Author Topic: Dueling (and the S&C)  (Read 943 times)

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Offline DM B

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Dueling (and the S&C)
« on: March 12, 2009, 08:10:50 am »
Note: I'd hope to avoid this, but it seems I have to post something anyway.

Anuire isn't Europe, but clearly there are similarities...

Dueling to settle disputes of various kinds are an ancient tradition in Anuire, but as with all things of tradition there is not one inflexible and universally recognized code of dueling. Instead it varies greatly depending on where you are and what century you're in. Indeed, in 'modern' Anuire (16th century HC) dueling is illegal in several realms, and greatly frowned upon many places. The tradition does, however, have deep root, going back to the tribal days when Andu warriors would fight man to man to settle their differences. And so, even where it is not strictly legal, sometimes duels happen anyway. The right to demand trial by combat has similar roots and applications.

The City of Anuire still clings to Imperial laws though, so certain types of duels ARE legal. They are, however, usually require to take place under the watchful eye of the Imperial Legion and the knights of the Imperial Order. What is more; duels are generally not allowed during the S&C, and are usually postponed until after the S&C is over (which means that by the time the duel is to take place most issues have been settled in other ways; which is why the ban on dueling is in place, to allow heads to cool and compromises to be found).

But sometimes duels ARE allowed during the S&C anyway. This one clearly has the Chamberlain's unspoken approval, since he was there when the challenge was issued. Had he wanted he could have sent his soldiers and knights to stop the duel and demand that it be postponed.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 10:28:49 am by DM Bjørn »
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Offline DM B

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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 08:18:21 am »
Originally any Andu warrior could call out any other warrior (but not women, children, the old etc.) to a duel. The challenged part would then pick the time and place, and they would fight. Duels to the death were very uncommon; most found satisfaction in first blood or until their opponent yielded. Indeed, it was seen as somewhat unmanly to cripple or kill one's opponent (although it would not be considered murder).

Later the duel became institutionalized, and Roele himself wrote down the rules of Imperial dueling. The rules still for the basis of the myriad dueling codes that exist today. So, although there are variations (some of the quite large) they share a common origin. The City of Anuire still has a form of dueling that is quite similar to Roele's duels (but not identical, society has changed a bit over the course of 15 centuries).

Other than that I'm not going too deeply into what regions use duels or not, or what kind of codes they follow. That we can explore if it ever becomes relevant.
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Offline X-Haelyn's Aegis/RK (Andy)

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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 08:38:32 am »
That's what I figured - but I very much doubt that any duelling code says 'a healthy man of inferior rank can challenge a woman of superior rank and then send a champion in his stead to kill her' - even with more sexual equality in BR the codes will all inevitably have certain aims:

1. Provide a cooling off period
2. Provide a system of apology
3. Provide an agreed end to the duel well short of death - or serious injury
4. Protect the superior from casual challenge
5. Provide some system of protection for the weak (women, children, priests, invalids), etc.
6. Provide some agreed means for arbitration of who is superior, who issued insult, what conditions are valid, etc.

Duels were, afterall, a means to (try to) avoid slaughter amongst the nobility, their rules were often ignored, or duels arranged on the quiet to avoid some of the more onerous restrictions, but the big formal duels were long drawn out affairs during which the seconds / legal types did everything they could to agree a system of apology.
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Offline DM B

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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 08:45:30 am »
Her are the most common code of dueling, in a fairly rough form:

- a socially (and morally) acceptable duel in Anuire will start with the challenger issuing a public challenge in response to some slight, insult, or other grievance.

- the challenged party then has the opportunity to offer public apology or otherwise reach an accord with the challenger; other wise the challenged party has the right to choose arms (see next post).

- if the challenged part is of higher social rank than the challenger, he may ignore the challenge; this is not always practical, however, if the situation would result in the loss of face for the challenged.

- the challenged party may, if he is of higher social rank (if the challenger is a woman or someone without martial experience, this is expected), appoint a champion to fight in his stead.

- the challenger does not have the opportunity to appoint a champion, unless the challenged part did so AND the challenger is of at least equal social rank.

- it is generally considered bad from for high-ranking members of society to challenge their lesser to duels; if a Prince needs to discipline a Knight, he'll instead call upon one of his knights to issue the challenge on his behalf.

- if no apology is forthcoming, the challenger then picks a 'field of honor' (and usually a time) where the duel is to take place; if dueling is illegal, then a safe location must be found.

- the challenged party can either accept the time/place, or propose an alternative. If no common ground can be agreed upon, the matter is left to the seconds (see below).

- the challenger must also state the nature of the duel; the most important part (at last for us, the players of a game) being how the duel will end. To first blood, yield, serious injury, or even to the death (or a combination of those) are common enough choices.

- the challenged has to accept this or decline the duel; if, however, the severity of the challenge doesn't suit the level of insult, there is no loss of face for the challenged party - instead the challenger risks being ostracized.

- each party is allowed at least one (or sometimes more, three is a common number) second; a representative that will arrange the particulars of the duel together with the other party's second.

- when both parties have been assembled on the field of honor, the seconds will try to find a way to reconcile the duellants; if it fails, the duel will commence.

- the duel then lasts until some sort of end condition has been met; the duel may otherwise only be stopped by the seconds, and then only in response to a breech of the dueling code used.
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Offline DM B

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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 08:49:42 am »
As the High Marshal points out; not everyone can be challenged to a duel - it is implied by the origins of dueling that only WARRIORS may be challenged. So any soldier, knight, or martially trained noble (or even a man from the middle-class, know to be a fighter) can be challenged, but no women, children, priests, mages etc. Women CAN be challenged, but only if they clearly follow a martial vocation - a female knight if fair game, a noble lady is not.
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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 10:28:18 am »
- the most common duels in Anuire are (still) those fought between knights on foot, a throwback to the old warrior days.

- alternate mods of dueling are similar to the fencing imported from Brecht lands; there is no pistol dueling in Anuire.

- it should be noted, however, that it would be very unseemly to try and force an Anuirean noble (or his champion) to fight in any non-knightly fashion. Doing so will result in immense loss of face.

- sword, shield and plate armor are therefore commonly seen on the dueling scene (the shield is sometimes dropped though).

- if one party wants to fight with another melee weapon or wear lighter armor, that can usually be agreed upon by the seconds (so you mights see a sword vs. axe fight).

- heavily armored warriors frequently get tired over the course of a duel, so it's not unheard of for the seconds to call for breaks; both sides have to agree, but it is considered unseemly to decline a call for a break - unless its clearly a ploy to draw of the time. Of course, some codes do not allow for any breaks.
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Offline DM B

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Re: Dueling (and the &SC)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 10:28:34 am »
- the use of sorcery in a duel is unheard of; so no use of arcane spells, both before or under the duel

- the same applies to the use of magic items that duplicate sorcerous effect; under some codes it is, however, premisible to drink, say, a potion of bull's strength before the duel start

- permanent magical weapons, armoer, shields and other misc. Items ARE usually allowed; you're not going to ban the King's heirloom sword from the duel!

- the blessings of the gods is another matter; most codes allow the casting of clerical 'buff' spells before combat. Note that it not good form for one party to stock up on blessings is the other has no access; but neither is is actually diallowed (you can dictate the gods you know).

- divine champions, such as paladins, are free to use their spells and powers during a duel (they are, after, calling upon the favor of god).
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Offline X-Haelyn's Aegis/RK (Andy)

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Re: Dueling (and the S&C)
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2009, 09:27:26 pm »
I have the sneaking suspicion that the most common form of duel is actually a pair of young hotheads soon after dawn somewhere quiet with a handful of seconds/friends/hanger's on - and all done without anyone the wiser.

As long as the bloodshed doesn't get too far out of hand everyone adult pretends that its all ok and ignore the rowdy boasts of the youths who think that its all good fun...
Robhan Khaiarén
High Marshal of Haelyn's Aegis
Work hard, walk with honour, be justly rewarded