Customs and Laws

“In general, we shall discuss here the common customs of the Clan Lands, as well as the laws that rule and govern our lives.”

On Authority:

  • Authority comes from the Clan Lord, who is empowered by the Gods, old and new alike.
  • Authority may come from the High Priest of a Church, who passes on the Word of God to his followers.

On Nobility, Their Rights and Duties:

  • Nobility have more responsibilities and duties than the peasantry.
  • Higher-ranked individuals have more rights and powers than those who are ranked beneath them.
  • The Lord of a region is the chief authority and administers the Clan’s Justice. It is his duty to enforce peace and law, hear petitions and hold audiences, make sovereign decisions for the region he rules and mete out justice and punishment – in the name of his lord, and his lord’s lord, and, ultimately, the Clan Lord.
  • Punishments for criminals are varied and many. A Lord has free reign to decide which method he chooses, though typically they follow the recommendations set out in the Codex of Common Law and the Codex of Clan Law. A punishment considered too harsh or too kind may be poorly received by other lords or the peasantry.
  • Landed Lords have the right to imprison and execute criminals. If execution is to take place, either the Lord himself or his Headsman must perform it.
  • Landed Knights may not imprison or execute criminals without asking for permission from their Liege.
  • A Clan Lord may pardon any crime.
  • A Lord who is accused of a crime must stand before a jury and a judge and submit himself to trial by Clan Law, in which the innocence of the Lord must be proven. If he chooses to refuse this right, he may choose to submit to a trial by combat, a trial by ordeal, or submit to the punishment voluntarily.

On the most important matter of inheritance and Status:

  • Nobility are born into their status, just as peasants are born into theirs.
  • Children inherit the status of their parents, unless born outside of wedlock.
  • Usually, the Firstborn Son inherits. If he dies or is unable to inherit, then the second son, and so forth. If no son is able to inherit, then the first daughter inherits, followed by the second and so forth. This is known as the Primogeniture law.
  • If there are no heirs, then the nearest relative comes into possession of the land, such as the father or mother. If the father or mother are unable to succeed, then the nearest brother shall inherit and so forth.
  • If there are no people to inherit the land and titles, they are passed on to their liege.
  • In some areas, such as with the Tribes, some of the Norskans and the Nordish, the Gavelkind Law is followed. That means that the land, titles and assets of the liege are divided amongst all of his children.
  • Amongst other, more primitive societies, other systems of inheritance may be practiced.
  • Bastards may be acknowledged and raised to the rank of nobility by their father or their father’s lord, or his lord and so forth. They are then also given inheritance rights, although they are considered below the last trueborn son, no matter their age.
  • All nobility ultimately descend from a Great House and are on some level related to one another – this is typically done to foster friendship and good-will to one another, though it does not always succeed. That is the primary difference between a Clan aristocracy and the aristocracy of other lands. The only way to be raised to Nobility from Peasantry is to marry into a House.

On Other Matters:

  • Men have more rights than women, particularly in the circles of nobility, except in several cases. In the Talisian Lands, age is the most important factor. In Norska, the most important factor is personal might and military skill. Amongst the sand-people and the tribes, women and men have equal rights.
  • Women are not forbidden to pursue the labours typically ascribed to men, such as serving as a soldier or city guard, farming, crafting, painting or smithing.
  • There are more laws to protect women than there are to protect men. Laws that protect women from rape, violence and other misconducts are typically as harsh or harsher than they are for men.
  • Humans typically have more rights than non-humans.
  • Race is not considered an issue by any law, however, savagery and origin may be taken into account during investigation and trials.
  • Racially-motivated crimes are not considered to be more severe than any other crime.

On Customs and Common Occurances:1

  • The Nameday is a common celebration held every year on the day when a child is first named. Typically, due to high death rates amongst children, they are named on the second year of their life.
  • Boys of 8 or 9 are typically sent to be fostered by other lords as pages or squires. Typically, this is done to earn or fortify friendships. Girls may be sent to be pages or squires as well, if they show to be more interested in such matters.
  • Young children may also become Wards, or hostages, kept by a lord to ensure the loyalty of another lord or knight, or other political reasons. Typically they are treated well, but are hostages despite this.
  • The Age of Majority is 16 amongst most humans.
  • The Guest Right is a custom that declares that any visitor who eats at his or her host’s table is protected from harm for the duration of the stay. It is thus common to request bread and salt immediately upon arrival.
  • Marriage is another common and important ceremony. Different traditions may be carried out depending on the faith. The traditional way is to say the marriage vows in a church or chapel, before a Priest of the faith of the city in which the couple are married, or before a Priest of the God who will be worshipped by the Household.
  • Though marriage vows are not said until adulthood, children are often betrothed from a very early age amongst nobility.
  • Either of the couple may refuse to say their vows, thus anulling the marriage, because it is not allowed to marry those who do not wish to be married. Sometimes, because of this, threats and pressure may be carried out.
  • Marriage must be consummated within a week of the ceremony, or the marriage contract is considered broken. A marriage contract may be broken in other ways, such as divorce, petition by the family of either party due to childlessness, or the death of one of the parties.
  • Different Marriage traditions fit different lands. Norskans, for example, typically steal their spouse from his or her father and mother.
  • Marriages between same genders are not allowed in Human lands, however, some societes allow them. Amongst such societies are Duergar, Elves and Tribals.

More on Laws:
On Common Law
On Clan Law

Customs and Laws

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