November 21, 2019, Thursday, 324

The faufreluches

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By definition, protocol is the code of conduct, the forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and nobility in a society where such rites and details are law. Etiquette, however, is the mark of fine breeding, and education. It is what labels one as belonging to the upper levels of the faufreluches. Without etiquette, there would hardly be any protocol. The two are linked together in something of a symbiotic relationship.

Without protocol and etiquette, those charged with doing the dance of diplomacy and politics would have no music with which to move, no steps to follow, no rhythm to lead them.

This guide covers all three areas -- protocol, etiquette, and diplomacy. These are not topics solely needed by diplomats and courtiers. It is vital information for all participants in the Duniverse, whether you be a mere potscrubber or chambermaid, a footsoldier, a vapid courtesan, etc.


The Faufreluches is a complex feudal order, and the prevailing social order of the Imperium in the timeframe represented in Dune III. Very few sources exist which explain this concept thoroughly, except perhaps the 'ICInfo Faufreluches' game files.

The most simple visual explanation of the faufreluches is that it can be represented by a tiered pyramid, with the Emperor at the apex. Just below that would be the Siridari and the Imperial nobles, and then another step below that are the House Minor heads and House Major notables. Another step down holds their retainers and courtiers, et cetera, until you reach the masses of countless, nameless poor scattered all over the Known Universe. And, although this structure is very useful for reference and not very far from what is represented in the 'Dune' novels, it is neither totally precise nor completely exhaustive.

The Faufreluches are composed of three sociological systems, acting in concert. One, the political theory; two, the caste system; three, the philosophical body of thought.

2.1 Political Theory

A basic premise of the Dune universe is that the Padishah Emperor rules by right of arms, that is, he has conquered and submitted those who have not surrendered to him outright. Every citizen of the Imperium lives and dies by the word of the Emperor, and are compelled to obey his command on pain of death; such is the nature of rule by right of arms.

The Emperor, for reasons of logistics, chooses not to slay those he submits, but rather to hold them "in liege" to him. "Allegiance" means a vassal serves his lord unconditionally, in return for certain considerations. These might include, for instance, rule over a planetary fief, a sum of money, an appointment of nobility. Of course, the higher the rank of the conquered, the bigger the considerations granted.

A vassal may, in turn, be liege to any number of lesser vassals, and they in turn, to another layer of vassals, and so on. This creates a chain-of-command, with the Emperor at the very top, then the Siridari (planetary rulers), then their retainers, governors, functionaries, then their aides and lieutenants, ad infinitum. This structure gives the roughest criteria of 'rank' and the basis of the model posited above, but it is far from complete.

In practical terms, a way of placing a person in the Faufreluches might be to ask him, "Who is your liege"?

2.2 The Caste System

A caste system works by dividing the population on the basis of any number of criteria, then ordering these groups by importance/quality/value, then segregating the castes so that they are continuous in time.

Every House and planet in the Imperium operates on a caste system. On some worlds, it is not so strongly enforced. On others, it may be tyrannical. The Atreides, for instance, may have four castes (nobles, merchants, craftsmen and serfs), with a certain degree of mobility between then (ie, were you a merchant, you could marry a noblewoman and thus be ennobled). The Harkonnens may have only three castes (rulers, freemen, slaves), with almost null movement of individuals between the castes.

But while the names and definitions may vary, the concept is universal: the notion that a certain class of people are better than another, who are better than a third, and so forth, who are all lesser than the first. A person in the Dune universe would always be aware of what caste she belonged to, and could determine at a glance the caste of another person of the same culture at a glance. She could also, if educated and observant, place an individual from another culture in their approximate rank by their speech, manners, dress, and appearance.

So, another question which places someone in the Faufreluches would be, "What is your caste?"

2.3 Philosophic Body of Thought

Society is strongly influenced by the opinions of its thinkers. Philosophers help society build its framework of ideas concerning liberty and freedom, good governance, mores and ethics, and the concept of quality/value as it applies to human being, ie, 'a man's worth'.

Each society decides which of its people is more valuable to the group as a whole; which skills and professions are more important, which race or sex or age is 'best'. Every culture has a set of attributes it considers as 'ideal' and 'perfect'; the better a person compares against this 'ubermann' patter, then higher he'll be in the Faufreluches. Often, the appearance, rather than the having, of these characteristics would be enough to elevate one person over another, all else being equal.

Ideals vary greatly from one end of the Imperium to another, but certain constants remain. Wealth, beauty, power, prestige, prowess, 'connections', and intelligence are almost universally appreciated qualities. The possession of certain valuable abilities, like a general's or a Truthsayer's, are positive. Achievements are also palpable demonstrations of 'worth', as are titles born of skill (ie, 'Mentat'); these also tend to increase standing.

As a whole, these considerations help answer the question, "What is your worth?". In conjunction with the previous two, it would pinpoint a person's place in the Faufreluches precisely.


The Faufreluches are, in essence, a 'pecking order' determined by the three questions, "Who is your liege?", "What is your caste?" and "What is your worth?"

2.4 The Pyramidal Representation

Below is a pyramidal representation of the Faufreluches.

1. Padishah Emperor

2. Emperor's immediate family, Siridari (See note 1, below)

3. Emperor's extended family, Siridar's immediate family, House Minor heads & Emperor's bastard children

4. Emperor's retainers (See note 2, below), Siridar's extended family, House Minor head's immediate family

5. Siridar's retainers (See note 3, below)

6. Bourgeoisie -- The non-noble business class. Vaguely middle class. Includes the skilled professions, when not associated with a House.

7. Pyons -- Commoners. Bound to the land (or planet, in this case), workers, peasants, artisans, troubadors, etc.

8. Rabble -- Not citizens of the Imperium. Not counted in census. Beggars, lepers. Also Fremen.


1. A Siridar's wife--provided it's not a morganatic marriage--receives her husband's rank. If she is a bound concubine, she is one rank lower, with his immediate family.

2. Retainers include the Mentat, Suk, Swordmaster, and high government officials like Foreign Minister, etc. Retainers also include the high military ranks, generals, admirals, and the like. Lower military are one step down. For example, a Sardaukar general would be 4, while a Sardaukar, say, cadet would be 5, along with a House Major's general. Retainers do not include laundry maids, butlers, serving boys, etc.

3. Aside from Fremen, we don't foresee any player characters lower than the Bourgeois class with the possible exception of independent characters, such as Django or a troubador.


Protocol, as stated earlier, provides the groundrules for those who find themselves in the midst of the political and social shuffle, from the gilt halls of the Palace on Kaitain to the smoke-filled Lounge of the Imperial Hotel, or even the dim interior of Reveler's.

3.1 The Imperial Presence

Violation of protocol in the Imperial Presence, especially severe incidents, can cause quite a bit of trouble -- both for you, and your Siridar. It would be wise to stay on your toes at all times when in the presence of one as sharp as our Emperor!

The 'Imperial Presence' also refers to a space one is never to enter, leave, cross, or otherwise breach in any way without express permission when in audience or court with the Emperor. As an example, for court, this area would be the dais, the area immediately in front of the throne, and the central walkway leading up to the throne from the entrance of the Selamlik.

When departing the Imperial Presence, one should never turn one's back on the Emperor. This is accomplished by first backing up several paces, and then, when well out of the designated area, one might turn slightly to better return to one's place.

It is also extremely bad form to hand directly to the Emperor any object. Such things will be given to a servant or guardsman (Noukker) to be handled for the Emperor.

And as a final word of caution, it is the single greatest breach of manners and protocol to look the Emperor directly in the eyes. Gazes should remain lowered at all times, and, depending upon one's station, that point would be somewhere between one's own feet, a space between there and the Emperor's feet, or at the Emperor's feet. An even bolder focal point would be at a medal or other object on the Emperor's person.

More information on obeisance and honorifics when in the Imperial Presence will be covered in those sections.

3.2 Honorifics and Peerage

DISCLAIMER: Many Houses have adopted internal protocols which differ slightly from this guide. Some Houses may be more, or less, formal than is presented here. It is recommended that you check with your Faction Head for your House's stance on honorifics.

Honorifics is used, in this guide, to describe the titles afforded one by rank in the faufreluches. The British system of titles and nobility has been used for guidance where information on such in the Duniverse has been scarce.

One's title generally implies the closeness to the Imperial blood of House Corrino. This is why the enourmously wealthy Vladimir Harkonnen was a mere Baron, while the poor Leto Atreides was a Duke. Title does not necessarily correlate to number of votes or rank.

In descending order of status, titles are (female in parens):

Emperor(Empress), Prince(ss), Duke (Duchess), Marquis(e), Earl, Count(ess), Viscount(ess), Baron(ess).

For each title, the styles for address, formal salutation, formal announcement, and correspondence will be provided below.

However, first, it should be noted that the Emperor is always styled 'Your Imperial Majesty', or, if one is of high enough rank, 'Your Majesty'. Never, ever refer to him as anything else in IC conversation -- not even 'the Emperor'. 'Sire' is also never used. The House name (Corrino) is also never used. It tends to only be used by his non-royal relations.

Address: Your Imperial Majesty, Your Majesty (for those of high enough rank)
Formal Announcement: His Most Sublime Imperial Majesty Erich Ladislas Corrino, Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe overlord of Arrakis, Kaitain, and Selusa
In Correspondence: Same as Formal Announcement
Children: Your Highness Prince name/Princess name, His Imperial Highness (used for the Crown Prince)
Fief: The Imperium
Other Notes: Sire is never used, nor is 'Corrino'.

Address: Your Grace <when addressed>, His/Her Grace <when referred to>
Formal Salutation: My Lord Duke/My Lady Duchess
Formal Announcement: His/Her Grace <name>, the Siridar-Duke <house> of <fief>
In Correspondence: The Most Noble <name>, Siridar-Duke <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: Duchy
Other Notes: Everyone calls a Duke/Duchess 'Your Grace,' with the exception of his/her social equals, who use 'Duke' or 'Duchess.'

Address: Your Illustrious Excellency, or, Your Excellency, His/Her Illustrious Excellency, or, His/Her Excellency
Formal Salutation: My Lord Marquis/My Lady Marquise
Formal Announcement: His/Her Illustrious Excellency <name>, the Siridar-Marquis <house> of <fief>
In Correspondence: The Most Honourable <name>, Siridar-Marquis <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: Marquisat
Other Notes:

Address: Your Lordship/Ladyship, His Lordship/Her Ladyship
Formal Salutation: My Lord Earl/The Lord Earl
Formal Announcement: The Lord <name> <house>, the Siridar-Earl of <fief>
Correspondence: The Right Honourable <name>, Siridar-Earl <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: Earldom
Other Notes: In the British system of titles, the feminine of Earl is, oddly enough, "Countess".

Address: Your Excellency, His/Her Excellency
Formal Salutation: My Lord Count/My Lady Countess
Formal Announcement: His/Her Excellency <name>, the Siridar-Count <house> of <fief>
Correspondence: The Right Honourable <name>, Siridar-Count <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: County
Other Notes:

Address: Your Excellency, His/Her Excellency
Formal Salutation: My Lord Viscount/My Lady Viscountess
Formal Announcement: The Lord <name>, the Siridar-Viscount <house> of <fief>
Correspondence: The Right Honourable <name>, Siridar-Viscount <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: Viscounty

Address: Your Lordship/Ladyship, His Lordship/Her Ladyship
Formal Salutation: My Lord (Lady) Baron(ess)/The Lord (Lady) Baron(ess)
Formal Announcement: The Lord <name> <house>, the Siridar-Baron of <fief>
Correspondence: The Right Honourable <name>, Siridar-Baron <house> of <fief>
Children: Lord <name> or Lady <name>
Fief: Barony
Other Notes: Note that in the Formal Announcement, the House is given with the name.

Additional notes:

  • 'Siridari' is the plural of Siridar.
  • Nobility tend to "pad" their principle titles with streams of lesser ones.

It would be adviseable to make note of these, particularly if it pertains to your own Siridar, and you find yourself in the position of formally announcing his or her presence.

  • Heirs designate only use 'na-<title>' when presented or announced formally.

Otherwise, the form is not used in everyday speech or reference.

  • 'Sire' is perfectly acceptable for use in reference to your Siridar, however,

it should only be used once you have already used the correct address (i.e. Your Excellency) or salutation for your Siridar.

  • 'My Liege' is only appropriate when the person saying it has actually

sworn allegiance to the other person by way of oath of fealty. Most often, this will be true for the military, bodyguards and the like. Most other retainers are hired rather than sworn, meaning they will serve their lord or lady but are not beholden to give their lives up for them.

For House Minors:

  • House Minor nobles are addressed as 'Lord <name>' or 'Lady <name>' and My

Lord or My Lady, and never 'Your Excellency' or 'Your Lordship'.

  • For formal presentations, the style 'The Lord <rank> <name> of <fief>'

is used.

  • There is never a 'na-<title>' designation for House Minor heirs.

For Those Not of Nobility:

Artisans and other non-noble functionaries of a House might be styled 'Master' or 'Mistress'. It should be noted that in terms of theme, titles such as Mr., Ms., and Miss are not appropriate. A position of honor, such as a Bound Concubine, might be given the honorific 'Madame' as well.

Slaves and other members of the peasantry might be called by their first name by anyone.

3.3 Entrances and Exits

Protocol also governs entrances and exits, just as rigidly as everything else. One should always be alert when entering a room or area. Siridar especially can be touchy about how they are approached you wouldn't want to cause alarm to bodyguards and the like after all. It is also a rule of etiquette that when approaching a Siridar, it is appropriate to await acknowledgement from that Siridar before speaking.

All guests arriving to an Embassy or Estate should be announced formally by their escort, also. This takes care of any unwieldy introductions. Formal announcements of nobles at social affairs, such as large parties and fetes, might also be performed by a majordomo.

As a rule of thumb, when one of superior rank leaves a room, you should use the same salutation used for their entrance and none others.

And lastly, when time comes to depart the presence of a noble of higher rank than yourself, unless dismissed by that noble, permission to be excused should always be sought.

3.4 Obeisance

This is without a doubt the most visible form of protocol. Someone across the room won't be able to hear your use of titles, however, they can observe you bow or curtsy to a noble of higher rank. Many intrigues can be begun simply based on a mis-placed bow!

The rules concerning bows, however, are simple. There are certain bows appropriate to certain ranks, and it is the lower ranking person who bows or curtsies first.

Used by both men and women, there is the 'Regal Nod' - A long, slow nod of the head, with or without maintaining eye contact, and with or without a slight twist of the head. This is most used by Siridari, and many other higher ups.

NOTE: Not breaking eye contact carries a couple different meanings, i.e. that one does not trust or respect the one to whom one is showing obeisance. Not turning the head at all may also indicate uncertainty or fear.

Saluting with weapons should not be done, unless the receiver of the salute actually does own the weapon, such as one's Siridar, and it should only be done when the bearing of weapons is permitted. Naked blades in the Imperial Presence is strictly forbidden.


The Nobleman's Bow The head is dropped, with a slight hunching of the shoulders forwards. The gaze is, of course, directed to the floor. This is a quick semi-bow.

The Dancer's Bow A neutral, courteous bow, quite proper for all to use. This is the one to fall back on when one is unsure of the other's station. Bend from the waist, one hand tucked at the abdomen and the other hand in the small of the back, eyes straight forward as the head dips naturally.

The Deep Bow This marks an important difference in station. It is very similar to the dancer's bow, except that both hands are held at heart-level, left hand curled into a fist with the right hand covering it, eyes down. Bend at the waist, and then straighten. This is, for example, how a lower-ranking commoner/retainer would greet a Siridar, heir or other noble. A Siridar might perform a 'deep bow' for the Emperor, however, a genuflection is also entirely appropriate. Even more so should the Emperor's gaze happen to land on you.

The Genuflection Drop to one knee as gracefully as possible, hands are tucked and head lowered as in the 'deep bow', until a signal to rise is given. This is one of the highest measures of respect. You will see this used most often in Imperial Court.

Prostration The salutant drops to one knee, as in a genuflection, but also then brings down the other knee. Lean forward, placing the rest of the body as flat on the floor as possible, arms stretched out straight from the sides. The forehead is also pressed to the floor. this is, obviously, a position used mostly only in situations of extreme circumstances or extreme differences in station - i.e. a commoner of little status or reknown would use this when presenting a case to the Emperor.

Curtsies (or Curtseys is also a correct spelling)

Slow Curtsy This is given to one of equal or slightly higher station. The lady steps back a foot or so, and drops her curtsy with her torso entirely straight, head up and eye contact maintained. This is one of those cases where eye contact does not carry a negative connotation.

Dancer's Curtsy This is as neutral and non-committal as the 'dancer's bow' for men. The lady drops back half a pace, drops her curtsy with her head bowed and eyes downcast, as her hands raise the hem of her dress to about a 45-degree angle from the vertical.

Deep Curtsy The most formal salutation expected of a woman. The lady takes a full step back, front leg perfectly straight, and dips low to nearly sitting on the floor. Both her arms are fully extended and pointing back, head down and eyes closed. Rising from this position also does require assistance.

In general, women do not genuflect or prostrate themselves, although in situations where she has been cast in a politicially or socially strenuous position she might elect to.

Women, in general, also do not bow. However, women in roles of power might choose to utilise masculine gestures as a statement.

3.5 Honor

Accidents and errors happen. A misplaced title or bow is certainly not grounds, however, for immediately calling someone out except and unless there are enough witnesses and/or evidence to assume the other person meant a direct offense.

For the sake of RP, please exercise tolerance. We shouldn't promote an atmosphere in which being called out is a real and constant danger during harmless and fun RP. Education is the key, and practice. Even more experienced players will make mistakes.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 4. DIPLOMACY -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Diplomacy has been included in this guide because everyone, at some point or another, has found themselves in a position where diplomacy was needed and there were no Diplomats around to be doing it. Just as protocol and etiquette go together like peanut butter and jelly, diplomacy would then be the bread that is held together by this gooey combination.

Everyone should also have an understanding of what a Diplomat does, just as it is known what a Mentat does, what a Swordmaster does, what a Suk does, and etc.

4.1 Rankings and Duties

It can be assumed that Diplomatic Clerks and Aides are of the lowest rank in the Diplomatic Staff of a House, and it is even possible that these roles are filled by diplomats in training. It is entirely appropriate that younger characters (18-21 years) are in these roles.

There are, however, other roles and ranks that are possible within the diplomatic offices. You should also check with your Faction Head to see if any of these roles are being used and/or available. Each House might be slightly different in their hierarchies.

Ambassador This is generally a deputy minister of state or higher, and one who is authorized to trade, deal politically, meet with Siridari, etc. This person speaks for the House in public. The encumbant in this position carries quite a bit of experience, naturally, having already been through perhaps 20 years of further training and several more years of actual experience out on the diplomatic circuit. In other words, no Ambassador should ever be a young pup fresh out of school.

Diplomat One becomes a diplomat by title and position when training is complete, and enough experience is gained that a partner who is older and more experienced is no longer needed for trips out to meetings and the like.

Junior Diplomat Junior diplomats have just been promoted out of the office, from a Clerk or Aide position into the actual diplomatic corps. Never do they attend important meetings and functions alone, they are paired with a more seasoned diplomat or ambassador for further training and experience.

4.2 Know Your Stuff

There are some things every diplomat should know, without exception. And even other functionaries and retainers should know these things.

Know about your house. Family, titles, staff, homeworld, general economy, alliances. You should know what's going on in your own House -- you surely will be asked about these things most often!

Know your politics. Who is your House allied with? Who has fallen to the bottom of the Siridar's list lately? Basically, know your House's official and unofficial political positions on the other Houses. It wouldn't do to be caught in public pleasantly socializing with, for example, the House with whom you may be in the middle of Kanly.

Know the other houses. You should know who you're meeting with, plainly. Know the head of the house, name and title. Know the basics of their economy -- trade makes a great leveraging chip sometimes. Know their allies and political leanings. Know your House's history with this one.

Know when to talk. Drinks in the hotel Lounge might not be the most appropriate spot for a formal diplomatic meeting or sensitive negotiations -- especially since such information can be easily overheard or eavesdropped upon. Formal meetings should be held at the embassy or the estate of either party. If neutral ground is desired, Imperial areas such as the palace are highly appropriate.

Know your etiquette. It would not be wise to spend your time and energy in delicate negotiations, only to blow it by being rude to your host(s) or guest(s). Be courteous at all times. And, above all, do not assault the members or property of other houses. Slaves are counted as property.

4.3 Making Contact

GuildMail is your friend. When assigned to another house as a diplomat or ambassador, etiquette dictates communication to that effect. In the case of newly-arrived nobles and high-ranking functionaries, formal introductions are expected. Not doing the rounds, so to speak, can be taken as insult.

4.4 Ethics in Diplomacy

It might be tempting to use a pretty powerful weapon in the diplomatic arsenal: introducing pleasure into business. Those who are tempted to use such a weapon should be cautioned, as such things do often back-fire. However, if the intent is to provide excitement and intrigue, and the risks are understood, then perhaps it is a viable option. Discretion is key.

IC Actions = IC Consequences should be kept in mind at all times though. A conflict of interest created by personal relationships with diplomats of other Houses could very well cost you your job! And, depending on the Siridar, perhaps even your head.


Although web sites and many other sources were consulted in the compiling of this guide, two sources must be credited specifically:
Rivelo's Diplomatic seminar from Dune II
Praxton's Protocol Seminar from Dune III