Solomani, Version 1.0
Just going over some information from the FASA Adventure Class Ships, Volume 2 booklet: but this time, excerpting the Classic Traveller material for the Solomani.
(Good if basic stuff for the various Aslan militaries are here as well, but you should really be getting the Aslan Mercenary Ships supplement.)
The government of the Solomani Sphere is somewhat more centralized than that of the Imperium, a fact made possible by a smaller size and a more compact, regularized boundary. As a result, the Solomani Navy is also much more centralized, with less of the multiple-layer concept common in the Imperium.
Smaller can mean tougher: but you have to really know the lay of the land, more specialized tactics/equipment to extract the maximum advantage out of deep local knowledge, and a strong bond of trust and familiarity among both the lower units and the senior commanders. Doable (and really effective when you pull it off!), but difficult to both set up and maintain.
The Solomani Navy proper i s very much concerned with ensuring the loyalty and support of those planets. states, units, and individuals within the influence of the Solornani Sphere. This, too, i s a legacy of the Rim War, which in popular Solomani myth was lost because of traitors and Imperial “cumberwells” (collaborationists; so-called by Colonel Preston Cumberwell, Governor-General of Sebasta, who surrendered to an Imperial fleet after only token resistance and later formed part of’ the pro-Imperial government set up after the War). During the period of the “Watchful Peace” that followed the end of the Rim War, Solomani reconstruction efforts were largely aimed at reducing this sort of disruptive influence.
(Hits www.travellermap.com) Yes, there really is a Sebasta 🙂
Stab-in-the-back/collaborator theorists always seem to dominate certain political organizational types…
Jump-capable fighting ships are almost all under the authority of the Solomani Navy, which goes to great lengths to inspire its personnel with patriotic fervor. An elaborate oath sworn ”to the Purity of Man, the Triumph of Justice, and the Conquest of the Stars” must be taken by all members of the Navy; purity of race and membership in the Solomani Movement are both important to the ability to achieve high ranks or key positions.
I suspect that patriotic fervor gets old fast. But maybe not: Communist China still runs such programs as a staple, and even the more easy-going Russian Federation has its dark mutterings about Foreign Interests…
Even with these positive influences at work, there is a certain degree of concern over loyalties of starship crews and officers. For this reason all Solomani fighting ships carry on board a Commissioner of Security, an individual with a rank equivalent to Colonel of Marines. His authority in routine ship’s operation is minimal, but he is responsible for preserving the fighting spirit, morale, and loyalty of the personnel aboard. In addition, he has the power to declare any officer or man aboard unfit for duty or even for further service. On ships which carry Marine contingents, the Commissioner holds no active command over the Marines, but can invoke his rank to take control of shipboard troops when he feels the situation requires it. Solomani Marines are trained to a fanatic level of loyalty to the government, and are thus considered an excellent check on potential disloyalty among crew members or officers. Where no troops exist, the Commissioner merely appeals to the elements of the crew who remain trustworthy.
During normal operations, the Commissioner is in charge of conducting indoctrination seminars, compiling psychological profiles, and serving as a counselor and “confessor” for the crew. He exercises very little power under normal circumstances, but his very presence tends to serve well in reminding everyone aboard of their duties.
Definitely not a Warhammer 40,000-style commissar, nor a classic WW II Soviet commissar. Then again, the Solomani (as of 1105 Imperial) has not been at war as a starnation since the end of the Rim War of 1002: that’s just over a century of peace. In such a situation, the glint-eyed fanatics tend to be replaced by softer PC (“Solomani Party style PC”) idealists, timeservers, and the occasional “over-excited race patriot”.
Like most other navies, the Solomani Navy assigns the title “Captain” to any officer currently commanding a ship. Officers holding the rank of Captain normally command ships of cruiser class or higher. Ships of less than 1000 tons are usually commanded by officers no higher than rank 03 (lieutenant).
Decent info: most PCs will be dealing with ships in this weight band, as allies, enemies, or roleplaying in a Solomani Navy campaign.
Ships of the Solomani Navy are most commonly named from Galanglic or other Terran-derived languages and are very often in a patriotic, inspirational, or warlike style. An exception to this rule is the Planet class dreadnought, which includes worlds such as Gashidda, Dingir, and Aghidda among the rolls of planets honored by ship-names. It is especially amusing to note the fact that many of these and other Solomani ship names are duplicated in the Imperial fleet, which also draws upon the traditional planets and Galanglic phrases for many names. It has been known to lead to some confusion in reports and commentaries, especially those dealing with the Solomani Rim War.
“The angry divorced couple feuds over the children and the family silver… especially over the prized firstborn Terra.”
A bit into the Aslans:
There is no centralized Hierate military. Army, Navy and Marine forces are maintained by individual clans for use in the clan vs. clan struggles that are a frequent part of Aslan internal affairs. When meeting an external threat, these military forces are contributed to the common cause on a voluntary basis by various clans. No means of compulsion exists to force such contributions; however, when the Race is threatened, few clans fail to heed the call for volunteers.
So, we get the Aslan, the Vargr, the Hivers, and the Solomani as race warriors, to a greater or lesser extent.
(Hivers are not race warriors, so much as race organizers, putting each subject species into an assigned slot… and genetically altering/manipulating said species when needed.)
The Zhodani are driven by psionics much more than race… but are also a genuine human interstellar ethnic state. So, not race warriors: but ‘the potential is there’ as they would say.
“Umm… who, exactly, are ‘they’?”
“That’s for me to know, and for you to guess.”
That leaves the Imperials (“Mixed Vilani, with Pure Solomani, Pure Vilani, Vargr and Bwap flavouring”) to hold up the multi-racial/multi-ethnic empire end of things. From the 21st century Terran viewpoint, a thousand-year empire is an ancient and powerful thing: but from the perspective of all the other Major Races (in existence as interstellar communities for at least 2000 years, if I recall correctly), it was a short-lived experiment that ended in a disastrous failure.
(And you can bet that the Party Men of the surviving Pure Solomani worlds will be sure to pound that point home!
But on the other hand: the Solomani Cause is simply kaput: following the 1248 scenario, all the major powers except the human ones – the Consulate, the Imperium, and the Confederation – are back in action.
The Zhodani and Solomani populations have a real chance of reconstituting themselves under a single government, much as sorta-monoracial, kinda-monocultural Han China has over the centuries.
But this is almost certainly not true for the Imperium, which is likely as dead as the Roman Empire… despite various pretenders, including Byzantine, the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, and even Mussolini’s Italian Empire. Multiracial/multicultural empires that die stay dead, as the British, the Mongols, the Ottomans, and the Austrians could tell you.
As a side note, one wonders if the Vargr even noticed the Collapse as anything out of the ordinary, given how chaotic their daily lives are…)
This lack of central military power has been a major factor in keeping the Hierate from becoming a strong factor in interstellar affairs. Aslan expansion has been to spinward and rimward of Kuzu, the home planet of the race. For centuries the Aslan have remained at peace with the lmperium – thanks to the lessons of the Aslan Border Wars (-1120-380)and the establishment of a neutral zone between the two in Dark Nebula and Reaver’s Deep. The Solomani have never recognized the neutral zone, but luckily, the Solomani are not interested in acquiring large expanses of territory inhabited by non-humans.
For a group of ideologues who insists that they are Destined to Conquer the Stars…
“Destined by whom, exactly?”
“By God of course… but GDW shrewdly avoided making this explicit. And even in-game, the Solomani Party may well play coy on this point: no need to provoke the Christians, the Hindus and the Muslims any more than is necessary (‘Exactly which God are we talking about?’ the man said as everyone slowly reached for the nearest blunt instrument…)”
…the Solomani Party is — surprisingly, given the Nazi experience — unwilling to simply declare war against the universe, confident that God/Destiny/History is on their side.
Who knows? Maybe the Party Men actually learned something in their endless studies of the rise and fall of the European Era of human history… and especially a certain Central European, racially-rooted government of the mid-20th century.
It’s also possible that they actually worked the numbers out before declaring war (GASP!), compared the total Confederation resource base against the Imperium, the Hierate, and the Federation… and decided to just shut up, sit down, build up their population, resource, and technological base, and wait.
“Keep cool-headed to observe, be composed to make reactions, stand firmly, hide our capabilities and bide our time, never try to take the lead, and be able to accomplish something.” — Deng Xiaoping
Not bad, for a Party Chairman leading a large but fairly weak and fragile one-party