Author Topic: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?  (Read 1515 times)

The Wobbly Guy

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Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« on: 15 April 2023, 02:08:51 »
Many clan traditions evolved organically instead of being laid down from the beginning by Nick Kerensky. For example, the tradition of batchall started on Arcadia during Operation Klondike.

So... I was looking around for sources, and couldn't find any for the tradition of bondsmen and abtakha. Did it also evolve on Arcadia since the section described Shogunate troops becoming fully fledged clan warriors?

Alan Grant

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #1 on: 15 April 2023, 05:42:57 »
The Golden Century book tells us that 6 original Ritual Conflicts were created by Kerensky. Trial of Possession, Ritual of Adoption, being among them.

I think Kerensky had to settle this issue at the same time that he crafted those. After all you can engage in a Trial of Possession for people, and the Adoption Ritual revolves around people. The exact procedures and norms may have come later.
« Last Edit: 15 April 2023, 05:58:22 by Alan Grant »

cmerwin

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #2 on: 17 April 2023, 21:45:43 »
Likewise, we see in Operation KLONDIKE, when the Nova Cats engaged the Brotherhood of Fianna on southern Circe, there also seems to have been a kind of proto-bondsman and Zellbringen that went into effect (Historical: Operation KLONDIKE, "Brothers in Arms", 78). So I think what @Alan Grant is suggesting is correct, basically, when Nicholas instituted BOTH the Trial of Possession and also this elite competitive esprit de corps (alongside resource scarcity) among the nascent Clans, and they then retook the Pentagon planets, the Clans looked to take honorable warriors as Clan property.  Eventually, this would become its own version of the Trial of Possession. I don't imagine the bondcord was established until the Golden or - more likely - the Political Century.
« Last Edit: 17 April 2023, 21:51:32 by cmerwin »
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Metallgewitter

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #3 on: 18 April 2023, 04:21:11 »
There is also the case of the Helgen County when the Blood Spirit adopted Tiberius Reed into their rank (Star Colonel Tiberius) after Operation Klondike. Or the Ilkasar Shogunate warriors who basically created the very first batchall with the Steel Vipers. Their warriors were also adopted by the Clans (at least some like the Adders and Spirits). Also this allegedly lead to friciton between the Clans as the purists decried it as muddling the Clans while the pragmatists defended it as integrating former opponents.

cmerwin

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #4 on: 18 April 2023, 09:22:41 »
There is also the case of the Helgen County when the Blood Spirit adopted Tiberius Reed into their rank (Star Colonel Tiberius) after Operation Klondike. Or the Ilkasar Shogunate warriors who basically created the very first batchall with the Steel Vipers. Their warriors were also adopted by the Clans (at least some like the Adders and Spirits). Also this allegedly lead to friciton between the Clans as the purists decried it as muddling the Clans while the pragmatists defended it as integrating former opponents.


The example of the Ilkasar Shogunate is a good one. I didn't know about the Helgen County case (or at least have forgotten it if I did). Cheers!
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Cannonshop

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #5 on: 18 April 2023, 19:00:51 »
Many clan traditions evolved organically instead of being laid down from the beginning by Nick Kerensky. For example, the tradition of batchall started on Arcadia during Operation Klondike.

So... I was looking around for sources, and couldn't find any for the tradition of bondsmen and abtakha. Did it also evolve on Arcadia since the section described Shogunate troops becoming fully fledged clan warriors?

There's the practical aspect at work here on top of the fine sources cited by previous posters.

What do you do with the guys who surrender?  How do you maintain order? How do you present a good reason to give up, instead of fighting to the last breath?

in a Civil War?

Killing prisoners motivates your opponent to keep fighting, and the whole Pentagone break up happened because Kerensky forced guys who were hooked on the prestige of being the top-dogs in society by dint of their military position into civilian positions and roles that lacked that prestige, in an environment where such roles really DID lack that prestige.  The Bondsman thing provides a motivation for enemy soldiers to give up and surrender instead of fighting to the bitter end-because it gives them that path to the top of society they were rebelling to get in the first place.

Given the demographics involved here, it was a sharp move by Nicky to start it, because it meant NOT having to kill them to the last man, and it meant NOT having to deal with nearly as many back door insurgencies, and it generated access to additional bodies to throw at the next target.

The Bondsman thing is really a clever way to deal with a situation where you have a huge number of military trained personnel with very few genuine civilians mixed in, and you also have a civil war involving people who only a couple decades earlier were fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in the most brutal war in their history.

The unique environment of post-exodus SLDF in the Pentagon worlds made it a viable option, where in a less artificial condition elsewhere, it would be pure stupidity.
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Metallgewitter

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #6 on: 19 April 2023, 13:53:44 »
Given the demographics involved here, it was a sharp move by Nicky to start it, because it meant NOT having to kill them to the last man, and it meant NOT having to deal with nearly as many back door insurgencies, and it generated access to additional bodies to throw at the next target.

The Bondsman thing is really a clever way to deal with a situation where you have a huge number of military trained personnel with very few genuine civilians mixed in, and you also have a civil war involving people who only a couple decades earlier were fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in the most brutal war in their history.

The unique environment of post-exodus SLDF in the Pentagon worlds made it a viable option, where in a less artificial condition elsewhere, it would be pure stupidity.

I think it's also pragmatism: after all the clans didn't know much about the planets they conquered. They adopted deserving leaders into their ranks (star Colonel tiberius is one but there is also the manager of the Dagda weapon factory who was imprisoned but later adopted by the Scorpions and who rose to prominence there) to administer their new possesions. And a perhaps darker aspect when it came to punishing the ring leaders they made the civilians willing accomplices by letting them take part in the punishments (The Thamzing). Perhaps not the same as bondsman but it is an aspect that should be pointed out.

Phantom000

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #7 on: 31 December 2023, 10:04:13 »
There's the practical aspect at work here on top of the fine sources cited by previous posters.

What do you do with the guys who surrender?  How do you maintain order? How do you present a good reason to give up, instead of fighting to the last breath?

in a Civil War?

Killing prisoners motivates your opponent to keep fighting, and the whole Pentagone break up happened because Kerensky forced guys who were hooked on the prestige of being the top-dogs in society by dint of their military position into civilian positions and roles that lacked that prestige, in an environment where such roles really DID lack that prestige.  The Bondsman thing provides a motivation for enemy soldiers to give up and surrender instead of fighting to the bitter end-because it gives them that path to the top of society they were rebelling to get in the first place.

Given the demographics involved here, it was a sharp move by Nicky to start it, because it meant NOT having to kill them to the last man, and it meant NOT having to deal with nearly as many back door insurgencies, and it generated access to additional bodies to throw at the next target.

The Bondsman thing is really a clever way to deal with a situation where you have a huge number of military trained personnel with very few genuine civilians mixed in, and you also have a civil war involving people who only a couple decades earlier were fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in the most brutal war in their history.

The unique environment of post-exodus SLDF in the Pentagon worlds made it a viable option, where in a less artificial condition elsewhere, it would be pure stupidity.

I agree.

Whether the practice was laid down by Kerensky himself, or it developed on its own, probably something in between, it seems like a way to deal with the problem of POWs. Clan society is all about efficiency, everyone doing their best for the good of the clan as a whole (you do whatever you are best at), and its not very efficient to have a bunch of able bodies just sitting in a barracks while equally able bodies stand around guarding them. So the obvious solution is put them to work. I was always under the impression that the bondsmen who become warriors tend to be among the minority with most going into the civilian castes.

Also, how many were willing, if not eager, to defect to the Clans? As you said, many of them were comrades during the Amaris Civil War so how many battles were decided when a Clan warrior convinced their old friends to switch sides? Or how many civilians came to Kerensky when they decided the Clans might be the better option?

rebs

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #8 on: 31 December 2023, 12:32:51 »
Nick K unevenly applied this, which is why it seems to have been codified by later generations.  He allowed the survivors of the Ilkasur Shogunate to become warriors if they fought well and honorably.  But when the Nova Cats and Mongooses wanted to adopt the Fianna as warriors, Nick denied them, though the circumstances were virtually the same and the Fianna fought well and with honor.

But that's also part of the erratic nature of Nick that allowed him to be manipulated by Jennifer Winson into actually following through with the insanity of reforming society into a caste system based around what are more or less tribes that identify with and venerate totem animals.
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Metallgewitter

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #9 on: 31 December 2023, 14:20:13 »
In terms of the Fianna you have to remembver that on the same planet the Ravens allied themselves with the Kerensky Dominion until their bad treatment made the Dominion snap and attack the Ravens. If this had not happened the Fianna might have been treated differently.

But as Phantom said the bondsmen aspect came most likely out of pragmatism: why waste resources for people who can't work for you? The more efficent way is to turn them into additional manpower even if only for a while. Let's not forget the Kerensky Cluster isn't exactly the nicest part of known space. And right after Klondike had concluded you had to fill the ranks of your military as well as repairing and building the new cities and what have you. So you need trained personel and what best to use then those who are part of your culture?
« Last Edit: 01 January 2024, 10:56:05 by Metallgewitter »

rebs

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #10 on: 31 December 2023, 15:25:25 »
I agree about the Kerensky Dominion.  Yet it's still uneven application of his authority to decide what was right within the ways of his new society, and what was to be disallowed.  The Fianna was not the Kerensky Dominion, they didn't behave dishonorably. 

Though one could also argue that the Kerensky Dominion also didn't behave dishonorably, since they felt betrayed first and acted on it after being fed up with Clan arroganceTM.

It was a mess.  But Nick's head was far from clear after the Brain Fever, and Jen Winson didn't help that.

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Metallgewitter

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #11 on: 22 January 2024, 13:30:54 »
Found an interesting question on X today: if a bond holder dies in combat what happens to the bondsman he or she "owns"? Would they be repatriated to their original Clan? Or would they be reassigned into another caste, maybe even given the chance to become an adopted warrior?

Alan Grant

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #12 on: 22 January 2024, 14:50:06 »
The person who posed the question on X is putting too much weight on the word "owns." The Clan owns everything. Individuals own very little or nothing. Even currency is recovered if the lower caste individual doesn't spend it in the allotted time. (Yes, for many Clans in the Inner Sphere, this has gotten blurry at best, or dual-system with a Clan system and an Inner Sphere system working side-by-side, but its fair to say bondsmen go in the Clan category)

Equipment, possessions, bondsmen, they are "assigned" to someone. There are just certain practices and norms for how that's done. That also means they can be reassigned.

In the event that a bondholder dies, a bondsman would be reassigned to a different bondholder. I don't have any evidence or canon examples to speak of, but that path makes the most sense to me. I played out this exact scenario in some fan fiction I wrote a while back. A frustrated bondholder with a tense relationship with a bondswoman she feels like she just got thrown together with after the original bondholder died in battle. The two don't respect each other and it makes for a sour and angry relationship. Their relationship improved over time, particularly when the bondswoman proves helpful and useful to the bondholder throughout the entire story of a Trial of Bloodright, with all its twists and turns from the Grand Melee through every round of the fights.

The closest thing we've seen on this in canon that I can recall, is Phelan being shifted to Ulric Kerensky as a bondsman. Instead of being a bondsman of Vlad Ward (the warrior who defeated him in battle). That was essentially the Khan taking a Khan's prerogative and pulling rank on Vlad. But it speaks to idea that yes, bondsmen may be moved around. First and foremost they are property of the Clan.
« Last Edit: 22 January 2024, 17:19:25 by Alan Grant »

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #13 on: 27 January 2024, 02:40:41 »
IIRC, in Elements of Treason: Honor, there was an ex-Lyran bondswoman who's bondholder had died and nobody else wanted to take her so she got shuffled off to a Hell's Horses prison.
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Re: Clan Tradition: Bondsmen - How did it start?
« Reply #14 on: 06 February 2024, 13:15:49 »
Bah, all these logical answers.

I say it started with this  :tongue:

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