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Established February 2010
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Points of Protocol: An Introduction and Courting a Warlord Prince

xx Points of Protocol: An Introduction and Courting a Warlord Prince
Feb 19, 15, 10:22:33 AM by Nicole
When you spend most of your time with people who are wired to be hot-tempered and passionate — and a fair number of them could kill you with little more than a thought — manners become incredibly important. For the Blood, this collection of etiquette combines what is instinctual to them and turns it into a comprehensible collection of rules referred to as Protocol.

These are the checks and balances that help a queen maintain control, govern how Blood interact with each other and — importantly — help keep Warlord Princes from killing everyone in sight. Protocol determines how ranks are addressed, how deeply to bow, equips men and women with a commonly recognized set of gestures, and there are apparently enough nuances to Protocol that it fills volumes of books.

But how do we get our hands on these books?

Obviously, these volumes aren’t available to us, but that leaves us largely free to do what Anne Bishop did — make up points of Protocol as we need them. These are the little touches that help make our world feel a little more authentic, and help us think about what we can do to ground our characters in a world brimming with dangerous types.

How big a deal is Protocol to the Blood? Pretty serious. For example, the only reason Saetan SaDiablo didn’t challenge Dorthea when she denied him paternity of his son Daemon was “because he believed in the Blood Laws and Protocol.” The sense of honor that binds the Blood to obey these tenets is so strong, that arguably the most powerful man in the entire series lets it separate him from his son — and essentially ruins his son's life for a long time. It’s that important to them, so think about that when you’re creating and playing your character.

This blog series will highlight some points of Protocol spelled out in the books. You can incorporate these into your writing, or use them as inspiration for taking the next logical step.

Courtship with a Warlord Prince
In the books beyond the original trilogy, a Warlord Prince setting foot in a village is reason enough to put the locals on high alert. These are dangerous men by their very nature and with a tendency to become very fixated on a specific woman and possessive. How does one survive a courtship with a Warlord Prince? How does one survive a Warlord Prince courting one’s sister?

This is where Protocol comes into play.

”Warlord Princes weren’t like other men. They were passionately violent and violently passionate and far more territorial than other males. And when a particular woman intrigued a Warlord Prince sexually, he had a simple way of dealing with potential rivals: He killed them.

Because that lethal response was part of the nature of Warlord Princes, the Blood had long ago established Protocols to give other males a  chance of survival. When a Warlord Prince indicated interest in a female, the other males stood back, giving him time to get to know her — and for her to get to know him and consider if she wanted that formidable temper and driving sexual hunger focused exclusively on her. Because it would be exclusive, but the choice was always hers. When she’d spent enough time with him to make a decision, she would either accept him as a lover — or tell him to go. And if she told him to go, he didn’t argue, didn’t try to persuade her — he had to walk away. That was part of Protocol, too.”

- Anne Bishop, The Prince of Ebon Rih in Dreams Made Flesh.

Some points aren’t fleshed out. For example, how does everyone else know a claim has been staked? I imagine to the wise, seeing a Warlord Prince flirting with a woman would be reason enough to steer clear. In other places, do you think it’s a more formalized process sometimes? Consider the conflicts that could crop up around this — both for Warlord Prince characters and people around them. Consider how careful a Warlord Prince might feel he needs to be around a woman to prevent creating the perception of a claim if he intended none — or how dangerous concealing such a relationship could be for the couple, and for any who innocently ran afoul of the Warlord Prince.

- What examples have you used in your games of courtship with a Warlord Prince?
- What Protocol customs could you see being adopted around "claims" and courtship? Are there reasons some territories or areas might make this more formal? Less formal?

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xx Re: Points of Protocol: An Introduction and Courting a Warlord Prince (Reply 1)
Feb 19, 15, 11:30:28 AM by Dany
The volatile nature of Warlord Princes is what makes them so hard to play well in my opinion. They're men with instinctual, primal insides. I'm not sure how courtship works with them but I now have a morbid fascination with the idea.
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