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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:15 pm 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
And since you mention people entering adulthood - it´s not just for young people. One of the volunteers I met is a retiree, formerly working in Human Resources, whose position involves teaching high school students how to write a resumee and apply for a job. Nor is it limited to Germans; I´ve worked with a number of foreign volunteers from various countries, at least two of whom volunteered because the service come with a residence title for the duration of their stay.

That last bit might be a character hook - a player character volunteered for Imperial service because their homeworld´s government had taken an unhealthy (for them) interest in them and Imperial service seemed like a good way off-world. I´m assuming the Imperials will be reluctant, to say the least, to extradite a productive servicemember in good standing to some two-bit colonial dictatorship just on their say-so, right?

Farmed fur volunteer for Imperial Service en masse at eighteen, and do their vocational training as Imperial Service cadets. Well, 85% do; a few emigrate or take up precarious careers as free lances instead. That results in farmed fur having long careers and constituting a little over half the Service despite making up exactly half of the recruitment intake. But recruits from the colonies are often a little older. Some volunteer at eighteen, as soon as they are eligible. Others volunteer after completing undergraduate or graduate school, perhaps having trained for some profession for juvenile reasons and discovered on graduating that there is little scope to practise it on their homeworld. Bunches more volunteer in their late thirties, having burned out or grown discontent in their careers. And a lot more volunteer between their late fifties and the age of eighty, either when their children are grown or at the compulsory or customary retirement age of their colonies. And of course there is sporadic volunteering at all adult ages by colonials whose marriages have failed, or whose careers have met with obstacles (such as being passed over e.g. for tenure), or who have met with romantic or political disappointments. A lot of people volunteer after divisive elections and after coups and revolts (failed and otherwise).

The Empire does extradite its servants to colonies when there is sufficient evidence to make a prima facie case that yhey have committed civil crimes not in the course of their duty. The use of FTL travel to escape justice is one of its bugbears. It does not shelter criminals. But it does not extradite for political or religious offences, so there are certainly a few Imperial servants who can never go home because there are warrants out on their homeworlds for their arrest on charges of blasphemy, heresy, preaching without a licence, sedition, fomenting revolution, anarchism, royalism, liberalism, membership of a prohibited organisation, dissidence, protest, or owing an unregistered xerox. One of the PCs in my first campaign even had a warrant out on his homeworld on a spurious charge of murdering a cop, but the Empire wasn't extraditing for lack of credible evidence (and because the homeworld wasn't agitating for his extradition). He certainly ended up at a point where the Empire would have told a colony to go and fuck itself rather than extradite him (he won the Spartan Cross, the Empire's highest award for gallantry).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:31 pm 
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Agemegos wrote:

Volunteering with the Bundesfreiwilligendiest an unpaid job that lasts a year and doesn't involve leaving homeland and family.

Well, the Bundesfreiwilligendienst is not totally unpaid, depending on the organization where the volunteer works he gets a pocket money of up to 372 Euro per month (but usually less), he always has health insurance and social insurance, and he often gets free room and board.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:23 pm 
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Yeah, but Imperial servants get free bed and board, free air and water, free medical and dental, free psychiatry and anti-agathics, free structure and radiation shielding, free access and content, free use to the public amenities of IDJ (or where-ever), free police services etc. for themselves and their children under 18, free education for their children to the end of the academic year in which they turn 18, paid holidays, a [defined-contributions] pension, and all the uniforms they can wear. And they get a modest salary.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:46 pm 
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Agemegos wrote:
Okay, with forty thousand positions lasting for a little over one year on average they must have an intake of nearly forty thousand per year. And with no-one having volunteered a second time yet that means the annual supply of new volunteers is about 5% of the annual supply of Germans. But since the outfit is new it might be burning through a backlog of potential volunteers.

Volunteering with the Bundesfreiwilligendiest an unpaid job that lasts a year and doesn't involve leaving homeland and family. Whereas working for the Empire is a lifetime career, and is salaried and pensioned, but usually involves becoming an emigrant or long-term expatriate. Other the other hand the Imperial Service seems to offer the glamour and adventure of working on another world — perhaps a series of them — with an exotic foreign culture or cultures. And then, the German Federal Volunteer Service is a trusted domestic institution, not a distrusted and misunderstood foreign one.


All good points.

I feel the Imperial Service is mostly going to attract people who want to leave their homeworld anyway, for whatever reason - wanderlust, no job prospects, a price on their head...

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Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:06 pm 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
I feel the Imperial Service is mostly going to attract people who want to leave their homeworld anyway, for whatever reason - wanderlust, no job prospects, a price on their head...

… compulsory retirement, failed love affair, gruelling divorce, catastrophic loss of reputation, unbearable shame…

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:53 am 
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Do the folks who do Imperial Service go back to their homeworlds afterwards? Or have they had their horizons expanded and they go somewhere else? For instance I'm from a small town with no facilities (e.g. 30 minute drive or 20 min train journey to the nearest cinema). Having been to university in a city there is NO WAY I'm ever living anywhere that tiny and dull again.

If people go away and only return for the occasional holiday, the recruitment will stay low, since conspiracy theories about the Empire 'changing/brainwashing' folks who leave, and snobbery about 'think you're too good for us now?' will abound. On the other hand, if a colony is full of retired Imperial Service guys telling stirring tales of how great it was, and all the cool stuff to do and see, then it will be seen as normal and recruitment will be higher.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:40 pm 
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Well, careers with the Imperial service can be very long: retirement age is eighty for Imperial marines and 110 for civil servants. So the people who do come back after joining up don't do so for a very long time. And in the case of a homeworld too poor to give everyone free eugerione, an eighty-year-old IM veteran who retires home in vigorous middle age may find that any high school classmates who survive are very old.

Some retired Imperial servants settle in Imperial orbital habitats. It's expensive to live there when you no longer get all free everything, but you can get by on a Service pension and eminently achieveable savings, they are very pleasant environments if a bit staid, and a lot of Impies end up with family there.

Some retired Imperial servants settle in colonies as expatriates; on planets they have served on and come to love, in less-developed colonies where life is pleasant and cheap and there is something worthwhile to do with the long autumn of ones life, on frontier worlds where they can easily become founders and pillars of a new society.

Some return to their homeworlds, especially if those offer a good exchange rate for pensions in Imperial crowns.

So many worlds have a light smattering of retired Imperial servants on them, though not all are returned Service folk and nothing like all return. The places such people are rarest are (a) worlds that are unrelentingly horrible, usually for social and political reasons, and (b) rich, populous, highly-developed worlds with strong currencies and high cost-of-living.

I also grew up in a remote town: its forty minutes drive to a cinema in either direction. I also moved to a big city in my teens, for my education. I also moved from city to cuty for work. But I came back here when I retired, because it's cheap, my family are mostly here, it's beautiful, I love it, and there are great beaches and a delightful climate.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:11 pm 
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Is there a number you'd like to be able to justify? Because you could work backwards to find the numbers.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:10 am 
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Well, I want the Imperial Service to be very capable and honest, which means the bush league have to be an elite. On the other hand, if I make them too small an elite I fear that players will find that their halos fit too tight: that they are all too much alike and boring, that there is not room for fun character concepts.

• If I say that the Empire recruits the top 5% by ability and rejects nineteen out of twenty on personality and character grounds I think that would be too strict; players would feel that they had to play a narrow range of highly-motivated nerds. It might not seem plausible that the bush league seem to the farmed fur like a motley crew of dangerously unpredictable mavericks. That's 400 volunteers per (eventual) recruit, 82 million volunteers per year, 0.68% of all colonials who reach adulthood. I want to justify a rate of volunteering less than about 0.7%

• At the other extreme, if I say that the Empire recruits the top 20% by ability and rejects four out of five on personality and characters grounds, I think that would be too lax. Players would figure that Imperial servants are not more capable than the general run of college graduates and had to include a significant number who lacked either especial honesty, especial diligence, or any especial vocation. That's 25 volunteers per [eventual] recruit, 5.1 million volunteers per year, 0.043% of all colonials who reach adulthood. I want to justify a rate of volunteering more than 0.05%.

So I want to suppose that about 0.05–0.5% of colonials volunteer for Imperial Service. Somewhere between one in two hundred and one in two thousand. The question is whether a figure in that range seems psychologically plausible to SF roleplayers such as yourselves. How plausible does 0.16% seem? Might one person in six hundred volunteer for Imperial Service?

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:44 am 
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Agemegos wrote:
Well, I want the Imperial Service to be very capable and honest, which means the bush league have to be an elite. On the other hand, if I make them too small an elite I fear that players will find that their halos fit too tight: that they are all too much alike and boring, that there is not room for fun character concepts.

• If I say that the Empire recruits the top 5% by ability and rejects nineteen out of twenty on personality and character grounds I think that would be too strict; players would feel that they had to play a narrow range of highly-motivated nerds. It might not seem plausible that the bush league seem to the farmed fur like a motley crew of dangerously unpredictable mavericks. That's 400 volunteers per (eventual) recruit, 82 million volunteers per year, 0.68% of all colonials who reach adulthood. I want to justify a rate of volunteering less than about 0.7%

• At the other extreme, if I say that the Empire recruits the top 20% by ability and rejects four out of five on personality and characters grounds, I think that would be too lax. Players would figure that Imperial servants are not more capable than the general run of college graduates and had to include a significant number who lacked either especial honesty, especial diligence, or any especial vocation. That's 25 volunteers per [eventual] recruit, 5.1 million volunteers per year, 0.043% of all colonials who reach adulthood. I want to justify a rate of volunteering more than 0.05%.

So I want to suppose that about 0.05–0.5% of colonials volunteer for Imperial Service. Somewhere between one in two hundred and one in two thousand. The question is whether a figure in that range seems psychologically plausible to SF roleplayers such as yourselves. How plausible does 0.16% seem? Might one person in six hundred volunteer for Imperial Service?


Rate of volunteers, and percentage accepted/rejected, probably varies from job to job. It´ll be easier to find volunteers for some specialties than others, and relative numbers of various specialties needed suggest that for some, the Imperial Service is going to have to be more accepting of personality quirks and such.

For example, it´s going to be a lot easier to find good accountants than good transplant surgeons (or cybernetic augmentation surgeons or whatever), so the latter can get away with a lot more and still be accepted.

_________________
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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