The coils of the World Serpent
The Warriors Honour is a behaviour code split into two sections, general “Protocols” and specific “Precepts”. While the code may seem to point to a “Lawful” slant to the follower, any one can obey a code of conduct, Lawful Alignment refers to the Law of the Land, not to personal ethics. Thus this code is suitable for any character of any alignment.
Any intelligent creacure who has sworn the oath to uphold this code, wears a white sash around their waist to symbolise the purity of honour for which they strive. They often also wear a red circle, or embroider the sash with red threat to represent the blood of the warriors who follow the code.
The basic Precepts are as follow:
- Honour is more important than life.
- Fear is acceptable; cowardice is not.
- Live to fight, and fight to live.
- Respect your enemy.
- Do not attack the defenseless, the weak, or the innocent.
- Do not threaten the defenseless, the weak, or the innocent to exert control over an enemy (do not take hostages).
- Do not involve yourself in the dishonourable actions of others.
- Missile weapons are suitable for hunting, but not for war (the honourable do not use missile weapons against intelligent enemies, but can against animals, undead or other unnatural beings).
- Mind Control (including charm and possession) is not to be used, or tolerated.
- Obey the leaders of your company, and those to whom your company owes allegiance.
- Avenge dishonour to your company, mentors, allies, and self (in that order).
- Seek glory for your company, not for yourself.
- If you are responsible for the death of a friend, companion or follower, you assume the obligations of that individual.
- Honour those you care for by remembering them, even after their deaths.
- Be tolerant of the beliefs and actions of others.
- Spread the Code by example, not by force.
- Keep all promises.
- Fulfil all duties.
- Repay all debts.
The Protocol of Adulthood states that a person reaches adulthood when they kill an enemy under honourable circumstances. Upon reaching Adulthood, the person may swear their oath to abide by the Warriors Honour.
The Protocol of Host and Guest demands that hosts protect their guests from mortal harm, and that a guest respect the rules put forth by a host. Neither host nor guest can make unreasonable requests of the other. Note that a host usually invites a guest for a specific period of time (usually 3 days), after which time the guest is no longer welcome and must leave, unless the invitation is renewed. Only the actions of the guest can prematurely end the period of invitation.
The Protocol of Challenge and Fair Combat demands that the Warriors Honour adherent inform enemies of impending attack. For individual combat, they issue a direct challenge, and the enemy must be given time to respond. Thus they cannot attack an unprepared enemy, nor attack from behind. An enemy who is engaged in combat with a friend or ally is considered to be “prepared”. for large-scale combat, a declaration of war is necessary; once this has been done, the armies of the enemy are considered “prepared” and surprise attacks are allowable. Someone following the Warriors Honour can never participate in an ambush, except against enemies in a declared war.
The Protocol of Dueling demands that the adherent obey the rules and mores of Duelling. Duels are the preferred method of dealing with disputes of honour, avenging insults, or proving weapons prowess. Each nation has its own dueling rules: some call for an area to be marked, and dueling to be confined to that area, while others call for seconds and witnesses to be named. In a sword duel, a specific dueling area is usually marked. The duelists stand within this area, state their grievances (briefly), salute each other, and begin dueling. In most cases, a duel continues only until the first wound. At this point, the wounded individual is given an opportunity to apologize or admit defeat. However, an individual may not always willing to surrender, or the duel may have been declared “to the death.” If both have agreed to these term before witnesses, the winner cannot (normally) be held legally accountable for killing the opponent.
The Protocol of Respect for an Honoured Enemy states that an honoured enemy, usually a leader of an opposing force, is accorded certain privileges. It is considered honourable to touch an honoured enemy, without harming them, in single combat. An honoured enemy should be felled only in single combat. If captured, an honoured enemy is treated as a guest. If called for, a captured honoured enemy can be executed, but only in a formal ceremony. Honoured enemies are often returned to their people in exchange for material or other concessions.
The Protocol of Negotiation declares that negotiations are sacred. They are a cause for a truce, and a truce should not be broken. To insure this, opposing forces exchange hostages during negotiations. There hostages are people who understand that their lives are held as proof of their forces honour. If the truce is broken by one side, the lives of the hostages from that side are forfeit.
The Protocol of Betrayers refers to those who break the oaths of the Warriors Honour. An adherent to the Code who abandons the Precepts or the Protocols is declared a Betrayer, and is subject to a hunt and eventual death, which can be administered by any follower of the Code. Betrayers besmirch the honour of the Warriors Honour, and cleansing is possible only if an adherent kills the Betrayer. NOTE: to retain honour, individuals must ascertain the proof of betrayal for themselves. Even if orders have come down from the leader of a company, the adherent to the Warriors Honour must determine the truth when the suspected Betrayer is caught. If the capturer cannot determine the truth, the suspected Betrayer must be brought before a group of at least six followers of the Code, where the truth of the matter is decided, and a sentence carried out.