Marriage, Allegiance, and Gender Roles in the Realm

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/9/2017
Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

Would any Nellens by RY 768 not be descended from the Empress via their patrilineal links to other Houses?
The 3e timeline puts Nellens as the next-youngest Great House after V'neef (founded in RY 590), so there are probably a few.descendants of Nellens-patrician and Nellens-outcaste marriages who don't have a blood connection to the Empress. As a general rule, though, your point stands; centuries of intermarriage have given the overwhelming majority of Dynasts a blood connection to the Empress, with only a bare handful of exceptions.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/9/2017
Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
Oh, speaking of how various Houses were formed, I really hope that the write-up for House Ragara contains a reference to how the House was founded as a reward for Ragara's role in putting down an uprising by a House under the influence of a thinking automaton from the Shogunate (and largely from the appropriated assets of that House).
It's mentioned in the Realm timeline.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/9/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
In my own games, there are Houses who trace their founder back to a historical figure unrelated to the Empress or to one of the First Age gens that once existed in the Realm before the rise of the Empress. These are all examples of Lesser Houses. The defining characteristic of the Great Houses is that the Empress recognized the House as such and provided it with political and social legitimacy, and the Empress pretty much only ever recognized how own descendents or those with a connection to her as such. So there are other Dragon Blooded families in the Realm, but they don't get that recognition and are generally politically inferior.
These exist in 3e as a subset of patrician families.

EDIT: To clarify, that's not a subset in the sense of being legally distinct or having separate nomenclature. It's just that some of the old Shogunate gentes survive as patrician families; it's like "old money" vs. "new money" families.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/9/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
That's interesting. In 1st and 2nd edition the idea was that Patrician families were wealthy, primarily mortal families and didn't really possess much in the way of Dragon Blooded of their own. When a Dragon Blooded was born into a Patrician family, the family was quite eager to have the child marry into one of the Great houses.
Some patrician families trace back to the Blessed Isle's old Shogunate families. Some trace back to the start of the Realm, with the Empress elevating families that formed the backbone of the nascent Imperial Service. And some continue to be created when high-ranking mortal military officers are elevated to the patriciate, or when outcastes establish new households with peasant spouses.

When a patrician family has a Dragon-Blooded child, that child is either adopted into a Great House — which pays significant dividends, both from beneficial terms at the marriage table and by establishing familial bonds with the adoptive house — or is fostered by that Great House, which allows the child to remain in the patrician family, but at significant cost.

Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
In 3rd edition, do you think it would be possible to have Patrician families which have a comparatively substantial number of Dragon Blooded members? Maybe even where the family tends to be somewhat reluctant to send their child off to marry into one of the Empress' Houses, since they take pride in their own heritage which predates hers? Or are Patrician families still pretty much mostly mortal, so these Shogunate-era nostalgia families are mostly just mortals looking back on their old decaying Terrestrial nobility that no longer has any meaningful impact on their day to day lives?
There are a few patrician families with significant numbers of Dragon-Blooded members, the result of centuries of carefully husbanding their fostered Dragon-Blooded scions rather than having those scions adopted by the Great Houses. Most patrician families are mostly mortal, though few of those families have any connection to the old Shogunate gentes.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/10/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

What makes these Patrician families with significant numbers of Dragon Blooded different from the lesser Houses? Or does the idea of Lesser Houses no longer really exist?
"Lesser Houses" is not a setting term in 3e.

[#][F] Eric Minton - 10/10/2017
Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
Ahh, okay then. So families that might have been considered Lesser Houses in earlier editions (like House Ferem) now just fall under Patrician families?
Minor Dragon-Blooded families on the Blessed Isle, such as the Bal family (re: Bal Keraz, the head of the Imperial Treasury) are simply one flavor of patrician family. Ruling Dragon-Blooded families in the Threshold who've married into the Dynasty as called "cadet houses"; they don't live on the Blessed Isle and have nothing to do with the patriciate.