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 Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure

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Angus Khan
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PostSubject: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 07:01

So, many Kabals are created from the remnants of noble houses, which I presume to mean the noble families basically kept running things the same way, just under a different name.

Now, we can all agree that DE are merciless, selfish, and will do anything for power or advancement... Which means that any DE with something to gain (or lose) will attempt to eliminate threats or competition without a second thought.  Commoragh is an anarchic meritocracy, after all.

How does this interact with noble families, though?  Hypothetically they would want to keep their bloodline going, however pregnancy is no small affair for Eldar... Which means any births are going to be few and far between.  How then can the bloodline survive if the various family members are constantly killing each other so they will be "next in line" for inheritance. (or whatever)

Seems to me that having a strong bloodline (both numerically, and in quality) and the general behavior of DE are mutually exclusive.  Do the noble houses try and "play nice" with family members or something?

Thoughts?
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thesaltedwound
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 07:38

It helps to keep in mind that Dark Eldar of a high rank are functionally immortal, aside from being actively killed of course. When you consider a patriarch or matriarch that will naturally live forever, plus all the security that they'd have in place, I think inheriting a position of power in a House is probably a rare occurrence. Houses are kept going not by a strong bloodline, but literally by one strong individual.

Every now and then, you'd maybe get a Deldar offspring who was enough of a bigshot to take down their parent and take over the House - and that's just the natural selection that drives Commorite society forward.

In fact, I think that given Archons are so arrogant and so likely to live for millennia, that they probably just stop producing offspring once they get the throne. What would be the point? They don't have to worry about passing on the throne to a blood relative like humans do. They're content to literally just sit on it themselves forever. No kids to try to take you down, and once you're an Archon, your own siblings are likely to be long dead. Well done, you've won, take a load off. Then someone crashes a spaceship through your living room, and claims the remnants of your House or Kabal for themselves.


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Angus Khan
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 07:44

A single individual isn't really much of a 'house'...Even if the matriarch/patriarch doesn't get replaced, surely there are lots of "lesser" family members vying for positions lower in the power tier?

Trueborn consider themselves above other DE, and noble trueborn consider themselves above even other trueborn... But if people just stop having kids in order to avoid competition, then why are there any trueborn at all?
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thesaltedwound
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 08:01

I think only the top banana would stop reproducing - the ones lower down the ladder, cousins and what have you, they probably keep going. But there's so much political intrigue and counter-intrigue within the houses that maybe the birth and death rates are pretty similar?

Gestation periods etc are all really long in Eldar, I believe? But also maybe just killing someone in a position of power in a Kabal/House also takes years of planning to avoid reprisal/frame someone else/get the maximum benefit.

I don't see it as the "stab everyone you see for the Hypex in their pocket" environment I imagine Low Commoragh life to be.

So the lower tiers of a kabal keep themselves in some kind of equilibrium with slow and careful infighting, maybe, while the guy at the top just sort of continues.

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Erebus
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 14:17

Trueborn value themselves above tube-born because their society conditions them to do so. Trueborn exist because they are a status symbol for their parents. You have to be that extra bit more powerful and/or cunning to be able to not only survive but to do so while expecting a child, and more so when you consider that Eldar gestation is longer than humanity's. Only the higher echelons of society can typically pull that off - after all, it's why they're at the top - and being vain, they love to show that off.

In-fighting amongst the lower ranks of a Kabal is largest kept to a minimum due to "politeness" - it's considered bad sport to simply straight-up murder a rival outside of Incubi sects; you have to make sure their death wasn't obviously caused by you. Any deaths are then balanced out by new tube-born (who are fully grown) filling the ranks, new recruits proving themselves, some Kabalites returning from death thanks to deals with Haemonculi, etc.

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Izaeus
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 18:57

*****spoiler******
If you read the path of the ... series the main archon is actually trying to find a successor and he goes through distant relatives to find one one... but he also killed most of the capable ones already, so generally the archons probably dont worry about who is going to inherit they just kill who ever seems like they could take over and try to stay alive themselves as stated above.
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Angus Khan
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 03 2015, 19:48

@Izaeus wrote:
*****spoiler******
If you read the path of the ... series the main archon is actually trying to find a successor and he goes through distant relatives to find one one... but he also killed most of the capable ones already, so generally the archons probably dont worry about who is going to inherit they just kill  who ever seems like they could take over and try to stay alive themselves as stated above.

That was actually what got me thinking about this is the first place. Based on that passage, it would seem that both having a strong bloodline, and the "kill or be killed" political climate are mutually exclusive. Its kind of hard to have a large House if you keep killing everyone off as a potential rival.
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Aroshamash
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeMon Jan 19 2015, 12:58

Remember, having children is still seen as a status symbol. True, the offspring could end up plotting against you, but 1) it's a big show of prestige against your rivals that you have the ability to do so, and 2) have people not read the Evil Overlord list? If an Archon had children, these are also allies. If one is plotting against him, he should ensure that another two know that he can double their price, and that it's better for them to side with daddy.

Lastly, I'm very against the whole "muahaha I am teh evils so I'm going to kill every relative that so much as looks at me", because all that does is make all surviving relatives realise "holy crud, this could be us next, we need to kill the unstable megalomaniac right now".

Do power shifts occur? Of course. However, they're far less likely to be the evil twin stabbing his father in the back, while he twirls his Evil Moustache (tm), and does his Evil Laugh (tm), as the Path Of books like to infer, but rather a subtle political game carried out in the shadows, until the child is sure the Archon isn't going to be regenerating any time soon, then arranging for an unfortunate accident during a raid, where the Raider of daddy dearest is shredded by AA fire while they were bravely capturing the commanding officer, and weren't able to reach him in time, despite their best efforts, and that all attempts to regrow him tragically ended in failure.

All Kabals, of any sort, simply don't work if the Archon is constantly being knifed in the back. Of course, showing weakness will invite a challenge, but these aren't things that are just casually done. If you're going to challenge the Archon, you'd better be damn sure that a significant amount of the Kabal is going to support you, or you'll be shot in the back the moment you try to challenge them. After all, Archons don't get where they are by making everyone under them hate them. Fear, yes, but not hate. A wise Archon lets every Kabalite know that it's better to have them in charge, partly because of the rewards they'll get from successful raids, but also because of what will happen if you're involved in a failed coup. Why risk siding with Cousin Bob, when Bob doesn't know the best raiding spots, and that Bob and all his friends will be handed over as "gifts" to the haemonculi the moment they stick a toe out of line, and that gift will go towards regeneration-rights for whichever smart, smart fellow informs the Archon about Bobs plans? Much safer to stay on the Archons side, and listen out for Cousin Jim thinking he can do a better coup than Bob...

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The_Burning_Eye
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeMon Jan 19 2015, 13:51

It's an interesting point, and one that I began to explore in the background of my Kabal way back when I had a bit more time to be creative on the writing side of things. I'd like to return to it at some point
Spoiler - the death of the old Archon:
 
but it's just an idea at this stage and isn't 'fleshed out'.

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Zenotaph
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 20 2015, 10:23

@Erebus wrote:
In-fighting amongst the lower ranks of a Kabal is largest kept to a minimum due to "politeness" - it's considered bad sport to simply straight-up murder a rival outside of Incubi sects; you have to make sure their death wasn't obviously caused by you.

There might be another way: Leave prove, he was planning to overthrow your superior. He might be thankful.
Well, at least on the outside. And a superior, owing you a favor, could be of some use. Two birds, one stone.

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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeMon Feb 02 2015, 17:21

This is one of the parts of the Dark Eldar life that I find most interesting. How does it all work? Obviously there has to be more to it than moustache-twirling villainy, but how exactly does society keep running? A lot of what I think has been said already so I'll try not to repeat too much Very Happy

Trueborn children are a status symbol, and they're also serving as an example conspicuous consumption - the Archon can afford to spend all that time and effort producing them. Not just the process of birthing them ('several years', is the not very exact figure given by the new-old ... middle? Codex, I don't have the new one yet), but the protection of one's assets, the increased security, and so on. Once they're born they are a chance to show one's own power by gifting them with treasures, positions, using them in alliances, etc. I am so powerful, says the Archon, that I do not need to fear being brought down by my own offspring. My rule is absolute.

Children may not be regarded as heirs, but they are probably going to be groomed to be lieutenants, Dracons and so forth. They have family ties that may be able to be manipulated or leveraged. Can you trust them to do this without stabbing you in the back? Well, Archon, how good job did you do of raising the little monsters ...? Wink

So I think that while we can't rule out a basic desire to reproduce having some part to play for some people, Trueborn children have a multitude of uses to their Archon parent(s), but not without risks involved. Then again, this is Commorragh; everything has risk involved.

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Anterzhul
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeMon Feb 02 2015, 22:40

I would say it is more likely for a generic grunt to want to kill an archon, than for a child of one; especially if their childhood lasts as long as humans' (I guess even longer?). Also, there is probably for archons of any kind (especially male ones) the desire to ehh... commit the act of reproduction, unless millennia of life make you lose that will.

Furthermore, if I was going to be murdered (Archons may avoid taxes, but death is eventually still certain), I'd rather my own blood to sit the throne than some lowlife scrub, let alone a tubeborn!

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trade_prince
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PostSubject: Re: Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure   Noble Houses and the Kabal Structure I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 05 2015, 10:17

Wasn't there a story where Vect used the daughter of an Archon to get rid of him? She became Vect's courtesan and betrayed her father. Having kids can definitely backfire like nothing else.
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