How much will Imperium interfere?

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How much will Imperium interfere?

Postby apoc527 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:04 am

Hey all,

I'm trying to learn more about the 3I before trying to run a basic Traveller OTU game again.

Here's the question:

What, if anything, would the Imperium do if Earth had been a member world during WW2? Would it allow the Holocaust? Would it investigate such things at all? What level of Imperial representation would Earth have had? Given the Balkanization, would Earth have had multiple noble representatives? How would the Imperium choose who to support, if anyone?

Thanks for any insights!
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Postby apoc527 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:34 am

Clarification: in no way do I intend to start any kind of Nazi-specific discussion or anything to do with the actual Holocaust. I simply want to know what the Imperium will do if a group of sentients is being persecuted on a world that is a member of the Imperium.

I ask because I want to know if "proof" would be needed. Thus, PCs might be needed to infiltrate a balkanized world to gather proof of horrible human rights abuses so that they can quite literally "send in the (Imperial) Marines."
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Postby Jeraa » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:43 am

I don't think the Imperium would of interfered, provided the world was still able to pay its taxes. The Imperium does not really concern itself with the planet that much - it even lets individual member worlds go to war with each other. Provided, of course, they can both still pay their taxes.

The Imperium may have gotten involved, however, to stop the production of atomic weapons. It most likely would of stepped in once they were actually used. People are expected to die during a war. But weapons of mass destruction are a no-no, except for Imperial forces.

If the Imperium did care about human rights violations, I doubt it would send in covert teams to investigate. The Imperial Navy arriving in orbit, and sending down battledressed marines, along with scans from sensors from orbit, is much quicker. Also sends a message that things may be getting out of hand - and the Imperium is already there to clean it up if it is.

Note: All of this is my opinion, and not based on anything. I have no clue what the "official" answer would be.
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Postby SSWarlock » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:02 am

I agree with Jeraa. The Imperium polices the space between worlds, not the worlds themselves.
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Postby GamerDude » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:54 am

SSWarlock wrote:I agree with Jeraa. The Imperium polices the space between worlds, not the worlds themselves.
Yes true... look over at the piracy thread where someone was bemoaning how the taxes paid to the Imperium and a failure to attack even tiny pirate problems would result in a huge "taxation without representation" revolt by the citizens of the planet.

3I deals with the space between star systems, one system going to war against another (in certain circumstances)-mainly where it interferes with trade/commerce/collecting taxes. Although I believe I read somewhere in one Traveller book that if WMD like nukes etc. were deployed, used... they'd interfere then too.
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Postby Stainless » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:38 am

Jeraa wrote:The Imperium may have gotten involved, however, to stop the production of atomic weapons. It most likely would of stepped in once they were actually used. People are expected to die during a war. But weapons of mass destruction are a no-no, except for Imperial forces.
Agreed and this would make a great scenario; Imperial agents on Earth discover the Nazi heavy water production facilities and either help organise or carry out Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside.
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Postby rust » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:47 am

Stainless wrote: Agreed and this would make a great scenario; Imperial agents on Earth discover the Nazi heavy water production facilities and either help organise or carry out Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside.
On the other hand, the Imperials could come a bit later, and then punish
the USA for the use of nuclear weapons.
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Postby DFW » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:07 pm

rust wrote: On the other hand, the Imperials could come a bit later, and then punish
the USA for the use of nuclear weapons.
Yep, based on everything I've read about the OTU, that's ALL the Imperium would have done during WWII.
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Postby ShadowDrake » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:26 pm

I don't know...GURPS Traveller (Star Mercs page 23) states that one of the rules of war is respect for sophont's rights. So while it may not require the Imperium to intervene, it would give them a justification to if they felt the urge.
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Postby Sevya » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:15 pm

The destruction of industrial facillities may have drawn some attention before that, if the subsector authorities were aware of it. This would indicate the potential of interfering with taxes in the future.
rust wrote:
Stainless wrote: Agreed and this would make a great scenario; Imperial agents on Earth discover the Nazi heavy water production facilities and either help organise or carry out Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside.
On the other hand, the Imperials could come a bit later, and then punish
the USA for the use of nuclear weapons.
Of course, if Earth had been an imperial member world, all nations would have known that nuclear weapons were prohibited. That alone might have curbed the research into them. Or maybe not, since the existence and effectiveness of such weapons would also be known...

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Postby apoc527 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:57 pm

The nuke issue is actually less interesting to me than "sophont's rights" violations. As Sevya says, the world would know about nukes. The great powers may also choose to buy offworld technology, including nuclear dampers.

If the Imperium ignores genocide within its own borders, how can it claim to provide for the defense of its citizens? It's not the same scenario as the UN sitting idly by while genocide happens in Africa either. Those African nations aren't members of the UN (or are they? I actually don't know) unlike a memberworld of the Imperium.

Not to start a flame war on political and philosophical theories of ethics, but if the Imperium sits idly by while a crazy dictator bombs his local stellar neighbors into dust (but not with nukes), why be a member at all? So I can pay taxes to save my planet from invading doggies or evil Zhodani? At least the Zhos would prevent atrocities! And a cooridinated Vargr invasion is unlikely!
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Postby Somebody » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:04 pm

Once the dictator starts bombing the local stellar neighbourhood he will interfere with trade. If you do that you might as well start painting the "We welcome the Empires Goontroopers<<<Marines" posters.

As long as you "keep it local" the 3I accepts a lot since "local rule" is part of the Imperial contract. And makes the 3I interesting for many planets since they can keep their own culture/government system/leaders for most stuff.

So the WWII itself will be accepted, war on balkanized worlds, even with limited off-world aid, is ok for the 3I. Wether the Nazi work/death camps will trigger Imperial action would IMHO depend on scale.

The 3I walks a thin line between "humanitarian action" and "too much interference". Combined with slow commo the tendency is likely "do nothing unless we approach 10 percent of the population killed".

And much might depend on the local imperial noble/agency. They are the ones that must "call in the Marines"
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Postby GamerDude » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:08 pm

apoc527 wrote:Not to start a flame war on political and philosophical theories of ethics, but if the Imperium sits idly by while a crazy dictator bombs his local stellar neighbors into dust (but not with nukes), why be a member at all? So I can pay taxes to save my planet from invading doggies or evil Zhodani? At least the Zhos would prevent atrocities! And a cooridinated Vargr invasion is unlikely!
Actually, before it got that far it would be having a big effect on trade, collecting taxes etc. by the Imperium. Your 'example' is (as I see it) well past where the Imperium would get involved.

As far as "rights" go... there are no real "universal rights". One person's right to hold the belief that dwarves and elves shouldn't marry and that their beliefs are to be stringently enforced/protected infringes on those who believe that dwarves and elves SHOULD be allowed to marry and they should militantly fight to defend that belief. And the second belief infringes just as much on the first person's belief.

And who of us (if anyone) is actually in any kind of actual 'authority' to decide which of these incompatible 'rights' gets to be the one doing the infringing?
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Postby hdan » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:24 pm

I suspect a LOT would depend on how close the Subsector Duke or a local Count is to either faction in that conflict. If his cousin is the leader of one of the at-war factions, that local war might gain some interplanetary significance. :)
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Postby apoc527 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:49 pm

hdan wrote:I suspect a LOT would depend on how close the Subsector Duke or a local Count is to either faction in that conflict. If his cousin is the leader of one of the at-war factions, that local war might gain some interplanetary significance. :)
I suspect you are right. Which leads to interesting adventuring opportunities. A shady individual working for the Duke contacts the PCs. He offers them some money to discreetly import some offworld tech to "rebalance" an ongoing local conflict. Deniability, discretion. Most excellent.
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Postby kafka » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:32 pm

Probably not. Affairs on any the world of the Imperium does not get the attention of the Imperium unless the Imperial Rules of War are violated or Imperial interests are threatened. This is not to say that local nobles may not try to profit from the exchange.

Asking if they would allow a Holocaust is a charged question - certainly the Imperium would try to prevent a genocide but basically two or more nations duking it out and one side using slave labor might violate some of the basic treaties that brought the world into the Imperium. But, there would have to be proof. One nation on a balkanized world appealing to the Imperial on the charge of genocide would be very hard to prove. Most combatants would be wary of making a claim because Imperial martial law might prove more strict then what they are accustomed to.

For the Imperium as entity does not have ethics - the universe simply does not care (read: The Cold Equations - http://www.spacewesterns.com/articles/105/) - it is firmly lodged in the world of realpolitik...and may use ethics or may choose to ignore them. I know that some propose the Imperium akin to the EU. It might be that in part, but, even the EU has been known to shove ethical considerations in the interests of power politics.
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Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:48 am

Well, now I'm not so sure. I read over the Imperial Rules of War as printed in GT: Star Mercs. They include that the warfare must respect the rights of sophonts. Several other activities are also clearly against the rules.

Thus, the Imperial observers (which must be allowed to be present under Imperial law) would probably intervene to stop the following activities that occurred during WW2:

Carpet bombing
Firebombing (same thing as above really)
Sieges of populated areas
the various purges and genocides, including the Holocaust

Really, the way I read it, the Imperium is willing to intervene almost anytime a war gets to "total war." In other words, it'll tolerate military vs. military (and apparently insurgency vs. military), but the second you start slaughtering civilians (as opposed to the occasional and sadly unavoidable collateral damage), they might decide to send in the Marines.

The GT: Star Merc stuff on this is very well done and since I don't have any other materials to contradict it, I'll assume it's canon for my purposes.
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Postby GamerDude » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:11 am

apoc527 wrote:Well, now I'm not so sure. I read over the Imperial Rules of War as printed in GT: Star Mercs. They include that the warfare must respect the rights of sophonts. Several other activities are also clearly against the rules. ...
The GT: Star Merc stuff on this is very well done and since I don't have any other materials to contradict it, I'll assume it's canon for my purposes.
Two points:

1) Are there any sources for this information in CT/MT/TNE/T4 (stuff published by GDW/FFE)? If not then there are no official sources.

2) Even barring official sources, anything not in official CT/MT/TNE/T4 is at best a nice 'guideline'.

And yes, the G:T materials are quite nice but that's all, nice. Marc has really made his opinion clear on this and the debate was waged and burned out.

Personally, I wish the Imperial Rules of War had come out in something official, it's an excellent thing to have.
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Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:25 am

Ah yes, the old "it's only official if Marc says it is" debate.

Well, *I* don't care who Marc is and what Marc thinks, and since I have a very "nice" book that was published by a real game company that has useful and relevant information, it's "official" enough for me. And I did say, "canon for my purposes."

Also, as heretical as it may be, I don't think the Rebellion is all that interesting and Virus was stupid. Oh no!

:lol:

That's also too bad because GT: Nobles is an excellent book which adds more to the 3I in terms of actual detail than most CT/MT/TNE/T4 products I've ever seen.

Methinks, GamerDude, that you've overstated your point: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... 836#577836.

And since the discussion here wasn't "what's canon" but rather "what does the Imperium do," I think any answer pulling from any source that sheds light on that subject is helpful. OBVIOUSLY, every GM is going to have slightly different details in their games. The GT material smartly indicates this at the back of GT: Nobles when it explains how the Imperium can be defined by its location on the Good/Evil vs. Strong/Weak axes and how the "OTU" is defined vs. how others may want to change things.
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Postby DFW » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:14 am

apoc527 wrote:And since the discussion here wasn't "what's canon" but rather "what does the Imperium do,"
Then, it is only "what does the Imperium do," IYTU, not, OTU...

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