World Building, help with understanding governments

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
10harold66
Shrew
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:50 pm

World Building, help with understanding governments

Postby 10harold66 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:13 pm

Maybe I am being too Earth-centric, but it seems to me when determining a government type for a world, there might be many more governments than what the base rules provide. The 3.2 document says to roll 1d3 for factions, so at most, you're talking about four different governments. And here's where I am probably basing everything on my Earthly experience, but I would imagine there'd be many more governments than just three on a world, unless this means that on each world, there is a "superpower" that sort of serves as the world government and then everything else is a faction. The final version of the rules, when released, might say something completely different, too. Population should probably drive this more. A higher population might (should?) result in many more competing factions -- maybe this happens at lower tech levels (like TL8 Earth) but at higher TL it flattens out (easier to control masses of people with technology).
rust
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5941
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:17 pm
Location: Sonthofen / Germany

Re: World Building, help with understanding governments

Postby rust » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:25 pm

10harold66 wrote:A higher population might (should?) result in many more competing factions ...
I am not sure whether this is true. Here on Earth we also had and have
regions with very high populations, but a comparatively low number of
factions (India, China), and on the other hand we had and have regions
with comparatively low population, but a very high number of factions
(Europe).

Apart from this, under most circumstances an offworlder can safely igno-
re many local governments. Again, think of Earth: Andorra, Dominica, Ki-
ribati, Liechtenstein, San Marino ... - many people do not even know that
these states do exist, I think.
Golan2072
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1031
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:50 am
Location: Yavne, Israel
Contact:

Postby Golan2072 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:47 pm

Remember that Earth is balkanized for historical reasons; the various ethnic groups, cultures and, later, nations had quite a time to develop in low-tech semi-isolation. This means that in modern TL7-8 times you have a huge number of local interests and power-groups. A colony funded mere centuries (or even decades!) ago by a single colony-ship, having a centralized government (colonial administration) and modern communications from the beginning would be less likely to be as balkanized as our Earth unless something major would have happened (the Long Night in most cases; and even then, the local would have shared cultural roots from the colonial days).

Anyway, even on our Earth there are very few real powers; most other nations are subordinated to one (or more) of them in some way or another. For example, an alien scout surveying Earth during the Cold War would have listed it has having two factions (East and West) despite the fact that there were dozens of independent nations; even "non-aligned" nations were, in many cases, under influence of one block or another. Today you have a few more major powers around (US, Europe, Russia and China being the major ones), but there are still less than ten major factions.

Look at it that way: if you go shopping in any major city anywhere in the world, you'd find that a major portion of the available products were made either in China, Europe or the US (add Japan if you're looking for electronics and Israel if you're shopping for a gun). Most governments are also affiliated in some way to one of the major powers.
10harold66
Shrew
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:50 pm

Postby 10harold66 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:53 pm

Yeah, I'd agree with that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that high tech levels combined with interstellar space travel would create more 'homogenous' worlds than not, due to all the colonization going on.

I was floating the idea of higher population = more factions because as a population grows, its constituent members compete for available resources which creates conflict.

My idea behind a lower tech level world having more factions stems from geography, too. The worlds in a Traveller universe would probably be geographically diverse enough to actually separate groups of people physically from one another. A lower tech world wouldn't have the communications or transportation infrastructure to connect everyone as easily, so I could see how an off-worlder might encounter a multitude of different factions versus just a maximum of four.

I have to watch it... getting back into this mindset of discussing what has always been a really cool game can get me off-task in a hurry.

But I appreciate the comments!
10harold66
Shrew
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:50 pm

Postby 10harold66 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:56 pm

Golan...

Exactly what I was thinking, too.

An alien looking at the Earth now might see the U.S., China, and Europe (Russia included) as the three factions, with all the other countries more or less subservient/part of the others.
Golan2072
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1031
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:50 am
Location: Yavne, Israel
Contact:

Postby Golan2072 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:12 pm

Another reason for a small number of factions in the basic world generation rules is avoiding an information overload. Remember that we're speaking of a rough sketch of a world generated among a large number of other worlds; as long as you're not going to explore the world in detail, 1-3 factions are a good benchmark for easy sketching. Once you wish to detail a world further, you could easily hand-craft many more factions. But as long as the players are just stopping over at a starport, you usually only need to know about the largest major powers.
AKAramis
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1440
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:57 am
Location: Eagle River, Alaska, USA
Contact:

Postby AKAramis » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:31 pm

Looking at earth, I see only a few factions, each comprised of several nations...

The EU & US are faction 1. All are representative systems of some stripe, and socialized capitalist systems economically.

China and its dependencies (NKorea, etc)

Russia & the other slavic states

The Arabic-Muslim world.
-AKAramis
==================================================
Never catch a tiger by the tail...
... unless it is sedated or dead.
==================================================
http://aramis.hostman.us
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3409
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:18 pm

Don't you roll Factions PER GOVERNMENT?

So a unified world government will have 1d3 factions, but a balkanized world would have 1d3 factions per government?

So the US would be one government within a Balkanized world, and within that government, there would be 2 factions (Republican and Democrat).

Russia would be a separate roll with it's own factions, same for any other country you desired to roll.
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
rust
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5941
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:17 pm
Location: Sonthofen / Germany

Postby rust » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:26 pm

I am not quite sure about the meaning of the text in the playtest docu-
ment (version 3.2):

The government code determines the dominant government type on that planet, but there are usually other factions such
rival political parties, cultural groups, religions, rebels and so forth who oppose the government. Conflicts on a planet often
involve the player characters; they might be hired to smuggle weapons to a rebel group, or be asked to investigate a
political scandal involving a government leader.
Roll 1d3 to determine how many factions there are on the planet, with a DM of +1 if the government type is 0 or 7, and a
DM of -1 if the government type is 10 or more

According to this text, it seems that one would roll for factions per planet,
but these factions would be outside of the government(s), not iden-
tical with the government(s).
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3409
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:48 pm

You are correct. I mis-read the text.

Balkanized governments are going to always pose a problem in Traveller. If you only have 2-3 governments, it probably isn't much of a problem, but if you have hundreds of government, like modern Earth, then things start to break down.
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
Astromancer
Mongoose
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:25 pm

Postby Astromancer » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:16 pm

Traveller is, at least in part, a simulation of a genre of Sci Fi, not a piece of realistic Sci Fi in and of itself. It follows the convention, typical in Star Trek, older Doctor Who, Blake's Seven, ect, of unicultural worlds.

Now this is justified by the notion that each world grew either out of a single colony, like Virginia, New Zealand, or Pennslyvania, or out of the colonies of a single dominate power, like Australia, or the U.S.A.

The low numbers of states assumes that, as in Australia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexaco, and the U.S.A. The original colony simply claimed all the land as part of its state.

A reasonable Balkinized world for Traveller might have thre to five continents and continent sized island chains. Continent Alpha gets settled by Hindu nationalist/traditionalists determined to recreate their vision of India's past. Continent Beta gets several groups from Ireland who wish to raise their children as Gealic speakers, but otherwise they represent several different social visions. Gamma is settled by a group of genetically engineered humans seeking a place where they can escape social prejudice and live in dignity. Their social culture is American Midwestern with a few minor quirks. Delta is settled by excentrict liberterians, right-wing anarchists who despise government. The Omega Islands are settled by groups of refugees from a wide variety of Solimani cultures (mainly Asian and African) in a government run by a mega-corp whose goal was to maintain a starport and look charitable while aquiring coolie labour.

Beta and Gamma are functioning Representative Democracies, Delta is a complete mess, Alpha is a constitutional theocratic monarchy, and the Omega isles have become a crazy quilt of little dictatorships.

The Imperium would obviously prefer the Alphans. The Omegans and the Deltans would be disliked, but seen as manipulateable. The Betans would be seen as problimatic, and the Gammans would be seen as dirt.
Hermetic Science for the Masses.

Have Starship, will Travel!

Per Astra!!!!!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests