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Author Topic: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society  (Read 1528 times)

Hawkeye Jim

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #30 on: 08 October 2020, 12:53:29 »
I'm not really a fan of the Clans, but the book does sound interesting. Where's the best place to find it?

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #31 on: 08 October 2020, 13:32:20 »
I'm not really a fan of the Clans, but the book does sound interesting. Where's the best place to find it?
CGL Store or Amazon
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Maingunnery

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #32 on: 08 October 2020, 13:49:49 »
CGL Store or Amazon
Also: drivethrufiction
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #33 on: 08 October 2020, 15:34:34 »
The Free Guilds hold the same place as the Ebon Keshik, Katyusha Keshik, McKenna's Pride...

They’re not the same thing.  Those keshiks and that warship represent official temporary postings for personnel that rotate back to their parent Clan and/or positions of honor for distinguished Clan warriors.  By contrast, the people of the Free Guilds exist outside of any parent Clan and work on contract.

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... held in trust for the ilKhan/ilClan.  A part of the prize if you will.

If the Free Guilds are the undesirables of Clan society, then they don’t represent much of a prize to be maintained in trust for the ilClan.

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not without risk of being attacked by a Clan in their dealings.  Look at the little recourse the Guilds had when they were hit with orbital strikes in the City.  The warship strike had no consequences- the Clan was not even known, no restitution, or even political censure.

This is one of my points.  Without no military of their own and with no recourse through a Clan’s justice system, the people of the Free Guilds are at the mercy of any Clan that wishes to claim or extinguish part or all of them.  Given the extreme competition for resources in the Homeworlds, the totalitarian nature of the Clans, and any Clan’s enormous military advantage over the Free Guilds, it beggars belief that the Free Guilds maintained their own existence in the Homeworlds separate from any of the Clans for a couple or few hundred years.

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I do agree they make more sense when you consider them with early Clan material...

The Free Guilds have two throwaway references in the old JFSB and that’s it.  AFAIK, the Free Guilds do not reappear in any other source, even when sources like C:WoK, MWGttC, FM:CC, and FM:WC deal with topics like “Civilian Councils and Governance”, “Economics”, etc.  As discussed elsewhere on these boards, the Free Guilds were dropped because their existence makes no sense in the context of Clan society:

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/clan-chatterweb/free-guilds/?PHPSESSID=ee6a2r7d2fe6e1vseteeqv2rvi

This is not a critique of the novel Icons of War.  It’s a solid story with other good background info.  Folks should buy and read it.

But someone in the development or editing process should have thought through what problems bringing back the concept of the Free Guilds poses:

Where did the Free Guilds come from?  When everyone else was getting assigned to a Clan, did Nick Kerensky decide to let certain peoples live outside the control of any one Clan and why?  If the Free Guilds evolved later, why did certain Clans decide to let certain groups of their citizenry leave their Clan?

The Clans scrupulously avoid waste and there is heavy competition for limited resources in the Homeworlds.  Why would the Clans let human resources go unused, even temporarily, in a manpower pool that exists outside the control of any individual Clan(s)?  Why don’t the Clans simply reassign personnel — “you Laborers are off that apartment building and now building defenses for next month’s trial” — as needed?

The Clans are relatively totalitarian and possess enormous military strength compared to the Free Guilds.  Why would the Clans tolerate the existence of a civilian population outside any Clan’s direct control?  What has kept the Clans from simply absorbing the manpower and resources of the Free Guilds for a couple or few hundred years?  Do the Free Guilds have tri-vids of the Clan Founders in compromising positions or something?  (Okay, that last one was a joke.)

The Clan economy is essentially socialist and Clanners live in enclaves belonging to particular Clans.  Do Free Guilders live alongside Clan citizens in Clan enclaves?  How do Free Guilders obtain the basics of human living when Clanners receive their housing, food, clothing, transportation, etc. from their Clan?  If Free Guilders do not live alongside Clanners in Clan enclaves, then where do they live and how do they get the basic supplies of human living met?

The McKenna’s Pride is a warship of tremendous destructive power and strategic value, and the Free Guilders are portrayed as temp workers and undesirables.  Why would temps and undesirables even be let near a warship, nevertheless contracted to work on a flagship?  It’s like the US Navy using a temp agency to build or staff a nuclear submarine or nuclear aircraft carrier.

Even the name “Free Guilds” raises questions.  The Clans are not about freedoms, for individuals or groups.  Why would they even use the term “Free”?  And “Guilds” implies groups that maintain power by limiting the spread of the specialized knowledge used in their professions.  Again, this seems anathema to the openness and principles of Clan society.  Are there other “unfree guilds”, and why do the Clans allow guilds to exist at all?

Maybe someone has thought through all this and maybe there are logical answers to these questions coming in future products.  But if not, I think it would have been better to use some other Clanner group in Icons instead of resurrecting the Free Guilds.

Again, my 2 Kerenskies... YMMV.
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Frabby

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #34 on: 09 October 2020, 01:05:22 »
You could turn the argument around and define the Free Guilds as those people whom no Clan cares about to be responsible for (housing, feeding, medical care), without being marked as Dark Caste to be hunted. Self-organized "unproductives" regarded as only marginally useful unless you have concrete need of them. An invisible Clan unto their own.
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Wrangler

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #35 on: 09 October 2020, 09:58:01 »
The unexpected action with the McKenna's pride was fun to read.  I KEEP thinking weirdly this felt like WW2 Submarine action film inserted into the book, since they were only using missiles since there wasn't enough people onboard to man the da big guns.
« Last Edit: 09 October 2020, 10:12:32 by Wrangler »
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Sharkapult

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #36 on: 09 October 2020, 10:06:25 »
I feel The Free Guilds are almost a Home Clan analog of Comstar in the Inner Sphere. A pool of resources both manpower and materiel that every clan to some degree is beholden to. I.e. you need them to ship grain and ore back and forth between systems because every Clan jump ship is moving military around for trials, rebuilds, etc.
Attack a Free Guild ship? ALL Free Guilds would pull support from you, (like an interdiction in IS) crippling any campaigns you might have. No extra manpower, no extra shipping capacity.
The Clans generally seem to run in a "Just In Time" logistics mode with everything, and any bump or hiccup would be catastrophic unless there were a pool of help somewhere to smooth things out.
In fact that may explain the idea of the Smoke Jaguars having to steal/raid for everything. The Free Guilds probably don't help the Jags due to their vicious methods dealing with civvies.

Gaiiten

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #37 on: 09 October 2020, 10:54:03 »
I feel The Free Guilds are almost a Home Clan analog of Comstar in the Inner Sphere. A pool of resources both manpower and materiel that every clan to some degree is beholden to. I.e. you need them to ship grain and ore back and forth between systems because every Clan jump ship is moving military around for trials, rebuilds, etc.
Attack a Free Guild ship? ALL Free Guilds would pull support from you, (like an interdiction in IS) crippling any campaigns you might have. No extra manpower, no extra shipping capacity.
The Clans generally seem to run in a "Just In Time" logistics mode with everything, and any bump or hiccup would be catastrophic unless there were a pool of help somewhere to smooth things out.
In fact that may explain the idea of the Smoke Jaguars having to steal/raid for everything. The Free Guilds probably don't help the Jags due to their vicious methods dealing with civvies.
I can hardly think that the FreeGuilds are capable of dorcing any Clan. If they would have tried this, they would be get pummeled by Clan Warriors. And no other Clan would help them.
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Alan Grant

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #38 on: 09 October 2020, 11:31:14 »
Yeah I don't agree with the idea that they are identified as a force that's a threat to the Clans. I don't think the ComStar analogy works.

Such an attitude would be a, THE reason to wipe them out.

The right combination for such a thing to exist is useful+not a threat to the Clans=We won't kill you

Useful+a threat against the Clans=We kill you

If the Draconis Combine thought the Unproductives were a real threat to the Dragon, there would be a slaughter of them across the entire Combine on a scale that would make Kentares look small by comparison. Same conceptualization.

Just the fear of what the Dark Caste can be is why the Clans so relentlessly exterminate them at every opportunity. Their actual strength meant they weren't really on that level of a threat. But the perception that they were, or could be, meant kill them all.

The Clans need their scientists. Didn't stop them from wiping out scientists left and right once they learned the Society existed and could represent a real threat.

Sharkapult

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #39 on: 09 October 2020, 12:18:38 »
I can hardly think that the FreeGuilds are capable of dorcing any Clan. If they would have tried this, they would be get pummeled by Clan Warriors. And no other Clan would help them.
You are reading too much into my analogy. It's a strictly cost-benefit analysis. They help far more than they hurt. No clan is going to go out of their way to instigate the Free Guilds anyhow, due to potentially losing access to their services. (Smoke Jaguars need not apply) Further they are apparently imbued with the founder's blessing and then centuries of tradition.
In my example I will agree IS Comstar has FAR more influence than these HC Guilds. The Guilds would never be able to sway a Crusader to vote Warden or whatever. If a Clan Enclave, for no reason, decided to liquidate a Guild no Guild would willingly help that clan. A censure vote in the HC would likely be forthcoming against that clan. Cost vs Benefit.
The orbital strike in the novel shows that the Guilds are used to petitioning the Grand Council and getting results. The lack of any inquiry or response gets the Guilds angry.
They are protected in the HC by tradition and the threat that a worker's strike can do to a clan. They are untouchable because they are everywhere and they are useful.

CJC070

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #40 on: 11 October 2020, 12:08:36 »
With the Free Guilds existing it makes more sense why so many Dark Caste enclaves popped up during the War of Reavings.  With the Clan central authority breaking down someone had to take over.  It was unfortunate that the Clans identified them as Dark Caste and wiping them out.  Also makes sense why they might have been eliminated as an “organization” post WoR. 

One more item on why they exist is look at Feudal Japan they used “unproductive” members and Yakuza to do the less savoury jobs because it was beneath them. 

marauder648

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #41 on: 12 October 2020, 04:03:11 »
I like the idea of the free guilds (and i'm waiting on my copy of the book to arrive) they're basically the glue that holds the Clan society together. Yes you have the Castes, but the population levels are so low as to be near unworkable in many cases. The way I see it, the Free Guilds are more akin to a meta-labour/merchant caste. Yes they're looked down on and largely go unseen but they're vital. As Craig said you could hire them for a construction project, you're building a dam, your Cheif Labour Factor says it'll take four years which is too long. You contract out a Free Guild and get the manpower and raw muscle/labor to get it done in 2.

As for where they came from, easy, they started off as survivors of the Pentagon Civil War, perhaps they lived in orbital colonies or ones who tried to just avoid the fighting and horrors and survived and when Nicky K comes along and stabalized the situation, Instead of having to fight to conquer them, they willingly join swearing oaths that they would serve Kerensky and his followers. Whilst many were taken into Castes they start out as a neutral party in those early days, shipping things between the Clans, working on projects etc when the Clans were not inclined to help one another. And because the Clans were still trying to get their population levels up, they served as construction workers, street cleaners, miners, etc etc etc. Over the years this changed and whilst the Free Guilds (named because they were not directly incorperated into any Clan but serve ALL Clans through an edict by Nicky K) still carried out their as a meta caste, because they were not 'Clan' despite following their teachings etc, they were more and more looked down upon and ignored. Loosing any voice or power they had until it became a shadow of itself.

Thats how it could be done.
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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #42 on: 12 October 2020, 12:59:06 »
Nicky didn't really believe in the longevity of unity i think.  Why have all the separate Clans to begin with? Keep them busy with each other until time came to take Terra?  How heck is ilClan itself suppose to keep everything together if the other clans will try take ilClan ship away from the ilClan itself?  Sounds like neverending turn over at the head office to me. Not stability.

Free Guild from what got from the book was just about wiped out by the time the McKenna's Pride blew town for bright pastures.
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Alan Grant

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #43 on: 17 October 2020, 16:36:03 »
Kerensky had no real idea of knowing if his new Clan society would even survive much longer after his death. Or it would explode into another Pentagon Civil Wars type situation, once he was gone.

The goals he set up didn't have to be well thought out, they just had to be goals that his new society could focus on. The separate Clans were a realization that war was just a part of human nature, so it had to be tamed, controlled, managed. The separate Clans, Zell, achieved that, until the Wars of Reaving era at least.

But he needed to offer a bigger, brighter future. The Clan Homeworlds are harsh, life on them isn't easy, he had to offer something better as a far off abstraction. That's where we get the IlClan concept.

But it's like a person saying "my goal is world peace." Nice goal, got a plan to go with it?.... No? Just the goal then.. ok. That's Kerensky in this situation. Turning it into reality was left for future generations.
« Last Edit: 17 October 2020, 16:38:24 by Alan Grant »

Metallgewitter

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #44 on: 17 October 2020, 16:46:06 »
Kerensky had no real idea of knowing if his new Clan society would even survive much longer after his death. Or it would explode into another Pentagon Civil Wars type situation, once he was gone.

The goals he set up didn't have to be well thought out, they just had to be goals that his new society could focus on. The separate Clans were a realization that war was just a part of human nature, so it had to be tamed, controlled, managed. The separate Clans, Zell, achieved that, until the Wars of Reaving era at least.

But he needed to offer a bigger, brighter future. The Clan Homeworlds are harsh, life on them isn't easy, he had to offer something better as a far off abstraction. That's where we get the IlClan concept.

But it's like a person saying "my goal is world peace." Nice goal, got a plan to go with it?.... No? Just the goal then.. ok. That's Kerensky in this situation. Turning it into reality was left for future generations.

Wasn't the brighter future the "hidden Hope doctrin"? Alexander Kerensky planted this seed when he quelled the Prince Eugen revolt and his son basically enshrined it in his fledgling society. The thing is that Nicolas also created the true / natural born divide by advancing the iron womb technology when his motive was simply to increase the population (heck at first there were mostly "scientific approved marriages" so that viable offspring could be produced and in effect this destroyed traditional familial morals). It was maybe a good thing that Nicolas died before he could finish his ideas. Who knows maybe another clan would have go the wolverine route. After all the Falcons had it's issues and the Widowmakers were also a hard case.

Alan Grant

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #45 on: 18 October 2020, 07:23:20 »
Don't get the Kerensky's confused. I have no doubt that Alexander's goals and mindset were very different from Nicholas. The Clans worship both but it doesn't mean they were the same.

Both were making this up as they went along. The book Operation Klondike does a great job of highlighting the process the Founders went through to create the Clans. Nicholas seized on a few different concepts he really liked and fused them together. There was no time-tested plan here, just mostly Nicholas's ideas, sometimes tempered with the perspective from a few of the others like his brother.

The Iron Wombs were only partially a population issue. He wanted the warrior caste to feel free from such impediments as needing to live to be be fruitful and have offspring. There's some good quotes in the book Operation Klondike around pages 32, 33 from the warriors, who herald this achievement that the warriors need not fear their mortality anymore. Another quote says something like "we may perish but our children will not die because of it."

It was a population issue in that the Clans needed a really high birth rate, something everyone was supposed to contribute to, and the Clan warrior lifestyle was an impediment to being consistent with that. But with Iron Womb technology, it didn't matter. They could die at age 22 and still have a multitude of offspring.

If you don't have it I really recommend the book Operation Klondike. Excellent read on the founding of the Clans and those early years.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #46 on: 18 October 2020, 09:24:28 »
If you don't have it I really recommend the book Operation Klondike. Excellent read on the founding of the Clans and those early years.

+1 to this, great book, very descriptive and interesting text, not quite as good as Wars of Reaving but definitely a useful sourcebook

Metallgewitter

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Re: Icons of War (Spoilers)- Look inside Clan society
« Reply #47 on: 19 October 2020, 07:49:42 »
Don't get the Kerensky's confused. I have no doubt that Alexander's goals and mindset were very different from Nicholas. The Clans worship both but it doesn't mean they were the same.

Both were making this up as they went along. The book Operation Klondike does a great job of highlighting the process the Founders went through to create the Clans. Nicholas seized on a few different concepts he really liked and fused them together. There was no time-tested plan here, just mostly Nicholas's ideas, sometimes tempered with the perspective from a few of the others like his brother.

The Iron Wombs were only partially a population issue. He wanted the warrior caste to feel free from such impediments as needing to live to be be fruitful and have offspring. There's some good quotes in the book Operation Klondike around pages 32, 33 from the warriors, who herald this achievement that the warriors need not fear their mortality anymore. Another quote says something like "we may perish but our children will not die because of it."

It was a population issue in that the Clans needed a really high birth rate, something everyone was supposed to contribute to, and the Clan warrior lifestyle was an impediment to being consistent with that. But with Iron Womb technology, it didn't matter. They could die at age 22 and still have a multitude of offspring.

If you don't have it I really recommend the book Operation Klondike. Excellent read on the founding of the Clans and those early years.

Yes I have Operation Klondike and read it. It is a great book and it also shows how the men and women who followed Kerensky slowly trandformed from "Long live the Star League" to "Nicolas knows the best!" (at least that is my view) I mean the Iron womb technology also made some followers uncomfortable. There is this quote "We don't need love and now we don't even need sex. Someone should have burned Darwin at a stake when he had the chance"
Or the part where Truscott mentions "We have forgotten how to wage war" Something that came very true during the battle for Tukayyid 

 

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