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TerryTroll

Loss of Honour for physical labour?

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First off what qualifies? Does it matter if no one is around to see it? Does it apply on every occasion?

Say a knight is off questing, comes across a cottage where an old wise women asks him to chop wood for the fire, so that she may make a herbal brew that will cure his Lord who is dying of some illness. 

Or a knight is travelling on a Saxon longboat and the crew expect him to muck in. Boating is not a non-knightly skill, but would it count as physical labour?

In both cases -2 honour feels a little steep to me.

If he was seen tending his own fields because the serfs had left his lands for some reason, then sure -2 honour.

Would it make any difference if the Knight was Modest 16, so it might not affect his personal view of himself as much?

Edited by TerryTroll

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42 minutes ago, TerryTroll said:

Does it matter if no one is around to see it?

It's the old question of internal versus external honor. The rules are murky. In my game, honor is internal, so it does not matter if someone else watches it or not.

42 minutes ago, TerryTroll said:

Say a knight is off questing, comes across a cottage where an old wise women asks him to chop wood for the fire, so that she may make a herbal brew that will cure his Lord who is dying of some illness. 

In my opinion, you never lose honor for cutting wood. A squire can do that without shaming himself, and so a knight can do it, in case of dire need.

To understand what labor is, you have to understand the 3 orders of a medieval society.

1) Clergy. They pray

2) Nobles. They fight

3) Commoners. They work.

They have no honor. They count their coppers.  If you behave like one, it's logical you lose honor.

"Some commoners, I suppose, are good people, but..."

42 minutes ago, TerryTroll said:

In both cases -2 honour feels a little steep to me.

It's -5 in my game (And I felt it was RAW). I think it's logical. If you are doing commoner's work, you are not a noble, but a commoner. Go with your filthy friends, and leave us in good company!

Honor is very different from courtesy, and chivalry. Killing a desarmed knight? Bad, but understandable (-1 en honor). Raping a noble lady (-2 honor)? Disgusting, but alas, things happen during war... Killing a foe with a sword? What a man! Killing a foe with a crossbow? What a coward (-3 honor)!

As you can see, honor is a very primitive Code of honor for a knight.

42 minutes ago, TerryTroll said:

Would it make any difference if the Knight was Modest 16, so it might not affect his personal view of himself as much?

No in my opinion. What you think is not really important. It's about society expectations. Even peasants will lose any respect they have for the knight.

Edited by Tizun Thane
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I could have sworn that we had this discussion not too long ago... Or maybe it was in the Discord server?

Anyway, my take is that it depends on the context.

If the King tells you to carry his saddle, oh, what a privilege, gladly sire! If your amor asks it, of course you do it, again. If a commoner merchant asks it, you throw the saddle in his face, or you might carry it and lose Honor by lowering yourself to be the commoner's servant.

Grabbing a log used as a battering ram against enemy's gate: Honorable and brave. Carrying a similar log to help peasants clear a field: clearly beneath your status and hence dishonorable.

In the particular examples mentioned by the OP, I would penalize the knight for lowering himself to just another oar-jockey for the Saxon scum, but I probably would not penalize him for chopping wood to save his liege. Also, surroundings matter. The feeble old wise woman clearly cannot chop wood efficiently and there are no other strapping lads around (or they would get the job while the knight supervises), so it is when needs must. But the Saxon ship is full of sailors while the knight is not that proficient sailor, so clearly here his contribution is not mandatory. Besides, the Saxons are likely just demanding it to make fun of him, anyway, the bastards.

Modest and Proud would come into it to see if he is willing to do something 'beneath his station', but it would not influence Honor loss itself. The difference is that the Proud one would be likely to decline to do it and might even get upset by the suggestion, possibly reacting violently.

 

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To put in my 2d, it's really about contest and status. The idea is that a knight should not be doing work that is beneath is station., and generally speaking, he can probable resolve a situation without having to resort to doing something beneath his station.

Regarding your specific cases:

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

First off what qualifies?

Anything that would be considered un-knightly behavior. Note that, as in Morien's example, whom a knight does a task for can affect if it is knightly or not. 

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

Does it matter if no one is around to see it?

Possibly. Honor as a passion is a characteristic of the character and so could be affected without witnesses, but witnesses would certainly make the situation worse and harder to recover from.

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

Does it apply on every occasion?

Yes-at least for every occasion that would warrant it.

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

Say a knight is off questing, comes across a cottage where an old wise women asks him to chop wood for the fire, so that she may make a herbal brew that will cure his Lord who is dying of some illness. 

Well first off commoners generally didn't chop wood for fires but instead were allowed to gather fallen branches and other dead wood. So it's doubtful that an old lady would have dragged home pieces to large for her to break up. But let's assume that she either got sick, or that someone else got the firewood, but isn't around to chop it up. In that case, the knight would probably order his squire to do it. If a knight didn't have a squire then he was probably already gathering his own wood while camped out.

This all assumes the old woman lives in a remote spot (in which case how did she get the firewood?), if she lives in a village the knight could just order a villager to do it.

 

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

Or a knight is travelling on a Saxon longboat and the crew expect him to muck in. Boating is not a non-knightly skill, but would it count as physical labour?

That's not happening. First assuming the Knight and the Saxons get along, then he probably is paying them for passage, and passengers don't muck in with the crew, not are the expected to. If he's nbot paying for passage then he must be a guest of a Saxon Jarl or Thegn, as and such wouldn't be expected to muck in. If, he is just a member of the crew, then he is acting beneath his station and would indeed loose honor.

But in general there really shouldn't be a situation where the knight is expected to muck in with the crew, expcet maybe in a survival type station, and then there might be glory to it.

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

In both cases -2 honour feels a little steep to me.

In the first case the knight probably has another way to get the firewood, and in the second -2 doesn't seem steep enough. He's behaving like a common sailor, and not a knight. 

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

If he was seen tending his own fields because the serfs had left his lands for some reason, then sure -2 honour.

Probably a lot more than that. A knight who has to tend his own fields has mismanaged his lands tot he point where he could be considered negligent in his duties and his liege could take the land away.

9 hours ago, TerryTroll said:

Would it make any difference if the Knight was Modest 16, so it might not affect his personal view of himself as much?

Probably not. Even a Knight with Modest 20, is still a knight and thus better than a commoner in they eyes of medieval people.  Some leeway can be given tot he clergy, but in general this falls back tot he divine right of kings, that medieval people believed in. Basically nobles are nobles because God wants them to be, and the social order is His will. So a knight doing something beneath his station, even out of generously or kindness is basically going against God's will, and defying his Liege Lord (who in turn gets his title and positions due to the will of God). 

I think the reason why -2 seems step to you is because you are looking at this from a modern perspective. To the medieval mind these things are dishonorable, and need to be viewed in that light. So it's comparable to things like to kidnapping, rape (of a noblewoman, note that raping a commoner isn't considered to be a big deal), or killing an unarmed holy man.

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