Though extremly rare, the Gudersnipe Foundation has occasionally drafted civilians into the Crimson Blade. This happened numerous times during the Kamian Succession Wars when large numbers of foot soldiers were sometimes needed.
According to an obscure Foundation law, any citizen or member of the Gudersnipe Foundation may be conscripted for millitary service "in times of war" (since the Foundation is always at war with somebody, this technically means anytime). This law covers both GS Towns and GS Protectorates. A very obscure treaty dating back to the last year of the Mage Wars even allows the Foundation to draft Alliance citizens if they reside in a country where Gudersnipe has a strong military presence (this includes all of joint space).
Choice of Draft
Despite its strict policy of equal-opportunity, the draft laws actually specify that only men can be drafted: a rule followed to the letter throughout the entire history of the Foundation.
Durring the early centuries of the Golden Age, the Foundation regularly drafted civilians into the then newly-formed Crimson Blade. These soldiers were used throughout the series of minor skirmishes that plagued the early part of that era, as the Alliance and Gudersnipe Foundation were still solidifying.
However, these early conscripts were little more than "encouraged recruits", as it was very easy to be dismissed for medical reasons or by failing basic training. The Foundation was very picky about who it actually sent into combat, and for the most part it was not difficult for unwilling "recruits" to escape the Crimson Blade all together, or find themselves safe in a non-combat position.
The drafting contributed greatly to the early success of the Foundation, as many out-of-work conscripts discovered life in the Crimson Blade was not so bad. By A.Y. 1200, the Crimson Blade had enough willing recruits to stop the practice of drafting all together.
Following the early centuries, throughout most of recorded history, no large-scale drafts ever took place. Only in very small, isolated, emergency situations were drafts ever required, and never for more than a few months at most. Usually, drafts were only used a stop-gap while more experienced regular troops were moved into position.
It also saw use in a number of non-combat situations to assemble large, short-term work forces. This is usually done in emergency situations such as large-scale evacuations or disaster-relief. Whenever possible, volunteers are used; but the draft laws were sometimes employed.
Drafts during the Succession Wars
The actual number of conscripts was considerablly smaller than history would like to remember. The Crimson Blade had always maintained a very large fighting force, so combat was not the main focus of drafts. The Crimson Blade sees soldiering as a buisness, and therefore only trained and certified professionals should take part. As such, placing conscripts on the battlefield was considered "unprofessional", and only in very rare situations did conscripted soldiers do actual fighting. Mostly, conscripts took on the role of support troops, working at military isntalations behind the lines. These soldiers still had to be trained for combat and issued weapons, and were expected to fight if the need arose. This was far from preferable, and volunteer soldiers always took preference over conscripts.
Conscripts actually often fell into two distinct yet similarly-named groups: soldiers, and "soldiers":
These were drafties serving as support-troops in non-combat but near-combat roles. This happened most typically when job specializations (mechanics, doctors, etc.) could not be filled from the reserves. Civilians with the neccessary skill-set would be drafted and put to work, usually with commissions as officers. Civilians without skills, drafted for non-combat duty, typically receved very short terms of one or two years. Skilled conscripts usually got longer terms, but also better treatment.
The distinction of the big, sarcastic quotation marks, was used to seperate those drafted under existing laws to do war-work.
When it became clear that the Kamian Succession Wars were not going to be finished quickly, the Foundation employed the ancient draft laws well behind enemy lines to mobilize a work-force. Previously unskilled laborers would be "drafted" into munitions factories and shipyards. These would be conscripted for eight to twelve years, during which they would be taught a trade and put to work. Though they recieved ranks and reported to commanding officers along a millitary chain-of-command, they were never issued uniforms nor recieved any sort of combat training. They were paid well for their work (comperable to civilians doing the same job) and recieved training as a result. Though issued ranks, the "soldiers" were not made to comply with any form of millitary disipline. They were seldom held to their lengthy conscription-periods, being allowed to "quit" and go to work as civilians as long as they continued supporting the war effort.
Opinion and Treatment of Deserters
According to Foundation Law, deserters in wartime are to be put to death. Again, since the Foundation is always at war with somebody, this means anytime. In the Crimson Blade regulars, this law is typically enforced only in actual combat situations (when the division in question is actually involved in a war). When no combat is imminent, deserters usually receive jail sentences in special Crimson Blade prisons.
While the letter of the law applies this equally to conscripts, it is seldom enforced. Deserters in active combat will usually be executed, but only under the direst of circumstances and only to maintain disicipline. Even in "times of war" when no active combat is nearby, conscripts attempting to desert will recieve very mild punishments.
Drafties who successfully escape require little work to hide. Though officially they are officially wanted criminals, the GSMPs rarely actively pursue deserters who are wanted for no other crime, even going so far as to turn a blind eye when suspects are found. Those deserters that willfully turn themselves in can look forward to extremly mild punishment. Assuming they are wanted for no other crime, they may be forced to serve out the rest of their term in a non-combat position or simply discharged without penalty. Any benefits deserters might have been otherwise entitled to have are automatically forfeited, but jail sentences are extremly rare.