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  • Trial by Combat

    From what I can tell, and please correct me if I am wrong, trial by combat is only the right of highborn. So for example, a master at arms for a house accused of cheating in a tournament, could not invoke trial by combat, but if the house/lord were implicated they could?

    Also can only the accused/defendant call for trial by combat? I didn't find anything definitive, but the only examples were the accused.


    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Trial by Combat

    Highborn, yes.
    Called by the defendant, yes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Trial by Combat

      Highborn is not to 100 per cent correct, I would say. I would judge the trial in the first "dunk and egg" story also as trial by combat, and that was mainly against Hedge Knight (and those who were willing to help him), a man from unknown heritage (which knighthood was very fresh and not confirmed by any).

      I also would say that some lords may also let the possibility of a trial by combat also to be open for the people under their rule (if they are very pious and have no great interest in judging the case by themselves).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Trial by Combat

        I believe trial by combat would not be officially a privilege of the highborn as the tradition has a deep religious background, but I would say that in westerosi society would be very plausible for highborns to stick together and ignore lowborn's demands for a trial by combat against one of them. So if Ser Jon of the Trident, a hedge knight, calls the Heir of House Bracken to a trial by combat, the local court would laugh it's ass off for the ridiculous proposition and would not take it seriously, even if there is nothing wrong about it, and probably it would be required some kind of intrigue to move the story to that direction. Being Ser Jon of the Trident successfully provoking the Heir into a duel, being some ally of the hedge knight convincing a local lord that indeed the demand is qualified and legitimate.

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        • #5
          Re: Trial by Combat

          The divide is between nobles and smallfolk. Highborn, as the name implies, are simply born with rights to have a proper hearing and to demand trial by combat.

          Knights, and presumably their spouse and children, also have this right, but knights need not be born as nobility. Noble bastards, at least the acknowledged ones, also counts, though as highborn in this particular case.

          So it really depends who this master at arms is, he doesn't get the right to trial by combat through his position, but most master at arms tends to be knights and often highborn, too. All it takes to be highborn is to have a great-grandfather that was lord or something, at least if it's through a trueborn male line.

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          • #6
            Re: Trial by Combat

            I was making the assumption that the master-at-arms was at least knighted, and thus eligible to call for trial by combat.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Trial by Combat

              I'm not really an expert on this, but I believe that, historically speaking, Trial by Combat was an option open to pretty much everyone. However, the person invoking it would have to be in possession of arms and armour to use to defend himself. Which would be a limiting factor to those in the lower social ranks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Trial by Combat

                Well, what we know is that highborn (and knights) have the right to a trial, as confirmed in the books. And we have examples of the accused demanding trial by combat (Tyrion) and the accuser also demanding it (Hedge Knight).

                Less evidence for the smallfolk, though the stories told by various characters in the night watch suggests that their sentences were a lot more summarily done than that of nobles.

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                • #9
                  Re: Trial by Combat

                  While I am curious about the answers in general...the specifics of my case:

                  The master-at-arms is NOT knighted. The group is currently accusing someone else of murder, however due to the actions they have taken and how they have acted, the tables are going to turn against them rather quickly (unless they figure out the tables are turning and stop it) and the master-at-arms is more than likely going to be accused of a cheating in a tournament, accomplice to murder, and other bad things.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Trial by Combat

                    Well, we also need to determine if smallfolk, commoners, etc are allowed to compete in tournaments as well.

                    We know for a fact that jousting is only for "knights and nobles" (my new phrase for "highborn").

                    The melee and archery competition may, however, be open for debate. I could be persuaded either way on these two.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Trial by Combat

                      I know this is from a movie, but in Kingdom of Heaven one of Liam Neeson's Men-at-Arms challenged the son of the Lord to trial by combat in regards to Bailin's guilt in the murder of the priest. Unfortunately, R. Scott is a student of history who regularly throws history out the window if it gets in the way of a story. So, I don't know for sure if this is a point of historical truth or not.

                      Does the Man-at-Arms have the trust of his Lord? If so the Lord could probably invoke Trial by Combat in the case.

                      How was he supposed to have cheated in the Tourney?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Trial by Combat

                        Originally posted by Legate View Post
                        I know this is from a movie, but in Kingdom of Heaven one of Liam Neeson's Men-at-Arms challenged the son of the Lord to trial by combat in regards to Bailin's guilt in the murder of the priest. Unfortunately, R. Scott is a student of history who regularly throws history out the window if it gets in the way of a story. So, I don't know for sure if this is a point of historical truth or not.

                        Does the Man-at-Arms have the trust of his Lord? If so the Lord could probably invoke Trial by Combat in the case.

                        How was he supposed to have cheated in the Tourney?
                        He does, however his Lord is not currently present. Long story attempted to be made short...

                        A tourney is being held to name a new Lord (4 quadruplet daughters, not known who is eldest/heir, each picks a champion if champion wins he is new Lord of house...all run, approved and over seen by Renly [Its in Stormlands])

                        The party brings with the heir to their house, Lord Michael (NPC) as well as the PCs, Viktor (man-at-arms), Petyr (jr septon), and Keegan ("maester")

                        Lord Michael and Viktor are each chosen as champions for different women. Lord Michael makes his way to the semi-finals without incident. Viktor burns a destiny point in the first round to stay in the saddle when he should have been knocked out and wins. The second round they bribe his opponent to fall out on the first hit by Viktor. Third round his opponent is sabotaged by someone else (unbeknownst to the party) and loses. Viktor's opponent in the semi-final round is injured in his previous joust when the opponent used a weighted lance, which Viktor noticed and pointed out to Renly.

                        In the semi-finals, Lord Michael is killed by his opponent (Michael was drunk, antagonized his opponent and rode "eyes fixed"). His opponent Ser Jaycob was pissed and aimed high, killing him.

                        The party immediately started pointing blame at Ser Jaycob and Lord Swygert (the house Jaycob serves) for murdering their Lord, with intent.

                        Renly has called a suspension of the tournament until his investigation is complete. Basically investigation will find he was drunk, Lord Swygert will point investigators in direction of Viktor's opponents, which all looks real bad, especially since they did actually bribe a dude to throw the match.

                        Party will have an opportunity to speak with investigators and try to influence things, but if they don't do so the arrows point in Viktor's direction to at least being negligent in Michael's death, if not outright involved. It is slightly convoluted and things are being stacked against them, but hey its ASOIAF

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Trial by Combat

                          Originally posted by bradmcd77 View Post
                          Well, we also need to determine if smallfolk, commoners, etc are allowed to compete in tournaments as well.

                          We know for a fact that jousting is only for "knights and nobles" (my new phrase for "highborn").

                          The melee and archery competition may, however, be open for debate. I could be persuaded either way on these two.
                          In the first novel, several of Eddard Stark's guardsmen take part in the jousting despite not being knights. Jory is a member of House Cassel, but Harwin and Alyn aren't part of lordly/knightly houses (I think) and none of the three are knights. The Hound jousts despite not being a knight (although he's from a landed knight family). Thoros of Myr takes part in the Hand's tourney too, and he's definitely not a knight or noble!

                          In some of the hedge knight stories, things seem a little stricter.

                          As often in Westeros, things appear flexible.

                          Melee: Brienne and Thoros take part in melees and aren't knights.

                          Hope this helps!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Trial by Combat

                            Ok, I may have missed something, but...how does the bribing of Viktor's one opponent effect the over all outcome of what happened? Certainly, they could be charged with inappropriate behavior, but I don't see how they could be directly implicated in the death. Has another party manipulated some of the evidence?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Trial by Combat

                              Correct me if I am wrong, but the North doesn't really have a large amount of knights as the majority of the populace follow the Old Gods and not the Seven. Meaning they don't follow the main ceremony of anointment as the rest of the Kingdom. So, the rules for Tourneys maybe different.

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