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Societal Expectations

Head of House to Noble Family:


Expectation: Generally, most noble houses of the Compact believe in showing solidarity in public, and not keeping up with appearances of a unified family is damaging socially, though the Lycene houses often are assumed to do so intentionally to keep people guessing. Particularly, it is assumed that if noble family has an issue with the their Head of House, they will always address it privately rather than ever publically challenge their authority, or at least do so in a friendly and very courteous way that would come across as mild and polite disagreement rather than a challenge that must be met. Similarly, it is assumed that heads of house won't embarrass or chastise their family in public, unless they have an extremely good reason to do so.

Obligation: Explicitly challenging the head of house or their voices in public is a good way to no longer be in the house. Public quarreling with the head of house is a leading cause for being denobled and thrown out of the family. Even in private, most heads of house can expect a degree of polite deference and if they declare a matter is settled, that should really be it.

-Fine to say or do:
--Any polite questioning in private rather than public.
--Raising a dubious eyebrow in public.
--A leader politely deciding that they won't discuss the matter.

-Questionable to say or do:
--Very politely disagreeing with a leader in public in a friendly and courteous manner.
--The head of house harshly cutting off a family member in public and telling them to leave.
--Violently disagreeing in private.
--Head of house refusing to chastise family that repeatedly challenge their authority in public.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Insulting one's own head of house in public.
--Continuing to argue in public, even politely, after the Head of House has decreed that a matter is done and to drop it.
--A head of house openly mocking his own family members in public with no justification in a cruel and extremely uncomfortable way.


Expectation: It is expected for nobles to marry for duty, with a political match that will strengthen their house. It is generally expected that the head of house allow nobles some freedom in finding a reasonable match, and the responsibility of a head of house to find matches really only extends in so far as they need new treaties or pacts with other potential allies, or to bind their house closer to another. A noble marrying for love is considered a luxury, which might be afforded if there's no current pressing needs, and someone is far enough down the line of succession to diminish their importance, or the head of house is willing to sacrifice the gain for the happiness of a family member. Once a noble is married in a marriage pact, the expectation is that the marriage is for life, but that the faith has the authority to grant a divorce and release the couple from their vows if a compelling reason is presented. Being released from vows or oath by the Faith dissolves those, and someone cannot be considered an oathbreaker if there is no oaths to break. It is assumed that marriages are monogamous, but the societal expectation is that it's not really the business of anyone but the couple, whether they allow for favorites or have an open marriage, and if so it is expected to maintain discretion and that any arrangement is equal in power (monogamous or not equally for both partners). These are usually not explicitly stated but understood, and an accusation of infidelity is taken as someone being dishonest in coming to an arrangement with their spouse. The head of house isn't really expected to settle the particulars of that between the couple, except in so far as making certain it would be a lasting marriage.

Obligation: No one by law can be compelled to marry by force, but heads of house are under no obligation to keep a family member in the family, so they can threaten someone to marry or be disowned and denobled. For a marriage to be considered legitimate between nobility, it has to be performed by a priest of the Pantheon (as opposed to commoner marriages, who don't require this, and can just declare themselves married or divorced). The head of house or a voice must give consent for any marriage pact to be considered valid between two houses.

-Fine to say or do:
--Mention to a Head of House a potential political match that is interesting to you.
--Express a preference between different options, including prefering not to marry.
--As HoH, mention different potential matches and talk to other houses, even without consulting the family member.

-Questionable to say or do:
--Do full marriage negotiations as HoH or as a family member without notifying the other of your intent.
--Pursue a love match that would preclude a political marriage.
--Violently reject a potential political match without consulting family/HoH.
--Seek a divorce for minor reasons.
--Threaten to disown a family member if they won't consider a political match.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Elope with a commoner.
--Break marriage vows without being released from them by the Faith in a formal divorce.
--Use force or threats of violence to compel a family member to marry.


Expectation: The Head of House is in control of the family finances, and can do with it as they wish, but it's expected that at least half of the family income will be distributed among all family members, and every noble in the family will have a reasonable allowance as long as they are not considered insubordinate to the family. 'Reasonable' varies considerably, but as a rule of thumb, at least half of the gross income of the house evenly divided between family members currently in Arx, with trusted house servants given a smaller stipend, perhaps a third of the size. Reducing an allowance or removing it entirely is considered punitive, and a clear sign of house disfavor, and should only be done as a punitive measure short of removing a family member. It is generally considered reasonable for just head of house and voices to have access to the house financials.

Obligation: The funds do, in a strict sense, belong to the family, not the head of house. The head of house is expected to make all reasonable decisions for the family, but if a head of house cuts out the rest of the family entirely and would use it all on themselves, that would be considered breaking trust with family (even if there is no specific oath prohibiting this). It would be considered by most lieges as grounds of someone being unfit as a leader, but embezzlement has to be at truly extraordinary levels, such as using 100% of funds for the better part of a year. Single large purchases just don't reach that standard unless it would be potentially ruinous to the family and forces all of them to live below their station routinely.

-Fine to say or do:
--Family member asking for an allowance now that they've come to Arx.
--A head of house deciding to spend half the house savings on preparing a meaningful event that is useful politically.
--Family members doing whatever they see fit with their own allowances.
--A head of house reducing or removing an allowance as a punishment because of clear, unambiguously disrespectful behavior from a family member that embarrassed them publicly.
--Minor oversights, like forgetting to give an allowance to a family member that arrives in Arx until they point it out.

-Questionable to say or do:
--Have wildly different allowances based on how much the HoH likes someone.
--A family member asking for more funds constantly past an allowance, or telling crafters to just bill the family.
--Griping to a HoH about the size of allowances repeatedly.
--Reducing allowances below half of the family incomes because of an impending war and military buildup, but not a clear cut emergency.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Cut all allowances from everyone and say, "they can just come to me if they need money."
--Cut all allowances or reduce them below 25% of total income to focus solely on investing in the domain, military, etc.
--Publicly accuse your head of house of embezzlement or misuse of family funds if it's not unambiguously true.


Expectations: Voices are not assistants to the Head of House, they are plenipotentaries who are expected to have full authorizations to make any decisions for the noble house, and therefore must have the trust of the head of house and family. A voice is customarily a member of the family, but it could be anyone extremely close and trusted by the family and the head of house in particular, or someone highly respected and honorable. But since the voice's entire importance comes by speaking for another, rather than necessarily on their own merits, a commoner that might never hope to be ennobled and made family could still serve as a voice, if they were completely trusted, or really anyone that would be completely trusted and not have a conflict of interest that would make the service potentially dishonorable. In family members treating voices, it's generally expected that they give the voice the full respect and courtesy they would extend to a head of house, while the voice is acting on their behalf. Similarly, other families treating a voice poorly would usually be taken as an insult upon the house honor. Voices acting in a way contrary to the HoH is rare but is usually assumed to be more from confusion than malice, and generally a worrying sign when a voice and HoH quarrel, as it invites schisms in a house, particularly if a voice has been leading in absentia for a vacant leader. Removing a voice is never trivial, but a voice should never challenge their HoH in public and show they cannot be trusted in that manner, as removing them would be all but necessary.

Obligations: It is generally expected for any noble family to have at least one voice in the city of Arx, in case the HoH is currently preoccupied, and not appointing any voices could be taken as a leader failing to meet their obligations. Voices, if leaving the city of Arx for an extended period or taking some other leave of absence, are expected to offer to surrender the position to reduce any potential confusion in leadership.

-Fine to say or do:
--Appoint a new voice that's known to be trusted by the family, even if they aren't part of it
--A voice giving up the position of voice by taking a leave of absence or extended leave from the city
--Asking for a voice to be appointed if petitions have gone unanswered, and there is a clear need for more assistance

-Questionable to say or do:
--A voice or a HoH to contradict each other in public.
--A HoH wishing to strip the position of voice from someone without unambiguous cause
--Anyone not treating a voice with the respect of the HoH they represent
--Asking to speak the HoH instead of a voice, shopping for different answers.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--HoH or voice insulting one another in public and openly quarreling.
--HoH deciding there will be no voices at all and demanding they run everything themselves, dismissing calls for one.
--Voice actively subverting the will of the HoH and undermining their directives in a clear, unambiguous fashion.
--Family ignoring a voice entirely and saying they only listen to the HoH.


Expectations: Many noble houses don't maintain permanent residences in Arx at all, and family rent inn rooms when they visit Arx, but it has become increasingly in fashion for more powerful and wealthy houses to maintain estates. For any noble house maintaining an estate, it's usually expected that they attempt to build adequate housing for any visiting family and offer them a room, but it is also considered option on the part of visiting family if they wish to stay with the family, or in an inn, or in their own private residence for personal use. However, a noble house should never have multiple split residences- there should not be a main estate and then a minor one they banish the second cousins to, or the like, just one large sprawling estate. Aside from that, the discretion for who gets what room is left entirely to the Head of House, and it is inappropriate to argue over it.

Obligation: If the family has an estate, they should be using family funds to supply housing for visiting family. A family member should be offered a room, even if they decline and decide to stay elsewhere instead, which is always permitted. Throwing a family member out of the estate is another means of punishment short of denobling them.

-Fine to say or do:
--Asking for a room at the estate when arriving in Arx
--Expanding the estate to accommodate more family
--Deciding not to live with family and having a house in the Boroughs, or to live in an inn room
--Host a party on family grounds with the permission of HoH

-Questionable to say or do:
--Throw out family from the estate over a quarrel or disrespectful behavior
--Invite personal friends hostile to other members of the family into the family estate
--Use room assignments to show favor in the family, and inviting quarrels over them

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Refuse to accommodate family at the estate simply to save money
--Sell the family estate or demolish it without checking with the rest of the family
--Go through a family member's room and take their belongings
--Put a family member under house arrest without overwhelming cause to do so


Expectations: Families talk to one another ideally, and it is usually considered courteous to keep others informed of matters that could have an impact upon their daily lives, such as threats or opportunities that they might not be aware of. But generally, leaders should not be expected to hunt down family members to keep them informed, nor should family members feel they must let leaders know aspects of their private affairs. There is a vast gulf between politely informing others of useful information coming to light, and being obligated to.

Obligations: Unless a family member is withholding information that would be clearly deeply damaging to the family if it's not acted upon, such as a plot to assassinate the HoH or a surprise attack upon family lands, there is no obligation to share information. It's great if they do, but family members are not employees to find out information for the HoH, and the HoH is not a dispenser of actionable information. Both ways are welcome to do their own thing, and someone can politely ask, but they can't put obligations on someone's time and personal business.

-Fine to say or do:
--Hold a family dinner to talk about recent events or for a planning session
--Not mentioning personal events that don't have a bearing on the family
--Having a private line of inquiry that doesn't involve the family
--Have confidants outside of the family.

-Questionable to say or do:
--Discuss potentially damaging family secrets with outsiders.
--Imply a family member is disloyal for not volunteering information
--Get upset at a HoH for not keeping someone fully informed
--Ask family members for details on their personal lives.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Punish a family member for not volunteering information that wasn't necessary for the family well being
--Withholding something actively treasonous that's clearly and immediately threatening to the family's existence
--Publicly calling family members or the HoH as disloyal, incompetent, etc due to not actively pursuing someone to pass on information.


Expectations: It is generally expected that a reasonable allowance will cover the needs of a family member arriving in Arx, but it is not unreasonable for family members to ask for basic tools to properly perform their duties if they are lacking. However, this is in the most basic fashion- a knight might be supplied with high quality steel, or rubicund, or a diplomat might ask to make an impression in silk, but generally nothing more expensive than those qualities. As a rule of thumb, asking for more than a month's worth of their allowance would be unreasonable, which for most families is going to be in the low tens of thousands of silver. However, once arms, armor, clothing and the like are given to a family member, it is considered in their possession, rather than merely in their keeping and to be returned to the house (like house heirlooms).

Obligation: It is the duty of the house to provide arms and armor for its warriors, clothing for its family, and food and shelter, if it is outside the family member's means. But these can be at a very basic level. There is no obligation whatsoever to help anyone outside of the immediate family and house.

-Fine to say or do:
--Upon arriving in the city, ask for help in equipment if one has none.
--For an important social function, if one is broke, as the family for help.
--For a HoH to say no to anything that would exceed five or so allowance payments to a family member.

-Questionable to say or do:
--Imply a HoH is cheap for refusing to help.
--Ask for anything exceeding the value of five or so allowance payments.
--Asking a HoH to pay for armor or weapons for friends or allies.

-Ruinous to say or do:
--Publicly quarrel with family over unreasonable demands.
--Get angry if the family refuses to bankrupt itself for alaricite, shadowmeld, steelsilk, etc.