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Noble Institutions
Institution Rank (SOC) Remarks
World-State (Local) Nobility N:7-10 (A) World-State and/or local nobility possess a bewildering variety of titles and power bases. These nobles often predate Imperial contact and they do not possess Imperial sanction, title, or recognition even if the Imperium negotiates with them. According to Imperial law, they have no official standings or, more to the point, they possess the official recognition of a foreign power and not an indigenous, friendly ally. Some are later elevated to greater recognition and status.
Imperial Clans N:7-11 (B) Imperial Clans hold an intermediate position between houses and local world-state nobles. Many of these clans aspire to Imperial recognition and earn it through service or other means, thus acquiring Imperial title, but not always direct Imperial Sanction. Sometimes, organized multi-systemic interstellar powers have been known to acquire Imperial title and be recognized as Imperial clans, but not proper Imperial houses.
Landed Nobility N:12-16 (G) Landed nobles are recognized by the Emperor and the Third Imperium. They hold Imperial title and sanction. Being a landed noble (peerage) is practically a prerequisite to joining a Noble House although exceptions have been made.
Imperial Houses N:12-16 (G) Many noble families eventually seek to consolidate and increase their power and prestige through concerted efforts of intermarriage or other social institutions of obligation. These families eventually form Noble Houses, which pool the assets of many families into greater accumulations of power, ability, and resources.
  • Some have compared the machinations of the Noble Houses and Clans to the dance of Imperial corporations and megacorporations. Perhaps more accurately, the two are massively intertwined to the point where the political aspirations of nobles and the economic aspirations of corporations and megacorporations are practically one.
High Nobility N:15-16 (G) The Third Imperium has been called a government of, by, and for Dukes. Even the lowest Ducal title is an enormous sign of Distinction. The elevation and promotion of a Duke typically follows the below sequence and often takes many, many generations:

Ducal Elevation Sequence:

Emperor N-17 (H) Above the range of noble ranks is the Emperor and the Imperial Family. The noble family may include princes, princesses, dowagers, and other noble titles. The spouse of an Emperor or Empress is technically the "Empress Consort" or "Emperor Consort", but in common everyday usage they are simply refereed to as "Empress" or "Emperor", respectively.
  • The Emperor is the ultimate object of thousands upon thousands of oaths of loyalty and fealty from the nobility. All of the Emperor's subjects number in the quadrillions...