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Old February 5th, 2019, 07:58 PM
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Default 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.
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