imperium - you will learn a lot about how Emperor's travel.
I've read through it three or four times by now. The novel is wonderful, but it doesn't really talk about how the Emperor/ess moves about in stable times. Something else to consider is that AotI stops before 800, some 300 years before the Golden Age of 1100 or so. I submit to you that the Psionic Suppressions and the Solomani Rim War would have an effect on the Imperial security arrangements. Maybe, just a smidge... :wink:

Specifically, the novel talks about Arbellatra moving her fleets into Core Sector as an admiral, not an Empress. It talks of Gustus having Holiday celebrations aboard a dreadnought because the Imperial Palace was wrecked an Emperor or two before. And it talk of Margaret traveling to Onon /Core but not how she got there. At least, as far as I can remember. The book does go into great detail as to how an Imperially ordered mission would be accomplished if 'it absolutely, positively had to be there next year'... and that's useful information for a referee, but it's not germane to the subject at hand.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Sep 08, 2021 7:54 pm

I like your write up quite a bit. I think it "feels" right. However, other/past Emperor/Empresses probably did have more Pomp than Strephon. Nothing says "Emperor" like a BatRon of Tigresses...

I would also think the local sector they are travelling through would provide an additional "Honor Guard" of squadron size. Likely the Emperor/ess would be duty bound to visit the flagship of that fleet as well.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Thu Sep 09, 2021 11:28 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2021 7:54 pm
I like your write up quite a bit. I think it "feels" right. However, other/past Emperor/Empresses probably did have more Pomp than Strephon. Nothing says "Emperor" like a BatRon of Tigresses...

I would also think the local sector they are travelling through would provide an additional "Honor Guard" of squadron size. Likely the Emperor/ess would be duty bound to visit the flagship of that fleet as well.
Thank you.

I agree that each ruler is gonna have their preferences as to just how much of a 'show' they want to put on. I will say, however, there are a finite number of Tigresses [or equivalent] dreadnoughts in the Imperial Navy. Mongoose sources have the number of dreadnought /battleship squadrons at roughly 1 per subsector. So 1 squadron of 4 capital ships x 16 subsectors gets you 64 capital ships per Sector Fleet. This assumes that the Sector is entirely Imperial territory and that the Sector has enough High Pop /High Tech Industrial worlds to support such a fleet. Some Sectors will be backwaters, Fornast Sector for example. It may only have half or a third of its theoretical allotment of top-of-the-line dreadnoughts, as most construction is sent to more threatened areas. [Quick note on terminology here... only the newest and best battleships are termed 'first class' or 'dreadnought'; as it ages a class will be downgraded to 'second class' or termed a 'battleship' as newer classes supersede them]

So for some Emperors it is entirely worthwhile to divert an entire squadron of high speed /low drag battleships to impress the locals with the Imperial Presence, most aren't quite that vain. :D

As for the local Sector Fleet 'honor guard', I could certainly see the local Sector commander diverting assets to the Imperial Squadron, depending on the wishes of the Emperor. At minimum, when the Zhunastu and her supports visits another Sector, you can bet that a local squadron of cruisers will be detailed. And really, most Emperors don't leave Capital for extended full-year 'progresses' through their realm anyway. They might take most of a year to go to, say, Lishun or Antares or Vland, but it would take a very special situation [like Strephon's Golden Jubilee] for them to leave any longer than that.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:47 am

I think it's supposed to be one battle squadron of Tigresses per sector.

There might be some older classes of super dreadnoughts still hanging around.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:26 am

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:47 am
I think it's supposed to be one battle squadron of Tigresses per sector.

There might be some older classes of super dreadnoughts still hanging around.
That's what I mean between First Class dreadnoughts and Second Class battleships. A Second Class is essentially 'yesterday's dreadnought', being de-rated as newer, better ships come online and enter Fleet service.
So in 1105, the Tigress-class is the biggest, baddest thing in space. But she's also a behemoth at 500 ktons and takes a lot of assets to build and maintain. The class is augmented by the new 200 kton Plankwell-class which, being modular in construction, is less of a construction burden but admittedly can't do all the things that a Tigress can. Both these classes are rated as First Class ships and they're replacing the older ships of the Korrikak-class' generation, which is about to be de-rated down to Second Class.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:48 am

In theory, even a technological level fifteen dreadnought that's forty years old would probably be weighed down by enough quirks, that might shift it to second class.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:38 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:48 am
In theory, even a technological level fifteen dreadnought that's forty years old would probably be weighed down by enough quirks, that might shift it to second class.
Absolutely. You put enough light years on a hull and you're gonna get some 'weathering' and wear and tear. Multiple overhauls and/or major repairs will make each ship a unique creature, as different from others of it's class as a goldfish is to a shark.
And both Marc Miller's 'Agent of the Imperium' and Martin Dougherty's 'Sector Fleet' agree that lifespan of a given hull is 60-80 years on active service, with probably another 20 in the 'Mothball' squadrons at the Depots before it's stricken from the Navy List and scrapped or expended as a gunnery target.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:51 pm

Difference is technological generational change is glacial.

A refit could resolve quirks, by throwing enough money at it; maintenance would be a temporary fix.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:32 am

Condottiere wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:51 pm
Difference is technological generational change is glacial.

A refit could resolve quirks, by throwing enough money at it; maintenance would be a temporary fix.
So I live in an area with a lot of veterans from all the US services. In talking to some of my Navy veteran friends, I get the impression that overhauls [especially mid-service-life overhauls] add as many quirks as they fix. Once a ship gets a crew aboard, there's a lot of 'shade tree mechanic' type fixes that get done. Nothing major, mind you, just little ticky-tack quick fixes that add up over time. Then the overhaul happens, where tech reps come in. Those guys repair and replace a lot, install new systems, pull out old ones that didn't work out in actual use, and generally try to get the ship back to spec. Then a new crew comes aboard and has to quick fix all the glitches that the overhaul installed.
As a former tank crewman myself, I can understand that. There is a definite love/hate relationship between ships /vehicles and crewmen and at times you're really glad the vehicle doesn't get its feelings hurt easily for as many times as you curse the damned thing out every week...
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby agentwigggles » Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:45 am

For my game, I found myself making for the lack of a better phrase, 'Air Force One for Archedukes'.

And how I saw it, was very heavily armed office building. And probably to extravagant. As one of my difficulities with any ship building system, is pulling back for in world consideration so I end making iceal stuff thats probably overly designed.

It came to 20k J4 ship.

20 High State Room for the imperial Noble family and any accompany guess and ViP, 50 High Staterooms for various dept. heads, and other not quite as VIPs, VIPs. 1500 tons deadicated to common area. This is multiple dinning rooms, gardens, the throne room, the imperial apartment section with its own private common area, the common area for the ships crew. 20 person med bay. 50 marines. 2 Ships Boat. 10 fighters. 4 X Boats. Mail distribution array. 100 studios which I am using as offices. 200 stateroooms.

A lot of the space is to just simply carry the bureaucracy with you. While the Archduke may have to go somewhere in particular as part of the course of their duties or just desire to travel around still has work to do.
And it has weapons I have 30 quad turrets, I am not sure how armed it should be, as I'm in the camp that it doesnt move alone. its escorted by other military ships.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:13 pm

That's not a bad setup at all.

It also plugs in well with my Imperial Accommodations Module modification. Presuming that Strephon's INS Zhunastu is a Tigress-class [not unreasonable by any stretch], the vessel has room for 500 troops and command facilities to run a fleet completely separate of the Primary and Auxiliary Bridges aboard. So, reduce the troops payload to 100 troops with appropriate savings in things like Battle Dress storage, maintenance, and launch facilities, training spaces, and common spaces excess to needs. At that point you have plenty of room to operate the ship as 'Imperial One'.

Something else to note: Mongoose Traveller has pulled some of the teeth of the Dukes and Archdukes. In 'Goose Canon' [yeah, take THAT one where you want to...], Imperial Nobles may no longer operate cruisers and larger vessels under their own flags as huscarles. However, it's also completely reasonable for Strephon to specifically allow his Archdukes to aboard dreadnoughts as he has given them command of the Imperial Navy in their Domains. However there is undoubtedly a caveat in the Archduchy Warrant that states that an Archduke may only travel aboard a capital ship [meaning dreadnought or battleships] in their own domains.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:24 pm

Image


There's supposedly larger starwarships than the Tigress; I forget, what's supposedly the current strategic movement factor of a Tigress, but if it's the same, and the flagship, which it would most likely have to be, could be stuffed with the Imperial court, and have the more diminutive Tigresses flying escort.


I would have gone with Mon Gusta, but I suspect I'm mixing languages.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:30 am

Condottiere wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:24 pm

There's supposedly larger starwarships than the Tigress; I forget, what's supposedly the current strategic movement factor of a Tigress, but if it's the same, and the flagship, which it would most likely have to be, could be stuffed with the Imperial court, and have the more diminutive Tigresses flying escort.


I would have gone with Mon Gusta, but I suspect I'm mixing languages.
And that's where I disagree with a lot of folks. IMTU there are no 'Death Stars' that take the GDP an entire star system to construct. And we won't even get into the fatal flaw that allows a farm boy to kill it with a lucky shot...

'Sector Fleet' notes [and I wholeheartedly agree] that the concept of the 'super-dreadnought' -- a ship large and powerful enough to destroy a squadron of capital ships single handedly and with little damage to itself -- has been repeatedly studied and discarded. Not only are the construction and maintenance costs of such a vessel prohibitive, but the manning expenses are excessive as well. In addition, once a certain threshold of tonnage is reached [and the Tigresses are currently believed to be at that threshold], advances in technologies would require so many upgrades and overhauls that such a ship would spend most of its service life in a Depot getting refurbished for one thing or another. In short, such ships rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns when one considers the number of conventional capital ships one could field for the costs.

As to the argument that you want the 'entire bureaucracy' to travel with you, I disagree with that too. The Imperial Civil Service doesn't need a noble to tell it what to do or how to do its job. They have hundreds of years of precedent, policies, and procedures to fall back on; more if you consider the Ziru Sirka. The fact is, the Civil Service could probably run the Imperium quite well without the nobility being involved at all if it wasn't for the need for the need of overall direction. When the High Nobles travel [that is 'the .001%], they only need certain key advisors, the applicable experts that'll be needed at their destination, and their close personal staff [personal butlers, their chef, their personal household major domo]. All the local ministry heads would do their jobs best by staying at home and awaiting a courier from 'the boss' with major orders.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:38 am

Oh, Condottiere, the current Mongoose Traveller book says that the Tigress still weighs in at 500 ktons. She costs 400 billion credits to constuct and requires a crew of 8716. 660 of that crew are fighter crews for the two fighter wings embarked and 500 are listed as 'troops', which I take to be Imperial Marine.
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Re: Imperial Family Travel Arrangements

Postby Condottiere » Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:16 pm

Besides buck banging, what's the largest component besides percentage based ship systems that eats up space?

Since that's a fixed tonnage, the rest is gravy, and a megatonne battle barge is more impressive than a semimegatonne ball.

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