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Old 04-17-2019, 06:43 PM   #21
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
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.
The Imperium would need to control trade and opportunity to lure these cultures into treaties and entanglements. Venice wasn't beated by conquest. The redirection of Europe's trade with Asia from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic slowly ground both Venice and the Ottoman State to dust.

The 3I would need to gain control of the trade networks and use that control to bleed independent states to death. Wars of conquest would still need to be fought. But, like Napoleon taking Venice, the real defeat came centuries earlier.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

Late to the party as normal, but

I start with what the situation was during the ZS. Vast webs of 30-40 planets in subsectors dependent on one another for their advance technology, and a couple planets with key items feeding 400+ worlds in a sector. The stability experts in the ZS worked so all the planets were dependent, and probably had a level of mistrust/tribalism between them so that they wouldn't band together to take on the ZS authorities (similar to the tactics used by the British Empire during its height).

Now add the RoM impacts. No more ZS manipulators keeping things balanced, some of the key worlds taken out during the war or as rebellion suppression, populations of many worlds taken out by plaques, etc. so the trade web lines start breaking down. Costs for some goods increase greatly because the materials need to be shipped from farther, or the labor pool demands larger wages, etc; which helps feed the tribalism/resentment between systems. This starts an instability wobble that the RoM can no longer control, and the trade routes start breaking down.


As the trade routes start failing, worlds start looking for ways to either soft land to a lower tech that they can support on world, or acquire the tech they need from other worlds. Since there is animosity between the worlds, the acquisition takes the form of espionage and/or war/piracy.
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:01 PM   #23
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

DAT's take on Villani worlds works. However, due to the push of radiation and ecconomic disruption on Earth and the pull of opportunity out in space, there would be predominantly Solimani worlds durring the RoM.

I could see a world were the ZS decided to settle only a large continent with vast mineral riches but little or no arable land. Earthfolk settle on the smaller continents that do have arable land and mineral riches too. Durring the long night the Villani culture fades and the Solimani groups thrive. Large numbers of Villani ditch their culture for the surviving one. The remnant Villani culture would be experiencing a brutal dark age. The Solimani not so much.
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:49 PM   #24
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

That is something that sort of bothered me about the Villani culture and amassing a huge empire and all that...

If they were that far stretched out, and they were that much of a conformist based culture - and that "conservative" - chances are they wouldn't have expanded even during the Reign of Man or the period immediately after.

As my wife constantly tells me about anything in life, I use too much logic. ;)
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:49 PM   #25
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

The Vilani only became 'conservative' in the run up to the consolidation wars and the Ziru Sirka period that followed. They had a considerable drive for exploration and development prior to this.

Even during those eras there would have been malcontents, Vilani who were told tales of the old days, hybrids, minor human races, 'aliens' would all contribute to this trickle of exiles, refugees and migrants from the Ziru Sirka.

Once the collapse of authority began, which was happening long before the encounter with the Terrans, this trickle would grow.

During the later ISW period you had Ziru Sirka worlds defecting to the Terran side, that tells you a lot about the stability of the cultures of those worlds. Despite a thousand years of tradition they preferred to throw their lot in with the Terrans.
This news would spread and the trickle is now a small stream.

The final Terran victory and the appointment of a Terran emperor, the new drive of cultural reformation, the incompatibility of Terran and Ziru Sirka ways of doing things and you now have the potential for a river of exiles, migrants and refugees, setting off into the wider galaxy to seek their fortunes much as their very distant ancestors did.

The smarter ones will have raided as much of the secret knowledge repositories as they could before heading out on their new adventure.

During the long night pocket empires and high TL worlds still had the potential to launch exploration, scouting and even colonisation missions, its just there was no longer a central 'Imperial' authority laying down the rules.

The Syleans didn't expand their federation into a power vacuum, they expanded into a region of space where there were many cultures, worlds and pocket empires. They invented the fiction of the long night to suggest their authority and to belittle the lesser pocket empires they encountered.
They made them an offer they couldn't refuse - until they ran into the Jullians...
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:47 PM   #26
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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The Imperium would need to control trade and opportunity to lure these cultures into treaties and entanglements. Venice wasn't beated by conquest. The redirection of Europe's trade with Asia from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic slowly ground both Venice and the Ottoman State to dust.

The 3I would need to gain control of the trade networks and use that control to bleed independent states to death. Wars of conquest would still need to be fought. But, like Napoleon taking Venice, the real defeat came centuries earlier.
I think you are missing my point. It is not conquest that is a threat to planets that have learned to thrive in the Long Night, it is peace. If they can compete at all survivability is their big sell. In a time of order, it is capacity.

Oh and technically, Venice was beaten by a number of factors including the centralization of territorial states. Speaking of which, it was beaten by conquest-in 1848.
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Old 04-24-2019, 12:56 AM   #27
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

Several things and then I'll behave and listen to thoughts by others. ;)

1) You have the First Imperium. During that period of time, its history is specified by the writers who gave us the Third Imperium. As a consequence - much of what was written was written as a backdrop for the Third Imperium. This means that the setting for the First Imperium was never really intended to be wholly self-contained.

2) You have the Second Imperium - which when you get right down to it, was simply the First Imperium with new masters after a series of ongoing struggles between the old masters and the new masters. Its history is also intended to be a back drop of the Third Imperium, not its own self-contained history in its own right.

3) as a consequence of 1 and 2, there are a lot of gaps involved that fail to explain things when we "zoom in". Mind you, I don't have a real issue here simply because creating a detailed history of this nature is a LOT of work (who boy is it a lot of work!!!). None the less, if one wants to have a credible structure to work with, then the work at creating the skeleton can be worth the while later down the road.

Now, all of that not withstanding - here is my problem overall. Just because Rome built an empire, administered over a vast (at their time) stretch of territory - doesn't mean that everyone disappeared into barbaric stretch of time during the so-called dark ages after Rome's influence disappeared. People still were born and would die in the natural cycle of things. People still ruled their immediate surroundings in a fashion that suited them reasonably well once Rome lost interest in maintaining an Empire. By losing interest, I mean that they were no longer willing or able to spend resources required to rule vast stretches of territory.

That in turn makes me believe that Empire Building is a species of government that requires a few ideal conditions for it to sprout and grow and ultimately thrive. But here is the problem I'm having as a GM when/where it comes to the Dark Ages...

Just as the Americas had their low tech tribal communities of people, and vast stretches of real-estate that was not inhabited, so too will there be entire systems that were NOT inhabited. Then there are those worlds in which they have people, but those people are not interested in empire building. Heck, they may not have the wealth available to engage in empire building. Then there comes to be the issue in which low technology in general, requires vast amounts of time for which major events occur. The saying "Rome wasn't built overnight" has the observation that things take time. How long did it take mankind to reach Tech Level 1 from the level of zero? How long did it take to reach 2? From there, TL 3?

The point I'm trying to make here is that the higher up the Tech Tree you go, the faster the developments were. During World War I, they were just getting used to the idea of firing bullets through their propellers (without shooting them off!) by means of a technological innovation of "interrupter" mechanisms. Their wing structure required the use of two wings (sometimes three, and early on initially, one). Less than 50 years later, we would see the invention of Rocket propelled planes as well as jet propelled planes - the ability to armor plate the pilot's cockpit, and carry massively heavier weaponry than their World War I forebears could. With Technology comes greater potential for wealth. Without the proper cultural mindset however, empire building may not necessarily be tied in with tech level.

Which brings me to my final point. We can have the following states where it comes to star systems or planets.

A) Uninhabited - this world was never colonized, never the site of a transplanted "species" by Grandfather's group, etc.

B) Inhabited by a Transplanted pool of people or by original aliens. This world essentially acts like a home world. It has its history of a painful struggle to advance from the Stone age to where ever it might be in any given point in the history of the Traveller Universe.

C) Colonies and Outposts - these are worlds that were settled by transplants from other home worlds.

History has examples of colonies that were started, but who later disappeared either as a result of bad luck, or were wiped out by natives of the region who objected to the invasion. These colonies disappeared from existence on a world that is a home world for humanity, let alone some place like Mars or the Moon. How long would humanity survive on a world like Mars were all communication and/or contact with Earth were to cease? If the Mars Colony lacked the machinery required to manufacture replacements it needs to keep life support operational, then it dies out. If it lacks the means to educate the next generation with skills absolutely vital to its survival - it dies out. If the Gene Pool is not sufficiently sturdy, it potentially dies out.

So, what would have had to happen during the "Dark Ages" of time between when the Second Imperium bites the dust to when the Third Imperium takes over?
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:17 AM   #28
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

In my opinion, the following things have to be present:

A) wealth The original world that wants to dominate any region, will have to have sufficient resources available, to maintain its expansion by any means. By that, I include economic expansion via trade, wars of conquest via the military, etc.

B) Sufficient population. If you don't have a need for resources, then there is no need to expand outwards. If you lack wealth - you lack the means to project your will elsewhere. If you don't have the manpower to staff your trade system or staff your military system - you won't be able to build an empire

C) Opportunity. If you have all the basics required to start building an empire, the question becomes one of whether or not you have the means to build one. If you can't fly to the next planet within the system, you can't have colony settlements or outpost settlements. If there are no worlds within your limited reach, then you don't expand. Expansion however, is going to be based on the final thing...

D) Desire. Let's face it. We in theory could place settlements on the Moon - we could have done so in the years 1970 onwards. We lacked the desire to do so. Was it a cultural thing? Was it simple mathematics where "Hey, why spend 1 billion dollars to build a settlement on the Moon when we could spend the same Billion dollars to inhabit sections of Earth that are largely under populated? Why go to a harsh world when we can remain in a garden world environment?

For me? The "Dark ages" that came into being after the fall of the First Imperium (I really don't consider the Second Imperium to be distinctly different from the first - just new masters for an old empire) is going to be similar to that we saw happen with the Fall of Rome (and may see with the fall of the United States someday).

Unity of Governmental principles backed by the power of a Sovereign government interested in projecting its culture and/or power and/or wealth harvesting capabilities over vast stretches of territory.

When we talk of say, TWILIGHT 2000 or say CYBERPUNK 2020 - the United States tends to devolve into multiple governmental structures holding sway over smaller amounts of territory. When Rome faltered, we saw the withdrawing of Roman Legions from England, and the abandonment of rule/administration of entire territories.

My "gut" instinct is this: Many of the worlds that could or would eventually become "home world" like as far as population, infrastructure, and cultural unity - had to lose that or they would have become the nucleus of proto-empire builders. Marc Miller would eventually coin a term for those proto-empire builders...

Pocket Empires.

Heavily settled "sectors" would have had zillions of potential pocket empires, but ultimately, in the span of multiple centuries, would have gone empire building much sooner than Sylea ends up doing. Question is - why didn't they?

My guess is that they lacked two of the four ingredients necessary. Any of the three combined should have been enough to start a pocket Empire, and once that was started, the four elements would have eventually been present. Populations that are well fed, have a stable government, etc - tend to expand. With that expansion comes the need for resources. With that need, comes the expansion outward from the main world. With that expansion also comes the need to administer law and collect taxes, regulate business, and even protect them from criminals.

Why 17 centuries of dark ages in light of how modern technology seems to accelerate things?

Picture this:

One world fears outsiders because the outsiders tries to rape their world (ala Viking style raids). Another world fought wars against an enemy who damaged their ecosphere (hence tainted atmosphers still showing evidence of enemy bombardments centuries later). Yet another world had its infrastructure bombed into the stone age.

For some, the withdrawal of the First/Second Imperium culture resulted in a massive orgy of destruction both of social and economic infrastructures. For others - the withdrawal resulted in a slow decline as they battled against the alien environments relentless war on invaders who couldn't exist on said world without subsidized infrastructure support (ie life support equipment, luxuries, foodstuffs etc).

In the end? Without being able to detail every world, without using something like Pocket Empires as a system - any work detailing the dark ages will rely strictly upon narratives.

:(
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:12 PM   #29
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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I think you are missing my point. It is not conquest that is a threat to planets that have learned to thrive in the Long Night, it is peace. If they can compete at all survivability is their big sell. In a time of order, it is capacity.

Oh and technically, Venice was beaten by a number of factors including the centralization of territorial states. Speaking of which, it was beaten by conquest-in 1848.
And Napoleon conquered it fifty years earlier. But it was the transfer of the main trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic that gutted the Venician economy. The core of Venician strength died long before Napoleon showed up.
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:47 PM   #30
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Default Re: What do you think the Long Night was like?

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And Napoleon conquered it fifty years earlier. But it was the transfer of the main trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic that gutted the Venician economy. The core of Venician strength died long before Napoleon showed up.
The analogy I was making was the comparison of whether Onasis freighters could have survived assuming a world without a naval monopoly. The Long Night trade I am picturing is not like Venetian. It is like Hanseatic, or even Viking where the merchants make up their own law as they go along. All very heroic and all, but if in fact navigation is reasonably safe merchants who do not have to take that into account can prosper.
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