The Meckelorn Council of Elders Tradition / Ritual in Scarterra | World Anvil

The Meckelorn Council of Elders

"We dwarves believe in obedience to one's superiors, but there is difference between "obedience" and "blind obedience". Someone needs to be able to occasionally tell the king "no" when he is about to make a mistake, and that is what the Council of Elders is for."   -Marbuil Redscale, dwarf salt master
    In general dwarves believe in strict hierarchies and loyalty, but while they generally trust their leaders, few dwarves believes that their leaders should have absolute power.   Periodically the king will assemble a council of elders, with a representative from every clan. Usually the representative is the eldest male, but if the eldest male is infirm or otherwise indisposed, another representative (most of the time still an old man) is sent.   The Council of Elders will pass on concerns to the king. If the king makes a major decree or wants to pass a new law, he has to get the approval of the Council of Elders.   The Council of Elders normally is scheduled to formally gather in full, only once or twice a year, though emergency sessions are often called in unusual situation.   Clan elders meet informally in smaller groups almost daily and they gather informally in larger groups almost month.   Individual clan elders meet with the king on a regular basis too. In most cases, when the king offers something for the Council of Elders to vote on, he already knows the outcome. In order to save face, if the king expects one of his decrees to be voted down, he will usually withdraw his decree before a vote can be held.   Also, before official votes are cast, political minded clan elders are nearly constantly lobbying other clan elders to support their initiatives so there is a lot of horse trading, bribery, and sometimes intimidation between clan elders over contentious votes.   A small number of the richest and most prestigious wield disproportional power the other clans via both the formal and informal machinations of the Council of Elders.


The Council of Elders has been an institution for as long as dwarves kept written records.   Stahlheim has a similar tradition, and originally had a Council that operated almost identically, but over the centuries the Stahlheim Council of Elders has gradually lost its teeth.


The main participates are the clan patriarchs and local lords.   While women do not sit on the formal Council meetings (barring extraordinary circumstances), clan matriarchs do participate vigorously in the informal meetings that lay the groundwork for the Council of Elder meetings.   As mentioned previously, the formal Council meetings are mostly to officialize decisions that were already made ahead of time.

Lesser Councils of Elders

  Some, but not all of the king's major vassals also periodically convene councils for the clan elders of the clans in their jurisdiction.  Their methodology and politics is almost exactly like the politics of the main Council of Elders but on a smaller scale.   Even if they don't formally convene a council of elders, almost all dwarf lords will seriously heed the words of clan elders.
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Related Ethnicities

What about the kalazotz and gnomes?

  While Meckelorn values its gnome and kalazotz citizens, neither group has any of their elders sit on the Council of Elders.   That said, both the gnome and kalazotz also respect their elders and their elders talk to the dwarf elders so gnome and kalazotz needs are addressed in the Council by proxy.

Cover image: by Me


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