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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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  #1  
Old October 22nd, 2003, 11:34 AM
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Is there a Sophonts Right to Movement or Travel in the OTU?
In the excellent Vorkosigan Series by Lois McMaster Bujold a major social change that occurred shortly before the events of the stories was the lifting of restrictions on the movement of serfs from one domain to another. The idea was that Vor (Think Barons) who best employed and took care of his people would have more people moving to his domain, and the tight ass bastard would see his tax base leaving in droves.
Does the Imperium or did Cleon (or Arbellatra or the Emperor of your choice) make it a requirement of admission to the Imperium that citizens or subjects of a planet be allowed, within their means, to “vote” with their feet?
It seems that by simply allowing some mobility, political change and sophonts rights would be ensured. If you don’t like this guy, go somewhere else for CrImp 1000. The low berth as tool of political expression, if somewhat limited, makes sense. You could even have Ballot Box stuffing by subsidizing a bunch of Low Berth Transports and visiting repressive governments around the subsector to pick up the “poor huddled masses.” Then offer them a grubstake if they vote your way.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:42 PM
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I've never really thought about it. Two things, though (triple word score for using all "t"s). First, IMTU it doesn't really apply 'cause MTU is more like the Hive Federation. Second, wouldn't the tight-fisted lord do his best to ensure that his serfs don't leave, possibly by keeping the information from them? Sort of the way that American slave-owners would often keep slaves illiterate to keep them from asserting themselves?
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:57 PM
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Father Fletch wrote:

"Is there a Sophonts Right to Movement or Travel in the OTU?"


Mr. Fletch,

Short answer: No. There is freedom of movement between starports; the free trade the Imperium guarantees, but there is no freedom of movement across a starport's extrality line. The extrality line on some worlds will resemble that of the property line around a 21st Century airport. On other worlds, it will resemble the border between North and South Korea. And life goes on.

Long answer: No. The precise nature of the Third Imperium's government is a hotly debated topic. However, it is best envisioned as an association of planetary governments and not an association of individual citizens. Regardless of the CT supplement of that name, actual 'Imperial citizens' are either relatively few in number or completely non-existant.

The role and position of Imperial nobles on Imperial member worlds will vary greatly, just as the relationship between the Imperium and its member worlds varies greatly. As a feudal entity, the Imperium operates under the principle of 'territorial supremacy' instead of 'territorial sovereignty'. The latter term is one which we denizens of the 21st Century West, with our cultural notions of the 'nation-state', automatically and subconciously assign to the idea of 'government'.

Other than the proscriptions on weapons of mass destruction and chattel slavery; both observed more in the breach than in fact, the Imperium's relationship with or control over a member world depends on the manner in which the world joined the Imperium, legal precedence, and custom. Those three variables will shape the Third Imperium - Member World relationship and control the movement of people's between the world and the Imperium at large.

Now, with all that being said, MTU is not the OTU. Low berth travel IMTU is cheap and safe; 21st Century Western air travel cheap and safe. Low berth holiday trippers, tech reps, salesmen, students, and tour groups routinely 'freeze out' at their point of origin, are shipped to their destination as little more than cargo, and thawed upon arrival. This idea does imply freedom of movement within MTU, but no freedom of immigration.


Sincerely,
Larsen
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larsen E. Whipsnade:
Short answer: No. There is freedom of movement between starports;
If by 'Freedom' you mean 'regulated by the Navy and Imperial Bureaucracy's whims', then I can accept that.

Quote:
Long answer: No. The precise nature of the Third Imperium's government is a hotly debated topic. However, it is best envisioned as an association of planetary governments and not an association of individual citizens. Regardless of the CT supplement of that name, actual 'Imperial citizens' are either relatively few in number or completely non-existant.
At the moment, with no supporting citations, I'd call this an unsupported conclusion.

Do we really have *any* idea how easy or hard it is to be an "Imperial Citizen", what that *really* means, and whether one can be such a thing while also being a citizen of X system?

Quote:
Other than the proscriptions on weapons of mass destruction and chattel slavery;
A rudimentary human rights law. (Sophont rights... pardon me).

Note there are also the Shudusham (sp) accords, IIRC and some sort of Universal Declaration of Sophont Rights, is there not?

I'm not saying that the Empire is the haven of human or sophont rights. But we don't know that 3/4 of those living in Imperial Space are considered 'Imperial Citizens'. Maybe the term has very little concrete meaning unless you are a noble, so maybe it doesn't *matter* that they are so, but they may notionally be Imperial Citizens. And many of those worlds may have their own versions of Sophonts Rights.

Also, note that Sophonts rights movements are not precluded, whatever Imperial Policy currently be on the matter. In fact, an abscence of Imperial Policy may strongly suggest a movement!
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 03:29 PM
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IMTU I have always used a combination of the Roman system mixed with Starship Troopers citizenship. You could be born into a noble family and automatically qualify for citizenship or you could voluntarily serve in one of the Imperial Forces or bureaucracy and be granted Imperial Citizenship.

Some planetary governments IMTU core systems were directly controlled by the Imperium and so everyone born in those systems qualified as a citizen.

The situation on the frontier worlds is very much different. Some worlds encourage their population to seek Imperial status and look forward to the day the whole world qualifies as an Imperial Core System, while others do the complete opposite and reserve Imperial Citizenship for the ruling classes only and prevent their populations from Imperial contact.

And of course there are many inbetween.

On the subject of slavery, in a journal article on planet building (fleshing out the stats) uses the planet Craw in the Glisten subsector as an example. The low population of 6 is explained as the remenants of a lost human colony, while to give the planet a sufficient agrarian base a sizable population of natives is postulated whose figures don't count in the official census and are used as slave labour.

I therefore used the idea that the Imperium prohibits slave trading but not slavery as such on member worlds. One PC had the background of being one such slave who managed to "slip over the fence" and was able to volunteer for Imperial Army service, earn Imperial Citizenship and then return to his homeworld years later protected by his Imperial Status.

I'll let you guess the direction of the campaign from that point on.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kaladorn:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Larsen E. Whipsnade:
Short answer: No. There is freedom of movement between starports;
If by 'Freedom' you mean 'regulated by the Navy and Imperial Bureaucracy's whims', then I can accept that.
</font>[/QUOTE]


It is actual freedom. At least as much freedom of movement those in the United States enjoy. Sure there are places you can't go in both systems (e.g. military bases), but for the most part you can go where you want when you want.

Quote:
Do we really have *any* idea how easy or hard it is to be an "Imperial Citizen", what that *really* means, and whether one can be such a thing while also being a citizen of X system?


Except for Imperial nobility, there are no "real" Imperial Citizens. Oh sure, everyone born on an Imperial world is called an "Imperial Citizen", but that doesn't actually mean anything. (Other than getting a cool ID card.)

While on a planet, you are subject to their laws, no matter how stupid or arbitrary they are. The Roman model doesn't work, because there is no right to appeal to the Imperial system.

A perfect example is given in The Traveller Adventure. When the adventurers are on Pysadi and one of them breaks a ridiculous local law that no one has told them about, the adventurer is stuck. The only option is for the other adventurers to go and do a jail break!

And the Shudusham Accords dealt with robotics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligences. The Sudusham Concords dealt with weaponry carried by robots.

As far as I can tell, there is no "sophonts rights" agreement or accord.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:28 AM
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I've always figured you were an Imperial Citizen (i.e. full rights to Imperial Justice) if you were:</font>
  • A Noble</font>
  • Active Imperial Service (Army, Navy, Marine, Scout)</font>
  • Retired Imperial Officer (Army, Navy, Marine)</font>
  • Detached Duty Scout</font>
Everybody else better mind their pees and queus or they'll be short of luck.

Primarily the benifit of being a Citizen is one of appealing to the higher Imperial Court if, like the in the adventure, you run afoul of some obscure law that the Imperium will let you off the hook for. On the other hand those Imperial Prison Planets exist for a reason, the baddest of the bad who were once Imperial Citizens and are now nobody.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 04:05 AM
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I figure MTU that Low Berths get more survivable as TL increases. at TL9 there is a 1 in 10 mortality...only the desperate do this. At TL 11 it is 1 in 1000 for the poor but adventurous; at TL 13, 1 in 100,000 die, a tolerable rate for most poor semi-risky travellers.

Politically, the 3rd Empire, and many superstates like it, are confederate in nature; Sophonts are civilians, belonging to the state they were born into. But the Empirial starports and Empirially registered ships and other bodies ('roids etc.) are a normal place to be born as an empirial civilian; insert tales of desperate soon-to-be mothers trying to break into starport so their children can be protected by Imperial rights...but being a Citizen (whether the sophont is a client worlder or a civilian from an Empirial district) with all of it's privilleges, requires a demonstration of responsibility through some sort of service. Those born to nobility merely get access to such service more readily.

I say: If one wishes to protect their life, liberty and property, then they must risk some of the same; for to risk nothing is to risk everything.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by daryen:
It is actual freedom. At least as much freedom of movement those in the United States enjoy. Sure there are places you can't go in both systems (e.g. military bases), but for the most part you can go where you want when you want.
Or is Freedom like Pregnancy, in that you can't just be 'a little bit Free'? I won't touch this argument, but I will point out it exists.

Quote:
Except for Imperial nobility, there are no "real" Imperial Citizens. Oh sure, everyone born on an Imperial world is called an "Imperial Citizen", but that doesn't actually mean anything. (Other than getting a cool ID card.)
Is even that true? I wonder.

Even the Nobles seem constrained under some circumstances.

Quote:
And the Shudusham Accords dealt with robotics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligences. The Sudusham Concords dealt with weaponry carried by robots.
Yes, but resident in that document is a discussion of artifical intelligence and what does and does not constitute a being with the same rights as a citizen.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:19 PM
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I find Hecateus' theory interesting, but not backed up by fact. Most of the Imperial Nobility has never risked life nor limb and it is probably debatable who, other than themselves, they may have provided 'service' to.
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