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  #21  
Old September 2nd, 2020, 07:46 AM
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With no in game god mode who actually commnands sector wide forces when it can take a few months for a round trip of orders?
Who authorises the IN to go to war?
The sector admiral? Too far away.
The local subsector duke? Does he have the authority to declare war in the Emperor's name?
The Admiral who commands the fleet?

If the Imperial government begins at the subsector level and dukes represent the Emperor then it stands to reason that the civilian authority to declare war rests with the subsector duke. The local admiralty then opens the contingency orders...

In times of peace just how much authority over the IN or other Imperial regular forces does a subsector duke have?
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  #22  
Old September 2nd, 2020, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post

My take on the Third Imperial setting was/is heavily influenced by Dune, and as such rival noble houses are often at odds - sponsoring cross border mercenary operations, inciting trade wars in a rival's subsector, providing letters of marque for said trade wars. A ducal navy along with household troops allow for these frontier idiots to compete with each other - hence the eventual rise to power of a sector duke.

The regular IN only gets involved if the economy of the Imperium is threatened, so as long as the rivals go so far and no further they will not trigger Imperial intervention.
Yes, I mentioned Dune above and that is how I want my Imperium to work as well. An excellent backdrop while a few veterans try to scrape together a few extra credits.
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  #23  
Old September 2nd, 2020, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I also think there is a lot more conflict between subsector dukes than is realised. A duke becomes a sector duke by political manoeuvring, developing the largest economy, and brow beating his/her peers. I think a bit of trade war between subsectors would fit right into the setting - which is one of my explanations for how piracy can exist within the Third Imperium, how pirates have a custom built ship class, and how they have a rank structure and pension benefits
I could be on board with that, but, specifically, the pirate operations I wouldn't consider to be "navy".

To me, the "navy" is a forefront organization, for combat, security, and shows of power. It flies the flag high and proud. You can't have "gunboat diplomacy" if you don't know who's running the gunboats.

Piracy, on the other hand, is murky and in the shadows. There's deniability all the way up the line.

While they may be funded and maintained by Duke organizations, indirectly of course, and while "the navy" may overlook their existence, they are not, per se, "navy" themselves. The "navy" is protecting the people from "pirates", and, mostly, does so in the light and above board.

Now, if the Imperial forces are under control of the local ("local") regent, then the Imperial navy can be "indirectly" supporting regional piracy (because the command structure tell them to overlook it). That kind of discretion could well be handed over to the local government, even though the assets and personnel are under Imperial authority.
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  #24  
Old September 2nd, 2020, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
LBB^ Is the first rule book that is written specifically for the Third Imperium setting.
There were two versions of LBB5 - which is correct for the setting?
Agreed that B6 explicitly is in the 3I setting, but it remains a special pleading that the setting assumed in B5 does not apply to the official setting.

As for which version of B5 is 3I, both! They both reference subsector navies.

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Provide evidence that there is a subsector tier whithin the Third Imperium setting, I can provide evidence there is not.
Well, again, absence of evidence is not... but I repeat myself. And the "evidence" you have sited, as whulorigan put it, is from a wartime footing and organization could well be different in peacetime.

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I will go and check but off the top of my head I can't think of one...
Yeah, I'm not sure the relative paucity of such NPCs is much evidence of anything other than writers prefer to write about Imperial main units.

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The introduction for S9 mentions naval bases being use for Imperial fleets and vessels from subsector and planetary navies. It does not say that those are Third Imperial subsector forces, it could mean bases for polities such as the Darrians who have no more than a subsector navy.
I suppose it could, but since no such polity is ever referenced in that paragraph, nor anywhere in the book, it seems a bit of eisigesis. The straightfoward interpretation - the Imperium has subsector and planetary navies too - is far more plausible.

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Where is the Regina subsector Navy? It isn't mentioned in FFW or JTAS News bulletins set during the war. Why is there no Regina Fleet counter to represent the Regina Subsector Navy ships being collected together when Imperialised?
I gave three possible answers above why one might not be able to identify a subsector fleet in my prior post, and there are more we could come up with. Again, wartime organization can be different than peacetime, and indeed we know that "imperialization" of forces is a thing that happens.
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  #25  
Old September 4th, 2020, 07:10 AM
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I think there is stretching of scant facts on both sides of this debate.

Personally I buy the Sub-sector navies approach, in part because I read the scant evidence that way, but mostly because in my opinion it fits the underlying principles of the 3I well. That is, feudalism driven by slow communication/travel times.

The decentralized control driven by lengthy communication lines means Imperial control of the IN is slow. Giving local IN control to Sector Dukes is fraught (IIRC Norris took two years to get the authority and it required a personal appeal to the Emperor). History has numerous examples of outlying "Dukes" marching to "Rome" with Imperial forces loyal to the Duke (deliberately avoiding references to unpalatable alternative reality 3I history). Local IN leadership have briefs to protect Imperial trade but not engage in local politics except to enforce loyalty to the Imperium (typically by gunboat diplomacy).

Meantime, Planetary, Sub-sector and Sector leadership on the fringes of the Imperium recognize they exist on the front lines and those on the front line are often sacrificed in the slow dance that is main fleet maneuver. In practice this means no response from the IN if they are threatened by Alien fleets (unless it suits the IN). To the IN, the attack is merely another data point among many.

Having local forces available, dedicated to preserving the local political and economic leadership has a range of benefits up to the point of main fleet invasion by an Alien fleet (which politicians will always hope is the IN's job).

Are these local fleets a threat to the Imperium? In short no, they are dedicated to upholding a power structure that gets its authority from the Imperium. In turn they get access to surplus ships and other resources. Nearly always at lower tech ranges than the IN, yet potentially (if they can afford to maintain and staff them) on a par with Alien threats which are all at a lower TL than the IN. Should a local navy get too big, the IN can requisition ships from it for "special missions" or failing that, schedule a fleet exercise to visit in a year or two with a couple of BB Squadrons plus support.

Local forces in the meantime can be used to enforce customs, policing, prevent piracy and Alien marauders, influence local politics and economies (local gunboat diplomacy). The Duke with the strongest Sub-sector navy has an advantage when seeking to be Sector Duke (only one factor though).

The IN in the meantime retains the authority to commandeer local forces in the face of an Imperial threat. In practice however local fleets will typically do what the IN would want of them anyway. Harass Alien forces, slow down the advance, turn worlds into fortresses, tie up valuable Alien Fleet elements, repel marauders, provide intel to the Main Fleet, potentially be an anvil to the IN main fleet hammer.

Where the IN would take direct control of local forces will be in Sectors adjacent to Sectors under threat. Pushing these local forces towards the Alien Fleets to increase pressure and pin them down, without prematurely using IN Main Fleets. IN Main Fleet strikes have to be decisive, local forces not so much.

This will also influence the make-up of local forces;
  • Planetary forces will prefer custom (non-Imperial standard) Fighters, SDBs and Monitors. Two reasons, the IN cannot commandeer them and they will fight to the last. Side benefits of aiding the local economy and increasing political status.
  • Sub-sector forces will prefer jump capable fighting ships up to Cruisers. Low jump ranges preferred as they allow more fighting power per ton than a J4 IN fighting ship. Larger ships are too expensive to maintain and overkill for most Sub-sector jobs. A solitary hand-me-down BB would not do much against an Alien Fleet and would likely be tasked with keeping station over the Sub-sector capital anyway. There would also be a high chance of the IN commandeering it to do something useful which would be politically embarrassing.
  • Sector forces would draw from Sub-sector forces (meaning Planetary and Sub-sector forces have two "friendly" threats, the IN and the Sector Duke). In this context a Sector force would not exist in peace time, in war time it would form around the Duke's Sub-sector navy. The Sector Duke may seek to influence the construction of local forces, for example, promote a local 80 ton advanced Fighter (incompatible with the IN) to Planetary governors who then maintain them as part of the Sector reserve. The Sector Duke may also seek to maintain a hand-me-down BB or two (s/he has a high chance of resisting the IN requisitioning them).
The alternative theory is that the IN does everything and local forces do not exist. This is less feudalism, more fascism which would likely devolve to feudalism anyway as local leaders take advantage of political and naval strength to carve out mini empires in order to resist unpalatable decrees from a distant Despot. Feudalism as constructed by the 3I accepts mini-empire building, but with the threat of the IN to keep Sector Dukes loyal and listening to the decrees from the distant despot.

On the lack of focus (evidence?) on local navies, the IN has always been the sexy service with the coolest toys and any Imperial naval service that is not the IN is sidelined. Perfectly normal, there are lots of books on the US Navy, not so many on the NZ Navy and I bet very few of those books on the NZ Navy are sold outside NZ.

Just one persons 2cr worth YMMV.
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Last edited by Matt123; September 4th, 2020 at 07:27 AM..
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  #26  
Old September 4th, 2020, 01:40 PM
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@Matt,

First, different topic: are you still taking feedback on your CT Ship Designer? I just posted on the thread in your sig. I love that tool btw. It is by far the most useful Traveller tool on the web! Thank you for it.

Back on topic: agreed the evidence is scant if we disregard the core rules. Since this the OP asked about CT OTU and Mike's position is about whats in supplements and advnetures, I've been trying to keep it to black letter without personal interpretation and there isn't much. Main units are sexy, subsector not so much, so main get the ink.

Nevertheless, I have one last OTU salvo at Mike: why are the non-Imperial main fleets referred to as "colonial" rather than "planetary"? I suggest it because "colonial" is meant to be a catch-all for all such non-main units, subsector and planetary.

Now when we drift into IMTU, I agree with much you just posted, Matt. My quibbles would be with the roles of sector Dukes and sector fleets. I think it is even more fraught to have the IN admirals with a free hand, so they would always be subject to civilian (in this case noble) control. They may have standing orders, and the Emperor's orders certainly contravene all, but until those arrive, I would imagine in peacetime, the sector Duke is the civilian commander of the IN navy units in his sector. As such, I don't think there are any "sector" fleets per se, as the "sector" fleets are the IN main fleets in the sector.

I would add some more color to subsector fleets. First, they are small - Imperial spending should be dominated by Main units. Something like 90/10 or 95/5 splits. So not only subsector fleets get older ships & tech, they are more like US coast guard sized compared to the US navy. There is just no comparison.

I like your list of subsector fleet mission, though I would add to it assault/insertion capabilities to go with gunboat diplomacy. The subsector has to be able to put the marines on the ground when police action is necessary. Otherwise you are waiting an eternity if it has to go through IN main forces. Of course, the limited size of the subsector fleet, limits the scale of assault that the subsector fleet can support.
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Old September 4th, 2020, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by vegas View Post
First, different topic: are you still taking feedback on your CT Ship Designer? I just posted on the thread in your sig. I love that tool btw. It is by far the most useful Traveller tool on the web! Thank you for it.
Yep, and ta for the bug report :-)

Quote:
I like your list of subsector fleet mission, though I would add to it assault/insertion capabilities to go with gunboat diplomacy. The subsector has to be able to put the marines on the ground when police action is necessary. Otherwise you are waiting an eternity if it has to go through IN main forces. Of course, the limited size of the subsector fleet, limits the scale of assault that the subsector fleet can support.
Modest assault/insertion for police actions yes, that kinda ties into your earlier point about Sub-sector fleets not having a lot of budget. What 'modest' is may be open to interpretation. The Mercenary Cruiser or similar would suit. But I suspect politically there would be arguments taken to the Sector Duke if the neighbors had the capacity to move say a reinforced Company or a Battalion using assault ships. An assault Battalion could secure the Starport on a mid-tech, mid-pop world in advance of civilian transports bringing an invading army. By the time the Sector Duke arrived, weeks or months later, the power transition would be complete and palatable evidence fabricated for its need. Great adventure thread here for a free trader crew that arrived just before the assault and accidentally collected independent evidence that disproves the lies.
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  #28  
Old September 4th, 2020, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by vegas View Post
@Matt,
I would add some more color to subsector fleets. First, they are small - Imperial spending should be dominated by Main units. Something like 90/10 or 95/5 splits. So not only subsector fleets get older ships & tech, they are more like US coast guard sized compared to the US navy. There is just no comparison.
This would vary by subsector for me. Dukes with access to great wealth would be able to fund their own navy, and they don't need nearly the amount of ships the IN require.

I think Norris will have a few big beautiful modern cruisers and battleships included in the mix. Maybe even more advanced than the IN. Just a few, mind you, but enough to make a mark in a story.

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Yep, and ta for the bug report :-)
By the time the Sector Duke arrived, weeks or months later, the power transition would be complete and palatable evidence fabricated for its need. Great adventure thread here for a free trader crew that arrived just before the assault and accidentally collected independent evidence that disproves the lies.
Excellent.
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Old September 4th, 2020, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I also think there is a lot more conflict between subsector dukes than is realised. A duke becomes a sector duke by political manoeuvring, developing the largest economy, and brow beating his/her peers. I think a bit of trade war between subsectors would fit right into the setting - which is one of my explanations for how piracy can exist within the Third Imperium, how pirates have a custom built ship class, and how they have a rank structure and pension benefits
Quote:
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I could be on board with that, but, specifically, the pirate operations I wouldn't consider to be "navy".

To me, the "navy" is a forefront organization, for combat, security, and shows of power. It flies the flag high and proud. You can't have "gunboat diplomacy" if you don't know who's running the gunboats.

Piracy, on the other hand, is murky and in the shadows. There's deniability all the way up the line.

While they may be funded and maintained by Duke organizations, indirectly of course, and while "the navy" may overlook their existence, they are not, per se, "navy" themselves. The "navy" is protecting the people from "pirates", and, mostly, does so in the light and above board.

Now, if the Imperial forces are under control of the local ("local") regent, then the Imperial navy can be "indirectly" supporting regional piracy (because the command structure tell them to overlook it). That kind of discretion could well be handed over to the local government, even though the assets and personnel are under Imperial authority.
Pirates having a career path and ranks, mustering out, etc is purely a game-system artifact to allow for characters with a "pirate" background written up in the same terms as the other character careers.

I personally tend in my TU to have pirates be one of two things:

a. a combination of criminals, disgraced former military personnel, and corrupt bureaucrats (see Anne McCaffery's Planet Pirates series for a good example).

b. deserted/abandoned Naval units from collapsed or deposed governments that have turned criminal to maintain their existence - often seeking to establish/conquer a new stellar polity based on their old one (see the Mazianni in C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union Universe).



In the first instance they can obtain custom-built or converted ships via the actions of said corrupt bureaucrats, corrupt serving military supply etc personnel, or shipyards in corrupt or non-aligned systems.

In the second instance, they are likely to have quietly conquered (an) isolated system/systems with a shipyard/shipyards, with the puppet government doing all it can to act like nothing has happened in its contacts with the rest of the 3I/settled space.
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  #30  
Old September 4th, 2020, 11:20 PM
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This would vary by subsector for me. Dukes with access to great wealth would be able to fund their own navy, and they don't need nearly the amount of ships the IN require.
Agreed!

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I think Norris will have a few big beautiful modern cruisers and battleships included in the mix. Maybe even more advanced than the IN. Just a few, mind you, but enough to make a mark in a story.
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