Friday, September 9, 2016

Uniforms and Rank Insignia In My Traveller Universe

I admit: I enjoy militaria, and can get really engrossed in the minituae of uniforms. If I wore them more often, I would get a set of liberty cuffs for my dress blues. My preference for the Imperial Navy in Traveller is heavily based on modern, since World War II, navy uniforms

Interestingly, the Navy has not recieved the sort of description of it's  uniforms in the materials I have available. GURPS Traveller: Ground Forces notes:
The Marines of two levels of full dress uniform. The first, more common outfit is dress black. This uniform is a variation of the Navy's dress uniform and is cut the same way, a black high-collared, single-breasted jacket, trimmed in Maroon, with a prominent Imperial sunburst. (p.39)
Of course, the Navy's would have a gold sunburst, and no maroon trim. Marin J. Dougherty's Sector Fleet, provides for a "Duty Suit" on page 88, noting "The standard duty uniform of the naval personnel is a TL-14 tailored vacuum suit," and goes on to describe it as more of a plug-in to a ship's system than an independent duty suit. Standard vacc suits are available for personnel whose duties require them.

Sean Connery in "The Hunt for Red October." Image from IMDB
So, I am thinking the standard dress uniform looks kind of like the picture at right, except a large gold Imperial sunburst on one sleeve at the seam. I also would replace the Russian-style rank insignia with a more common one. I prefer the ranks of the Royal Canadian Navy as a basis, with the obvious addition of the Royal Navy Admiral of the Fleet sleeve insignia. Part of it is how Naval officer insignia, especially sleeve insignia, are easily recognized internationally. Another is how the Imperial Navy, like the Third Imperium, draws it's legitimacy and past from the Rule of Man, which was set up by the Terran Navy, who I would think, being descended from the various National contingents of the Interstellar Wars, would have standardized on insignia quickly. It may be parochial, but it's also an easy visual shorthand, and immediately understandable.

Artist:  http://robcaswell.deviantart.com/
Found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/travellerrpg/
Then, there's the Scout Service. Largely an informal group of people doing a great deal of things for the Imperium. In my Traveller Universe, they don't really wear official uniforms. Yes, they will have a largely similar appearance, but that's more from function. I am thinking of some sort of European Imperialist trying to set up a 'government' in Darkest Africa circa 1870, or Roy Chapman Andrews in Outer Mongolia. Hardwearing clothing, sometimes in various shades of tan, or whatever color the scout desires. The cut and design may be different, but there is always the blood-red on black sunburst, and field office emblem. Larger ships, like the Lightning-class cruisers assigned to the IISS are going to have more official uniforms, and may even wear airline style epaulets designating rank. Members of the bureaucracy working in offices are going to mostly be in pretty standard civilian dress for their jobs. Personnel, administrators would be dressed for an office, scientists will be appropriately set up for a lab, base crew ready for work in the worst possible weather. Office bound types in suits would wear the blood red sunburst as a lapel pin, while many ground crew would also have a badge or jersey denoting function. X-boat pilots, as part of their complete disregard for other sophonts and good taste, wear Aloha shirts and cargo shorts. The other exception would be security forces for large scout bases. They could wear typical police or army duty uniforms, but with Scout Service badges.

So, comments, questions, or do you think I am barking up the wrong tree here?