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Thread: Knights fee

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Um... quick side (?) question? If you fall far enough as a mercenary knight, who has the privilege/ability to strip knighthood from you? The king? The person who knighted you? Surely not your temporary lord, no?
    KAP 5.x assumes a vassal knight, so the degradation is in the context of the liege lord. I presume that the same would be the case for household knights, since they have sworn homage to the lord. As you point out, the case of the mercenary knight is different.

    However, keep in mind that degradation is a PUNISHMENT, the stripping of the title and the privileges of a knight. A pauper knight is still a knight; his knighthood is not tied to his belongings. A maddened knight living in the forest as a wildman is still a knight. In principle, you are a knight until you become a monk (clerical vows take precedence over knightly ones), are stripped of the title (degradation) or die. Now, without your horse and armor, you are probably not able to function as a knight and be able to support yourself in the knightly standard, nor be able to convince strangers that you are actually a knight, but that is neither here nor there: you are still a knight.

    I am starting to veer towards a view that only the King can Degrade a knight. It should be High Justice, and not something a liege lord can do on his own. I don't see why, say, Duke Gorlois would care what some baron somewhere in Logres says about Knight X. Whereas if it is the King, than at least technically, his word should be the law throughout the land, and no nobleman can restore the knight (within that kingdom, at least).

    Like SirUkpyr pointed out, for vassal knights, the feudal bargain is that you show up for the muster as a heavy cavalryman. This is different from the degradation, as this is in essence a business arrangement: you can lose your lands without losing your knighthood. Naturally, assuming your liege is not a total bastard, he would likely wait for you to show up and listen to your excuse, especially if you went adventuring last year and haven't come back yet, rather than declare your lands forfeit there and then. After all, there is the principle of inheritance of lands here, too, so what I would expect to happen is that if you don't show up for a year (and you didn't go on a pilgrimage or something like that), the liege assumes the worst and takes over the manor as the warden. Also, there are plenty of examples of vassals dragging their feet, too, even GPC mentions different 'eagerness levels' of vassals of Arthur, and it is not an instant forfeiture of the lands. On the other hand, we know from history that overt defiance towards your liege lord is reason enough: Philip II Augustus declared King John's lands in France forfeit, since King John didn't present himself as the Duke of Aquitaine to Philip II's court to answer charges brought against him by his French vassals. And in GPC, Uther goes for Gorlois' throat since Gorlois leaves the royal court without Uther's leave.
    Last edited by Morien; 04-04-2018 at 09:45 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morien View Post
    I am starting to veer towards a view that only the King can Degrade a knight.
    Although this still does lead to some questions:
    1) Why doesn't King Mark degrade Tristan? Of the top of my head, I can't recall Tristan's knighthood ever being an issue, while he is exiled or fleeing King Mark's wrath.
    2) Lancelot is not degraded even after his affair with Guenever becomes clear. Surely cuckolding your own sworn liege lord should be grounds for this; Guenever is guilty of high treason! (Granted, this is Arthur we are talking about here, but he was willing to risk Guenever burning on a pyre and then going to war with Lancelot.)
    3) Balin is outlawed, not degraded, even when he kills a guest of King Arthur.
    4) In short, I can't remember any cases where degradation happens in Malory.

    I see two ways of dealing with this:
    1) Link Degradation with Honor, like it explicitly is in KAP's Honor entry. Mark & Arthur could try degrading Tristan and Lancelot, but since their Honor is still so high (even with the -5), the rest of the world would see this as an injustice and basically refuse to accept the punishment as valid.
    2) Or, an even simpler way: Drop Degradation as an official punishment that someone can pronounce. Instead, once your Honor drops down far enough, the people simply start ostracising you and, if you committed a crime, you get outlawed. This also works better with the way that Honor 1-4 works: you can still redeem yourself from this. But it becomes pretty difficult to do that, if you have been officially stripped of knighthood.

    Either of the above works in both Tristan's & Lancelot's cases: both become enemies of their kings, but neither loses their knighthood.

    Also... do we have historical cases of this happening in Medieval, especially High Medieval period? I mean, bills of attainders date from 1321, but even those didn't strip the attainted noble his knightly status, just his peerage titles. It seems to me that Degradation works in systems where you have a Monarch who is the only source of knighthood; thus it is his to revoke, like the peerage titles. However, in KAP, this is clearly not the case. So yeah, easier to just drop the whole concept of Degradation.
    Last edited by Morien; 04-05-2018 at 06:29 AM.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Morien View Post
    1) Link Degradation with Honor, like it explicitly is in KAP's Honor entry. Mark & Arthur could try degrading Tristan and Lancelot, but since their Honor is still so high (even with the -5), the rest of the world would see this as an injustice and basically refuse to accept the punishment as valid.
    2) Or, an even simpler way: Drop Degradation as an official punishment that someone can pronounce. Instead, once your Honor drops down far enough, the people simply start ostracising you and, if you committed a crime, you get outlawed. This also works better with the way that Honor 1-4 works: you can still redeem yourself from this. But it becomes pretty difficult to do that, if you have been officially stripped of knighthood.

    Either of the above works in both Tristan's & Lancelot's cases: both become enemies of their kings, but neither loses their knighthood.

    Also... do we have historical cases of this happening in Medieval, especially High Medieval period? I mean, bills of attainders date from 1321, but even those didn't strip the attainted noble his knightly status, just his peerage titles. It seems to me that Degradation works in systems where you have a Monarch who is the only source of knighthood; thus it is his to revoke, like the peerage titles. However, in KAP, this is clearly not the case. So yeah, easier to just drop the whole concept of Degradation.
    Yes, so essentially you're only going to lose your knighthood if your mercenary knight (or, whatever) drops below 5 honor, at which point not only does everyone (including yourself) view you as being without the honor of a knight, it becomes feasible for your sovereign to strip you of your status publicly while outlawing you for your crimes. Versus, say, just outlawing you and seizing your lands.

    Until that point, assuming you either don't have a lord, it's more a matter as you say of convincing people that you are in fact a (impoverished) knight even though you don't even show up with a horse! Good luck with that. Expect duels, oaths and the like.

    --Khanwulf

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by SirUkpyr View Post
    The requirement to being a knight is having the horse and armor *of* a knight.
    A knight who is without horse and armor for more than 1 or 2 campaign seasons is simply no longer a knight.
    He doesn't become a "mercenary knight" - he becomes "you are no longer a knight". No one removes it, it simply vanishes.
    If he is a vassal knight, his Lord should go "you know that land you have from me... our agreement was you fight as part of my cavalry and I let you have it. Give it back."
    There's a bit of conflation here with the status of noble-born women, and knights. It's easy to do; I have to be careful myself. Knighthood is a particular set of oaths and a status-granting ceremony they undergo, which as Morien points out often comes with the assumption of certain economic duties and rights on behalf of the liege-lord. "You manage the land and pay me service, and I grant you inheritance and standing." --When a knight is incapacitated (by dying, say), the Lord has the right to either insist on inheritance or to put the property under ward until the situation becomes clear (such as an heir reaching majority). That's part of the property-management agreement; similarly, if you have a lot of property, you're expected to give more service in the form of more fighting men or (later) scutage fees.

    Women don't have this protection--the status of knighthood--and can normally only seek the protection of property rights and management clauses. Which, in part, explains why they're always portrayed as delighted to go off and get married versus the other options of... nunnery? No other paths are given, instead of marrying into property management as a proxy for status.

    Which is why it's easy for them to simply stop acting like a noblewoman, and permanently lose that status. (In Mallory?) there was an example of a noblewoman reduced to herding sheep. She had her birth (family ties), but that was it.


    --Khanwulf

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Until that point, assuming you either don't have a lord, it's more a matter as you say of convincing people that you are in fact a (impoverished) knight even though you don't even show up with a horse! Good luck with that. Expect duels, oaths and the like.
    Although... "the noble bearing" is a thing in the romances. In other words, since the knight simply is better and more courteous than those uncouth dirtscratchers, I could very well see the impoverished 'beggar' letting out an impassionate statement of his name and lineage, and offering to prove his words with his body (i.e. lend me a sword and I will duel you until you are satisfied or I am dead). And depending how the dice land (Courtesy boosted by Honor vs. the host's Suspicious?), the host might instantly apologize for not seeing the obvious right away, of course this beggar is a man of gentle birth! (Moment while I make some notes for an adventure in our campaign... :P )

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Morien View Post
    Although... "the noble bearing" is a thing in the romances. In other words, since the knight simply is better and more courteous than those uncouth dirtscratchers, I could very well see the impoverished 'beggar' letting out an impassionate statement of his name and lineage, and offering to prove his words with his body (i.e. lend me a sword and I will duel you until you are satisfied or I am dead). And depending how the dice land (Courtesy boosted by Honor vs. the host's Suspicious?), the host might instantly apologize for not seeing the obvious right away, of course this beggar is a man of gentle birth! (Moment while I make some notes for an adventure in our campaign... :P )
    You greatly reinforce my point, Morien. A knight is a knight unless or until that status is forcefully removed by virtue of their moral failings. I also like that scenario, and may use it!

    For women, however, while I can see the "impassioned orate in the sheepfield" working, most of the time that would just substantiate that the beautiful maiden is worthy of the knight's attentions. At least in the romances. It would be by virtue of the knight's attention that the girl would regain some social standing--and perhaps find in him someone suitable to take on those cads who wrested her family fortune from her father and left him broken, dying of shame in the hills....

    (Etc.)

    --Khanwulf

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