Citadel at Whitepeak
The Citadel at Whitepeak
Honor in Citadel at Whitepeak
In addition to progressing the plot and increasing the power of their characters, PCs will need to manage their Honor at the Citadel, a measure of their standing in the student body. All apprentices, PCs and NPCs alike, are ranked on this system of honor. Higher ranking means the respect of their Masters and peers at the Citadel. A low ranking might lead to being ostracized or even severe punishment at the hands of one’s master. Thus, low ranking students are constantly seeking to duel or sabotage higher ranking students, while high ranking students must jealously guard their standing against those below them. Many masters will even pressure their high ranking pupils to cow and bully lower ranking apprentices to discourage them from challenging their high standing.
In this system of honor, all apprentices are ranked in an ordered sequence (1st, 2nd, 3rd . . . Nth). These ranks are relative and not based on an absolute value. Each rank is held by only one student, every student has a rank, and there are only as many ranks as there are students. Thus, apprentices cannot “gain” ranking, at least not in the sense that they can gain experience, by numerically increasing their ranking.
An apprentice’s rank can only decrease when they fail a task or when they are demoted by a Master. In these cases it is decreased by one step, three steps, etc and those students who were below them are moved up accordingly. Thus, if an apprentice sitting at 3rd rank is demoted by his master by two steps, he moves to 5th rank. The apprentice sitting at 4th becomes 3rd, and the apprentice who previously held 5th rank becomes 4th.
By engaging in a duel with another apprentice an apprentice may effectively swap spots with the loser, provided the lower ranking student won the duel. This holds no matter the gap between the two apprentices. If the apprentice in first loses to the apprentice in 15th, the two swap spots and the previously first place student becomes the 15th.
Duels are never to the death and end as soon as one combatant concedes. Duels have to be issued formally and publically. An apprentice cannot “duel” another by attacking her by surprise, and doing so is punishable by severe demotion, corporal punishment and worse. The accepting party in a duel sets the time and location for the duel, but combatants are free to use whatever they like, provided it isn’t obviously intended to murder their opponent. Lethal poisons, instant death magic and so on are all considered attempts to take the life of a fellow student and are punished accordingly. Accidental deaths, which aren’t altogether uncommon, are generally considered the fault of the victim and go largely unpunished. Students who regularly “accidentally” take the lives of other students, however, are dealt with one way or another. The Masters want a strong body of students and are happy to see weaklings weeded out, but they abhor losing promising students to single violent apprentices no matter how powerful the individual might be.
The nature of the honor system means that the only hope for very low ranking students is to win duels against far higher ranked students or sabotage their immediate superiors. Sabotage is only likely to benefit the saboteur if the two are near in rank to one another. Similarly, dueling lower ranked apprentices provides no benefit to the higher ranked students and initiating such duels is generally frowned upon.
Kith groups are also ranked based upon the group’s average, and so two groups could potentially be tied for a rank. This is less frequently relevant although masters will occasionally assign tasks or rewards based on a group’s ranking. The highest ranking individual in a group also has command over that group, deciding what the group will do. Thus, the highest ranking group member will be best able to ensure that they can complete any tasks specifically assigned to them by their Master. For example, if the master of a particular PC demands that they retrieve a relic from a certain tomb but the rest of the group has no interest in going there, the Kith leader can demand that the group help them. Disobeying a kith leader is considered highly dishonorable and always punished by an apprentice’s master, although group members are free to duel one another…
An apprentice’s ranking is displayed in two places. Firstly, the rank of all apprentices is displayed publically in the Commons are of the Citadel. Near the center of the room is a tiered structure. Each student is assigned a stone engraved with a personal rune. Each stone is placed on the structure according to his or her rank. When an apprentice’s rank changes he or she notifies all the affected apprentices and together they rearrange the order.
Ranking is also displayed through tattoos (see below).
Laws of the Citadel
While the Fion are in some ways cruelly anarchic—they place strong emphasis on personal power and generally subscribe to the belief that the strong take what they want and the weak suffer what they must—they do have a clear hierarchy and a number of basic rules that all Fion are required to follow. It is the work of the strong to enforce these laws and failure to do so is generally seen as a sign of weakness, inspiring dissention and coup d’etats. It would be foolish for a superior to let a subordinate break a rule and go unpunished.
- Attacking an initiate, apprentice, or master, outside of sanctioned duels, is strictly forbidden.
- No initiate may leave the grounds. No apprentice may enter areas they have not been granted access to. Only masters may leave the citadel without leave.
- Disobeying a higher ranking master, i.e. any master for an apprentice, is punishable by death. Similarly disobeying an order by the Fion council, the leader of a warband, etc. would lead to the same punishment.