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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 February 22nd, 2013, 09:19 AM
Maitrejeanthierry Maitrejeanthierry is offline
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Question disciplinary units

Disciplinary units, penal batalions and so…

Which one of you uses them ?
And exactly which outfit has them IYTU ?

IMTU, I just started considering this issue : I’d say that the Sworld Worlders probably do, as well as some Vargr states.
The Zhodani probably wouldn’t, since they have means of preventing their troops from commiting the kind of crimes that would justify someone being sent to such units.
There are neither K’Kree nor Hivers in my campaign area, nor Solomani (but I think the latter would have them too).
Aslan ? Don’t think so. Anything serious enough to warrant being sent to a penal unit would probably be dishonorable enough to justify a punishment both harsher and more definitive instead.

As to the Imperium ? Well, I’d say they might exist but this probably would be restricted information. Or maybe they don’t, but there are some rumors to the contrary. Frankly, I haven’t made up my mind yet, hence this post.
Then, which form would they take ?

Simple, make-work, purely disciplining units (the 1965 movie « The Hill » comes to mind) ?
Hard labor units, either revolting work such as disposing of the dead or dangerous (mine clearance), or both ?
Suicide squads ? Or at least very dangerous, near 100% lethal combat assignments ?
In a dark, « Evil Imperium » campaign, they might be engaged in counter-insurgency ops and forced to commit atrocities, « kill or be killed » and so on.
Or some kind of elite, last-chance formations, « Dirty Dozen » or « The eagle has landed » style ? These have great adventuring potential but tend to go through a lot of PCs very quickly.
PCs don’t have to be part of these units, they might encounter them and have to deal with them and their actions, or have to free one of their convicts, or a lot more possibilities.
Thanks in advance.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 11:41 PM
Carlobrand Carlobrand is offline
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I know armed penal units existed historically, and maybe they're practical for a TL 6 or lower unit, but at higher tech levels it takes a chunk of money to equip a man to survive on the battlefield. I wouldn't make that investment in someone I didn't trust to carry his weight in battle. At the point where night vision and IR devices are common, and you're having to plunk down a couple thou per man so they can draw more than three consecutive breaths, the value of an armed involuntary penal unit drops pretty close to nil.

For me, the penal unit would be either an unarmed labor battalion or a voluntary rehab unit - folk who'd screwed up and were volunteering for a chance at pardon or restoration of honor. That'd work particularly well for the Vargr, a chance to "pay your debt to society" while gaining a bit of loot in the bargain.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 01:03 AM
Matt123 Matt123 is offline
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Never really thought about it from an OTU perspective. I'd tend to agree with Carlobrand's observation and add to it that modern/future combat troops are highly trained to survive and be effective on modern battlefields. Without that training, penal battalions wouldn't last long enough to be worth the hassle transporting them there.

Hard labour battalions though would be a good use, especially to develop new hostile worlds with corrosive atmospheres unfriendly to heavy machinery. Another option might be on worlds with dangerous eco-systems, perhaps as scouts/sample collectors or maybe to keep perimeters clear around habitats.

I'm probably heading down the hostile penal planet route with this thinking though.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 03:45 AM
pendragonman pendragonman is offline
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Come now, gentlemen. You don't have to commit an atrocity to be sent to a penal battalion. Just be politically unreliable.

We even have this from within our last hundred years of Earth history. Stalin had them, the Nazis did too. I am sure there are others.

And some damned fine soldiers can be politically unreliable. Does that mean you don't use them? Of course not! Send em to the Front and have them fight to save their families from the realities of being the family of a political liability.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pendragonman View Post
Come now, gentlemen. You don't have to commit an atrocity to be sent to a penal battalion. Just be politically unreliable.

We even have this from within our last hundred years of Earth history. Stalin had them, the Nazis did too. I am sure there are others.

And some damned fine soldiers can be politically unreliable. Does that mean you don't use them? Of course not! Send em to the Front and have them fight to save their families from the realities of being the family of a political liability.
The Czars were sending political unreliables to Siberia long before Stalin, and the Japanese had your Korean Labor Battalions, along with Chinese Labor Battalions. POWs make nice forced labor battalions too, just look at the Burma-Thailand Railway in World War 2, appropriately called "The Death Railway."
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 06:16 AM
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As Karz, the main villain in Peter O'Donnell's Sabre-Tooth says, it is possible to employ Unsound personnel if you can establish proper controls.

The main objection to penal units would be social. Which is why I believe they would not be common in the Sword Worlds. Swords Worlders would regard them with the same contempt they have for mercenaries. Criminals, oathbreakers... who can trust such people?

There could be exceptions, as there usually are in the Sword Worlds. I could see the concept of Redemption Battalions play well with Sword Worlders. As long as joining one is voluntary, of course.


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Old February 23rd, 2013, 07:58 AM
Maitrejeanthierry Maitrejeanthierry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rancke View Post
As Karz, the main villain in Peter O'Donnell's Sabre-Tooth says, it is possible to employ Unsound personnel if you can establish proper controls.

The main objection to penal units would be social. Which is why I believe they would not be common in the Sword Worlds. Swords Worlders would regard them with the same contempt they have for mercenaries. Criminals, oathbreakers... who can trust such people?

There could be exceptions, as there usually are in the Sword Worlds. I could see the concept of Redemption Battalions play well with Sword Worlders. As long as joining one is voluntary, of course.


Hans
I like this
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 07:59 AM
Maitrejeanthierry Maitrejeanthierry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlobrand View Post
I know armed penal units existed historically, and maybe they're practical for a TL 6 or lower unit, but at higher tech levels it takes a chunk of money to equip a man to survive on the battlefield. I wouldn't make that investment in someone I didn't trust to carry his weight in battle. At the point where night vision and IR devices are common, and you're having to plunk down a couple thou per man so they can draw more than three consecutive breaths, the value of an armed involuntary penal unit drops pretty close to nil.

For me, the penal unit would be either an unarmed labor battalion or a voluntary rehab unit - folk who'd screwed up and were volunteering for a chance at pardon or restoration of honor. That'd work particularly well for the Vargr, a chance to "pay your debt to society" while gaining a bit of loot in the bargain.
this too
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 08:00 AM
Maitrejeanthierry Maitrejeanthierry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt123 View Post
Never really thought about it from an OTU perspective. I'd tend to agree with Carlobrand's observation and add to it that modern/future combat troops are highly trained to survive and be effective on modern battlefields. Without that training, penal battalions wouldn't last long enough to be worth the hassle transporting them there.

Hard labour battalions though would be a good use, especially to develop new hostile worlds with corrosive atmospheres unfriendly to heavy machinery. Another option might be on worlds with dangerous eco-systems, perhaps as scouts/sample collectors or maybe to keep perimeters clear around habitats.

I'm probably heading down the hostile penal planet route with this thinking though.
and that also. thanks, all of you
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 08:02 AM
Maitrejeanthierry Maitrejeanthierry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pendragonman View Post
Come now, gentlemen. You don't have to commit an atrocity to be sent to a penal battalion. Just be politically unreliable.

We even have this from within our last hundred years of Earth history. Stalin had them, the Nazis did too. I am sure there are others.

.
This is not the place to discuss this, but yes, top of my mind, I'd say China, Korea, Myanmar....
Not to mention, not so long ago, Vietnam, Cambodia..
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