3.2.0 Society Design

In addition to designing their races, players must also design their race’s society. Society design does not involve APs or require them, and is more of a free-form choice of items from a standardized list. Societal design involves selecting the starting long-term SR modifiers, government modifiers, and other society design modifiers.

3.2.1 Governments  & The People

The structure of a government and the opinion of the people that government rules over can have a significant impact on the ability of a player to rule his empire. The following system is a method of introducing government, taxes, the voice of the people, and the situation(s) to Fire On The Suns.

Popular attitudes and effects are represented by two values. The first is the Societal Satisfaction Rating (SR), a measure of general content, or content at least of the dominant social classes. Very low SR’s indicate a society deeply unhappy with the current state of affairs. This will cause a penalty to the state’s income and may cause civil war. Very high SR’s indicate an especially content society or at least one with a firm and enthusiastic commitment to national initiatives. Additional RP income is available in the highest SR brackets.

The second value is the Political Satisfaction Rating (PSR). PSR is based on SR plus some modifiers to PSR particularly. PSR represents the political control the player has over the state. A state with net PSR penalties may disrupt player control of the government or even render the state an NPR at very low PSR. A state with net PSR bonuses may retain control of the state under conditions of profound unpopularity.

 

3.2.2 Satisfaction Rating Modifiers

 

Players freely choose elements of their government and society from lists for various areas. In many cases an SR or other modifier is attached to a player’s choice of a government or societal element. Each modifer is explained in each of the following sections.

 

Government:

Economic Controls:

General Civil Rights:

Political Rights:

Representation

Free Political Modifiers:

 

Tax Rate:

 

Non-Dependent SR Modifiers:

Crime Rate:

Fleet Size:

Ground Forces Size:

Current Debt:

Wartime Modifiers:

 

Long-Term Independent Modifiers:

Penal System:

Security/Police Forces:

Media:

Public Information:

Conscription:

Relative Environmental Concern:

 

Short-Term Independent Modifiers:

Political State:

 

Dependent SR Modifiers:

Trade Controls:

Educational Freedom:

Personal Weapons Access:

General Welfare Support:

 

3.2.2.1 Governments

 

The following government types should not be considered to be faithful representations of terrestrial political science. Rather, they are meant as technical terms characterizing very abstract shapes of government activity, hopefully abstract enough to be applicable both to a very wide variety of alien cultures and a similar variety of detailed forms of their governments.

 

There are no technical or practical differences between government modifiers and long-term independent modifiers. They are listed separately chiefly as a convention.

 

Economic policies:

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Communist                                             -10

Socialist                                                   -5

Moderate Economic Control                  +/-0*

Free Market                                            +5

Radical Free Market                               +10

 

Communist: A Communist state has extreme centralized economic planning and regulation. Total RP income from taxes is increased by 10% due to the organization of the state's resources tightly around government usage, and the SR suffers a 10 point penalty. There is no direct effect on income from (e.g.) 6th turn economic bonuses if any or SR-based income. In fact, indirectly, these are likely to suffer if the Communist state opts to make the most of its tax income bonus and raise taxes to high levels, which, combined with the SR penalty, make SR-based income unlikely.

Socialist: A Socialist state has above average centralized economic planning and regulation. Total RP income from taxes is increased by 5% due to the organization of the state's resources largely around government usage, and the SR suffers a 5 point penalty. There is no direct effect on income from (e.g.) 6th turn economic bonuses if any or SR-based income. In fact, indirectly, these are likely to suffer if the Socialist state opts to make the most of its tax income bonus and raise taxes to high levels, which, combined with the SR penalty, make SR-based income unlikely.

Moderate Economic Control: A state with Moderate Economic Control has no special economic or SR penalties or bonuses for it.

Free Market: A state with a Free Market has below average centralized economic planning and regulation. Total RP income from taxes is decreased by 5% due to the structural limitations on deploying public resources to government usage, and the SR enjoys a 5 point bonus. Note that this has no effect on SR-based income or 6th turn economic bonuses, which might benefit indirectly from the SR boost and the likely low taxes (which is, as it happens, much of the point of a Free Market).

Radical Free Market: A state with a Radical Free Market has virtually no centralized economic planning and regulation. Total RP income from taxes is decreased by 10%, due to the structural near inability to deploy public resources to government usage, and the SR enjoys a 10 point bonus. Note that this has no effect on SR-based income or 6th turn economic bonuses, which might benefit indirectly from the SR boost and the likely low taxes (which is, as it happens, much of the point of a Radical Free Market).

 

General Civil Rights:

Value:                                    Modifier:

Despotic                                   -20

Loose Despotism                    -15

Limited Civil Rights                -10

Restricted Civil Rights            -5

Moderate Civil Rights            +/-0*

Fair Civil Rights                      +5

Generous Civil Rights             +10

Progressive Civil Rights          +15

Republic                                  +20

 

Despotic: A state with a Despotic government has virtually no sphere of individual rights or authority. As a result, colonization costs for uninhabitable worlds are reduced by 10%, all hostile espionage efforts suffer a 20% penalty to effective funding, and the SR takes a 20 point penalty.

Loosely Despotic: A loosely despotic government similarly offers virtually no sphere of individual rights or autonomy, but some very modest bounds on ill treatment of individuals by the state are occasionally recognized. All hostile espionage efforts suffer a 15% penalty to effective funding, and the SR takes a 15 point penalty. Uninhabitable world colonization has a 5% discount.

Limited Civil Rights: A state with Limited Civil Rights has only a seriously curtailed sphere of individual rights or autonomy. As a result, all hostile espionage efforts suffer a 10% penalty to effective funding, and the SR takes a 10 point penalty. Uninhabitable world colonization has a 5% discount.

Restricted Civil Rights: A state with Restricted Civil Rights has a generally below-average system of individual rights and autonomy. All hostile espionage efforts suffer a 5% penalty to effective funding, and the SR takes a 5 point penalty.

Moderate Civil Rights: A state with Moderate Civil Rights has some system of civil rights that represents a sort of average among alien cultures; the details will vary very greatly. There are no special SR or other mechanical bonuses or penalties for this option.

Fair Civil Rights: A state with Fair Civil Rights is one with reasonable accommodations for personal autonomy and individual civil rights. All hostile espionage efforts enjoy a 5% bonus to effective funding, and the SR enjoys a 5 point bonus.

Generous Civil Rights: A state with Generous Civil Rights is one with considerable provisions for personal autonomy and individual civil rights. All hostile espionage efforts enjoy a 10% bonus to effective funding, and the SR enjoys a 10 point bonus.

Progressive Civil Rights: Individual autonomy and freedom under Progressive Civil Rights are just short of all one might want. All hostile espionage efforts enjoy a 15% bonus to effective funding, and the SR enjoys a 15 point bonus.

Republic: A Republic is a state with a broad, extensive allegiance to personal autonomy and individual civil rights. All hostile espionage efforts enjoy a 20% bonus to effective funding, and the SR enjoys a 20 point bonus.

 

Political Rights:

Value:                                    Modifier:

Empire                                    -10

Benevolent Empi                    -5

Monarch                                 +/-0*

Constitutional Monarch         +/-0

Parliament                               +/-0

Limited Democracy                +5

Democracy                             +10

 

Empire: An Empire is (as always, for our technical purposes here) a state in which political power is extremely centralized. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, suffer a 20% penalty to effective funding, PSR has a 20 point bonus, and the SR suffers a 10 point penalty.

Benevolent Empire: A Benevolent Empire is an Empire with some traditional, popular, or similar expectation that the political authority will be nice, gentle, thoughtful, caring, or something of the sort. This provides a certain sort of leverage to mitigate the SR penalties and political advantages of the Empire. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, suffer a 10% penalty to effective funding, PSR has a 10 point bonus, and the SR suffers a 5 point penalty.

Monarch: The political power of the state is relatively centralized. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties.

Constitutional Monarch: The political power of the state is relatively centralized, with its extent defined by law and/or by tradition. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties.

Parliament: The political power of the state is spread out over some body with not especially small or politically homogenous membership. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties.

Limited Democracy: Political power in a Limited Democracy has a roughly popular basis. It might, for instance, exclude large ethnic, religious, gender, or similar groups, but does still include a significant fraction of the members of the society. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, enjoy a 10% bonus to effective funding, PSR has a 10 point penalty, and the SR enjoys a 5 point bonus.

Democracy: Political power in a Democracy has a fairly direct and very broadly popular basis. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, enjoy a 20% bonus to effective funding, PSR has a 20 point penalty, and the SR enjoys a 10 point bonus.

Note: Other basic forms of government with the same mechanics as for Monarchies or Parliaments are certainly subject to introduction, but these government types are meant to be read very broadly anyway.

 

Representation:

Value:                                    Modifier:

Non-representative                 +/-0 *

Minimally Representative      +5

Moderately Representative    +10

Representative                        +15

 

Non-representative: Representation plays no particular part in the political life of the state. No modifiers apply.

Minimally Representative: A Minimally Representative government is at least structurally similar to a Representative one, but the representation may be largely token or rather inefficient. Hostile political espionage enjoys only a 10% bonus, the SR has a 5 point bonus, and the PSR has a 10 point penalty in case of Minimal Representation.

Moderately Representative: A Moderately Representative government is similar to a Representative one, but the representation may be significantly incomplete or limited in real political power. It carries a 20% hostile political espionage bonus, a 10 point SR bonus, and a 20 point PSR penalty.

Representative: Political power in a Representative government is exercised or mediated by groups or individuals generally acting in the perceived interests of and as deputies for larger groups. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, enjoy a 30% bonus to effective funding, PSR has a 30 point penalty, and the SR enjoys a 15 point bonus.

 

Freely Available Political Modifiers:

These modifiers may be applied more or less freely, or not, to whatever government type the state otherwise has. Unlike those in other categories of long-term independent SR modifiers or government modifiers, none of the freely available political modifiers are defaults, none need be taken, and more than one may be taken. For example, a Fascist Theocracy is possible (and might even describe some attempted terrestrial governments).

 

Value:                                    Modifier:

Theocracy                               +/-0

Fascist                                     +5

Feudal                                     -10

Corporate state                       +/-0

Technocracy                           -5

Bureaucracy                            -5

Meritocracy                            +/-0

Wild populism                        +5

 

Theocracy: The state is meant to serve religious purposes or goals, and/or has political authority invested in a religious class or caste and/or a deity or alleged deity or deities him/her/itself. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties.

Fascism: A Fascist state uses some sort of ideological movement (typically nationalist or speciesist, but this ought not to constrain possible Fascisms) to provide national unity and purpose. All hostile espionage efforts directed at changing political directions or leadership, or relying on internal political factions, enjoy a 10% bonus to effective funding, PSR has a 10 point penalty, and the SR enjoys a 5 point bonus. The political disadvantages are due to the potential for exploitation of ideological trends to influence public policy. (Nothing at all prevents Fascist governments from having other modifiers that compensate for these penalties; this is in fact universal for conventional terrestrial Fascism.)

Feudal: Individuals in this society owe service to the leadership of the society in exchange for basic property, their right to habitation or to use land, or simply to live. Unit cost discounts due to conscription or colonization cost discounts due to very low civil rights are increased by 50%. A Feudal society suffers a 10 point SR penalty – there’s a reason we call it the Dark Ages here of Earth – but a 10 point PSR bonus. General misery doesn’t carry special political risk in the Feudal state.

Corporate state: The state is in fact a corporation, or a conglomeration of corporations. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties as such. However, in assigning other society modifiers, players should keep in mind that these are in effect company policies, which may have some bearing on choices made.

Technocracy: Government, in one or many functions, is dominated by engineers of various sorts aiming at machine-like efficiency for the society. This causes a 5 point SR penalty, since efficiency will often dictate policies other than those dictated by public satisfaction, but provides a 10% bonus to effective R&D spending.

Bureaucracy: The government of the state is unusually firmly in the hands of an unusually self-contained professional machinery. Bureaucracy carries a 5 point SR penalty and a 10 point PSR bonus

Meritocracy: Participation in government in this state requires satisfactory performance in various tests or other measures of competence. At this time, this government type has no special game mechanical bonuses or penalties as such. The plausible SR penalty from a politically disenfranchised class of those who fail the civil service tests is taken to be balanced out by the SR bonus of (hopefully) more capable government management.

Wild populism: Outside normal political channels, popular forces (or "the mob") have unusual influence over the direction of the state. Such influence gives a widespread sense of power and respect for a 5 point SR bonus, but PSR suffers a 25 point penalty.

 

3.2.2.2 Dependent SR ModifiersTax Rate

During the game a player’s tax rate determines the amount of RPs he is withdrawing from his nation’s economy for support of government projects, wars, repairs, construction, new colonization, etc. RPs should be considered an abstract measure of a nation’s entire economy, not a specific commodity or currency value. Thus, a government imposes a tax rate to draw a certain, finite number of commodities and capabilities out of an economy each turn. This tax rate reduces what is available to the general civilian populace while making these commodities and capabilities available to the government. Naturally, the more a player takes away from his people, the less happy the people are going to be with their government.

 

Players can vary their tax rates on a turn-by-turn basis. Players may not modify tax rates during a turn, but may freely raise or lower tax rates between turns.

 

Tax Rate

Tax Rate                          SR Modifier:

(as % of RP Income):

0                                      +25

5                                      +20

10                                    +15

15                                    +10

20                                    +5

25                                    +/-0*

30                                    -5

40                                    -10

50                                    -15

60                                    -20

70                                    -25

75                                    -25

80                                    -30

90                                    -35

100                                  -40

 

Depending upon a player’s tax rate, a player may or may not accrue a 6th turn bonus or penalty on the 7th turn, or multiple thereof, of a game. Higher taxes, in addition to SR penalties, make for a 6th turn economic penalty. Low taxes, in addition to their SR bonuses, cause 6th turn economic bonuses. The net effect of these is to make a 60% tax rate roughly equivalent to a 100% tax rate in income over time, and a 0% tax rate not nearly the economic dead-end it may initially seem.

 

3.2.2.3 Non-Dependent SR Modifiers

The following SR modifiers do not depend on pre-game selection nor in-game player choice (not directly, anyway). Instead, they depend on what is going on in the game and are determined by the GM on a turn-to-turn basis.

*indicates a default rating.

 

Crime:  

Value:                                    Modifier:                                                              

No Crime Rate                        +10

Low Crime Rate                      +5

Moderate Crime Rate             +/-0*

High Crime Rate                     -10

Pirate and commerce raiding activity is the primary index for this figure, but not necessarily the only one.

 

Fleet size:

Value:                                    Modifier:

Small Fleet                              +5*

Large Fleet                              +/-0

Very Large Fleet                     -5

 

Size of Ground Forces:

Value:                                    Modifier:

Small Ground Forces              +5*

Large Ground Forces              +/-0

Very Large Ground Forces     -5

 

Current Debt:                      

Value:                                    Modifier:

0% of Standard Production     -0*

1-10%                                     -5

11-20%                                   -10

21-40%                                   -20

41-60%                                   -30

61-80%                                   -40

81-100%                                 -50

101-200%                               -60

201-300%                               -70

301-400%                               -80

401% or more                         -90

 

If these seem extreme, consider that such massive debt is unlikely to be accrued without very high tax rates in addition. At very high tax rates, people are already giving just about all they can produce to the government on a regular basis. This will include the economic reserves of the nation’s wealthier (and usually more influential) members and its financial institutions. Serious deficit spending will mean taking even more out of the work force, corporations, banks, and children’s piggy banks, on a more ad hoc, irregular basis, while brutally reminding all those public movers and shakers that the government is spending consistently well beyond what means it has even when it’s grinding them down to get every last RP out of them.

 

Running up a debt has additional economic penalties (see section 5.3.0).

 

Wartime SR Modifiers

Situation:                                                              Modifier:

About to forever end the threat of the hated foe    +30

Runaway victories (with some GM established limit about how long this can run before the People begin to think that the war should have been over by now - around 4 turns)                                                      +20

Frequent military successes                                    +10

War going decently well                                          +/-0

About even                                                             -5

Slight but noticeable advantage to other side (the major battles go better for them, the fighting is 2/3rds of the time or more on friendly territory, they've got more advanced tech, etc.)                                       -10

Definite hostile advantage                                      -20

Nearly hopeless strategic situation                        -30

Courting extinction against a power that could (the People think) be appeased at treaty table                                                             -60

Courting extinction against an implacable horde, with no options (the People think) but victory or death                                     -10 (The People might be depressed, but they're also cornered with their backs to the wall. Note that this sort of situation, which might look like a great thing for the People to think from the point of view of the player - "Hey! I can lose left and right and still bring in the RP's!" - will also make for huge SR penalties if the player attempts any sort of peace agreement with the enemy, or does anything that doesn't seem to treat the hated foe as a deadly serious threat.)

 

There is no default value for how a war is going, as FOTS nations are not at war by default.

 

3.2.2.4 Long-Term Independent Modifiers

These modifiers are selected by the player pre-game, though a GM may step in and prohibit certain odd combinations if the player hasn’t a good enough story to explain them. Since they depend mostly on player choice, there are generally benefits to the states with SR penalties and/or disadvantages to the states with SR bonuses. Long-term independent modifiers can be changed, but this generally causes some serious upset in the society and can be dangerous, time-consuming, and/or expensive.

 

*indicates a default rating

 

Penal System:

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Labor/Reeducation Camps                      -20

No Penal System                                    -20

Lax Penal System                                    -15

Heavy Penal System                               -15

Moderate Penal System                          -10*

 

Costs to colonize uninhabitable worlds are reduced and hostile espionage efforts are decreased in effective funding by 10% for a state with labor/reeducation camps and by 5% for a state with a heavy penal system. The government of a state with no penal system reaps extra RP income as if the tax rate were 4% higher without additional SR or 6th turn penalties due to the cost savings. A state with a lax penal system enjoys a 2% bonus of the same kind.

 

Police:

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Secret Police & Brownshirts                   -20

Heavy Security/Police Forces                 -15

No Security/Police Forces                      -10

Light Security/Police Forces                   -5

Moderate Security/Police Forces            +/-0*

 

The government of a state with no police/security forces reaps extra RP income as if the tax rate were 4% higher without additional SR or 6th turn penalties due to the cost savings, but hostile espionage attempts receive a 10% bonus to effective funding. A state with light security/police forces enjoys a 2% income bonus of the same kind and a 5% bonus to effective funding of hostile espionage attempts. A state with secret police/brownshirts inflicts a 20% penalty to the effective funding of any hostile espionage attempts. A state with heavy security/police forces inflicts a 15% penalty of the same kind.

 

Media:

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Controlled Media                                    -10

Uncontrolled Media                                -5

Semi-Controlled/Limited Media             +/-0*

 

A state with a controlled media receives halved penalties for poor wartime performance or deficit spending. A state with an uncontrolled media receives a 50% increase in bonuses for good wartime performance.

 

Public Information:

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Uninformed Populace                             -5

Semi-Informed Populace/Limited Public Information

                                                                +/-0*

Informed Populace                                  +5

 

A state with an informed populace gives any hostile intelligence operations against it a 10% bonus to effective funding. A state with an uninformed populace receives a 25% reduction in SR penalty for government type or deficit spending – people don’t know how bad it actually is.

 

Conscription:

Value:                                     Modifier:

Universal conscription            -20

Massive conscription             -15

Heavy Conscription              -10

Conscripted Forces                  -5

Minimal Conscription          +/-0

Volunteer Forces                    +5*

 

A state with some form of conscription receives a 2% discount to the cost of units per –5 SR of conscription penalty. For example, a state with massive conscription would enjoy a 6% discount to the cost of starships, fighters, bases, ground forces, etc. Minimal conscription offers a 1% discount of this kind. A state may also practice mandatory public service. In this case, one of the conscription values from conscripted forces through universal conscription is taken in addition to a normal value for it, at one half SR penalty but applicable only to unarmed units. For example, a state may have volunteer (military) forces for +5 SR, but practice universal mandatory public service, for an additional –10 (-20 halved) SR, for –5 SR net. In this case, the state would receive a 10% discount on any unarmed units and no conscription discount otherwise.

 

Relative environmental concern:

Value:                                                  Modifier:
Environmentally hostile economy        -10
Environmentally neutral economy         +/-0*
Environmentally friendly economy       +5

Environmentally hostile economy: This society tolerates fairly gross abuses of the natural environment for the tech base. RP production is increased by 5%, but the SR suffers a 10 point penalty due to (e.g.) public health problems, the disfigurement of nature, and/o public awareness of the way current practices doom the future of their planets. Environmentally neutral economy: This society practices a normal degree of environmental protection. No modifiers apply.


Environmentally friendly economy: This society is exceptionally protective of the natural environment. While this does reduce RP production by 5%, the SR enjoys a 5 point bonus.

 

Note that GM’s are also free, even encouraged, to generate other circumstantial SR and other effects due to the state’s government, social structures, traditions and popular sentiments. These effects here are intended as no more than the basic mechanical effects inherent to these technical government types.

 

3.2.2.5 Short-Term Independent Modifiers

These are modifiers that can be chosen in-game and adjusted fairly readily.

 

Political State:

Value:                                                   Modifier:

Peace (w/no known neighbors)              +/-0**

Peace (w/o hostile neighbors)               +5

Peace (w/hostile neighbors)                  +10*

Limited War                                          +15

War                                                        +20

 

** indicates a default value forA Sea Of Stars games

 

Wars and limited wars carry various inherent problems. (This might be a pretty good summary of human history.) In addition, societies in which popular pressure makes a difference to government may cause governments additional difficulties for unpopular wars. Political states are included in this category because they’re a bit more subject to player choice than some others.

 

3.2.2.6 Short-Term Dependent Modifiers

These are included here because they are other dependent short-term modifiers. They can be easily changed, but alter their societies in the short term rather than the long-term.

 

Trade Controls:

Open trade policies generate+10% income from free trade or MFP relations and a 25% increase in trade-based hostile espionage bonuses.

 

Moderate trade policies produce no effect; standard rules apply.

 

Restricted trade policies cause -10% income from free trade or MFP relations and a 25% decrease in trade-based hostile espionage bonuses

 

Note that the income bonus/penalty does not apply to limited trade relations, as they are limited enough not to take advantage of open trade policies in general, and limited enough not to suffer from restricted trade policies. Espionage bonuses/penalties based on trade do not apply to limited trade agreements either for similar reasons.

 

Educational Freedom:

Academic Freedom produces a 20% R&D bonus, a -5 PSR, and a 10% bonus to hostile technological espionage/sabotage attempts. The PSR effect represents the political clout of an independent research and university establishment.

 

Moderate Academic Freedom has no effect; standard rules apply.

 

Academic Restrictions cause a 20% R&D penalty, but provide a +5 PSR bonus and 10% penalty to hostile technological espionage/-sabotage attempts. The PSR bonus represents the utility of the academics in projecting political control.

 

Personal Weapons Access:

Unrestricted Personal Weapons Access generates a 25% increase in effective quantities of rebels in case of civil war and a 50% increase in effective numbers of insurgents in case of uprisings on a colony occupied by hostile forces.

 

Restricted Personal Weapons Access produces no effect; standard rules apply.

 

Heavily Restricted Personal Weapons Access generates a 25% decrease in effective quantities of rebels in case of civil war and a 50% decrease in effective numbers of insurgents in case of uprisings on a colony occupied by hostile forces.

 

Relative General Welfare:

(Note: these are all relative; states or their private sectors may still offer various of these sorts of benefits, as represented by their generally higher SR’s for generally lower tax rates, without selecting a value other than the default.)

Value:                                                    Modifier:

Massive general welfare support           +10

Considerable general welfare support     +5

Standard general welfare support          +/-0 *

Limited general welfare support            -5

Negligible general welfare support         -10

               

Massive general welfare support requires 8% of base income spent out of tax income per turn, or produces -15 SR instead of +10. Considerable general welfare support requires 4% of base income spent out of tax income per turn, or produces -10 SR instead of +5. Limited general welfare support garners the government 3% of base income added to the treasury each turn; negligible general welfare support adds 6% of base income to treasury each turn

 

The benefits for more welfare support exceed those that one might get for similar spending on SR boosting because they're much less flexible. If you quit spending to boost your SR, you just don't have as high an SR. If you quit covering the expenses of people's guaranteed legal benefits and securities, you've got some really serious public discontent until you change your relative general welfare policies through change in government rules.

 

Players are free to describe how their public welfare systems (or surrogates for them) work or don't without committing themselves to one of these choices with a game-mechanical impact they don't want. This modifier is intended to complement rather than replace the standard of welfare that you can get out of just the tax rate. A lot of the SR boost from a low tax rate isn't necessarily people being really happy that their cash is in their own pockets. It can just as readily mean that the government is still taking plenty from them, with only a little going into discretionary spending (the things FOTS economics deals in - ships, tech, colonies, etc.) and the rest going into public welfare. It could also mean a lot of those resources going not into government hands or individuals' pockets so much as going into private sector "welfare" organizations, like charities (presumably effective ones). It might also mean a combination of these, or other functionally similar distributions. This relative general welfare mod is just a way of nailing down the government's participation in that upward or downward of where the tax rate alone would put it.

 

3.2.2.7 Determining Satisfaction Ratings

Once the GM or a player has determined all the SR modifiers that apply, he can compile this information to render a general view of the way his people feel about their government. This is the Satisfaction Rating and can have a direct effect upon an empire. The following table shows the Civilian Status as compared to the empire’s Satisfaction Rating as determined above, and the influence it has over an empire.

 

Satisfaction Rating Civilian Status        Effects:

-141 or more           Civil War                   -64% to RP Income

-121 to -140          Openly Rebellious     -32% to RP Income

-101 to -120           Rebellious                 -16% to RP Income

-81 to -100            Openly Hostile         -8% to RP Income

-61 to -80               Hostile                      -4% to RP Income

-41 to -60              Openly Dissatisfied   -2% to RP Income

-21 to -40               Dissatisfied               +/-0% to RP Income

-20 to +20             Calm/Apathetic         +/-0% to RP Income

+21 to +40             Content                     +/-0% to RP Income

+41 to +60            Happy                      +2% to RP Income

+61 to +80             Celebrating                 +4% to RP Income

+81 to +100          Openly Celebrating    +8% to RP Income

+101 or more         Joyously celebrating  +16% to RP Income

 

3.2.2.8 SR boosting:

Each 1% of the state’s RP potential spent each turn to improve the SR increases it by 1. Just what this represents is largely for players to define for their own states on the occasion.

 

3.2.2.9 Losing Control of a State

At sufficiently low PSR levels, a player may lose some or all control over the state. In case of a state with a net PSR penalty, this is usually a fairly bloodless, peaceful transition of power. In the case of states with +/-0 net PSR, or a net PSR bonus, or in extreme SR’s for the more democratic PSR penalty states, the loss of player control comes by way of rebellion and civil war.

 

If the state has a net PSR penalty and the PSR reaches –101, the government is forced to avoid unpopular policies. The player’s orders will simply not be obeyed when they go against the popular will at that time. If the PSR reaches –141, the government falls, the state becomes a NPR, and the player loses control of the state entirely. These states are also susceptible to rebellions or civil war, at -101 SR and –141 SR respectively, but normally the low SR is addressed by a new administration before such SR depths are reached.

 

If the state has a net PSR bonus, or no net PSR bonus or penalty, rebellions and civil wars break out only when the PSR goes very low, despite lower SR’s. Rebellions occur at –101 PSR. Civil War occurs at –141. The government maintains its iron grip on power despite the misery and hatred of the people. Governments with +/-0 PSR modifiers or PSR bonuses are not subject to changes in administration on account of PSR like those with net PSR penalties, though they may suffer similar effects at GM discretion.

It is important to keep an empire’s people happy with their government (or at least calm and/or apathetic about it). Civil wars are not nice things to have happening within an empire. In addition, during a Civil War, or in some cases even in Rebellious or Openly Rebellious situations, most planets will experience some partisan and/or guerrilla activity against the government.

 

If civil war occurs, the GM will immediately split an empire’s military forces by a randomly determined amount with one part becoming loyalists and remaining under the control of the player while the other part comes under GM control by way of the NPR Autopilot program. In addition, during Civil War, partisan and guerrilla units will automatically form on all planets and will target government forces and facilities on those worlds.

 

Note that PSR does not change how people actually feel about their lots in life and where their society is headed, and it does not change any modifiers to RP income from SR. People unable to rebel under an iron fist might still be miserable and unproductive, while people loving their free, democratic way of life and burying their nastier national rivals in their economic wonder productivity might still switch elected officials on what looks like whim.

 

3.2.2.10 Changing Governments or Other Long-Term Independent Social Modifiers

Government and other long-term independent social modifiers are much more deeply rooted in a culture than are tax rates, current crime rates, wartime status, and similar states. They can only be changed in-game through a process of considerable length, difficulty, and even danger.

 

A state undergoing a change in any category of society design, e.g., economic policy, has a transition period equal in turns to the SR difference between the current state and the destination state, divided by five. For example, a move from a Communist to a Radical Free Market economic policy involves a shift of 20 SR, and so has a transition period of four turns. During the transition period, the state receives the penalties of both the starting and the destination state, and the benefits of neither. To continue the example, the state moving from a Communist to a Radical Free Market economic policy receives a –10 SR penalty from the Communist state and the 10% penalty to tax income from the Radical Free Market state, without Communism’s tax income bonus or the Radical Free Market’s SR bonus.

 

The player could have elected to move from Communism to Socialism to moderate economic controls to Free Market to Radical Free Market as four different one-turn transitions. This would take no more time, and would put the severest penalties behind more quickly. However, penalties are cumulative, and so the state moving from a Communist to Socialist economic policy will end up with a –15 SR during that transition. Similarly, the Free Market to Radical Free Market move will inflict a –15% penalty to effective tax income.

 

A state may be in the transition period for multiple modifiers at once, if the player is willing and able to handle it all together. The total penalties for the overlapping transition periods and the general lack of compensating bonuses can be difficult to accept simultaneously. Particularly radical simultaneous changes – such as those in economic policy, political rights, general civil rights, and general welfare all at once – may cause additional problems in terms of strikes, juntas, and the like. But spacing them out over a larger number of turns carries its own risks in terms of extended political vulnerability.

 

If a given category does not have an SR modifier – educational freedom, for instance – the transition period is treated as if there were SR penalties or bonuses equal to one half the PSR bonuses or penalties. If a modifier has neither, then transition periods are at GM discretion, with one “step” being usually treated as a 5 SR difference.

 

States may have a new set of long-term modifiers assigned to them without a transition period in case of violent revolution and assimilation into a new government by an occupying power. These represent rearrangements with their own inevitable costs, difficulties and concerns, outside the normal, internal systems for such changes.

 

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