Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Law Level verses Government Type (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=39828)

timerover51 February 5th, 2019 07:58 PM

Law Level verses Government Type
 
I have been doing some thinking about the relationship of Law Level to Government Type. In Traveller 5.0.9, Law Level is determined by adding the result of a Flux roll, effectively 2D6-7, with a result of between a -5 and a +5, to the government type. The presence of minus numbers does give the possibility of Law Levels below zero, which presumably go to "0" for the Law Level. It is when you apply this to the government type that things get interesting. All government types and Law Levels are taken from page 409.

Government Type 1 is defined as "Company/ Corporation. Rule by a managerial elite". Now, then you apply the Law Level roll, you have a 45% chance of a Law Level of "0" or lower, no prohibition of any weapons, including Weapons of Mass Destruction. The highest possible Law Level would be 6, no machine guns. Presumably, that does not include the so-called "assault rifle", submachine gun, or any other form of semi-automatic weapon. I am not sure if that category does or does not include grenades. Now, my question to any reader is, is a company going to allow its employees to have possession of virtually any type of weapon that they want, with no restrictions? The union steward calls for a walk-out over some issue, and establishes a picket line backed by heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, and tear gas launchers, to ensure that no one crosses it. Now, it appears that Law Level 3 might exclude the tear gas launchers and flame throwers, but Law Level 3 or higher would require a Flux roll of 2, 3, 4, or 5. That would occur only 36% of the time. Not good odds for the "managerial elite".

Government Type 3, the "Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy: Rule by a isolated minority", is in somewhat of a similar situation. The Law Level range is from a minus 2 to a plus 8. This would give a 27% chance of no weapon restrictions whatsoever, while they would have the same chance for Law Level 6 and higher. Looking at it the other way, this would mean a 73% chance that the citizens could possess machine guns, and whatever additional hardware may be inferred. I trust that the Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy has very good body guards, and is also well furnished with descendants, to compensate for adult mortality.

Even a Government Type of 6, the "Captive Government/Colony: Rule by an externally imposed leadership", has only a 55% chance of keeping machine guns out of the hands of the occupied. The lowest Law Level of "1" would at least keep Weapons of Mass Destruction out of the hands of normal citizens. Maybe.

As for Government type 7, a Balkanized world, you would have to roll for the government type controlling the area around the star port, along with a Flux roll for Law Level to determine law level. On a planet like that, once away from the star port, literally anything may go. Now that would make for an interesting game session. Trying to stay alive on a planet where the Law Level of the Star Port is "A", and the Law Level of the area the players have to go to is "0.

Realistically, the relationship of Government Type and Law Level should be given a bit of an overhaul.

Epee February 6th, 2019 08:44 AM

You have a point. It would seem that government types that impose the will of the few over the many would, most likely, favor more restrictive laws regarding individual ownership of weapons. However, some types of government, say a theocracy, could be almost anywhere on the scale depending on their beliefs and general support from the population; same with a popular dictator.

I've often speculated that the Imperium, and every other interstellar governing organization, would surely restrict starship weapons; based on the damage they could do planetside.

Just as a point of order; a true assault rifle and submachinegun are automatic weapons by definition; although they might be select or burst fire. The modern journalistic term, "Assault rifle", is a common misnomer for a semi-automatic with a large detachable magazine that looks like a military rifle.

timerover51 February 6th, 2019 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Epee (Post 598809)
You have a point. It would seem that government types that impose the will of the few over the many would, most likely, favor more restrictive laws regarding individual ownership of weapons. However, some types of government, say a theocracy, could be almost anywhere on the scale depending on their beliefs and general support from the population; same with a popular dictator.

I've often speculated that the Imperium, and every other interstellar governing organization, would surely restrict starship weapons; based on the damage they could do planetside.

Just as a point of order; a true assault rifle and submachinegun are automatic weapons by definition; although they might be select or burst fire. The modern journalistic term, "Assault rifle", is a common misnomer for a semi-automatic with a large detachable magazine that looks like a military rifle.

That is why I put "assault rifle" in quotes. I am not sure how widely the term "machine gun" is being used. When I see "machine gun", I immediately think of a belt-fed weapon with a bipod as a minimum, and more likely mounted on a tripod. I view a BREN gun and the Browning Automatic Rifle as magazine-fed automatic rifles or as full rifle-power cartridge assault rifles. "Automatic weapons" would cover them, as well as the military assault rifle and submachine guns.

I am also not sure of what is meant by "portable weapons" under Law Level 2. Technically, that could cover any weapon which could be easily carried, so effectively ban just about every form of hand weapon.

Xerxeskingofking February 6th, 2019 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 598811)
That is why I put "assault rifle" in quotes. I am not sure how widely the term "machine gun" is being used. When I see "machine gun", I immediately think of a belt-fed weapon with a bipod as a minimum, and more likely mounted on a tripod. I view a BREN gun and the Browning Automatic Rifle as magazine-fed automatic rifles or as full rifle-power cartridge assault rifles. "Automatic weapons" would cover them, as well as the military assault rifle and submachine guns.

I am also not sure of what is meant by "portable weapons" under Law Level 2. Technically, that could cover any weapon which could be easily carried, so effectively ban just about every form of hand weapon.

my read of "portable weapons" would be the PGMP/FGMP guns, which are very destructive, and I've seen them called "Man Portable" as a type in some works (notably MgT1e, which calls the Gun Combat specialisation for them "Man Portable Artillery")



Quote:

The highest possible Law Level would be 6, no machine guns. Presumably, that does not include the so-called "assault rifle", submachine gun, or any other form of semi-automatic weapon. I am not sure if that category does or does not include grenades
.


Hmm,


MgT law levels must be different, as in both editions, LL6 is "all firearms except Shotguns and Stunners, carrying weapons discouraged". "light assault weapons and SMGs" is banned at LL4, which (to me, at least) would cover any weapon capable of automatic fire, like a modern assault rifle or a mag fed LMG* so, semi auto weapons only. or very roughly what the laws are In the US**.

LL3 is "military weapons" or "heavy weapons" (depending on edition), under which I would put what I know as "crew served" weapons like belt-fed MGs of rifle or higher calibre, ect.

"Explosives" are banned at LL2, which I would say covers grenades, grenade launchers, RPGs etc.


* I'd argue their is a difference between the two IRL, but not one that would matter in game terms, as its a matter of era, doctrine and usage.

**I know its technically possible for a private citizen to own a machine gun in the US under some form of grandfather clause, but in general, my understanding is that citizens are limited to semi auto rifles, shotguns and pistols as leagally owned weaponry. for the record, I would put the UKs stricter gun laws at LL5, banning concealable pistols but not long barrelled rifles or shotguns.

timerover51 February 6th, 2019 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking (Post 598815)
my read of "portable weapons" would be the PGMP/FGMP guns, which are very destructive, and I've seen them called "Man Portable" as a type in some works (notably MgT1e, which calls the Gun Combat specialisation for them "Man Portable Artillery")

Thanks for the comment on "portable weapons" as I was thinking of them as being similar to laser and beam weapons under Law Level 4.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking (Post 598815)
Hmm,
MgT law levels must be different, as in both editions, LL6 is "all firearms except Shotguns and Stunners, carrying weapons discouraged". "light assault weapons and SMGs" is banned at LL4, which (to me, at least) would cover any weapon capable of automatic fire, like a modern assault rifle or a mag fed LMG* so, semi auto weapons only. or very roughly what the laws are In the US**.

LL3 is "military weapons" or "heavy weapons" (depending on edition), under which I would put what I know as "crew served" weapons like belt-fed MGs of rifle or higher calibre, ect.

"Explosives" are banned at LL2, which I would say covers grenades, grenade launchers, RPGs etc.


* I'd argue their is a difference between the two IRL, but not one that would matter in game terms, as its a matter of era, doctrine and usage.

I was working from the Law Levels for Traveller 5.0.9. The Cepheus Engine Law Levels are different as well from Traveller 5.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking (Post 598815)
**I know its technically possible for a private citizen to own a machine gun in the US under some form of grandfather clause, but in general, my understanding is that citizens are limited to semi auto rifles, shotguns and pistols as leagally owned weaponry. for the record, I would put the UKs stricter gun laws at LL5, banning concealable pistols but not long barrelled rifles or shotguns.

Actually, it is possible for a private citizen to own a fully-automatic weapon as long as it was made prior to 1986, and you register it and pay the needed transfer tax. Some of the reenactment groups own them. One group even has a fully functioning M3 Light tank, to include the 37mm Gun. The ammo for that is a bit expensive. They also have periodic shoot offs where the general public can fire the fully automatic weapons.

McPerth February 6th, 2019 01:06 PM

Never forget that the weapons availability iso nly one part of the Law Level. IT is also used to see if you're harrassed by the authorities (LL or less in 2d6), and it may also be used for other usages.

Even so, though, I guess the OP is quite right...

whulorigan February 6th, 2019 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking (Post 598815)
MgT law levels must be different, as in both editions, LL6 is "all firearms except Shotguns and Stunners, carrying weapons discouraged". "light assault weapons and SMGs" is banned at LL4, which (to me, at least) would cover any weapon capable of automatic fire, like a modern assault rifle or a mag fed LMG* so, semi auto weapons only. or very roughly what the laws are In the US**.

LL3 is "military weapons" or "heavy weapons" (depending on edition), under which I would put what I know as "crew served" weapons like belt-fed MGs of rifle or higher calibre, ect.

"Explosives" are banned at LL2, which I would say covers grenades, grenade launchers, RPGs etc.

T5 has a different Law Level scheme than all other prior editions of Traveller. MgT is similar to prior Traveller LL charts.

Xerxeskingofking February 6th, 2019 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 598816)

Actually, it is possible for a private citizen to own a fully-automatic weapon as long as it was made prior to 1986, and you register it and pay the needed transfer tax. Some of the reenactment groups own them. One group even has a fully functioning M3 Light tank, to include the 37mm Gun. The ammo for that is a bit expensive. They also have periodic shoot offs where the general public can fire the fully automatic weapons.


Like I said, I know its possible via a grandfather clause, but I was under the impression that it wasn't that common in terms of absolute numbers (maybe a few thousand weapons out of 300 million plus in the US?) Hence my comment that the law generally is that people cant own automatic weapons.


anyway, on topic, does 5th ed have a pop modifier to Law Level like in older editions, or Is it just government type? a corporate government world with only a few hundred inhabitants might not need as complex a law system as a planet with hundreds of thousands of people (compare the classic "country sheriff" with a half-dozen deputies to the thousands strong Police Departments of NYC or LA, or the hundreds of specialised federal agents).

Enoki February 6th, 2019 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 598817)
Never forget that the weapons availability iso nly one part of the Law Level. IT is also used to see if you're harrassed by the authorities (LL or less in 2d6), and it may also be used for other usages.

Even so, though, I guess the OP is quite right...

This is sort of where I'm at on this. I think using weapons alone as a measure of law level is simply too crude a measure. I prefer to use it as a measure of how officious and pedantic the legal system and government in general are.

For example at LL 5, dealing with officials, police, the government, they are pretty flexible and will work with you to get things done legally, whether it's carrying an allowed weapon or getting the necessary permit to operate your air raft.
At LL 9+ they are officious and pedantic. That is there are forms to be filled out. Lots of forms. They must be filled out correctly, and submitted in the proper order and fashion. There are fees that go with that. You fill these out wrong, don't submit them correctly, don't pay the fee, you can pretty much expect that you'll get turned down. Fixing this will take lots of time and effort on your part.
The police will hassle you from time to time. It might be something as simple as a security checkpoint like at the starport (think TSA and then some). Or, there might be security to enter a building, possibly even a store.
At higher levels showing "papers" is going to be a regular thing.
At LL say 2 to 4, the police aren't particularly going to hassle you about having whatever weapon they think is reasonable but, you are far more likely to get hassled if you are openly carrying it around with you. The result from that might be getting politely told to go store it in your vehicle, or check it with the authorities until you leave. If you balk and give them crap the chances skyrocket that you are going to have a serious issue suddenly.
At those high law levels, you are carrying concealed and somebody notices and reports you. Doesn't matter what you are carrying, the police descend on you like vultures on roadkill and you get arrested, hassled, and run through the ringer just because they can.

But, more often than not, it's dealing with the bureaucracy and government officials that law level sets the tone. I've done low law levels where you can't even find the correct official half the time for something simply because they don't really care that much about what you need. You can do it anyway, just don't make anyone mad in the process.

At the upper end, everything is a hassle. It's like the DMV on steroids. You might be told you really need to hire professional help to navigate the system. If you don't, that's on you... Do stuff outside the official system and get noticed... you better be prepared to get off the planet ASAP.

Thus, the law level is sort of a roll for "NO!" on anything you might do that the government might be involved in. For example, the planet is LL 9. You have a ground vehicle on your ship of some sort. You are told it needs to be registered and the driver(s) licensed to operate it. There are rolls for success associated with that. Having some liaison skill would help along with more than ATV 0 or whatever vehicle driving skill was involved.

whulorigan February 6th, 2019 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Enoki (Post 598822)
I think using weapons alone as a measure of law level is simply too crude a measure. I prefer to use it as a measure of how officious and pedantic the legal system and government in general are.

This generally is my view as well. Law Level (in the UWP) is the relative strictness and severity of law in general. For things like weapons (et al), for a given world I can note separately in the world description what the "specific Law Level" is for any given class or category.

So if a world (in the UWP) has a Law Level of 9, they are fairly strict and rather oppressive and/or intrusive. For a Law Level of 1, they are very hands off and not overly concerned with enforcement. If I add in sub-categories on a world description, then you can get interesting combinations.

For example:
General Law Level 1 world that is Weapons Law Level 9:
There are restriction on all weapons outside the home, but they do not intrusively search and enforce, and if you do get caught they may give you a friendly "talking to" and/or a "Now I didn't see that, now did I . . . " response if you get the hint and get the weapon back to your residence ASAP.

General Law Level 9 world that is Weapons Law Level 1:
The Law is very liberal about the kinds of weapon a person may carry, but DON'T YOU DARE get caught with one of the few proscribed weapons.
This system can be used for multiple categories of potential contraband, as defined by the GM.


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