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Running away and Honor penalties


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When does a knight face an honor penalty for running away from a fight?  I see the explicit penalty of -1 for "Desertion from battle or military service".  But is any running away considered desertion, or only something as egregious as never showing up in the first place?  Here are a few possible places one might draw the line; would there be an honor penalty for these situations?  Or would the penalty simply be the failure to attain glory?

 

Without even engaging in combat, running away from:

  • A dragon or other monster requiring a Valorous check
  • A horde of enemy knights vastly outnumbering your group
  • A single enemy knight
  • An engagement, after hearing family/lord/etc. in danger

Sometime in combat, running away after receiving:

  • A major wound
  • A moderate wound
  • Any wound at all
  • Realizing that you could take a moderate wound in the next round

Curious to see how you reconcile these situations with tracked PKs' honor.

Edited by Ringan
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Hi Ringan,

The line from the Dishonor table is specific to "Desertion from battle or military service." I offer that this penalty for the dishonorable act is tied to the social aspect of leaving your fellow soldiers and, in particular, not meeting the standards and expectations of a knight -- which is to be a soldier.

The other circumstances you are introducing for your questions are not covered under this specific rubric and thus do not apply to the specific penalty of "Desertion from battle or military service." 

Moreover, the questions you are asking about are covered elsewhere in the rules.

Here is a passage from p. 209 discussing how Knights might choose to interact with, say, a dragon:

Quote

...most knights have heard enough stories and legends of dragons, for instance, to know whether or not pursuing one is a wise course (regardless of what their valor and honor would have them do).

And this passage is from p. 211: 

Quote

Whenever a character wishes to attack a fierce beast, he might be required make a successful Valorous roll upon first sighting the creature. (What constitutes “fierce” and thus requires a roll is left to each Gamemaster’s discretion. In general, magical beasts always require a Valorous roll.) This modifier is a survival factor for young player-knights — creatures too large or too powerful to kill should be avoided or placated, not attacked. Thus, a Prudent modifier is also given where appropriate; this functions just as the Valorous modifier, but with respect to Prudent rolls.

Failure on a Valorous roll indicates a character’s reluctance to close with the beast for 1 round (another roll may be attempted each round), while a fumble indicates that the character flees in terror for 1d6 rounds at least before he returns to his senses. A character who succeeds on a Valorous roll but who doesn’t wish to attack a particularly fierce creature (such as a dragon or giant whom he has no real chance of defeating) may then make a Prudent roll to avoid the combat, usually without dishonor.

[emphasis added]

From the two passage we know that no knight is obliged to throw himself at obviously bad odds in order to retain his honor. In fact the mechanics sometime discourage a knight from pursuing such a course of action, but at no cost to his honor.

The difference between this matter and the one you quote from the Dishonorable Acts Table is that when you commander says, "We're charging the enemy line!" you are expected to do it -- whether the odds are good or not. That's the job. At this point the GM might call for a Valorous or Prudent roll (especially if this is designed as a Valorous/Prudent Test), or the player may decide to make such a roll to see which way his character is leaning, or the player might simply decide his Player Knight is not going to take this action. Depending on how the die falls or how the PK acts, at this point there might be -1 to his Honor. But, agin, the matter is not because he is dodging the bad odds, but because he is being a bad soldier

As for wounds, on p. 149 in the Wounds section, we find this passage on Major Wounds:

Quote

Should the character avoid unconsciousness, he may wish to continue fighting or performing some similarly active task. However, the injured character must first make a successful Valorous roll to do so, possibly with a modifier. Failure indicates the knight cannot summon up the courage and desire to continue fighting. He hesitates, and will not enter combat unless forced into it. A fumbled Valorous roll means the knight actually flees in fear or surrenders. A critical success may gain some benefit, at the Gamemaster’s discretion.

[emphasis added]

Once again, we see that game discouraging a Player Knight from taking action if it might be considered too dangerous to be worth it. A character with a Major Wound is in no shape to wade back into battle -- but that doesn't mean a given PK might not try! But he or she will have to make a successful Valorous roll with a Major Wound to try this.

Note that a fumbled Valorous roll leads to the knight fleeing or surrendering, and here we have the loss of Honor!

Since this rule covers Major Wounds, we know that Moderate Wounds do not have this privilege, and a knight is expected to keep fighting alongside his fellow knights if he does not want to risk losing honor. The rules, thus, are clear on these points.

I hope this helps!

Edited by creativehum
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So have fun."

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20 hours ago, Ringan said:

Without even engaging in combat, running away from:

  • A dragon or other monster requiring a Valorous check

This is fine. You are allowed to flee from a terrifying monster. However, it also depends on the situation. You might lose Honor if you flee, deserting your friends, family members, liege lord...

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • A horde of enemy knights vastly outnumbering your group

No dishonor, although again, depends a bit on the situation. If your liege lord charges ahead, you are supposed to do the same.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • A single enemy knight

If this happens in a general combat situation (i.e. you are expected to fight), then yeah, this is cowardly and costs you honor, unless the guy is like Lancelot. If you have been challenged, the honorable thing is to fight.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • An engagement, after hearing family/lord/etc. in danger

If you have a liege lord/family member in trouble and you flee the battle rather than helping when you had the chance, yeah, society is going to judge you.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:

Sometime in combat, running away after receiving:

  • A major wound

This is fine. You are not expected to fight on after a Major Wound. Limp away, save yourself to fight another day before you pass out.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • A moderate wound

Not enough, although if the cumulative effect drops you below half hit points, I would permit retreating to attend to your wounds. Although this would be more to the Back of the Battle rather than running home.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • Any wound at all

Not OK, you are going to lose honor.

20 hours ago, Ringan said:
  • Realizing that you could take a moderate wound in the next round

Definitely losing honor, you coward! You are a knight, a warrior, of Those Who Fight! The responsibilities and the risks come with the perks!

 

All above IMHO and all that. Also, creativehum already gave a pretty good response.

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