Nobles & Land

Royal and Noble Houses of Aagos:

Lannen: Original founders of the Viroth Kingdom, unbroken line of rulers until the death of the King Roberht II in his 10th year of rule. Well liked by the general population due to many years of peace and a general feeling of security and prosperity under their rule. The House of Lannen ended with the death of the Roberht II.

Telan: Powerful and aggressive, the embodiment of Cymur's teachings. Sponsor of the Church of the Golden faith in the early days, hence the grand temple being in Telantha. Very well regarded by the Church of the Golden faith and many other religious orders, very highly respected/loved by the various vessels and retainers. The House of Telan is now the Royal House.

Mao: Very powerful house, though widely known to deal in less then legal activities, not trusted by many, though not disliked much either. Tend to be extremely generous with their wealth (tend to buy peoples favour rather than earn it, like Telan.) Respected in most criminal circuits as a result, and thus have access to goods and services likely inaccessible to the other houses.

Hadeen: Enigmatic house, extremely distrusted by the general population, a mystery even to the other noble houses. Are well known to have interests in magic and most other sciences and have personally sponsored several schools and collages, are very well regarded as a result by the intelligentsia. The Hadeens always wear masks in public, at times quite extravagant affairs. The more flamboyant the better it seems in their minds. The last three generations of Hadeens have born only sons. With the current family being made up of the Maquis himself, and his four sons. The youngest of which was recently returned to him after being lost for a few years.

Three Major Houses of Viroth

Telan - Royal House
Mao - Most deviant/shadowy
Hadeen - Most Mysterious/Masks

Prominent Houses of Viroth

Baurer - Profits made in silks and fabrics
Calvelo - Strong tie to House Telan
Geryol - Large number of members in Temple Guard
Filyan - Eccentric and strong ties to House Hadeen
Opet - Gem trade & ties to House Mao
Baves - Writers and artists
Arndell - A once grand and wealthy house that has been dragged down by far too many sons and daughters.

Minor Houses
Doraster -- Kfor kha-weaving and a grand library
Cronauer - Promiscuity and uncommon beauty
Hrna - Bravado, courage in battle
Aksoy - Manages shops/buildings
Gutreuter - Conservative
Muncil - Gamblers and lucky
Dehler - Foresters/nature loving
Arau - Meticulous/Perfectionists
Marrington - Knights
Lynah - Singers and dancers

The Virothian system discriminates between five grades of people:

Royalty - A ruling dynastic family. (Exclusively drawn from the nobility)
Nobility - In essence, landowners. To be a landowner you have to be prepared to defend your right to own that land. Synonymous with the military caste. Nobility can usually only be inherited by an eldest son.
Knights - A non-hereditary rank which could be bestowed by Royalty or senior Knights on any free person, however the costs of keeping themselves fully equipped for war means that Knights are often wealthy members of the Gentry, or Nobility. Knights form a select group, for which warfare and the protection of realm is the focus.
Gentry - Usually the families of Nobility, which while in many cases are afforded the respect, and treated as 'noble', are technically common. The Gentry represent the upper social crust, and are able to become small land-owners in their own right, though do not hold many of the other rights of nobility (such as with protection from harsher punishments for crimes, to bare chivalric weapons, etc,.) Gentry are Nobles brothers, sisters, grandchildren, parents, children and husbands/wives. They are not cousins, or aunties, uncles or other distant relations.
Commons - All persons who do not belong to any of the above grades. Common people tend to have very little rights within the society, and are in most cases at the mercy of their betters.

There is a final, sixth grade of person, which is distinct only because it isn't recognised. That of the Non-Person, or Slave. These people are not recognised as people in any legal or social manner, they are objects, which can be owned, sold, destroyed or treated in any manner one might treat any other objects. However, they do come under legal protection as one might expect, in the form of damage to another person's property, or theft of someone's property.

Honourifics - Royalty:

King, Queen, Prince, Princess; King and Queen are the titles for the ruling heads of state, and are styled His/Her/Your Majesty. Often all the power rests with the King. In cases where there is no King, and no male heir of suitable age, the Queen holds the power to rule, however, should she marry then her husband will inherit the title of King and all her power will move to him.

His Majesty King ...

Prince and Princess are the titles of any Royal offspring, however, only the direct male heir is styled His/Your Royal Highness.

His Royal Highness Prince ...

Honourifics - Nobility (in order of their rank):

Grand Duke, Grand Duchess; These titles are reserved exclusively for the heads of a former ruling family. As such, there are very few (none, currently) nobles who carry this title.

His Augustness Grand Duke ...

Duke, Duchess; This title bears no relation to the Grand Duke or Grand Duchess title. None the less it is an extremely exalted title, styled His/Her/your Highness, and often the children of Princes or Princesses (who are not in line for the throne) will be bestowed the title of Duke or Duchess. A duchy (or grand duchy) is the territory ruled by a Duke (or Grand Duke), or the lands (and/or incomes) specifically attached to the ducal title.

His Highness Duke ...

Marquis, Marchioness; The title of a noble in charge of the marches (the border regions) of a realm in distinction to other lords in more-settled lands. These individuals were essentially warlords with broad powers, which may include such rights as to grant titles of nobility, create knights, even raise private armies and coin their own money. Powers normally reserved for a sovereign.

Her Excellency Marchioness ...

Earl, Countess; The ruler of a county. Often their lands would be of equal or slightly larger size than the lands ruled by a Marquis, however often lands in more developed areas of the realm.

His Excellency Earl ...

Baron, Baroness; The lowest noble rank, ruling over a barony, which in most cases are lands held directly from the King. Barons and Baroness make up the majority of the nobility, and unlike higher ranking nobles will often pay their military service to the crown directly, rather than hire a knight to fulfil their service. Those knights who perform outstandingly in service of their King are sometimes awarded a barony and the noble rank associated with it. Styled His/Her/Your honour.

His Honour Baron ...

Honourifics - Knights:

Knights are those few private warriors who have been knighted and inducted into a chivalric order, and given the title and rights to bear chivalric arms and equip their horses in heavy war gear. Often members of noble families or the gentry, due to the costs of fully equipping themselves and keeping horses. Knights had two ranks; Knight Bachelor, preceded by the Knight Bannerette, a full Knight who could lead a company of Knights under his own banner and himself knight private warriors (usually those who have served him as a squire for some time), in turn ranking below a Baron. Styled Sir, or Dame.

Dame ...

Honourifics - Gentry:

The gentry is made up primarily of the members of a family headed by a noble, though occasionally a family is able to remain a part of the gentry even after the passing of the family's head, without a suitable heir for the noble title, styled Lord and Lady. The gentry represent the elite of the social classes, and are often required to observe strict codes of conduct in order to maintain their position. Simply put, a member of the gentry who does not at least outwardly act, speak, and adopt the appearance of society's elite, isn't. It is not at all uncommon for a member of a Noble family to be excommunicated. The gentry, as with nobility, must at all times appear to be the social superiors of commoners. Despite this requirement to act, and behave noble, and the fact that by and large they are treated with the respect one would offer a noble, members of the gentry are technically common.

Lord ...

Honourifics - Commons:

Members of the public, anyone not included in the groups above are common. Depending on the situation, commoners might be addressed in one of several ways. However, more often than not they are styled Mister or Miss/Misses.

Mister ...

A final note on titles:

It is possible, if not somewhat common for nobility to possess several titles, for example one person could both be the Duke of Telantha, and the Earl of Shephard's Top, and many nobles have, at some point, been knighted. When addressing a noble, it is preferable to address them using the highest honourific that they are due, however by and large it is acceptable to address any noble as (my) Lord, or Lady, should one not be certain of their exact title(s).

Land Management

Most, if not all, of Telantha is owned by the Duke (now the King Robert Telan).

There's a practical limit on the amount of farms one estate can keep track of before inefficiency ruins everything; so the noble runs as many farms/homes/etc as he can manage, or he needs to run to provide him with all the necessities he needs (the farmer gets to keep the produce they harvested, all save 10% which was paid as tax to the Lord) the rest of the land would be let out to people who would then be known as vassals. These people would get to keep everything that their land produced (the 10% the farmers/whatever pay them in tax) but were obliged to offer military aid and/or other services as per the agreement they enter into with the lord.

It was very rare that a noble who owned land would actually do anything with the land themselves, they might build their home there, or a home there, depending, or they might save some for leisure pursuits (maybe they'd keep a forest on their land so they can go hunting there, and entertain their other lordly friends). However, more typically land was put to use by peasant farmers, who paid a percentage of what they produced to the lord for the use of the land, in this way, the lord didn't have to buy or sell anything or do any work just to live, he had most of his cares and worries taken care of; he had food on his table and all that without needing to do anything.

Nobility didn't use money, much, because unlike everyone else, they had already taken care of their needs for living. That is, land to live on, a home to live in, and food to live off. So what they might do is sell some of their excess produce to people who didn't innately have it (those people tended to be craftsmen, these people didn't farm for themselves so didn't have food unless they sold something they'd made, or a service they could perform) what the lord would get from them constituted the luxuries which made being a lord what many often think of; the fine wares, the expensive clothing, etc, etc.

Medieval Land Terms
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The feudal system, in which the land was owned by a monarch, who in exchange for homage and military service granted its use to tenants-in-chief, who in their turn granted its use to sub-tenants in return for further services, gave rise to several terms, for subdivisions of land which are no longer in wide use. These land terms include the following:

  • a hide: a hide of land is the amount that was considered sufficient to support a family, varying from 60 to 120 acres (240,000 to 480,000 m²) with the land quality. It was the basis for the assessment of taxes. The name may perhaps be derived from the payment of taxes in animal hides.
  • a Knight's fee: is the amount of land for which the services of a knight (for 40 days) were due to the Crown. It was determined by land value, and the number of hides in a Knight's Fee varied
  • a hundred: a division of a shire consisting of 100 hides.
  • a ward: a ward is a subdivision of a shire, equivalent to a hundred.

Lords, Vassals and Fiefs
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Before a lord will grant land, or fief, to someone, he had to make that person a vassal. This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a commendation ceremony comprised of the two-part act of homage and oath of fealty. In homage, the vassal would promise to fight for the lord at his command. Oath of fealty comes from the Latin fidelitas, or faithfulness, which means that the vassal will remain faithful to the lord. Once the commendation was complete, the lord and vassal were now in a feudal relationship with agreed-upon mutual obligations to one another.

The lord foremost was obligated to grant a fief or its revenues to the vassal; the fief is the primary reason the vassal chose to enter into the relationship. In addition, the lord sometimes had to fulfill other obligations to the vassal and fief. One of those obligations was its maintenance. Since the lord had not given the land away, only loaned it, it was still the lord's responsibility to maintain the land, while the vassal had the right to collect revenues generated from it. Another obligation that the lord had to fulfill was to protect the land and the vassal from harm.

The vassal, in turn, had two obligations to the lord. First and most importantly, he had to provide "aid", or military service. Using whatever equipment the vassal could obtain by virtue of the revenues from the fief, the vassal was responsible to answer to calls to military service on behalf of the lord. This security of military help was, in fact, the primary reason the lord entered into the feudal relationship. The vassal also had to provide the lord with "counsel". If the lord faced a major decision, such as whether or not to go to war, he would summon all his vassals and hold a council.

The land-holding relationships of feudalism revolved around the fief. Depending on the power of the granting lord, grants could range in size from a small farm to a much larger area of land. The size of fiefs was described in irregular terms quite different from modern area terms; see medieval land terms.