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Militia

Militia

With increasing interest in local politics, civilian support for system claims and general improvements of world infrastructure, it comes as little surprise to find that players are also looking for other forms of support, especially when it looks like somebody is about to hand them their ass.

This is not an easy essay to write simply because there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to panicking base governors beseeching planetary civil authorities to muster up hard working and tax-paying civilians and turn them over to be used as cannon fodder whose role is often to delay the inevitable while the governor organises the stripping of vital assets from said base before buggering off and leaving everyone to die.

There are quite a lot of variables to consider but below is a rough idea of what factors are taken into consideration by the GM when responding to a special action begging for aid from the civilian population. Before this however it is sensible to dispel some illusions about the ‘awesomeness’ of these free troops, these unpaid saviours that apparently have the power to appear at whim, screwing over months of planning.



How good are militia compared with other troops?
A typical militia troop from a world with contemporary levels of technology will have defence and damage of 2 and 1 control factor, i.e. half as good as a mercenary and less than a quarter as good as a soldier due to a soldier’s damage reduction value of 1.

There is however some variance in these numbers based on the location where the militia was raised. Native militia are particularly poor with no control factors and as they are armed with little more than sticks and stones, their damage is almost negligible. Even a contemporary world may produce inferior militia such as could be expected from a world depleted by conflict or otherwise unable to provide ordnance.

Where they originate from martial cultures they may have improved damage and control factors though depending on the culture it is more often the case that one has been sacrificed for increasing the other. Aggressive cultures for example may have damage of 1.5 while their control factors have decreased to 0.8 or even less. Pacifistic cultures are likely to produce generally inferior militia (and fewer of them - see below).

The greatest value of militia however is their ability to soak damage that would otherwise be inflicted on trained troops. From a purely pragmatic point of view, militia are primarily a sentient shield.

In most cases militia will have a promotion route, meaning that there will be amongst the militia some that show their natural talents. During the course of combat, some will therefore be promoted, normally to mercenary status.
How much do they cost?

Militia are unique to a specific world and while they are on secondment to a base on the world, their wages are paid for by the civilian government. Should, in their infinite wisdom, governors decide that the militia can fight elsewhere in the universe; they will lose this subsidised status and have to be paid for as normal personnel.

The actual cost of raising a militia is generally free for the basic amount, though normally the amount raised can be increased by up to a factor of 3. Generally speaking this increase is around 2 stellars/militia. Offers of other goods in lieu of payment are not viable for a few reasons. Getting the goods out of the base at short notice and to the appropriate civilian location is impractical. Determining what they actually want and arguing over the price could take time. Most importantly, if a governor believes that a base will fall, they have no qualms about giving away goods that are likely to be captured by the attacker anyway – which falls into the category ‘taking the piss’. So, we require that stellars are paid with the theory that when it is all over, the stellars will be used by the civilian population in the merchandising complexes and the purchase of trade goods. Whether they are buying from old or new owners of the base is down to how things turned out.

How long can you keep them?
Militia are very much a temporary measure, raised in need and let go as soon as possible. Normally, once they are no longer needed a governor can either run a special action to release them back into society, possibly with some sort of flowery speech and some goods (yes, at this point they are more than happy to accept trade goods and other things). Alternatively the governor can simply sack them, saving themselves the cost of a special action. There is no negative effect of sacking them and unless there is something specific be it information or orbital reference to a nice now cenotaph, sacking is perfectly acceptable.

If however you enjoy having your free troops manning the walls and saving the wage bill you can of course simply keep them in the base. As the date the militia were mustered has been saved, this could backfire. The use of agents and operatives could be used to stir antipathy for being kept on long after they fulfilled their duty. It will affect future attempts to raise militia and should the amount of militia be excessive, it can have a negative knock-on to the planetary economy (at some point, once civvy trading has been launched I will be working on some code that deals with attrition of militia and future attempts to raise them, once the values have been set by the GM).

Population Size
As a starting figure a rapid response militia will be around 0.02% of the total population, i.e. 1 in 5,000. This is effectively a proportion of the planetary defence force that can be seconded to a base in trouble.

A newly established population with basic colonisation support will be able to provide at short notice around 20 militia! While a stage 3 colony with a population of 5 million will be able to supply around 1,000. Realistically it is probably not worth bothering attempting to raise a militia at a moment’s notice from the civilian population if the population is less than 5 million unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Species and Culture
As pointed out above, some cultures are more martial than others and by the same token so are some species. This generally has a factor between 0.1 and 1.
Typical examples:
Wimbles are notoriously difficult to convince to pick up arms and normally have a factor of 0.3 while most humans and dewiek have a value of 1.

Relationship to Base and Affiliation
At one end of the scale there are outposts that have been happily mining ores on worlds that have never had any interaction with the civilian population at all. The civilian population may not even be aware that the outposts exist. At the other end of the scale, there may have been pre-starbase-construction special actions getting to know the population and establishing permission to build. Following this the new governor of starbase may have agreed a programme of uplifts to the population and carried them out, exhausting modules, tech, goods and stellars for the benefit of the civilian population (and yes, also increasing trade and merchandising – it’s not purely driven by altruism).

Next there is the relationship between the civilian population and the affiliation of the base. Is there civilian support for the system claim and if so, to what degree? Is the population for example the fanatical followers of the True One, do they swear allegiance to the Emperor? Do they hate the Flagritz having been liberated only a few years ago from planetary wide slavery?

Together these situations equate to a factor between 0 and 10, with 1 equating to a starbase on a world that contributes to the system claim of the starbase’s affiliation while 2 is appropriate for an imperially aligned world with respect to an IMP starbase. A factor of 10 is appropriate for a starbase that has just created a colony of 100,000 civilians and exhausted the appropriate tech, though a factor of 10 equates to only around two hundred militia! Even so, this level of loyalty is only likely to exist for a few months as the colonists find more important things to live for. A Flagritz starbase on a conquered wimble world will have a factor of around .5, presuming coercion (which equates to an overall factor 0.15 when taking into account wimbles disinclination to form militia).

Location of Base with respect to population centres
With respect to the rapid raising of militia, distance between the base and areas of high density population will play an important role. Civilian technology will to some degree mitigate excessive distance. If Transport tech have been given over to the civilian population and the world has reached stage 3 (at least 5 million), it is presumed that there is reasonably advanced and extensive transport infrastructure such that militia can get to a base that is within a few of sectors of urban and cultivated sectors. Where there are many cultivated and urban sectors with respect to the population, this equates to a lower population density. There is some degree of ‘fluffiness’ in determining this factor but for a world with 5M population and a combined total of less than 5 urban and cultivated sectors, having a base within a couple of sectors equates to a factor of 1, i.e. the basic amount of militia can be raised. If the world on the other hand had total of 15 urban and cultivated sectors scattered all round the world, then a factor of 0.5 is more realistic. Normally 1 is the upper limit, though under exceptional circumstances such as an asteroid, there is some justification of increasing it, though it is probable that this factor is modest compared to other situational modifiers.

For simplicities sake, for a world with a population in the hundreds of millions and urban and cultivated sectors on most continents, an upper limit to the base amount of 50,000 militia is considered practical (which can be increased to 150,000 with payment).

Recent Politics and Events
When raising a militia there is obviously going to be some sort of spin on the situation. Generally it is along the lines that whoever is on the horizon will not be as benign to the civilian population as those already here. No doubt tales of previous atrocities will be detailed and of course the ongoing civilian development programme will be terminated and as for those yummy unique foods from the home systems, they will obviously be a thing of the past. Together these can provide a convincing argument for increasing the size of the militia. By the same token, if this is the third militia raising attempt in as many days and the fate of previous militia is less than rosy, it is fairly clear that volunteers will be thin on the ground and even the civilian authorities will be somewhat unenthusiastic when it comes to sending more meat to the grinder.

Again, if there is little in the way of evidence that the governor is getting support from his own faction, locals will be less inclined to help out. As for the base asking for militia while stripping the base of veterans and tech… Militia may walk in through one gate, get a solid idea of that is in store for them if they fight and march straight back out.

If word* gets to civilian populations that the affiliation has a penchant for carpet-bombing their own bases after they are captured, you can be fairly certain that militia are unlikely to leap to the base’s defence.

*by this it is meant really solid evidence such as captured officers willing to testify

Perceived risk to militia and species integration
Militia know that they are no match for trained troops and no sentient creature (even hive) eagerly throw their lives away. As such militia need to be supported by regular troops in order to preserve the presumption that this is not a lost cause. As such a militia force will not normally be greater than twice the troop compliment of the base. Under most circumstances, the populations of the Peripheries being what they are, getting more than a few thousand militias to aid the cause is unlikely so this factor rarely crops up. This ratio is not exact because militia are not of the habit of counting troops and the quality of the troops may influence the ratio.

Add to this the species of the militia and the species of the troops they will be fighting alongside. Kastorian militia may not be overly keen to work with wimble mercs while human militia may not be overly fond of marching into combat with aquaphids, especially if it is on a water world.

When the militia is needed
So far the above has only dealt with the rapid response element of a militia force, this being available and added to a base as a result of a special action requesting aid and before any form of combat has been initiated. This is important as moving large numbers of civilians around is much easier if it is not under combat conditions. It is presumed that the base will handle the organisation of the militia as they turn up piecemeal at the port. These are rapidly equipped and assigned to troops stationed in the base.

Where a battle has already commenced it is a very different story. The militia will normally take a couple of days to organise and be outside the base, possibly in the nearest urban sector. As such pre-emptive request for militia is vastly superior to post-conflict request to muster.

Summary
Due to the generally sparsely populated nature of the Peripheries, militia rarely play a significant role and generally by the time a governor asks for aid from the civilian population the battle is already over. Where the governor is aware of an impending attack, is on one of the heavily populated worlds and had good relations with the civilian population, the raising of a militia may be enough to turn the tide of a battle.
When attacking a base, a cursory population scan will indicate if militia could play a significant role in any forthcoming conflict.

Worlds with the best levels of technology have the best militia. Security and Transport techs play key roles for small populations. Military and Naval techs are only effective for populations in the hundreds of millions.




Generally there will be two parts of raising a militia, a free element and a paid-for to muster element. As the second element normally requires confirmation by the player, it will arrive at the base a day later. This can in theory be superseded specifying a maximum budget for the second element (which may or may not be spent).
Where a conflict has already started, militia will form up in a nearby urban sector a few days after the request for aid.

The amount that can be raised is based on the population. Consider, all other factors being typical that a militia of around 0.05% of the population is a reasonable estimate. For a heavily populated world 50,000 free militia is considered the upper limit (150,000 including paid to muster militia).

For a typical world of 5,000,000 civilians, where there is support for the affiliation and species are similar to the starbase’s troops but little in the way of infrastructure investment, the base could raise around 2,000 free militia and a total of 6,000 for a cost of 8,000 stellars.

The maximum militia to troop ratios is around 2, therefore on Earth for example, the Imperial Services will need 75,000 troops in a base to maximise their call for militia.
Raising additional militia while inadvisable can be done. Results are likely to be poor, highly expensive and will have negative impacts on relations.

Militia on secondment from the civilian population and are free to the base while they are on their origin world though may convert to mercs, quit or negatively affect planetary infrastructure if not released in a timely manner. It is strongly advised that they be released ASAP.




 
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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic