Claimants exist for every faction, who all believe that they have been wronged and should rightfully be the ruler.
They can be found randomly in cities throughout the land, trying to raise support for their cause. The claimants will never be found within the borders of the faction for which they are the claimant. Talking to a traveler and paying a small fee will give you the current location of any claimant.
Siding with a Claimant
Once you find a claimant, they will tell you their side of the story and will ask you to take up their cause. If you have less than 200 renown, they will tell you that you need to gain more. With over 200 renown, the claimant will allow you to swear an oath of vassalage and your allegiance changes to the rebel faction. If you were starting your own kingdom, you have to give up your kingdom to become a vassal of the claimant. If you belonged to the faction that the claimant is trying to overthrow, the fiefs you currently own convert to the rebel faction of your claimant (temporarily under your control).
The other side of the coin
Talking to the current leaders of each faction, you can ask for their side of the story. Both the Claimant and the current leader have good reason for supporting their right to rule. Generally, the current sovereigns justify their right to rule with practical arguments (such as that the kingdom is better off under their rule), while the claimants justify their right to rule based on law or technicality (such as where their lineage places them in the traditional line of succession to the throne). It is never stated in-game who should be the rightful ruler of each faction - it is up to the player to decide.
Victory with a Claimant
Once you eliminate the original faction, your rebel faction becomes the "original" faction and you become the marshal of the new king or queen.
You also lose all the abilities associated with being a ruler such as assigning fiefs or sending emissaries. For this reason, beware of turning companions into lords during a claimant quest as they do not remain 'yours' when the original faction is defeated. Rather, they become lords of the new "original" faction led by the new monarch. If you'd like to have a companion as a prisoner, it may be easier to give them over during a claimant quest than force them to rebel during your own bid for kingship.
|Faction||Current Ruler||The King's Point of View||Claimant||The Claimant's Point of View|
|Kingdom of Ravenstern||King Gregory IV||
"I sit on the throne and that is all that matters. If any person could at any moments question king's rights, we would live in a state of a constant civil war."
"My sister, the claimant and a self-proclaimed knight, is a woman. No self-respecting man of The North would ever follow a woman."
"I was named by my father a lawful heir. I spent most of my girlhood preparing for this day. I am also a knight of the Falcon and proven myself worthy of it in battles."
"My brother, the king, usurped the throne by persuading everyone that a woman cannot possibly rule the North Kingdom."
|Kingdom of Sarleon||King Ulric||
"I am the real king."
"Sir Darlion of Pendor, the claimant, is just an inexperienced whelp who has no idea how to rule a kingdom. His claims are fabricated and he only distracts everyone from truly important matters."
|Sir Darlion of Pendor||
"I am the descendant of the ancient royal line of Pendor. My great great grandfather was supposed to be declared the king of Pendor but was betrayed. That is the only reason why our family haven't ruled for all these years.
Ulric l, the king, refuses to acknowledge my right to rule."
"I am a leader both strong and cunning which is now essential for the survival of Fiersdvain."
"Inar Ironhand, the claimant, is a strong warrior but he is dumb and has the cunning of a dead fish. The duel was a drunken test of arms. I knew I would lose and I did not expect him to take this combat so seriously."
"I am a strong warrior feared by my enemies. I defeated Valdis in a personal combat and demanded his lands and his title as a boon."
"Valdis, the king, refused to honor the traditions of our ancestors and grant me what I demanded. He is a weakling and an oath breaker."
"I and my people do everything we can to protect the Empire citizens who only care about one liberty - to grow fat."
"Demosthene Augustus, the claimant, speaks of the Council. But these patricians do nothing but make long speeches and in the end elect the person, who they are in good relationship with, the imperator."
"I was supposed to be elected the imperator during the last selection of the Council of Patricians.
Marius, the king, hired a D'Shar party to fake an attack on the Council and threatened to abandon the Council if they do not immediately elect him the king. Then he killed the D'Shar he hired. He is a traitor."
|D'Shar Principalities||Kadan Bahadur Khan||
"A am a strong ruler who united D'Shar and avoided a civil war."
"My brother, the claimant, would be a weak ruler who would lead D'Shar back to disunity and starvation and lose all the lands that we have to other kingdoms."
"I was my father's favorite and was always entrusted with handling all the political matters."
"My brother, the king, led the life of hunts and feasts. He usurped the throne ignoring my rights and only believes in strength while the D'Shar needs a just leader."