This is a draft document which will ultimately become a treatise on Wesnoth etiquette. It's currently an orphan. I am going to start by trying to define the basic terms. This is all subject to approval and discussion. Will link to the forums once I'm happy with the basic structure. Simons Mith 13:12, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Factional Nobilities and Equivalents
This section attempts to define the various factional systems of nobility, or their closest equivalents. It covers who or what they respect and how they get their nobles in the first place.
One general rule of precedence to note is that, particularly where you wish to treat visiting dignitaries diplomatically, you grant them the precedence of the most senior rank for which they theoretically qualify, and then you apply the rule of 'guests always go first'. When dealing with a party you need to flatter, you would treat their highest rank (e.g. High Lord) as equivalent to your own highest rank; so an Elvish High Lord dealing with a human King would be treated on the same level, particularly if the forest the elf ruled was greater in extent than the human's kingdom.
I am also using the concept of 'ordinary politeness' and 'diplomatic politeness'; ordinary politeness is when you merely wish to avoid causing offence; diplomatic politeness is when you are actively trying to follow the correct protocols.
When you address a noble of any kind, the usual practice is to call them by their full title once, when you first address them, then to revert to a simpler form, usually just 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' thereafter. You don't need to call a king 'Your Majesty' every time you talk to him. Addressing a princess as 'Princess' is an egregious, tin-eared piece of George Lucas-level modern phrasing. It's not even correct in the real world. Search for 'Correct terms of address' if you have characters in your campaign for whom you need to get it right, and check the etiquette link(s) on Wikipedia. Any character born a noble will know this stuff, and will automatically get it right; to them, it's ingrained habit. Other characters might not, unless they're higher-level, better-educated, or have been briefed on what to do. But in formal encounters, such as meeting a (potential) enemy noble for the first time, characters will often at least try to be polite. Of course, Wesnoth etiquette is not going to be the same as Earth etiquette, and the Wikipedia articles are far more detailed than we actually need.
Rough precedence order, a female equivalent ranks (draft)
- King & Queen
- Prince & Princess
- Duke & Duchess
- Lord, Earl or Count & Countess (note: not 'Lady')
- Baron & Baroness
- Knight & Dame
I suggest limiting the main Wesnoth noble ranks to King, Duke, Lord and Baron and leave use of other more obscure titles at the discretion of individual campaign authors.
By the way, the only way you can have a king married to a queen is if the king of country A marries the queen of country B. Normally the husband of a queen is known as the Prince Consort' and the wife of a king is known as a Queen Consort.
The core political entity for elves is, naturally, the forest. A forest gains power and influence by being large and/or ancient.
The two main elvish terms for nobility are 'Lord' and 'High Lord'. These both derive from the concept of 'Lord of the Forest'; the wisest, most senior and politically influential elves in a given forest. Large forests can have multiple Lords; when they do, the more senior one(s) become known as High Lords. You can become a Lord through merit, influence or martial prowess. To become a High Lord requires an exceptionally great deed or a hefty accumulation of seniority; not all Lords ever become High Lords.
Smaller forests or woods may not have a Lord at all. They may have minor nobles or leaders in charge, perhaps with more unique or unusual titles such as Guardian or Druid. There are many instances of 'Lord' and 'High Lord' already defined in the Wesnoth game. The lesser ranks do not appear to have been considered anywhere yet.
In terms of precedence, an elvish Lord is of roughly equal rank to an Earth human Lord, Count or Earl (all equivalent). An elvish High Lord would be given equal precedence with a Duke. If there were a conclave of several forests, the collective entity would be given the same precedence as a king, even if the individual members get lower precedence.
Lesser ranks would be given precedence roughly equal to that of a Baron (lower) or Marquis (higher).
The Greenwood elves (Fate of a Princess) are an interesting variation on the standard elvish theme. Having spent many decades, perhaps centuries living next to the orcish city of Dorset/Dorest, they have had to be constantly on alert to deal with orcish attacks. Hence they have a very strong martial theme throughout their entire society, and most senior Greenwood elves have some sort of military ranking, working up from Corporal and Sergeant to Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, then Lord and High Lord, and all adult members of the forest are subject to conscription.
The Dead Water campaign is the main model for Merfolk. A Merfolk 'king' is called a 'kai'. More details to follow later.
Mostly martial, of course. Orcish shamans tend to be the guardians of orcish lore. They also often function as advisors. This can give them a higher degree of influence than may be apparent, especially on the occasions where the strongest warlord is either stupid enough to be easily led, or else canny enough to make good use of their advice. More to follow.
Leaders of the undead factions tend to be enemies to oppose, but if the need to be diplomatically respectful arises, terms such as Dark Archon, Dark Mistress or Dark Lord may be used. Normally, a mere Sir or Ma'am is the most courtesy such leaders will receive.
Trolls respect brute strength and age. Even where there is a pecking order among trolls it is unlikely to be readily apparent to non-trolls. If you want to be polite to a troll, 'Sir' is usually sufficient. If you need to be diplomatically polite, refer to the most senior or powerful troll as 'Great One' or 'Mighty One'. Trolls don't have any equivalents for noble titles.
Mages, including non-human mage types such as the dwarven Runemasters, are usually considered to be outside standard precedence, partly depending on the skill and influence of a particular mage. Matters seem to be dealt with in a similar way to churchmen in Earth human societies. A senior and highly-respected mage like Delfador gets similar precedence to a high-ranking noble; possibly ranking behind only a duke. High-level mages and Runemasters would slot in behind Lords and Counts, mid-level ones behind Barons.
Drakes have a highly martial society. They are organised around mountain enclaves, within which the most senior or martially-skilled drake is known as a (Drake) Lord. The larger drake enclaves may have several Lords, one of whom will be first among equals and will carry some sort of badge of office unique to that particular enclave. This is often an enchanted flaming sword or something similar. Drakes appear to be comparatively short-lived, individually (20-30 years??), thus there is not much need for a complex structured aristocracy. A Drake Lord is called 'Honored Drake' or 'Most Honored Drake' initially, thereafter 'Sir'. In terms of precedence they are generally ranked about equal to a human Lord. When the most senior Drake Lord dies, the next-most senior takes over the position. For an enclave to lose all its Lords before it can replace them is a serious mishap, as some important drake lore is only known to these most senior individuals. All enclaves but the very smallest need at least one Lord in order to function smoothly.
The Hammer of Thursagen is the major source for dwarvish lore and practices. Dwarvish Lords actually get lower precedence than other 'Lords' as its more of a martial rank, (like the human rank of Knight used to be, once upon a time), and the lesser-known Runemasters and Loremasters would actually come higher in the precedence list. Because it is mainly a military achievement, an 'untitled' Dwarvish Lord is ranked relatively low; about the same as a human baron. Runemasters and Loremasters are higher than Lords, lower than Witnesses, but are usually considered to be outside of standard precedence. (seethe section on Mages for further details.)
A titled Dwarvish Lord (e.g. Lord Hamel 'of Knalga') is significantly more senior, depending on the wealth and extent of the territories he controls. These individuals are roughly co-equal to the Elvish Lords, and the most powerful ones can match the Elvish High Lords. In the main, dwarves do not appear to use any title higher than 'Lord', although there may be Dwarvish 'dukes', 'earls' or 'kings' in some areas. Terry Pratchett's definition of a dwarvish 'king' as being a relatively utilitarian term may be useful to bear in mind at this point.
Fate of a Princess uses the concept of a Dwarvish Warden, who is a 'Lord of Lords', with an area of responsibility of an entire mountain range. His work includes fairly settling disputes between all inhabitants of the area under his control, dwarf and non-dwarf alike. As such, individual dwarven settlements would be expected to defer to him, although it may take considerable political skill on his part to fully exert his authority. Such individuals would be ranked equally to a human Duke, for a large mountain range, and a Count, for a smaller one. Warden may or may not actually be a formal title.
Witnesses are above and outside the standard precedence, rather like human mages.
Dwarves may have a network of tunnels between mountain ranges; who (if anyone) has seniority in these cases (if they exist) is left open for now. It's likely to be subject to negotiation, and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
More religiously led than most other races - Saurian Augurs and Oracles are often influential figures in their society. Saurians are expert astronomers and wisdom and intelligence are respected traits.
Like trolls, ogres have little use for titles and other such fripperies. If you need to be diplomatically polite, refer to the most senior or powerful ogre as 'Great One' or 'Mighty One'. Otherwise, 'Sir' is quite enough.
Naga society seems to be almost completely undefined at present. I can easily generate some content to fill in, but I will leave it for the moment.
A potted and condensed extract, probably mostly derived from Wikipedia, to follow.