The great war was a violent time in which clans battled each other for land and power. These clans were normally headed by the oldest or strongest male in the clan, called the patriarch. One of the most devastating weapons in a clans arsenal was called a kekkai genkai, a special ability passed down through clans which activated around puberty. These very rare bloodline abilities had various powers, and the clans with the strongest ones tended to dominate weaker clans. The war came to an end when people of various clans got tired of the bloodshed and decided to pursue peace. One of the ways this was achieved was through marriage, similar to old European royalty.

Kekkai genkai abilities are passed down through the female line. Because of this, women do not marry into other families, as this would potentially give another family access to the bloodline ability. Therefore, a system was developed in which males would marry into families as husbands. Sons, brothers, nephews, and other male relatives marry into other clans and create relationships between competing clans while keep their bloodline abilities within their own family.

However, it is uncertain whether a patriarch can completely trust a male from a foreign family. He could well turn out to be a spy or sleeper agent sending information back to his birth clan. Alternatively, he could also be planning to cause chaos in the family he has married into, by Sabotage or assassination. Because of this, male relatives have no incentive to stay loyal to a new family in which they have few ties to.

How can a patriarch ensure the loyalty of a competing clan under these circumstances?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ How did the patriarchs get power when the actual power lies with the women? Especially when the patriarch probably isn't actually from the family he's leading. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Feb 7, 2019 at 13:56
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Obviously, he cannot. Fun factoid: in WW1, Emperor William II of Germany, King George V of the United Kingdom and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia were first cousins, sons of children of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. (Queen Mary of Romania was also a first cousin of those three.) The close blood relationship did not prevent them from engaging the the most disastrous war in the history of mankind. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 7, 2019 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ Using marriage to secure political positions has been tried and has ultimately failed for every succession line that's tried it since documented history began. The Roman's made a science of it, even using adoption and the Egyptians tried marrying siblings. It's all been done before. Adding magical powers won't change politics, jealousy or the desire to the undisputed leader at the top of the heap. Also try reading Dune (just the first one), where one group tries to use marriage to control politics - see how that worked out and that also involved special powers and female lines. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2019 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix they are passed down thru the female line but manifest stronger in the male line. $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Feb 7, 2019 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


This would be a matrilocal society, plenty of these exist both historically and today.

whether a patriarch can completely trust a male from a foreign family.

He can't, but his people outnumber the outsider and the outsider's status is wholly dependent on his wife which makes him the lowest status person in the family for quite a while. However his children would enjoy high status and by association so would he in time.

In terms of potential assassination attempts, this would be suicidal, and if someone is prepared to die to achieve that, then they don't have to marry into the household to do so.

In terms of creating chaos, low status people do not get much leeway and he'd meet with disciplinary action pretty quickly.

Any time you have such a society it is inherently biased against the man marrying in and there are numerous checks and balances as well as rewards.


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