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Retirement from the Guard


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#1 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:57 PM

Any thoughts on this? I suppose there are two opposing views:-

1. Guardsmen never retire. They fight on until they die. All guardsmen are locked into what amounts to a death sentence, doomed to martyr themselves gloriously in the service of the God-Emperor.

2. Guardsmen are like any other Imperial servant: they will be given rejuvenat treatment proportional to their importance. Those who have reached the end of their useful life are given the right to retire in peace.

Personally, although the former is nice and grimdark (and no doubt applies in some theatres of war) on the whole I prefer the latter. Dan Abnett's treatment of the guard certainly deals with them in a manner analogous to a 21st century army, with pay, breaks for r&r etc. Retirement fits this pattern. Canonically, successful regiments get to run conquered worlds; arguably this is a type of retirement.

What do you think?

Edited by Lightbringer, 12 August 2014 - 04:59 PM.


#2 Askil

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:08 PM

Guardsmen are retired when the duty for which they were raised is discharged.

 

The problem is that a campaign can take centuries and hundreds of millions may die in service, but when at last the campaign is over most of the raised regiments are retired. After all it's easier and more effective to transport 10,000 sets of kit to the next hotspot than feed, medicate, accomodate and clothe 10,000 armed men for the same peroid of time.


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#3 Robin Graves

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:20 PM

You are correct: Sometimes an Imperial guard regiment will be given the right to colonise a world they have (re)conquered and alowed to settle there and start a new life as colonists/civilians. Or some guardmen go home. Due to the lethality of 40k combat that is very few of them. And even if they could go home, chances are good that due to time destortion in the warp everyone they knew back home is dead or old. (And of cours if you're tanith you can never go home.)

 

option 2.2: those who survived into retirement are the few, the proud, the survivors with special skills. Just what the inquisition needs! "say boys, would you care to join my retinue as acolites?"



#4 Fgdsfg

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:23 PM

I'm firmly in the 2nd camp. The idea of guardsmen never ever retiring and always dying isn't really grimdark, it's just grimderp. There would be huge issues with morale and recruitment if it was true. The truth is that while the Imperial Guard gets shipped around a lot and as  whole fights endless wars, the vast majority of the Imperial Guard may not even be involved in a major engagement in their entire life.

And by major I mean the truly meatgrinding wars against larger waaaghs or the masses of chaos.

 

Successful regiments that have reached the end of their usefulness or their tour of duty are given a planet that they have conquered, or land on an available world. Guardsmen that have finished their tour of duty are sent home if possible, or are made into trainers and drill sergeants. In many cases in major engagements, this is completely suspended, but the idea is there.

 

And they're all getting paid in one way or another.

 

Unless it's a Penal Regiment.


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#5 cpteveros

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:37 PM

In the Michael Scanlon book Fifteen Hours, it is stated that Guardsmen may never return home, but are occasionally given the right to settle on a conquered world. The protagonist's great grandfather "won" a lottery, and was allowed to stay and settle on a world they were on leave at.



#6 Robin Graves

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:46 PM

That getting to settle on a conqured world can also be really bad.

 

Colonel: "well guys- you did great conquring this acid-rainswept frozen deathworld! And as a reward for your services you get to settle on it, isn't that great?"

me: (sets lasgun to full auto) Not it isn't! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! (starts shooting)


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#7 Drath

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:02 AM

I see it being down to the regiment, or you get retired after a certain amount of service via going to a nearby world or colonizing the one you just fought on. This is practical (not just for morale reasons) but also because if you say got a regiment that only ever really fought skirmishes guarding some city. Would you rather feed, arm and equip these weaker 70 year old men or a bunch of stronger, fitter 20 year olds instead?


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#8 Fgdsfg

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:23 AM

That getting to settle on a conqured world can also be really bad.
 
Colonel: "well guys- you did great conquring this acid-rainswept frozen deathworld! And as a reward for your services you get to settle on it, isn't that great?"
me: (sets lasgun to full auto) Not it isn't! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! (starts shooting)


Me: B.. but sir, Lasguns don't have full auto..?
You: THEY DO NOW! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
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#9 LuciusT

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:59 AM

I tend to think of the Guard as either retiring people in place, on or near whatever world they happen to be in at the time, or putting them into staff positions within the guard. I think actually sending retirees back to their homeworld would depend on how far from their homeworld they've gone and how difficult arranging warp transit back home would be.

 

I don't see the Administrum taking the effort to arrange a Navy transport exclusively to return old soldiers to their homeworld... unless (lightbulb!) they were picking up new regiments at the same time. That might make sense actually... send old soldiers home as trainers and recruiters for the next tithe of regiments from that world. The old soldiers could then either retire at home or "re-up" as senior members of the new regiment. That might actually be a logical and efficient idea...



#10 Adeptus-B

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:05 AM

2. Guardsmen are like any other Imperial servant: they will be given rejuvenat treatment proportional to their importance. Those who have reached the end of their useful life are given the right to retire in peace.

 

My opinion is this one. The I.G. is nothing if not pragmatic, and if your geriatric medical issues reach the 'tipping point' where you become more of a liability than an asset, then congratulations, soldier, you've earned an Honourable Discharge!

 

In my Dark Heresy campaign I sent my Acolytes to a Frontier World where most of the population were former Guardsmen who were offered free plots of land instead of the standard (tiny) pension [this was done to expedite the development of the planet so that it's Tithe Grade could be increased, not not out of the 'goodness of the heart' of the I.G.]. Some prospered as grox-ranchers, but upon discovering that farming is much harder than they though, many of these ex-Guardsmen turned to banditry, thus setting up a 'Wild West' planetary culture.


Edited by Adeptus-B, 13 August 2014 - 11:10 AM.


#11 Robin Graves

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:33 AM

It would be darkly humorous if "honorable discharge" was another eufemism for getting-shot-in-the-head-by-a-commisar,

sort of like the Emperor's mercy.

 

Commisar Falco: "sorry old chap, but these rejuvinat treatments and medical pensions and whatnots are costing us and the administratum thinks the resources should be spent on others!"

Guard vet. "b-b-but!-"

Commisar Falco: "You have earned your place at the Emperors side!"

BLAM!!!



#12 Misha

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 08:52 PM

Only in death does duty end.

 

I think that clears it up. Think about it. There are so many imperial guardsman that if every one got retired... imagine the state of the munitorum. "Look a file about private Will's retirement! Must be important!" As he passes over the call for help in the Terraria sector about a chaos invasion.

 

That might actually be a logical and efficient idea... Lucias T said this.

 

Hah! If the Imperium was logical and efficient they would actually be winning. Trust me if a general ever thinks that up, well say bye to his career and life as he gets executed by the Inquisition for heresy.


Edited by Misha, 14 August 2014 - 08:59 PM.


#13 Radwraith

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:58 PM

I think the concept of individual retirement is valid. Of course it would probably more resemble the Roman legion's 20 year term rather than modern military versions (4-6 year enlistments are just not practical for the guard). At the end of their tour, The guardsman would be offered either retirement or (If successful enough) rejuvenate treatment contingent on reenlistment. Retirement would consist of being dropped on whatever non combat (At least mostly) theatre the regiment is currently in. They would probably separate with some fancy scroll extolling their 'loyal service to the Emperor' and sent on their way. Pensions would vary wildly by regiment and could run the gamut from, "Get out!" to a livable pension or property. Senior Officers and enlisted deemed 'worthy' of retaining would be offered Juvenat treatment and resigned for yet another 20 yr. term.

 

I think that clears it up. Think about it. There are so many imperial guardsman that if every one got retired... imagine the state of the munitorum. -Misha

 

Of course the odds of an individual in a campaigning regiment making it 20 yrs. are not really good to begin with! Assuming a Guardsman did make it though I don't for a minute believe that the administratum would 'provide' them transport anywhere! Wherever you retire is where they leave you. Certainly, a Retiree who saved enough of his/her wages could secure commercial transport in the same manner as any other Imperial citizen.


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#14 Drath

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:27 AM

In addition. a guardsmen who survives twenty years probably won't last that long after from lasting injuries, environmental effects etc.


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#15 venkelos

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 06:42 AM

I like the idea of retirement, but the Guard get thrown at some terrible things, and I can imagine them not so easily getting retired. Some of them are "mercifully" liquidated just for seeing some types of enemies (or some types of allies), and with the potential likelihood of racking up Insanity and Corruption points, going howling mad, or becoming part something else, it might just be easier to put you down, after 20 years of fighting some of the most terrifying shite in the universe.

 

As for morale, I'd say that's a Commissar's job; maintaining morale, at the business-end of a bolter, if need be. Many Guardsmen are so indoctrinated if they are ordered to march into oncoming tanks, only hoping to be run down, and clog the treads with their gore, so that the slowed vehicles can be more easily picked off with anti-tank arms, they'll do it; so what's wiping some out who got old? Especially if you do it off in a quiet corner. Compared to the grimdark future, Logan's Run seems almost merciful.

 

All that crap said, I still prefer to imagine that the best of the survivors DO get to retire, in the same sense that the Tau do; they become instructors, passing down their field experience, or they maybe become some sort of Officer. I could even, just slightly, see some planets working into their military budgets paying to have some "heroes" returned home; someone has to train their troops, and the tithe frequently takes many of their best soldiers. Maybe they get seconded by the Schola Progenium, to train the best soldier the Imperium has, or get picked up by an Inquisitor with a mind for gun-barrel diplomacy. There's also always that last, unlikely hope, that perhaps their service will either attract the attention of a foraging Rogue Trader, or perhaps, like the smallest number, become Rogue Traders, and continue to serve the Emperor beyond the reach of His blessed light.


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#16 Askil

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 03:19 PM

Read Imperial glory, it's whole plot is the last engagement of a regiment on the verge of being retired.



#17 Tenebrae

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 04:11 PM

Black Library is hardly a good source, but but the Ciaphas Cain books and the Gaunt's Ghosts talk about guardsmen retiring, for what ever that's worth.



#18 Askil

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:59 AM

Black Library is hardly a good source, but but the Ciaphas Cain books and the Gaunt's Ghosts talk about guardsmen retiring, for what ever that's worth.

 

Hardly a good source? Where precisely do you propose to get official information on this fictional universe other than the only official source of fiction? Being that my previous post alluded to a book about the exact process of the topic in discussion?

 

That said the novel Commissar also covers the a similar matter of regiments maintaining "continuous" service.

 

Basically the process seems to be that when the bulk of troops are sufficiently worthless due to being killed or ruined by years of combat they are retired, a small core of the regiment becomes the colour guard and returns to their homeworld to raise a new regiment with the colours, designation and traditions of the old one.

 

This is how units like the 1st Cadian for example can still exist despite it being thousands of years since their first founding.

 

As for those tumpeting "only in death does duty end." This is entirely true, but there are many ways to serve, and somebody has to make the rations, fill out the forms and become drill abbots to train the progenium cadets.


Edited by Askil, 16 August 2014 - 02:04 AM.

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#19 Fgdsfg

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:03 AM

Only in death does duty end.
 
I think that clears it up. Think about it. There are so many imperial guardsman that if every one got retired... imagine the state of the munitorum. "Look a file about private Will's retirement! Must be important!" As he passes over the call for help in the Terraria sector about a chaos invasion.

That assumes that there's one single office of the Departmento Munitorum that handles absolutely everything as it comes in, without any Adept having specialized duties.

I cannot see any reason why something like that would even go by the Munitorum except as part of being sent onwards to the rest of the Administratum for filing. The Departmento Munitorum likely has a laundry list of offices, all of which like the Munitorum is part of the labyrinthine structures of the Administratum.

I see no reason why issues of retirement and discharge would not be handled by the Regiments themselves and the Administratum or Munitorum clerks directly attached to it. This doesn't mean that it's logical or efficient. Things don't have to be handled on a sector or segmentum scale to be inefficient. It doesn't even have to be planetary. Our own societies should have taught us that by now.

I think a much more interesting question is how they get home, should they desire to do so. Now, the Imperial Navy personnell in this situation likely has a much easier time, because more likely than not, they either already serve in their home, with their families, or they can continue to serve until they find other ships to serve on until they are home.

But Guardsmen? Can't imagine that they'd be given free shipping, although I guess it's possible to "hike" on ships heading in the right direction.

And like Askil said, there's many ways to serve. After all, to the vast, overwhelming mass of humans in the Imperium, they don't serve in the Imperial Guard. But they do all serve. Theoretically.
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These things are dumb and do not exist. This is non-negotiable and undebatable.


#20 Robin Graves

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:03 PM

 

.

And like Askil said, there's many ways to serve. After all, to the vast, overwhelming mass of humans in the Imperium, they don't serve in the Imperial Guard. But they do all serve. Theoretically.

 

 

We all serve, but who we serve I can't say...


Edited by Robin Graves, 18 August 2014 - 04:03 PM.





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