IMC :: Nobles of Amber: families

An elite group of survivors and personal liegemen to Oberon accumulated over many thousands of years. Some brought to Amber by princes of the blood, but most proving themselves on the field of battle with the awesome foes of Amber.
See my Noble titles post.
There are three different ranks prestige accounted within this exclusive club. I’ll point out what they are, then list the families in order of scale. The little numbers gives you an idea of scale, as in, how many members of each family. This is not seniority in all cases, but some indication of well-managed resources.
Those recently or modestly titled who have not developed lands, but have demonstrated strong usefulness to the Throne are the Entre nobles. They may be knights/dames or lords/ladies. They may not have family to pass their honors to.
IMC: Dantaine7, Bannock5, Ruer3, Josef3. Patchert2, Maclowan1
Those families well-known to any urban person in Amber, who have developed lands, heirs, and tenacious usefulness to the Throne are the Landed nobles. They have to manage their heirs and family such that they don’t grow and outstrip their own success. IOW, they are working nobles.
They are all Lords. Ex: the head of House is known as Lord/Lady Janus while the youngers are called Lady Jayne, Lord Micah, etc.
IMC: Janus21, Olacch20, Uerth19, Alar16, Lionus15, Savonne14, Merton11, Ervis2
Those families well-known to any important person in the Golden Circle, who have developed lands, towns, villages, heirs, and tenacious usefulness to the Throne are the Steward nobles. They have wise grip on their heirs and family such that they don’t collapse from success. IOW, there may be more than a few nobles standing on the shoulders of long-dead ancestors.
On paper, these familes have no more power than the others listed, but they may also have titles they use from Golden Circle assets, lands or courts.
IMC: Karm99, Bayles57, Chantris34, Feldane26

How in the world can you have 99 Karms alive at the same time?
If a reproductive generation was 30 years, and if the average person in Amber lives to 250, that accounts for 8 generations right there. Add to this that the folk of these familes often live much longer than the average person of Amber, and you get these numbers.
No one much talks about it, but many of these nobles (some whom can trace their lineage to shadow worlds), live as long as six hundred years.
Nice perk.


  1. IMC: Nobles in Amber

    House of Cards GM Log: IMC: Nobles of Amber Ginger follows up on a post from Arref on Noble families in Amber, their relative numbers and proportion to the population at large….

  2. 99 is easy. My gggrandfather had 21 children. Call it 1/2 boys, but they marry, so gen 0 + gen 1= 23. Add 4 kids for each of his kids, and we get to gen 0 + gen 1 + gen 2 = 2 + 21 + 84 = 107.
    gen 0 starts having kids at age 30. It takes 30 years to produce 21 children, so now dad is 60. The kids have all held off having their own children, but they start with a vengance. It takes each of them 10 years to produce 4 kids, then there are 107 Garms while granddad is 64.
    So, let’s say that granddad starts having kids at 30 and peters out by 630. He has one kid every 5 years. Starting at age 30, those kids have one kid every 5 years. At age 650, when granddad dies, he has 69.5 trillian living decendants and will see his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren (20g) reach age 20. If he lives for 10 more years, He sees his 21g grandchild and has 114 trillion offspring.
    This is why we don’t do generational math for HoC Amber.

  3. Which is to say, you need to seriously mess with fertility or mortality or the breeding period of a species to make even 250 years a viable lifespan. Humans stop being human if you change from a high-investment reproductive strategy to a low-investment strategy.
    Let’s make it more of a meatgrinder. 1 kid every 30 years survives to adulthood and has 1 kid. There’s a 30% mortality rate every 30 years. At 330 years, the family has 106 members. At 600, it’s 2239. Still too big.
    Change the generation age to 50 and kill 1 in 3 every 50 years and you get your 600 year old with a family of 93. And your 250 year olds die with about 10-11 survivors.

  4. gosh that’s handy but gruesome!
    I think your last example 50:1/3 is pretty close to the imaginary in my head, with the exception that nearly all Amber folks are very aware of the numbers game you so marvelously illustrate. They look at reproduction not as a right, but as a privilege. (Of course in this, one excess is usually allowed and expected.)
    Mortality and exodus to shadow are my handwaving answers otherwise.

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