Klingon culture:

Klingon culture - as written about from Starfleet Intelligence.

Klingon culture: a mix of Mongol warriors, Norse Mythology, Vikings, Native Americans, Shintoism and Frederick Nietzsche. A warrior's code and social Darwinism, driven by perpetual fighting to assert the species as apex predator. Like Nietsche, the Klingons killed their gods and put themselves at the top; a warrior race of supermen that must expand from their mineralogical desert of a home planet to increase their Empire in the stars. Their economic model is a cycle of building warships, battling neighbours, invasion and conquering, expanding the Empire, using the resources from the new territory to then build more warships. To break this cycle would cause the collapse of their economic model. The outward expansionist period was born in the 2250s when T'kuvma sought to light the fire, preserve the Klingon free spirit and reunite the 24 Klingon great Houses. The Klingon Empire had been in disarray for generations before this, fighting amongst themselves.

At the same time we need to recognise that Klingons are not a homogenous people. Star Trek: Discovery portrays a people whose Houses have individual markings and styles of armour to differentiate themselves. In Star Trek: Enterprise episode 'Judgement', the character of Kolos spoke of the time before the Warrior caste took over the Empire. There used to be a teaching a science caste, as well as others, but the warrior caste took over everything including the court system. The Kronosian Klingons live on a world where the history and culture of Kahless are all around. The Great Houses make up the High Council and control the Empire, led by a Chancellor. There has been no Emperor for centuries. Further out into the Empire there are Klingons who care little for the grandiosity and poetry of their brothers and sisters on the Kronosian Home World. These Klingon have more in common with the Earth armed forces of the 20th and 21st Centuries - reliant on their fellow soldier brothers and sisters to watch their backs. These are the Klingons who fight ever day and live on the frontline - truly living the values of Kahless; they are not soft.

Other Klingons further out are the dishonoured, the cowards and those who do not care for the ways of Kahless. There are failed augmented Klingons and others who are not worthy of being spoken of. The Klingon Empire is a rich tapestry of variations of Klingons AND the unseen cultures that they have conquered that the tv episodes and movies have not, as of 2023, depicted. There are Klingon warriors, noblemen, politicians, ship-builders, cooks, farmers, teachers, scientists and many, many others that need to be depicted and incorporated into the Klingon culture.


  • Star Trek: Errand of Mercy
  • Star Trek: The Trouble With Tribbles
  • Star Trek: Day of the Dove
  • Star Trek: The Savage Curtain
  • Star Trek: TAS More Trouble, More Tribbles
  • Star Trek: TNG Heart of Glory
  • Star Trek: TNG A Matter of Honor
  • Star Trek: TNG The Emissary
  • Star Trek:TNG Sins of the Father
  • Star Trek: TNG Reunion
  • Star Trek: TNG Redemption
  • Star Trek: TNG Redemption Part 2.
  • Star Trek: TNG Ethics
  • Star Trek: TNG Birthright
  • Star Trek: TNG Birthright part 2.
  • Star Trek: TNG Rightful Heir
  • Star Trek: TNG Firstborn
  • Star Trek: DS9 Blood Oath
  • Star Trek: DS9 House of Quark.
  • Star Trek: DS9 Way of the Warrior
  • Star Trek: DS9 Sword of Kahless
  • Star Trek: DS9 Sons of Mogh
  • Star Trek: DS9 Rules of Engagement
  • Star Trek: DS9 Apocalypse Rising
  • Star Trek: DS9 Looking for par'Mach in all the wrong places
  • Star Trek: DS9 Trials and Tribble-ations
  • Star Trek: DS9 In Pergatory's Shadow
  • Star Trek: DS9 By Inferno's Light
  • Star Trek: DS9 Soldiers of the Empire
  • Star Trek: DS9 Sons and Daughters
  • Star Trek: DS9 Tacking into the Wind
  • Star Trek: DS9 Once More Unto the Breach
  • Star Trek: VOY Flashback
  • Star Trek: VOY Barge of the Dead
  • Star Trek: VOY Prophecy
  • Star Trek: ENT Sleeping Dogs
  • Star Trek: ENT Marauders
  • Star Trek: ENT Judgement
  • Star Trek: ENT Borderland
  • Star Trek: ENT Cold Station 12
  • Star Trek: ENT The Augments
  • Star Trek: ENT Affliction
  • Star Trek: ENT Divergence
  • Star Trek: DSC The Vulcan Hello
  • Star Trek: DSC Battle of the Binary Stars
  • Star Trek: DSC Choose Your Pain
  • Star Trek: DSC Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
  • Star Trek: DSC The War Without, the War Within
  • Star Trek: DSC Will You Take My Hand?
  • Star Trek: DSC Through the Valley of Shadows
  • Star Trek: SNW The Broken Circle
  • Star Trek: SNW Under the Cloak of War
  • Star Trek: SNW Subspace Rhapsody
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
  • Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984).
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989).
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
  • Star Trek: Klingon PC game (1996).
  • Star Trek: Starfleet Academy PC game (1997).
  • Star Trek: Klingon Academy PC game(2000).
  • Shogun FX/Disney+ series (2024).
  • Vikings History Channel series (2013 - 2020).
  • Vikings: Valhalla Netflix series (2022 - ).
  • Chernobyl HBO series (2019).
  • Red Scorpion (1988).
  • Rambo III (1988).
  • Red Heat (1988).
  • Das Boot (1981).
  • Das Boot Sky Atlantic series (2018 - ).
  • K-19: The Widowmaker. (2002).
  • Stalin HBO movie (1992).
  • Elizabeth (1998).
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007).
  • The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan, his heirs and the founding of modern China by John Man.
  • The Prose Edda.
  • Vikings by Neil Oliver.
  • Vikings in America by Graeme Davis.
  • Shogun by James Clavell(1975).
  • Shinto the Kami Way by Sokyo Ono & William Woodard.
  • A Brief History of the Samurai Jonathan Clements.
  • Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe.
  • Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo.
  • The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
  • The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West by Peter Cozzens.
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown.
  • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Anne Dunbar-Ortiz.
  • American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World by David E. Stannard.
  • Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn and Robert Plant.
  • Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes Third Edition by Carl Waldman.
  • Famous Indian Chiefs by Charles L. Johnson.
  • Works of Frederick Nietsche.
  • Works of Richard Wagner.
  • The Klingon Way by Marc Okrand.
  • Klingon for the Galactic Traveler by Marc Okrand.
  • ST Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand.
  • The Final Reflection by John M. Ford.
  • Star Trek: Klingon Empire: A Burning House by Keith R. A. DeCandido.
  • The Klingon Art of War by Keith R. A. DeCandido.
  • paq'batlh: The Klingon Epic by Floris Schönfeld and Kees Ligtelijn
  • Hidden Universe Travel Guides: Star Trek: Qo'noS and the Klingon Empire by Dayton Ward.
  • Anatomy of the Ship: Battleships Yamato and Musashi by Janusz Skulski and Stefan Draminski (2017)
  • Anatomy of the Ship: The Battleship Bismarck by Stefan Draminski (2018)
  • Anatomy of the Ship: The Battleship Scharnhorst by Stefan Draminski (2021)
  • The Modern Soviet Navy by Norman Polmar (1979)
  • The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships, 1871–1918 by Aidan Dodson and Dirk Nottelmann (2021).
  • Hitler's Navy: The Kriegsmarine in World War II by Gordon Williamson (2022).
  • Das Boot: The enthralling true story of a U-Boat commander and crew during the Second World War by Lothar Gunther Buchheim (2021).
  • Type VII: Germany's Most Successful U-Boats by Marek Krzysztalowicz (2020).
  • Hitler's 'Wonder' U-Boats: The Birth of the Cold War's Hunter Killer Submarines by Jak P Mallmann Showell (2018).
  • Steel Boat Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505 by Hans Goebeler & John Vanzo (2005).
  • U-Boat 977: The True Story of the U-Boat That Escaped to Argentina by Heinz Schaeffer and Marcus Faulkner (2017).
  • The Twilight of the U-Boats by Bernard Edwards (2003).
  • Fire at Sea: The Tragedy of the Soviet Submarine Komsomolets by D. A. Romanov (2006).
  • The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War by Msrk Stille (2014).
  • Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen (2009).
  • The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy (2015).
  • The War That Never Was: Fall of the Soviet Empire, 1985-91 by David Pryce-Jones (1995).
  • Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day Of The Soviet Union by Conor O'Clery (2011).
  • Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall by Jonathan Haslam (2012).
  • The Caucasus: An Introduction by Thomas de Waal (2018).
  • Sovietistan: A Journey Through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan by Erika Fatland and Kari Dickson (2020).
  • The End of the Cold War by Robert Service (2015).
  • Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain by JOhn Darwin (2012).
  • Age of Emergency: Living with Violence at the End of the British Empire by Erik Linstrum (2023).
  • The Rise & Fall of Imperial Japan by Stehen Wynn (2020).
  • The World of Fire and Ice: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin & Elio M Garcia Jr (2014).
  • The Making of HBO’s House of the Dragon: Go behind the scenes of the 2022’s hit GAME OF THRONES prequel series inspired by George R.R. Martin’s FIRE AND BLOOD by Gina McIntyre (2023).
  • The World of Vikings by Justin Pollard and Michael Hirst (2015).
  • The Viking Hondbók: Eat, Dress, and Fight Like a Warrior by Kjersti Egerdahl (2020).
  • Empire's Violent End: Comparing Dutch, British, and French Wars of Decolonization, 1945–1962 by Thijs Brocades Zaalberg and Bart Luttikhuis (2022).
  • '89: The Unfinished Revolution by Nick Thorpe (2015).
  • Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta (2014).
  • Twelve Days: Revolution 1956. How the Hungarians tried to topple their Soviet masters by Victor Sebestyen (2007).
  • Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham (2019).
  • Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy (2018).
  • Jorvik Viking Centre, York.

    "You have all known, since childhood, the symbol of our Empire. It has been called many names throughout the ages. One of the least understood is the "Heart of Virtue", or tiQ ghob, in the ancient tongue. The Heart of Virtue originated from an archaic weapon favored by Kahless, the Unforgettable. It is said he chose this as the symbol of his House and later the Empire because of the weapon's unequaled balance, yet this is inaccurate. Kahless chose it because each of the three blades represents those virtues that are the very foundation of every true warrior: Honour, Loyalty, and Duty, each in perfect balance. Of these three, Duty is the first virtue. It is the beginning and the end of the warrior's path. Without Duty, a warrior becomes the slave of vain glory and reckless self-interest. No true warrior could ever tolerate these vices, neither in his comrades... nor in himself. So this is the answer: Polish the blade of Duty, sharpen its edge, until there is nothing it cannot pierce. But do not be lulled into believing this is enough. The longest blade of the Heart of Virtue belongs to Honour. It is the most difficult to master. It has been said, "Mine honour is my life; for that I will live, and for that I will die." What is honour? Honour is the absolute and unselfish adherence to all virtues - to truth, to courage, to forthrightness. It encompasses all these, and yet it is greater. It is the fire illuminating the difference between an armed savage and a true warrior. It is the light that will guide you along the warrior's path.

    Look around this great hall. What do you see? Most of your peers are gone, yet you remain. That is as it should be. The weak must fall to give place to the strong. Do not allow yourselves to grow careless; security is mortals' chiefest enemy. All warriors travel the same River of Blood. If one is disgraced, we are all disgraced; if one finds his death in glory, we all share in that glory. No true warrior would allow another to suffer an unjust disgrace, nor would begrudge him the fruits of a well-earned victory. Know this, and your mastery of the Heart of Virtue will be all but complete. Ignore it, and you will ultimately fail yourselves as you fail your comrades. That is why the final blade of the Heart of Virtue signifies Loyalty, because we are all united by our common journey."
    - General Chang, Klingon Academy.


    Klingons have a birth ritual. The cord is bitten though by the mother, symbolising the independence of her child from her. A priest is usually present for the naming of the child - often taking on the name of an ancestor; fallen parent, grand-parent or other close deceased sibling are common choices.

    The newborn will also be marked with the symbology of their House and ancestors - this can often take the form of scarification, branding or tattoos. There may be other body modifications done as well. This is so that the child will always be seen to belong to the House, no matter what else happens in their lives. The later upbringing of the young child usually involves poetry, stories of ancestors as well as fighting skills, to reinforce their identity as a member of the House.

    Author's Notes:

    I've often wondered about the contrasting upbringing of a Klingon compared to a Human. I wanted to reflect the ho9norable, military background but also the House: how important the identity of a House is, something that actually cannot be erased or changed as easily as discommendation suggests. Permanent markings on the child will be part of their identity; Klingons do not hide thing or sneak about with regards who they are and what House they belong to. The umbilical cord cutting by teeth is also something I saw as an opportunity for Klingon symbolism in the biting through of the cord. The newborn would have to breathe for themselves - perhaps baby crying is a sign of weakness for Klingons?


    "Honour is something that cannot be given to you, nor taken from you. Only you can do that through your actions."


    From the above quote, the non-Kronosian Klingons view the arbitrary political discommendations as worthless outside of the capital world. The pragmatic outer colonies view a person’s honour through their actions. Many discommended Klingons adopt new names or Houses to start a new life.

    Honour is everything to a Klingon. The actions of a family member can influence your standing, especially on Kronos. The sins of the father are visited upon the son in Klingon culture. Off Kronos, this attitude is less with the actions of the individual being the most important aspect.


    Education of children up to the Age of Ascension is done primarily by the mother, with input from the father. Once the child holds a knife they are considered ready to learn and will be taught both in part by the father and also by the dojo instructor – whether as a private tutor for a Great House or as part of a public dojo for minor Houses. The second Age of Ascension marks the point the man becomes a warrior and gains the gauntlets and baldric of a warrior.

    Once the warrior graduates from their dojo, the usual destination is one of the military academies for training to become part of the Imperial Klingon Navy. Klingon graduates can then find themselves to be either part of the ground forces or warship crews of the IKN.

    Mok'Bara martial arts are taught from a very young age. Kahless invested this martial art which is the basis of Klingon hand-to-hand fighting techniques. A rougher, faster version of Tai Chi Chuan with clawed hands created by Dan Curry.

    Warriors are by no means the only path for a Klingon. Others can become lawyers, scientists, politicians and farmers – all working together for the betterment of the Empire.

    Author notes:

    TNG and DS9 writer Ron Moore admitted that Gowron's line about women may not serve on the High Council was a plot device for the Duras sisters in Redemption Part 1. This then drove the plot in DS9 House of Quark. What Ron Moore later said on AOL chat was "... I think I've erred in not showing what the role of women in this society is supposed to *add* to their culture. If women aren't allowed on the Council, what are the compensating benefits of that choice? Should there be a role in the culture that men are forbidden to participate in? Is there some other segment of society that is the sole provence of warrior women? Is there a gulf between the sexes, or do they understand each other better with this arrangement?"

    The role of women in the Klingon Empire has never been defined yond running the affairs of the House whilst the men are off fighting, fighting themselves with other warriors. But not serving on the High Council or being allowed to run a House themselves means they surely have another role? How about keeping the lore of the people, teaching the words of Kahless that the men are too busy fighting to remember. Education could be a role for the women, as well as the power behind choosing a mate and producing the strongest and best offspring to continue the House and Empire.

    Ron Moore also said regarding Klingons that "differing notions of what should be the roles of men and women in society is to be expected. I also doubt that Klingon women are aching for the chance to sit on the Council or to run a House. Grilka was more frustrated by the *circumstances* in which she found herself than by the fundamental inequality of not allowing women to run a House. Not even the Duras Sisters were interested in changing this inequality, they just wanted to find a way to manipulate the system. Why? As hard as it is for us to understand, I think that they simply aren't interested in equality. Again, the most highly valued concepts in their society are Honour and Tradition."

    Ron Moore finally resolved the issue in DS9 You Are Cordially Invited "I figured that if men run the Council and rule the Houses, maybe women rule the social structure, and within that structure the mistress of a great House wields pretty much unchallenged power. Even Martok isn't gonna mess with his wife in her domain."

    So we have foundations that start with the education of a child from birth - Honour and Tradition; more than just the paQ batlh and Kahless samples that the TNG, DS9 and VOY episodes provided. The House and those traditions determine a Klingon's fate and position in society.

    Klingon Houses:

    The primary unit in the Klingon Empire is the House. A House can be made up in size from one family up to many families and individuals and many worlds. A Klingon is loyal to their House and the House is loyal to the Empire. The prestige of a House can vary as Houses can range from a Minor House with little influence to the top Great Houses which form the High Council.

    The Great Houses are those that traditionally trace themselves back to the heroic founders of the Klingon Empire; those whose bloodlines go back to Kahless and his contemporaries. All of these great houses reside on Kronos as a sign of their position and to place them close to the High Council chambers, where the real power resides.

    There are 24 great Houses in the Klingon Empire. Since the time of Kahles there were 24 and the cultural laws say there must always be 24. Houses can fall from grace, either from hard times or discommendation from the Chancellor. Their lands and property are siezed and their names are no longer spoken. When a great House falls, its place must be taken by another. This has resulted in some famous names disappearing from the High Council and new ones rising to replace them.

    Each of the great Houses traditionally had a speciality, for example the matriarcal House of Mo'Kai were famous as spies. Each House had a unique crest and motto, their clothes, armour and physical appearance, even the weaponry and styles of interpreting the words of Kahless made all twenty-four Houses unique. Each House had a leader, each leader serves on the High Council and all answer to the Chancellor. For decades these Houses fought amongst each other for the great imperial throne of the Klingon Empire. House would fight House, scheme, devise strategies and battleplans and manouevred for power. T'kuvma unified the Houses and provided direction.

    Klingons believe that the weak must make way for the strong. Just as in Nature. If they do not fight others, they fight themselves. Often they fought themselves as they only saw Klingons as worthy enemies to be slain. With the United Federation of Planets, it was only a short number of years from 2151 to 2154 before they formed the coalition of Planets. Starfleet didn't have photon torpedoes and the Klingon Empire had overwhelming military advantage. By the end of the Romulan War, the human's coalition had proved themselves victorious, with starships that had improved enough to overtake thoe of the stagnating Klingon Empire. A year later the United Federation of Planets was formed and the High Council was stunned into inaction.

    Honour is everything. Glory and territory are signs of the prestige of a House and what elevates it from an average House to a great one. Each House has its own fleet of ships and territory. The eldest member of the House is the leader and dictates the political and military direction of the House, no matter what their younger siblings may feel. Victories or defeats of a member of the House reflect on the House as a whole. The triumphs and crimes of an individual can praise or blight the House. A House must act in a unified manner or face destruction in chaos.

    The explosion of Praxis in the last months of 2292 destroyed a sizeable portion of the surface of Kronos and wiped out the lands and homes of many of the great Houses, including many of the leaders of those Houses. Since 2293 there have been huge political changes as the High Council has adapted to this vast change in fortune for the Houses of council members.

    It was the need for unity and stability that the choice was made for Azetbur to become Chancellor. The Empire was in the greatest existential peril in its history. Azetbur had the political acumen of her father and was able to get both the council members and Federation Council onside to restore Kronos. The additional appeal of having Azetbur as Chancellor was that she had no previous history in the Council and no bias. The even-handed nature of Azetbur aided in her selection and perhaps helped in keeping her alive in the position for so long.

    The annihilation of some of the great Houses opened up vacancies on the High Council that needed to be filled to the traditional number of seats. Azetbur, guided by the remaining High Council members, selected new Houses to fill the places from those whose acts of honour had been denied a place from the seats already having been filled. The addition of new Houses created loyalties to Azetbur that strengthened her position as Chancellor. These new great Houses came from off Kronos and included General T’bok of the House of Qo'mar.

    The first loyalty of a Klingon, and the first source of their cultural beliefs, is from their mother and their House. The interpretations of the words and philosophy of Kahless and the Klingon Way comes from the primary caregivers. The history and previous members of the House will also shape the young Klingon, the caste status and how strictly the ways of Kahless are abided to. Klingon appearances are dictated to by this: Kronosian Klingons tend to have the beard - as with tradition - whereas those not adhering to the strict Kronosian Kahlessian philosophy may not have a beard at all. Other variations include pierings or rings on the ridges or ears and either shaved heads or long dreadlocks.

    Scarification and tattoos are part of the House differences as well. Battle injuries and scars are something to be proud of and the stories of their source told in song and drink. The frontier Houses look down on the Kronosian Klingons as being all about self-aggrandisement and strutting like a peacock. Those on the home world are more concerned with politics than fighting. Those born and raised on the frontier of the Empire work closer with the subject races and face the realities of serious battle injuries: lost eyes, cuts, burns, chemical wounds and lost limbs. Warriors inducted into the Klingon Ground Forces are trained in a variety of roles including scout, sniper, reconnaissance and heavy infantry. Their armour and weapons vary according to their role: scouts are lightly armoured and have better ability to move quickly and camouflage - gathering information before the main forces come through. Drone Klingons have deployable drones to scout with and attack the enemy without giving his position away.

    Author notes:

    Star Trek: Discovery has shaken up Klingon culture. In the below image you can see T'kuvma speaking to other Klingon House leaders - each with different markings on their armour and different styles of armour. Klingons are going to finally get away from the cookie-cutter look and get their own personalised looks for their Houses and personal appearance. The above exchange between Voq (son of no one) and Kol (House Kor) sums up the Klingon Empire and the whole reason for thei behaviour in three lines. The 24 great Houses have only unified TWICE in canon - with Kahless and T'kuvma - and the glue holding them together is the war against the Federation. Without a common enemy and common cause, the Houses just revert back to their blood feuds and vengeance. As established now in canon, the Klingon Empire is a fractious entity of warlords held together by the common enemy of the Federation. Without that fight, the Empire will crumble and fall.

    House markings and costumes:

    House T'Kuvma (above)

    House Mo'Kai (above)

    House D'Ghor (above)

    House Kor (above)

    House Kor with hair (above)

    House D'Ghor and Mo'Kai (above)

    House Antaak with prominent ridge including chin (above)

    Author notes:

    The importance of House and the interpretation of all of the following beliefs came from reading the comic series: Manifest Destiny. All Klingons are different and interpret the words and beliefs of Kahless differently. The Kronosian Klingons are very rule-abiding (as it suits the Great Houses that are based there. This s more the ways that Worf talks about. On the frontier there are Klingons that disregard these rules - perhap they are the Houses that were discommendated and the rules only served to tie them down and cast them into exile. There is certainly a friction between the Kronosian Klingons and those on the frontier. The caste system helps to keep things as they are and not all are happy with this. It explains the different types of Klingon. The Manifest Destiny comic gave the variations in appearances.

    Those on the frontier and frontlines are not like those from Kronos; this is not about 'my dear Captain Kirk' and Graf Spee-style gentlemanly verbal sparring and warfare, this is about Vietnam and Afghanistan-style insurgency fighting and avoiding daily death from snipers and IEDs. The Klingons depicted on Star Trek would be dead very quickly in real life; their apparent abhorrance of technology means the first landmine or sniper will kill off these generically armoured Klingons. What they need are role-specific Klingons who work WITH technology to fight and expand the Empire.

    Kor and Koloth - and most likely Kang - were all high-born Klingons from the Great Houses. What I want to reflect on these pages are those Klingons and also those from the majority of Houses - the average, normal Houses. These Klingons who fight to expand the Empire and gain glory, but also those Klingons who are part of the infantry who must fight for survival. Iwill be adding material from the works of Kahless that will speak for these Klingons - less of a messianic Jesus-type character and more of a warrior who built an Empire. A leader of men who speaks of the truth of brotherhood and comradeship.



    These two links spell out the Japanese-inspired structure for the Klingons, with a pinch of the Vikings added for good measure.

    The clan map on the Daimyo page shows clearly how the Klingon Empire could be structured with different Houses covering the Empire with a patchwork of territories held by each House. The main role-model for the Klingon Empire is the Mongol Empire. Below is a map of the Mongol Empire in 1260, giving an impression of the patchwork nature of the Klingon Houses. Over the decades and centuries, the Houses fought against each other for prestige and territory. Blood feuds and revenge attacks helped to shape the map of the Klingon Empire and the Houses that form it.

    Author notes:

    Two clan leaders (Khans) helpd to raise the Mongol Empire to greatness: Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai Khan. Thee are the role models for Kahless and T'kuvma; two Klingons that helped unify and forge the Klingon Empire. In the case of the Mongol Empire, after the death of Kublai Khan, the Mongol Empire started its slow decline and collapse into obscurity and China was formed. After the greatness of T'kuvma, will the Klingon Empire find another such leader, or after Praxis is the Klingon Empire destined for a slow decline line that of the Mongol Empire?

    The patchwork map of Klingon Houses expanded from Qo'noS and outwards into the Empire. The glorious successes and failures of each House can be measured in the territory they cover and their relative sizes over time. Some Houses were discommendated and exiled deep into unexplored space, their only hope to regain their honour. Some of these Houses conquered new territories and planets to regain the prestige they lost, being rediscovered years or decades later and regaining a status as worthy Klingons. Some of this may be the honour and glory, other aspects may be the fear of the resources and territory that this former discommended House has regained.

    Kahless taught the importance of fighting - this is universally accepted - it is the honourable aspects that go with that which are interpreted differently.

    Klingon Caste system:

    Klingon culture has another factor that can affect the potential of a Klingon in society: the Klingon caste system. The High Caste levels range from the Chancellor, High Council members, Flag Officer warrior caste, Officer warrior caste, enlisted warrior caste, lower House member.

    The Oversight Council, including Dahar Masters, reviews every application for officer warrior; this is usually a formality but can block the progress of undesireable Klingons.

    Lower Caste levels include: Scientist, Doctor, Farmer, Engineer, Citizen, Non-Klingon citizen, servant, prisoner / slave and the lowest level being discommended / dishonoured Klingon.

    Caste Notes Author Notes
    Political Chancellor and the High Council All with lands on Qo'noS. These Kronosian peacocks are not throught of highly in the outer Empire. All playing their political games whilst claiming they follow Kahlessian rules. Rules that befit the monority at the top.
    Officer Oversight Council keeps the officer caste pure and of highborn Great Houses.
    Priest/Judge The preachers and keepers of the words of Kahless. Priests preach the words, Judges rule from the teachings of Kahless. The priesthood legitimises the political class as those following Kahless.
    Scribe/Poet/Sculptor/Composer The greats end up in higher esteem than most. Their challenge is to capture the very essence of what it is to be Klingon.
    Enlisted soldier
    Scientist/Engineer Doctors, technicians and engineers
    Worker Manufacturers, foundrymen, miners, lawyers. With little or no opportunity for battle, honour or glory, the words of Kahless must ring hollow for many of these lower caste Klingons. For some, they find honour in their hearts their own way. For others, there are other outlets like the Cult of Fek'lhr.
    Klingon prisoners Still useful to the Empire.
    Non-Klingon Kzinti, Orions, Kriosians etc.
    Dishonoured The cowardly, the alcoholic drunks, the defeated and the discommended. In the outreaches of the Empire, all Klingons are useful. Discommendation is very much a Kronosian political tool that isn't cared for by the majority of civilians. Alcoholism is prevelant in the Empire and this is the rock bottom where they can end up. Even former members of the High Council can find this fate.

    Taken from Qes'a by Keith R A DiCandido.Sample of Qes'a from Keith R A DiCandidoKlingon texts

    There are many texts and books that speak of Klingon culture, but the are three that drive the soul of any Klingon: The PaQ Batlh/Book of Honour, the Qes'a/Klingon Art of War and the scrolls of that individual Klingon's House, the names of those in the House, their battles, history and achievements. These books are treated with the honour of a good blade, for these are the precepts that guide a Klingon, inform them of who they are, what they belong to and why they exist. The PaQ Batlh tells the story of Kahless the Unforgettable and a copy of this book is in every House and taught by the Clerics to every Klingon. Only a partial version of the story has been translated (author note: the version available to buy off Amazon), the full version is in the hands of a select few clerics in their monastaries like on Boreth.

    The story tells of honour, battles, love and death through the adventures of Kahless. Later texts speak of his quest for knowledge and the forging of the Empire, with several apocryphal scripts attached. These tales are told by parents to all their children, regardless of whether they are warriors or not. This book provides moral guidance for a Klingon by example, foundations built upon by the Qes'a

    Author notes: This is a mix of the Bible and other religious texts with the Norse mythology Prose Edda. The character of Kahless is very much like a mix of Jesus with Odin, a warrior priest. I have felt that the available texts must only be a piece of the story, since something like the Bible is 800-odd pages long. There must surely be a tale or two on the forging of the Empire and giving a path forwards?Some of the tales of Kahless are also in the eleven-plus tomes of Klavek.

    The Klingon spirituality is like Shinto. No formal texts, beyond historical record. The first Klingon, Kortar, slew their gods and the replacement was Kahless the Unforgettable. Other famous Klingons and House members are added to the list of the honoured dead. Like Shinto, these are individuals prayed to for strength. Traditionally, Kahless is prayed to at midday, the Plea for the Dead.

    The Qes'a or Klingon Art of War is like the ten commandments of the Klingon people. These are the guiding principals of Klingon beliefs and behaviours that can be seen in greater or lesser amounts in all Klingons. Those who adhere to these pricipals the closest are amongst the most honourable people in the Universe. Like all guiding tenets, they can be interpreted differently and abused. They are still all taught at the Klingon Command School and academies for discussion and guidance.

    Ten precepts of Qes’a:

  • Choose your enemies well.
  • Strike quickly or strike not.
  • Always face your enemy.
  • Seek adversity.
  • Reveal your true self in combat.
  • Destroy weakness.
  • Leave nothing until tomorrow.
  • Choose death over chains.
  • Die standing up.
  • Guard honour above all.

    Author notes:

    My Klingon Cultural page - this page - was drafted with the Book of Honour and Art of War in mind, along with the other Age of Ascension and ST: Klingon material. The idea is to portray the Klingons from THEIR perspective, not ours. How does the Empire view the Federation and its values? Weak? A threat to their own ways? Life away from the warships and battles is something to consider and we both know KRAD did some excellent novels, especially A Burning House. The superb comic series Manifest Destiny and the appearance of JJ Abrams' Klingons in Into Darkness challenged the cookie-cutter appearances and beliefs of Klingons to-date. Both beliefs and appearances vary from House to House and individual to individual.

    Away from the home world and core planets of the Empire, on the frontier and further driftward regions like Quzu Qonn, the Klingon Houses there are different from those from Kronos. These Klingons fight on a daily basis and face death constantly. To these Klingons, it is less about Kahless and the teachings of honour and how to be a good Klingon; it is more the teachings from Kahless on brotherhood, loyalty and fighting the enemy. This is less of Kahless the Jesus-type character and more of Kahless the Unforgettable, who forged an Empire. Less on songs and poetry and more on how fighting bring out your true character - how to live as a Klingon. These Klingon warriors and their Houses see the High Council and Kronosian Klingons as being too concerned with self-aggrandisement and political power than actually fighting and being a Klingon.

    Klingon tattoos, scarification and other markings:

    Klingons use body art and modifications to both mark out their House allegiances, military units, achievements and battle honours. Markings are not somethin that is done discreetly as in human culture but more something to be proud of in true Klingon style. Found in greater number near the frontier and frontlines of Empire expansion, tattoos and other markings show brotherhood and loyalty to ones fellow warriors. These markings also show that the loyalty is something that will last forever and cannot be erased.

    Author notes:

    This new section comes both from the work of Neville Page, who has worked on the JJ Abrams Star Trek movies, but also from wanting the Klingons to be warriors, who boast of battlescars and the stories of where they came from. DS9 showed branding with the Order of the Batleth.

    Klingon clerics, poets, sculptors, artists and composers: Opera and the Klingon heart / Kovoragh and the 'Iw neSlo'.

    The main monasteries are on Boreth, but there are local clerics who teach the words of Kahless and the values. These are not quite a religious context with temples or churches, but there is a monastery on Boreth and others around Kronos, venerating Kahless and his ways. Clerics are involved in several ceremonies of a Klingon's life, linking them in with the spirit of Kahless and the ways of the Klingon people, these include both ages of ascension, Klingon weddings, the birth of a new Klingon and their naming.

    The complete works of Kahless are not known. There are many works that are in the expanded Book of Honour, but there are also many Apocrypha (like in the Bible) such as the Trials of Kahless, available in many volumes and divided by canto. This all adds up to a mountain of literary work that has to be taken in context. Some of the work was written at the time of Kahless or shortly afterwards, whereas other works - including many of the Apocrypha - were written decades or even centuries later. Deciphering the many works of Kahless is down to the clerics. Boreth is where the majority of the works are said to be held, but some originals lie in temples across the Empire.

    Beyond Kronos, there is more of an appreciation for other aspects. The Klingon pioneers who set for the stars to conquer new worlds are celebrated.

    Klingons are strong proponents of Social Darwinism and the survival of the strongest and fittest. Good genes will naturally conquer the weaker ones. The Klingons view the Federation as fighting this natural order of the universe with their modern medicine and interference.

    It is a popular misconception that Klingons do not have medicine or medical attention. This is not so. Saving the lives of warriors to fight in battle another day is paramount; to leave a warrior to die, who could be saved, is a waste of resources, disrespectful and can lead to the loss of a campaign.

    Klingons are a passionate people - perhaps to an extent only understood by Deltans. They feel anger and rage all the way through to lust and love - all felt with no holding back. This is reflected in Klingon Opera, which has a similarity in cases to the works of the German composer Richard Wagner. Whilst Klingon nobility and warriors look down on the lower castes of workers and scientists, there is a special pace for composers, poets and artists of the Klingon Empire as it is they that have the unenviable task of capturing the Klingon heart in their work. Such iconic works as the Mirror of Blood / "'Iw neSlo'" by Kovoragh match the PaQ Batlh for the number of Klingon households that possess it. Such a fine work that goes some way to capturing the essence of the Klingon people - their love, their passion, their rage and their honour: what makes the Klingons tick.

    Not much is known about Kovoragh except he lived a few hundred years ago and wrote 'Iw neSlo' over about seventy or eighty years. This mighty collection of volumes contains over 400 operas, prose and poems on such matters as the life of Kahless, the Last Klingon Emperor and love stories such as Kuvix and Lux'Wa. Topics covered include romance, love and passion as well as betrayal, murder, battle, victory, loss, life and glorious death. This composer, writer, poet and philosopher managed to capture both the true essence of the Klingon people as well as how to live AS a Klingon should. More than the dry text of a religious diary, the 'Iw neSlo' helps the reader to understand the heart and feelings of what drives a Klingon to get up in the morning and be the people that they are. Legend has it that Kovoragh died honourably in battle, fighting from the front to gain the experiences he needed for his next work.

    'Iw neSlo': some of the content:

  • The Last Emperor deals with the last Klingon Emperor - his life, battles and death. Think Klingon Shakespeare Julius Caesar.
  • Kuvix and Lux'Wa has been described as the Klingon answer to Romeo and Juliet with two lovers from different Houses with a blood feud between them.
  • N'livH and V'nadir - a story of brothers, blood, feuds, battles, death and honour.
  • Poems of Lady Vaxir - a lady writes poems to her warrior lover. A passionate collection of heartfelt emotion.
  • The Quest of Kellrah - opera about Kellrah seeking to find the d'ktahg of Kahless. He fails to find it but finds his own honour.
  • Legend of the Warriors - epic about how the Klingon Empire was saved by the returning spirits from the afterlife. An allegory about how the spirits of our ancestors guide us and support us.
  • Battlefield at Sunset - Epic poem about the aftermath of a great ground battle. Describes the celebration with blood wine seeping into the ground along with the blood fo BOTH enemies and friends. An epic that explains honouring both the victors AND the fallen.
  • Hymn to the Fallen Father - A son who has just become the head of the House sends a prayer to Sto-Vo-Kor dedicating the victory to his dead father.

    Author's Notes:

    Think about it – if you let all your noble warriors die the minute they get a serious injury, you’d soon lose your morale and lose your campaign from loss of troops. I see Klingons as matter-of-fact; they fight until a superior force defeats them. To lose to a superior foe is ‘as it should be’ and then things will pass to the next in line of the House – a Lion King ‘Circle of Life’ moment.

    Klingon spirituality is similar to Norse mythology, with elements of Shinto & ancestor worship. Klingons celebrate Kahless and other faur Klingons. Just as the Bible had figures other than Jesus, so the PaQ Batlh also features other Klingons. Klingons have temples and monestaries, which are both and neither. The Mirror of Blood / 'Iw neSlo' by Kovoragh is like the collected works of Shakespeare with the works of Wagner thrown in. This is by one of the greatest Klingons never spoken of in the movies or episodes who wrote on the Klingon people. Whilst ST: VI would have you believe the Klingons love Shakespeare, the Mirror of Blood surpasses such a feeble EARTH artist. This is poetry, opera and prose all in one very, very large tome. The title reflects both how blood reflects anger and love, also how the sheen of blood acts as a mirror to reflect the visage of the Klingon people in it. All very artistic and poetic.

    Klingon Weapons

    Klingons have as many weapons as they do ceremonies. There is the traditional Bat'leth and smaller Mek'leth, along with the dk'tahg. Klingon weapons are personalised to the House, often with markings on the blades such as 'There is honour in death'. Klingons are trained in their youth to wield all of these weapons; as time goes on they tend to settle with the ones that suit their height, style and House. Kahless famously is said to have forged the first Bat'leth. Houses have weapons to suit their means; some Houses have the regular basic versions, others have hand-crafted, personalised weapons designed to suit them.

    Author notes:

    The bladed weapons and disruptors have evolved as Star Trek has gone along. The disruptor from TOS, the dk'tahg and disruptor rifle from ST:III, the Bat'leth in TNG, the Mek'leth in DS9: these have all evolved through ST: Into Darkness and now the latest evolution in ST: Discovery. I love the new versions, showing how the original template-prototype versions have changed with a budget and now that the Klingons will be a regular part of the show.

    The Bat'leth is the primary Klingon bladed weapon. This "Sword of Honour" is a scimitar-shaped crescent sword. Typically 1.16 metres long with three handholds for wielding the weapon. Klingon mythology says that the first Bat'leth was forged by Kahless from his hair in the Kri'stak volcano and plunged into the Lake of Lusor to quench it. It is thought more likely that the secretive House of Kihreg - perhaps the contemporary founder of the House Kihreg himself - designed the sword or a similar weapon and Kahless popularised it. The mythology growing from the priests and the need for a legend.

    The weapon can be handled by either one-hand or two. It is a semi-circular curved blade that branches to four points. It is about three feet wide. There is a terrible beauty about the blade. The Bat'leth is held by three handles on the mid-exterior of the blade. The Bat'leth can be used as either shield or sword. Typically a Bat'leth is passed down from father to firstborn son.

    Michael Dorn - TNG's Lieutenant Worf - had been asking for a special personal weapon that only Worf would have. Ronald D Moore was all for it and went to martial artist Dan Curry (see right) to design the weapon. Dan had been thinking about a combinatin staff-sword weapon for some time and wanted something that honoured the spirit of martial arts for this Samurai-esque Klingon race. "I'd been imagining a curved weapon partially influenced by Himalayan weapons like the kukri [the wickedly curved knife of the Gurkhas of Nepal, arguably the most renowned fighting knife in the world]. I was also thinking about the Chinese double axe, Chinese fighting crescents, and the Tai Chi sword. I combined elements of all those things in order to come up with an ergonomically sound weapon." (Dan Curry - Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 178)

    The Mek'leth is half the size of a Bat'leth and is more concealable. The weapon is designed to typically slash the throat or disembowel the enemy.

    Dan Curry (see right) created the Mek'leth at Michael Dorn's request when he joined Deep Space Nine in 1995. Dorn wanted a weapon that was easier to wield. The final design was based on a Himalayan blade, a Northern Tibetan cavalry sword. However, the ergonomics of the weapon were specifically designed for Dorn's mass and hand size. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion & A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager)

    The D'k tahg is the traditional Klingon warrior's knife. It consisted of a single, straight-edged primary blade and two curved secondary blades, which could be either fixed or hinged. It is commonly used in hand-to-hand combat, and has great ceremonial value in Klingon culture. The handle features a rounded, spiked pommel and usually bears an emblem representing the members of its owner's House near the hilt of the blade. Stealing a warrior's d'k tahg was considered a grave insult to his honour.

    The kut'luch was a bladed weapon traditionally used by Klingon assassins. The weapon had an unevenly serrated blade and was capable of inflicting a very serious wound. The kut'luch was frequently twisted while the blade was still inside its target to inflict as much pain and damage as possible. The kut'luch was also used in a ritual act of violence, signifying when a Klingon became a warrior.

    The mevak was a traditional Klingon knife used in such rituals as the Mauk-to'Vor. The Mauk-to'Vor was a Klingon ritual that allowed a Klingon to kill a wrongfully disgraced sibling to restore their honour in the afterlife and ensure their entry into Sto-vo-kor. The ritual required adanji incense and was carried out when one sibling plunged a mevak dagger into the other's chest.

    The mevak was designed by illustrator John Eaves. Because the screenplay of "Sons of Mogh" didn't specify any particular design type, Eaves was allowed a free hand in creating the blade, and he ultimately designed it with two separated blades - one for extinguishing the physical life, one for freeing the soul to allow it to travel to Sto-vo-kor. (Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: John Eaves, DS9 Season 4 DVD special features).

    The tajtiq is long knife was a used by Klingon warriors. This word is derived from the Klingon words taj ("knife") and tIq ("long"), as defined in The Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand. In Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, Okrand explains the word tajtIq as "a knife with a particularly long blade that is used almost as though it were a sword".

    A qhonDoq is a type of assassin's blade used by some Klingon warriors.

    A gin'tak spear is a hand-weapon, a spear used by Klingons.

    Hegh'bat ceremony knife - used in the ceremony to end the life of a warrior who can no longer fight and die in battle. This ceremony allows the warrior to go to Sto-Vo-Kor.

    The disruptor pistol is the firearm of choice for a Klingon officer.

    The disruptor rifle is an extension of the disruptor pistol with an additional power charger locked in.

    Leadership of a House

    Leadership of a House comes about from being the next in line. Death of the head means next in line takes over. A challenge can help promotion. A House can rise or fall from loss or gain of honour, financial collapse, defeat from a rival house or battle. The position of a House can be generally static, but moving in relation to honour and status, nevertheless.

    The leader of the House is usually the eldest male, although some Houses like D'ghor are a matriarchy. The male represents the House in terms of the High Council and for military purposes, such as leading the fleet assets of the House. The social leader of the House is the wife; her power is absolute in all matters of running the House. The matriarch has final say in the mate for male members of the House and can veto a wedding. Whilst the head male of the House will teach a son in matters of combat, the female leader of the House deals with the traditions and Klingon lore.

    As mentioned elsewhere, the House has its own unique signature appearance and philosophy. The way children are taught and brought up, the way the House deals with other Houses and non-Klingons, the blood feuds and oaths - these are all things that are dictated and amended by the leader of the House. Primary concern of the leader is the honour of the House. The honour of a House dictates its social status in the Empire. Any member can affect the standing of a House, from the youngest member to the eldest. Some have the goal of a place on the High Council, other Houses are content to benefit the Empire from the shadows and sidelines.


    This is the primary means of being kept in check against rogue Houses and individuals. Honour is everything to a Klingon and ostracising is the main means of control. Rather like the Amish people in America, this act means all Klingons will not speak to them and even a Great House cannot survive this. If this measure does not help the matter, the Chancellor may order the IKN to hunt the House down and destroy them. Lesser measures include seizing ships, land, worlds and possessions.

    Away from Kronos, the frontier worlds see discommendation as an abused rule used by the privileged political Kronosian Klingons to maintain their own power and play their powerplay games. Away from Kronos and the core worlds, an individual is viewed in terms of their own actions and their own honour. Some dishonoured have found that away from Kronos they manage to regain their honour in the more pragmatic outer worlds. There aren't good warriors to waste out on the frontier.


    Klingons believe men should be warriors or the leader of the House, running the external affairs and earning the honour for the House. Women run the House itself and bring up the children until they start training in the dojo when they pass the first Age of Ascension. This goes against the non-sexist Federation attitudes. The High Council is generally a males-only environment but Azetbur shows that woman can serve in extraordinary circumstances.

    Ranks and advancement

    This is based on two factors: personal achievement, and the position your House stands in the Empire - and your place within that House. For example, a member of a Great House is liable for promotion far faster than an officer of lower standing, unless that lower House individual performs a great act of honour in the eyes of the Empire. Worlds, Wealth and Warships give a House power, Honour gives an individual standing and can influence the fate of that House. A member of a minor House may enter the IKN as an enlisted Bekk.

    Klingons from a Great House wear a baldric, or sash, across their uniform that has badges for their House and any battle awards. A Klingon is proud of their House and status of that House. Rank insignia are worn on the collar of their battle uniform. The sleeve of a Klingon uniform has the insignia of their House proudly emblazoned on them, as does their d'ktahg knife.

    Ranks are (low to high): Bekk, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Commander, Captain, Brigadier, Colonel, General. (English closest translations). These ranks are the ones most encountered and the flag rank of general is a coverall for the top star flag ranks, it is only when the rank needs to be more specific that the equivalant of major general or lieutenant general.

    Author notes:

    These ranks are based on the ones that have been 'seen' in the Star Trek movies and tv episodes. Marc Okrand has fleshed out more ranks and positions with 9 officer ranks and three enlisted ranks. These are included in the following table. I have amended the English equivaents slightly due to clashes between equivalent ranks e.g. colonel (army rank) and captain (naval rank), also brigadier (army 1 star rank) and commodore (naval equivalent).

    The rank admiral was used once in Star Trek: Enterprise. The translations I would say that these clashes of rank systems are down to the 'translation' of the original Klingon into an equivalent English version. All flag officers are generals, just different grades equivalent to 1 - 5 star. The only brigadier we have seen on screen is Kerla from Star Trek VI. Worf was a colonel, which seems to be a desk job equivalent of the naval rank captain. Yeoman is a term from Marc Okrand, never seen on screen - yet.

    Klingon Rank Nearest English translation
    la 'quv supreme commander/ supreme warlord/ ***** general
    'aj admiral/ **** general
    Sa' general/ *** general
    totlh commodore/ ** general
    'ech brigadier/ * general
    HoD captain / colonel
    la' commander
    Sogh lieutenant
    lagh ensign
    ne' yeoman
    bu' sergeant
    Da' corporal
    beq crewman
    mangHom Cadet - note this is a description not a title

    Author notes:

    Now if you look at the Russian Federation Navy ranks, this makes sense:

    Seaman, senior seaman, petty officer 2, petty officer 1, chief petty officer, Chief ship petty officer, Warrant officer, Chief WO, sub-lieutenant, lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain lieutenant, captain 3rd rank, captain 2nd rank, captain first rank, rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral, admiral of the fleet.

    So Klingon ranks are maybe more towards the Russian system than the NATO one (makes sense).

    As one progresses up the chain of command of your House, so one gains power and opportunities for claiming glory for yourself as a result. Rank must be appropriate for your status and that of your House (as mentioned before) – e.g. if you are the head of a Great House, you need to be a Brigadier or Colonel, depending on the numbers under your command.

    The Klingon Chancellor and High Council:

    As Gorkon did not have a son, and the Klingon High Council wanted to follow the course Gorkon had set, Azetbur was selected as his successor. Azetbur had to forgo the traditional role of the social leader of the House of Gorkon to lead the Empire in his name.

    Outside of Kronos, the selection of a female to lead the Empire was met with horror. Added to this was the draining of resources to restore the home world after the explosion of Praxis. The result of this was the creation of dissent in the outer colonies and the appearance of rivals to the Chancellor.

    The High Council is the ultimate authority in all matters of Klingon life. The leadership of the Klingon Empire consists of the High Coucil of the Great Houses and their leader, the Chancellor. The High Council consists of around 20 Klingon Lords of Great Houses; these are the aristocracy of the Klingon Empire: those Klingons whose Houses had shown great courage and honour. Whilst the High Council composition can change as honour is gained and lost by Houses - since any member of a House can gain or lose the honour of the whole House, no matter their age or infirmity - the truth is that the Great Houses and High Council control the entrance and exit of Houses - as the conspiracy against General Korrd with the incident at Feira on stardate 4326.3 where Orions attacked strategic materials outposts and Korrd failed to stop them. As a result he was banished to Nimbus III. The Great Houses were typically of noble descent and their status was generally static.

    Traditionally, the Chancellor of the High Council was chosen either by a councillor challenging and killing the standing Chancellor, or by succession decided by a final pair of candidates fighting for the role. It was important for strength and honour in fighting skills be as important as wisdom. Azetbur broke this tradition as her father, Gorkon, had decided to continue the imperial line by succession like the old emperors. Given the crisis of Praxis, this was allowed in order for Gorkon's policies to continue despite his death. After the assassination of Azetbur, the old ways of succession were resumed with a duel between Generals Klaa and Kaarg, which resulted in Kaarg becoming the new Chancellor.

    One thing to address is the propaganda versus reality of the High Council. The approximately 20 members of the High Council are all loyal to the Chancellor and anyone who is not with them is their enemy. The truth is that there are often one or more factions within the Klingon Empire, plotting for power. The civil wars of 2290s showed that the Klingon Empire had more than one person vying for leadership. Although it is true that the majority of the Houses and their fleets will support the Chancellor, if enough support the other leader then it is possible for two or more factions to exist at the same time; it would be too risky to the Empire to take on such a large fleet as the victors may then be too few in number to defend the Empire. This is how the House of g'Iogh survived the civil war - their support too strong for the House to be disbanded. They stayed in the fringes of the Empire and rebuilt. The High Council is the ultimate symbol of Kronosian superiority over the rest of the Empire. These twenty or so Klingons control the majority of the fleets and soldiers. At any one time the High Council must supervise the running of the Empire, also the fighting of the three or four conflicts of varying scale along their borders - and within them too. With these Klingons possessing multiple fleets, all are ranked 'ech (Brigadier) or higher.

    Matters of succession - especially in Great Houses and their place on the council - are often managed in the High Council. Fallen Generals and elder brothers - succeeded usually by younger brothers then children. This can all have an impact on the standing of the House and its forces. The Chancellor makes policy in the High Council and can deal with Houses that have lost their Head or have had economic or material disasters. The Chancellor has advisors on all aspects of the Empire including Military Adviser, Chief of Staff etc. Loyalty to the Chancellor can also affect status on the High Council. Despite the official Kahlessian line being that political manoeuvering is dishonourable, it still happens. Wars can be won and lost in the council chambers.

    The main concern of the High Council is the aftermath of Praxis, and the decay of the Empire. Ever since the time of Chancellor Kesh, the Empire has been resting on the laurels of previous victories. The standing economic model for the Klingon Empire was one of constant warring and assimilation of new territory. The model worked for Qo'noS and the smaller version of the Klingon Empire. By the time of the 2260s, the Empire was immense and straining to keep up logistically with the rate of growth. As with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, the cracks were beginning to show by the 2270s. Kesh tried to work the shipyards and planets harder to compensate, but the resources were not there. Praxis exploded and exposed the Klingon Empire as a paper tiger, hollowed out and crippled by the loss of ships and shipyards. Gorkon had no choice but to press for Federation assistance, killing Chancellor B'rak to get this policy through. To have 'died fighting' would have cost the entire Empire. What happened then - and has continued since - has been a case of damage limitation. Colonies and protectorates have broken away from the Empire since the exposure of how weakened the Empire has become. The United Federation of Planets, who had a 'gentleman's agreement' not to expand into former Klingon colonies or encourage them to break away, has indeed been involved in some of the break-up - most notably Terajun.

    Klingon High Council - the 24 great Houses of the Empire:

    NumberGreat House Image Name of head of House Notes
    1Antaak The Klingons of this House feature a ridge down their face and chin.
    2Chang Torlek No one is the villain in their own story. Even Hitler thought what he was doing was the right thing for Germany. Chang saw the seeking of help from the Federation as a betrayal os the Empire and the end of the Ways of Kahless. He sought to stop this by his own sacrifice: killing Gorkon and anyone else who succeeded his to forward this plan of betrayal. Once this task was done, he would commit the Klingon version of Japanese Seppuku - Mauk-to'Vor - in order to restore honour to his House, despite his own damnation to Grethor. Only the unforeseen destruction by the U.S.S. Excelsior denied his this final move. A Death Message sent to the High Council early in Azetbur's reign would confirm these details, showing Chang's face to his enemies honourably. As a man who was the former Chief of Staff and Gorkon's friend, this is a portrayal of the sacrifice he made. Chang used dishounourable means to achieve an honourable aim; he'd be damned to hell, but the Empire will survive. Torlek is from Klingon Academy (2000) and is the rightful heir to the House.
    4D'ghor The bling Klingon House. Dennas in ST: Discovery was a member. They wear jewelry on their heads.
    5Duras Identifiable by the crimson uniform attire of the Klingon Imperial Blood, claiming descendance from Kahless' bloodline. These are an honoured House in this time, loyal to the throne. Their power keeps the Koloth-Kruge-Chang axis at bay. Another House I've done a 'Wicked' with to turn expectations upside down, based on them being trusted in 2344.
    6Gorkon Azetbur This is the regal House. In power since 2285, this is the House on the throne. Azetbur has to find her way in season one to discover how badly Praxis damaged the Empire, who her enemies are - both foreign and domestic. She has to discover the practicalities of power as opposed to the theory, and watching secondhand. During the first season, the late General Chang casts a very long shadow across the High Council. Azetbur must learn to contend with this. She ends the first season by realising she must use power to hold the Empire together, or she'll lose the Empire and her life.
    7H'vakia S'yrekka Inspired by the line by Alfred in Batman Vs Superman, this is the House where the leader has gone from good to cruel. Surviving her father and elder brother killed by Praxis, S'yrekka has been thrust into being the leader of the House: something she both thought and had been brought up to believe would never happen to her. All of a sudden she has to command the effort against a religious enemy with a zeal to kill Klingons at any cost.Thsi has hardened her into a heartless killer to match their ferocity with her own.
    8J'Tal Qo'mar These are the 'Gorn-buster' Klingons. Everything about them is supersize and designed to kill these very large lizards - as now seen in Strange New Worlds. The House has no aspirations to the throne, more than happy to have their own corner of the Empire (that lesser, smaller Klingons couldn't hold anyways). Thinsg go a bit sideways when Waurg challenges Qo'mar to a duel, thinking the new House won't be used to the political corridors of power. Used to slaughtering 9 foot lizards, Qo'mar guts him like a fish and leaves the House of Kesh in a mess. The repercussions of this act will be felt across the High Council, Azetbur will be satisfied at bringing this loyal House into the council will secure her position for a while.
    9Kahnrah Kahnrah From the graphic novel Blood Will Tell, this is the sole survivor of his House, having killed his own granddaughter to get Gorkon's approach to the Federation accepted. The ultimate sacrifice. Upon his death, this House will go extinct.
    10Kang Kang Kang is part of my character profiles on Klingons. After the recent death of his son, a the hands of the Albino, he has given himself over to the rage at the loss. His anger is blinding him to excesses of violence in the quest for vengeance. This threatens to destroy his reputation, his family and his House. He doesn't care, as he doesn't see a future. He now leaves a bodycount on his pursuit of his son's murderer.
    11Kesh Waurg This House is the previous one to sit on the throne before Gorkon in 2285. Gorkon challenged and defeated Chancellor Kesh, killing him and ascending to the throne. Under the code of honour, the House couldn't seek revenge and could only challenge in the correct manner. This is a House humbled by fate that's still trying to find its feet. Waurg is the heir to the House and sees himself as the rightful heir to the Empire. He lost out to Azetbur for the throne and still wants to find a way to recover the power that his House lost.
    12Kihreg Kihreg These are the weaponsmiths to the rich and powerful of the Empire. Their custom-made, bespoke weapons are named. Part of the prestige of having a weapon from this House. Their bladed weapons are highly sought after. Their look is like a blacksmith, with a Klingon mace as their sigil and signature weapon.
    13Koloth Koloth This is the noble House of the Klingon Empire. Koloth has an air around him of nobility and culture. After being embarrassed by Captain Kirk twice with tribbles, he is no fan of the Federation. Whilst followers of Gorkon line to make peace with their former adversaries, Koloth offers calm advice of caution. Advice that Kruge and Chang had both given, and both are now dead. The death message from Chang showed his intentions to be honourable, despite using dishonourable methods. Koloth is at pains to show this, and to put the brakes on the reforms of Azetbur. Praxis is a Klingon problem, that requires Klingon ways out of it; not the aid of outsiders who will domesticate and tame the Klingon people (which is what ironically happens by 2364...). This is NOT the Koloth from DS9, this is a bitter character who's just lost his firstborn in 2289 at the hands of the Albino. He hates Starfleet after being humiliated by them twice. He's certainly NOT in the mood for reconciliation.
    14Konjah With Miles O'Brien disguised as a member of this House in DS9, it's GOT to be the engineerng House. Architects for the warships of the Empire.
    15Kor Kor Another character fleshing out the Klingon architypes. Kor has changed following the murder of his firstborn son. He has sunk into the bottle and become a bitter, cruel drunk. Like the Russians, Klingons have a high incidence of alcoholism. Kor is rarely sober, the drink being his means of dealing with the pain. As when first seen in DS9, Kor is a daily drinkerwho is on the path of self-destruction and doesn't care. A sad end for a Dahar Master.
    16Korrd Korrd Korrd was introduced in ST: V The Final Frontier as a disgraced famous Klingon general, who had been unlucky with the Orion pirates and exiled to this diplomatic post on Numbus III as a result. Twenty years later, Korrd has now returned to the High Council rehabilitated after his experience with Sybok. He is trying to find his way again in the corridors of power, after being away for so long. The former famous general is now seen as a relic, holding onto the old ways of his fame, rather than the practical ways ahead for the Empire. He is an advisor to Azetbur.
    17Koryak The mining House of the Empire. Disgraced following the explosion of Praxis from overmining, this House is primarily tasked with finding new sources of energy for the Empire. These are the tunnelling moles of the Empire, more squat and capable of seeing in the dark better than other Klingons, they make good night warriors.
    18Kozak Later, in DS9 to become the House of Quark.
    19Kruge House fallen from grace after the death of rebellious Commander Kruge. Supported by Houses Koloth and Chang, this House has remained in the High Council due to these affiliations. They exposed the duplicitous Project: Genesis that the Federation had secretly developed. The threat of the Federation, then and now, is what binds these Houses in their cause.
    21Mo'Kai Kest The House of Mo'Kai, introduced in Star Trek: Discovery, is a House of watchers, deceivers and weavers of lies. They have ritual scarification across their heads and bodies. Former Chancellor L'rell was a member of this House. Their skills became what is known as Imperial Intelligence. They have webs of agents, informants and sleepers both within the Empire and without. They are the advisers to the Chanellor and High Council. Their allegiance is strictly to the throne, often acting as a thermometer to the Chancellor as to where loyalties lie. One of their agents, Kron, became Arne Darvin at Deep Space Station D-7. The mission ended in ignomy after Arne was exposed as being Klingon. Since then, the tactics of this House have been more successful.
    22Mogh Worf Made famous in TNG for Worf, and subsequently this Worf, Colonel who defended Kirk and McCoy in ST:VI, are cast as a House of farmers. This is due to agriculture being a major plotpoint in the Excelsior series. The character would have a lot of action and dialogue so it made sense to use a character we already knew. I wanted to do a 'Wicked' and turn thenotion of Worf's House on it's head. Where people expected a mighty warrior House, instead we have farmers who tend crops of gagh - a vital role in the Empire. Colonel Worf was forced to defend Kirk and would have shared his fate if he'd been executed (as was planned). The signature weapon of this House is an axe based on a Klingon farming plough. Based on the planet Khitomer, this House is closely affiliated to the House of Duras in this time - as would later come back to bite them in 2344 when they're framed for betraying the Empire.
    23Noggra One of the smaller of the noble Houses of the Empire.
    24T'kuvma Choroth House 24 featured in Star Trek: Discovery - a House open to all the waifs, strays and orphans of the Empire.

    Author Notes:

    This is the High Council composition in 2294 with the fledgling Azetbur government. She hd to pick the pieces up after the death of her father. The imbance of her Father's government was partially stabilised after Generals Chang, B'oeke and Grokh were killed over Khitomer in their Bird of Prey by the Enterprise-A and Excelsior. Their act of treason saw their Houses discommended and their names cast out. She will have (logically) selected Houses favourable to her position as Chancellor to support her throne. Unfortunately, having a woman at the head of the High Council was an inflammatory move which meant she would never garner the support of many of the Great Houses. This was a pause before the latter decline. By 2294, Azetbur had to address the Starfleet involvment at Terajun and the later retalliatory action against the Enterprise-B by General Choroth. It took very fancy political footwork to avoid conflict and retain the support of the High Council.

    Click here to go back to the races page