Relationships and Marriage
Relationships and Marriages
Love is in the air!
One thing you will run into during your time in Allegory is the potential for your characters to form relationships and romantic bonds with other characters. Because there is a theme for the game that is based on history, there are also some general guidelines for appropriate behavior or societal rules governing proper behavior for those wishing to watch their relationships grow over time.
There are also a number of systems to juggle that may or may not have bearing on your characters personal relationships and how they work within the frame of what is considered normal for our setting and theme. Some of these rules can be bent to a degree, but in an effort to remain true to the theme, these exceptions should be rare lest they become the new normal. While we don’t endeavor to police how you choose to RP your personal stories, we offer these rules, guidelines and suggestions as a way to help you remain true to not only yourself, but the community as a whole.
Relationships should follow a natural progression from the start. While this guideline is not a hard and fast rule, these stages are what we considered the socially appropriate progression of events. Should you make the choice to deviate from this accepted timeline, you may or may not have to deal with the judgement of other characters that adhere more closely to this timeline.
Step One – Acquaintances
Upon first meeting someone, you would be considered acquaintances. This period is intended as a platonic and impersonal period where you are expected to get to better know the person without expectation of any more intimate or close of a relationship status. Society would dictate that this period take place in a neutral and public space where there are chaperones or other people present (even if those people are NPCs such as shopkeepers, people passing by on the street or waiters in public restaurants) to preserve the propriety and honor of both parties.
Stage Two – Friends
The period of friendship that follows being acquaintances should last for 2-4 weeks. This represents the period after you have gotten to know one another and formed a closer and still very platonic relationship. The rules governing propriety still apply, and you would bring scandal upon both yourselves and your people should you conduct yourselves otherwise. At no point during this period should either party be entering into private rooms unattended with the other; to do so would implicate them both in scandalous conduct that could result in judgement by others.
Stage Three – Suitors
This period is intended to indicate to both parties as well as those associated with the individuals in question have the intention to take the relationship to the next stage. While not an official courtship, this period shows that one or both parties do intend to pursue a closer relationship together. As above, this period demands a level of propriety and honorable conduct to ensure both parties are acting appropriately according to societal standards. All meetings between the two parties should take place in public settings and with a chaperone or witness to the continued good conduct of both individuals. Either party can entertain proposals of suiting from multiple people during this period with no expectations from either side of a promise of a future together. During this time the individuals can learn more personal information about one another and well as become acquainted with the people closest to one another and exchange small tokens of fondness.
Stage Four – Courtship
Before entering into this period, it is customary to seek the counsel and acceptance of someone closest to the individual, generally the parents, close family, patron or other well respected figure in the individual-s life. Additionally, there may or may not be matters of loyalty to discuss prior to entering into an official courtship. Upon both parties agreeing to courtship, it is customary to seek confession and the blessing of a church official to ensure that both parties are entering into this period with a clear heart and good intentions. After they have received the blessing of the church and the respected authorities they both work or live with, a public announcement is made to announce the official courtship period as well as the sanctions granted them for this period. This time period is used to gauge fully whether the individuals are truly certain they wish to become a partnership and is generally filled with discussions about more serious topics including beliefs, loyalty, faith and all matters related to an eventual marriage, including children, finances and living arrangements. As with all the steps above, it is considered highly scandalous and downright sinful for those who are not yet married to be alone together in private for any reason, though the individuals will begin to spend increased time together and make public appearances together during this period.
Stage Five – Engagement
After the period of public courtship, the individuals have the chance to enter into an official engagement. They are again encouraged to seek the blessing of those closest to the intended, and upon acceptance of an offer of marriage, the Church will again need to give confession and offer their blessing of the engagement. In addition to using this time to plan for the wedding, if applicable, this period is used for official discussions and negotiations pertaining to dowry, bride price, loyalty and the change this marriage will have on the employment and opportunities available to both parties, most especially the bride. Again, it is worth stressing that the individuals are not yet married and should not be spending time together in the privacy of personal quarters or outside the public eye without some form of chaperone to preserve the holy sanctity of marriage. Upon successful negotiation and planning of the wedding, the two individuals can progress toward the final stage.
Stage Six – Marriage
At this point, the individuals are married in an official ceremony officiated by the church and attended by all who are involved in the process leading up to this point. The ceremony takes place on holy ground by an official representative of the church and, upon the completion of the ceremony, the couple is considered legally married. After the official ceremony, a marriage license will be signed and all relevant business matters will be seen to, including but not limited to the dispensation of the dowry, payment of the bride price, new oaths of loyalty and any other official matters pertaining to the event.
Different Types of Marriage
Legally Binding Marriage
A marriage is only considered legally binding in this game if it is officiated by a representative of the Catholic Church and results in the signing of a license proving the validity of the marriage. This is necessary for the sharing of property, the legitimacy of natural born children, legal matters and any other government and religious matters where the spouse would be entitled to inclusion. All marriages are final; there are no exceptions. Once you are married, the only thing that can sever the ties is the death of one or both individuals. There is no divorce, no annulment and no reversal of this union for any reason other than the death of the partner to whom you are married.
Special Note: Protestant characters have one of two options. Their marriage can be blue-booked as occurring in their country of origin or by unofficial representatives of the Protestant Church within the game, but not officially recognized as a legally binding marriage within the game world itself OR going through the marriage ceremony and all the steps leading to that through the Catholic Church for a marriage that is legally binding within the game world. Either decision will bring with it pros and cons that only you as a player can decide on. Please remember that all children of unions that are not legally recognized are considered to be bastards and are not entitled to inheritance, protections of the various official offices and will be considered as such in the eyes of the church and government. Likewise, all persons not officially married will not be considered the spouse or next of kin in any legal or official capacity.
Common Law Marriage
For those who do not wish to go through all the stages of an official marriage and wish to avoid the religious marriage ceremony, you can enter into a common law marriage. This is simply a declaration of union between two individuals who live together as spouses, without any legally binding documentation or the protections offered by a legally binding marriage. As stated above, there are a number of issues to keep in mind when deciding to enter into a marriage that is not considered valid in the eyes of the church or state, so please choose carefully when making this decision for your character.
A special exception to the legally binding marriage is the political marriage. This occurs when one or both of the individuals is ranked viscount or higher and comes with a number of special arrangements that are required when such influence is at stake. While these marriages can occasionally take place within the same loyalty, they are generally only heard of during negotiations between two nations seeking to make alliances or deals with one another for political reasons. This type of marriage is the only marriage in which a woman can receive a transference of her rank and influence through the negotiations with the opposing nation and it is the only marriage in which one or both of the individuals will receive promotions or demotions depending on their overall rank.
If both individuals are of the same rank, both will receive a promotion upon successful negotiations leading up to their marriage. If there is a difference of one rank between them, the lower ranked individual will receive one promotion to represent the increased influence they gain from the marriage. If there is two ranks difference, the higher ranked individual will essentially GIVE one of his or her levels of rank to their partner. This will continue so on and so forth, always resulting in the married individuals ending up with equal rank, even if this results in one losing their peerage status as a result of marrying so low beneath their station. Please note that only women can be given a transference of rank. Men are not allowed to trade the lands of their family nor will they be granted lands in another country. Women are provided this right only if the price is right for the negotiating individuals. All negotiations are carried out by the royal advisers from each nation represented.
Marriage – The Nitty Gritty
Individuals must be of the same loyalty to become married officially by the church.
Promotions and demotions only occur when one or both individuals are Viscount or higher.
Rank transfer is only available to women when one or both are Viscount or higher.
Only an official church marriage will result in a marriage license.
Only those officially married by the church can share property in a legally represented way (ie, inheritance, next of kin, businesses or guilds, homes, et cetera)
Only children born to legally married people will be granted a birth certificate and be recognized as legitimate.