So I love to think about Clan structure a lot. I also love the idea of variants in Clan structure - I feel it'd naturally occur in Clans, and it's already been shown in one of the Super Editions (the Tallstar one!).
So the topic here is the Clan structure and how it could vary! As well as how far a Clan could go from the 'template' before being a completely different thing.
So what I would agree on is that a Clan needs to have these factors:
- Connection to StarClan (through both beliefs and a rank or more related to it, like medicine cats)
- A code with certain rules in addition to extra rules for that Clan (see below)
- A territory to protect (or, in the case of nomadic tribes, a few areas to protect)
- A ranking structure (in that there's at least a leader - or group of leaders - as well as sub-ranks like warrior or medicine cat)
The necessary rules are listed as such:
Defend your Clan, even with your life.
Do not hunt or trespass on another Clan's territory.
Elders, queens, and kits must be fed before apprentices and warriors.
Prey is killed only to be eaten.
A kit must be at least six* moons old to become an apprentice.
A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice.
The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies, retires or is exiled.**
After the death or retirement of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh***.
A Gathering of all four Clans is held at the full moon during a truce that lasts for the night. There shall be no fighting among Clans at this time.
Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats.
No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if the kit is from a different Clan.
An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win his/her battles, unless they are outside the warrior code or if it is necessary for self-defense.
Each Clan has the right to be proud and independent, but in times of trouble they must forget their boundaries and fight side by side to protect the four. Each Clan must help the others so that no Clan will fall.
* - though six is the traditional number, a clan may decide to wait longer to make kits into apprentices. in the tribe system i created, kits rise in rank at eight moons.
** - a leader may be exiled by peer judgement exclusively. they may retire at the regular elder age if they live that long.
*** - in the event that the leader dies before a deputy is chosen, the medicine cat may choose. if both leader and medicine cat are dead, the oldest capable elder (or warrior, if there are no elders) must make the decision. it's usually safest to declare a new deputy as soon as possible, so a
ny time soon after a leader's de-ranking would be a good time. moon-high is just the canon due time.
This could probably be up for modification, but I feel a true Clan would have these rules at a minimum. (This keeps malicious 'clans' that don't follow any sort of rule or code out of the system, and allows fairness between clans.)
Now that we have that, we can move on to variant structures.
Some Clans may wish to split the warrior position into two - one 'warrior' rank and one 'scout' rank. scouts would probably specialize in patrols and investigating strange happenings in the territory, as well as checking for dangers in and around the camp. warriors could do more with hunting and battle than actual scouting.
Other Clans may have more than one leader, an oligarchy of sorts, as a group who makes decisions like a regular leader would.
Or, in another Clan, there may be no official 'deputy', but rather a group of elite warriors who have been alive many seasons and have a lot of experience.
There could even be (haha I almost wrote bee.... amazing...) a Clan where there are two leaders, or a Clan where a deputy has to go through a special rite (maybe akin to the first Moonstone visit, but more elaborate?) before ascending to leadership.
anyway sorry I started rambling. gimme those thoughts