- Klingons have a warrior culture, placing great value on physical courage and strength. Their central virtue is batlh, which is frequently translated as "honour," but is more akin to the Japanese concept of on, or "face." It can also be translated to mean "glory."
The best way for a Klingon to achieve honour is by battle, and the best battles are hand-to-hand. For this reason, Klingons engaged in ground battles or boarding manoeuvres will attempt to close to close combat range, where energy weapons are ineffective tactically but where melee weapons are extremely effective. The primary weapon used in this manner is the bet'leH.
Federation citizens who expect Klingon honour to follow the standards of the Federation are often disappointed in this. Klingons, while prizing the virtues of straightforwardness (or at least professing to do so) are quite capable of backstabbing and double dealing. The primary rule, it would seem, is "Don't get caught."
- At the age of ten, a Klingon youth reaches the Age of Ascension (nenghep) and undergoes the First Rite of Ascension (nenlay Wa'DIch). He declares his intention to become a warrior and is presented with his Daqtagh, the three-bladed knife or a warrior. At age fifteen, he undergoes the Second Rite of Ascension (nentay cha 'DIch), declaring 'DaHjaj SuvwI'e'jIH. tIqwIj Sa'angnIS. Iw BIQtIqDaq jIjaH.' ("Today I am a Warrior. I must show you my heart. Travel the River of Blood.") He then must walk a gantlet of warriors who strike him with painsticks ('oy'naQ).
When a warrior becomes elderly or crippled and becomes a burden to his family, he is expected to perform the Heghbatlh, or "honourable death" (ritual suicide).
When a warrior dies, other Klingons will perform the Klingon death ritual (Heghtay), opening the warrior's eyes so that he can see on his way into the afterlife, and giving a victory howl (Heghjach) to warn the dead that a Warrior is coming to join them. When a high ranking leader, such as a Da'Har master, dies, the rite is called a Sonchly, and is much longer, although still ending in the Heghjach.
- The basic unit of Klingon culture is the House (qorDu'); the clan or family. One's personal honour transfers to the House, and that of the House to its members. Each member of the House is legally bound to the House and its head. If one dishonours oneself, one dishonours the clan. A Klingon who has dishonoured his House and the Empire may be discommended, a form of ostracism where he literally has no legal existance. This dishonour usually transfers to the House as well, and all the members thereof.
- The Klingon Empire (tlhlngan wo') is governed by a High Council (yejquv), the membership of which is composed of representatives of the Great Houses (qorDu 'ar), led by a Chancellor (Qang). Ruling above the Chancellor and Council is the Emperor (la', or voDleH). For a period of approximately 300 years (circa 2070 to 2369), there was no emperor; the Chancellor and High Council ruled as well as governed. In 2369, Kahless II (qeylls cha'DIch), a clone of the first Klingon emperor, ascended the throne. He is largely regarded outside of the Empire as a figurehead, but has a large and devoted following throughout the Empire. Martok (mar'toQ), the current Chancellor, came to office after Chancellor Gowron (ghawran) was killed by Worf (worIv), Martok's adopted son, in a duel of honour.
Emperor Kahless II