The Clans is the collective name of the noble households and collective warbands found mostly throughout Skyrim, but also in other places of Tamriel. A clan can be concieved any time as long as it is acknowledged and recognised in the eyes of the major or the "primary" clans.
A clan may range from anything between a small family with servants to an entire army of warriors.
A clan usually consists of a Patriarch or a Matriarch supervising every clanmember to make sure that they bring honour to the family name, however the title may vary among several clans. A clan normally has a Tutor which can unofficially be considered to also be a part of the clan for the younger members who have yet to learn the clan's ways. The Tutor can be of any race providing he or she is capable of carrying out there role.
The sons and daughters within the family are taught early on the code of the clan, what they are allowed to do and how to behave, and vice versa.
Men and women are usually equal within the clan, meaning that gender has no real value and that a woman can just as easily become the heir or the leader of the clan as any man. However the rules always state that the firstborn child of the patriarch or the matriarch is always considered to be the crown heir of the family name, no matter what gender the child has.
A child adopted or born into the clan is considered to be "Unblooded" and may, when they come of age, choose one of three schools which will train them into becoming either Berserkers, Young Bloods or Stalkers.
The above mentioned specifications however may vary from clan to clan.
Ranks tells someones worth within a clan. Even though everyone contribute in their own way to bring honour and glory to the family name, some clanmembers have higher status than others.
The Patriarch/The Matriarch
The Patriarch or the Matriarch serves as the head of the family and is the most important clanmember. They acts as the supervisor for the whole family, as well as diplomats when it comes to dealing with the relations of other clans. The head of the family has the final say in any decision brought to light within the clan and should always be treated with respect. A Patriarch or Matriarch may offer their position to another out of free will, but this is a rare occurence and has only happened during times of distress and war.
An Heir is the key to the survival of the clan. Considered to be the second most important figure within the family after the Patriarch and the Matriarch. An Heir is expected to succeed the head of the family after the latter's death and eventually become a Patriarch or a Matriarch, depending on the gender. By default the Heir is generally considered to be the firstborn of the head of the family, however this title may be stripped and given to someone else, should the Heir prove to be unworthy of succeeding.
The Tutor acts as an advisor, mostly for the younger members of the clan who has yet to learn everything their peers know of the traditions, since the elders are to preoccupied with maintaining the clan's honourary status. The Tutors also holds responsibility over the economy and estates of the clan to make sure that the clan's assets never decreases.
The Archivist is the master-at-arms for the clan. He or she is ultimately the one who decides whether or not an Unblooded has been approved for the warrior path they want to focus on. The Archivist is also responsible for keeping the clan's code book as well as guarding the ancestral weapon.
The Veterans are the personal trainers for the Unblooded that have been approved of their chosen path. A Veteran therefore exists within all the unique fighter ranks. They are more or less commanders of an entire unit and responsible for the recruits during their training.
The Young Bloods
The Young Bloods are the primary fighting unit and footsoldier for any clan. They normally consists of swordsmen and spear militia, but this may vary from clan to clan. A Young Blood goes through a standard procedure of combat training and must be both strong and agile. They also have priorities to safeguard their clan's household.
The Unblooded are initiates who has yet to chose which of three warriors paths they want to focus on. Children, whether adopted or born into the clan, are usually called Unblooded.
Those who do not want to endulge themselves in the art of warfare are called Whelps. The rank generally consists of anything from servants and farmhands to stableboys and squires.
The Cadet is a member of the clan not related by blood to any of the other clanmembers, but has still been accepted among the ranks as one of their own. A Cadet can be of any race as long as he or she has proven themselves worthy of being accepted into the clan. Cadets may rise high into the more respected ranks of the clan, but may never become Patriarchs or Matriarchs due to the lack of blood ties. A Cadet may however gain the privilege to form their own clan. These are known as Cadet Branches.
A clan usually have some unique ranks among their own to adjust the clan's unique fighting style or agenda. The above mentioned ranks may therefore vary from clan to clan.
The Code Books
A code book is a clan's sacred script which contains everything there is to learn about the clan's history, family tree, ancient secrets, arts of war, rituals. Usually the script is only available to those of high status and those who have earned the right to learn the secrets written within the pages. Because the code books are sacred it is forbidden to share the knowledge within them to other clanmembers who have yet to earn the right to read the book, outsiders or members from other clans.
A Cadet Branch is a minor clan formed freely by members of a primary clan, but may grow into vast numbers and eventually be acknowledged as a primary clan. A clan can have several Cadet Branches at once, but may refuse to acknowledge those formed by traitors or exiled members. A Cadet Branch may therefore become either a great ally or a great enemy depending on the strength of the newly formed clan.