The Imperial Nobility

Noble Types

Emperor Diirl

There are three basic types of nobles:

  1. House Nobles
    The highest nobles in the Empire are the house nobles -- people who come from old families that have held noble titles for many generations. These titles are passed down to heirs.

    All ducal and archducal titles are held by house nobles.

  2. Duty Nobles
    The Emperor or the Archduke is allowed to appoint a duty noble (generally a Baron) to govern a fief or holding on behalf of the nobility. These titles are temporary, and are relinquished when the governor is replaced.

  3. Patented Nobles
    Imperial citizens who have distinguished themselves in war, invention or (in rare cases) commercial success are patented by the Emperor. These noble titles are usually non-hereditary, but exceptions exist. A notable exception involves the so-called "Barons of Industry" -- Emperor Diirl, in his third year of reign, patented four megacorporation CEOs with the heritary title of Baron in honour of their many years as advisors to the Emperor on matters of commerce.


The following titles are English equivalents of the Imperial titles:


  • Emperor/Empress
  • Crown Prince/Crown Princess - the noble heir to the Empire
  • Prince/Princess - children of the Crown Prince/Crown Princess or of the Emperor/Empress or brothers and sisters of the Emperor/Empress
  • Archdukes/Archduchess
  • Duke/Duchess
  • Marquis/Marchioness
  • Count/Countess
  • Viscount/Viscountess
  • Baron/Baroness


  • Knights

Peers are included in the Royal Court, and have the ability to debate and vote on matters of law.

Noble Masks and Signets

Emperor's Mask
The Emperor's Mask of Office

Masks are a common element of Imperial culture; they are also a badge of the nobility, similar to the way a crown symbolizes a kings or a queens in western Earth culture. Many of the old house nobles have masks of office that have been handed down from generation to generation. The Emperor's mask of office is six hundred years old and was originally constructed for the first ruler of the Empire of the Thirteen.

In the last six hundred years, society has gone through trends where new and modern masks were preferred to traditional masks. As a result, noble houses often have several forms of the mask of office from different time periods.

Nobles seldom restrict themselves to a single mask, as well. Nishkallar, Archduke Theris, for example, has used ten masks during official functions. These masks include the mask of office worn during proceedings in the Royal Court, the mask of feasts worn during receptions and offical festivals, and the mask of victory worn during the Third Ento War. Since the death of his son, Archduke Theris has exclusively worn a mask of mourning in all public appearances.

One of the functions of a noble mask is identification; in the empire, masks contain chips that have electronic credentials encoded into them. For less formal occassions, signets are used for the same purpose -- the most popular signet is a metal ring, on which is carved a representation of the noble's mask of office, although necklaces and bracelets have also served as signets.

Fiefs and Holdings

The Grand Fiefs

The Empire is divided into four quarters or grand fiefs, one for each of the four founding races: Theris (Phychi), Shadra (Shadu), Sylee (Syleen), and Homar (Gil). Each of these four grand fiefs is overseen by an Archduke.

The Fiefs

Each of the grand fiefs is subdivided into a number of fiefdoms, each of which is overseen by a Duke or Marquis (depending on its size and importance).

Passing on Noble Titles

The Empire's nobility does not recognize a notion of primogeniture. That is to say, nobles titles are not automatically inherited by the eldest son. Instead, a noble designates his or her beneficiary of the noble title (either male of female). Sometimes (especially in the case of the higher titles) the designation is public and the heir is trained for years to assume the title; in other cases, the designation is revealed only after the noble's death.

This method of designating heirs has been exploited by the most powerful noble houses. For example, the House of Diilgar, an exceptionally wealthy house, has allied itself with poorer houses to their benefit. House Diilgar provides stipends and pays off the debts of the poorer house, and in exchange, the poorer house designates some of its noble titles to Diilgar heirs. Generally, when a house resorts to "selling titles" this way, it usually marks the beginning of a slow demise of the house in question.

Copyright © 1999 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated January 2nd, 1999.
Champions, Star Hero, Hero System and Hero Games are registered trademarks of Hero Games. All rights reserved.

Back to the Empire main page.