Nobles

The Nobility of the Civilized West are the rulers of the land. It is they who are responsible for the protection and management of the masses of commoners under their care, and for the protection of the lands of their liege lords.

Hereditary

Central to the concept of nobility is "noble blood." Arrogant though it may be, nobles are believed to be the chosen of the Gods (or God in the case of the One Faith), and their family lines are expected to carry forward through the generations, ruling over Creation in their name.

Noble blood and title is hereditary through legitimate offspring. Inheritance of any lands and title is usually granted to the oldest legitimate offspring (regardless of gender) though it is ultimately the decision of the head of house as to who inherits when they die. The only stipulation is that the designated heir must share blood with the noble in question, or be married to one of their children and not already be the heir of a different house, in which case they take on the surname of their spouse. The head of the house must be careful with such decisions, however, for "skipping" an older child when it comes to the inheritance, or granting command of the household to someone from outside their household when they still have other natural-born children can lead to considerable intra-house conflict. Indeed, there is likely no greater cause of violence within or even between houses as disputed claims of inheritance. Still, making a child-by-marriage a designated heir can be a powerful tool for securing marriage alliances with stronger houses, especially for a Lord or Lady who might feel their children are not up to the task of ruling….

Some houses choose to only grant inheritance rights to the first born child of a particular gender (son or daughter), though this practice is increasingly uncommon in the Civilized West. Even more rare are those families that allow their children to compete for the title of Heir, though such practices are common with House al'Morena and those that serve them.

Social Hierarchy

There are a multitude of titles that nobles can hold, each representing further steps down in terms of how much power, wealth, and influence they tend to hold. These titles are shared throughout the Civilized West, having been derived from the middle Vir Sidus Empire prior to its withdrawal from the west around 1300 IE. From the top to the bottom, the hierarchy is as follows:

Emperor/Empress - One who rules multiple kingdoms. Defunct in the Civilized West but still used in the Vir Sidus Empire and the Empire of Partharia.

Forms of Address

Position Address
King/Queen Your Majesty
Prince/Princess Your Highness
Duke/Duchess/Arch-Duke/Arch-Duchess Your Grace
Viscount/Countess Your Excellency
Baron/Baroness Your Lordship/Ladyship, Your Excellency
Knights Sir (Both Genders)
Lord/Lady My Lord/My Lady
Untitled nobility, gentry (location dependant) Messire, Madam

Noble Character Concepts

Nobles are generally well educated and highly trained at whatever paths they have chosen to pursue. Unless they suffer from some sort of physical infirmity or have a particularly soft-hearted disposition, most nobles (of both genders) will have at least some training in the use of one or more weapons (and/or their bare hands) Knights tend to be versed in Blades, Polearms, and Horsemanship, though some may substitute bludgeons for blades, and "foot knights" are far from unheard of (eschewing the emphasis on Horsemanship). Archery, Hands, and Perception are often secondary skills for knights. For heads of house and heirs, Stewardship is critical, and even most non-heirs will have a rank in the skill "just in case." One never knows when they might suddenly become the heir, and even non-heirs who are skilled stewards are often useful to their house in a variety of ways. Nobles who are inclined to more subtle forms of warfare will often prioritize Perception and Stealth, often with Archery or Blades as a primary weapon skill. Some nobles also choose to pursue skill as an Apothecary or (more commonly) Healer. For war leaders, Command is an absolute must as well as Sailing if a naval warrior.

All Nobles are assumed to have a comprehensive knowledge of standard etiquette, standard courtly dances and protocol for their home Kingdom (unless their background specifies otherwise, and they should have an appropriate Trait set if that is the case), and do not have to buy the politics skill to represent this. Additionally nobles are always considered to be literate unless otherwise noted in the background or traits. Skills common to many Nobles include Lore, Manipulation, and Politics. More subtle nobles often will have points in Investigation, Intrigue (which is not a bad choice for any noble), and Acting (as it includes deception). Many nobles enjoy artistic pursuits, whether playing a particular Musical Instrument, Singing, Painting, Drawing, or Sculpting (Performing and Artistry skill). Hunting and Falconry (Animal Husbandry skill) are also popular pastimes. Gardening and Needlework (artistry for embroidery, crafting for tailoring) are fairly popular among Noble Ladies. Less common background skills for nobles include Alchemy and other scientific pursuits, as well as Engineering, Shipbuilding, Architecture, etc… It is rare for Nobles to be particularly skilled in "menial" or highly laborious tasks like Smithing (crafting), Farming (agriculture) or similar…

Ultimately, your combination of skills should be reflected in your background and possibly traits, and come together to help give a picture of who your character is. Character generation is relatively free-form, so let your imagination run wild! As long as you can justify it in your background, staff will at least consider the idea.

The Responsibility of Power

So, you're the head of a house or the liege over a fiefdom of whatever size, blessed with noble title and the authority of the crown to rule over those lands in their name. Great! Time to ride that gravy train, right? Well no, not really. Ruling lands is a responsibility, and if you don't hold up your end of things, it can have serious repercussions for you and your House.

Stewardship matters. Not only is it an important indicator for how well your lands are being run (if you are a landed noble) but it also represents management of many other sorts. It is very useful to high level military commanders as well as business people. Just to give a good idea of general guidelines:

Stewardship 0 - You might have a few basic ideas of how things should work but lack education and/or talent.
Stewardship 1 - You have the standard education in stewardship but lack experience or natural ability (and vice versa). You can probably get employment as a steward at this level.
Stewardship 2 - This is the level that most professional stewards will possess. 2 represents a good professional.
Stewardship 3 - An excellent education combined with natural ability and experience. 3 represents an expert in the field.
Stewardship 4 - You're skilled enough that nobles will seek you out for advice and support.
Stewardship 5 - This is the sort of talent that comes along once in a generation. If that.

In order to create difficulties and challenges for the players we endeavor to run stewardship rolls once a month.

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