Thread: Flat Black
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #71
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oz
Default Re: Flat Black

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
I prefer the US setup of Warrants
Well, it seems to me that the US system of warrant officers, and the old Royal Navy system on which is is based but which the Poms phased out between 1843 and 1998, originally made a lot of sense in a world in which ships needed men as motive engines—to turn capstans, haul on haliards and sheets, manhandle big guns and their ammunition, and later to shovel coal. If you got a man with valuable skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and carpentry, coopering, gunsmithing, or so forth—or a promising apprentice apt to learn those things—it didn't make sense to start him off as a draught animal. You made him a chaplain or a surgeon or a purser or whatever, or mate to the warrant officer you already had to learn the trade by apprenticeship—and you paid him accordingly. The warrant officers of a Royal Navy sailing ship were the master, the purser, the surgeon, the chaplain, the boatswain, the carpenter, the gunner, the roper, the caulker, the sailmaker, the armourer and the master-at-arms: all people who managed stores and therefore needed to be able to read, write, and figure.

The system continues to make sense in the US armed services because of the coming-together of a number of features that seem designed to prevent the formation of a highly-skilled long-service army or navy. US enlisted personnel are recruited very young, given only basic training, employed at fairly routine tasks, underpaid to discourage retention, given veteran benefits after separation to further discourage retention, and finally afflicted with an up-or-out policy that has them fired if they are only good at their jobs. In such a context the US forces need a special program to retain the highly-skilled tradesmen that they need for non-routine tasks. Hence, the US type (old RN type) of warrant officers.

But the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Marines aren't like that. It's TL10 and there are automatics and robots and self-cleaning materials. There are virtually no routine tasks for semi-skilled enlisted folk to perform. The only people that the Navy needs in ships are the command officers and the highly-skilled tradesmen. (A commando is a highly-skilled tradesman.) The Empire isn't afraid of the political ramifications of building a long-service professional armed force of career military folk, and it has no political or economic interest in producing a steady supply of short-service veterans for future mobilisation or whatever. So the Imperial Navy is a long service professional organisation of highly-skilled tradesmen intent on a naval career. IN ratings do the work of, and enjoy the pay of, USN warrant officers. Robots and machines do the work of USN enlisted men.

, but it's your setting.
I think that one of the issues here is that you are used to the US way of doing things, so that seems natural and inconspicuous to you. But I'm used to the way we do things in the rest of the English-speaking world, and that seems inconspicuous to me. If I were to order things in FLAT BLACK in a completely invented way that would be fine because it is the future and things will have changed. And if I order them in a way that is like the Commonwealth that's fine because to me (and my face-to-face players) Commonwealth-style institutions are familiar and therefore invisible. But if I set things up in a uniquely American way it would give a strong flavour of "Yanks in Space", such as Traveller sometimes produces. You see this not only in the non-use of the US kind of warrant officers, but also in the fact that I contemplated giving the Imperial Marines Commonwealth Army-style officer insignia and ended up giving them something like the shared semi-standard of most European NATO members, but never even contemplated eagles, oak leaves, and butter-bars. Similarly, I could call the Chairman of the Imperial Council "Emperor" and the Trustee Managing in General the "Prime Minister", and that would be inconspicuous to me, but if I called them "Augustus" and "Caesar" respectively that would create a strong impression.

Personally I'd also use the term Spacer instead of Astronaut, just flows better, "Able Spacer to airlock 3."
Well, I'm not very fond of "astronaut", but to me "spacer" sounds too informal to be a good title. Naval ratings have been called "sailors" and that's a current general term including non-military seamen, but the ratings' military titles are such as "Able Seamen" and "Leading Seaman", not "Sailor" or "Able Sailor".
copyright Brett Evill

Last edited by Agemegos; 09-14-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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