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The Nobles are the ruling class of multiple societies in the Warhammer World.

Overview

Almost all nations in the Warhammer World possess a privileged class of nobles. In general, this position is inherited, but most nobles prove themselves in war.

Chaos

The human tribe that worship the Gods of Chaos, like their southern counterparts, have a nobility that stands apart from the common tribesmen. In Norsca, Jarls act as direct subordinates to the kings that govern the various tribes. Many kings and jarls are Champions of Chaos in their own right. Others are Marauder Chieftains, who command smaller warbands and seek to prove themselves to the Dark Gods.

The Kurgan, by contrast, are ruled by Zars, who are occaisonally united by a High Zar.

Dwarfs

The dwarf kingdoms are ruled by a nobility that traces itself back to the Ancestor Gods themselves. In fact, their bloodline makes the Noble clans among the most long-lived of Dwarfs and some of the most determined in temperament. At its lowest are the Thanes, who are the rulers over clans, even common ones. A Thane can become a Dwarf Lord through proving himself in combat and studying their ancient enemies, as well as proving the purity of their blood. Under the right circumstances, a Dwarf Lord may even be raised up to become a king of a karak. These kings are under the nominal rule of the High King of Karaz-a-Karak, but have a great deal of autonomy otherwise.

Humans

Bretonnia

Bretonnia is organized into a highly stratified feudal system, in which possession of land is vassalized from the highest ranking noble to lesser nobility. The nobility of Bretonnia is tied to the Cult of the Lady.

At the head of the bretonnian social pyramid sits the Royarch, who usually comes from the ranks of the Bretonnian Dukes, who lead the the duchies that comprise Bretonnia. Below them are the Bretonnian Barons, who hold land from the Royarch, but is no duke himself. Below them are the Bretonnian Lords, knights who strive to follow the tenets of chivalry to one day either earn a sip from the fabled Grail to become Grail Knights. At their services are the Castellans, who maintain fortifications and castles all around their fief in the absence of their feudal superior. Paladins are those nobles who have distinguished themselves through battle. Marquis hold fiefs that are subject to frequent attack and thus have the authority to command their own troops.

Other noble titles are the Marshal of Bretonnia, who protects the disputed borders of the kingdom. Justicars are empowered by the nobility to enact the laws of the land. Earls are those of the lowest nobility recognized by the Royarch. A title without clear specification is that of the Bretonnian Viscount.

Kislev

The people of Kislev draw on the nobility traditions of the ancient Ungols as well as of the Gospodars. Kislev is ruled by a Tzar, who has the authority to appoint new nobles. The middle-ranked nobility that effectively holds most of the power are the Boyars. Below them are Atamans, who are chosen according to the traditions of the people they rule. The lowest rank is that of the Druzhina.

The Empire

The provinces of the Empire are ruled by numerous nobles. The highest of these are the Noble Lords, who are second only the Elector Counts and the Emperor himself.

Pre-imperial humans

In the ancient realm of Nehekhara, the nobility were known as the Priest Kings. The Priest Kings ruled in a close relation with Mortuary Cult and were deemed to have been the ones with the greatest chances to the glory of the afterlife, since they were the only ones with the capital to adequately prepare for it. Below them were ranks of lesser nobility, including their own sons. When nehekhara was destroyed, the nobility rose again as undead Tomb Kings, who still haunt Nehekhara.

Other humans mirrored the traditions of the Nehekharans, giving rise to modern Wight Kings who were the nobility of ancient human tribes in the Old World who were buried in large barrows.

Southern Realms

The Borderlands are ruled by a landscape of self-declared nobility that is usually simply referred to as Border Princes.

Elves

Dark Elves

The highborn of Naggaroth are a fractious and cruel lot. Weakness of any kind is not tolerated and the children of nobles are sent on cruises to prove their mettle. Those who fail usually find themselves living short lifes afterwards, those that prove themselves are granted the title Master. Afterwards, a few will eventually achieve the title Dreadlord, marking them as lords among nobles. The highest positions are that of the Drachau, who rules one of the six black cities in Malekith's name, and the Vaulkhar, the general who leads the armies of that city into war. Dark Elves that possess these titles are regarded as the personal property of the Witch King, and no harm may be done to one of them on the threat of a blood feud with the Witch King himself.

To achieve such lofty heights invites treachery, murder and violence. To alleviate the understandable paranoia engendered by the Dark Elves' treacherous society, a rigid code of etiquette has evolved. The lowborn classes may not approach within three sword lengths of a noble without being summoned. A retainer may stand as close as two sword lengths whilst a trusted retainer, such as a bodyguard, may stand just outside a single sword's length. The closest, most intimate space is reserved for lovers, playthings and mortal foes (the latter being far more trustworthy within reach than not).

In the end, however, the standing of a highborn depends on Malekith's goodwill. The Witch King rules his people with an iron fist and has raised and doomed entire noble houses in the past.

High Elves

Wood Elves

Each of the twelve realms of Athel Loren is ruled by a lord or lady of impeccable standing. Answerable to each of these are countless sons and daughters of noble houses ever seeking to improve their own situation. Though Wood Elves commonly inherit rank according to the station of their birth, it is not unknown for a particularly valorous individual to be elevated to higher authority

Undead

Vampires

Among vampires, the title Count holds a special significance. The Von Carstein bloodline were the legitimate Counts of Sylvania when it was a part of the Empire, and see themselves as legitimate contenders to the Imperial Throne. Many nobles believe deeply in the concept of the peerage to its literal extreme. Nobility, in other words, is in the blood. The upper classes are placed above the lower because only they have the qualities necessary to rule, and these qualities can only be passed through the blood. The von Carsteins extend this belief in that they alone are born to rule and all others are meant to serve their designs.

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