The Gentes are the clans and families of the Drabonblooded, and form the upper classes of the Realm. While all Dragonblooded are revered as the Princes of the Earth, it cannot be denied that some hold more powers than others. The Gentes are numerous, and unlike the Great Houses of the Dragonblooded during the Second Age, are far more independent.
Forming the upper classes of the Realm, individual Gens rule and maintain control of different regions of the Blessed Isle and Threshold in whatever manner they see fit. They pay a yearly tithe to the Realm, and maintain the Shogun’s laws… to varying extents, depending on the Gens.
The members of a Gens don’t simply include Dragonblooded, but also its unExalted family members, servants, retainers, stewards, and soldiers. The mortal members of a Gens are held to a rigorous standard (though not as rigorous as the Dragonblooded are held). While what they are capable of is limited, a mortal member of a Gens, and even a mortal servant of a Gens, wields significantly more status than an average peasant.
The power of a Gens is related to its size. If a Gens has more Dragonblooded, the Shogun is more likely to listen to them, while the converse is also true. The largest Gens owe direct fealty to the Shogun and are permitted to maintain and equip multiple personal Legions, while smaller Gens owe fealty to the larger ones and typically control a single Dragon of warriors in service to a larger Gens.
There is often intermarriage between the various Gens, leading in some cases to a complicated interweaving of bloodlines. Further, it is possible, if one were a Terrestrial Exalt born outside of a Gens or Realm citizen of proven worth, to marry or be adopted into a Gens. This happens frequently, to maintain a Gens’ strong Terrestrial bloodline and its political advantage.
Warfare between the Gentes is extremely common. Oftentimes, a Gens can expand its holdings and power by invading another Gens. Furthermore, espionage and political maneuvering are also common. Assassinations and sabotage are a frequent risk. Fortunately, warfare amongst the Princes of the Earth typically occur far over the heads of the average citizen of the Realm, and in spite of this frequent warfare, a fragile stability is maintained by the Shogun’s Upright Legions. Should the Shogun fall, this stability will disappear.
Warfare within a Gens is extremely common. The Daimyos are the heads of a Gens, and the order of succession is left entirely to the members of the Gens. In theory, it is within the Shogun’s power to appoint a daimyo, but this typically only occurs of a Gens’s daimyo is accused of a capital crime. In such a case, the successor is appointed by the Shogun. In all other cases, high ranking members of a Gens have an unfortunate tendency to turn against one another to jockey for position. Whether this is through simple competition, or through assassination and other such unpleasant tactics, depends on the individuals involved. Fortunately, warfare amongst the Princes of the Earth typically occur far over the heads of the lower ranking members a Gens, and in spite of this frequent warfare, a fragile stability is maintained by the Shogun’s rule of law. Should the Shgoun fall, this stability will disappear.