May Your Glory Bring Honor to Us All
The honor and respect of a Sparnelli citizen's Family determines how that individual is perceived until they make a name for themself. Many of the Confederation's top Families focus solely on increasing the prestige and honor of their name, doing whatever it takes to further their own ends. Those who choose not to engage with these politics are still held to the same standards.
With the fracture of the Goldaming Family after The War for Enlightenment, many of those who believed in the accessibility of magic in all its forms found their way to the Sparnell Confederation, forming their own Families in the tradition of the Goldamings. Over the centuries this has morphed and changed with the shifts in Sparnelli priorities until the present, where Families are the measure of the glory and worth of their members. Some families, such as the Valcore and Selkirk, take this to extremes, disowning those less likely to live up to the Family name to retain the elite status of the remainder. Others, such as the Kane Family, choose to embrace all family members with the hope the achievements of those who align more with the Sparnelli values can shield those who fall short of outside expectations. The disowned, or individuals from disgraced or less prominent Families, can also choose a new Family name and attempt to build their glory and reputation from scratch.
PoliticsFamilies who wish to rise to the upper levels of prominence within the Sparnell Confederation must not only show the capabilities of their members but also engage in the political maneuvering of the other major Families. Alliances are forged, rivalries both real and pretended are fostered, and mergers negotiated, all both in the public eye and behind the scenes. Families may publicly support another all while attempting to undermine them behind the scenes to take their place. Some Families will even openly tie their loyalty to fealty to another, as is the case with the Selkirk Family and their arrangement with the Valcores, ensuring their place as the top two Families in the entire Confederation due to their shared resources and cooperation. Not all Families choose to partake in the politics. The famed Kane Family could be among the most powerful due to their stalwart reputation with Battle Mages, but they do not disown their less prominent members and only engage in politics when directly threatened, and so they are relegated to a mid-tier level of respect but generally left to their own devices.
Family DynamicsMost Sparnell Families, including all considered mid- and high-tier, report to an individual declared the Family Chair. The more prominent or larger Families rely upon an entire Family Council, led by the Chair. Here is where the important Family decisions are made, including the approvals of marriages, adoptions, and career paths, as well as the voting for disowning underperforming family members. All Family members fall within the jurisdiction of the Council and Chair, with parents also accountable for their children. If an individual's crimes against the family are grievous their parents may also face the justice of the Council, should it be determined they did not respond adequately to bring their child back in line with the Family's reputation. While most Families will readily publicize their Chair and Council members, those which follow the Old Ways, such as the Selkirk Family, often choose not to publicly reveal their true head of the Family. They will support a Chair and Council which will handle the everyday requirements of the Family, but the true Shadow Chair will override these decisions and personally handle the more critical decisions. Most Family members are also unaware of the Shadow Chair, aside from the Council and a handful of other key members in positions of power.
Changing FamiliesAn individual may join a new Family through adoption or marriage, with the approval of the Family Council. The Family's name will henceforth be their own, and their former Family will hold no further hold on their accomplishments. Families may also choose to merge together either through alliance or marriage or another form of agreement, in which case the Families may combine their names, choose only one, or change their name completely. Those disowned from their Family may petition to join a new one, or select a new name for themselves and forge their own Family. Individuals from a dishonored Family may also choose to separate themselves from the name, often founding a new Family as others are wary of the stigma of accepting someone of a disgraced lineage.
Sparnell Armed ForcesAdmirals of the Sparnell Armed Forces also gain prestige and honor based upon the accomplishments of their subordinates. New conscripts from prominent Families are often fought over, and promising students from lesser known Families may be claimed while still in training rather than waiting until the official ceremonies upon graduation, much to the pride of their Family. The military careers of Family members go a long way to raising the prominence of the Families themselves, with many smaller Families such as Renkash owing their entire reputation to a single prominent figure in their history.