Its extra Article time! I get to write about whatever I want on the 3rd Tuesday, and this time its a D&D article going into the Ranks of Nobility and military in the Kingdom of Tyndaria
The Role of Nobility
In any feudal or medieval society analog, there will need to be, for good or for ill, a representation of nobility. It is often glossed over for more interesting and engaging portions of a fantasy world, but it deserves its time in any complete setting. Here, I take a look at how that nobility, and its interwoven ranks within the military. These ranks are reminiscent of Historical nobility, but take great liberties imagining it for my own world.
One of the trickier parts of nobility when it comes to fantasy worlds is the general equality that is associated with a fantasy world as opposed to the ruthless oppression and subjugation that occurred in the middle ages of the real world. To this end, I have specifically chosen to make a set of systems that create no differentiation between genders, races, and physical appearance. All are welcome within the system, provided they have proven themselves in the deeds and needs of the land they call home. I know that this is anachronistic, but I believe that it is better to create an inclusive and diverse world view, even in a pretend world, than it is to faithfully recreate a bigoted and sexist time in history.
The Tyndarian nobility is typical of a European Kingdom in the late medieval period, with numerous ranks that intertwine with each other but are, for the most point aren’t particularly merged. The Nobility holds most of the military might as well, with no formalized army or kingdom-wide force that acts in the national interest. Instead, levies are raised when needed and as the King or noble calls them up.
King/Queen At the top of the ranks of the Nobility is the King or Queen, often simply referred to as the Monarch. This is a title that has, with quite a bit of regularity, been passed down through familial lines, with the eldest child of the previous monarch being crowned when the old monarch passes.
Prince/Princess: Princes and Princesses are those individuals related by blood to the Monarch and are members of the Dynasty, extending to Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins who could all, if tragedy strikes, be crowned. Beyond direct kin, however, the distinct lines are not granted principality, but will instead take the title of the lands that they hold domain over.
Archduke: Beyond the royal family, the highest-ranking members of the nobility are the Archdukes. These are the heads of the 17 great houses of Tyndaria, those who hold seats on the councils and control the Grand Dutchies of the Kingdom. These are all once independent kingdoms or tribal areas that have been subsumed into Tyndaria through the ages. These Individuals are often referred to as the Peers of the Realm by other nobility and are held in the highest esteem.
These three titles are the only ones that can accurately be described in power by their titles, as other titles can change in power and rank based on their hierarchy within the rest of the system. The Count of a powerful Archduke may be more powerful than the Duke of a lesser house but technically is lower on the nobility scale. It is a delicate dance.
Dukes: The High Houses are ruled by Dukes, who is held higher in esteem than either the Low or Lower houses, as these houses hold direct vassalship to the Monarch, as the Great Houses do, but simply lack the land or the seat at the Kings Council that would raise them to Archduke.
Grand Prince: Grand Princes are those individuals who have been raised or otherwise placed into nobility following direct service to the monarch. The title bestowing nobility denotes if the Monarch has granted the Grand Princedom as a hereditary rank, or as a singular achievement. Many of these titles also come with specific lands and castles, but can also bestow rank without landholdings.
Count: Similar to a Grand Prince, the title of Count is given to an individual who has proved themselves, often on the field of battle. The majority of them are given counties to manage, often with a manor to oversee them from and have sworn obligations to their direct liege. Counts can be beholden to Dukes, Archdukes, Princes, Monarchs and Grand Princes, depending on their specific circumstances. Their title, much like Grand Princes, can be either hereditary or non-hereditary.
Viscount: Viscounts hold a specific role within Tyndarian society and nobility. Their role is to rule the towns and cities of the Kingdom, holding loyalty to their Dutchies ruler, either Monarch, Duke, or Archduke. These Viscounts can hold immense power when they rule over wealthy and populated cities and are not hereditary positions. Often Viscount’s horde wealth and their other worldly possessions in order to pass on something to their progeny.
Earl: The Earl is the highest form of Knighthood available, and is almost always granted without land to follow it up. the Earl is the military leaders and advisors of many of the other ranks, and their livelihood is provided by their liege. Their title is not a hereditary one, though many Earls train their children to take over their station upon their death, though this transition is of course up to the Liege Lord, and not the living earl.
Baron/Margrave: The Title of Baron and Magrave are equal to each other, with the only difference being that Margraves hold lands along the border and are often more militarily aligned than their more interior analogs. Barrons and Margraves are the rank and file nobility that carry on the day to day management of the Kingdom in a very real sense. When People have grievances, they bring them to the local Baron, and when raids occur from both inside and outside the Realm, the Barons are the first to respond, and the first summoned to war by the Dukes, Archdukes, and Monarch. These Barons can be the head of a small house, or a distant branch of any one of the greater houses, holding land for one of the many dukes.
Knights: Knights are the lowest of the nobility, being recognized as warriors, and able to be called upon by the Lords of the Kingdom when they march to war, either against each other or other Realms. Knights are striving to be recognized by their lord for their deeds and prowess in battle, looking for promotions, with Earl the most likely, but Barons and Viscounts also coveted. Baronies are by far the most desired position, coming with both land and often a castle, though sometimes both the land and the castle have to be pacified before becoming a true barony.
Well, that is all, a peek into the nobility for my Hombrew setting I am working on called Coldforged!
Until next time,