Wergild

Wergild exists instead of a large and complex set of laws, and as such crime is resolved simply. Any crime, no matter how small, incurs a debt, the wergild. When a person is wronged, they may seek recompense from their superior. They state their case and the accused is given a chance to defend himself. Witnesses testify their perspective on the matter and evidence is presented. Once the superior in the situation makes a judgement, something that never comes easily or fair, the wergild is announced or a trial by combat occurs. If the superior finds the plaintiff wrongly accused, the defendant may be forced to pay wealth to the accused.

A general and approximate worth can be seen as followed. All thralls are assumed to be human. Dauerkul thralls are worth 1/2 each and a Thurnskine is worth 2.

Victim – Price

  • Thrall – None, a Thrall can never seek wergild.
  • Child – 1d10/2 silver or 1 female thrall.
  • Female – 1d10-2 silver or 1 male thrall or 2 female thralls.
  • Male – 1d10 silver or 1 male thrall and 2 female thralls.
  • Warrior – 10+1d10 silver, 2 male thralls and 4 female thralls.
  • Vikti – Vikti are considered inconsequential unless one can vouch for their worth.
  • Boendr – 50+5d10 silver or a mix of 50 male and female thralls.
  • King – 100+10d10 silver and a mix of 100 male and female thralls.

Trials by combat are accepted if the wergild cannot be paid, champions can be appointed and the fight is often to the death.

In addition, many wergilds can be paid away with justice. A superior may cut the tongue out of a false accuser or make one who sleeps with another man’s wife into a eunuch. The taking of a limb is common if one cannot pay, fight, or find a champion.

Fleeing from a wergild makes one into an Wolf’s Head, an outlaw who is as akin to a beast in all ways. A Wolf’s Head is to be killed if seen, never offered hospitality, and killing him may allow the killer to gain the debted wergild to the wronged party.

Wergild

Sword of the North TheCommander