While I’m not a huge military aficionado, I am fascinated by ranks and medals. There has been more than one RPG where I played a military person and wanted to get a medal for no reason other than getting it.
While the Ravnivori military, or at least the part reaching out into the void, is pretty non-traditional, they still hold to some traditions that just work like ranks. At some point, I should (and will) place some in game mechanics to these ranks. I’ll also likely come up with some medals and game mechanics for those, too. In both cases they’ll be Charisma bonuses for people who care.
Unlike most armed forces, the Ravnivori Empire’s military long ago abandoned separate chains of command and ranking systems for its navy and army and uses a unified set of ranks. A sergeant in a ground based unit is the same as a sergeant on a ship. Occasionally, traditional minded soldiers will still use alternate ranks, but this is officially discouraged.
There are no Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers in the Ravnivori Empire. Though most people who go through the military academies of the Empire gain the rank of Lieutenant upon graduation, those with poor or spectacular performance can be made Sergeants or Captains, respectively, instead. Additionally, a soldier who enters the military as a private can work his or her way up to a Lieutenant and beyond.
The following are the ranks used in the Imperial Military from lowest to highest.
Private: The lowest rank in the Imperial Military, these are men and women who are either fresh recruits or who have never risen through the ranks. Many kazya never achieve a higher rank than Private.
Corporal: These men and women generally lead the smallest Imperial Unit; the File. Files vary widely in size from only three troops and a Corporal up to nine troops and a Corporal. The standard File is four Privates lead by a Corporal for a total of five soldiers.
Sergeant: Sergeants are in charge of Squads. A Squad is made up of between one and three Corporals with their Files and an additional File that the Sergeant personally commands. The Sergeant’s File is often known as the First File (or “Double F” or “FF” in military circles) and is generally hand picked by the Sergeant to contain the most experienced and effective Privates in his Squad. A standard Squad is made up of only one Sergeant, one Corporal and their Files (making the standard Squad ten soldiers) but exceptionally large squads of as many as 40 men exist.
Lieutenant: Each Lieutenant commands a Platoon. A Platoon is made up of two to three Squads plus the Lieutenant’s personal File. The Lieutenant’s personal File is commonly made up of non-fighting men and women who serve him in clerical capacities. However, some Lieutenants select elite fighters who are often of Corporal and Sergeant ranks for their personal File. A Platoon is thus anywhere between thirty and 120 men, though forty is the most common size.
Major: The rank given to a person who commands a Squadron is Major. A Squadron is made up of two Platoons as well as the Major’s personal Squad. A Major’s personal Squad is almost always made up entirely of clerical personnel who assist the Major in managing the paperwork needed to run a Squadron. A Squadron can be as small as seventy troops and as large as 250 with 100 being the standard size.
Colonel: A Colonel commands two or three Squadrons as a Company. Again, a Colonel will have a personal Squads that serves him in a clerical capacity and oversees the personal Files and Squads of all the officers under his command. Numbering between 150 and 750 troops, with 310 being the most common size, a Company is often the largest Imperial Military group in a given region. Often, the spearhead of an invasion force is made up of a company and can include ten or more spelljamming ships carrying troops.
General: A General is responsible for a Regiment. A Regiment is made up of two or three Companies and the Genearl’s personal Squad. A Regiment can number just over 2,000 troops though 1,000 is much more common and special Regiments as small as 300 troops exist. Each Regiment has its own dedicated fleet to serve as transportation and defense. Against small countries that the Empire encounters, a Regiment is generally considered a large enough force for conquest.
Marshall: Each Marshall is in charge of his own Brigade. Between two and four Regiments make up each Brigade and a Marshall usually has his own Platoon of troops under his direct command. This Platoon is generally equal parts clerical staff and body guards. “Light Brigades” of less than 1,000 troops are almost nonexistent and always made up of elite forces. 4,000 troops is the most common size, but “Heavy Brigades” of 8,000 troops are not uncommon and are often formed to face truly large and powerful nations.
Admiral: An Admiral is the highest official rank in the Ravnivori military. Though higher ranks exist, they are often unique or shared only by a handful of people. Beyond this rank, a person makes military policy rather than actually leading troops. Each Admiral is in command of a Corps. A Corps is made up of at least two and as many as five Brigades. The Admiral is assisted in managing his Corps by his own personal Platoon made up of both organizational and combat staff. The smallest Corps numbers 5,000 troops while the largest is made up of five “Heavy Brigades” and contains 40,000 troops. Most Corps contain approximately 10,000 soldiers and are responsible for conquering or invading large areas of land including small continents and even sparsely populated planets.
In addition to the standard rank system, there are a number of honorifics in the Imperial Military that provide shades of command between the ranks. While not officially of higher rank, people with these titles are generally given deference and respect by others of their rank and are expected to take command in a group of their peers.
Standard Bearer: Generally, the Corporal of a Lieutenant’s personal File is chosen to be the Platoon’s Standard Bearer. Each Platoon’s standard is made up of a unique element added to the standard of the Squadron it is a part of. The Squadron’s standard in turn has an additional element that differentiates it from the Company it is subordinate to and so on up to the Corps Standard, which is generally just a color or pattern. The Standard Bearer of each larger sized unit is of higher rank than the previous size. Additionally, Standard Bearers are considered of higher rank than other people with their rank, though not of officers of a rank higher. For instance, a Standard Bearer Corporal can command other Corporals but not Sergeants.
Specialist: This honorific is added to the rank of any enlisted person with a supernatural ability. Whether it be supernatural, psionic, or magical in origin, people with special abilities are known as Specialists. Each Squad contains at least one Specialist and it is general policy for one out of every two Files to have a Specialist. Additionally, there are entire Platoons made up only of Specialists of one type.
“Captain” is an honorary title given to the commanding officer of any Imperial ship. Captains always have another rank, usually a Sergeant, Lieutenant or Major. A Captain is responsible for all the daily administration of a ship from navigation to discipline and even combat. Even officers of higher rank cannot usurp this power and, though a higher ranking officer can tell a Captain where to go, they cannot tell him how to get there. Even an Admiral is a passenger on another Captain’s ship, though Admirals are usually Captains of their own ships.
Inquisitors: Entirely outside the military hierarchy, Inquisitors are not subject to it. Chosen by the Emperor, his advisers, the Regents or some other governmental body, Inquisitors serve the dual purposes of keeping the military in check and performing missions of a delicate nature that the military is not suited for. Generally given at least the title of Lieutenant, an Inquisitor can ignore the orders of even Admirals and even investigate and command people of such lofty heights no matter what their relative ranks. Of course, abuse of this power can lead to the dismissal of an Inquisitor or even criminal charges if it is grievous enough and there is certainly no love lost between members of the military and the Inquisitors and military men and women work to block and slow Inquisitors as much as possible as a matter of principle.
High, Grand, Arch and Prime Admiral: These titles are given to the men and women who are in charge of the entire military force for a Regency or Sphere and vary from person to person. At this level of command, these officers are responsible to no one but the Regent or other governmental body, and in some cases, only the Emperor himself. At this level of the military, command is not determined by rank so much as force of personality, respect and experience. The Prime Admirals who serve in the Senate of the Almatian Regency are independent of and equal too the High Admiral of Kirtina’s Regency.
Kronor: As expansion into the Void began, it became obvious that the traditional titles that labeled various types of nobles on the planet, baron, duke, shogun, etc. were insufficient to describe the new elite who would develop. It was one thing to say that a man was a duke and had this much land with this many people under his power. It was quite another to say that a man had this much land on one planet, this much land on another planet and a stake in a merchant guild with trade routes between two more worlds. The title “Kronor,” a bastardization of the term “void lord” in Old Ravnivori was coined and slowly adopted by those who dealt with the Void. It is a very new and fairly generic term. Essentially, anyone who has holdings on more than one world, no matter how small is referred to as a Kronor. Whether these holdings are two small villages on different planets or two duchies, both people are termed Kronors. Of course, the Void Running society is fairly small and while all Kronors respect each other for their shared background, those smaller Kronors who try to throw their weight around with the larger ones, and even with the larger nobility of Retra will be subtly put in their place if they try to be too arrogant about it.