According to legend, Bloadlikk, one of seven brothers, was the progenitor of the Noble caste. Youngest and wisest, he was chosen king. Bloadlikk's children formed the Noble caste.
The Noble caste is composed of numerous houses. Noble houses are collections of noble families typically related by blood. Most noble houses were initially founded by a Paragon but some were founded by high caste dwarves not originally of noble stock, typically Warrior caste or Smith caste. Noble houses used to own thaigs all across Thedas which were their ancestral homes and typically gave their name to the thaig. However almost all of them have now been lost to the darkspawn.
The respect accorded to a noble house is proportional to its age and accomplishments. Sometimes impoverished noble houses will marry a child to a wealthy non-noble house to gain its wealth and to elevate the lesser house. Noble houses or important nobles alone often act as patrons to lesser houses or families as well as function as patrons to great warriors in Provings and artists of merit. The noble house gains honor as the subject of their patronage excels and achieves greater status, so the relationship is mutually beneficial.
The Royal House
The Royal family is the very pinnacle of the Noble caste, setting the mode in society and enjoying immense privilege and power amongst not only their own caste but all of Orzammar itself. The king or queen hold their position for life, as do the Assembly members, unless they are removed or replaced. As the ruler, the monarch is the theoretical war-leader of Orzammar but in practice this means that the ruler merely commands the warrior houses sworn to his or her own house. The monarch can expand their army by appointing High Generals from other noble houses and thereby gain their warriors. The king or queen also has direct authority over the Legion of the Dead.
In modern-day Orzammar the royal power is leveraged by that of the Assembly, the dwarven governing body who chooses the king and from whom kings are typically drawn. Although the king rules Orzammar he must garner the support of the Assembly lords to maintain his position, for kings can--and have been--expelled from the throne. Unpopular kings and their heirs are deemed unfit to rule and the kingship then passes to another. While the chosen ruler is typically male, women have also been chosen by the Assembly to rule.
Members of the Assembly are known as "deshyr," which roughly translates to "assembly lord." They are sometimes called, perhaps derisively, "deep lords". During the events of the Fifth Blight, the Assembly is composed of eighty deshyrs drawn from the most influential noble houses in the city. The right of a noble house to claim a vote in the Assembly is predicated on that house having a deshyr, general, or Paragon among their Ancestors. Therefore, the number of Assembly members can fluctuate. Any caste other than the noble caste is not represented in the Assembly.
To become a member there must first be an opening in the tightly closed ranks, and this usually occurs through death or resignation. An acting member then nominates a candidate who must be approved by one-third of the Assembly. Resignation is uncommon as a deshyr holds their position for life, as does the monarch.
- Endrin Stonehammer
- Orseck Garal
- King Endrin Aeducan
- Assembly Steward Bandelor
- Lord Anwer Dace
- Brogan Dace
- Dulin Forender
- Pyral Harrowmont
- Renvil Harrowmont
- Lady Helmi
- Jaylia Helmi
- Frandlin Ivo
- Darvianak Vollney
Known Noble houses
Houses are listed in an alphabetical order and those whose status is unknown have their name italicized.
- Branka [note]
- Brosca [note]
- Caridin † [note]
- Ferald † [note]
- Harrowmont [note]
- Ortan † [note]
- Tethras † [note]
- Voldin
- House Branka may become extinct if the Warden kills Branka, the last legitimate member, during the A Paragon of Her Kind quest.
- House Brosca is founded if the Warden is of Dwarf Commoner Origin and survives the events of the Fifth Blight, thus becoming a Paragon.
- House Caridin is an extinct house. Its last member, Caridin, dies during A Paragon of Her Kind.
- House Ferald's last member voluntarily joined the Legion of the Dead. Due to his great personal sacrifice, as well as his noble descent, the Legion can be considered to be the heir of House Ferald and be elevated to minor nobility, although with some restrictions, during the The Dead Caste quest.
- House Harrowmont becomes extinct if Bhelen Aeducan becomes the next King of Orzammar during A Paragon of Her Kind.
- House Ortan is re-established if the Warden completes the Lost to the Memories quest.
- House Tethras ceases to exist by being exiled into the surface.
See alsoCodex entry: The Castes