Matriarchies

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Rick
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:35 pm

Reynard wrote:Makes me wonder if most aslan societies could be secret matriarchies with females actually ruling from behind the throne.
Exactly - presumably a males wives or sisters would be fairly adept at 'influencing' him, to achieve an objective. But then, he could be equally adept at playing them off against each other?
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:16 pm

Reynard wrote:That could mean agricultural or garden worlds with little conflict could might gravite toward females in positions of power due to instinctual nurturing natures when a male protective nature is not in high demand. It could be with any world that has a very low need for or expectation of aggression.
Sorry to go back a couple of pages, but it occurred to me that a society might develop from a patriarchy into a matriarchy if the need for conflict passes and they can't sustain a dedicated warrior class.
Another society might be a matriarchy that, in times of conflict, puts a male 'war leader' in charge for the duration. Sort of a hybrid matriarchy.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Reynard » Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:39 am

"But then, he could be equally adept at playing them off against each other?"

Oh great, males dueling and female catfights!
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:38 am

Heh both males and females duel, but males don't duel females. I was imagining it being a bit more subtle than that, but still.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:31 am

I think people tend to be predisposed to think of the females as the weaker sex, to give an example, ever see the movie, a bugs life? There are a lot of male bugs, but in nature most bugs are female, every bug that can sting you is female. Pregnancy takes a lot out of a female, so which Traveller races lay eggs rather than bear live young? An egg laying species might be more likely to be matriarchal, birds are like this as well in that the female is often larger and physically stronger, while the male has more colorful plumage to attract a mate. Any birdlike Aliens in Traveller?
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby GypsyComet » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:17 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: Any birdlike Aliens in Traveller?
Aside from Droyne and Ael Yael? Those are just flyers, though. It might be more useful to figure out which characteristic(s) of birds ecological niche or niches cause the females to be larger.

Offhand:
There are only the two flyers that I can recall
None that are feathered
No oviparous sophonts
Species Size is not an issue, as Terran birds have run the gamut from ounces to a couple hundred pounds, even if they aren't all flyers.
The nesting approach is not distinct to birds, nor is the female birds' frequent job as the nest builder.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:06 pm

GypsyComet wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote: Any birdlike Aliens in Traveller?
Aside from Droyne and Ael Yael? Those are just flyers, though. It might be more useful to figure out which characteristic(s) of birds ecological niche or niches cause the females to be larger.

Offhand:
There are only the two flyers that I can recall
None that are feathered
No oviparous sophonts
Species Size is not an issue, as Terran birds have run the gamut from ounces to a couple hundred pounds, even if they aren't all flyers.
The nesting approach is not distinct to birds, nor is the female birds' frequent job as the nest builder.
They really ought to have more variety, Some aliens really ought to be hatched rather than born, most of them seem derived from mammals Aslan, Vargyr, I think we need a few "bug-eyed aliens".
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:32 pm

Droyne are egg-layers and have quite large eyes as well.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby GypsyComet » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:46 pm

Rick wrote:Droyne are egg-layers and have quite large eyes as well.
Right. Foggy Saturday morning here in more than one way, One Oviparous sophont race that we know of. They get away with it because Droyne start small.

Among the major races, only the Droyne and Hivers are notably different, but the variety of sophont morphology is getting off-topic.

Returning to birds, not all Terran avians are female-dominant by any stretch, but it does seem to transcend diet.
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Rick
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:52 pm

GypsyComet wrote:
Rick wrote:Droyne are egg-layers and have quite large eyes as well.
Right. Foggy Saturday morning here in more than one way, One Oviparous sophont race that we know of. They get away with it because Droyne start small.

Among the major races, only the Droyne and Hivers are notably different, but the variety of sophont morphology is getting off-topic.

Returning to birds, not all Terran avians are female-dominant by any stretch, but it does seem to transcend diet.
Yes, I think I was way off the mark to suggest diet. I think some of the rest stands up to scrutiny though! :D
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:14 pm

Right. Dragging it back to Matriarchal societies - I found another one. The Gurvin of the Hiver Federation are spread across several worlds and are generally governed by matriarchal representative democracies. Would be interesting to see if they get a minor race book to themselves or are just a section of the Hiver book.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby GypsyComet » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:55 am

Rick wrote:Right. Dragging it back to Matriarchal societies - I found another one. The Gurvin of the Hiver Federation are spread across several worlds and are generally governed by matriarchal representative democracies. Would be interesting to see if they get a minor race book to themselves or are just a section of the Hiver book.
That must be coming from the GURPS material, because the Gurvin are just a name and a job description everywhere else. They run much of the Hive Federation's bureaucracy, and their spoken language is, IIRC, the "Common" of that state.
A matriarchal race of bureaucrats is a bit scary, to be honest.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:30 am

GypsyComet wrote:
Rick wrote:Right. Dragging it back to Matriarchal societies - I found another one. The Gurvin of the Hiver Federation are spread across several worlds and are generally governed by matriarchal representative democracies. Would be interesting to see if they get a minor race book to themselves or are just a section of the Hiver book.
That must be coming from the GURPS material, because the Gurvin are just a name and a job description everywhere else. They run much of the Hive Federation's bureaucracy, and their spoken language is, IIRC, the "Common" of that state.
A matriarchal race of bureaucrats is a bit scary, to be honest.
Actually, you'd be quite wrong on that. The info I posted here was from the GDW aliens book on the Hivers and pre-dates the GURPS materiel. In the GDW book, they get about 2 short paragraphs, tbh, and are described as excellent explorers and traders, that much of the Lingua Hiver is based on Gurvin words, and a matriarchy as above. GURPS adds more, but of dubious value, imho.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby GypsyComet » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:03 pm

Fair enough. It didn't sound like a GDW detail offhand, but obviously my offhand was asleep yesterday.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby tzunder » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:30 pm

Oh don't say we are patriarchal by nature and is it as a justification for the same in an SF game.

SF means speculative fiction as well as science fiction and has a very long tradition of different human societies.

But I don't want to start a disagreement, just looking for examples.
8)
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Rick » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:00 pm

tzunder wrote:Oh don't say we are patriarchal by nature and is it as a justification for the same in an SF game.

SF means speculative fiction as well as science fiction and has a very long tradition of different human societies.

But I don't want to start a disagreement, just looking for examples.
Well, we found 2 entire races that are matriarchal for you. And, as a bonus, told you what to look for when searching through hundreds of planetary entries looking for a human matriarchal society; there are bound to be loads of them out there, but all hidden behind a simple UPP code.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Reynard » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:24 pm

I just looked through the World Builder Handbook, which is very comprehensive for planetary details including customs, and there is no notation for a matriarchal power base. It seems this is definitely a design call for the Referee and that's a great thing. Traveller isn't meant to set in stone every aspect of game elements and leaves open for icing on the cake. If a ref really wants or needs a matriarch then pick the world and put a notation for background that will serve the adventure. Even in the vast Official Traveller Universe, there is a lot of room for refs and gamers to fill in the blanks.
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:59 am

tzunder wrote:Oh don't say we are patriarchal by nature and is it as a justification for the same in an SF game.

SF means speculative fiction as well as science fiction and has a very long tradition of different human societies.
Many people will disagree with me, but I find that the Original Traveller Universe is very conservative in its social assumptions, political ideologies, cultural attitudes, and gender politics.

Although Traveller is set in the far future and has an interstellar civilisation with vaguely feudal trappings, it sits in the subgenre that Charles Stross has somewhat rudely termed "White Middle America Goes To The Stars". The Third Imperium is based upon Western cultural models and everyone seems to aspire to the futuristic equivalent of an affluent developed-world middle class lifestyle.

In the Third Imperium most people speak Anglic, noble titles are drawn form European models, the career tables are based upon mid-20th century social models, the economic models seem to be based upon laissez-faire capitalism with a distinct post-Keynsian flavour, and 99% of the published artwork depicts white Caucasians as the dominant representatives of Humaniti. There is little evidence of any Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, or African cultural influences. Negros, Asians, Hispanics, and pretty much every other non-Anglophone ethnic or cultural group appear only as local curiosities and the dominant interstellar culture appears to be based upon the historical experience of the 19th century colonial powers. You might as well put Imperial governors in pith helmets and be done with it - after all, they do often seem to have an interest in hunting the exotic local wildlife.

This bias is largely because Traveller simulates the tropes of Golden Age SF and ignores most of the SF published after 1968 (with the exception of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle). There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but the choice of cut-off date is interesting. Most of the SF authors who strongly influenced Traveller (Poul Anderson, Bertam Chandler, E.C. Tubb, H. Beam Piper) were seen as old-school even by the standards of that time (with the notable exceptions of Jack Vance and Andre Norton).

Gender politics were prominent in SF after 1968, with major awards being won by works such as Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness (Nebula Award 1969, Hugo Award 1970), Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed (Hugo and Nebula Award 1975), Joanna Russ' The Female Man (Nebula Award 1976), and David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself (Hugo and Nebula Award 1976).

At the time Traveller was being designed, there were plenty of well-known SF authors exploring gender-related themes (James Tiptree Jr., John Varley, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Tanith Lee, Vonda N. McIntyre, et al). But the game does not mention the possibility of gender relations or sexual politics other than those that existed in contemporary Middle Class America.
hiro

Re: Matriarchies

Postby hiro » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:06 am

Well said!
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Re: Matriarchies

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:13 am

hiro wrote:Well said!
Note that I'm not trying to pick on Traveller here - it's still a brilliant game in many respects. But it has some strange blind spots as consequence of early design decisions. I don't think that retrofitting modern SF concepts into the Third Imperium is the answer - let those who like that setting enjoy it on its own terms. However, I'd love to see some Fourth Imperium material that pushes the setting in new directions.

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