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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1106
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
I'm trying to put off work on my Flat Black site by fussing with the details of Imperial symbols, badges, and crests.

Watsonian issues

In the history of my SF RPG setting Flat Black, the colony Mayflower was founded by the American government in the early 22nd century. Achieving early success, it attracted immigrants from all over Earth from the middle of the 22nd century, and from the mid 23rd to the destruction of Earth in the mid-24th it was one of a scant handful of populous and prosperous colonies that attracted numerous "just plain folks" migrants with no especial taste for pioneering and no radical social or political agenda. Mayflower was racially, culturally, socially, and politically cosmopolitan, but its first half-generation of American pioneers had a founder effect in its institutions, society, and culture. Among these effects was the use of an eagle as a sovereign symbol.

The FTL drive was invented by a Mayflowerite, Tomitomo Eichberger, and he established Eichberger Spaceways and the Eichberger Foundation as interstellar private organisations. That is, he didn't use the eagle as a symbol. But after the destruction of Mayflower the survivors in the Space Guard of Mayflower and other deep space outfits joined with the survivors in the Eichberger Foundation to fight the Formation Wars. Which means that when the wars ended and the Empire was constituted to resolve the conflict, the eagle was established as a symbol of one of the former combatants, and was not considered proper for the new composite institution. In the early days of the Empire, when the Senate still imagined that it was going to be in charge of the government, the Empire chose badges and crests for its institutions and branches that symbolised Imperial sovereignty without referring to the Roman, HRE, Habsburg, German, or Russian eagle.

So what other prominent symbols are there of Imperial sovereignty? A crown, obviously. The Byzantine dragon? The Chinese Imperial dragon with five toes on each foot? Capitoline Jove, with oak wreath, globe, and thunderbolts (but with Victoria rather than the eagle)? A chrysanthemum?

I suppose that although Eichberger did not use the oak-and-mountain symbol that his name suggests, nor the arms of the village whence the name derives, nor indeed an oak, acorn, or oak-leaf symbol in any form, that his posterity are capable of working out what his name originally meant, and that Imperials are fond of oak and acorn motifs as symbols of their ethos.

Doyleist issues

I want the Empire to come out with a strong tang of the British Empire, which includes having semiotics reminiscent of the British Empire. So I have decided that I want a crown as a common symbol. And I want it to have the general shape of St Edward's Crown, not a mitre-shaped Austrian or Russian Imperial crown, and not with eight half-arches like a Spanish or Portuguese Imperial crown. Because I am lousy at graphic design and worse at art, I have used British symbols in some mock-ups and considered supposing that some 29th-century graphic designer did an image search on "crown heraldic" and simply adopted St Edward's crown without changes. But that really isn't satisfactory. The fleurs de lys and crosses patée on the circlet of English crowns are specifically symbols of the English monarchy, and I don't want to use them. And the cross surmounting the globus cruciger at the top of the crown is a specifically Christian symbol. I could assert that it is re-interpreted or misinterpreted as an "Earth" symbol (♁), but (1) the early Imperial Senate was not on board with the Earth-obsession that developed in Imperial culture, and (2) I don't think that is the correct form of the glyph anyway, it ought to have the cross in the circle.

A kind fellow on another board mocked up a possible Imperial crown for me, thus:

JEX87lT.png [ 105.02 KiB | Viewed 547 times ]

Unfortunately I'm not completely happy with it, but in no position to ask for more work on it.

— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts on SFRPG must not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1106
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
With that background in mind, I am trying to select symbols for the following that will be suitable for use in branch-of-service badges, insignia etc.

  • The Empire itself, as a whole.
    I'm thinking of a suitable crown for this. Or the figure of Jupiter Capitolinus enthroned, crowned with an oak wreath, with five thunderbolts in his right hand and in his left Victory standing on a golden globe.
  • The Imperial Senate
    I'm thinking of an Imperial crown surmounting a portcullis gate with golden chains, a bit like the badge of the Parliament of the UK.
  • The Imperial Council
    This is the self-perpetuating board that actually runs the Empire, though it was originally supposed to be a dependent executive.
    I'm thinking of a golden acorn, slipped and leafed proper, surmounted by an Imperial Crown
  • The Imperial Office
    This is the group of Imperial government departments that deals with running the Empire as an interstellar government and co-ordinating all the rest. It includes the diplomatic service for dealing with the Senate and colonial governments, Treasury, policy departments, secretariat of the Imperial Council etc.
    I'm thinking of an acorn slipped and leafed, surrounded by an oak wreath and surmounted by a crown.
  • The Colonial Office
    This is the group of assistance and advisory services that delivers aid and assistance to needy colonies.
    I'm thinking of an Earthlike planet surrounded by an oak wreath and surmounted by an Imperial crown for its badge.
  • The Home Office
    This is the outfit that builds and maintains Imperial orbital habitats, and that provides the domestic services of government in Imperial Direct Jurisdiction.
  • The Imperial Navy
    I'm thinking of a gold five-pointed star as a symbol of the Navy, surrounded by an oak wreath and surmounted by an Imperial crown.
  • The Imperial Corps of Marines
    I've toyed with all sorts of things, but I keep coming back to crossed swords (cutlasses) on an oak wreath, surmounted by an Imperial crown.
  • The Independent Commission for Justice
    I'm thinking of a desk scales, or the figure of Justitia blindfolded with scales in one hand and sword in the other. Graphically it'd by nice to surround the scales with an oak wreath and surmount them with a crown, but perhaps it would be better not, to symbolise that the Commission for Justice is independent of control by the Imperial Council. What if we keep the crown to symbolise the Imperial character of its authority and omit the oak wreath to symbolise its independence of the Council. The scales could go on a shield.
    Officers with police powers get lions as supporters: red for bailiffs and gold for detectives.
  • The Eichberger Foundation
    Ostensibly not part of the Imperial Government, the Eichberger Foundation is not subject to the Senate of the Imperial Council. But its board of trustees just happens to consist of the same people as the Imperial Council. Ostensibly operating under a charter issues by the government of Mayflower, the Eichberger Foundation holds vast assets and generates prodigious revenues that fund the Empire.
  • Eichberger Spaceways
    A subsidiary of the Eichberger Foundation, the monopoly provider of interstellar transport services.
  • The Universal Bank
    A subsidiary of the Eichberger Foundation engaged mostly in interstellar commercial banking and in wealth management for most Imperial servants.
  • Universal Imports
    A subsidiary of the Eichberger Foundation, engaged in interstellar commerce.
  • Eichberger Realty
    A subsidiary of the Eichberger Foundation. It terraforms new worlds and sells the real estate. Some worlds are sold retail directly to settlers and small commercial developers. Others a sold wholesale to large institutions intending planned societies &c.

Badge, Colonial Office.png
Badge, Colonial Office.png [ 192.59 KiB | Viewed 542 times ]

— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts on SFRPG must not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.

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