Welcome to the Imperial Klingon Guard
A Beginners Guide to Glory!
So you want to be a Klingon – Kai!
Now you’re probably wondering what exactly that entails. Well you’ve already taken the first step, and that was to join the Imperial Klingon Guard. Kai Kassai!
So what’s next? Well here are a few things that you’ll need to do in order to “fit in”.
- Pick your name.
- Join a ship
- Perhaps join a Klingon House
- Develop your Klingon persona.
- Create a uniform.
- Get active!
Step 1 – Pick Your Name
What’s in a Name?
One of the first challenges that a new recruit faces, is to choose a name. But how do you go about doing that? Relax, as you’ll see, you have several options available to you. For starters, most Klingon clubs, (Imperial Klingon Guard included), were based on the novel “The Final Reflection” by John M. Ford, and have also incorporated aspects developed from the various Star Trek series and movies. Both of these are good resources when it comes to trying to choose a name.
From “The Final Reflection” we derive the tradition that:
members of the Klingon Navy will have names that start with the letter “K”;
members of the Klingon Marines will have names that start with “M”; and
Klingon civilians / scientists will have names that start with “A”
But as we’ve seen from TV and the movies, this is by no means a hard and fast rule. From theses sources we have seen the likes of:
“Worf”, “Duras”, “Gowron”, and “Chang” for males and
“Lursa”, “B’Etor”, “B’Elanna”, “Valkris” and “Vixis” for females
Still struggling? Don’t feel bad, there are probably as many ways of creating a Klingon name, as there are members in our club. So if you’re fresh out of ideas, here are some tips (and examples) to get you started.
Make up an authentic / traditional Klingon Name using the “K” or “M”;
Try changing your name to something that sounds Klingon-ish
i.e. Linda changed to K’ynda, or Stephen changed to K’eVe);
Find out what your name means and translate that meaning to Klingon.
Look at Japanese words that sound Klingon (many of the Klingon sounds have roots in that language).
Look at the names of favourite writers, actors, mentors, characters on TV or from books, etc., and change that name to sound Klingon. An example would be Davros (from Dr. Who), changed to K’Vros.
Make up something wacky. Names such as K’rrplunk, K’Put, K’ahlua, and K’rash have also been used.
Be creative! Make it fun, and something you like – you didn’t get to pick your human name, but you DO get to pick your Klingon name.
It also can’t hurt to get your hands on a copy of Marc Okrand’s Klingon Dictionary. It has a wealth of information on what Klingon words should sound like, and how they are spelled. Please note; if you plan on using the Klingon Dictionary in order to translate something to be used as your Klingon name, make it something that you can pronounce, and that you can remember how to spell. It would be embarrassing to be in the middle of a TV interview, and not be able to say your own name!
So, now you have some ideas about how to create a name. Just remember, the best bet is to keep your name as simple as possible...who wants to write an email / letter to someone with an impossible-to-spell or difficult to remember first name? One more thing, many Imperial Klingon Guard Klingons try to match their first names with their own personalities or professions: thus we have “Kritter”, “K’lueless”, “K’Bubbles”, and “K’Mart”.
Derogatory and defamatory words will not be tolerated or accepted.
Your superior officers award ranks and Honorifics, for participation in club activates. These are included with your Klingon name, and are part of the development of your Klingon persona, so choose with care.
Picking a Suitable Name
Once you have chosen your name you may want to further develop your persona by choosing your House or Line Name. We’ll go more into Klingon Houses shortly, but for now, think of your House as being similar to the idea of a surname. It is not necessary to create your own House / Line; if a good friend or family member is already in the Imperial Klingon Guard, you may wish to join their House. It is considered to be an honour to be allowed to join the House / Line of a powerful and established Klingon.
You’ve finally chosen a Klingon name, and a House / Line. So how does it all tie together?
Here’s an example of the conversion from human to Klingon:
John Smith joins the Imperial Klingon Guard; he gets a starting rank of Ensign Klingon Name: Ensign John Smith.
John has the nickname of “Fang”. He decides that he wants to be Navy so he changes his nickname to K’Fang. Klingon Name: Ensign K’Fang.
K’Fang was recruited by a member of the club who belongs to the house tIqul, and asks to join his House. Klingon Name: Ensign K’Fang tIqul.
After creating his Klingon uniform, K’Fang is awarded the honorific of tai.
Klingon Name: Ensign K’Fang tai tIqul
Start to get the idea? See we told you it wasn’t difficult.
It is strongly encouraged that new recruits develop a Klingon name sometime within their first three (3) months in the Imperial Klingon Guard...this shows they are interested in being one of us. Those who do not have a name by the end of this time period may be deleted from the Imperial Klingon Guard rosters.
Step 2 – Join A Ship
Chances are if you have joined the Imperial Klingon Guard, then you probably did so by joining friends of yours on an existing ship. If so then you have already completed this step and you are well on your way to achieving Honour and Glory for yourself and the Empire. However if you joined through a website or because of a flyer at a Convention, you may not belong to a ship yet. If this is the case, you will contacted by the person responsible for the nominal role, and together we will work out which ship is the right fit for you.
Step 3 – Join a Klingon House
Klingon Houses / Line Names
We have found that upon entering the Imperial Klingon Guard, most new recruits have little understanding of either Imperial Klingon Guard or Klingon culture. The first thing we ask them to do is choose a Klingon name and that can be either a very simple or a very daunting task. And as much trouble as some people have in choosing a first name, you can imagine the frustration involved if they are also asked to choose a House or Line name that has any meaning (in either Klingon or Imperial Klingon Guard terms). It’s enough to give some new recruits a ridge ache.
So what is a Klingon House or Line Name? Well for starters, we get the term Klingon House from ST TNG and the subsequent TV series, whereas the term Line Name is derived from “The Final Reflection”. In both cases, it basically refers to your family or surname. It might be helpful to think of it in more in terms of belonging to a clan than an actual blood-related family. Remember Worf joining the House of Martok?
When it comes to Klingon Houses, they can vary as much as the Klingons that comprise them. But they all follow a few basic concepts.
Each House has an Epetai or Line Leader (think of them as the Clan Chief). This is usually the person that started the House / Line, but in some cases the Epetai might be second or third generation, in other words, the original Epetai retired from the club and turned over the House to a successor.
The Epetai makes decisions in so far as who they will admit into their House / Line.
some Houses are open for anyone to join, you just have to ask the Epetai;
others are private and are open by invitation only;
while others are closed altogether;
Most Houses have a symbol that the members can wear on their uniforms. In some cases they even go so far as to create a flag or banner or similar form of heraldry. One Admiral even had his House symbol tattooed on his arm.
Much like the Scottish Clans of Earth, powerful Houses occasionally spawn a Sept or smaller House. Basically, members of one House split off and form a smaller related House
Why do I need to join a House? Well to be honest, you don’t! Some warriors never bother to choose one; it simply adds another layer to your persona. It also gives you a sense of greater belonging, since you now have an adopted family and a crest to wear as a result.
So what’s a new warrior to do, how do they go about choosing a House? Well for starters, ask yourself…is there some person who was integral to your joining the Imperial Klingon Guard? Perhaps you’d like to join their House. It is considered to be an even greater honour to be invited to join a powerful Klingon line, and one that should not be refused if offered.
For those recruits that want to belong to an established House, it might be wise for you to contact the the Imperial Klingon Guard Line Registrar and enquire about established, registered House / Line names. If one of the Houses appeals to you, then ask the Epetai (Head of the House) if you can join their House.
If none of the established Houses appeals to you, maybe you’d like to try your hand at developing your own House / Line. However, it is probably wiser to join an established House from the list of registered Line Names. Then, after you have gained a little “experience” in the club, when you know what you want to do, and what you want your new line to “represent” in Imperial Klingon Guard and Klindom, you can develop your own House.
Step 4 – Develop Your Klingon Persona.
As mentioned, members of the Imperial Klingon Guard are expected to create a Klingon name and persona for themselves. It can greatly assist you with getting into the Klingon spirit of things. Your persona will include:
your Klingon Name;
your House Name;
any awards of distinction that you have earned
But there’s more to being Klingon than just a fictitious name and rank. To truly be Klingon is to be able to step into the role of your persona and embrace it. Have fun and become the warrior you create. When you can do that, then you will have more fun than merely being a human dressed in a Klingon costume.
Step 5 – Create A Uniform
Uniforms have been mentioned in various parts of this manual, but little has been said about them. As the Imperial Klingon Guard is a club in which the members pay no dues, the only way the club benefits from its members, is through participation in events. Many of these events require uniformed Klingons, after all that is what sets us apart from the Feddies. As a result of these types of events, a new recruit cannot fully participate unless they have a uniform.
Some FAQs about uniforms:
Does the uniform have to be Klingon?
The short answer to that question is YES; we are a Klingon club after all, and as such, one cannot advance through the ranks without a Klingon uniform.
Does the uniform have to be that of an Imperial Klingon?
Not at all. In fact many of our members are allergic to latex and cannot create Klingon ridges at all. For these members and for those who prefer the Classic Trek there is the “Fusion” (original) Klingon.
Does the uniform have to look exactly like on TV or the movies?
Hey, if you have the money or the costume design expertise to pull off the authentic Imperial uniform, go for it! But for the rest of us, as long as you can create something that looks Klingon, then go for it. Remember being Klingon is as much about the Klingon attitude as it is the costume you wear. In fact many of our members have been known to wear such things as leather pirate hats or even kilts with their uniform. So have fun with it.
Can I wear the uniform of other Star Trek races?
Fandom is about having fun. Many of our members like to experiment with costuming and have created various costumes that they wear to conventions and other events. In fact some of our members are only half Klingon. In some of those cases we have had:
a half Klingon / half Human;
a half Klingon / half Trill;
we even have a half Klingon / half Ferengi
So if you want to create alternate costumes feel free to do so, just be sure to wear the Klingon costume as often as possible, after all that is the way to become eligible for promotions etc.
Do I have to wear the Klingon uniform to every event?
NO, not at all, but it will be up to the Executive of the club to decide whether or not those events will count towards promotions etc.
So as you can see there are a number of options available to you, the most important thing to remember is that this is YOUR uniform, and you have to be comfortable wearing it. The big thing is make something you will enjoy wearing. The next sections will give details on the various aspects of the uniform.
What is an acceptable uniform? Hey look, we realize a lot of you aren’t made of money. We have a lot of students in the Imperial Klingon Guard and a lot of young, growing people. It would be silly for us to demand these folks “leather up”. The cost would be prohibitive and many members would outgrow their uniforms before they ever got any real use out of them.
So why not start with “The Basics” – a black turtleneck shirt, some black pants, boots, quickly whip out a basic “block vest” and a sash (your ship may already have one). You can even (if you choose) slap on some makeup, some heavy eyebrows, maybe even a false beard / moustache and, voila, a Classic Series Klingon! This is also called the “Minimum Costume Standard” Some events will request that members wear this as the basic Uniform to represent the club at an event. It will make us instantly identifiable. (Makeup will not be a requirement for Minimum Costume Standard, but it sure helps with the look!)
The basic “block vest” is as simple as going to pick up some inexpensive gold fabric from the bargain bin at the fabric store or scour your neighbourhoods’ garage sales or thrift shops. If you need instructions to make a basic fusion vest, ask your ship Commander. If they can’t help you, contact the Imperial Klingon Guard Quartermaster on Facebook. IKG Quartermaster Page
A couple of months down the road, if you decide that you want to be an Imperial Klingon, then start to plan your Imperial outfit. You don’t need to be an Imperial Klingon to be part of the fun...that’s one of the great things about Imperial Klingon Guard: you can be a fusion Klingon (from the Classic series) or an Imperial Klingon (from the movies and beyond), some members (including members of the Admiralty / Generals), have both uniforms and will switch from one to the other depending on the event or their mood.
We’ve mentioned Battle Sashes a few times in this booklet, but you may not know what a battle sash is or how to get one. Basically a sash is worn over the shoulder, ending at the opposite hip. They are usually about 4-6” wide and can be made of any number of materials. They can be as simple as a strip of coloured cloth or extremely elaborate.
Regardless of what they are made of, every uniformed Klingon should have a battle sash, as it gives you a place to display your accomplishments. What can be worn on your sash? Well for starters you can use it to display:
the Imperial Starburst;
the Most Honourable Order of the Klingon Empire;
Convention Pins and other pins you want to use to add your own personal flavour to your costume.
So where do you get a sash? Well, some members purchase their battle sashes from dealers at conventions. These are usually quite elaborate and very expensive. Another option is army surplus stores, but those can be hard to find and may not be in good condition. So where does that leave the warrior on a shoestring budget? Well, you can do what most of us do…you make your sash. Quite often, individual ships have a particular colour or design that all members of the crew wear to identify them as belonging to that ship. You may want to see if your ship has such a pattern, if so it will make creating your sash easier.
As mentioned when creating your sash, they can be simple or elaborate and can be made of any number of materials. Some such examples are:
one warrior took about 20 minutes to make their sash, (complete with silver fringe), they made it out of materials purchased from a fabric store;
another member spent about 2 ½ hours and used flat safety chain and speaker wire from the local hardware store to make a metal sash by weaving the speaker wire between the links of safety chain;
while others have joined pop tabs together with small chain links and then woven strips of leatherette through the pop tabs
So as you can see there are plenty of options available; the thing to remember is it is your sash, so have fun with it, be creative or keep it simple…you choose!
Command Cloaks are an optional item that are usually only worn by those in Command positions to allow club members to spot the leaders amongst the crowd. The Command Cloak can also be used to display the same sort of items as are worn on the Battle Sash.
Does the average member need a Command Cloak? While there is nothing stopping you from wearing one; generally speaking you really won’t need one if you aren’t:
one of their Deputies; or
a Ship Commander
But if you wish to create one, then go right ahead, just be warned, they tend to be hot and cumbersome and you may end up leaving it home more than you wear it.
Step 6 – Get active!
As a former Imperial Klingon Guard Admiral once said:
“Imperial Klingon Guard did not achieve its excellent reputation in the community by supporting a bunch of slackers in its ranks. This is an active club and you are expected to be an active member in it. If you wanted to sit on your duff and collect Star Trek newsletters, you should have joined some Feddie organization.”
He was of course correct, we are an active club. Much of our activities tend to revolve around community service and charity work, but we also participate in air shows, parades and conventions. There are lots of things you can do, so roll up those sleeves and get at it. Go out there; earn Honour and Glory for yourself, your ship and your club.
Rank Structure and Awards
Once you start spending time in with the club, you’ll be able to move up in the ranks. Here is the breakdowns of the Rank/Honorific system.
Please note: For the purposes of the Club, junior (minor) members, will be considered Non-Commissioned, all adult members will be considered Officers, or “Commissioned Members”
Any member, with a sponsor, under the age of 14. Non-Commissioned Rank
At age 14, members with a sponsor, who are uniformed, would automatically become Da' - Non-Commissioned Rank
After a minimum of 1 year at rank of Da' Members are eligible to gain the rank of bu’ minimum age requirement 15 - Non-Commissioned Rank
Commissioned Ranks start here:
(For Club purposes, anyone, over the age of 18 who joins, will join as a Commissioned Rank)
At the age of 16, if the member has fulfilled their job requirements and been an active member, then they MAY, at the discretion of the Sector Commander, be awarded the rank of lagh/Ensign.
This would also be the first rank of any member aged 18 or older, upon joining the club, before their first official Costumed/uniformed appearance.
The Honorific of tai, will automatically be awarded to a member who has made a uniform, and have expressed interest in advancing in their participation, and leadership within the club. The awarding of this Honorific is the ONLY automatic award available within the club. This honorific can be awarded by Ships CO, or Sector Commander upon verification of Uniform Completion.
The rank of Sogh/Lieutenant is awarded to those who have attained the Honorific of tai and held that Honorific for a Minimum of 6 months. They must have performed their assigned duties commensurate with that rank, to the satisfaction of their Commanding Officers. At this point there are several things that a member could have had a hand in as a member of the Imperial Klingon Guard or been helpful to those higher in the Chain of Command.
This can include, but is not limited to:
uniforming the whole ship under their command,
organizing an activity,
volunteering to edit and publish a ship’s newsletter,
assisting their Commanding Officer in getting organized and reducing their paperwork,
recruiting 10+ *active* members
This Rank can be awarded by Ship CO, or Sector Commander if they hold the rank of la’, or higher (If the CO, or Sector Commander do NOT hold the necessary rank, then they can request for the Member to be promoted by the High Council “at the request of “insert name here”, for recognition of service to the Club” )
The Honorific of vestai is awarded to those who have attained the rank of Sogh and have performed their assigned duties commensurate with that rank for a minimum of six months. They must show they have some leadership and diplomatic skills. Reasons for promotion to this rank can include, but are not limited to:
activating a previously dead region,
organizing a major regional event,
acting as a Section Head within any Regional/Sector branch service (Sector XO/Deputy, Cyber Division, Quartermasters Guild, etc,,, Running and editing a Regional Newsletter, or Maintaining a Regional Club page, or Social Media Outlet.
Can be awarded by Ship CO, or Sector Commander if they hold the rank of HoD’, or higher (If the CO, or Sector Commander do NOT hold the necessary rank, then they can request for the Member to be promoted by the High Council “at the request of “insert name here”, for recognition of service to the Club” )
After a MINIMUM of 6 months with the Honorific vestai, The rank of la’/Commander is awarded to those who have attained the Honorific of vestai, and have performed their assigned duties commensurate with that rank. They must show they have leadership, diplomatic, and organizational skills. They must be able to work with the rank and file, as well as with the upper Chain of Command. Reasons for elevation to this rank can include, but are not limited to:
Acting as Sector or Divisional Commander or continual efficiency as the head of a major organizational department somewhere within the Imperial Klingon Guard
continuing activity for a region that they previously activated,
organizing, and running, a major national event,
editing or publishing a Club Wide, recurring newsletter
Can be awarded by Ship CO, or Sector Commander if they hold the rank of HoD, or higher (If the CO, or Sector Commander do NOT hold the necessary rank, then they can request for the Member to be promoted by the High Council “at the request of “insert name here”, for recognition of service to the Club” )
After a MINIMUM of 6 months at the rank of la', the member may be considered for the Honorific of sutai. At this point in their career with the Imperial Klingon Guard, the member should be actively engaging in Club Wide activities, recruiting not only for their vessel but the overall club as well, and engaged in the organization, assistance, and planning of Club level events that bring the club into the public eye, as well as possibly assisting with the running of the club at the National level.
Can be awarded by Ship CO, or Sector Commander if they hold the rank of Totlh/’ech, or higher (If the CO, or Sector Commander do NOT hold the necessary rank, then they can request for the Member to be promoted by the High Council “at the request of “insert name here”, for recognition of service to the Club” )
After a MINIMUM of 6 month at sutai, the member may be considered for the rank of HoD/Captain. The member should be performing their assigned duties commensurate with that rank, they must show they have leadership, diplomatic, organizational, and inspirational skills. They must be able to work with the rank and file, as well as the upper Chain of Command. They also should be known within the Imperial Klingon Guard organization. Reasons for elevation to this rank can include, but are not limited to:
Maintaining an active and participating role on the High Council (Advisory, or Voting)
performing duties in a recurring active role at the direction of one, or more, member of the IKG High Council
other recognized, high levels of activity and participation at the National/Club Level
organizing many different major national events
Can be awarded by Ship CO, or Sector Commander if they hold the rank of ‘aj/Sa’, or higher (If the CO, or Sector Commander do NOT hold the necessary rank, then they can request for the Member to be promoted by the High Council “at the request of “insert name here”, for recognition of service to the Club” )
After a MINIMUM of 6 months as HoD, the member may be considered for the Honorific of zantai. Members being considered for zantai MUST be active at the National level within the club, holding and maintaining a Club Level position within the organization, and actively participating in the furtherance of the club ideals at this level (whether that be on the Council (voting or advisory) or through II, QM, or some other Club Level position that enables them to reach out to the membership at the National level. At this point, they should be widely known, and recognized by name within the club as a force for advancing the aims and goals of the club as a whole.
From this point onward, these promotions can only be awarded by decision of the IKG High Council, or by the Club Chancellor themself.
After a MINIMUM of 1 year as zantai, the member may be considered for the rank of totlh or 'ech depending on the service branch chosen Navy, or Marine. They must show they have the leadership, diplomatic, organizational, and inspirational skills to lead large Regional or National sections of Imperial Klingon Guard. They must be able to work with the rank and file as well as with the Senior Levels of Command. This rank is not given frequently or lightly. If you are to receive this rank, you will know the circumstances.
After a MINIMUM of 1 year as totlh or 'ech, the member may be considered for promotion to the rank of 'aj (Navy) or Sa' (Marine). They must show they have the leadership, diplomatic, organizational, managerial, and inspirational skills to lead National sections of the Imperial Klingon Guard. They must show they have an unshakable grasp on the concepts of Chain of Command. They must be able to work with the rank and file as well as with the Senior Levels of Command. This rank is not given frequently or lightly. If you are to receive this rank, you will know the circumstances.
This is the HIGHEST RANK POSSIBLE within the club, without becoming Chancellor.
Upon achieving the position/Rank of Chancellor, the member will cease to use all rank and Honorific, and adopt the title of Qang in reference to rank. (literally Chancellor in Klingon.) Being the senior most member of the organization, it is well assumed that they have worked their way up and through the Rank structure, and they are no longer used (as is demonstrated in TNG and DS9 with Gowron, and Martok, who both cease to use rank, upon achieving the title of Chancellor.)
The only exception to this, would be should the High Council choose to award the Honorific of epetai to the Chancellor (as per normal conditions), the Chancellor would then adopt its use, in recognition of the honor bestowed.
Imperial Klingon Guard has several forms of communication. These include, but are not limited to the Imperial Klingon Guard website, and Facebook Groups
Generally the Facebook groups are used for posting event photos so drop on by and see what kind of fun everyone has been having. It is also one of the main points of communication between members. Don’t be shy, even a post to say Hello once in awhile is encouraged.
Imperial Klingon Guard - This is a “Closed” Group you will have to confirm your membership. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1103630796329621/
IKG Quartermaster Page
Remember how we told you we were an active club? Well, here are just a few ways that Imperial Klingon Guard members volunteer:
- stocking shelves
- crushing pop cans
- boxing goods
Neighbour to Neighbour
- answer phones
Jail and Bail
A Final Word
Okay troops. Time for you to get out there and start doing! If you have any questions about the Imperial Klingon Guard, follow the “Chain of Command” all the way up the line until you get answers you seek. We look forward to hearing from you.
A few books you might want to pick up include -
The Final Reflection by John M Ford
The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido
The Klingon Dictionary - Marc Okrand
The Klingon Way - A Warriors Guide - Marc Okrand
Klingon for the Galactic Traveler - Marc Okrand
Also, Deep Space 9, after Worf joins the show in Season three has numerous episodes that are “KLINGON” they include a Klingon Wedding AND a Klingon Divorce.
We’ll be watching your progress!