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Are Clans More Meritocratic Then The Great Houses?


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#1 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:04 PM

Quote

mer·i·toc·ra·cy

ˌmer-ə-ˈtä-krə-sē\
plural mer·i·toc·ra·cies

Definition of MERITOCRACY

1: a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement

2: leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria

http://www.merriam-w...ary/meritocracy


I notice that while a lot of prejudice does exist, it seems like if you are good enough in the Clans you can still make it. Consider Phelan Kell, and how he became a Khan of Clan Wolf, and Natasha Kerensky despite her being "too old", etc.

I know this is hardly perfect, Smoke Jaguar for example had some very corrupt politics going on where warriors were using dishonorable and political methods to get ahead. By and large, it seems as if though, even if you were born in the Labor Caste, if you somehow managed to defeat a Warrior in combat, unaugmented, they would have to consider you for the Warrior Caste.

Whereas in the Houses, if you are born a peasant, you die a peasant. The only ones who rise are largely those born into Noble families or knighthood. Phelan Kell for example, was tossed out of the Inner Sphere because of corrupt politics for example.

In any case, it just seems like in the Clans your rank is determined by Trials i.e. actual achievement, whereas in the Inner Sphere rank is largely inherited. Of course there are nuanced points and grey areas, but by and large that is the picture which seems to emerge.

Edited by PaintedWolf, 07 March 2014 - 12:06 PM.


#2 Mohawk Howell

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:23 PM

Yes, but no.

It's a meritocracy with an asterisk. Politics and classism is rampant. If a laborer attacked a warrior and won he wouldn't become a warrior, he'd win the argument. A laborer would have to some how be taken into the Warrior Caste then survive training untill he could take a trial of position

The most likely outcome of a labor defeating a warrior is for the warrior to take revenge by killing the laborer.

#3 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:28 PM

View PostMohawk Howell, on 07 March 2014 - 12:23 PM, said:

Yes, but no.

It's a meritocracy with an asterisk. Politics and classism is rampant. If a laborer attacked a warrior and won he wouldn't become a warrior, he'd win the argument. A laborer would have to some how be taken into the Warrior Caste then survive training untill he could take a trial of position

The most likely outcome of a labor defeating a warrior is for the warrior to take revenge by killing the laborer.


I meant if he was challenged to a duel with a Circle of Equals present.

#4 Mordin Ashe

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:30 PM

Clans have a hierarchy in castes, labourers being way bellow the warriors. In this regard, those two wouldn't meet in the Circle of Equals because the are simply not equal.

#5 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

View PostMordin Ashe, on 07 March 2014 - 12:30 PM, said:

Clans have a hierarchy in castes, labourers being way bellow the warriors. In this regard, those two wouldn't meet in the Circle of Equals because the are simply not equal.


Unless one challenged another to a Trial of Grievance. For example, Phelan Kell was not considered an Equal by Vlad Ward or many other Clan True Borns, but he was still allowed to fight in a Trial for his honor.

If the Warrior challenges the Laborer, or accepts a challenge from one, the results would still be valid.

Edited by PaintedWolf, 07 March 2014 - 12:35 PM.


#6 Technoviking

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:23 PM

View PostPaintedWolf, on 07 March 2014 - 12:28 PM, said:



I meant if he was challenged to a duel with a Circle of Equals present.


The laborer either failed out of Sibko culling or is a freebirth.

If he somehow was able to defeat a clan warrior in a Trial (the warrior would probably ignore this request, as he can ignore lower castes all he wants, but lets pretend), everyone would laugh at the warrior, and look with a "not bad" face at the laborer.

Then in a fury, the warrior at some point would probably kill the laborer so as remove the loss of honor from his sight. The other warriors would slap him on the back, make fun of him for losing, and go have a beer, leaving the dead lower casteman lying in a pool of blood for another laborer to pick up.

Phelen Kell was a warrior, and I believe he was a bondsman at that point if I'm correct. Warrior is still in the same Caste, even if he was freeborn.

#7 CyclonerM

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:23 PM

View PostPaintedWolf, on 07 March 2014 - 12:35 PM, said:


Unless one challenged another to a Trial of Grievance. For example, Phelan Kell was not considered an Equal by Vlad Ward or many other Clan True Borns, but he was still allowed to fight in a Trial for his honor.




Then every cadet or bondsman who is granted the honor of a Trial of Position in a Circle of Equals would be an exception..?

Well i think you could be right. As the first book of the Jade Phoenix saga shows, a cadet can fight against a trainer in a Circle of Equals despite not being equal. Of course, a challenge shall be made.

#8 Mohawk Howell

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 06:38 PM

View PostPaintedWolf, on 07 March 2014 - 12:35 PM, said:


Unless one challenged another to a Trial of Grievance. For example, Phelan Kell was not considered an Equal by Vlad Ward or many other Clan True Borns, but he was still allowed to fight in a Trial for his honor.

If the Warrior challenges the Laborer, or accepts a challenge from one, the results would still be valid.


And ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry christmas.

The warrior views the laborer as beneath him, he has no reason to accept or challenge. He could literally beat him to death with only minor consequences. I mean by our standards.

But even if the Trial happens, it doesn't change the status of the laborer, he is still a laborer.

View PostCyclonerM, on 07 March 2014 - 01:23 PM, said:


Then every cadet or bondsman who is granted the honor of a Trial of Position in a Circle of Equals would be an exception..?

Well i think you could be right. As the first book of the Jade Phoenix saga shows, a cadet can fight against a trainer in a Circle of Equals despite not being equal. Of course, a challenge shall be made.


A cadet does not perform a Trial of Position in a Circle of Equals. A CoE is used to settle fairly petty personal things, or as a response to a some level of insubordination.

#9 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 06:45 PM

In any case, just so nobody gets me wrong, I don't think Clans are the good guys. I do think, based on the novels, they are a lot more meritocratic then Great Houses on average. I do admire an honor code that protects civilians.

Ultimately though the Battle Tech universe is very relativistic, the Falcons actually came as a shock to me in the novels after reading from a Clan Wolf perspective, almost alien. The Smoke Jaguars came off as barbaric. The Ghost Bears so far are okay, then again I only read the Walking Dead and another one from the perspective of an Elemental. They mostly just seem efficient and have real big egos.

The Great Houses have a lot of variation as well. Cappellans and Combine citizens seem completely different. If there are any good guys I would say it is Republic of Sphere by a lot, followed by FedSuns and Lyrans/FWL. Maybe Clan Wolf or Ghost Bear seem okay. Golden Ordos is crazy, I mean poisoning an entire water supply on a desert planet is pretty bad.

As for militaristic, barbaric meritocracy vs aristocracy/neo-feudalism, it could really be a coin toss. I really have a disliking for feudal systems.

View PostMohawk Howell, on 07 March 2014 - 06:38 PM, said:


And ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry christmas.

The warrior views the laborer as beneath him, he has no reason to accept or challenge. He could literally beat him to death with only minor consequences. I mean by our standards.

But even if the Trial happens, it doesn't change the status of the laborer, he is still a laborer.



A cadet does not perform a Trial of Position in a Circle of Equals. A CoE is used to settle fairly petty personal things, or as a response to a some level of insubordination.



I think you guys are taking that example way too far, but I did read in "I am Jade Falcon" about some freebirths becoming members of the Warrior Caste and Jade Falcons are pretty strict, almost to the point of having an alien culture.

#10 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:03 PM

Note I am not including Post-Reaving Bastion and Aggressor factions.

#11 Kael Posavatz

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:03 PM

Meritocratic? Yes, with the caveat that the basis of 'merit' is one's skill as a warrior (within the warrior caste). Other caste's have their own benchmarks for determining merit, and reward merit with increased responsibility within those castes. We know mobility from caste to caste varies from clans, and most restrict if not ban mobility from non-warrior caste to warrior caste. What inter-caste mobility exists within the 'civilian' castes has remained largely unexplored in lore.

Actually, I think one of the best descriptions of the Clans' socio-cultural underpinnings that I've come across is a communism organized on the lines of Plato's Republic.

Edited by Kael 17, 07 March 2014 - 07:03 PM.


#12 Craig Steele

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:06 PM

OP, in general terms yes, but politics plays a part as merit is only recognised within each caste.

In your example if a labourer did defeat a warrior, someone in the touman may sponsor him, but it is also an option in some Clans the labourer is executed for wasting the Clans investment in training that mech warrior. It would very much depend on the circumstances of the fight and the circumstances of the Clan.

If the labourer was a trueborn who failed his trial, and was challenged by the warrior for some reason (ego maybe) and he won, someone in the touman (like the Star Captain) might say "hello, how'd this guy get past the system, maybe he's worth another look".

If the labourer was a freebirth a warrior accepted his challenge (ego maybe?) who threw sand in the warriors eyes and kicked him on the ground, he probably get a laser pistol to the head before the dust has settled.

To pick up on some other posts.

Phelan was a bondsman and NOT able to partake in any trials etc until he was sponsored and accepted as a warrior. A Bondsman is best described as a personal property of the Warrior, and in caste levels roughly the same as a Labourer. So regardless of all Phelans talents as a warrior he had exactly zero chance of advanacing in Clan culture until he was granted access to the warrior caste where he could use his talents.

This is true of all the Clan Castes, they have recognised ranks and leaders of each Caste, but the leader of a lower caste is never higher than the lowest rank of the next caste. Eg, Head scientist vs cadet mechwarrior, the cadet outranks him (technically, in practice the outcome would be somewhat tempered by personalities).

A Merchant who makes profitable deal after profitable deal advances in the Merchant caste and may even become its leader.

If someone from a lower caste was to challenge a higher caste the higher caste could simply laugh them off in a cultural sense. They are not obligated to accept that challenge as someone lower than them does not impose on their honour.

CoE is used for every trial, the circle itself is abstract in many cases and can be a whole planet. For the Refusal War it was the respective Invasion corridors of Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf. All cadet Trials of Position take place in a CoE, its just that the CoE is the proving grounds.

#13 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:07 PM

View PostKael 17, on 07 March 2014 - 07:03 PM, said:

Meritocratic? Yes, with the caveat that the basis of 'merit' is one's skill as a warrior (within the warrior caste). Other caste's have their own benchmarks for determining merit, and reward merit with increased responsibility within those castes. We know mobility from caste to caste varies from clans, and most restrict if not ban mobility from non-warrior caste to warrior caste. What inter-caste mobility exists within the 'civilian' castes has remained largely unexplored in lore.

Actually, I think one of the best descriptions of the Clans' socio-cultural underpinnings that I've come across is a communism organized on the lines of Plato's Republic.


Yeah I noticed. It mentioned in the War of Reavings that there are intra-caste competitions to determine rank. For example technicians are given engineering puzzles and scientists logic tests, etc. So while going from Laborer to Warrior is unlikely (though I have not read it is impossible) within Caste things are still determined by rank.

#14 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:10 PM

View PostCraig Steele, on 07 March 2014 - 07:06 PM, said:

OP, in general terms yes, but politics plays a part as merit is only recognised within each caste.

In your example if a labourer did defeat a warrior, someone in the touman may sponsor him, but it is also an option in some Clans the labourer is executed for wasting the Clans investment in training that mech warrior. It would very much depend on the circumstances of the fight and the circumstances of the Clan.

If the labourer was a trueborn who failed his trial, and was challenged by the warrior for some reason (ego maybe) and he won, someone in the touman (like the Star Captain) might say "hello, how'd this guy get past the system, maybe he's worth another look".

If the labourer was a freebirth a warrior accepted his challenge (ego maybe?) who threw sand in the warriors eyes and kicked him on the ground, he probably get a laser pistol to the head before the dust has settled.

To pick up on some other posts.

Phelan was a bondsman and NOT able to partake in any trials etc until he was sponsored and accepted as a warrior. A Bondsman is best described as a personal property of the Warrior, and in caste levels roughly the same as a Labourer. So regardless of all Phelans talents as a warrior he had exactly zero chance of advanacing in Clan culture until he was granted access to the warrior caste where he could use his talents.

This is true of all the Clan Castes, they have recognised ranks and leaders of each Caste, but the leader of a lower caste is never higher than the lowest rank of the next caste. Eg, Head scientist vs cadet mechwarrior, the cadet outranks him (technically, in practice the outcome would be somewhat tempered by personalities).

A Merchant who makes profitable deal after profitable deal advances in the Merchant caste and may even become its leader.

If someone from a lower caste was to challenge a higher caste the higher caste could simply laugh them off in a cultural sense. They are not obligated to accept that challenge as someone lower than them does not impose on their honour.

CoE is used for every trial, the circle itself is abstract in many cases and can be a whole planet. For the Refusal War it was the respective Invasion corridors of Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf. All cadet Trials of Position take place in a CoE, its just that the CoE is the proving grounds.


Wait, I thought Jade Falcons mentioned many second line units were freebirths, where could a freebirth come from but the lower castes?

#15 Mohawk Howell

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:13 PM

Quote

I think you guys are taking that example way too far, but I did read in "I am Jade Falcon" about some freebirths becoming members of the Warrior Caste and Jade Falcons are pretty strict, almost to the point of having an alien culture.


Freebirths often make up second line units, and standard infantry platoons. Clans operate under the policy 'Might makes right' of course there is a tendency some to be righter than others.

It should be noted I count myself as a clanner. Jade Falcon to be exact, although I earned my bloodname in a short lived league my JF group joined, JF was already taken so we settled for Snow Raven. Howell was originally a SR bloodname.

#16 Craig Steele

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:15 PM

View PostPaintedWolf, on 07 March 2014 - 07:10 PM, said:


Wait, I thought Jade Falcons mentioned many second line units were freebirths, where could a freebirth come from but the lower castes?


Jade Falcon is not alone in permitting Freebirths into the touman.

In Clan culture, ALL children are tested for what caste they have talents for. This occurs (from memory) about 10 / 12 years of age.

If a freebirth child shows talent for warrior, they get put into a second line training facility (sperate from the sibko system for most clans)

From there they are treated no different to any other warrior (well, apart from the stigma / discrimation thing) in the sense they are part of the caste and now its up to them to prove themslves.

Equally if a child shows acumen for (insert specialty here) they will go to that caste. Anyone with no acumen goes the the labour caste.

EDIT: Actually I think there is an exception that some castes can keep their children in a family unit, only warriors get taken form their families. I'd have to check :P

Edited by Craig Steele, 07 March 2014 - 07:18 PM.


#17 PaintedWolf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:49 PM

View PostCraig Steele, on 07 March 2014 - 07:15 PM, said:


Jade Falcon is not alone in permitting Freebirths into the touman.

In Clan culture, ALL children are tested for what caste they have talents for. This occurs (from memory) about 10 / 12 years of age.

If a freebirth child shows talent for warrior, they get put into a second line training facility (sperate from the sibko system for most clans)

From there they are treated no different to any other warrior (well, apart from the stigma / discrimation thing) in the sense they are part of the caste and now its up to them to prove themslves.

Equally if a child shows acumen for (insert specialty here) they will go to that caste. Anyone with no acumen goes the the labour caste.

EDIT: Actually I think there is an exception that some castes can keep their children in a family unit, only warriors get taken form their families. I'd have to check :P


Wait, so are classes forbidden to mingle? Why can't a Laborer enter the Touman if they have the ability? Let's say the Laborer works his feet off like in Gattaca? Let's say he can 100 percent toast other warriors in simulation easy?

I say a Spider pilot with an ER PPC take out four greater weigh Mechs. I am not sure, but if Adan Pride became a Tech Freebirth as a means of getting back into the Warrior Caste and winning a Bloodname there has to be some loop hole in this.

#18 Craig Steele

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 08:06 PM

View PostPaintedWolf, on 07 March 2014 - 07:49 PM, said:


Wait, so are classes forbidden to mingle? Why can't a Laborer enter the Touman if they have the ability? Let's say the Laborer works his feet off like in Gattaca? Let's say he can 100 percent toast other warriors in simulation easy?

I say a Spider pilot with an ER PPC take out four greater weigh Mechs. I am not sure, but if Adan Pride became a Tech Freebirth as a means of getting back into the Warrior Caste and winning a Bloodname there has to be some loop hole in this.


As I said, a labourer can. But he has to be sponsored. Even if he showed the natural talent you're describing, most clans would overlook him as a freebirth alone.

The children of the clans are tested and if they have talent they get a sponsor via the Clan. They go into the warrior caste. A labourer never gets any warrior training (why waste resources on trianing someone inferior) but if they showed natural talent somehow, and it was recognised, and the Clan had a need, and there was no one else, then maybe the planets align and they get a chance. It is possible, but not a common occurence. In canon, it's a remote fluke at best. Theoritically though, it could happen.

As for Aidan Pryde, he failed his initial testing as a warrior and was relegated to the Scientist Caste. There he would have stayed except his Falconer saw something that no one else did, and he sent some warriors to get him back and they got him into a Freebirth solhama unit. Aidan had nothing to do with getting back into the warrior caste (well, except for fighting obviously) the opportunity only came about because of his sponsor.

One doesn't become a freebirth, you either are or you are not.

Clans generally view the key seperation as Warriors then the rest. Most clans allow the lesser castes to mingle without any reprecussion but whether the caste member do is a different story. Clan culture is very structured so a Tech may stop his daughter from seeing a Labourers son for example, and quite rightly (according to culture).

But certainly as a warrior, you don't 'mingle' with the other castes. Basically your posting is your everything. All the companions you ever need are right alongside you. Brothers in Arms. Clan warriors (particularly true borns) have no concpet of love or affection. It's not part of their make up. If you want to couple, you ask and off you go. If either party says no it's no big deal and if they say yes it implies nothing more than going to the movies. It's an entertainment 'transaction'.

Warrior children are rare to say the least and in many Clans imply sub standard warrior (ie, their mind not on the job) which sees them put into lower castes automatically. There are no 'dependants' in Clan units following the warriors around like in the inner sphere.

#19 Mohawk Howell

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 08:09 PM

Well, no. A Laborer wouldn't be allowed to train with a mech. Once you enter a Caste, generally you don't leave it. Unless you're not good enough at it, then you get moved down the caste hierarchy. Warrior > Scientist > Technician > Merchant > Laborer... Unless you're a Sea Fox/Diamond Shark then its Warrior = Merchant > Scientist > Technician >Laborer.

Aidan Pryde scammed his way back into the Warrior Caste, and only was able to make do to being a Trueborn and BALLS OF TITANIUM.

Clan Steel Viper for example does not allow Freebirths into the Warrior caste, without exception.

#20 Craig Steele

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 08:14 PM

View PostMohawk Howell, on 07 March 2014 - 08:09 PM, said:

Well, no. A Laborer wouldn't be allowed to train with a mech. Once you enter a Caste, generally you don't leave it. Unless you're not good enough at it, then you get moved down the caste hierarchy. Warrior > Scientist > Technician > Merchant > Laborer... Unless you're a Sea Fox/Diamond Shark then its Warrior = Merchant > Scientist > Technician >Laborer.

Aidan Pryde scammed his way back into the Warrior Caste, and only was able to make do to being a Trueborn and BALLS OF TITANIUM.

Clan Steel Viper for example does not allow Freebirths into the Warrior caste, without exception.


LOL, Some Clans would say Diamond Shark is Merchant > Warrior > Scientist > Technician > Labourer :P





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