The governments of the members of the United Planets vary widely from system to system and race to race.
Many of the more heavily-populated planets are governed by some sort of democracy or republic. Regular elections are held where all citizens are allowed to vote. Some planets (notably Terledrom in the Fromeltar system) are ruled by councils of businessmen and corporate executives. This is a very common system on outpost worlds as well, where one corporation has invested heavily in the colony and managed to exclude most competition.
Monarchies are not uncommon on planets in the Frontier. In these enlightened times, however, any monarchy must display an obvious concern for it's citizens in order to survive. The planet Clarion is an example of one of these "benign" or "enlightened" monarchies.
Occasionally a dictatorship will appear on a Frontier planet. The rise and fall of such states is left strictly to the residents of that planet. It is nearly unheard of for Spacefleet and/or the Rangers to be called upon to intervene in a matter of planetary politics.
Even though the planet may be part of an interstellar union, it has has its own laws and elected officials. Many sorts of governments operate among human worlds, and alien races may have governments that humans have never been able to make work. Some of the possible planetary governments are given below:
Even though the planet may be part of an interstellar union, it may have its own laws and elected officials. Many sorts of governments operate among human worlds, and alien races may have governments that humans have never been able to make work. Some of the possible planetary governments are given below:
Aristocracy: a form of government that places power in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class. Types of aristocracy are often names after the type of persons who make up the class, such as: "Meritocracy" (government by those who demonstrate the most merit), Scientocracy (government by scientists, also called Technocracy), or "Partriarchy/Matriarchy" (government by male/female heads of families).
Anarchy: No organized government at all. Some Dralasite worlds do very well with this type (or lack) of government.
Company-Owned World: A planet controlled by a company or corporation and run for profit. This system is common on Vrusk worlds.
Confederacy: A number of smaller areas banded together under one loose planetary government. Yazirian clans often form confederations.
Democracy (aka "Direct Democracy" or "Athenian Democracy"): Government by the citizenry as a whole, where the entire populace votes directly on policy.
Democratic Republic (aka "Representative Democracy"): A government run by elected representatives. Humans and Dralasites favor this option.
Dictatorship: Absolute rule by one leader. Humans sometimes have this government.
Feudalism: Government by landowners. Landowners (known as the Nobility) hold lands from the Crown in exchange for military service. Vassals are in turn tenants of the nobles, and the peasantry (serfs) are obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of their produce, notionally in exchange for military protection. Feudalism is usually part of Monarchy, but may exist without a single ruling head of state. Sociologists sometimes call this form of feudalism "Warlordism".
Monarchy: Rule by a king or a queen, usually of one family. Only Humans use this type of government.
Plutocracy: A government run by those with the most wealth. Another popular government used by the Vrusk.
Socialist State: The state owns and controls most activities for the equal good of all people. Such states are often used by Humans and Dralasites.
Stratocracy: Rule by a nation's military leaders. Yazirians will often form this type of government, using the military leaders from each clan.
Syndicracy: Rule by an organization of the most powerful corporations on the planet. Vrusk favor this style.
Theocracy: Government by religious leaders, sometimes seen among Humans and Yazirians.
Many variations and combinations of these basic governmental structures are possible.
Human and Alien Societies Edit
A society is the way a group of people lives together - how members deal with each other, what they believe in, what they consider important, and how they work. Societies do not have specific natural laws to follow and seldom have written laws or regulations. People in a society generally know what is correct or incorrect; they learn this by experience as they grow up.
This section gives general guidelines and suggestions on how to create interesting societies in a Star Frontiers game. To gain specific ideas on creating planetary societies, the game referee should check out some books on Earth- Human history and present societies. Human civilization is filled with examples of many different societies and cultures that may provide ideas for gaming.
Societies are formed from several different forces - the planet's races, governments, current laws, religions, climate, landforms, history, etc. The race of the inhabitants affects the society with its particular needs, likes, and dislikes; these, then, play a part in any planetary society of that race.
The physical conditions on a planet affect how people live and what they consider important for their survival. If a planet has very little water, water becomes very important. People who waste water would be "bad," and bathing would be a luxury for special events. Swimming and boating might be terrifying for the average dry-lander. If a planet has a great deal of water, people who could not swim might become social misfits. The referee should think about the planetary conditions that might affect the society.
The government of a planet also affects the society's customs. A planetary dictatorship is rarely likely to tolerate free speech; people of such a planet may be unwilling to speak their minds. Under an anarchy, those citizens supporting an organized government may be considered dangerous or "strange." Atheists in a theocracy are bound to have difficulties with the local government. The laws of the planet also make a difference. A theocracy has more laws dealing with religious crimes, while a dictatorship has laws to control free speech, and a plutocracy has laws to protect the very rich.
When creating a society for a Star Frontiers planet, it helps to start by listing a few notable customs of the planet's citizens. These customs should be interesting and obvious to the player characters. The Dralasites of Inner Reach in the Frontier Sector dye their skin every day, for example. As the characters become more involved in the life on the planet, they will probably want to know why the Dralasites do this. By having the players ask such questions (and by giving them answers), the referee will slowly build a description of the society on the planet.
The referee should remember that it is not necessary to have every detail of a society worked out in advance. Significant customs and laws should be prepared, but playing the game and having the player characters get involved with life on the planet often helps the referee focus on the social elements he needs to evolve. The referee should make each planet distinctive and unique whenever possible, to enhance the enjoyment gained in playing the game.
Notes and References Edit
- Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks Expansion Rulebook pp. 52