Reply To: Changing the name of the “Martial Feat”

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Hans Hellinger

Interesting dynamic, I like the social tie-in and have been using something kind of myself as part of the new lifepath character generation system for Codex (Codex Ingenium). More on that in a second.

The problem I would have with that system is the idea that everyone had to follow the same pattern, i.e. fealty to your lord and war against the pagans (for warriors) and so forth. I think historically here is always more variation.

Also I’m a bit dubious about the “Roman Magic” thing, at least as being universal, since most of the major Saxon settlements (like London / Londinium) were old Roman settlements. The Saxons were relying on Roman fortifications just as the Britons did before them. That said I have read about the concept of the Saxons being (understandably) superstitious of Roman ‘magic’ so I know that is a thing.

In my system I am using Ehren, which a German word very roughly meaning ‘honor’ or ‘face’. There was historically also different versions of Ehren based on the diffrent Estates. For example in German-speaking areas there was the concept of Adelsrechte (iura nobilium in Latin) means something like “Nobles Rights” but it also refers to their responsibilities, which would be considered somewhat similar to the ideas of fealty and defending the community and so forth which you outline for Warriors above. Rights always also mean responsibilities back then, whereas today we separate the two concepts. Then there is Bürgerrechte, which today means just “citizens rights” but in the middle ages it meant specifically town citizens (Bürgers) rights – and their corresponding responsibilities, including helping to maintaining the harmony of the community and doing things to beautify and improve the community, as well as defending it and upholding civic honor.

Ehren means all of the above, depending on your estate(s), but also has a strong overlapping connotation of personal honor. You have to maintain your reputation and not make a fool of yourself, both for your own individual merit and that of your family, your community, and your estate.

Aside from that though there seems to be a separate concept of Ehren for priests, which I would call Piety. Some priests and especially prelates had Ehren, (some were strait up warlords) but many did not, and this was reflected in the public opinion of priests and a lot of the animosity against them, which was fairly widespread in Central and Northern Europe by the late medieval period.

I think for criminals and outcasts, there is another version I would call élan, which means sort of the thrill of doing something daring, or pulling off something risky with style. This is the honor system for pirates and bandits.