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venkelos

Fraternization among the Guard

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Sorry, but yes, we are going to have another one of those "are we really talking about this?" threads, well, if anyone else starts talking about it. ;)

 

This might be more opinion-driven, or there might be some fluff to back it up, but how does the Imperial Guard operate, in the area of fraternization? Soldiers in the Imperial Guard live in the grimdark future, fighting endless wars in some of the worst shitholes in the galaxy, against terrors that would freeze men's souls; when you know you really might die tomorrow, either as a result of your enemy, or your superiors, you might just want to spend tonight in the arms of another human. I know that in our military (American, in my case), relations between soldiers is a bit iffy, at best, and between ranks is a big no-no. While the IG is a realistic military, in many respects, they also live in a very different world. There Officers might as easily be entitled nobles as anything else. They, and regular grunts might be able to find any number of down-time excuses to slink off together, and knock boots for an evening. How do the Guard treat this, or is it another  "we don't care about specifics (people), so long as the machine (army) runs smoothly" scenario, like so much of the monstrous bureaucracy?

 

As an extra, I know that some soldiers I have known would rather pick up partners in towns near where they are based/deployed, be they professional prostitutes, or just other interested parties you might pick up. I don't imagine the IG being in places where such functioning cities still stand; they tend to grind everything to dust, and fight all the time. Would they be able to find "soft company" in the field? Older real militaries might've had a train of civilians and serfs escorting them, but I don't usually think of the IG having this, like some Space Marines seem to.

 

So, to wrap it up, you are a soldier in the Guard, and want to have a good time before you die (a likely occupational hazard in your line of work). What is the likely source of the man or woman you will procure to satiate this need, before you go back out there, and prosecute the Emperor's great wars? Who are they likely to be? Fellow soldier? Superior? Subordinate? Civilian? What will the machine of your regiment likely do, should they care to discover this liaison?

 

Yeah, kind of a weird topic, I admit, but it could be a good source of RP opportunity, if wanted, and it was a curiosity I had. Not even entirely sure how strictly it is monitored in real life, certainly not in 40k, where a Commissar can cap you, quite literally, for any number of reasons. Okay, thoughts?

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Not necessarily the Imperial Guard, but in Gav Thorpe's Last Chancers series it seems implied that other officers are fair for the taking (perhaps not the best example, as the individuals in question were a penal legion and the attempt to do so, was closer to **** than consensual, but food for thought). 

 

 

Also, I'm not sure why this is considered a "are we really talking about this" question. My own GM (granted in Dark Heresy, but still) got my character engaged as a matter of business, and has been using said engagement as a matter of difficulty for the party ever since. Relationships shouldn't be discouraged, they should be ENcouraged so that the GM can use them to his/her advantage in the future.

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I think a lot of it depends on the unit and the commissar's assigned to said unit. It's probably technically against the rules but at the same time I'd imagine that a lot of the time it get's ignored.

 

The Ciaphas Cain novels we have several examples of guardsmen in relationships (including a sergeant carrying on with one of her immediate subordinates) and even alludes to situations where a guardswoman found herself pregnant.

 

The Gaunt's Ghosts novels also have several relationships and also mention regimental camp followers which includes some ladies of negotiable affection.

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As Adeon said, in the Gaunt's Ghosts-series, they have camp followers that live on the ship, that transport the troop from battle-field to battle-field. Amongst these there are prostitutes, weapon-smiths, clothes-menders, food-vendors and even entire bars and slum-areas. And also some of the troopers have found wives and gotten children amongst the camp-followers.

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Once I've read that Cadia exports troops, and the born rating is synonymous of recruitment rating, so I think there are really few women in the Cadian Army, all fertile women should be stay at home to be impregnated or giving birth.

And so, I think that many Cadian soldiers haven't stable relationships with women from theri planet.

 

Maybe the reverse is on Mordia, where getting into the Guard is a way to improve the social condition for men and women, and so maybe sometimes they fraternize between them, but the pregnancy is probably forbidden, maybe you must obtain a licence to be impregnated.

 

The chemo-dogs of Savlar do what they want and Commissars ask them only to not retreat.

 

[sorry for my bad english]

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I don't have a source for it, sadly, but I doubt that, with the demand for Cadian troops, both to serve on Cadia, and to fill the numerous requests abroad for the best regiment in the Imperium (I agree, you might not), that Cadia can't afford to lock up half their population in the "baby manfactoria". More likely, I imagine that young women fight in the forces, and as they get older, say into their 40's, and later, when many people aren't quite so fighting fit, they are withdrawn from the Guard/PDF, and breed, as women can breed into their 50's, and I assume that the Imperium might have some drugs to help these later pregnancies be more easy, frequent, and successful. This is my own vision, certainly, but I like Cadians, and so I often view them as great, and less segregated than many forces. I don't know the canonical truth.

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I don't know if significant numbers of Cadian troopers live into their 40s, and then the Imperium is going to pay to have a ship transport them all the way back home.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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I realize that it's a boring answer, but I would be really surprised if the overall Imperial Guard (or rather, the Departmento Munitorum) had an enforced policy on the matter. Like so much else in the Imperium, it is a feudal system, and each part of the whole only concern themselves with their part and their underlings, and their superiors traditionally usually only care that things "work".

 

There is a great, enormous number of extremely different regiments in the Imperium. From policies of combat doctrine, training, uniform and even language, why would their suddenly be a uniform policy on fraternization?

 

I don't know if significant numbers of Cadian troopers live into their 40s, and then the Imperium is going to pay to have a ship transport them all the way back home.

Well as far as I understand it, Cadians primarily serve in the Cadian sector, and in order for cadians - all of which has to be called cadian troopers, every last one of them - to even grow as a group of humans, a significant number of cadians would have to live into their 40's or older.

For all I know I might be wrong, though.

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I don't know if significant numbers of Cadian troopers live into their 40s, and then the Imperium is going to pay to have a ship transport them all the way back home.

I was referring more to the 40+ age Cadians still on the planet Cadia; the thread on retiring gives some indication that breeding would need to happen before dispatched troops departed, or they're probably never getting back to Cadia, unless they can find an excuse to be on the ship leaving their field of action that is returning to Cadia, to pick up the next batch of dispatching Cadians, which might be tricky, at best.

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I the case of the Cadians I've always assumed that while all Cadians join the guard the majority of Cadian units never actually leave Cadia and are permanently stationed there for defense. Since Cadia isn't permanently under attack they'd no doubt have enough free time to raise a few kids (presumably some of the Caidans who have retired or been medically discharged run day care centers). Even with some regiments being exported to other combat zones the planet would have enough people for a reasonably sustainable population.

 

Now if you want a planet that has some interesting population issues consider Vostroya. Every first born son is recruited into the guard and unlike Cadia they pretty much all go off planet. This would lead to a pretty severe gender imbalance (depending on average family size), and each non-firstborn son would need to father an average of four kids to maintain the population. The question thne becomes do they maintain a traditional family structure (with the excess women becoming Victorian Aunts) or use a non-traditional family structure to facilitate this.

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The usual disclaimer: This being 40k, different sources will say different things. They are all equally valid (as would be the stuff that you make up for yourself); contradictions merely present different options to cherrypick from. My own interpretation draws heavily from GW's own material, which in spite of it officially not being any more important than some novel or FFG's stuff, I still view as a sort of common ground between fans.

 

With that out of the way ...

 

Indeed I do believe in civilian trains following Guard regiments around, very much like it was done for the armies of the Napoleonic era. The reason for this is that the organisation of a regiment, as explained in GW's material, is 100% combat troops, with no elements set aside for logistics duties as is common in modern armies nowadays. Additionally, the background for Whiteshields specifically points out that the children of Guardsmen are "usually brought up completely within the regiment itself" as it "acts as a kind of extended family, infusing the youngsters with the culture of the homeworld they have never seen, and assigning them menial and support duties which would otherwise eat into the regiment's fighting strength". This, to me, means that (1) yes, Guardsmen get to procreate during their lengthy tour of service and (2) there must be someone following the regiment around, caring for the children for as long as they are still too young, and probably taking over a variety of other duties.

 


 

Whilst probably less efficient than a trained logistics corps, this unified approach makes sure that a regiment of feral warriors will be organised along similar lines as one from a civilised world. Additionally, given the lifestyle of the Imperial citizenry in the 41st millennium, it stands to reason that even those civilian camp followers will be able to withstand the hardships of a military campaign, unlike as if you'd grab a random civilian off the streets in our modern world. After all, those camp followers are the same kind of people that make up the gangs in the underhive, or the mutant-purging militias of the Ministorum.

 

The exact composition and nature of these trains will probably differ from regiment to regiment - with some having merchants, relatives and servants signing up right when the regiment is formed, whereas on other occasions the soldiers may forcibly conscript labourers from the population of the world they are fighting on, much like how I imagine most of the troops' daily rations will come from the areas they are marching through, just like it used to work in medieval times.

 

"Captured Fenrisians were enslaved and put to work providing materials for the Imperial armies. They were forced to lay makeshift roads across the treacherous glacial flats and made to cut down the huge trees of Fenris' forests to provide fuel for fires and the versatile engines of the Imperial Guard tanks. However, the Fenrisians were not easily tamed and they had to be guarded closely lest they try to rise against Bucharis and strike at his army where it would be most damaging. Whole communities were slaughtered and settlements razed to the ground. The hardy livestock of the few scattered farms were butchered for the troops to feast upon, the women were enslaved and the young and old were slaughtered and left for the large carrion crows that circle the skies of this inhospitable world."

-- 2E C:SoB, The Age of Apostasy

 


 

Needless to say, foraging and looting also makes the regiment much less dependent on a steady supply chain, which in many cases might be difficult to establish, given the unreliable nature of Warp travel. Prolonged campaigns would probably see the Munitorum establish a local chain of logistics, but this would take weeks if not months of organisation, not included the time it would take to first pacify the region where the required resources (including manpower) could be requisitioned.

 

...

 

I'm digressing, ain't I?

Back to lovemaking!

 

It is my interpretation and belief that any rules and habits concerning fraternisation would depend on an individual regiment's homeworld. You can have a regiment of men who only sleep with one another (hello, Spartans), just like you could have a regiment whose troops would be allowed to take slaves from the subjugated population of a recently conquered world (*cough*Columbus*cough*). And that's not even touching on mixed-gender regiments, where fraternisation might be allowed, discouraged or strictly forbidden all depending on local customs of the world that raised it. Go nuts! Almost anything goes - that's one of the greatest advantages of the Imperial Guard in terms of fluff.

 

 

As for the Cadians: according to the Codex EoT, every Cadian citizen is recruited into the Interior Guard, but only one in ten (chosen at random, to ensure an equal distribution of quality troops) is transferred into the Shock Troops and sent to fight off-world. Very much unlike your standard Guard regiment that either fights until destroyed or ends up being garrisoned somewhere, the Shock Troops also seem to rotate back into the Interior Guard after a tour of duty. This re-assimilation would allow it to "offload" children born during the campaign, bring valuable combat experience into units the surviving companies merge with, and be an option of retirement for old and/or crippled soldiers. As per the Codex, even though every single Cadian has at one point served in the Guard, only 71.75% of the population are actually under arms. This means that of a population of 250,000,000 people, about 70 million people are "free" to take care of civilian jobs or raise a family (including those too old to do anything, though).

Edited by Lynata

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a guard regiment could come into contact with tens of thousands of civilians or 'near' civilians on its travels. Just think of all the department monitoring and admistratum bods. Nobles servants ships ratings civilian labour colonists indentured workers. As for fraternising between troopers? Regulation wise probablydepends on the regent

Practical terms yes.

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Coming from FF Q1 of 2015: Only War: Camp follower.

 

Character options include: Adepta prostitua, armorer, Catering core chef cook, battlefield scrounger, profesional mourner, bootlegger. Adepto Muntiorum clerck.

 

New regiments: Kelly's Heroes, The Mainwaring 68th Home guard.

 

:)

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I am playing a TechPriest, not interested in fledglings and doubt I can get a Chimera pregnant!

I do find it fascinating that so much thought is put into this!

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In the book "Imperial Glory" there was even boy company made up from sons of gaurdsmen. They had wives and girlfriends so i would say it depends on regiment and your playstyle. My custom made regiment i made for players have little comisariat presence and colonel don't care if soldiers get laid as long as they get the job done. In players squad two of NPC are lovers (which can prove problematic if one of those npc dies, the other one will blame squad leader so it may lead to a curious situation). So i think that fraternization should be encouraged since it's more fun when PC act like humans not like killing machines.

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In general terms, the military would prefer for its soldiers to keep it in their pants. As soldiers are usually youngish males, that is an impossibility. Since the dawn of time, armies have thus found it practical to either provide the required entertainment with army brothels and approved prostitutes or at the very least regulate it with army doctors regularly checking the local prostitutes and handing out condoms, so as to keep STD's in check (seriously!).

 

So whatever homeworld regulations might describe, any regiment in the field will soon acquire its bevy of camp followers.

 

 

Which offers some role-playing opportunties as a freshly raised regiment arrives, filled with noobs ripe for the pickings....Think Sharpe and his veteran riflemen when first encountering the South Essex...

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Side-but-tangentally-related-note...

 

This talk has me curious. Has anyone come across anything like a Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell policy in all the stories and fluff about the Guard?

 

Seriously, would they treat same sex pairings as no big deal or is it treated like heresy? Or has nobody ever addressed the subject in 40K lore?

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I think the average GW/Black library author goes like: "I'm not touching that subject with a 10 foot bright lance".

Its probaly one of those "depends on the world/regiment" type of things, where the munitorum doesn't  care and has no official stance or guidlines for it.

 

Unless they are cought fapping to an immage of the Emperor ,wich will get them burned at the stake real quick :)

Edited by Robin Graves
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Interesting. I mean, on the one hand I'm sure anyone in GW, if asked, would respond with a "It's no big deal to me," but considering the grimdark setting of 40K it's also of one of those traditional traits that people used to (and still do) focus on as being abnormal and sacriligious, right up there with witchcraft and heresy.

 

I just let people at the table know straight up "You don't know how the Ministorum priest or the Commissar or your commanding officers will treat this. It's not in your Guardsman's Primer anywhere so it's your risk to take if you pursue it."

 

Worst comes to worst, I had to hand out a LITTLE bonus XP when they made an epic stealth roll through camp to be with their paramour.

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I have always thought of the Imperial Guard as  being an army somewhat similar to those of the 18th and 19th century where the army had a number of camp followers

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I have always thought of the Imperial Guard as  being an army somewhat similar to those of the 18th and 19th century where the army had a number of camp followers

 

They should have. Let's be honest somebody has to cook ,clean and do all this stuff since i doubt soldiers have time for this. And if there were no camp followers, prostitutes, booze etc. why would any one would want to join IG except fanatics? And if all the imperium would be bunch of zealots that society would not work and be destroyed ages ago.

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I have always thought of the Imperial Guard as  being an army somewhat similar to those of the 18th and 19th century where the army had a number of camp followers

 

They should have. Let's be honest somebody has to cook ,clean and do all this stuff since i doubt soldiers have time for this. And if there were no camp followers, prostitutes, booze etc. why would any one would want to join IG except fanatics? And if all the imperium would be bunch of zealots that society would not work and be destroyed ages ago.

 

 

The Imperial Guard is not an all-volunteer organization. Conscription is used somewhat widely. As is drafting PDF units to fill the relevant tithe requirements.

Sure, there are volunteers, even lots of them. But there are also a lot of Guardsmen who weren't given much of a choice in the matter.

 

But yeah. Camp followers are around. Probably also cross-unit affairs happen when there are multiple units in the same place at the same time for any sort of extended period of time and some have women.

 

In mixed units, regs are probably loosely similar to what modern regs are - no officers with enlisted, no superiors with juniors (possibly some flex if the relationship started while they were equal), etc.

And, of course, if a relationship interferes with the carrying out of duty, there will be repercussions.

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but considering the grimdark setting of 40K it's also of one of those traditional traits that people used to (and still do) focus on as being abnormal and sacriligious, right up there with witchcraft and heresy

 

The same could be said about the role and "proper treatment" of women, though. There was a time when wearing trousers as a girl could have you end up on the pyre. :P

 

The Ministorum takes a lot of inspiration (surely about 90% or so) from the medieval Church cliché, but let's keep in mind that it is not a 100% copy. As Robin Graves mentioned, it ought to depend on the regiment's homeworld, as the different planets may have widely differing cultures. Some will have barbaric traditions, others are pragmatic. Some will be sexist (ruled by men or women), others egalitarian. Some will discriminate against people with black hairs, others against people with blue eyes. Some will be homophobic, others won't care or even have it as a tradition (see Ancient Greece). All of this will be reflected in the regiments raised on that world.

 

In the end, all the Ministorum as a whole cares for is that everyone is xenophobic, hates mutants and prays to the Emperor. There may be a small chance that an individual Confessor is assigned to a regiment that does not conform to their own locally inspired religious upbringing - in this case, there might be trouble, but it could also be an interesting roleplaying opportunity as the priest attempts to exert their influence on the regiment but meets with a lot of resistance even from the officers, and the Commissar getting caught up in the middle of all this. The irony being that the Commissar's upbringing will be the least "tainted" by local tradition because they come from the Schola whose education is the Imperial Creed distilled to its purest form, without any of the baggage of native cultures. Plus, at least in codex fluff (as usual, individual Black Library novels may disagree with such details) the Schola is strictly gender-separated, so there's a good chance that the Commissar has little understanding of or patience for sexual relationships regardless of gender. This might mean they could discourage against it, just as it could mean they don't care as long as it doesn't affect a trooper's combat readiness.

 

In case of serious trouble between the Confessor and the regiment's troops based on different interpretations of religious dogma, I would assume the Commissar would try to mediate between both parties and attempt to keep friction to a minimum, whilst at the same time struggling with the realisation that the priest represents the organisation that educated him/her, contrasted by the knowledge that he/she must do their best to keep the regiment's spirits up to have everyone in proper fighting mood. The easiest way would probably to divert everyone's attention to a common enemy whose presence is even more outrageous... Where are those Orks when you need 'em? ;)

Edited by Lynata
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