The Code of Honor is the highest law of the Yautja society. It is taken with the utmost seriousness. To break the Code is to stop being Yautja, and becoming that is to be killed with as little consideration and honor as an illness-carrying insect: they are destroyed when met.
A Yautja without honor must prove himself in the new caste he finds himself in (or herself in rarer cases). They may have weapons and armor but no trophies, having traded them off for newer trinkets. When a predator finds dishonor and his caste discovers this, he must either face consequences or be outcasted.
- ETA: The untouchables of the Yautja. Mostly they are the lame or the crippled, who are unable (or too cowardly) to join the hunt. Instead, they serve as slaves and do menial jobs for the hunters. They are ridiculed and humiliated on a daily basis by the other Yautja.
- UNBLOODED: Young Yautja who are trained the skills necessary for their adult hunting. They will move to the next rank after their first hunt. Death challenges were forbidden. They can only issue claw-challenges. Also, hunting pyode amedha (humans) was forbidden. They represent about 40% at any one time.
- YOUNG BLOODS: Recently blooded Yautja. They are young, reckless, full of ambition and feel full of pride once they have collected the skull of their kill, which amuses the more experienced hunters. About 30% of Yautja at any one time are considered "Young Blood."
- BLOODED: The only difference between the BLOODED and the YOUNG BLOODS is that the BLOODED have more experienced but still not classed high among the great hunters. This represents 20% of the Yautja population.
- WARRIORS: Violent, respected, solo hunters with high Yautja technology. They travel the Universe to find honorable hunting.
- HONORED: The Elite of Yautja society. They have earned more kills than the average hunter and are skilled in all ways. They comprise approximately 10% of the populace.
- ANCIENTS/ELDERS: The greatest Yautja that have ever lived, they have survived a thousand hunts. They have hunted so much that they look for other means of sport. Consequently, they are more compassionate and disciplined than most other Yautja. Many have learned new fighting techniques over the ages. For example, one "Ancient" who had hunted in 16th century Japan learned "Hira Baraki," or two-sword combat, continues to use it today, and has two custom swords. These represent less than 1% of the entire population.
- ARBITRATORS: Yautja police that mainly consist of ANCIENTS who are bored with the Hunt. They represent judge, jury, and executioner. There are no appeals to their decisions.
- BAD BLOODS: The criminal caste. These are usually serious nutcases even when compared to your average Yautja. Many have committed crimes such as murder of another Yautja, killing prey that is not game or failing in the hunt. The "Arbitrators" are constantly tracking these. About 5% of all Yautja are "Bad Bloods," and in the above castes, the number of these criminals has been added to the total amount.
- Alpha - The leaders of a pack are the alpha male and the alpha female. They hold the allegiance of the rest of the pack by continually asserting themselves over their offspring from birth through maturation. When traveling, the alpha male usually heads the pack and chooses the route.
- Beta - A beta male lowers his head when around the alpha pair to let them know he will obey them.
- Subordinate - These are usually young Yautja, but occasionally are former alphas who have lost their positions. If they remain with the pack, subordinates play a strong and important role in helping care for and feed others.
- Omega or Scapegoat - In large packs, there is often a lowest-ranking member who becomes the focus of the pack's social aggression. This Yautja seems to be a scapegoat and may actually become an outright outcast. This may be part of the process by which pack members disperse and become independent, rather than remain at the bottom of the pecking order or on the fringes of the pack. While with the Yautja, Machiko was a scapegoat, despite her honorable rank.
- Lone Wolf - A young adult which has left the pack. It may find a new, suitable place to live and mate.
When the Predator is placed in the negative, his weapons will be removed to off the balance. He is never removed from his caste, but is considered a dishonored member of it. Because of the high honor of Honored and Elders, the chance of them being dishonored in this nature is virtually impossible. Usually only Warriors and under find this level of punishment. Eventually, if the dishonor is so great, the warrior must give up all possessions. If this eventually puts him back into the positive honor, he may continue in the fight.
Most crimes for Yautja are obvious, and are dealt with by an Arbitrator. False accusations of an Honor Code violation will get a Yautja torn limb from limb when the news of the discretion is made public.
However, sometimes when each party is accusing the other, the case is resolved by a wrestling match. Usually this is to block out or off ring, but in the case of one side accusing the other of claiming another's kill, it is to the death. The most common reasons for a match is as follows:
- right to hunt
- right for hunting ground
- settle a petty dispute
- recalim honor
- claiming the kill of another
If the Yautja remains in the negative, he is considered less of a person. These dishonored live without quarters in the slums of the ships, forced to live on whatever they can find. Most here do not believe they will ever be strong again. Some try to fight for honor and challenge other Predators for their honor to be acknowledged again. If they continue to loose, their dishonor grows deeper. If their dishonor continues, this Predator is no longer allowed in the Caste. They cannot be reduced to another caste…the Predator is forced to endure discomidation. Stripped of his honor and banished, this Predator is left with his clothes and maybe a side blade on a planet to live the rest of his life without honor. Some of these Predators continue the hunt in their own mind. Some others kill themselves. Others adapt.
These Predators are not outcastes, just discomidated and not acknowledged. Outcastes are different. If a dishonored predator who freely accepted his punishment is needed again, there have been reports of an elder making a special case and letting a trained discomidated Predator on a hunt. They usually have no major weapons and armor. If they survive, they are accepted. This is extremely rare. A hunt occurs on a planet with a dishonored Predator and that Predator saves the life of the leader. That Predator may be brought and accepted back.
BAD BLOODS / OUTCASTS:
The criminals among the Yautja have committed crimes such as murder, dishonorable hunting and failure. Strangely enough, other Predators can recognize Outcasted Predators on sight, as if their face is placed on a bulletin board for all to see. If discovered to have dishonored the caste and the Predator flees rather than accept punishment, there can be no forgiveness. The Predator flees with what he or she can carry--some of them already earned a ship or they might continue their dishonor by stealing one-never to return.
Outcasted Predators that leave this way are never accepted back. Upon seeing them, honored predators are ordered to eliminate these dishonored fools. Outcasted Predators do not often hunt except for food.
They travel, always alone, from place to place, aimless, without purpose. Some are evil incarnate, hunting and slaying anything alive, even other Yautja. This is the unfortunate norm since most dishonor is had not by defeat, but by crimes against the caste. There have been reports of a rare few predators that have been outcastes, only to exist as farmers on an abandoned distant world. It does not matter what life they have chosen. Outcastes are outcastes and those who help them are as bad as they are.
RECOGNIZING HONOR IN OTHERS
Predators are, in many ways, isolationists, which do not accept others into their broods. However, if a member of another species shows to have amazing honor, there have been known to be reports of a mutual respect between species. Most of the time, however, the Predator considers this an opponent and worthy trophy. This is always the case with hunters in Honored castes or less because they are in the constant search for more honor and will find it anywhere.
However, Elders are more laid back, having earned enough honor for a permanent position. They consider honored fighters of other species as respected as their own kin. Elders have often let warriors of other species live after they have proven themselves honored warriors. This usually only occurs if the subject has killed a Yautja or fought alongside a Yautja in a fight. There is also a common practice in these cases, to maintain honor by exchanging trophies by both sides. This can offer equal or more honor than killing the opponent.
Currently, there has been only one story of a human living in a Yautja community. This came from her fighting alongside an elder predator in a hunt. When he died, the human was accepted into the caste because of the obvious endorsement from a late elder. She was given the Mark of Honor, and therefore, became accepted.