Judicial Combat

Many societies, especially those of medieval Europe, allowed for trial by combat (p. B508). The fighting was in earnest. Witnesses regarded the winner as having been judged innocent - and the loser, guilty - by God.

Judicial combat often had many rules. For example, if a man faced a woman, he would fight from a waist-deep hole armed with a club, and she would have a shield and a mace with which to subdue her handicapped foe. Knights typically faced each other with matched weapons in a small ring or square, and fought until one party was slain or incapacitated, or surrendered. Pollaxes were common for knightly contests, as was the ahlspiess (p. 212).

Some fighters made careers as paid stand-ins for aggrieved parties; see Duelist (p. 34). This could backfire, as the practice was often illegal. One such English fighter had a foot cut off as a judicial punishment for selling the use of his sword arm!

Use actual combat to game out judicial contests, not the abbreviated methods under Roleplaying Tournaments (p. 134).

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