> Well, I was going by the fact that Yelmgatha (who I've heard of) wasn't from Raibanth, the assumption that what really matters is passing the ten tests (though I guess they don't let just anyone attempt them), and that the clans may have relatives in other cities than their "main" city.
The Imperial Throne isn't shared out among the noble clans. It's the inheritance of the Emperor's descendents, who by reason of eligibility are in the same clan as the Emperor, to wit the Imperial Clan.
> (And, in fact, the clans are probably somewhat interrelated). So that someone with suitable blood might be in a clan in Yuthuppa, Alkoth, or another city?
Somebody suitable would be identified and groomed as a possible successor. Which would mean they brought him to Raibanth. Yuthuppa is full of priests and Alkoth is full of demons. None of the other cities have the size and the prestige of Raibanth. Also it makes little sense for a possible claimant to be based outside Raibanth because as soon as the old Emperor died, the Ten Tests are held in Raibanth, which means that a rival could take advantage of his absence. There are usurpers and the like from outside Raibanth.
> I'm also assuming the dynasties, some of which are thousands of years in the past, may not all exist in present times.
The clans that have provided the previous dynasties have all died out.
> And, in fact, unless you count the masks of the Red Emperor, it has been more than 4 generations since the last one? So yeah, if suddenly Darra Happa needs a new emperor, then if you have a close relative of the last Emperor, there you are.
You have to be a son, grandson or great grandson of a Mask of the Red Emperor to qualify. Which given their proclivities over the wanes makes them fairly common. You could also qualify by being within four generations of a God or by being enthroned in Darjiin.
> But otherwise any of the important clans (who probably all trace Emperors and gods in the past) could have a shot at being allowed to take the tests?
Allowed by whom? If the Red Emperor suddenly vanished and the Yuthmesha and the Assiday Clan both had suitable candidates, then the Assiday clan is going to end up with the Emperor because a) they control Raibanth and b) they are not going to be foolish as to allow the Yuthmesha a chance to have their emperor.
> I would guess this would be true of he one you mentioned (Assiday) and the one that Jeff mentioned in Yuthuppa (Yuthmesha). (Though are dynasty names correlated with clan names? If a "Bob" of the "Assiday Clan" becomes emperor and starts a dynasty, that is the "Bob" dynasty, not the "Assiday dynasty"?
Dynasties are usually referred to by the name of the founding Emperor. The old clan name is still kept but falls into disuse.
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