Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobility

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Tom Kalbfus
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Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobility

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:48 am

Social Standing
11 knight/Dame
12 Baron/Baroness
13 Marquis/Marquette
14 Count/Countess
15 Duke/Dutchess
16 King/Queen
17 Emperor/Emperess

So if you are playing D&D and your character meets a knight in shining army with a lance sitting astride a horse in full plate barding, what is the equivalent to this in Traveller?

Is it a person with social standing 11 in Battle Dress sitting astride a grav bike with a mounted laser cannon on the handlebars?

What are the feudal obligations of an Imperial Knight or Imperial Noble?
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:37 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:Social Standing
11 knight/Dame
12 Baron/Baroness
13 Marquis/Marquette
14 Count/Countess
15 Duke/Dutchess
16 King/Queen
17 Emperor/Emperess

So if you are playing D&D and your character meets a knight in shining army with a lance sitting astride a horse in full plate barding, what is the equivalent to this in Traveller?

Is it a person with social standing 11 in Battle Dress sitting astride a grav bike with a mounted laser cannon on the handlebars?

What are the feudal obligations of an Imperial Knight or Imperial Noble?
In Traveller, it will be the same thing. It's tradition on some worlds.
hiro

Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby hiro » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:40 am

The natural obligation of any right thinking person?

Load a HEAP round in your trusty RAM grenade launcher and pop a round thru the knight in shining armour.

Bish bash bosh.

Job done.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby dragoner » Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:07 am

hiro wrote:The natural obligation of any right thinking person?

Load a HEAP round in your trusty RAM grenade launcher and pop a round thru the knight in shining armour.

Bish bash bosh.

Job done.
Come see the violence inherent in the system! :mrgreen:

Soc is a dump stat pretty much. But of note, that there is a difference between European nobilities, the list above is British.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:45 am

At least use the more correct terms:

Social Standing
11 Knight/Dame
12 Baronet/Baronetess
13 Marquis/Marchioness
14 Count/Countess
15 Duke/Duchess
16 Archduke/Archduchess
17 Emperor/Empress

I think that's more like the Traveller system, the Anglic Royal system doesn't have some of these and substitutes others, but king/queen is directly equivalent to Emperor/Empress, never subordinate. Generally 11-14 are titles for planetary notables, usually granted in recognition for an achievement or service, the top 3 are the hereditary family titles of subsector, sector or regional governors and the Imperial family of course. I've always thought of those top 3 to be more like a big family business, like the Rockefeller's, the Getty's or the Rothchild's, with a fancy title.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:26 pm

As a bit of an example, I'm going to try a fictional example: the planet Billings in the subsector Montana ( :D ).
Billings is the capital of the Montana subsector, of 4 other worlds and is a representative democracy, the President of Billings has the title of 'Count Billings' whilst he is in office, really just to give him some political clout within the nobility system, a wealthy business owner with an interstellar (probably local to Montana) trading corporation has been granted an hereditary peerage, 'Marchioness Riverside', due to longstanding donations to local charities, museums and putting money into improving local facilities.
The Duke of Montana has a large residence on Billings and smaller ones on each of the other worlds in the sector, and is expected to divide his time equally between them; he has a large staff, mainly used for raising Imperial taxes, but also as a recruiting office for Imperial armed forces. Most of the taxes go directly to the sector Duke, but a small portion is kept for the Duke's expenses and an 'emergency fund' - if there is ever a problem that this emergency fund can't cover, more help will be sent from the Sector Duke or the Regional Archduke.
The Duke of Montana may never interfere with the planetary government, unless help is asked for, but as a matter of courtesy, the President of Billings may invite him to attend a session of Congress. If the Duke of Montana owns any land outside of his official residences, he may well have to pay taxes to the planetary government on it.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:34 pm

Rick wrote:At least use the more correct terms:

Social Standing
11 Knight/Dame
12 Baronet/Baronetess
13 Marquis/Marchioness
14 Count/Countess
15 Duke/Duchess
16 Archduke/Archduchess
17 Emperor/Empress

I think that's more like the Traveller system, the Anglic Royal system doesn't have some of these and substitutes others, but king/queen is directly equivalent to Emperor/Empress, never subordinate. Generally 11-14 are titles for planetary notables, usually granted in recognition for an achievement or service, the top 3 are the hereditary family titles of subsector, sector or regional governors and the Imperial family of course. I've always thought of those top 3 to be more like a big family business, like the Rockefeller's, the Getty's or the Rothchild's, with a fancy title.
Rockerfeller was just a rich guy, you could also have a godfather of a crime syndicate, he could be just as rich, though I doubt he would carry a hereditary title, not that he couldn't buy one, or arrange a marriage with someone.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:41 pm

Rockerfeller was just a rich guy, you could also have a godfather of a crime syndicate, he could be just as rich, though I doubt he would carry a hereditary title, not that he couldn't buy one, or arrange a marriage with someone.
The Rockefeller family is a hereditary family business, all the top jobs go to family members and the chairman is always a Rockefeller. The point I was trying to make is that there would be very little difference between a hereditary noble family and a hereditary business family, just a title.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:59 pm

Rick wrote:
Rockerfeller was just a rich guy, you could also have a godfather of a crime syndicate, he could be just as rich, though I doubt he would carry a hereditary title, not that he couldn't buy one, or arrange a marriage with someone.
The Rockefeller family is a hereditary family business, all the top jobs go to family members and the chairman is always a Rockefeller. The point I was trying to make is that there would be very little difference between a hereditary noble family and a hereditary business family, just a title.
Couldn't you have a hostile takeover? There are a lot of members of the Rockefeller family, some of whom might sell shares in their family business to raise cash.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:23 pm

Couldn't you have a hostile takeover? There are a lot of members of the Rockefeller family, some of whom might sell shares in their family business to raise cash.
Not easily. The family business is not a public company with 'shares' (which can be transferred from one person to another), so they can't sell them for money. About the only way to take over a family business like this would be to marry into the top tier, then try to build up alliances with other family members.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Epicenter » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:26 pm

I'm pretty sure that Knights and Baronets are "Life Peers" - they're not inheriting nobility.

Knighthoods are actually more similar to the modern English model than the noble warrior model - you're knighted for something you did, not so you can do things. The Imperium does not maintain large numbers of knights as a warrior aristocracy. And I'm a bit hazy on this because my books aren't right in front of me, but iirc you can be knighted in the Imperium for non-military reasons but it's usually a kind of icing on the cake for military heroism. Knights don't have a fief and it's not necessary to be a knight to reach a certain military rank or to bear arms. So it's closer to a modern English ceremonial title.

Baronets I believe are the first noble rank that get a fief (I think).
Rick wrote:As a bit of an example, I'm going to try a fictional example: the planet Billings in the subsector Montana ( :D ).
I'm pretty sure that's how it would work, except one thing. The noble of a planet is likely to be an inheriting title, so the President of Billings is not that person. If the population of Billings are dyed in the wool believers in representative government chances are the "Speaker for the Imperium" or something who ceremonially sits in the diet/council/senate/house/commons/althing/whatever as a non-voting observer would probably be the noble. He or she communicates the position of the Imperium to the planetary government and is legally bound to represent the desires of the planetary leadership to the Imperium. Since the Imperium takes a pretty hands-off approach to member planets, so the only time the Speaker of the Imperium shows up might be like once a year on a ceremonial occasion; otherwise, the local rulers deal with noble out of sight. Similarly, to make Imperial taxes more palatable to the planetary population, taxes are levied indirectly on the populace (taken directly from government budgets and from tariffs on off-world corporations and off-world trade).
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:59 pm

Epicenter wrote:I'm pretty sure that Knights and Baronets are "Life Peers" - they're not inheriting nobility.

Knighthoods are actually more similar to the modern English model than the noble warrior model - you're knighted for something you did, not so you can do things. The Imperium does not maintain large numbers of knights as a warrior aristocracy. And I'm a bit hazy on this because my books aren't right in front of me, but iirc you can be knighted in the Imperium for non-military reasons but it's usually a kind of icing on the cake for military heroism. Knights don't have a fief and it's not necessary to be a knight to reach a certain military rank or to bear arms. So it's closer to a modern English ceremonial title.
So basically your saying, being knighted is like winning the Nobel Peace Prize, you get a medal and some prize money. Just one thing though, the Nobility in the UK evolved from a time when knights were actually soldiers, that past is about 900 years ago. Knights, Barons, Counts, Dukes, Kings whatever are basically left overs from an earlier time when they actual exercised political rather than just symbolic power, also the Imperium is not a parlimentary democracy with a figurehead sovereign as Emperor, and I think it was many thousands of years since Silea had armored knights on horse back or whatever riding beast they used on that planet. Seems to me that the Nobility must have some purpose other than as being a system of rewards for doing noble deeds. I understand the Imperium levys taxes for interstellar commerce, they don't tax directly, so the most important institution of the Imperium should be the Imperial Navy, as that has most of the guns and it collects taxes from those passing through its space, seems that various nobels are agents of the Imperium.

So what's the best way to look at this? As a protection racket. The Imperium isn't a democracy, and levys taxes on member worlds, but otherwise doesn't interfere in the World's affairs, one might think of the Knights as enforcers, but if you want useless knights as foppish "Nobel Peace Prize Winners" then go ahead, it just doesn't make sense to me, that's all.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:22 pm

Ok Tom - you really need to re-read the 3I background, because you have got it wrong. Although the 3I uses the nobility as a hierarchy, it is more like a bureaucracy than anything else. Taxes come from the member worlds to support the bureaucracy, the Fleets, Scouts and Military. In return, they get protected from Pirates and other direct threats, they get help with loans or subsidies for large works and, in a crisis, the 3I can provide relief, supplies and personnel to help. The 3I doesn't interfere with the governments of the member worlds, unless they are threatening their neighbours and knights, baronets are titles given as rewards for good deeds, just like in the UK today - Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Christopher Lee were both knighted for being popular actors. Nobody in the military gets knighted while they still serve, I believe.

The feudal system is completely and utterly different from how the 3I works, I'm afraid. The nobility is separate from the military and relies on the officer class to carry out its orders - in a feudal system the aristocracy is the officer class.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:24 am

Rick wrote:Ok Tom - you really need to re-read the 3I background, because you have got it wrong. Although the 3I uses the nobility as a hierarchy, it is more like a bureaucracy than anything else. Taxes come from the member worlds to support the bureaucracy, the Fleets, Scouts and Military. In return, they get protected from Pirates and other direct threats, they get help with loans or subsidies for large works and, in a crisis, the 3I can provide relief, supplies and personnel to help. The 3I doesn't interfere with the governments of the member worlds, unless they are threatening their neighbours and knights, baronets are titles given as rewards for good deeds, just like in the UK today - Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Christopher Lee were both knighted for being popular actors. Nobody in the military gets knighted while they still serve, I believe.

The feudal system is completely and utterly different from how the 3I works, I'm afraid. The nobility is separate from the military and relies on the officer class to carry out its orders - in a feudal system the aristocracy is the officer class.
What would be more interesting from a role playing perspective? Playing a rich playboy who solves his problems with money or playing a member of a warrior caste?

A bureaucrat is less individualistic than a warrior knight. Suppose there was an order of knights with psionic training, that is they have psionic talents but also emphasize physical training, yet also receive the prestige of the nobility, but in exchange they must also follow a warrior code. This is sort of like the Jedi of Star Wars. Combining the careers of Psion and Noble might accomplish this. These Warrior Knights have a separate chain of command from the military, and are sponsored by the Emperor.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:10 am

Oh, so you don't really want the 3I nobility - you want to re-invent Jedi for Traveller; then go for it - if you want it in your universe, you can have it. Just don't try confusing the issue with what already exists as canon.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:08 pm

This thread's accomplished its purpose, nobility, I just think there are many variety of not just the Rich playboy type. I think if you encounter a knight on a tech level 2 world, he's going to be in a suit of armor, on a riding beast, ready to do battle! Somewhere between tech level 2 and 7 he morphs into rich playboy type, I guess you could say the "powdered wig" variety in the 18th century, I like the knight in shining armor better than "Gentleman Jonny".
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Rick » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:55 pm

Then play an Aslan noble. That might fit your criteria better than a 3I noble.
Alternatively - what about a techno-Samurai? A feudal technocracy world that has embraced Bushido as a way of life?
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby Reynard » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:31 pm

Realized too that government type and social classes are two different things. A Participating Democracy or an oligarchy can still have class based on wealth, position and/or occupation as any feudal system. Our use of the term nobility crosses government types as a class and has many names in fields of politics and business as well as a wealth group.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby tanksoldier » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:13 pm

The point I was trying to make is that there would be very little difference between a hereditary noble family and a hereditary business family, just a title.
IMTU there is an actual function for hereditary nobility. They are the head of Imperial government at each level of Imperial organization.

A Baron is responsible for overseeing the Imperial Magistrate court on his world, the Baron and his Magistrates hold only the low justice: only able to impose fines or other economic sanctions, appoints magistrates and Imperial Constables, recommends Imperial Reserve military commissions and promotions for members of the planet's armed forces who are subject to call up as Colonial Fleet or Army of the Imperium units, inspects such units and elements to verify readiness for call up, serves as commander (or an appointee or member of the Baron's household) for Colonial Fleet , Army of the Imperium and his personal Huscarl units when called into Imperial Service. Serves as operational commander in chief for immobile Imperial units assigned to the world which have no other CiC present in the system (deep meson emplacements, SDBs, fighter wings, etc) Recommends appointments to Imperial Military academies. Etc, Etc...

A Count, Viscount or Marquis performs the similar function at the County level: Oversees the County court and judges, Appoints Sheriffs and their Deputies, mediates disputes between world within his county, holds the low and middle justice: able to impose fines or confinement for violation of Imperial law within the County, serves as the court of appeal for Baronial Court oversees Imperial Confinement facilities within his county, endorses the Baron's recommendations for Imperial Reserve military appointments and appointments to military academies. Recommends individuals for knighthood. Etc, Etc...

A Subsector Duke Makes appointments and approves commissions or promotions of reserve officers, academy cadets and midshipmen for Colonial Fleet and Army of the Imperium service, serves as commander in chief of Colonial Fleet and Army of the Imperium units called into imperial service, as well as commander in chief of Subsector Fleet units. Oversees Imperial reserve personnel and mothball yards within his subsector and calls reserve personnel up and activates ships and other equipment as required in wartime for transfer to Subsector Fleet, Sector Fleet or Imperial Fleet service. He also oversees subector courts holding low, middle and high justice (anything up to the death penalty), appoints subsector court judges and Marshals, serves as the court of appeal for County Court, recommends creation and appointment of life nobility, endorses knighthoods. Etc, Etc...

A Sector Duke serves as commander in chief of the Sector Fleet, oversees the sector military academies and schools, appoints and commissions and promotes Imperial officers, cadets and midshipmen inspects and certifies local academies for equivalency and compliance with Imperial standards, oversees and appoints judges to the Sector Court of Appeal and Imperial Gendarmes, Conducts diplomacy in the name of the Emperor with polities enclosed by his Sector, recommends creation or appointment of hereditary nobility, endorses creation and appointment of life nobility.

Archdukes serve as supreme commander in chief of all Imperial military units assigned to his domain, knights citizens for service in the name of the Emperor, endorses creation and appointment of life and hereditary nobility, conducts diplomacy in the name of the Emperor, etc, etc...

Life nobles as those created for service or achievement. Their patents expire upon their death. The only hereditary nobility are those who are, or used to be, Peers holding governmental authority over demesnes... those listed above.

IMTU the nobility ARE all 3 branches of imperial government. They ONLY have power over Imperial law and government, which is actually has very limited impact on the average Imperial citizen, but within that realm their power is absolute. For example, the average Imperial Constable only has primary authority at the starport and some few other imperial reservations that may exist: a research station or something; OR when a violation of Imperial law is alleged elsewhere... claims of slavery or weapons of mass destruction somewhere on the planet. There are exceptions: one planet contracted planetary law enforcement to the Imperial Constable and his deputies long ago, several others have contracted with the Imperium for their local agencies to perform the duties of Imperial constable as well as enforcing local law.
Last edited by tanksoldier on Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Comparing Imperial Nobility with medieval/fantasy Nobili

Postby tanksoldier » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:13 pm

double post

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