The noble houses dominate Dawn.


Dawn is dominated by powerful noble houses. The houses manage their great estates and raise soldiers to fight for the Empire. Membership of a noble house is achieved by passing the house's Test of Mettle, although a degree of status is assumed by those children who have been raised in a house (who are technically yeofolk until they pass their test).

Each house sets its own test and only the behaviour of those who have passed the test reflects on the house. As a result a house must keep the tests difficult to maintain its reputation. Those houses that make the tests too easy face the very real risk of having no children placed with them by other nobles - no Dawn parent would want to place their child with a house that is tarnished by mediocrity.

Houses are led by an earl who is selected from among the members of that house. Earls usually dedicate themselves to the advancement of their noble house. It is the responsibility of the earl to set tests such as the Test of Mettle and the Test of Ardour. The accomplishments of a house reflect directly on its earl, an acknowledgement of the role that the earl plays in ensuring that every member of the house is given the support they need to triumph. Likewise the bearing with which an earl comports themselves reflects on the whole house, so earls are expected to take their responsibilities seriously, to conduct themselves with gravitas, and to expect and receive respect from their fellow Dawnish.

Some houses also choose to appoint an heir-presumptive, an individual who the house agrees will take over the earlship if the current earl is no longer able to perform their duties. The heir-presumptive is often a staunch ally of the earl, someone chosen to bolster their control of the house. But the role can just as easily serve the opposite function, some nobles choose an heir-presumptive to signal the limitation of the earl's power and what might happen if they overstretch their authority.

Only nobles become senators or generals, although Imperial law prevents this being mandatory. While it is theoretically possible for a yeofolk to be chosen for high office, a yeofolk who showed the qualities that made them eligible for such a position would almost certainly be approached by Dawnish noble houses keen to attract a rising star whose glory would reflect well on them.

The political battlefield of the Senate is one that is difficult for many nobles to master. Dawnish senators are often supported by an advocate - a yeofolk who makes a study of the Senate and the history of the Empire. While the nobles make impassioned speeches on the Senate floor, it is their retainers who help them prepare those speeches and work hard to ensure that the political realities of Imperial life do not scupper the nobles' plans.

The Synod and the Conclave, by contrast, are open to both yeofolk and noble alike, although again a yeofolk who rose to prominence in one of these structures would likely attract a great deal of attention from the Dawnish nobility.

By contrast, it is considered demeaning for nobles to involve themselves in the business of the Bourse. Making money is simply not considered glorious in Dawn, it is the business of yeofolk and not something that nobles should be worrying about. A noble who spent too much time in the Bourse might cause others to question their commitment to glory and to the furtherance of their house's goals.

Many citizens of Dawn expect that their senators will be the most most glorious nobles in the nation.

Leading a territory

Like every Imperial nation, Dawn holds elections to choose which Dawnish citizen should become the senator for a territory. But where many other nations handle their elections quickly and with relatively little fuss, in Dawn they are intended to be moments of pomp and ceremony, the better to reflect the glory of those involved. Crucially only those who have become nobles may partake directly in the Dawnish elections.

The mechanism for choosing a senator has changed recently, reflecting a growing need, recognized by the Dawnish egregores, to ensure the fairest representation of the people of a territory while still giving an opportunity for spectacle.

The senators for each Imperial territory are re-elected at specific equinoxes and solstices during the year. The senators for Astolat, the Barrens, Weirwater, and Semmerholm are elected at the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn summits respectively. Each election takes place immediately after the grand tourney so that nobles can also choose to make their support contingent on the glory of those who have competed in the tourney, if they wish.

Once the tourney is complete, the egregore or their spokesperson will present the available candidates to the assembled nation in the Glory Square. There is no chance for speeches: the inglorious, but inevitable, acts of politics that always accompany any election are assumed to have already taken place. Once the candidates have been announced, the egregore will invite the assembled houses from the territory being contested to enter the Glory Square in turn.

As each house enters the Glory Square they can have a single member announce how many nobles they have present and whom they are supporting. The earl may make the announcement themselves, or have their troubadour or whoever is the best public speaker available do so. There is some license for a house to boast of any recent accomplishments that have won them glory at this point, although anyone who takes more than a few moments to state their house's pledges is likely to be heckled by the crowd if they grow bored. A house can support a single candidate but they do not have to: the earl can announce some equivalent of "House de Vedeur pledges the support of four of our nobles for Earl Vedeur and two of our nobles for the jumped-up yeofolk, Simon the Weaver," if they wish to do so. The nobles from that house must then move to stand with their chosen candidate - and the pledges continue to the next house.


To pledge their support for a candidate, a noble must be physically present in the Glory Square. If there are accessibility reasons that make that challenging, then let the team know, either the civil servants or the egregores, and they will make accomodations for you. You must still be available in the Dawn camp however, you can't take part in the election if you are off engaged in other in-character activities elsewhere in Anvil or through the Sentinel Gate.

When a noble house pledged their support for someone in the distant past, it was traditional for them to deploy the house banner or standard while making the pledge. Doing so sent a powerful political message - that the house was prepared to take the field of battle in support of their cause if needed. The Dawnish no longer fight a tourney to decide these matters, but the egregores have confirmed that they will still allow houses to pledge support by planting their banner in the ground behind their chosen candidate if they wish to do so.

Only Dawnish nobles whose personal resource is located in the territory and who have not voted in another Dawnish senatorial election in the past year may participate in the vote. The civil service maintains lists of which nobles dwell in which territories, so they can check a noble's eligibility if that appears to be needed. Citizens may not change their mind after they have announced their support; once they have pledged their support for a candidate they must remain by their side until the end or lose their vote. Whichever candidate has the most nobles standing behind them when houses have finished entering the Glory Square is declared the winner.


The current senators of Dawn are listed below - see the individual territory pages for a full election history for each position.

Dawnish houses

A list of well-known noble houses who have attended Anvil in recent years can be found on the Dawn groups page.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Additional Information