Designing the Greater Terran Union | Incoming

Designing the Greater Terran Union | Incoming


On February 17th, 2090 a flotilla of alien
warships arrived in Earth’s orbit and for the next seven years waged an apoc a liptic
war against the forces of humanity. When mankind finally emerged victorious, the
planet had been decimated and in a desperate bid to prevent the complete collapse of civilization,
Earth was united under the governance of a single authoritarian regime that would become
known as the Greater Terran Union. Today on Incoming, we investigate an alternate
world of our design with a look at the Greater Terran Union, or the GTU, from our miniseries,
Stellaris Invicta. We’ll go into how we came up with some of
our ideas, why certain decisions were made and even provide some resources for those
of you looking to improve your skills in writing, graphic design, and other elements of worldbuilding
thanks to today’s sponsor Skillshare. First, for those of you who haven’t followed
our Stellaris Invicta series, the Greater Terran Union was one of four nations developed
by the Templin Institute which were then given to our Patreon supporters to vote on which
one would become the focus of an ongoing game of Stellaris. Every week we’ve been streaming our progress
on our Twitch channel and then once a month produce an episode detailing the events of
the game. Of the four nations we came up with, the others
being the United Federation of Nations, the Soviet Union and the Holy Solar Empire, the
Greater Terran Union was by far the most authoritarian and closely resembled the fascist societies
of World War Two Germany, Italy and Japan. When the GTU won our Patreon poll and we were
given the opportunity to further develop its background. Our primary goal was to retain these fascist
elements but give it a little more nuance and complexity. The Greater Terran Union may not be a place
where you’d want to live but as with any nation, it would never be evil just for the
sake of being evil and there needed to understandable reasons why its society developed the way
it did. This is where the idea of an alien invasion
came from. If you’ve seen some of our earlier episodes
on worldbuilding you’d know that I don’t find a single world government all that interesting
or believable, and a global fascist dictatorship seems even less likely. For a government like the GTU to come into
being, there needed to be an enormous change to the political situation on Earth and a
dire threat that could unite all of humanity and maybe make it a little more willing to
surrender some of its basic freedoms. Knowing we’d eventually be fighting alien
empires in Stellaris, the idea of a prior alien invasion made a lot of sense and opened
some cool narrative possibilities. While the Greater Terran Union displays the
usual tenets of a fascist government, ultra-nationalism, the militarization and regimentation of society
and the economy, the ultimate goal of the GTU is to ensure that the existence of humanity
is never again threatened. To achieve this, every aspect of human civilization
needs to be managed as efficiently as possible without regard for personal liberty. For the GTU, the ends always justify the means
and every decision it makes stems from this one idea. But governments are still just made up of
people and not everyone thinks identically. In our earliest episodes covering the history
of the GTU we went out of our way to mention that even some of the highest members of the
nation’s government were horrified at some of the actions they were forced to take, adding
what I hope is a bit of humanity and subtlety to what would otherwise be an implacable regime. The Greater Terran Union couldn’t just be
a 1930s authoritarian dictatorship in space though. It needed to be modernized and then given
some more futuristic elements so it wouldn’t feel completely out of place in a Stellaris
campaign. Our answer was to introduce a tiered citizenship
structure that forms the central pillar of the GTU’s society. Everyone in the GTU is assigned a citizenship
tier that dictates everything from the type of employment they’re allowed to seek, whether
limitations exist on their freedom of movement, all the way down to the amount of water allotted
to their showers each month. The system is fluid, with citizens gaining
tiers or losing them depending on their performance, criminal activity and other considerations. This was directly inspired by the civilian/citizen
dynamic in Starship Troopers, the hierarchical structure of the Turians in Mass Effect, and
the rating system portrayed in Black Mirror. A lot of research was also done on China’s
upcoming Social Credit System which utilizes a lot of these same ideas. The citizenship tier system has been a huge
hit and it’s been amazing seeing that take off in the comments of our videos and during
the Twitch streams. With efficiency the primary driving factor
of the GTU, it naturally operates as a meritocracy. The better your abilities, the higher your
citizenship tier, the higher your citizenship tier the further you can rise within the government. Almost nothing else is considered. For this reason, the GTU is actually very
socially liberal. Regardless of race, creed, gender or however
a citizen might identify, whether its gay, straight, transgender or whatever else, they
are afforded the exact same rights and responsibilities. While this might be morally the right thing
to do, and I believe helps sets the GTU apart from other authoritarian regimes, the rationale
behind it is more utilitarian than utopian. For the Greater Terran Union, people are essentially
another resource and to deny someone the chance to utilize their skills to further the goals
of humanity because of their gender, race or religion is inefficient. I really like the idea that this almost tyrannical
society is doing the right thing for maybe the wrong reasons. It also means that if and when the GTU starts
accepting aliens as citizens, it will be forced to confront its own values which is another
interesting narrative possibility. The government of the GTU is almost completely
made up of military officers, first as a matter of necessity following the invasion and then
formalized a little later on. All too often, military leaders are portrayed
as power hungry war hawks and I wanted to avoid this over simplification. Also, given that the GTU’s leadership was
a coalition formed between many different states with different pre-war governments,
economic systems and ideals, it seemed only natural there might be bit of pressure to
return to the status quo. This was addressed by having the Greater Terran
Union put forward a vote to voluntarily dissolve itself, only to have the people overwhelmingly
support its continued existence. This vote was important as it defines a large
part of the GTU’s national character. It is not an illegal regime, but one formed
by the consent of the governed. When it came to the GTU’s executive office,
I wanted to do something different than the standard Dictator or Emperor. I did a ton of research on various executive
branches across the world and came across the Federal Council used by modern-day Switzerland. Not only was it really interesting and unique,
I thought it perfectly fit the Greater Terran Union. Especially in its earliest days, the GTU would
have been divided along former nationalist lines. Chinese citizens might not be overly eager
to be led by an American, or vice versa for example. By adopting the model of the Federal Council,
representatives from all across the Earth form the highest level of government. Of course, both Stellaris and narrative reasons
kinda demanded there be a sole leader, so we added the position of “High Marshal”
which acts as a kind of “first among equals”. The last major feature of the GTU intended
to make it stand out are the Commissariats. These are essentially provinces that govern
various regions on Earth and eventually, sectors of space. The goal here was to make sure the GTU never
felt like America in space or Germany in space but instead reflected all of humanity. Just because the world is united under a single
government doesn’t mean that thousands of years of culture and tradition is immediately
replaced. While at the time of this video we haven’t
had the opportunity to explore this idea thoroughly in any of our episodes yet, the Commissariats
make it clear that historical, cultural and national distinctions still remain in the
GTU. So that brings us to the flag of the Greater
Terran Union. If you’re a regular Incoming viewer you
know I’m a sucker for a good flag so this part of the process is always a highlight. When it comes to fascist flags there’s not
really even a roughly defined style like communist flags have for example, but I really wanted
to base it around a single, basic geometric shape. To me that just seemed very authoritarian. A triangle looks like the most warlike shape,
don’t ask me why, so I messed around with a bunch of variants before settling on one
with a few segments cut out of it. Now, it is of course important that an emblem
be designed with symbolism in mind, but I am not the strongest graphic designer so my
intention was to come up with something that looked cool first, and then figure out the
symbolism later. Even then, I cheated a bit and came up with
a bit of background story where this symbol was originally used as a resistance marker
with no real meaning, that eventually took on a life of its own and became a worldwide
symbol of defiance. That just seemed a bit more interesting to
me than “the three points represent duty, honor and glory” or whatever. When it came to colors, I mostly just ripped
off the Helghast which was another big inspiration for the GTU as a whole. Of course, the best part of worldbuilding
is seeing how people react to what you’ve come up with. Many people were asking in our Discord server
and on YouTube why the Greater Terran Union would enact a old-child policy after the initial
alien invasion. Surely after losing so many people that’s
the worst thing the GTU could do, right? Well the intent was that even after the alien
invasion had been defeated, the collapse of civilization across much of the world meant
that there weren’t enough resources for even the current number of survivors. Millions more were faced with famine so the
one child policy was supposed to help stabilize the current population until the situation
improved. It’s been incredibly rewarding seeing everyone
have such fierce debates on what the GTU would do in a given situation or whether their core
values had been betrayed following a particularly divisive choice. Having an original creation discussed with
the same amount of passion usually reserved for properties like Star Wars or Warhammer
40,000 has been my favorite part of Stellaris Invicta, and I’m looking forward to continuing
the story of the GTU and perhaps other groups in future seasons. So you might have realized by now that worldbuilding
can be kinda tough. In addition to all the research required,
it really helps to be proficient in writing, graphic design, cartography, iconography and
basically whatever else you want to cover in your world. Well, Skillshare is an online community with
thousands of classes that cover all these things and countless more. There’s courses on how to create and design
a realistic map, fictional universe storytelling, creative writing, and graphic design. Skillshare also goes far beyond worldbuilding. If you’re interested in how we edit our
videos and design the look of the Templin Institute, Skillshare can help you there too. Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop
and Audacity are the backbone of the Institute and Skillshare has courses covering all of
them. We’ve been using Skillshare ourselves to
help with Social Media and Branding and have learned quite a bit. Premium membership gives you unlimited access
to high quality classes from experts working in their fields, so you can improve your skills,
unlock new opportunities and do the work you love. It’s also more affordable than most learning
platforms out there, an annual subscription is less than 10 USD a month. For any Templin Institute personnel interested
in Skillshare, click the link in the description. The first 500 people to sign up get 2 free
months of premium membership. If you end up using Skillshare to help improve
your worldbuilding or I don’t know, learn how to make fresh pasta, make sure to share
it to our Discord server. Again,you’ll find the link is in the description. So that’s how the Greater Terran Union came
together, and this time it’s not just my opinion but absolute undeniable fact. Although there is basically no difference. Did I forget to mention something though? Was there an aspect of the GTU you want to
know more about? Where can you get a Prikiki-Ti plushie toy? Ask away in the comments below and we’ll
do our best to get back to you. So until next time, this has been Incoming. The Templin Institute investigates alternate
worlds and realities. If you’ve enjoyed this video and would like
to directly support us, vote in polls to determine future topics, and receive some cool rewards,
please consider pledging to our Patreon Page.


100 thoughts on “Designing the Greater Terran Union | Incoming

  1. Attention citizens! We are hosting a special bonus stream of Stellaris Invicta right now! Check it out on https://www.twitch.tv/templininstitute

  2. I love the idea of a fascist gov. Being socially liberal out of sheer need instead of any egalitarian reason. It really does make this world youve built more unique than some basic dystopia future world.

  3. ok first off fuck you because my own head canon for a universe i'm making shares so many shared characteristics. secondly i like it still though ;p

  4. A utilitarian perspective of people is perverse, psychotic and inhumain.

    Its a sociopathic view of a human. (outside government*)

  5. I'm creating a science-fantasy advanced, prosperous and enlightening world of my own, so this does have some great ideas since I got multiple inspirations. The difference though is that I'm not gonna make it a fascist or junta dictatorship or anything that resembles tyranny; in fact tyrannical governments are among those they fight. It's also an alliance they have, similar to NATO or the European Union, they go fight against terrorism, techno-barbarism and hostile aliens. What they have is still enough to combat these threats without restrictions on civil liberties, although they still got be proper people with anti-crime policies (just like in numerous countries). It doesn't mean they're going to be weak because of this because they too have an immensely powerful military.

    Keep it up. I got suggestions to do next: Tiberium GDI, Red Alert Allies, Starcraft Protoss, other 40k Space Marine chapters, Killzone ISA.

  6. the GTU’s emblem kind of spells out GTU with the G on being the white part of the left and the T on the right with the U in the middle as the central triangle. with the emphasis on “union”

  7. The GTU is basically something that Frank Herbert warned us in Dune. That was why he made the God Emperor Leto II into a massive dick.

  8. Sounds like the Discord group (or Patreon group) is your Federal Council. You're already using it for decisions and debates.
    Sounds like a good possible future government, but not one I'd want to live under.
    Is there a Resistance, libertarians fighting for more individual freedom? I could see one coming from the former Western European countries, Canada, and U.S A.
    Just a thought.

  9. Amaerica is gacust see how the treat their Puerto Rico and their other 13 colonies .They only shadow everthing with a fake liberty.We see the events done in time facist have been the Rule of the move in global scale.So you make that point in pointing others also point yourself.

  10. I wouldn't see the GTU as an authoritarian government, I would see it as a system born of need, humanity as just managed to survive an alien invasion population was reduced there was no civilian government or authority they were destroyed during the war the only people left were the military that defeated the alien, the world was devastated resources extremely limited, they made the choices necessary to guaranty the continuous survival of humanity and that wen the alien returned they would be ready and the outcome would not be the same,

  11. Hey, what'd be the odds of getting a video on Ian Bank's Culture series. The Culture is such an interesting scifi world, and with a (potential) amazon series based on the novels coming out in the next year or so, it'd be great to get people up to speed on that amazing anarcho-socialist space empire of sentient AI ships and the free people who live on them.

  12. 01:39 more authoritarian than Soviet Union? You sure about that? As both were bad, but the soviets had the same tendencies as National Socialists with the class based oppression. Look what they did to the Ukrainians? Created a famine in order to decrease Ukrainians and replace them with Russians. And they shot everyone that was perceived to be to successful. during it's developmental purges. I say the Soviets win by just a little bit when compared to the other.

  13. I think their view on equality tends to contradict their view on aliens.
    Likely, they distrust anything from outside their own system due to the event that sparked the government taking hold in the first place.
    But simultaneously, they hold the belief that people are a resource but not a hoardable commodity, so even though they value humans a lot, why wouldn't they value a capable working alien willing to work with them?

    If humans were treated like gold and where locked away on Earth while robots did all the labour, then I could see how they'd still hate aliens.
    But it seems like these humans are free enough and expendable enough to work, and work dangerous jobs at that.
    So why can't alien life be a resource too?

  14. Greater Terran Union is thrawnish in that thrawn his officer and troops as resources and that he requires these resources to be at their full potential.

  15. I look forward to your updates on the GTU. I'm not really more involved than that but as a passive viewer I enjoy your work. Thank you.

  16. Absolutely love what you've done with the world building here. Especially when explaining the political tensions within the GTU and with the other alien civilisations.

    What I'd love to see would be a bit more detail about the hardware and technology that the GTU have developed to expand its inter-stellar empire. For example, the kind of starships the GTU have developed and the technology that they have acquired.

    Either way, I love the series and look forward to it every month. Keep it up!

  17. I would love to discuss on worldbuilding since me and a certain friend have made one that started back during 2011, I think.

  18. Just out of curiosity. Once the Stellaris Invicta reaches it's conclusion, do you think you'll do some spinoff streams featuring the other factions (such as the United Federation of Nations, the Soviet Union, and the Holy Solar Empire) that didn't make the cut like the Greater Terran Union did?

  19. As a potential Sci-Fi writer hoping to be a published author one day, your world building on fictional governments is an inspiration and I my hope is, that one day, one of my factions makes an appearance on your great channel. Thanks for great content!

  20. Honestly whenever i think of a new society i think the same way, exploit people for their skills and not wasting time on inefficient means

  21. I know a little bit about Galaxy building, I edited and contributed for West End Games Star Wars before there was a Star Wars Renaissance. You are doing great work here.

  22. So, I watched the three GTU video before this one and I tought they were a mix of Terran Federation (Starship Troopers) and Soviet Union. Never once i tought they were space fascists.

  23. Are you using any mods of stellaris? Just wondering…

    I love your series, and thank you for the english subtitles.

  24. How would anyone in the GTU's military get promotings, and what are the different branches of main aspects in there armed forces?

  25. Don't know if you guys will see this or have the time to answer my question, but on the chance you do, I've been playing around with the idea of creating a future setting of my own. At the moment it is very rough but I do have the concept for a treaty-based interstellar community of semi-independent and autonomous nations, planets and solar systems I've been thinking of calling the "Condominium". I'm using the word in the sense of it's international law definition, which is the joint control of a country's or territory's affairs by other countries. The Condominium would function as a a supranational authority that promotes and protects individual rights, free economies, and democratic governance across member systems and worlds. If you could just comment on it and give me some advice I'd appreciate it.

  26. I don't understand why everyone is comparing this to the world of Starship Troopers. The world portrayed in Starship Troopers is not fascist or authoritarian unlike the GTU. Claiming that Starship Troopers is fascist is to completely misunderstand it.

  27. a problem i have with this video is that it plays into the myth that fascism is at least practical when it isnt. fascism is only good at killing people who cant defend themselves thats it

  28. The GTU is certainly a place Grand Admiral Thrawn would respect and admire plus he may even serve loyally.

    For they encompass a lot of the same values and pragmatism that he embodies to.

  29. Is the GTU faction that you two made going to be turned into a mod and added on steam for other people to play around without?

  30. Getting these guys to build their own nation is like getting tiger woods to pick out your golf clubs. This does remind me of Stephen Moss’ fear saga in a way.

  31. I was thinking, if you didn't want just one leader the High Marshall, you could have somebody almost like the speaker in the British House of Commons who overlooks things and makes sure things don't get out of hand but doesn't have any other special governing powers.

  32. Loved hearing your thoughts of the development! I would actually enjoy one of those Prikkiki-Ti Plushies, are they being designed for export or will the GTU keep this now almost historical artefact for themselves?

  33. I really like how well thought out this is. The GTU at first might seem like cartoonish "Fascists IN SPACE!!" villains. A little peek into the lore shows its anything but the case. Authoritarianism born of necessity, ratified into a permanent state out of fear of future alien attack, or simply because it was familiar. Their xenophobia not a cartoony racism, but hard wired into humanity due to terrible experience and hardship.

    Silly "For the Evulz" villain protagonists are fun sometimes, but one with well thought out motivation and history is top class. I just wonder what happens if the GTU ever provokes the wrath of a Fallen Empire.

  34. So on the internet, if you give people the power to create a country, they make nazis.
    Loads M1 Garand
    Alright then.

  35. Citizen republics like those in starship troopers are far from fascistic! I'd argue those are the best kind of governments a country or world could hope to have. Everyone running the government has dedicated service over self in some form of military service. Every politician a veteran, every general a career service member. Civilians still have full freedoms, but simply can not serve or vote in the government, only citizens can. That's what makes it a citizen republic. Still democratic, but citizenship must be earned, it is not given away simply by being born. Cherished for those who want to be involved in government or positions of leadership. Should we ever be so lucky!

  36. People and governments doing the right things for the wrong reasons is always, to me, the most dynamic and unique way to write nations and organizations. Morally good people doing morally good things or vice versa is boring, and doing terrible things for good intentions (while interesting and even realistic) has become a bit of a cliche at this point – particularly when discussing World War II and other aspects of history and historical fiction.

    But having a group use a morally bankrupt motive for doing the right thing is great. It challenges the viewer. Is social liberty being encouraged exclusively for utilitarian reasons still something that should be applauded?

    Or for a question not answered in the video: How exactly are people with physical and mental disabilities treated by a government that’s socially liberal, but only in the name of efficiency? Are they automatically lower-tier citizens, disregarded by the GTU as a strain on the system? Would the GTU dedicate resources to curing/rehabilitating individuals with cancerous tumors, missing limbs after combat, and mental/neurological disabilities like autism, not in the name of helping fellow man but simply in the name of efficiency? Would they attempt to remove them entirely via eugenics and selective “breeding”?

    Questions like these are what show that an excellent world has been built.

  37. This EXTREMELY sounds like modern China !

    1. Japanese Invade China in WW2
    2. Communists take over to unite China and defeat Japan
    3. Cultural Revolution
    4. Utilitarianism and Fascism

  38. I have been thinking of writing a fiction story, and the GTU really sounds so realistic that I might want to take influences from it for my own factions and governments.

  39. I wanna see like, a space opera musical. It would be goofy but I just wanna see a bunch of bloodthirsty citizens chant in Latin as a rebel leader of dissenter is executed, it would be the coolest thing ever.

  40. Before I say this, I love your channel, I love this project, and I imagine you probably feel the same way I do, you may have just said this the way you did so you didn't have to explain a flaw in modern language.I was hoping that you would use the labels of "liberal" and "conservative" in a more traditional sense, instead of how modern language has warped their meaning. The extreme of liberal is totalitarian, while the extreme of conservative is anarchism, so the GTU allowing personal freedoms was actually a conservative aspect within their totalitarian regime. I often hear people argue that conservative means someone is more "traditional," but how does one quantify what traditional is? Is someone liberal about an idea until some new perspective about that idea arises, then is that person conservative until he adopts this new perspective? Choosing to be somewhere in between totalitarian and anarchist is where you want to be, but choosing between communism and fascism is choosing between identical shades of shit. I hate how much we change our language just to suit our emotional needs (or prejudices).

    Anyway, I found the ideas behind the GTU fascinating. I also hate "evil governments for evil's sake," in fiction, so finding a way that a fascist government would most effectively utilize their people was really cool and took some deep thinking. Keep up the good work guys, I'm loving ever second of it!

  41. this world you created is so cool,kind of like starship troopers.this government seems so right I wish this world we living now could be like this..the whole world under one government one ruler to rule us all..WE MUST ALL BE UNITED NOW TO FACE THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY…TO CONQUER THE STARS..

  42. the citizen teir system is basically lifted out of Issac Asimov's caves of steel. Its an interesting concept that makes for a more interesting society.

  43. I love the GTU. I didn't think they seemed "dictatorial" at all. They did what was needed, and showed guilt at the more harsh things they had to do.

  44. I actually consider the GTU to be a better nation then (all) the current nations of Earth. Long live the Greater Terran Union !!!

  45. Fascism is not a bad system, historically is has been done poorly.
    Fascism is older then you might think.
    The word fascism is derived for a Roman sect " fectia "
    What is fascism?
    In its core it a government form that puts people that are qualified in to their fields in charge of their field .
    Only a farmer can become a minister of farming , a teacher minister of education so no popular vote , since popular vote does not automatically give you the best leaders after all Adolf Hitler was elected democratically ( popular vote ) and more recently Donald Trump ( yea i know low blow )
    Democracy only works if people that vote know what the cause and effect of voting for person or bill will be.
    Fascism take the burden of wrong decision away from the masses.
    The factia in Roman history where , a small group of people that have little or no influence in Roman society, farmers fishermen, wood choppers….
    They put up a system that voting was don only by specialist, the non specialist where not allowed to vote.
    The order was disclosed by the Roman's there followers sentences to death because they wanted to take control over the Roman empire. 800 years later Mussolini dit just that .
    Fascism has nothing to do with nazism
    Nazism is a derived form of communism ( the main differences b that communism = power to the people
    In nazism = power to the government ( strong military no press freedom and centralized production) all ministerial posts can be occupied by non specialist ( Heinrich was a chicken farmer and was put in charge of the waffen SS ) in a true fascist state ( Italy was not even close) he would be at best minister of poultry. Hitler of defense not leaders of a nation.

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