Navies of the Imagoes Subsector

Posted: 24 March 2011 in Arioniad
Tags: ,

“Quantity has a quality all its own.” – Joseph Stalin.

As the Arioniad is a spacefaring campaign, I feel the need to flesh out the naval situation in the subsector a little more. To a first approximation, this will show the strategic balance of power as well.

BASES

The first thing this draws to my attention is that the subsector map shows the naval base symbol wherever the UWP list shows a scout base, and the scout base symbol wherever the UWPs show a naval one. I’ve fixed that by redrawing the map, which you can now find a link to in the Campaigns section (see top menu bar).

I decide that naval bases indicate what we’d call today a "blue-water navy" – one that can credibly project power outside its own territorial waters (read, “system space”). That means the actual naval powers are Aresar (part of the Mageer Swarm), Direra (Inleer) and Ustianan (Esusce).

There are quite a lot of class B starports in the subsector, where small craft could be built, but only four class A starports capable of building starships; Zamaso and Aresar are both in the Mageer Swarm, and Esusce and Ustianan, both controlled by Esusce. Since only Aresar and Ustianan have both a naval base and a starship yard, they are probably the worlds with the best naval traditions.

FLEETS

I spent quite a bit of time researching various ways to calculate available fleet budgets and tonnages, and comparing those to the real world, but then decided that for a role-playing campaign, it doesn’t matter; all of the methods in are CT ultimately based on population, and because they are expressed in powers of 10, the highest population level in the state is a good approximation to its total population. The empires stack up against each other thus, with the navies of equivalent-sized present-day nations for comparison:

Population Empires Present-Day Examples
10 Mageer Swarm All contemporary navies. Twice. With chips. Thousands of warships.
9 Teenes Indian or Chinese navies. Hundreds of warships.
8 Inleer Pakistani navy to USN. Tens to hundreds of warships.
7 Xemaais, Enaniqu, Inlaarin Iraqi navy to Turkish navy. Up to a couple of hundred warships.
6 Edcetequ, Esusce Israeli navy to Swedish navy. Up to several dozen warships.
4 Laarerer No contemporary state this small has a navy.

 

Now, history shows that the number of ships is not the whole story; training, motivation and leadership can act as force multipliers, allowing a smaller navy to punch above its weight. Looking at the relative combat power of real-world navies, a highly-effective one could take on the next level up in the table – I’d bet on the USN against the Indian navy, if it ever came to that – but not two levels above; the Swedish navy is not going to take on the USN and win, nor is the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard going to stand much of a chance against the Royal Navy, should they ever wind up on opposite sides of the gaming table.

It should also be noted that population isn’t a completely accurate yardstick – the USN has almost half the world’s warships, but the USA is only the third most populous state – but since this is a roleplaying campaign rather than a full-on strategic simulation, I shan’t worry about that.

ANALYSIS

The Mageer Swarm, if mobilised to a single purpose, can basically whip anyone it wants, whenever it likes. The Swarm has a killing, heart-breaking numerical edge. Esusce’s navy does have a one TL advantage over Mageer, but I can’t see that making up for being outnumbered 10,000 to 1. Most of the other powers have a lower TL than Mageer, which makes the imbalance worse. Comparing the population levels of the Swarm’s worlds, around 99% of their ships, crews and troops will be imagoes.

Teenes is the second-ranking power, able to take on the rest of the subsector combined and expect to win, so long as Mageer stays out of the fight. However, theirs is not a “blue-water navy”, and while no-one but the Swarm could hope to beat them in a war, they are not a credible threat to other empires.

Inleer is the third-ranking power, fearing only Mageer and Teenes, able to bully the rest of the subsector if it so desires, but unable to build its own ships; this limits its ambitions somewhat, and suggests an alliance with Esusce – Esusce providing the technology, and Inleer the numbers. The alliance’s primary military concern is how to deal with the Swarm if it turns its hive mind to conquest, since it would be outnumbered 100:1.

The rest of the multiworld empires are comic-opera affairs, of minimal strategic importance. Laarerer’s navy probably has no actual ships, and consists of a number of sinecure positions whose incumbents dress up in smart uniforms and salute each other on public holidays.

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