Rim Anglic

I would suspect that Rim Anglic is related to Imperial Anglic, as Anglish is related to English.

And for much the same reasons: as Anglish is English with every last scrap of Romance (and other foreign) vocabulary striped out of it, Rim Anglic would be Anglic, with all those Vilani (and a few Bwap, Vargr, and Aslan) loanwords stripped out.

“You’ll be able to understand it, but it’s going to sound really weird.”

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Falklands War, 2017

Just a primer for Traveller ideas.

Note: this analysis was made before the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth-class supercarriers.

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The French Imperium

As it’s very easy to guess, I have always modeled the Third Imperium after Rome and the British: but if you want to go French, there are a host of changes you’ll have to enact.

You’re going to need a consistent, universal

  • language
  • history
  • culture
  • bureaucracy
  • legal system
  • welfare state

… that will be strongly enforced right across the Imperium…

…but in the French style (as opposed to the Vilani or Chinese or Russian styles).

There will be a lot less talk about Tradition, and a lot more talk about Rationalism. But a Rationalism  of a particularly abstract, idealistic, mathematically balanced “Cartesian” form. More along the lines of symmetrical beauty and a graceful elegance, and not the efficient rationalism of “getting the most result for the least effort”.

Also, things are going to get a lot less corporate, and far more statist (but with a relaxed/inefficient style, instead of Vilani – or Japanese, or German – efficiency). Living the good life is the goal — not maximum wealth generation — and a love of la glorie is part of the air the Troisième Empire breathes, especially in the military services (which is grounded on the Army (defensive) and the Imperial Legion (offensive), not the Navy or the Marines.)

I suppose that you can have a dying Universal Church within the Imperium if you wish: still powerful on the low-tech worlds, but a fading cultural influence in the mid-tech worlds (say, TL 6-11), and simply ignored as an irrelevant and obscure relic of the past on the TL 12+ systems.

(Except for the holy days holidays of the saints: that will be kept, long after the saints themselves have been long forgotten.)

Psionics would be attacked and suppressed as a perversion of Reason: but there will be numerous underground associations that are interested in it.

Food, Elegance, Sex, High Fashion, and the Good Life is the central ethic of this Imperium, not Wealth or Tradition, and certainly not Racial Purity. (The Solomani Confederation, of course, is a German-speaking government in this universe.)

There may be vast corporations: but they aren’t going to be the relentlessly aggressive and occasionally violent megacorporations of the Third Imperium. Instead, they will be slow and bureaucratic, with strong ties to the Imperial State, with no real competition and lots of subsidies and set asides.

(Actually, I am sure that a French Imperium would make certain to break up any corporation that’s bigger than, say, two sectors. “No moneymen will be allowed to distract from the Glory of the Sun King!”)

And yes, there will forever be some kind of revolutionary fever going on somewhere. Be it worldwide or even subsector-wide strikes, brilliant philosophers and fevered idealists inciting the locals, or a love of colour and drama for its own sake, the French Imperium is a romantic pageantry to be savoured.

Now, would I care to actually roleplay in such a setting?

Certainly not. I like the energy, the harshness, the danger, the high-risk, high-reward nature of a far less romantic/emotional, far more realistic/unsympathetic Imperium. “There are no nets to catch you if you fall, so count the cost before doing what you will.”

An Imperium for men, who left the safety of home far, far behind.

That being said, not everyone is interested in facing the Cold and the Dark, ready to forge their own destiny regardless of the cost. And not every Traveller story need involve hard truths and a pitiless chain of consequences because of a single stupid mistake.

So, no French Imperium for me… but even my Imperium has room for some suspiciously France-like worlds, back in the Imperial Core Sectors.

I guess what I like most about Vegas is its intellectual honesty. Vegas doesn’t run advertisements talking about how it wants to ensure your future. Unlike stock and mutual-fund peddlers, Vegas doesn’t pretend to be interested in your family or your future. It’s a tough town, and I like that.

Everybody who lays a bet knows what the odds are or can find out easily enough. There’s none of this carnie-talk about “keep trying and you’ll get rich.” It’s a vacation spot for psychologically mature adults. No bull. No false promises. No mercy. If you can’t control your gambling, you’d better be sure to buy a round-trip ticket, because once you’re busted, nobody’s going to help you.

— Charley Reese, “Las Vegas is a Good Place”

This is a quote that has stuck with me for over a decade now, and that’s the kind of Imperium I’m interested in.

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The Red God of War

Just a follow-up quote on Men Against Fire:

Originally Posted by threeorange View Post
I was wondering about that claim, too. If no one was shooting at each other, how did so many millions die?

In fairness to Marshall,

1. You actually can explain that; most soldiers in the World Wars killed in action were killed by bombardment. Movies show small arms fire a lot, but it’s artillery that kills men. Artillery is the red god of war. It makes for bad movies but it’s how modern wars are fought. What killed most German soldiers as the Allies and Soviets ground them down was the incredible superiority of Allied and Soviet artillery. If you read accounts of the Battle of the Falaise Gap, the carnage wrought by artillery and aerial bombardment is stomach-churning.

2. It is almost certainly the case that many men did not fire their weapons or, if they did, made little effort to hit anyone. It just wasn’t as high as Marshall claimed.

Marshall’s methods were extraordinarily unscientific and his story and numbers were suspiciously prone to change, and his findings so contrary to common sense that, really, he is making an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence, and he doesn’t have it.

Another facctor in the popularity of Marshall’s findings, I suspect, is the eternal frustration generals have always had in their ability to kill the enemy despite using massive volumes of ammunition. In World War I the artillery used was of a volume orders of magnitude greater than any war and it SEEMED like it should have broken any line, but it just didn’t. In World War II they threw even more at each other and the other side kept refusing to die. If you’re the general who knows the Third Army consumed 7.9 billion rounds of ammo, it’s kind of hard to emotionally understand how there are still Germans to kill.

But in practice, your men can be blasting away as best they can, and they’re just going to miss. Men under fire become very good at taking cover, and find it awfully hard to aim carefully while taking cover. It takes a tremendous volume of fire to have any sort of measurable effect.

  • I admit, I understand where that general is coming from wondering where that 7.9 billion round of ammo went…
  • If artillery is terrifying, and air strikes bedwetting, I dread to see the orbital strikes of the future!
  • In a low-tech scenario like the (Imperial) Six Subsectors of the Empty Quarter, even a handful of dead starships – excluding their antigrav, to provide mobility – can be a huge game-changer on the battlefield.

“Flatten them, and put some 88s on them!”

“No no no! What you want is hovering rocket artillery platforms…”

“But they were made for bombing!”

“Parachute jumps. We need more parachute jumps.”



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Men Against Fire

An interesting Black Mirror episode, Men Against Fire, outlines a rather plausible model of near-future warfare – with a special “Einsatzgruppen seasoning” that is instantly recognizable to certain Solomani Internal Security Groups.

Traveller scenario: get together all the most famous extermination/genocide organizations together for a meet-up. “Try not to let the Vilani and Solomani Security monopolize the spotlight.”

The PCs get to be the Imperial Observers, picking up the latest technology & techniques. The Imperium is somewhat conflicted on the subject: genocide is broadly understood to be a serious breach of the Laws of War, but the Laws of War don’t apply to the Imperium.

Yes, you can definitely play up the dark side of this fact, if you are daring enough to go for a Dark Imperium effect. I won’t: the mid/light Grey Imperium I work with is more than scary enough, and that’s when the Imperial Leadership is broadly lassie-fair, I-don’t-care-just-send-me-the-tax-revenue, make-money-not-war kind of men.

But – from an Empty Quarter perspective – it’s far, far better to only worry about a distant and powerful emperor who is very unlikely to even know of your people’s existence and has a half-million things on his plate, than worry about that hate-fueled, intensely resentful, religiously-driven neighbouring tribe next door…

Now, part of the episode outlines the need to dehumanize the enemy, for a war to be prosecuted to its conclusion. Here, certain cognitive/optical technologies, complete with mindwipe technology, is provided to get the desired effect.

Just like the Nazi originals, the death squad members here are volunteers. Perhaps there is a financial bonus involved, but not every man actually needs such inducements.

You don’t need to dehumanize the enemy, if they were never human in the first place.

This makes Solomani propaganda very easy to set up…

…but what about the Imperium? She have to dehumanize remove emphatic feelings for her enemies. This means de-humanization for her Solomani Imperials, but de-culturalize for the Vilani, prey-identify enemies for Vargr and Aslan Imperials, and tag as disorderly for the order-obsessed Bwap.

It’s definitely possible to pull it off, but Imperial Propaganda has to be tailored for the world and the species. Weaving a narrative that will resonate for both the Solomani and the Vilani Imperials is something of an art: doing more than this is probably impossible on the multi-system scale.

Now, about that Solomani Internal Security Groups…

Just how many they kill on an annual basis depends on how serious the Solomani are about racial purity. In general, Traveller assumes the racial hierarchy for the Solomani, where all Solomani are superior to all other forms of humaniti, and all humaniti are superior to all other lifeforms.

But I recall the National Socialist concept of Racial Hygiene; moreover, in the show, those who were killed are acknowledged as human, but are seen as genetic disease carriers, who – for no fault of their own – will have to be exterminated.

So there you have it: Solomani security forces killing racially pure Solomani because of their flawed gene sets. A nasty road to go down on, but the foundations are there: “Genetic Purity Over All!”

Admittedly, such killing is far more likely to be done in vitro than after birth, as numerous real-world organizations encourage. The thing is, as the Solomani Party is (IMTU) smart enough to figure out (unlike, say, the Chinese Communist Party), legalized abortion means too many soldiers and productive taxpayers die before birth.

“How on earth are you supposed to maintain even a bare-bones welfare-warfare state with a declining, rapidly-aging working population?”

“And you are going to need those large families if you want to fill all those useful but uninhabited worlds within the Sphere with humans, nevermind the rest of the galaxy!”

Which brings us to Solomani genetic skills.

I’d postulate that the driver of those genetic skills wasn’t only building useful and comfortable biospheres for new worlds, but also the need to put badly crippled humans to profitable work, de-stressing the “crippled” part and emphasizing the “human” part (as per a famous French commercial.

This emphasizes love and sacrifice for the weaker members of the Solomani tribes, the side of tribalism that isn’t mentioned in Imperial discussions on the matter… but still exists, for any people that doesn’t simply go sterile, dries up, and blows away.

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Short & Punchy Traveller Adventures

No, not from me and my convoluted, detail-oriented brain.

They are from Michael Brown. A set of one-page set-ups, using the Cepheus Engine, they can be useful for all sorts of one-night, bang-and-you’re-done adventures.

It’s not my style… but Traveller is bigger than me!

(And I admit, I always did like the short and strong SF story. Why not roleplay one?)

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1) 70s Sci-Fi Art 2) The Idea and the Real

After a long, on-again, off-again search, I finally found an old cover image I was looking for: Jim Burn’s “His Conquering Sword”, on 70s Sci-Fi Art (via Pinterest).jim-burns-02A nice low-tech/high-tech contrast, which I expect to be fairly common in the Empty Quarter.

Just to celebrate, I’ll toss in two images that are more suitable for the Imperial Core. First, also from Jim Burns…

jim-burns-05…and a second one, from Shusei Nagaoka

shusei-nagaoka-01Yeah, yeah, not much fighting and drama, so not that useful to Traveller.

And I agree: to have a good Traveller story, you have to have drama, danger, risk, a challenge, a villain, and a shot at victory in a dangerous universe.

But I’ve always been more of an explorer than a warrior: and, if I was smart enough, I’d likely be a builder/engineer, rather than an explorer.

Well, maybe.

There’s something to be said for exploring and experimenting to gain knowledge, then shaping the elements and directing the people to build something wonderful, something excellent. Forging the New Creation, the New Heavens and Earth, with your own hands.

(“…guided by the Holy Spirit.”, I would add. But disgracefully, Christians on the whole are poor workers and third-rate scholars, preferring forgiveness for inferior work rather than achieving excellence and earning respect. When will we pick up the pace?)

Unfortunately, such power can be used for evil as well as for good. Evil men really do exist, and they really do need to be driven back under the rocks they slithered from. And soldiers are still needed, when the wicked gather together for strength and intimidation.

Even in the best case, we will still need warriors in the Far Future, so the rest of us can get on with building a civilization worthy of the name.

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Well, THAT Doesn’t Sound Ominous At All

This would make a great storypoint/image for those visiting a long-lost colony.

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This is the Business We’ve Chosen.

There was this pup I grew up with. He was younger than me, sort of looked up to me, you know. We ran our first hunts together, worked our way off the homeworld. Things were good, we made the most of it. In the tribal wars we ran hacking rings in the Quarter, made a fortune — your father too.

As much as anyone I loved him and trusted him.

Later on he had an idea: to build a desert world for Imperials who wanted to stay in the Quarter.

That pup’s name was Oegzrre Eitir. And the world he invented was Gobi.

That was a great Vargr, a hunter of charisma and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque or a signpost or a statue of him on that world.

Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry. I knew Oeg, I knew he was headstrong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go.

And I said to myself, This is the business we’ve chosen. I didn’t ask who gave the order. Because it had nothing to do with business.

You have two million in a bag in your room. I’m going in to take a nap. When I wake, if the money’s on the table I’ll know I have a partner. If it isn’t I’ll know I don’t.

It had to be done.

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Bug Meat

One huge gift the Terrans brought into charted space was a vastly expanded cuisine for all interstellar humanity (the Vilani and the Vargr at first, then – after the Long Night – the Zhodani as well).

Sure. there were the prestige meats – cows, fish, lamb, etc – that was brought into Charted Space, that instigated an economic boom all on their own. (Can you imagine the demand for deer – venison and blood both – when the Vargr tasted it for the first time?)

But for hostile environments, the biggest deal was about the humblest meat: the creepy crawlies that could survive in a far greater range of environments than the limited selection of kinda-sorta-compatible foods they had before.

I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of the Imperium gets their protein from various creepy-crawlies. This may also be the ancient origin of all those billion-man worlds in very hostile environments, pre-Virus: with Terran/Solomani food sources and Vilani efficiency and discipline, it became possible not to merely survive on various moonscapes, but even prosper.

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