Uneasy lies the head…

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Yet another dissertation on certain aspects of that rarest of all pastimes, known to scholars as Caledonius Transinhabitus…or by the layman as Caledonian Role Play.

As the Caledon-Neualtenberg War has devolved into a default state of peace and internal war games are under way (and, with a tipping of the Shako to Mssrs Pearse and Scaggs, seem to be exhibiting the light hearted, harmlessly dramatic flavor that the C-N War was SUPPOSED to enjoy but somehow lost in translation), I feel it is a good time to join some of my fellow Caledonian bloggers and reconsider the essential framework of Caledonian Heraldry.

The topic of what nobility actually means in Caledon has been kicked around at various times in Caledon Group Chat and as chatter at balls and raves while waiting on line at the open bar. An excellent beginning to a Roll of Heraldry and a discussion of the issues raised by it has been created by Miss Fussbudget HERE. While not wishing to detract from the commendable work going on there, I wished to explore here what I feel is the most salient, and therefore thorniest issue in the whole concept of Caledonian Heraldry. That is how to address the question of official, unofficial and self-imposed ranks.

No one wants a “Schoolyard Bully” situation, where some people are told they CAN’T be a Grand Poobah or whatever noble role they have created for themselves as part of a backstory or a private RP, and to take their ball and go home. In addition, no one wants to simply cast out earlier titles and charater aspects in favor of new ones, the old matrix replaced by the new one. However, there must be some sort of accepted standard and control, however loose, over the concepts of nobility. Otherwise we will repeat the problems the militia is undergoing right now (55 Colonels, 1 Soldier).

The social structure of Caledon has slowly developed and changed in the time since it first sprang (fully grown, nude and floating on a clam shell) from the mind of Desmond Shang. The original system of Citizen Stewards, with ultimate authority rotating between well known personalities has been long abandoned, and the conceit of the void Sims has given rise to the current Duchy system. Currently, there are four void Sims, therefore four Dukes/Duchesses, and these individuals are at the moment the only “Official” Caledonian nobility recognized as taking their authority directly from the Guvnah.

The four ducal thrones, each to a greater and lessor degree, have begun to create their own histories and traditions as well as to assemble courts of knights and barons and whatever other titles they may choose, to create wider RP “families”. Since there will soon be four more void Sims, and therefore four more Duchys, I expect this process to continue and expand.

How then do I envision unofficial titles or those from before the Duchy system to operate fitting into this situation? Well, as the courts are still forming, and there will soon be four more new ones, I don’t see any reason why one or more of the Ducal courts can’t simply accept the said noble as their vassal, ending the problem. If for whatever reason someone with a previous Caledonian title does not wish to be part of a ducal court, then I would consider the Guvnah to be a court in and of itself, and those nobles can swear fealty directly to him… “Civil Nobility“, for lack of a better term.

As for those people who for whatever reason simply wish to name themselves nobles, often of some far away place or former kingdom, as part of their personal history or roleplay, I propose we treat them as “foreign” nobility. After all, the Victorian era was chock full of very posh (and some not so posh) people brandishing exotic or obscure foreign titles, often having to due with some colonial holding in the Royal Principality of Backofbeyond, or some unpronounceable German county which people assume must exist as who would make up a place name with that many syllables. Some of these were legitimate, others part of complex grifting schemes, and none of it really mattered. Just read any Sherlock Holmes story, where all most any blackguard needed to pass themselves off as visiting nobility, at least to anyone save the amazing Mr. Holmes, was a turban and a comic-operetta accent. Then as now, if one behaves in a certain way, they will be treated accordingly.

The last element these schemes need to work is a broper Roll of Heraldry, very much as Miss Fussbudget is creating, stored at an easily accessible place on the web so a person;s titles and feudal responsibilities can easily be checked. After all, without a reliable way to see who’s who, the society of calling cards and affectionate, well-planned marriages falls apart.

I feel that this sort of situation, creating a concept of “Caledonian nobility” (that is, ennobled by a Duke/Duchess or the Guvnah, part of a ducal court and under ducal authority) and “Foreign nobility” (not part of a court and under no damn authority at all) is a good way to allow people the flexibility to create as they like while at the same time creating a certain amount of order and sense for the whole proceeding.

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8 Comments

  1. “Otherwise we will repeat the problems the militia is undergoing right now (55 Colonels, 1 Soldier).”

    But doesn’t that underscore the whole notion that different people have different feelings about what sort of RP they might like?

    I always see myself in a bit of an Austen meets Jules Verne sort of world. One never sees an Austen heroine dancing about with a Corporal. Yes, of course, in the real military there are far more fellows peeling potatoes (or whatever they do) than cutting a dash at the local Duchess’ ball. But similarly, in a real Victorian world, there would be far fewer “aristocrats” and far more street urchins like my dear Ollie (who does need get around to a bath this week, my apologies for a *certain* ripeness in the Hansom).

    Just thinking aloud.

  2. I must make a clarification…

    I in no way, shape or form meant to indicate I felt there should be a “ceiling” on nobility. The points raised by Miss Tombola (and by Miss Beaumont on her blog at http://lifeatthistlehill.blogspot.com/) are excellent indeed, and in truth, it makes sense that most of Caledon are, if not titled, then bloomin’ rich. All I am saying is that there needs to be some coordination and control over the entire process so we can keep track of things. Can’t play ball without a scorecard.

    That said, I have often thought it would be interesting for someone to play a member of “the deserving or undeserving poor” as Mr. Shaw would say, in Caledon.

    As for pugnacious young Master Ollie, the scent in the cab was not due to a lack of hygiene on his part, my dear Miss Tombola. You see, I had him drive me about for a bit of Tinny Hunting in Tanglewood over the weekend and in all the excitement at taking the brush, we may have left some of the bait in the back of the cab. Just burn the vehicle and I will pay for a replacement. My humblest apologies.

  3. Wellsaid, Lord Zealot… and it does seem a fine time to sort this out. I’ve been watching the confusion on titles, specifically my own, with great amusement, finding it rather more interesting to see what titles people choose to use, with (in)sufficient information. After all, isn’t the title likely to be resented if not matched in equal part by respect within the heart of the speaker?

    For clarity’s sake, within this SLife, I am:
    Lady Darkling Elytis, Baroness Amondeu (in self-imposed exile),
    born
    the Lady Róisín Dubh (pronounced rohSHEEN DOOV and translating best as “darkling rosaleen”),
    daughter of Aodh Mór Ó Néill, Earl of Tyrone
    in Eire (Ireland)

    If you wish to be accurate and to please me, do call me “Lady Darkling”. Especially when I am not behaving as a lady “should”. I will respond to “Baroness”, and in fact many of my former “subjects” still call me such. If you are a close friend, you may call me anything you like, as long as it is not publicly vulgar. And if you are a friend, feel free to ask me to tell the long and sordid story that brought me to Caledon. Ply me with fine whisky if yeh want to hear teh really good bits.

    I am clearly within the category of foreign nobility (“under no damn authority at all” ahhh I like that /grins/), and always have been, since first I was rezzed well over a year and a half ago. I do not like to force the use of my title on all I meet. In fact the story is a long and sad one, so have previously not even chosen to include my title in my profile, instead preferring to often wear the group title “Lady” and confess to close friends the story of their friend Lady Darkling.
    I do not like to correct people when they address me improperly, such as calling me “Miss” when I am so clearly partnered and a Madame. That I take as a compliment within Caledonian society; calling me a Miss seems to translate to calling me young and available, or hopefully so. And sadly, none of you have met my husband, who is “far away and over the sea”, perhaps ne’er to return. In temperament I find myself acting both as a young Miss and also as a stern settled Madame, depending upon mood. More reasons to not bother correcting mistakes.

    Just please, please.. do not call me “Mister”. /sighs and tightens her corset/

  4. While I do think it’s a worthy discussion to have…I must admit, I’m a peasant. I keep gaining interesting titles, and I know many Caledonian peers of court, but truthfully…I was born in a very small Japanese mountain village, far from any court of the land, and when relocation became essential, it was to Alaska, where I continued not being nobility.

    Even now, I am ‘Lady’ only because persons not to be named insisted. :)

    But I admit, being a peasant surrounded by even low-level nobility, well, it hasn’t made me put on airs, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable grabbing an apron, say, and wandering back to the kitchen to muck out cooking pots. Perhaps nobility is slowly rubbing off on me…

  5. Add to all this confusion our national flag proudly displays the title “Independant Republic of Caledon”. By definition, republics are supposed to be governed leaders chosen for their skill at governing, not by heredity. Yet, we have nobility. I just sidestep the whole issue by calling Caledon a commonwealth.

    I therefore dismiss the whole subject as part of the absurdity inherent of this corner of the Grid. If books are mined and whiskey is drawn from wells, if copper rainbows and dinosaurs manifest when islands suddenly rise from the ocean depths, why can’t a republic be a colony of the Crown as well?

  6. Miss Projects, I think you’ll find the flag bears the title Independent STATE of Caledon, not Republic. Caledon has never claimed to be a republic and while our beloved Guvnah may be benevolent, he is still a single person in charge of the country. Whether that makes Caledon a dictatorship or an autocracy I leave to others to untangle the nuances.

  7. Shangocracy, perhaps?

  8. One of my RL clubs includes a system of noble titles which is awarded more or less by public acclaim, gated through an office in charge of that sort of thing. Thus, there are a few notes I can offer which might be useful points:

    1: If it’s going to be regularized and historical, it should be researched and then written down with sources (for example, one source would be the heraldic office of England [King of Arms] during Victoria’s reign.) When puzzles arise, then there would be a way to sort them out, in referencing the originals. This is best done sooner, rather than later, after ad hoc accretions have become enshrined in tradition.

    2: If people think the thing should be formalized, we need a King or Queen of Arms to be that gating office, for awards higher than the local (Duchy) level. Which of course brings up the question “What is below and what above “Duchy level?” See #1.

    3: I think people who want to be called by a title should put it in their avatar ID bubbles. They should make sure it’s the correct form, too. There are fiddly bits re: territory name vs. personal surnames. See note #1.


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