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Old 03-30-2019, 09:08 PM   #11
hal
 
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

At some point in time (especially over at the Mongoose Traveller Forum (CotI no longer a place I frequent) I believe I asked the question...

What constitutes a world government?

At what point in time will a world be ready for "Membership" such that they have representation at the Moot? What is the status of worlds that are not yet ready for that "label" as a world member - are they protectorates? Are they colonies? Are they resource reservations in the sense that the Third Imperium has laid claim to the world, but not colonized it? If Sternmetal wants to mine ore from a world - can they simply squat on the world, extract resources, and when they're done, either leave behind "resource extraction settlements " (mining camps, logging camps, fishing villages etc) - or take up everything and depopulate the world as they search for a new world to plunder of its resources?

In the end, these are not questions being asked by authors who want to see a coherent whole that is the Third Imperium - the books being written are those the publishers think will sell. If I weren't unemployed, I'd be buying MJ Doughtery's work on Naval life and privateering and all that stuff that he wrote not too long ago. But he's approaching it from the mindset of "What if I were there, what would I see, how would this have to evolve?" (at least it seems that way to me).

I'm not complaining mind you. I would love to see the Third Imperium detailed a bit better so that if Traveller and RPG's in general are still around 20 years from now (by then I should likely be either in a cemetery or a nursing home!) - someone will be able to look at the vast details of publishers who have gone before - and build on that even.

What is the definition of a Citizen? What is the definition of a Subject? How can a Citizen of the Imperium have their life terminated for a religious offense that isn't an offense in the eyes of the Iridium Throne and 99% of the Third Imperium Members? On and on the questions go, with no real answer possible as long as the insistence that worlds have their own sovereign governments holding sway over Imperial culture (let alone the issues of how to have a unified Imperial Culture on all worlds where the government can differ greatly!)

In any event - the "fiction" that things were not at all dark misses the fact that something causes the worlds to fragment from the unified rule, and keeps them fragmented for centuries. THAT is the Dark period. If trade was as strong then as it becomes later - then why didn't the Third Imperium get started earlier from another cluster of worlds who kept their Class A starport designation, their TL A+ infrastructure?

If you have Pocket Empires - I'd like to suggest the following: Create a pocket empire with a total number of worlds equal to 1 (itself). Start with what ever assumptions you wish to start with - then play it as of the year -1776 in say, Deneb's sector. Then, using just the rules from Pocket Empire, track the history of that world over a span of centuries. How long would it take for that single world to act as a nucleus for a new expanding pocket empire?

If there are multiple worlds with star hopping infrastructure that remained intact - using Pocket Empires, how long would it take for them to band together and rape the sector of Deneb? How long would it take for two hard headed cultures to clash heads before one or the other concedes defeat and the victor takes over the defeated world's pocket empire?

WHAT kept the worlds more or less "stuck in stasis" where they didn't expand out and engulf their neighbors?

In the end? I think the questions I'm asking are going to be "Detail oriented" that may be TOO detail oriented (if you get my drift). I asked before - why can't a single world build jump drives, ship them as a UNIT, then have that unit installed at a far away star port capable of installing refits and doing repairs? Why is there even this distinction between class A star ports and Class B starports? Is there some "unobtainium" required to build jump drives that lack of this material dooms a world to being unable to build jump drives even if it can still improve on fusion power plants or medical technology or computer technology etc?

Empire building is a logistical exercise. Mobility is required to engage in that kind of growth. Technology provides for both mobility and the capability for a functional logistical capability. What was it that the worlds lacked in one or both capabilities that had the long night last as long as it did?
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Remember many supplements that spoke of the Long Night mentioned that, if they maintained electrical generation, they often maintained their technology. Hydro-dams and similar power sources that are renewable without advanced replacement parts or manufacturing bases, would mean a longer time to build the ecconomic base to a stable level.
Ok - let's go with this.

Have you ever played Sid Mieir's Civilization game in which you have to learn to do A before you can learn to do B and C, and that before you can do F, you have to learn both A, C, and D along one path, along with A, B and E along another path?

What do we need for a star faring culture and tech level?

Infrastructure: without the machines to make the machines that maintain your current technological level - you simply are at a lower functionality. The theory of power generation is required before you can build the power generation structure. Then you need to be able to build the things that need power.

Knowledge: Without the knowledge, you can't advance from where you are currently.

Culture: without the willingness to adopt new things, the mindset of "Good enough for my father because any deviation from what works, can lead to starvation and death - is good for me" becomes the dominant one. Without a culture's willingness to invest in education, all decisions are based upon "we know this works - don't risk trying something that won't work, we're poor enough as it is!"

Wealth: without the ability to invest in processes that will hopefully work, the society in general is stuck with maintaining status quo instead of incrementally improving on the present so that the future is better than the present.

In any given situation, it would seem that we need a perfect storm of things to permit any given world to improve from its past state into a better future state. Anytime it can happen where things "backslide" we can call it "bad luck" and wait until the next attempt to jump forward arrives.

But, getting back to Civilization the game. Civ IV has this scenario based on the world and 18 starting cultures in which the "new world" is separated from the old world by two vast oceans (ie, oceans that require ships to be able to leave sight of the shore before they can be crossed). It is particularly annoying that in the new world, there are no horses to be had while the Old World has easy access to the resource. Likewise, jump drive resources can limit things greatly. Heavy Metal resources if lacking on a world, can limit its technology infrastructure capacity. All of these things are "abstracted" in terms of Traveller. For many, the answer is "Who freaking cares!"

Me? I look at POCKET EMPIRES and LOVE the game. I look at WORLD TAMER'S HANDBOOK and LOVE the game (wish I could find others who want to play it!). I wish I could run a campaign that uses POCKET EMPIRES and CT's HIGH GUARD. What a game THAT would be. ;)

So, yes, I know what I want is in the minority in a big way. Yes, I don't have the full time to detail the Third Imperium the way I wish I could. And finally, I can't imagine we'll ever see it.

But you guys who read this thread and post ideas to it? Well, it is more than I would have other wise. So - thank you. :)
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

It wasn't the second Imperium, rule of man, call it what you like that fell that began the long night.

It was the final death throws of the Ziru Sirka - the Rule of Man is yet another bit of propaganda from the 'Third' Imperium (metagame wise it was needed to explain the throwaway line in the Spinward Marches supplement that the current Imperium is the third such empire to occupy this region of space).

The train of events is:

ZS doing fine - provincial governors actually hiding the true nature of border conflicts and threats from beyond...
ZS recognising the Vargr are a bigger threat than they thought, planetary and cultural rebellions of subject races...
encounter the Terrans...
war with Terrans hushed up initially, as a result the Terrans have the time to bring their considerable population resources up to the same TL as their opponent...
the Terrans 'win' the final war and take over the seat of government and try to hold the fragmenting ZS from spiralling out of control.

Think about the Terran victory and how they actually achieved it. Did they defeat the full might of the ZS navy? Nope.
Did they, during inter war periods, send agents to learn as much about the Vilani, encourage rebellious feelings amongst ZS subject races, actively recruit disaffected ZS worlds to the cause? Yup.

The Ziru Sirka fell and thousands of worlds let out a breath of relief and started to conduct their own affairs. Some worlds became the hubs of small trading 'pocket empires', others retreated from interstellar affairs, still others would have seen population and technological reduction as peoples migrated to better economies, opportunities and cultures.

The Long Night is a dark age in the sense that there is no longer a single interstellar polity lording it over charted space, but an awful lot of worlds would welcome the two thousand years of independence, prosperity and peace that would be brought to an end by the appearance of the Third Imperium's unification fleet and the offer you can not refuse...
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

My take...

The long night starts with massive amounts of Second Imperium naval forces blasting rebels back to TL 4 or below. And the extremes of punishment being grounds for further insurrection, until the point that the IN was both too thinly spread and the locals arming in preparation...

Paranoia, Nationalism, and long command lines result in fragmentation... as locals become more insular, trade outside their local cluster drops, and as trade drops, nationalism soars...

hundreds of small polities, most only a few systems. And for many, a time to hide from the "conquerers from the sky"... after the first about 150 years, becoming a matter of myth... and by 1000 after, assumed to be a propaganda bit.

It's not so much trade goes away, as nationalism leads to stagnation and xenophobia. And those lead to turning trade away.

A wildland of local protection rackets and small polities.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
My take...

The long night starts with massive amounts of Second Imperium naval forces blasting rebels back to TL 4 or below. And the extremes of punishment being grounds for further insurrection, until the point that the IN was both too thinly spread and the locals arming in preparation...
So a bit of tribalism then?

The part I quote above however, has me wondering. Would the Second Imperium have been using extreme punishment or bombardment or what have you? If the "capital" of the new Ramshackle empire is as hard pressed to maintain unity as the First Imperium was from its capital - would there have even been a harsh tyranny like government at the end?

What if, based on your statement in the preceding post - the long night starts as a result of incompetence on the part of the "Governing body". Over time, those who are governed start to think "we would do better alone than we would as subjects of the Second Imperium". Then they fracture along "tribal lines" or "identity lines".

One of the things I probably should do is take all of the world listings, and identify those worlds that would not be conducive to long term survival due to the habitat of the world itself. Worlds that are marginal or were never really colonies to begin with (say, population values less than 30,000 people - that number can be open to debate, but as a starter, as a placeholder???). Worlds that were being mined, or farmed, or were resource sites - may have fallen into disuse not because people couldn't survive on the world per se - but simply because they weren't getting paid enough to stick around, and left when the writing was on the wall.

Just as towns grow to service the military might of Rome in its heyday, Helltowns that serviced the railroad in the US history - perhaps some "towns" sprang into existence on worlds to service something no longer there, and then were unable to move away due to a lack of finances etc. If those worlds did not have the bare minimum number of people required for a successful colony, then it disappears. If they had sufficient numbers, or while dying, their neighboring world begins to help support them in a small way - then the world survives and becomes a nucleus for a "minor race".

Now, for the clincher...

Let's say we call our own society, TL 7 (just for giggles). We could call it 8 if we wanted to, but we don't have antigrav etc, so call it 7.

If we suffered a Carrington event tomorrow, totally unexpectedly. What would our children today be capable of sustaining of our current technology? How far would they fall backwards?

If we tried to go back to an era using horses and other animal power - would we have sufficient horsepower or oxen power for the needs of the survivors? Would a culture in which only 10% of the population have any experience with farm life - be able to hold back the slide in Technology to the steam engine era? This would truly be an "AFTER THE END" style situation - but one in which the issue of back sliding worlds in the Dark ages might actually experience. Couple this with a world that is a net importer of food, only to have the transportation system dry up in the absence of an authority that could fend off piracy - and that world dies off. Hell, the world that is a net importer of food may TURN to piracy to wrest that which it needs to survive, largely because it doesn't have the capital goods that other want to trade any more!

I think you did point out an important facet however...

People would either want to break away, or be forced to break away. Harsh behavior of those who try to maintain something they don't have the ability to maintain could be one answer. Other worlds saying "We quit, what are you going to about it, you can't even handle the other 90 or so crisis issues you face currently" It starts with one world here, a world there, and eventually - the Vargr become a royal pain in the arse, and piracy is on the rise again as worlds say "Screw it, we need that stuff NOW, take it and be damned".

No one thing causes the problem, it is an aggregation of things, with no one solution possible save that of a large authority with the financial backing and manpower backing required to keep the empire going.

Soon - as "tribalism" comes to the fore, someone goes to war. Ships kill other ships, commerce raiding is unchecked, and each wound inflicted on either worlds and/or trade makes the situation worse, accelerating the overall death of the Pax Imperia.
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:58 AM   #16
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

Well, I happen to know that Marc says not all the mainworlds in the "now" of 1107 were mainworlds in Year zero, nor in the long night. There's one that's explicit - see "Agent of the Imperium."

We also know that they were just coming out of a really nasty series of wars, and wars that they were ill prepared to win let alone so decisively... and then, they had a LOT of turf to command, and a shortage of trustworthy folk.

Autocracy is easier, and almost always the result when putting military officers in charge of civilians. (Almost all militaries are autocracies - even those in democracies - as thats what's safest for the troops and most effective in the field.)

As for tribalism? No. Not severe enough. Some overthrow the "Terran Dictators" and go too far themselves. Others blame all offworlders, and shut down to become self-sufficient. Others still see the pullback of enforcement as grounds to prey on the neighbors.... Others find their Terran leaders well suited, and take a moral high-road. Others return to the pre-Ramshackle patterns, and try to reutrun to the "Golden Age" on a local level...

Last edited by ak_aramis; 04-05-2019 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 04-05-2019, 12:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

Which all sounds like the various barbarian successor states to Rome.

Unlike the Roman analogy some worlds would be low population because of recent settlement. Given the Vilani were unprepared for Terran diseases, some worlds might have plunged down to the low millions. Terran setters might try to help, but until the Vilani develop resistance to Terran diseases, their populations can't grow. Some Long Night worlds would therefore be struggling frontiers.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:52 AM   #18
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
My take...

The long night starts with massive amounts of Second Imperium naval forces blasting rebels back to TL 4 or below. And the extremes of punishment being grounds for further insurrection, until the point that the IN was both too thinly spread and the locals arming in preparation...

Paranoia, Nationalism, and long command lines result in fragmentation... as locals become more insular, trade outside their local cluster drops, and as trade drops, nationalism soars...

hundreds of small polities, most only a few systems. And for many, a time to hide from the "conquerers from the sky"... after the first about 150 years, becoming a matter of myth... and by 1000 after, assumed to be a propaganda bit.

It's not so much trade goes away, as nationalism leads to stagnation and xenophobia. And those lead to turning trade away.

A wildland of local protection rackets and small polities.
My take: HIGHLY varied. Extremely specialized worlds may be reduced tremendously or even become what amounts to Raonokes-as is mentioned in Mileau O by the way. In other places there will be chaos. However it will not be as great or as uniform as Imperial propaganda paints. That does not mean there is no long night, or that there is an evil conspiracy to hide wonderful civilizations then simply that the bias in education is toward oversimplification. In spots there are on the other hand places that go through the Night unaffected and are even glad of it as it gives them room for ambition. And anywhere in between. Basically there are islands of civilization that retain the highest Terran-Vilani cultural and technological mix under a competent political system. In between there is-everything. And some of "everything" is one kind of mess or another.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

A stable society on a lovely planet that focused on recovering its own economy and culture might be like Venice or some of the towns in Southern France. Lets remember Venice in the "Dark Ages" often had a higher living standard for its common people than Rome did at the height of its Empire.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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A stable society on a lovely planet that focused on recovering its own economy and culture might be like Venice or some of the towns in Southern France. Lets remember Venice in the "Dark Ages" often had a higher living standard for its common people than Rome did at the height of its Empire.
Several stable societies of that nature were reported even by Imperial-biased sources such as Mileau-0. In point of fact some of those, might not welcome the new Imperium because a "dark" economy keeps wussy line merchants from overflowing their area with tonnage and allows them to operate in a place where only Real Men can trade. Sort of like the way mountainers stand up to lowlanders by living in rough country.
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