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King Pellinore

Death Penalty in the laws of Arthur

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The Pendragon main book has the following passage where king Arthur, in imitation to William the Conqueror, abolishes capital punishment (among many other things).

Quote

I also forbid that anyone shall be slain or hanged for any fault, or his eyes be put out or him be castrated. And this command shall not be violated under pain of a fine in full to me. 

Now in William's version what it says is that people can't be executed but they can be mutilated and in fact this is his alternative to killing them. I understand that good king Arthur can't go around promoting castration and that abolishing death penalty sounds great but it presents two problems:

1) Executing anyone is already forbidden before Arthur, at least for everyone but the king (an a very few chosen to act in the name of the king). Is Arthur supposed to pay a fine in full to himself?

2) Regardless of who gets the fine's money, Arthur would be paying it quite often. Death penalty is mentioned several times. In fact Arthur sentences his own wife to die a more gruesome death than hanging and this is presented as painful but lawful. And I know that my players will call Arthur a liar if he bans death penalty but tries to execute Guinevere because they already got very mad at him for killing the saxon hostages (they believe it to be against the vows of the Round Table since I made some of the hostages to be female and/or young).

3) Honestly I cannot think about what punishments would be a good alternative, in a medieval setting. Are bandits supposed to pay a fine? The gruesome alternatives of William are out of question, of course.

Should the whole fragment just be ignored?

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18 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

(they believe it to be against the vows of the Round Table since I made some of the hostages to be female and/or young)

They are not the only ones! I think Arthur should have insisted on grown men as hostages, especially as this is a Saxon army, not a migration. Where did they get all those women and children from? Anyway...

19 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

Should the whole fragment just be ignored?

The way I read it, it is Arthur confirming that no other person has the right to execute criminals, save the King. In Uther's time, if you catch the thief in the act, you are allowed to string him up as punishment, if you are a landholding noble (Book of the Warlord, p. 27: "◆ Thief-hanging: This is the right to hang a thief caught red-handed with the goods on him.").

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5 minutes ago, Morien said:

They are not the only ones! I think Arthur should have insisted on grown men as hostages, especially as this is a Saxon army, not a migration. Where did they get all those women and children from? Anyway...

I tend to assume that every time britons see a "saxon army" coming from the continent they actually facing a whole migratory band. This is after all the age of migration. Not to mention that people marched to war with wifes and children all the time, historically (even Arthur does travel to war with Guinevere without realizing it's a foolish decision around this time). This 

My intentions were to present a relatively good intentioned and naive Arthur forced to take a harsh decision. I did expect it to be controversial but not to antagonize the Pendragon. They've been quite loyal to Arthur the point of refusing Nanteleod's approaches (at the start, not when invaded by Wessex and in need of allies) during the anarchy because he was not the wielder of Excalibur. 

11 minutes ago, Morien said:

The way I read it, it is Arthur confirming that no other person has the right to execute criminals, save the King.

I guess this makes sense, but after my previous slip I will need to make sure this isn't interpreted as authoritarian. 

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1 hour ago, King Pellinore said:

I guess this makes sense, but after my previous slip I will need to make sure this isn't interpreted as authoritarian. 

Have some cruel baron string up some starving peasant family who have stolen a loaf of bread and see how quickly the PKs might come around to the idea of having a royal justice deciding death penalty cases rather than every nobleman. (Although quite a few of those new royal justices would be barons in their own right, too.)

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On 6/20/2020 at 12:49 PM, King Pellinore said:

I guess this makes sense, but after my previous slip I will need to make sure this isn't interpreted as authoritarian. 

It is authoritarian (Arthuritarian?). The right of High Justice (the ability to execute criminals) was a right belonging to Kings and jealously guarded by them. Greg even mentions in the rules that is is one of the reasons why knights tend to get imprisoned rather than killed. Imprisoning a knight, wrongly is a much lesser crime than murdering one.

Note that there were a few exceptions- for instance bandits caught in the act, especially along the King's road,  could be strung up on the spot, and killing someone in battle or fair combat wasn't considered murder. 

 

 

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On 6/20/2020 at 8:03 PM, Morien said:

Have some cruel baron string up some starving peasant family who have stolen a loaf of bread and see how quickly the PKs might come around to the idea of having a royal justice deciding death penalty cases rather than every nobleman. (Although quite a few of those new royal justices would be barons in their own right, too.)

I don't know if that's a good idea because some of the knights are a bit too happy to ignore the feudal social pyramid (one in particular is very quick to confuse being clement or just with being modern) and I'm trying to portray the nuances of protecting the weak without considering the peasants as your equals or worthy of the same rights as a knight. I'm sure I can find a different atrocity for Arthur to prevent though. Maybe a cruel baron who wants to kill an adultress damsel?

On 6/24/2020 at 7:43 PM, Atgxtg said:

It is authoritarian (Arthuritarian?). The right of High Justice (the ability to execute criminals) was a right belonging to Kings and jealously guarded by them. Greg even mentions in the rules that is is one of the reasons why knights tend to get imprisoned rather than killed. Imprisoning a knight, wrongly is a much lesser crime than murdering one.

Of course, but what I meant was that I imagine Arthur as being more fair and conciliatory than his father. Where Uther was arbitrary because he was self-centered, Arthur is just because he's concerned about his subjects. I've tried to portray him as an understander and a listener, although in the end he does what he wants as he is the High King. I don't imagine king Uther listening to Tor's "father" Aries request of knighting a peasant for a second, for example.

 

On 6/24/2020 at 7:43 PM, Atgxtg said:

Note that there were a few exceptions- for instance bandits caught in the act, especially along the King's road,  could be strung up on the spot, and killing someone in battle or fair combat wasn't considered murder. 

I will remember this when I explain the new law.

One more question that I forgot to ask back then but could become relevant (and I don't think deserves a new topic): What would be the consequences for a Round Table Knight who lied to Arthur? Specifically one of the player knights claimed that he was married with one of the lady hostages and this prevented Arthur from executing her (for some reason). Why he decided to lie instead of actually marrying her? I don't know. The player probably didn't want to anger Arthur by marrying an hostage, since he has high loyalty, but stopped caring when he saw the saxon lady he liked was gonna die. Needless to say the wedding is an outright lie that he invented on the spot. Arthur has promised to try to annul the marriage and Kay (or whoever handles the issue) will discover the lie soon because ¡there aren't any marriage documents in any of the realm's church and there's no marriage to annul! Arthur ought to be hurt and enraged even before knowing the truth. A Round Table knight has been publically criticizing his policy, has not shown any empathy towards the difficulty that surrounds the decision and has married a saxon basically just to spite him. I don't know how he should react when he discovers that the knight has tried to deceive him. All that without taking into account that marriage is a sacred institution and the PK is supposed to be religious...

On the other hand poor Arthur has learned his lesson and will write a law that prevents women and children from being valid war hostages in Logres, or something along those lines.

Edited by King Pellinore

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8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Of course, but what I meant was that I imagine Arthur as being more fair and conciliatory than his father.

Most of the major sources seem to present him so, although as he is written in all but the modern versions, he would still seem pretty arbitrarily to us. His emoitions override his sense of justice quite often. 

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Where Uther was arbitrary because he was self-centered, Arthur is just because he's concerned about his subjects. I've tried to portray him as an understander and a listener, although in the end he does what he wants as he is the High King. I don't imagine king Uther listening to Tor's "father" Aries request of knighting a peasant for a second, for example.

I could see Uther listening to Tor's Father. Uther isn't entirely bad, although he has been given a bit of a downgrade in recent year. 

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

One more question that I forgot to ask back then but could become relevant (and I don't think deserves a new topic): What would be the consequences for a Round Table Knight who lied to Arthur?

That sort of depends on what the lie was, if it hurt Arthur somehow, why the knight lied, and how Arthur reacts to it all. 

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Specifically one of the player knights claimed that he was married with one of the lady hostages and this prevented Arthur from executing her (for some reason). Why he decided to lie instead of actually marrying her? I don't know. The player probably didn't want to anger Arthur by marrying an hostage, since he has high loyalty, but stopped caring when he saw the saxon lady he liked was gonna die. Needless to say the wedding is an outright lie that he invented on the spot.

Oh, a bit of a tough one. On the one hand, Arthur doesn't like being lied to, on the other hand the knight is protecting a lady, and acted out of compassion- both of which couuld score him points with Guinevere, who in turn might ask Arthur to be lenient. Then, there may or may not be a problem with the Church over a false marriage, depending on the knight's religionI think the key thing though is why did Arthur want to execute the hostages, and if he would coll down if given time. 

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Arthur has promised to try to annul the marriage and Kay (or whoever handles the issue) will discover the lie soon because ¡there aren't any marriage documents in any of the realm's church and there's no marriage to annul!

Maybe. Documents for that sort of thing is a more recent invention. Marriage was as much a matter of custom and ceremony as anything else. Especially for non-Christian religions. In some ways, just claiming that you were married to a woman counted as such -unless she denied it. The odd thing would be that marriages were usually a very public thing, especially for the upper classes, and it would be unlikely that no one would be aware of the marriage if it had happened.

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Arthur ought to be hurt and enraged even before knowing the truth. A Round Table knight has been publically criticizing his policy, has not shown any empathy towards the difficulty that surrounds the decision and has married a saxon basically just to spite him. I don't know how he should react when he discovers that the knight has tried to deceive him. All that without taking into account that marriage is a sacred institution and the PK is supposed to be religious...

Oh, Round Table Knight, that up's the severity a notch or three, as he is now a direct vassal of Arthur. That technically makes his actions treasonous, if Arthur wants to look at it that way. That would the the extreme case though.  I think it really comes down to the excuse the knight gives for his actions. Mercy, Amor, or even possible Just could possible save him and even maybe change Arthurs mind on the matter, if the can make a good case. 

8 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

On the other hand poor Arthur has learned his lesson and will write a law that prevents women and children from being valid war hostages in Logres, or something along those lines.

If that's the case, then he might still spare the woman, as it's bad policy to createa new law and then do something contrary to it at the same time. I'd expect Arthur to do something along the lines of:

  • Spare the Saxon Woman
  • Punish the Knight- this could mean given him a unpouplar duty (i.e. night watch), or sending him into exile for a year, or maybe even something worse. 
  • Probably force the knight to marry the Saxon woman after all, unless that would mean more land and/or titles for the knight. 
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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

If that's the case, then he might still spare the woman, as it's bad policy to createa new law and then do something contrary to it at the same time. I'd expect Arthur to do something along the lines of:

  • Spare the Saxon Woman
  • Punish the Knight- this could mean given him a unpouplar duty (i.e. night watch), or sending him into exile for a year, or maybe even something worse. 
  • Probably force the knight to marry the Saxon woman after all, unless that would mean more land and/or titles for the knight. 

Yep, that would be pretty much what I would be inclining to do, as well. Make the lie into the truth by telling the knight to really marry the woman, although as far as everyone knows, they are already married by the knight's public admission! Like Atgxtg already pointed out, the Church might not even be involved: if both the knight and the woman say that they are married, then they are married. All the more so if the knight is a Pagan, of course (I assume not, since annulment is mentioned). Normally the marriages are public for obvious reasons, but there have been exceptions, even at rather high level. Edward IV comes to mind; even if you don't believe Bishop Stillington (the marriage to Lady Eleanor Talbot), his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was kept secret at first. Also, if the Saxon Lady and the knight had even be discussing about marriage 'once the war is over', this would have created a valid engagement between them, too.

Anyway, my point is that there is really no reason for Kay to go digging for marriage records. The knight has stated that he is married, there is no reason to doubt his word on this. Nor do I see why Arthur would like to have it annulled in the first place: not only is annulment a royal pain in the butt to arrange, there is no reason for it.

As to a more general point, lying to your liege lord is generally a very bad idea. In this particular case, the knight has several strong defenses, though. Defending women for one (Honor, due to the oath), Merciful for another. There might be an actual Amor, too. Like Atgxtg said, there would be support from Guinever in this case, definitely. It is the prerogative of the medieval queen to be the voice of Mercy; it is expected that she pleads for mercy for those deserving of it, so that the king has an excuse to be merciful without looking weak. Of course, if the knight is smart, he would ask for an audience with Arthur and Guinever in private, and confess his lie and reasoning in private. This allows Arthur to save face: it is not made public that he has been lied to his face by one of his Round Table Knights. Also, from what I understand, Arthur is not happy about killing those women and children, so he probably doesn't want to refight that argument, either, and just be happy that at least one woman was saved from death by this well-meaning lie.

Now there would be more problems if the Saxon woman in question is not willing to marry the knight, or agreed to do so only under the duress of death. Then the marriage would be invalid from the onset, even if there is an agreement by both parties. I still do not see the King executing her after the fact, especially since this is after the Battle of Badon; what would be the point? But in this case, the lie is made public, and that puts Arthur in a bit of a bind. "Thou shalt not embarrass your liege lord." ought to be a commandment. If the knight has already confessed to Arthur, this helps a bit, as it does not come out of the left field as far as Arthur is concerned. But it still depends a lot on Arthur: after all, Gawaine quits the court due to Arthur's unjust exile of Ywaine, and he is not punished for it, and both of them are welcomed back to court. So Arthur is not incapable of admitting that he was at fault. So if you want Arthur really show off how different he is from Uther, you could have him state that he was wrong in executing those hostages (i.e. it was legitimate to do so, but it was morally unjust), and since the lie was made for a noble cause (to save the life of a lady), the knight will not be punished for it. Sure, it might create a bit of an unfortunate precedent as far as lying to Arthur is concerned, but I could see Arthur deciding that he can deal with any future lies as they crop up: it might be more important to him that his knights do what is right, rather than obey him in all things.

11 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

I don't know if that's a good idea because some of the knights are a bit too happy to ignore the feudal social pyramid (one in particular is very quick to confuse being clement or just with being modern) and I'm trying to portray the nuances of protecting the weak without considering the peasants as your equals or worthy of the same rights as a knight.

Sounds more like a player issue; i.e. the players are not clear on how the medieval society works. This is something an discussion around the table would help, to bring everyone up to speed. Especially since you mention that there is at least one player who has not grasped the nuances. Anyway, the point is that the PKs can object to the hanging, on merciful or other grounds. But it would highlight the problem of having death penalty option in the hands of local lords, i.e. the main point Arthur wants to fix. Heck, you could even have the PKs report to Arthur and that is the final straw that leads Arthur into formulating this new law. It will give the players a feeling that they have influenced the way that the world works, and that is generally a good thing.

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Thanks Atgxtg and Morien, you bring some useful points. I reckon I haven't explained myself that well in the earlier post (english isn't my first language and I don't even use it much). Let me explain the chronology of events:

516 summer: Colgrim of the continental saxons attacks Malahaut, Arthur suffers an indecisive defeat in the battle of the Humber. This same night Colgrim attacks Arthur's camp, the saxons are defeated but the players are very unlucky today. Young count Robert and several of his knights die ("luckily", all the PK casualties were substitutes with little character development). Arthur besieges Eburacum and Count Rydychan is sent to lead an ambush against Colgrim's brother, Baldulf. The knights of Salisbury scream vengeance and worst things, due to high loyalty (Robert), hate (saxons), amor (Guinevere, remember she was in the attacked camp) or a dangerous combination of two or three of those. They're very happy when they stomp Baldulf and very angry when the assault on Eburacum fails. To exemplify how mad they were: at least one of them (maybe it was Merciful knight?) even wanted to fight against Cheldric, disregarding the dangers of being caught between two saxon armies.

516 winter: The PKs consider that Merciful Knight should be the warden for Robert's 3 years old son. Merciful Knight is a banneret, a RTK, he's chivalrous, he's religious (brittish christian), famous for his loyalty and son of a knight famous for his loyalty. It makes sense. The PK ask Arthur and he accepts with two conditions: Merciful Knight should marry the mother of the child; the knights of Salisbury must agree to the marriage and wardenship. We roleplay it all and Merciful Knight proves to also be Generous knight so the knights of Salisbury agree once all the knights with more glory (all other PK) accept him as warden of the count.

517 summer: Arthur defeats the continental Saxons in Lincoln and the Caledonian Forest. Colgrim and Cheldric agree to give hostages and swear that they will never return to Britain. Based on historical readings, I decide that the hostages ought to be mostly minors including girls. Being barbaric migrants the saxons (at least Colgrim's) ought to have come with their families, book of armies even provides stats for saxon women joining the fight. In my mind Arthur doesn't really consider the possibility of saxons breaking their oaths if the hostages are minors, he's no longer a boy but he is still young and a bit naive. 

517 winter: In order to provide a bit of interesting roleplaying, each good vassal gets to look after one of the hostages (or more for dukes, kings, etc.). I roll randomly and Salisbury gets a 16 years old girl called Eadlin. In theory count Robert is on charge of watching her, but he's 3 so Merciful Knight decides it's his duty (makes sense to me). He brings her to one of his personal manors because he doesn't trust the other knights, who have hate saxons 16+ and associate young Eadlin with the murder of count Robert. Eadlin is proud 16, reckless 18 so she tries to escape several times. She's also honest 16, doesn't speak any British language and is a teenager so I hand-wave that she fails every time. Merciful Knight does nothing about all this, considering it cute, and becomes fond of Eadlin despite it not being mutual. This winter the mother of count Robert, wife of Merciful Knight, dies giving birth. Aelle prepares to invade. Colgrim and Cheldric will join him.

518 spring: Arthur asks for the hostages to be in Carlion in Easter or Pentecost (can't remember). With high Loyalty (Pendragon), Merciful Knight decides to obey for now. The GPC assumes Arthur hangs all the hostages but I obviously let Merciful knight to ask for mercy. He meets in private with Arthur, who says that it would be arbitrary to spare Eadlin but hang the other hostages. Merciful Knight is obviously fine with sparing all of them but Arthur can't do that just because a single knight just asked. Arthur promises to do what he can, he will consult all the Round Table. However, most knights and nobles believe that sparing the hostages would show Arthur as weak (and rightly so). Merciful Knight starts trying to gain support for sparing the hostages, and indeed a lot of other knights join him. However others are lobbying for the execution of the hostages (including two PKs who are also RTKs). Remember: everybody's mind is focused on the apocalyptic struggle with the saxons that will come soon. Merciful knight gets a bit aggresive at this point and isn't as polite as he should with Arthur or the other RTKs. Ironically this time the ones who keep a cold mind are he haters: they point out that both executing the hostages and not doing it would break an oath so Arthur should chose the one that is most benefical for Britain. Some add that saxons don't count for the RTKs oath anyways. Arthur in the end decides to execute the hostages, considering that being seen as weak by the saxons is the last thing he needs now before fighting Aelle. It is decided, hateful knights rejoice and the others begrudgingly accept the situation. Merciful knight then decides to lie and say he's married to Eadlin and Arthur can't execute the wife of a loyal vassal. At this point Arthur is a bit fed up and certainly not happy. He admonishes Merciful Knight for such an irresponsible decision, since for starters he doesn't have the approbation of her family and Arthur wasn't consulted. Angry, he claims that he can talk with the priest and annul the marriage. Being a british christian marriage, it shouldn't be that hard for the High King. The assembly is over, in part because Merciful Knight isn't succesful with his deceitful roll but Arthur isn't willing to call him a liar without investigating first. In part because we still need to play the first Badon battle today and battles can last a long time. I hand-wave that Arthur's men have enough time between Easter and Badon to discover that there was no marriage (or at least no priest, no witnesses). Merciful Knight isn't exactly an intriguer anyways and none of his allies in Salisbury is willing to help him with this lie (all have high hate saxons or respect the church too much). The hostages are executed to show the saxons that chivalry doesn't equal weakness.

 

The player is fine with the resolution, but holds a grudge with Arthur. Which is bad for a RTK who used to have loyalty 16 (now 14). Conversely other PKs, specially the oldest one who is a pagan, are even more happy with Arthur now as they feared that the whole chivalry and niceness thing could sabotage Arthur's struggle against the saxons. I'll say Arthur handled the situation as best as he could but he will need to find the way to make peace with sir Merciful. The law I mentioned would be part of his attempts (probably to make peace with an angry Guinevere too). Specially since this knight has survived three days of Badon almost unscratched and will probably survive the 4th, so he will be well above 20.000 glory by 519. The only ones higher than him are probably luminaries like Pellinore. Even Gawain who is still young is probably lower. At least in Salisbury he will be by far the greatest knight since those who were "better" (more glorious) already met glorious deaths in Badon.

Edited by King Pellinore

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1 hour ago, King Pellinore said:

he will need to find the way to make peace with sir Merciful.

Quite the opposite. Sir Merciful is going to experience Royal Displeasure.

He was entrusted Salisbury on the condition that he marries the widowed Countess, who just happens to die the next winter. He pretty much straightaway marries his Saxon hostage (his own words at Easter condemn him), without checking with his liege lord, Arthur. Even if that is a lie, it doesn't really help: he has publicly said that he did it. He argues against Arthur and apparently holds himself in such high esteem that he holds a grudge towards Arthur, his King and Liege.

Were this my campaign, there would be High Hate Salisbury knights whispering 'poison', 'Rowena' and 'Saxon witch'. Frankly, they would be begging Arthur to replace Sir Merciful as the current ruler of Salisbury, rather than see what Sir Merciful will do next to please his Saxon Sorceress.

My Arthur would forthwith remove the wardship from Sir Merciful and bring little Robert to Camelot, assigning some suitable, trusted and loyal knight to oversee Salisbury (possibly another PK, or at least in consultation with them). Clearly Sir Merciful is not a man whose Loyalty and Judgement the King can trust any longer, and it seems obvious ("he doesn't trust the other knights, who have hate saxons 16+ and associate young Eadlin with the murder of count Robert." & "none of his allies in Salisbury is willing to help him with this lie") that he has lost the trust of his fellow Salisbury knights, too.

Arthur is the High King. This knight is a Banneret Who Would Be Emperor. Arthur has just defeated the greatest army that Saxons have ever fielded, and is now reconquering Saxon lands that were lost to the Britons over three generations. Arthur is riding high in approval, the generous giver of lands and honours. Sir Merciful is in disgrace, isolated from his peers by his own actions, a Saxon-lover. (Granted, Arthur does encourage for his knights who settle in reconquered lands to marry Saxon widows and heiresses, which might also endear him a bit to Guinever. But I doubt many of those knights were Guardians of Salisbury who got enthralled by his Saxon hostage, with his lawful wife suddenly dying...)

Edited by Morien

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

Quite the opposite. Sir Merciful is going to experience Royal Displeasure.

He was entrusted Salisbury on the condition that he marries the widowed Countess, who just happens to die the next winter. He pretty much straightaway marries his Saxon hostage (his own words at Easter condemn him), without checking with his liege lord, Arthur. Even if that is a lie, it doesn't really help: he has publicly said that he did it. He argues against Arthur and apparently holds himself in such high esteem that he holds a grudge towards Arthur, his King and Liege.

Were this my campaign, there would be High Hate Salisbury knights whispering 'poison', 'Rowena' and 'Saxon witch'. Frankly, they would be begging Arthur to replace Sir Merciful as the current ruler of Salisbury, rather than see what Sir Merciful will do next to please his Saxon Sorceress.

My Arthur would forthwith remove the wardship from Sir Merciful and bring little Robert to Camelot, assigning some suitable, trusted and loyal knight to oversee Salisbury (possibly another PK, or at least in consultation with them).

Well, Salisbury does have enemies since they were pretty belligerent during the anarchy. Specially Dorset and Silchester have reasons to have grudges. Until now I tried to roleplay them as conciliatory (Arthur likes his vassals to get along) but both duke Ulfius and the roman pretor strike me as the kind of men who would use this opportunity to settle some grievances.

1 hour ago, Morien said:

and it seems obvious ("he doesn't trust the other knights, who have hate saxons 16+ and associate young Eadlin with the murder of count Robert." & "none of his allies in Salisbury is willing to help him with this lie") that he has lost the trust of his fellow Salisbury knights, too.

I have to say that this isn't exactly the situation. His grip on Salisbury could be easily weakened but is strong now. The majority of powerful knights (both PK and NPK) have a good relationship with the merciful knight since he granted offices, castles or other gifts to everybody with enough land or glory. Remember Arthur explicitly wanted everybody to agree with this knight being the protector of the young earl, so the knight made sure this was the case when he still had loyalty 16 towards the high king. The knights of Salisbury just wanted their friend to not be a hothead, basically. They're almost all dead anyways. Badon is being a massacre for Salisbury and only the seneschal and the marshall (both NPK) remain as powerful or glorious knights apart from sir Merciful. They may die in the 4th day that we have not played yet, anyways. Of the PKs heirs (soon to be playing characters), one was squired by Sir Merciful and one is being squired by him right now. The remaining is the little brother of Sir Merciful's best friend (my players can quarrel sometimes but in the end they are teamplayers). Last, but not least, Sir Merciful was squired in Cameliard and is on good terms with king Leodegrance.

 

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Arthur is the High King. This knight is a Banneret Who Would Be Emperor. Arthur has just defeated the greatest army that Saxons have ever fielded, and is now reconquering Saxon lands that were lost to the Britons over three generations. Arthur is riding high in approval, the generous giver of lands and honours. Sir Merciful is in disgrace, isolated from his peers by his own actions, a Saxon-lover. (Granted, Arthur does encourage for his knights who settle in reconquered lands to marry Saxon widows and heiresses, which might also endear him a bit to Guinever. But I doubt many of those knights were Guardians of Salisbury who got enthralled by his Saxon hostage, with his lawful wife suddenly dying...)

Since Arthur has already allowed the knight to fight in Badon (to lead the forces of Salisbury, actually) due to metagame reasons, would you make Arthur to not grant lands in the saxon shore to the knight like he does with other Badon survivors? Or would it be more correct to give him land but also exile him or enact whatever other punishment (so actually the lands would be given to his heirs)? 

Also, apart from removing the wardship, what should Arthur do? Should he exile the knight? Seize his lands? Or removing wardship and a verbal reprimand are enough for a war hero that used to be a loyal knight? Apart from an unfounded half-accusation against Ulfius (caused by his high suspicious towards Silchester) this is the first time that this knight has angered the High King in his eight years career. In the first years of the Boy King Period this knight was so loyal that he decided to take responsibility for one of Arthur's bastards (he had also eloped with the mother too but not taken her virtue) which in hindsight should have revealed a deceitful nature but was also a "bro move" for teenager Arthur. I guess that the knight asking for pardon could ease things between lord and vassal?

Disclaimer: This is a metagame thing but the player doesn't have an appropriate back-up knight his heir is 6 and he doesn't have brothers or any living adult male on the dynasty apart from himself. If possible, I would prefer to allow the player to continue playing with this knight (a redemption tale, maybe). His "back-up" is a sister who secretly dresses as a knight from time to time but, while she's fine for sporadic adventures, she's a bad main character. 

Edited by King Pellinore

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Plenty of other war heroes from Badon, like Arthur himself. The PK is not unique in that regard.

He lied to Arthur. He is no longer Famously Loyal. He has alienated at least some of the Salisbury knights, and apparently has been handing out manors and castles out like candy, rather than safe-guarding them for the heir. (I really hope those have been Gifts rather than Grants, too, and that majority of the knights who got gifts are now dead and the lands returned to the correct heir, especially since you said that in your campaign the Count already had a much smaller slice of the pie to begin with. If they were grants, I would see Arthur basically declaring the PK's actions null and void, and review all the grants, at the very least turning them to gifts if not revoke them altogether. Frankly, giving grants is not something I think is even in the guardian's power, since otherwise they could just grant all the ward's lands to their own heir.)

These all are good reasons to remove him from command. I don't think it is enough to seize his lands or to send him into exile, though. After all, he did fight for Arthur & Britain. As to why Arthur would wait until after Badon, clearly Arthur didn't want to upset the chain of command on the eve of the major Battle, especially since apparently lots of the big names in Salisbury (other PKs) supported him still. But yeah, I don't see Arthur handing him any rewards like extra lands given that he is already deciding to punish the PK.

Now, though, once the Battle is done, it is time to clean house. I don't see Arthur giving Silchester nor Dorset a chance to abuse Salisbury; part of the whole thing of taking little Robert as his personal ward is that Arthur himself becomes the new guardian. He simply appoints someone else to see to the everyday tasks.

As for the PK, this means that he will keep his own lands, which are quite extensive if he is a banneret. The other PKs probably still rally to him, as you noted due to the personal ties to him. And he would remain a glorious knight and probably retain the RTK status as well. A redemption story would be quite possible. Get that Loyalty up again, do a dangerous quest or two to get back to Arthur's good graces. He would not get the guardianship back, but at least he would be welcome in Camelot again.

Asking for pardon, preceded by confessing and admitting fault, basically throwing yourself in Arthur's mercy and being contrite would be the best ways to deflect the majority of long-term effects (still losing the wardship). Arguing with the High King, or worse, insulting him to his face or threatening a rebellion, would not be smart.

Finally, there is still the issue of the Saxon lady, who apparently is not that keen on marrying him. On the other hand, what other options does she have? Her family is probably destitute and the menfolk dead. Which might actually lead to some fun RP if she does agree to marry the PK and then brings in her mother and all the sisters and underaged brothers and cousins... Invasion of the In-Laws.

Edited by Morien
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The saxon lady was sadly executed already (or at least that's what Arthur said...) along with the rest of hostages. 

As for the banneret, he won't get land and his wardship will be removed. It will be made clear why this is. I will also mention that he should refrain from going to Carlion or wherever the king is (Camelot doesn't exist yet!) unless it's to ask for forgiveness or to attend the mandatory round table meeting during Pentecost. 

His substitute will probably be a RTK or one of the princes without land that frequent Arthur’s court. Maybe Galegantis who will at some point receive Clarence but is landless now (if I'm correct). Maybe Brastias, he's liked by the players, but he's too old. Or some of the unnamed RTKs of Cameliard with a good relationship with the old warden, to make things easier when dealing with him and his supporters. Anyobody from Salisbury would not be a safe choice. Except maybe Ellen who is the grandmother of little count Roderick. Can a woman be warden? 

Edited by King Pellinore

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9 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

The saxon lady was sadly executed already (or at least that's what Arthur said...) along with the rest of hostages. 

Oh. Then why the excitement about nullification and all that, if the woman is already dead?

9 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Carlion or wherever the king is (Camelot doesn't exist yet!)

True, true. Takes some years before Camelot starts to get built, even.

9 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Maybe Brastias, he's liked by the players, but he's too old.

Says who? He is active at Badon, and continues to be active until 531, although he starts grousing about retiring in 523. He is fit enough to ride hard in 529, and he is briefly the Justiciar of Ireland 530-531, before he finally retires from the public life into a hermitage. He is around in GPC until 560, at least... A cushy 'desk job' as the Guardian of Salisbury seems right down his alley. I think Brastias would be a fine choice.

 

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50 minutes ago, Morien said:

Oh. Then why the excitement about nullification and all that, if the woman is already dead?

True, true. Takes some years before Camelot starts to get built, even.

Says who? He is active at Badon, and continues to be active until 531, although he starts grousing about retiring in 523. He is fit enough to ride hard in 529, and he is briefly the Justiciar of Ireland 530-531, before he finally retires from the public life into a hermitage. He is around in GPC until 560, at least... A cushy 'desk job' as the Guardian of Salisbury seems right down his alley. I think Brastias would be a fine choice.

 

Brastias it is then, he will be perfect because most players already have or will have Loyalty (group) towards him (he was invited to symbolically join their brotherhood during the anarchy). I somehow interpreted his 523 quote as signaling the date for his actual retirement, but you're right that it's just Brastias grousing. In fact the man being preoccupied with Salisbury can provide an explanation to why Arthur sends Griflet and not Brastias against the angles. Brastias it is. 

50 minutes ago, Morien said:

Oh. Then why the excitement about nullification and all that, if the woman is already dead?

Well the nullification process would've started before the execution, of course. I just figured that it's not the same to execute your vassal's wife than some saxon woman who wasn't really married to him as religious justice will soon prove. Arthur doesn't care much about Morgan being the wife of Uriens when he exiles Ywaine and makes her an enemy, but Morgan tried to kill him so it's a different situation (even without taking into account that they're half-brothers amd that she's a dangerous sorceress). An attempt to cancel the marriage would have been demanded by Guinevere I believe. 

Edited by King Pellinore

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9 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

She can ;) A good choice by the way.

She is a great character and it would be nice to give her some spotlight again but Brastias makes more sense from Arthur's perspective (imho). Maybe they can be married to each other. This would make Brastias a sort of step-grandfather for the little count and I'm sure he's happy to have someone experienced at ruling Salisbury like Ellen by his side. Ellen is probably happy to have such an authority figure protecting her grandson.  And since Arthur asked the first ward to marry the mother of the child it's sort of coherent that the new one needs to marry into the family too.

Edited by King Pellinore

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34 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

Maybe they can be married to each other. 

Sounds like a great political match. It also makes Brastias even more palatable for the Salisbury knights.

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