Curse of the Crimson Throne
More than just a title every house strives for, the five Great Houses serve important roles within the city. Before the schism in Cheliax and the rise of the Arabastis, every lord magistrate had to be elected from one of the Great Houses as described by amendment to the city’s charter. In 4611, with cooperation from then-Lord Arbust, the Great Houses formed the Peerage Review, a gathering of representatives from the five houses who act as the
In addition to the Peerage Review, time and tradition have granted the Great Houses various benefits and advantages above even those of normal noble houses. The lord of a Great House may gain the protection of a squad of Korvosan Guardsmen when he travels within the city; he may have assigned to him a Sable Company ranger whenever he leaves the city to visit one of Korvosa’s holdings; and he may demand a private audience with the monarch up to once per month. In addition, a member of a Great House may personally use nonlethal force (usually a boot, but sometimes a cane, folded parasol, or other light wooden implement) against any beggar, vagrant, or transient he sees. He may not pass this privilege to a bodyguard or associate with him.
While few nobles indulge in this allowance, the itinerants targeted by this policy nonetheless scatter whenever any member of a Great House approaches.