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  • Guest Right questions

    First time posting, good to be part of our community here.

    I have a few game rules/world rules questions about Guest Right and finally a question about our specific campaign. Hopefully you fine folks can help!

    1. Is Guest Right actually enforced by a law? Is there a codified punishment for breaking it?

    2. Does Guest Right (be it codified law or social construct) extend to the property of the parties involved?

    3. What would a breach of Guest Right amount to House stat wise?


    Lastly, from our current campaign set during the Dance of the Dragons...

    Does Guest right extend to the Dragon of a Dragon Rider?
    Daemon Targaryen and Caraxes are coming to a castle they believe is friendly to hold a war council. The owners of said castle (Players House) are actually supporting the Greens, and are wanting to poison the dragon as it waits outside for Daemon who will be at the war council.

    To answer some questions...
    -Yes, they have flip flopped sides in the war to save their skins (I'm sure that's going to come back to bite them)
    -Yes, they did invite Daemon to come.
    -Yes, Daemon is going to eat their food.
    -The poison for Caraxes is going to be delivered via food... if that matters.
    -The Lords coming to the war council are wavering between green and black for reasons I don't think I need to go into here.
    -The Head of House authorized the act (a PC who became head when his father died)
    -The PC House is in the Reach and the Lords at the meeting are mostly Westerlands Lords and a few Reachlords from around Old Oak to Golden Grove area.

    My character is too far away to effect anything currently, so the GM and I have been discussing the ramifications of the actions of the House members... and trying to figure out how opposed my character will be when he finds out the news. (My character being pretty honorable and straight forward.


    Also... sorry if I messed anything up, this is my first post! I've been reading the forums for a while and gotten great insight just from reading! Thanks so much!
    Last edited by Proelium; 04-09-2015, 09:11 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Guest Right questions

    I know it may not be possible to answer ALL the questions, but any shots at answers would be helpful.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Guest Right questions

      My answer to the first question is that Guest Right isn't necessarily a law itself but an incredibly deeply ingrained social custom where the hosts agree to protect the guest under their roof and the guest in turn agree to help defend their host in the event of an attack.

      While there is no external legal repercussions for breaking it the social repercussions are devastating towards the house that breaks it. The biggest example would be the Freys with the Red Wedding because more Freys were killed after the Red Wedding than the War of the Five Kings.
      Stannis' player: "Why burn a destiny point when I have a daughter."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Guest Right questions

        I've a differing opinion -- I thing that Guest Right has the same force as an Oath. You share the bread and salt, you've essentially sworn an oath not to harm your guest/host.

        The penalty for oathbreaking is death.

        BUT. Keep in mind that this is all under medieval jurisprudence. Okay, there's somebody called "the Master of Laws" which implies that there is some sort of statutory law, but as far as we know he doesn't actually do squat but sit on the Small Council and advise the king, and hold responsibility for managing the dungeons, the executioners, and possibly oversee the Lord Commander of the Watch.

        We are all very used to the idea that there's rule of law, and nobody is above it, but ASOIAF is in a cultural place that's equivalent to pre-Magna Carta stuff for our world. Not Rule of Law. Rule of Kings. Or locally, the lord, who's supposed to represent the king in these matters, or if a minor lord, represent his liege, who in turn represents the king.

        So "oathbreaking" is a capital offense, but what really happens is going to come down to who did the crime and who gets to sit in judgement, if they even give a hoot, and what they think is the wise thing to do. Hey, maybe the Heir to Highgarden is totally a raper, but he's going to get away with it when he does it in Honeyholt and Lord Beesbury is supposed to judge him, because Beesbury would not be wise to castrate his liege's son. However, Bob the Smallfolk Guy is not gonna get away with it, and quite likely Evilson Banefort wouldn't either, because Beesbury knows full well that Tyrell will protect him from the Baneforts and the Lannisters aren't going to be bothered to go toe-to-to with Tyrell over some little snot like Evilson.

        In terms of what's actually right? I'm pretty sure if I promised not to harm you and then killed your dog, I'd have harmed you, and people would, in general, agree that I had. And a dragon is sooo much more valuable than a dog.
        A Song of Ice and Fire Text-based Online RPG, Game of Bones. Join! Play! Win! Die!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Guest Right questions

          Great thought Crumb, thanks so much for the response.


          Update: Poison didn't take. Dragon got sick but didn't die. Daemon suspects but doesn't know yet. HOWEVER some of House House's sworn Lords and allies found out and are none too happy. Especially the Honor-bound Lord Rowan...

          Crumb's response really helps put things in perspective, any further thoughts would be appreciated from you or anyone else.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Guest Right questions

            Originally posted by Proelium View Post
            First time posting, good to be part of our community here.

            I have a few game rules/world rules questions about Guest Right and finally a question about our specific campaign. Hopefully you fine folks can help!

            1. Is Guest Right actually enforced by a law? Is there a codified punishment for breaking it?

            2. Does Guest Right (be it codified law or social construct) extend to the property of the parties involved?

            3. What would a breach of Guest Right amount to House stat wise?
            1. As far as I understand the rules of medieval societies, it works a bit differently as in the checks and balances democracy we all know. First, the world is organized by the feudal Lords who organize other feudal Lords. As Westeros is a bit simpler as real world, let me explain it in a real world example, because the titles a sharper and better to explain.
            A King parts his Kingdom in Duchies and gives the organization fron his Duchies away to the Dukes, the Dukes give the organization of the parts of the Duchy to individual counts, they, in term, give the organization of their land to several barons. You are as a Lord always so strong as your vassals and everything you can do is limited by them.
            The feudal Lord is the law in his fief. He can "enforce" the law if he wants or he can do nothing. So, when Count 1 violates the guest right and kills a count from another domain, these things can happen i.e.:
            1) His Duke can punish him for that because he has enough power through the other counts. Maybe the other counts see it as the Duke that the Count must be punished, or the Duke decides that punishment would be that another, powerful count can have a bit of his land, so getting his support is easy. Maybe Count 1 wonīt bow to that, then the Duke has to rally his troops and attack him to enforce the law.
            2) His Duke sees, that the most of the other counts support the Oath Breaker. And he does... nothing. The family of the violated Count is not powerful enough and has not enough supporters, to get the Duke to enforce the law. So, they will plea by the Duke and he will simply get an made-up explanation why he wonīt do anything.
            3) The King hears of the crime. But the Duke is to powerful and he does nothing. Or he risks a war by ordering the Duke to enforce the law. Now many meetings and diplomacy till a war breaks out or they find a solution.
            4) The Duke goes to the King to get him as a supporter for his verdict. The King can say "Sort this out under yourselves" or backing the Duke, which would sway much power and can force even a powerful Count to accept the verdict
            5) Nobles are like highschool girls. Of course, every enemy of Count 1 will happily spread the story, there are pious people out there and just ones, who will be shocked. Count 1 will loose support, he will need later.

            Back to your example. The explanation of your PC is exacty the typical made-up story that is used in medieval times to explain, why one had to break the Law. The scolded family will meet the High Lord (Martell, I presume) and report the crime. Than the High Lord will send a raven or an envoy asking your player house, whatīs going on. After they made their plea (haltless accusation! Didnīt eat the salt! Offended the Lord! Are cospiring against the Martells!) the High Lord will decide. Is your PC family well liked by other Martell families? Are they strong and influential? Is it worth it to go to war? If you can answer yes, heīll decide that it was not a violation of the guest right, but maybe heīll root for a compromise and declares, they have to pay Gold for the unconviences. Or hey, maybe heīll let the Gods decide this, asks for a trial of combat (to get the support of the other Lords in his decision. It is "backed" then by evidence and not many Lords will object that, fearing loosing support from other Lors themselves). Hope, that was understandable.

            Either way, youīll have a great adventure right before your eyes: Diplomacy and Intrique, all climaxing in Suspear in a trial of combst. Great stuff!

            2. No, I would say no. But murdering someone unprovoked would start a chain of events as descrped above. But the offender has not such a good staning.

            3. Depends on the decree by the High Lord. From some money over to the dungeons till revoking the title or land.


            EDIT: Remembered it wrong, your writing about the Dance, not Dorne. Do not know who your High Lord is, but you get what I mean.
            Last edited by Narr; 04-15-2015, 04:42 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Guest Right questions

              Originally posted by Narr View Post
              1. As far as I understand the rules of medieval societies, it works a bit differently as in the checks and balances democracy we all know. First, the world is organized by the feudal Lords who organize other feudal Lords. As Westeros is a bit simpler as real world, let me explain it in a real world example, because the titles a sharper and better to explain.
              A King parts his Kingdom in Duchies and gives the organization fron his Duchies away to the Dukes, the Dukes give the organization of the parts of the Duchy to individual counts, they, in term, give the organization of their land to several barons. You are as a Lord always so strong as your vassals and everything you can do is limited by them.
              The feudal Lord is the law in his fief. He can "enforce" the law if he wants or he can do nothing. So, when Count 1 violates the guest right and kills a count from another domain, these things can happen i.e.:
              1) His Duke can punish him for that because he has enough power through the other counts. Maybe the other counts see it as the Duke that the Count must be punished, or the Duke decides that punishment would be that another, powerful count can have a bit of his land, so getting his support is easy. Maybe Count 1 wonīt bow to that, then the Duke has to rally his troops and attack him to enforce the law.
              2) His Duke sees, that the most of the other counts support the Oath Breaker. And he does... nothing. The family of the violated Count is not powerful enough and has not enough supporters, to get the Duke to enforce the law. So, they will plea by the Duke and he will simply get an made-up explanation why he wonīt do anything.
              3) The King hears of the crime. But the Duke is to powerful and he does nothing. Or he risks a war by ordering the Duke to enforce the law. Now many meetings and diplomacy till a war breaks out or they find a solution.
              4) The Duke goes to the King to get him as a supporter for his verdict. The King can say "Sort this out under yourselves" or backing the Duke, which would sway much power and can force even a powerful Count to accept the verdict
              5) Nobles are like highschool girls. Of course, every enemy of Count 1 will happily spread the story, there are pious people out there and just ones, who will be shocked. Count 1 will loose support, he will need later.

              Back to your example. The explanation of your PC is exacty the typical made-up story that is used in medieval times to explain, why one had to break the Law. The scolded family will meet the High Lord (Martell, I presume) and report the crime. Than the High Lord will send a raven or an envoy asking your player house, whatīs going on. After they made their plea (haltless accusation! Didnīt eat the salt! Offended the Lord! Are cospiring against the Martells!) the High Lord will decide. Is your PC family well liked by other Martell families? Are they strong and influential? Is it worth it to go to war? If you can answer yes, heīll decide that it was not a violation of the guest right, but maybe heīll root for a compromise and declares, they have to pay Gold for the unconviences. Or hey, maybe heīll let the Gods decide this, asks for a trial of combat (to get the support of the other Lords in his decision. It is "backed" then by evidence and not many Lords will object that, fearing loosing support from other Lors themselves). Hope, that was understandable.

              Either way, youīll have a great adventure right before your eyes: Diplomacy and Intrique, all climaxing in Suspear in a trial of combst. Great stuff!

              2. No, I would say no. But murdering someone unprovoked would start a chain of events as descrped above. But the offender has not such a good staning.

              3. Depends on the decree by the High Lord. From some money over to the dungeons till revoking the title or land.


              EDIT: Remembered it wrong, your writing about the Dance, not Dorne. Do not know who your High Lord is, but you get what I mean.
              Thanks for taking the time to answer! Here's the questions you set out to answer-

              1. Is Guest Right actually enforced by a law? Is there a codified punishment for breaking it?

              2. Does Guest Right (be it codified law or social construct) extend to the property of the parties involved?

              3. What would a breach of Guest Right amount to House stat wise?


              To reply to your answers I think the situation is a bit different than I must have given the impression so maybe this'll help clear stuff up.

              1. Haha, I'm not an idiot, I know how feudalism works. XD That's why I didn't ask about Feudalism, my question was about codified Westerosi law.

              2. At no point did I say someone would be murdered unprovoked.

              3. That makes sense in the real world, but in the Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying game they have statistics like Power and Wealth and such and I was wondering if there'd be a tangible hit to one of those stats. But I like the way you're thinking here on it being at the whim of the Lord.

              Tough part of this is it's wartime in a civil war (Like I said, it's in the Dance of the Dragons) so all this due process doesn't really apply. That's why we're trying to figure out things like other lord's opinions and such.

              Thanks again for the help!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Guest Right questions

                Originally posted by Proelium View Post
                Thanks for taking the time to answer! Here's the questions you set out to answer-

                1. Is Guest Right actually enforced by a law? Is there a codified punishment for breaking it?

                2. Does Guest Right (be it codified law or social construct) extend to the property of the parties involved?

                3. What would a breach of Guest Right amount to House stat wise?


                To reply to your answers I think the situation is a bit different than I must have given the impression so maybe this'll help clear stuff up.

                1. Haha, I'm not an idiot, I know how feudalism works. XD That's why I didn't ask about Feudalism, my question was about codified Westerosi law.

                2. At no point did I say someone would be murdered unprovoked.

                3. That makes sense in the real world, but in the Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying game they have statistics like Power and Wealth and such and I was wondering if there'd be a tangible hit to one of those stats. But I like the way you're thinking here on it being at the whim of the Lord.

                Thanks again for the help!
                Oh, I shouldnīt write so late, wasnīt really clear with what I wanted to say.

                1. Oh, didnīt see you as an idiot, my long explanation was written so it is not misunderstood ( Meant no offense by that). What I wanted to say: I think, there is a law regarding this, but with the justice system descriped above, I think there is no real codified punishment. Even when someone wrote a punishment down, it has little meaning. If, from whom or what is enforced depends greatly on the circumstances above.
                I could even imagine that some laws like the guest right are not wrote down anywhere, because the peoples from Westeros didnīt saw a need in writing down what every man knows.
                In short- short: It does not really matter if it is codified or not. That people know it is wrong. And when someone breaks it, some people will try to punish him (even if it is only an excuse). If they punish him or not however, is not dependend if itīs codified or not.

                2. Yeah, I know. But on the fiefs it is in my opinion only a "crime" if someone actually murders a guy. If a fight breaks out between two nobles and one is dead in the end, the family with the killed man will be in a bad position to get support to punish the other faction, because it is not seen as a crime, more like two man settling their differences. If the killed one is attacked in huge number however, the attacking family will lose support because of their cowardize, but not because of the guest right, I think.

                3. Exactly. So, it could be: A drawback because the loss of honor. It can also be 2-5 Wealth (if the have to pay a fine), 2-5 land (compromise) or 10 land (hard punishment), loss of influence (for a family member that is in the dungeon). Something like that. As I said, I would let them fight for that in a adventure.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Guest Right questions

                  Originally posted by Narr View Post
                  Oh, I shouldnīt write so late, wasnīt really clear with what I wanted to say.

                  1. Oh, didnīt see you as an idiot, my long explanation was written so it is not misunderstood ( Meant no offense by that). What I wanted to say: I think, there is a law regarding this, but with the justice system descriped above, I think there is no real codified punishment. Even when someone wrote a punishment down, it has little meaning. If, from whom or what is enforced depends greatly on the circumstances above.
                  I could even imagine that some laws like the guest right are not wrote down anywhere, because the peoples from Westeros didnīt see a need in writing down what every man knows.
                  In short- short: It does not really matter if it is codified or not. That people know it is wrong. And when someone breaks it, some people will try to punish him (even if it is only an excuse). If they punish him or not however, is not dependend if itīs codified or not.

                  2. Yeah, I know. But on the fiefs it is in my opinion only a "crime" if someone actually murders a guy. If a fight breaks out between two nobles and one is dead in the end, the family with the killed man will be in a bad position to get support to punish the other faction, because it is not seen as a crime, more like two man settling their differences. If the killed one is attacked in huge number however, the attacking family will lose support because of their cowardice, but not because of the guest right, I think.

                  3. Exactly. So, it could be: A drawback because the loss of honor. It can also be 2-5 Wealth (if the have to pay a fine), 2-5 land (compromise) or 10 land (hard punishment), loss of influence (for a family member that is in the dungeon). Something like that. As I said, I would let them fight for that in a adventure.
                  No prob, I shouldn't write so late either, I sounded like a jerk. :/

                  1. Ok THAT makes sense. The reason I asked about codified law was the presence of a "Master of Laws" and of the Old King who seems to have codified laws to some extent. HOWEVER your answer makes tons of sense from a medieval standpoint. So it does seem like it has more to do with the "spirit of the law" than any actual "letter of the law".

                  2. Hmmm ok, makes some sense. Are you thinking of it more as Medieval Europe or as Westeros? There are some pretty significant differences.

                  3. Alrighty, seems pretty solid.

                  Thanks again!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Guest Right questions

                    Originally posted by Proelium View Post
                    No prob, I shouldn't write so late either, I sounded like a jerk. :/

                    1. Ok THAT makes sense. The reason I asked about codified law was the presence of a "Master of Laws" and of the Old King who seems to have codified laws to some extent. HOWEVER your answer makes tons of sense from a medieval standpoint. So it does seem like it has more to do with the "spirit of the law" than any actual "letter of the law".

                    2. Hmmm ok, makes some sense. Are you thinking of it more as Medieval Europe or as Westeros? There are some pretty significant differences.

                    3. Alrighty, seems pretty solid.

                    Thanks again!
                    2. Meant Westeros. But guest right was nearly everywhere throughout history in our history, as far as I know. I think you have to be under oneīs roof, actually the home and not the village nearby. Can think of an exception: When the guest arrives in the Lords home, takes the salt and than goes on the fief, i.e. for a walk. As long as the guest wasnīt leaving and said his goodbyes, he would be under protection of the guest right. So I think you canīt get the guest right from the Lord, go with him for a walk to show the fief before the banquet in the evening and be killed there. In short, he is under guest law as long as he is the actual guest.

                    Keep on gaming

                    Dennis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Guest Right questions

                      I remember to have read either in the core rulesbook or in the world's book, that the laws of hospitality works as long as you are in sight of the castle...

                      So, a guest breaks the hospitality laws (i.e rape the Lord's daughter during his stay), the Lord will bitye his tongue to not kill him right away and ask the guest to leave, this one is safe until nobody can see him from the castle walls.

                      Well that is the theory

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Guest Right questions

                        Well, here I disagree. I think even if someone is a guest, that grants him not a "go straight out of the jail ticket" in any case. If he murder, rape or steal, than he also violated the duty he has as a honoured guest, and the local lord may arrest him. However, I think the lord should NOT punish his former guest to quickly, but report either to his liege lord/lord of the realm or maybe got a statement from the Faith. If the crime of his guest is obvious, than few will deny him the right to punish the culprit or at least demand a compensation from the home-house of the arrested.
                        I think guest right goes in two directions, and as a guest you have also to honour the owner of the house which granted you bread and salt.

                        On the other hand, clinging only to the words (and not to the meaning) of guest right (which mean, if you just protect your guest as long as he is present but you do nothing to prevent him from being killed after he left) may not condemn you de jure. But it will give you very likely bad credit what could harm your reputation...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Guest Right questions

                          According to the wiki page on guest right, neither the guest nor the host can harm the other for the length of the guest's stay.

                          IMO, a guest that harms members of his host's household can certainly be said to have broken the law of hospitality, and so he could immediately be punished for his crime by his host. Of course, individual hosts will interpret the law of hospitality differently. While one may go "straight for the axe", so to speak, another may feel that - to be certain that he himself is not guilty of breaking guest right - he must first make the offender leave his home before he can punish him. "Leave his home" will also be interpreted differently - for some it would mean that the offender must be beyond sight of the castle walls, for others it might be enough that the host declares that the offender is no longer welcome (perhaps even going so far as to giving him symbolic guest gifts).

                          As for who is protected by guest right, I would say that everyone is protected, whether they actually partook of bread and salt or not. This is because to harm anyone or anything in the host's household (or fief, if we're talking about a landholder) is harming the host. This also applies in reverse - the loyal guards of the guest may not get to eat bread and salt, but attacking them is the same as attacking the guest. Similarly, hamstringing the guest's favorite warhorse (an extremely valuable asset) would constitute an attack on the guest. So, in the case of poisoning a Targaryen's dragon (a being which a Targaryen probably values more than almost anything in the world), the PCs who did this were absolutely in violation of guest right.

                          However, as others have stated, the consequences for breaking guest right will vary from case to case. There will certainly be legalistically minded offenders who will try to argue that a horse is just a horse, and thus not protected by guest right, or (as with the Freys) that "the other guy drew first". If the people arguing this are powerful or respected enough, then they might escape any major consequences. It will certainly also help their case if the victim is generally seen to be a despicable sort. An important point here though, is that almost no one will get away with arguing that it was OK to break guest right (because it's a sacred law) - the only reasonable defense is to argue that guest right was no longer applicable for some reason.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Guest Right questions

                            Guest Rights is a social construct in Westeros so that there may be peace. Guest right means you will not harm the other in anyway including damaging goods or belongings. Breaking guest rights should if anything cause a lose of influence, but its more in game than out of game. Obviously such an act could cause a war, but I believe there are stories of the Gods punishing those who break the right.

                            If players break the Guest rights, it pretty much is an open door to what the dm wants. Bad fortune, loss of influence, starting a war, losing allies as no one wants to be associated with your house.
                            If a NPC house does it, the players should be free to seek revenge and the NPC house should have a hard time finding people to support it.

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