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Etiquette of Armaments


Uhtred

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Our group is still in the Uther period - soon to be Anarchy - and I’ve encountered a speed bump in the form of what level of armament and armor is permissible in the various Courts? I assume when you are in your Lord’s Court - as you are a trusted member of his entourage - wearing your sword is always acceptable as it represents being ever ready to defend your Lord. Does the same apply when you visit the King’s Court?  What about the times you are sent to the Courts outside Logres, like going to Malahaut or Estregales?

Specifically, my PK’s are having to travel to Cumbria to handle a situation regarding the extended family of one of the players wives  - and they are all trying to figure out where and how to secret the most weapons possible to make sure they are never unarmed and unarmored. It is a carryover from Pathfinder and such that they feel this paranoia, and discussions about Hospitality always circles back to the Night of Long Knives, so it got me wondering just how acceptable is it to wear your armor and weapons outside your home Court?

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Armor of course would not be worn in social occasions. We have examples in Le Morte, in particular Balin's case, where the knight goes to get his horse and armor as he is leaving court.

As for the sword, I would let that be a function of the situation and the Lord's suspicious. Arthur would likely allow people to wear their swords, but a more suspicious Lord might insist on his guests disarming at the door. Eating knives would always be OK, and perhaps even fighting daggers to show some status. For feasts, I would imagine that the swords would be left off, since they would get in the way of sitting and dancing (and tripping servants or knocking against other people). But if you are standing at a court occasion as the lord is interviewing people or holding court, maybe you'd wear your sword them to show your status as a nobleman. But see above re: suspicious lords.

 

 

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Swords are usually allowed, although not always carried. In most courts there are probably a few weapons on the walls here and there so a PK should have a chance to grab a weapon if he needed one. Daggers are pretty much universal so no one is every really unarmed.

Armor is more qustionable. If the Court is supposed to be friendly then there would be no need for armor, so wearing it would be like asking for trouble. Knights would probably wear armor when travelling on escort duty though, and would probably arrive and leave fully armored, plus there are tournaments and other events where armor makes sense. But generally if someone is wearing armor he is preparing for a fight. Someone posted as a gaurd at a door could probably do it, as they have a reason, but otherwise the PK is probably aggravating a situation.

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Daggers are pretty much universal so no one is every really unarmed.

Although there might be a difference between a small utility/eating knife and a foot-long fighting dagger. I don't think KAP 5.x makes that distinction, though, so both qualify as daggers.

Edited by Morien
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3 minutes ago, Morien said:

Although there might be a difference between a small utility/eating knife and a foot-long fighting dagger. I don't think KAP 5.x makes that distinction, though, so both qualify as daggers.

Yeah, well basically KAP doesn't distinguish between knives and daggers. I was considering allowing for weapons like a Seax that do +1d6 against lightly armored opponents (soft leather or less) similar to how maces hammers get bonuses. This could make fighting daggers as useful as swords in court where most characters are unarmored or bundled up in furs.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I would say, but YPMV:

Armor: No. It would be a breach of hospitality. The lord of the manor is obligated to protect those who are under his roof, so keeping your armor would say that you would not trust him to keep his word and would a be a big insult to his honor.

Sword: It is seen as a symbol of your knighthood. So keeping it would be the standard. Of course suspicious lords may ask you to lay them down, but since it is your duty as a guest to protect the household it could be seen as an insult. Although of course it is the duty of the lord to protect you as a guest. Its not so big an insult as wearing amor.

Other weapons: The axes, hammers and maces carried by knights are weapons of war. Since you are not at war it would be ill manner to carry them in court. Although i would allow someone to carry a family heirloom weapon instead of a sword. 

There is a big difference between 'wartime' and 'non wartime'. 

'wartime' is all those times when a knight needs to be ready for combat. So travelling the country (sometimes filled with enemies) you wear your wargear. Fully armored and armed. So if you are at a castle under siege you will wear your armor at all times, even when the lord is holding court. Or when you are active in a joust or melee during a torunament.

'non wartime' is all those occassions when you are 'save'. Almost all courtly activity are without armor. There are exception of course, but they are exceptions. So even if the court is held outdoors, like in a falcon hunt. You are not  fully armored, although the host may make advice his guests to arm if the country is dangerous due to bandits or something. But then you could ask yourself if a falcon hunt is such a good idea. In this instances it is very bad form to carry weapons of war (like your armor and weapons).

As for hospitality there are two big rules that I use:

1) The host is responsible for the savety of his guests. If harm comes to them it is a stain on their honor. He also decides who are part of the court. So those arriving must ask permssion to enter and those wishing to leave must also ask permission. This last is usually granted, although there are enough incidents where the host puts conditions on it (paying a ransom the most common).

2) As a guest it is your duty to keep the peace. You refrain from violence aginst other guests. As a matter of fact: it is your duty to protect the honor of the host in this regard. So if the court is attacked you must help defend it as long as you are a guest.

Of course you can challenge another knight if you wish. But the fight will either occur with the acceptance of the host (and under his conditions) or after both have left the hospitality of the host.

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