The qaptaQ Handbook
Introduction
This handbook outlines the rules that have made the Order what it is today. The qaptaQ rules are the combined work of many members throughout the years. The rules serve to bind the Order together as a whole. The qaptaQ rules, are a living document, and as such are subject to revision. However since they provide not only our environment, but a structure within that environment and keep the Order organized, allowing everyone to participate to the fullest and enjoy the spirit of being tlhIngan, they are not to be changed lightly.

The qaptaQ exists on two levels. One fictional and the other non-fictional. It is the combination of these two levels that forges the Order into a viable organization. The first level is fictional and requires an imagination. This side of the Order provides us with our setting and motivation. This setting is the tlhInganpu’ of Star Trek. In this setting, club members take on tlhIngan roles. The second level is non-fictional and very realistic. However this level would be unneeded if not for the first level. That of an organization within tlhIngan fandom.

The Order participates in many activities throughout the year. These include: Live Action Role Playing games, Paintball Scenario games, uniformed convention appearances, publicity/recruiting events, creating uniforms and related materials for members, Frequently these activities occur in conjunction with other groups or events. We welcome you to the Most ancient Order of the veSwI’pu’ qaptaQ. We hope that you will enjoy your membership in this organization and that we will enjoy many glorious exploits together. Qapla!

Structure
The qaptaQ is organized as a Cenobitic tlhIngan Coterie.  The Hierarchy of the Order is a great deal less complicated than that of QI’ based organizations.

The qaptaQ rank system is based upon simple factors. You will be promoted based upon your activity, your maturity, and your intelligence. Gaming skill and the amount of time you've been a member is a factor only indirectly; more time as a member equals more time in which to accumulate knowledge about the Order. In the Order, power is not a reward for those who have earned it; it is a burden for those we believe have the strength to carry it. Promotions take place only at pre designated ceremonies, and attendance reflects well upon you Asking to be promoted assures you most certainly will not be.


The ordained leaders of the Order are the meycha. The senior most founding meycha shall be known as the Grand meycha. The meycha are the governing body of the Order. To achieve this level, you should be a leader of leaders. It is from this rank that all rules are issued, ceremonies conducted, promotions are made. Promotion to meycha is only by nomination by a senior meycha and unanimous consent of all other meychapu’.

There are two parallel paths beneath that of the meycha. These paths are the Initiated and the Indoctrinated.

The Indoctrinated adds the descriptive title of ‘anaQ to the end of their rank, which signifies those members who have demonstrated support for objectives of the Order but do not hold initiated membership and who have gained knowledge, understanding and experienced significant progression in the absence of such formal initiation and proven a mark of achievement, commensurate with their rank. The intention is to have them, on the recommendation of the meycha, share in the regular information exchange that other Members enjoy. The main difference is that the Initiated are those who by physical presence have undergone initiation into their rank, and the Indoctrinated have by lack of physical presence been indoctrinated through education and experience into their rank.


The first rank is that of SeQa. This is the entrance rank for new members. Those individuals with this rank should begin developing their Klingon persona and uniform. This is the highest rank which may be attained without a uniform.

The next rank is that of qIvung. Achievement of this rank indicates progress by regular participation in activities and the dedication to make the effort to physically appear Klingon. Members must achieve this rank before they can be considered for veSwI’.

The next rank is that of the veSwI’. This rank is the lifeblood of the Order. This rank demonstrates significant service to the Order as it is from this level that most action is taken. You must be a persistent, dedicated individual to achieve this rank.


Elder Knighthood
In recognition of a member’s real age, veSwI’pu who reaches the age of 50, may also add the title elder before the title of veSwI’. (Elder veSwI’ of the 4th tier or 1st Tier Elder veSwI’ of the Naked Stars)

Promotions
Promotions are granted solely by the meycha to recognize those individuals who, through their dedication and work, have enabled the Order to grow and to operate efficiently. Members achieve credit by participating in the group. You will be expected to participate and contribute of yourself and your time to the Order if you wish to advance in rank. Participation can take many forms such as correspondence with other Klingons or submissions of articles or texts for mailing lists or forums, assisting at events, conventions, and helping to recruit worthy new members.

It is the duty of the meycha to document this participation, apply a uniform standard in determining credit earned for each member and keep a cumulative record of credit achieved for each member. Promotions are granted to worthy members formally in a ceremonial setting several times a year.

All promotion require a ceremonial induction into that rank, and as such do not officially take place until such a ceremony has been held. Ceremonies are held as often as practical, and may be combined.


Reciprocity
Ranks from other clubs will be respected but will not be transferred. It is not fair to those who work their way up, to be out ranked by someone who has done nothing yet for the Order. Ranks from most other clubs also do not easily correspond with ranks awarded by the qaptaQ.


Ceremonies
All ceremonies are performed by the meycha. Ceremonies are a large part of the business of the order. Most ceremonies are mandatory, some are discretionary. All members are strongly encouraged to participate as much as possible in any ceremonies being held by the Order.

Active participation in ceremonies of the Order is strictly limited to uniformed members. In many cases non uniformed members will be seated apart from uniformed members and may be seated with outside visitors.


Uniforms
The acquisition of a uniform is the first goal of a new tlhIngan. We take pride in our appearance. Completion of a first uniform is the event that traditionally sets the new member on the path to achieving the recognition of rank and status within the Order. All uniforms must be recognizable as a tlhIngan uniform and the person wearing it must be physically identifiable as a tlhIngan.

Honor Sashes are an outward display of honor, all tlhInganpu’ may wear them. To question ones right to wear such a symbol is to question the ones honor.

Cloaks, of the common Klingon Sleeveless design are traditionally the sign of a higher status. For this reason they are limited to veSwI’pu’ and meycha. There are no requirements for color and design except that only meycha may wear a cloak of Black and Red.


Weapons
tlhInganpu’ always carry weapons of some type. A warrior may carry a disruptor, or a variety of blunt and edged weapons. Klingons prefer their own weapons but many warriors have developed a fondness for captured weapons. The choice of weapons is up to the individual. Large weapons such as swords or pole type weapons are not generally carried but are usually displayed as honor weapons.

All members will use common sense and appropriate judgment concerning weapons and props at all times. When attending conventions or events, the weapons policy of the event shall prevail. No one under the age of 18 shall be allowed to carry metal edged weapons while under the supervision of any member of the Order.

When exposing a weapon for photographic purposes, always be aware of safety issues.

It is strongly recommended that no weapon be carried that has not been ceremonially dedicated for the member.


The Cardinal Rules
HAVE FUN. The qaptaQ is a tlhIngan organization for the mutual enjoyment of our members. Its primary function is to provide members with a safe and organized outlet to experience tlhIngan life. If you're not having a good time, you're not doing it right.  Observe this goal at all times.

DON'T EMBARRASS THE ORDER. Members should not behave in a manner that dishonors or misrepresents our organization. Don't speak on behalf of (nor misrepresent) more than your authority.

PARTICIPATE. If you want to belong, you have to act to promote the group. When the Order is running an event and you are there, help set up, take down, and carry stuff in and out. If you seek glory, you have to do more than just show up.

THE meycha MAKE THE RULES. The tlIngan wo’ is not a democracy. There is a reason that there are such things as a chain of command. This rule protects the club from the unnecessary bureaucracy which plagues the federation based clubs, and keeps the premise of membership very simple.

SIGN NO TREATIES OR ALLIANCES. On a fictional level, the Order is not a military, diplomatic or governmental entity, and is therefore not empowered to conduct such activities. On a non fictional level members should never commit the Order to contractual obligations, unless the meycha have explicitly authorized such.

WEAPONS SAFETY. The unauthorized unsheathing/wielding of real weapons in public (i.e. outside of your own home or room) is forbidden. All members must obey all applicable local weapons laws/rules.


RECRUIT MORE MEMBERS. The health, effectiveness and image of the Order as an organization are dependent on the membership. All members are responsible to add members at every opportunity.

AVOID CONFLICT. Aid in minimizing conflicts. If you're aware of a problem and you are not working towards a solution, you have become part of that problem. Always try to achieve solutions, rather than seeking the meycha to resolve problems. Solutions at the hands of the meycha will be swift and decisive. The meycha reserves the right to act to resolve issues which affect more than one member or which may have substantial effect on the reputation of the organization.


A Final Word
Now it is time for you to get out there and start doing! If you have any questions about the Order, ask. We look forward to hearing from you. We'll be watching your progress! If you've decided, at this point, that the 'activity level' looks too high for you, hand in your resignation right now and save all of us a lot of time and energy.

http://www.qaptaq.org/index.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/proverbs.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/statements.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/tracts.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/songs.html
http://qaptaq.org/membership.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/articles.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/links.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/ceremonies.html
http://www.qaptaq.org/doctrine.html