Vachik Nobility


Originally the Etresi Imperium was simply a loose collection of worlds, nations, individuals who swore an oath of fealty to the Emperor, and little interference was made in the affairs of the individual member states, besides those administered directly by either the Emperor or a series of military governors. In this setting many worlds became dominated by small groups of incredibly powerful individuals, and from these individuals the earliest groundwork of the Imperial Nobility began.

It wasn’t until the reforms of Edtasthat Etresi’s grandson Tepazin II Etresi, did any change from status quo really begin. Creating a somewhat representative advisory and governing organization by drawing on these local strongmen, effectively forming the Council Lords, however this group initially had very little legislative power, instead it had the ability to appoint individuals to positions within Tepazin expanding central bureaucracy, and the power to ratify or reject the Imperial Succession, if the candidate was deemed unsuitable. The council lords steadily gained legislative powers eventually being able to primarily through threat of military action, pass referendums, and acts that the emperor would be forced to address, and agree too.

However throughout this time period the membership in the Council Lords was incredibly vague and undefined, with usually a single representative coming per member world. At the same time increasing prosperity throughout the empire gave a challenge to the old order, and wealth began to spread forming the basis of a re-constructed middle and capitalist class throughout the Empire. Cidan the Explorer was the first to establish a formalized system of noble titles, selling them to fund his expensive interstellar colonization, and exploration missions that greatly expanded the Imperium and the Vachik sphere, establishing colonies on the edge of what is now the March Worlds.

Many of the Oligarch’s who controlled the planets, and served in the council lords purchased these initially powerless titles naming them rulers of star systems and worlds, however they were not alone in their purchases. In return they created various lower ranking titles, and sold them to the burgeoning middle class of the Imperium who felt attaching titles to the family name a symbol of their newly found wealth. In reality there was no order or reason to almost any of these titles, and everything below the equivalent of Despotes varied greatly from world to world. Forging of Imperial documents were also common and many oligarchs bought or issued these fake documents to heighten their power, leading to occaisionally hilarious inflation of titles, with a wealthy businessman from Loristi Prime giving himself the title of Khronokrator (Lord of Time).

Cidan paid little attention to the beast he unleashed, and spent little time governing being busy founding colonies and leading expedition’s into space sometimes disappearing for years at a time. He named his ineffectual younger brother regent, who effectively bent to the whims of the Council Lords, who steadily added more power to their organization, and attached series of perks and benefits to holders of noble titles. By the time Cidan died these nobles effectively marginalized the emperor and the later Etresi’s were simply a group of council controlled puppets regarded as the Council Emperors, eventually being displaced by a series of Council Representatives, the last of which was Lemasi Khaddar, whose attempts to curtail the power of the nobility, in favor of a Psionic meritocracy. A civil war quickly ensued, and the Sivan family one of the most powerful noble family besides the Etresi’s and Ruvari seized the throne, and finally established a semblance of order over nobility titles, creating a hierarchal order as shown in the info graph below. However there were gaps in this order later filled in by the time of the Secession Crisis.

Vaishi I Sivan in an effort to stabilize his powerbase instituted a series of reforms to placate the powerful nobility of the Council Lords and increase the power of his own family. As a result he re-organized the nobility into four broad classes below the emperor. The Exarchs of the Great Houses of Sivan, Etresi, Amati, Krauth and Ruvari who maintained large private militaries, owned vast amounts of territory and dominated large sectors of the economy. Below them were the Vestarches of Houses Major who still had access to private militaries, wealth and territory, but to a lesser extent. Then came the Despotes who generally ruled anywhere from a single planet, to several star systems and were collectively considered Houses Minor. Below them he made the broad class of Patrikoi or the Low Nobility, equalizing the numerous and disparate titles created during the Late Etresi Dynasty.

This shored up support amongst the Great Houses clearly elevating them as the most powerful of the Council Lords, and accordingly the Exarchates slowly increased in power throughout the High Imperial Period. However this disgruntled many other nobles, eventually leading to the Despot Revolt during the reign of Vaishi II Sivan, with the backing of several major houses. Ultimately this resulted in the Exarchates gaining even more power vassalizing many independent despots, and resulted in the creation of the Vestes title, for Vassalized overseers of expanses of Exarchate territory. The remaining independent Despotes banded together to form the League of Despot’s in an effort to maintain their independence.

Over the years until the Succession Crisis nobility became more and more stratified. With the Exarchates absorbing more and more territory, eventually vassalizing or capturing almost all of the Vestarches, and independent Despotates. The Exarchates increasingly butted heads under the weak rule of the Ruvari Dynasty with border wars erupting and proxy fights commonplace. The Emperor and his personal Demesne became a shelter for many lords, and the stage was set for a major confrontation between powers. By this time the Hierarchy pyramid had changed reflecting both the rise of the Exarchates, and the Imperium massive expansion into what is now the March Worlds, with numerous disenfranchised nobles, establishing new fiefdoms, away from the major power blocks of the Core Colonies, and the Exarchates.

The Secession crisis devastated the nobility of the Imperium, with many dying in the hundred odd years of warfare between the Interim Ruling Council of the Imperium, and the Exarchates. As a result many previous privileges of the nobility were curtailed, as the necessity of competent replacements in the new society necessitated commoners taking over in positions that were normally restricted to them, especially in the uniformed military services.

The Patrikoi as a social class were almost extinguished, with their special status becoming irrelevant outside of a few more backwards worlds. However the higher levels of the Council Lords were not as affected as they retained most of their previous power. Especially the Exarchates that emerged from the experience battered and humiliated, but surviving.

The Third Etresi Dynasty spent most of its time embroiled in wars with the March Worlds, and its various major powers that had all, but completely broke away from the Core Colonies over the course of the crisis. Under Ketu III Etresi the Great the nobility seemed to be on the upsurge with many anti-nobility sentiment being stamped out, and the March worlds re-organized under loyal soldiers and commanders, who were raised to noble rank in order to administrate often vast stretches of territory in these relatively lightly populated regions.

Ironically his son Ketu IV went to war with the nobles under an aegis of paranoia, fearing they would strip him of power and make him a puppet emperor like the last Etresi’s of the first dynasty. Instead he plunged the Empire into another war following a botched attempt to murder the Council Lords. House Etresi was nearly destroyed by this war, losing almost a third of its holdings to rivals and rebellious vassals. In addition during this new civil war many new nobles in the March Worlds found themselves deposed, after leaving their homes to join the fighting in the Civil War.

These dispossessed nobles launched several abortive campaigns with little support from the Emperor at first plunging the March Worlds into complete chaos. Eventually Empress Orissa managed to compromise between the factions, most importantly raising the incredibly powerful House Vonsachin to the rank of Exarchs, stabilizing a large region of the Rimward Marches. Other than the rise of House Vonsachin, nobility continued to lose their special rights and privileges to commoners, other than still being able to carry their titles with them. However reform was slow and it wasn’t until 4100 till they reached equal rights “parity”.

When Sazin VII Vonsachin became emperor in the late 4400’s he set about enacting serious reforms to the entire imperial system. Leading the Council Lord faction primarily of new nobility and highly liberal members who wanted to abolish the entire class, and centralize power in the hands of the central bureaucracy and military that they controlled. Opposing them was the Exarch Alliance lead by Kasairas Etresi, Raevec Sivan and Dachin Amati. Who advocated reforms to the system, but retaining the nobility and retaining power in the hands of local leaders, especially the Exarchates that they ruled. When Sazin Vonsachin made two proclamations in the 4499 to symbolize the approaching turn of the century, the first reducing the size of private militaries and an attempted purge of non-loyal nobles from the IMS, with several veiled comments about disbanding the council lords if they failed to pass this measure.

The bill to reduce House military sizes was passed by an incredibly narrow margin, and the purge failed to remove a large number of nobles from the IMS and the Imperial Government. Kasairas Etresi called the council lords for a vote of no confidence of the Emperor that failed, but resulted in an almost exact 50/50 split between the two factions. When Emperor Sazin ordering Kasairas, Raevec and Dachin to be arrested they fled off world and rallied support to overthrow the emperor they felt was destroying the Imperium from the inside, launching of the Revolt of the Exarchs in 4500.

Hierarchy of Titles



• High Nobility >1%
• Low Nobility 15%
• Commoners 85%