Oaths & Fealty
The basic political unit of a feudal world is the oath of fealty that binds lieges and vassals together. Out of these personal relations grow the larger political units, such as realms.
Anyone can swear fealty to anyone else at any time, with just two restrictions:
- You cannot swear an oath to someone who is directly or indirectly your vassal. That includes your own vassals, vassals of your vassals, their vassals, and so on.
- Rulers never have personal oaths, they use realm diplomacy instead.
Oaths and Estates
A lord of an estate controls the realm membership of his estate and can change it at any time, but only to other realms that he is a member of (see below).
Oaths and Realms
Nobles are considered to be members of a realm if one of the following is true:
- They hold a position (such as rulership) within the realm
- They own an estate that belongs to the realm
- Their liege holds a position or estate within the realm
- They belong to a sub-realm of the realm
That means you can join a realm by swearing an oath of fealty to someone who is a member of the realm, provided he is not a simple knight. The liege-vassal relationship binds knights who hold no estates of their own to realms, and they will join and leave realms with their liege.
It also means nobles can become members of realms by inheriting or being granted estates within a realm. When granting an estate, the noble doing the granting decides if realm membership is passed along or not.
You can not join a realm by conquering an estate.