Monday, 9 April 2012

A to Z: H is for House

House and Palace of MysoreIn My Traveller Universe (IMTU) the families of the Nobility are divided into two classes – Houses Major and Houses Minor.

Houses Major make up the Imperial Nobility. It is from their ranks that the system, Subsector and Sector rulers are drawn. Houses Minor make up the planetary nobility, the industrial nobility and the upper echelons of the bureaucracy.

In Traveller, it is the Social Status characteristic that determines whether a character is “of the nobility”, or has been ennobled as a reward for meritorious service. A Social Status of 11 indicates that the character has been knighted. The Emperor or one of the Archdukes of the Imperium may bestow an Imperial Knighthood upon a character – such an honour usually includes membership of one of the several orders of Imperial Knights with the attendant rewards and responsibilities that such an award entails.

Given the distance that separates the RimWorlds Sector (my Traveller Universe) from the body of the Imperium, an honour granted to Kolin I, first Sector Duke of the Rimworlds, was permission to create an Order of Knights of the Rimward Stars, and to induct into it “such sophonts of good character and upstanding morals as might form both a sword and a shield for the protection of the Imperial citizens of said Sector, the RimWorlds”. The RimWorld Sector Dukes retain and exercise this unique honour to this day.

Houses Minor also number Barons, Marquis and Counts amongst their ranks who hold local and provincial administrative posts. To rule a single planet, a noble and his or her House must be elevated to House Major Status. The ancient title “siridar” is appended to the noble’s title indicating this elevation and a Baron becomes a Siridar-Baron, a Marquis becomes a Siridar-Marquis, and a Count becomes a Siridar-Count. As the title of Duke does not exist for Houses Minor, Subsector and Sector Dukes dispense with the "siridar" title.

The gulf between House Minor and House Major is as wide as that between Noble and Commoner, yet members of the Houses Minor perform a vital function within the vast and sprawling Imperial Government.