A recent thread calling for a trial of possesion of the Kerensky bloodname sparked quite a bit of debate on Bloodnames and how they work. The goal of this thread is to educate people more on this subject.
Start of the Trueborn lifecycle
Clansmen created by the Clan Eugenics program are called Trueborns. Most Trueborns consider themselves superior to Freeborn warriors (freeborn warriors are naturally born).
A Trueborn's birth is planned from the start, the genetic material of a trueborn is selected from two bloodnamed warriors. These bloodnamed warriors are the gene-father and gene-mother (note that gender is unimportant since a woman could potentially be gene-father and vice versa). This genetic material is then used to create a batch of artificially conceived children which are grown in artificial wombs (iron wombs).
Many Clans keep these children together in a group called a Sibko (a sort of family group). Clan Wolf for instance mixes various batches of children to created more varied Sibkos.
The life in a Sibko is a harsh one, the children here are constantly tested. The unfit get weeded out and are sent to non-warrior castes (the caste they end up in is decided by the tests).
The Sibko is essentially slowly dissolved when the children (now cadets) start training for the warrior caste. Training in the warrior caste is the most brutal of all, numerous Clansmen have died during this stage.
All essentials of mech-combat and warrior way of life are instilled in the young cadets. The end of this training has two cadets face six enemy mechs (The Blooding), in case of the Steel Vipers it has the contestants fight each other. They only need to defeat one enemy mech to reach warrior status. Two mechs will grant the rank of Star Commander, three mechs will grant the rank of Star Captain. Failing to defeat even a single mech will mean demotion to a lower caste. There are some other technicalities involved with this trial, but I will not delve into it at this point.
Entry into the warrior caste means that a warrior can gain honor and victories and prove his/her worth to the Clan they are born in. The ultimate reward here is gaining a bloodname.
Bloodnames were the last names of the initial 803 Clan founders. Many Clans have 40 bloodnames attached to them. Only 25 warrior in every Clan can hold a single bloodname. Clan Wolf for instance has 50 Kerensky bloodnames, but these are considered two sets of 25 since they came from both Nicholas and Andery Kerensky.
Many Bloodnames have been removed due to shameful actions of their holders, there are currently (3049) more then 600 bloodnames active. The Bloodnames of Clan Wolverine were eventually entirely omited while others were reaved (ritually removed).
Clansmen only have a first name, not a family name to speak of. The ideas of family and natural birth are revolting concept to many of the Trueborn population. They however have no problems with sex and no longer associate it with reproduction. Clansmen are quite open to coupling and discuss it freely with any potential partner. Trueborn women have their biochemistry altered so they no longer ovulate, this can however be undone.
Clan warriors do however which for their genes to be passed on, this can be achieved by gaining a Bloodname. Warriors who hold bloodnames are considered to have viable genetic material for the creation of more Sibkos. This genetic material usually isn't used in the "active pool" right away, they commonly use it some time after the warrior in question has died, unless a warrior has performed an extremely remarkable feat e.g Star Colonel Aidan Pryde of the Jade Falcons. The Clans have been using this method to weed out any and all genes they consider inferior. Clansmen can only get a bloodname from their gene-mother side.
A Bloodname can be achieved when a Bloodname holder dies, this opens up a slot among the 25 holders.
24 warriors can be sponsored to participate in the trials to win a Bloodname. Seven warriors are selected by commitee headed by the Loremaster. A 32nd slot is open for warrior who didn't get sponsored, this warrior must first pass the Grand Melee.
The Grand Melee is a brutal free for all battle where only the last warrior standing will be able to apply for the Bloodright trials. Many warriors tend to die during these trials because they give it their all.
The Bloodright trials are a set of duels that revolve around 1 vs 1 battles. A coin toss decides who gets to be the hunter (the warrior who selects the form of combat). A hunter can decide if a challenge is augmented or unaugmented (augmented often means mech combat, unaugmented could be a fist or knife fight). The hunted may pick the location (physically weak warriors could pick a zero G environment to even the odds). This continues untill only two warriors remain, the winner of this battle will gain the right of holding a bloodname.
Warriors can enter the Trial of Bloodright numerous times after they have failed, although they might lose their sponsorship after a while.
Trials of Possesion and Bloodnames
It is not possible to win a Bloodname in a Trial of Possession, it can only be achieved during the Bloodright trials or as a reward for a exceptional feat (as was the case with Vlad Ward). It is however possible to trial for the genetic material of a warrior, this can easily be done by trialing for the genes of the specified warrior at the site where genes are stored.
A bondsmen is a captured warrior who was adopted into the Clan that captured him/her. There is no shame in this, there are however warriors who commit bondsref (ritual suicide) to get out of this.
The genes of a captured warrior can be used in the eugenics program of the Clan that won them in a trial. These usually used as a gene-father set. Using these genes as a gene-mother set would be a waste since the warriors in question would never really have a chance to compete for a bloodname outside of the Grand Melee where they are most certainly killed by the participants who would rather die then see the bloodname go to another Clan.
The only way to obtain a Bloodname from another Clan would be by absorbing the entire Clan. This is not a small feat since it would require the Clan in question to have terribly wronged the other Clan. Only two Clans prior to the Clan Invasion were absorbed (Clan Mongoose and Widowmaker). A Trial or Rite of Absorbtion can only be sanctioned by the Grand Council (a council of all Clans).
The Clans also know members that are naturally born. Many Clansmen among the non-warrior castes reproduce this way, they are often assigned a partner by the Scientist caste. These Freeborn children are still capable of entering the Warrior caste if their Clan allows it, Clans like Clan Smoke Jaguar allow no Freeborn warriors into their Warrior caste.
Clans like Clan Wolf and Jade Falcon are far more lenient in this regard allow these warrior to test into the Warrior caste regardless. These warriors could however never compete for a Bloodname until the invasion. Two Freeborns actually gained Bloodnames (or will gain Bloodnames), they are Phelan Ward (later Kell) and Diana Pryde (daughter of Aiden Pryde). This ofcourse caused quite a outrage among the Clans, but both warriors managed to hold own in both cases.
It is extremely difficult to gain a Bloodname for Freeborn warriors, but not impossible. Freeborn warriors are often looked down upon by Trueborns, this varies per Clan. Freebirth is a insult often hurled around by Trueborn warriors, calling a Trueborn warrior a Freebirth is considered a grave insult.
Gaining a Bloodname does not mean that you are the big winnner. Some Bloodnames are considered tainted because Bloodnamed warrior did very unclan-like actions. These Bloodnames might never be used in the active pool for creating new Sibkos.
The best example here is Aiden Pryde, his Bloodname was considered tainted because he essentially cheated his way back into Warrior caste after failing is initial Trial of Position. He did this by masquerading as a killed Freeborn warrior. Despite this he got the Clan Council to recognize him as a Trueborn again after saving Kael Pershaw's genetic Legacy from falling into the hands of Clan Wolf.
After a hearing and a Trial of Refusal he was able to participate in the Grand Melee and later the Trial of Bloodright. He won the Bloodname, but he was considered tainted due to his actions by masquerading as a Freeborn warrior. He also was not very popular with the Trueborns due to his befriending with many Freeborns and treating them as equals.
Here is the initial draft, I will edit in more material when needed.
Edited by Stormwolf, 26 April 2012 - 01:44 PM.