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Trial by combat incident for an adventure.


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This is a bit of medieval business that can be thrown into an adventure when the situation comes up.

The knights are outside of Logres.  (This is on the principle that Logres=England).  A commoner accuses one of them of something serious and seeks trial by combat.   It’s probably best if the knight is comparatively young and inexperienced, so the combat is not a pushover.

Courtesy roll.  

  • Fumble: Absolutely, trial by combat it is.  On equal terms, and it would be cowardly not to do this right now.
  • Failure: I don’t know whether that’s possible or not.
  • Success: Absolutely not.  A knight need only accept a challenge from someone else of noble birth.  Everyone knows that.  
  • Critical:  In Logres (=England), that’s true — trial by combat is only possible between peers.  But in [foreign place where they are] (=Anjou, historically) a commoner can challenge a noble to trial by combat.  However, and this is important, the knight is on horse and the commoner is on foot.  They only fight on equal terms if the knight is lowering himself to challenge the commoner.  (There was a similar custom in Artois where whether the knight wore armour or not was based on who was challenging whom.)  Courtesy check, 5 Glory for displaying exceptional knowledge of knightly behavior.

As long as they don’t Fumble and rush into something that compromises their knightly honor, they don’t embarrass themselves.  If they don’t know this, someone will probably fill them in soon enough.  The commoner in question, or his/her champion (if champions are allowed) turns out to be a veteran footsoldier  — enough to make this a bit more challenging than knight vs. unmounted opponent would usually be.

 

I found the information that sparked this in Ariella Elema’s 2015 Toronto dissertation on the history of trial by combat in England and France in the Middle Ages, which has lots of other good stuff and is open-access:

https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/67806/3/elema_ariella_m_201211_PhD_thesis.pdf

 

Edited by Voord 99
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