A Price For All Damage Done
Table of Contents
- The Wergild Tables
- Grades of Men
- 'Ω': Those Beyond
- 'A': The Holy
- 'B': The Blessed
- 'C': The Graced
- 'D': The Good
- 'E': The Emergent
- 'F': The Common
- 'G': The Unfree
- Types of Profession
- Levels of Professional Skill
- Depth of Injury
The wergild table can be confusing, if you're not used to some of the terms being used, or what folks, exactly, fall into which of the seven classes of men. Hopefully, this guide will make things a little easier to understand. This guide does not engage in the completely insane level of divisions, by specific profession and exact professional level that Críth Gablach and other early Irish legal texts go into. Instead, professions are divided by type and level, and there are three major levels with an offset for lineage, which keeps with the intent of the older texts, if not their utterly bat-shit granularity. Those familiar with early Irish Law will notice that some liberties have been taken with the way the professions are distributed alongside the hand-picked nobility, but it's a fucking fantasy setting, so take a pill and sleep off the butt-hurt already.
The wergild table does not apply in situations in which a man is expected to be injured -- as a soldier in a war, on the job as a guard, while participating in bullfights, when he threw the first punch, and other such things -- and if an injury is proven to have been accidental, instead of intentional, only half the listed amount is due. In all cases where a man is mentioned, the text is equally applicable to a woman.
All honour-prices in the table are based on the idea that the 'common man' makes about £22,000 per year, on average, which is somewhere in the vicinity of correct for Ireland, circa 2006. The price of a dead man is five years of the presumed average income of his grade, which is worked back from the idea that when the price of a death was 200s for a common man, the average labourer was making about £2 per year and there were 20s to the pound.
Why are slaves included?
Although a slave, prisoner, or other person with no control of his fate has no honour, abuse of the slave affects the honour of his master and the house. While wergild can not be paid to a slave, directly, it is paid to the household to which that slave belongs. Affecting the honour of a householder through his slaves is more difficult than through himself or his family, thus slaves have a much lower wergild than even common men.
The Wergild Tables
In English Pounds
|Property Damage (5%)||£1,080||£5,400||£10,800||£21,600||£43,200||£86,400||£172,800|
|Viable Assault (7%)||£1,512||£7,560||£15,120||£30,240||£60,480||£120,960||£241,920|
|Small Damage (10%)||£2,160||£10,800||£21,600||£43,200||£86,400||£172,800||£345,600|
|Greater Damage (15%)||£3,240||£16,200||£32,400||£64,800||£129,600||£259,200||£518,400|
|Temporary Part Disability (25%)||£5,400||£27,000||£54,000||£108,000||£216,000||£432,000||£864,000|
|Permanent Part Disability (40%)||£8,640||£43,200||£86,400||£172,800||£345,600||£691,200||£1,382,400|
|Temporary Total Disability (60%)||£12,960||£64,800||£129,600||£259,200||£518,400||£1,036,800||£2,073,600|
|Permanent Total Disability (90%)||£19,440||£97,200||£194,400||£388,800||£777,600||£1,555,200||£3,110,400|
In Gold Pieces
|Property Damage (5%)||54||270||540||1,080||2,160||4,320||8,640|
|Viable Assault (7%)||75.6||378||756||1,512||3,024||6,048||12,096|
|Small Damage (10%)||108||540||1,080||2,160||4,320||8,640||17,280|
|Greater Damage (15%)||162||810||1,620||3,240||6,480||12,960||25,920|
|Temporary Part Disability (25%)||270||1,350||2,700||5,400||10,800||21,600||43,200|
|Permanent Part Disability (40%)||432||2,160||4,320||8,640||17,280||34,560||69,120|
|Temporary Total Disability (60%)||648||3,240||6,480||12,960||25,920||51,840||103,680|
|Permanent Total Disability (90%)||972||4,860||9,720||19,440||38,880||77,760||155,520|
Grades of Men
'Ω': Those Beyond
This grade doesn't actually exist. It's a reference to those that no one would even imagine offending, ever, at all. God and the Pope are in this grade, from a Catholic perspective. No one will ever be paying wergild for the Pope, much like most people will not be meeting the Pope, but he is proof that higher things than the king do exist, in theory, even if the common folk never get a glimpse.
'A': The Holy
This grade most often describes kings, cardinals, and master poets by blood. There are variants by local terminology for who fits into this grade, but it is the select few considered to be the most wise and worthy of honour and respect. It is possible, as with all grades, to slip from this grade by behaviour unbecoming of it, though few would really try to pull that one on most kings, without an army to back them.
'B': The Blessed
This grade includes most of the upper ranks of the nobility, along with archbishops, abbots, master poets, master artisans and artists by blood. Nobility of this grade slide easily to and from the one below it, depending on politics and who is king, at the time.
'C': The Graced
The graced are a step above the common folk, whether by their own work or by the king's appointment. The lesser nobility, brought up from below or down from above, are included in this category, and the nobles herein travel between here and the grade above based on their politics. This is the highest possible grade for craftsmen, including the masters by blood, and the second-highest for artists and artisans, including masters and journeymen by blood. For poets, this is the grade of apprentices by blood and journeymen. All here sit equal to bishops on the ecclesiastical scale.
'D': The Good
These folk are those who stand right in the middle of all things. Priests and extremely successful non-noble land owners, often lesser lords of an area, are notable examples of this grade. Among craftsmen, this grade belongs to journeyman by blood and masters, but it is the grade for apprentices by blood and journeymen, among artisans and artists, and apprentice poets begin at this grade.
'E': The Emergent
The emergent are those who have taken their skills and moved up from chasing after animals and scrabbling in the dirt for a living. Instead, they throw spanners and blame the grade of the wood. Apprentice artisans and artists make up a good portion of this rank, along with non-noble land-owners, lay brothers, and craftsman apprentices by blood and journeymen.
'F': The Common
These are the lowest of the free folk, those who owe nothing but respect and rent to anyone above them. Generally, this includes fundamentals, merchants, and apprentice craftsmen. This is generally the grade of those who engage directly with the land for their goods and then trade up.
'G': The Unfree
This is the lowest of all grades: slaves, indentured servants, prisoners, and others whose fate is not in their own hands. The unfree may not speak as witnesses or on behalf of others, unless they are over-sworn by someone of at least the grade of the accused. It is generally assumed that the word of the unfree man, like the word of the common man, is fairly easily bought, and without surety, it cannot be written as truth.
Types of Profession
The king and his closest relations are royalty. They are above pretty much everyone but their gods.
The nobles are those to whom the king has granted rank and status. These people are generally found prancing about in each others' posh homes, wearing ludicrously elaborate things created by the hands of others.
Lesser Lords are the ones who have come to power independently, slowly buying up the land of struggling Fundamentals in their area, and charging a rent on the property to support themselves. They're usually a step up from the average man on the street, but until the king recognises them, they're stuck between nobility and peasantry.
Any non-lay member of a religious order falls under this category, even if the titles used in the grades are Catholic. Catholics just happen to divide things in ways that let me make sense of them, in the context of pseudo-historical Ireland, approximately 700AD.
I have no fucking idea why poets are their own separately ranked profession, but they are, traditionally, and they stay so, here. There's a good chance it's because their literacy and wit made them excellent choices for not only entertainment, but history and diplomacy, as well. Bards are not poets. It is made terribly clear that bards could have been poets, if they'd gone to the right schools.
Form over function, even unto impracticality. These are the creative folk, whose work is really only purchased by those who don't need it to do anything but look pretty or sound lovely. Painters, sculptors, musicians, bards, and others of the sort fall into this category. Do not confuse them with artisans.
Artisans blend form and function gracefully, taking the craftsman's trade and introducing it to the artist's. Jewellers, bookbinders, illuminators, alchemists, embroiderers, engravers, architects, and others who specialise in the fiddly bits go in this category.
Craftsmen are those who build things, simply enough. Their work is sturdy, and while it can be quite beautiful, it does not generally reach the baroque grandeur that artisans are inclined toward. Function beats out form every time, and a craftsman's work is generally available to people of all incomes, although a master may have his apprentice do the bulk of the work on cheap commissions. This category is composed of carpenters, stonemasons, potters, blacksmiths, and others who make the tools and structural components of life.
These are the folk who work directly with the land, in some way. Farmers, hunters, fishermen, miners, and others who provide the raw materials everyone else needs in order to work are in this category.
Levels of Professional Skill
* by Blood
Any profession and professional rank may be accompanied by this modifier, provided the person is of the third consecutive generation of a family in the profession. It confers a grade one step above that usually given to those of the rank, as a certain amount of innate skill is presumed. A Master Poet by Blood will hold the same grade as an archbishop or a king, and is the only non-royal, non-clerical profession to reach this grade.
An apprentice is a person who has begun to learn a profession, but cannot be allowed to work alone, yet, because they lack the skill. Generally, apprentices do the rough work, and a master later takes the project and finishes it, usually with the apprentice watching, to teach the missing skills.
A journeyman can do a decent job on his own. His work is not yet master-quality, but it's not going to fall apart in a month's time. Generally, a journeyman's work is technically competent, and sometimes even technically excellent, but it lacks the finesse and intuition of a master's work.
A master's work has a certain something, usually it's not even immediately explicable, but the raw materials used, combined with the precise angles at which they're joined, present something that is technically identical to a good journeyman's work, but has a whole other level of class. Mastery goes beyond skill and knowledge into a whole way of thought and sight, specific to the profession. A master by blood pretty much by definition produces breathtaking work, and usually can't explain why something works, beyond 'because it obviously goes there, don't you see it?' There are very few masters of any profession.
Depth of Injury
The depth of injury, combined with the grade of man, determines the price paid. The first three injuries are to honour only, and have no actual physical components. The last seven cover all physical injuries, up to and including death.
This includes any malicious rumour intended to undermine the social or economic standing or credibility of the victim. To qualify, it must be believable, and at least five people who have heard it from the perpetrator, or read in in a leaflet linked to the perpetrator, must be found. This generally means that shouting 'Colm O'Brien farts rainbow penguins' in the middle of the pub does not qualify.
II. Property Damage
Minor acts of vandalism, not including theft, arson, or machine-breaking, which are covered under other laws. This includes painting or carving on buildings, trees, vehicles, and other property owned by the victim, usually composed of defamatory statements. Also, non-destructive disassembly of vital equipment.
III. Viable Assault
Doesn't necessarily cause injury, but could have, and is both public and damaging to the honour of the victim. Non-injurious assaults with a deadly weapon are the most usual of these.
IV. Small Damage
Small cuts and bruises, no broken bones or sprains.
V. Greater Damage
Breaks to lesser bones that do not significantly impair the ability to work -- broken nose or cheekbone, broken toe, broken pinky -- minor sprains, massive swelling, anything that needs stitches, but is otherwise superficial.
VI. Temporary Partial Disability
This category includes breaks that are expected to heal cleanly, but impede a man's ability to work, while he has them. However, if the break is to one of the seven principal bones, it becomes a temporary total disability, as he's not likely to be moving much at all, until those heal. Torn and cut muscle are usually here, but may be judged as permanent or total, depending on which muscles and whether they are expected to heal.
VII. Permanent Partial Disability
This category includes all things that cause a man to need to use outside assistance in order to perform his work, according to his station. For instance, needing a cane, glasses, wooden foot, or an assistant to reach high shelves or lift heavy items that the victim could have easily done for himself, before the injury. If the damage is permanent, it qualifies here. This category also includes honour-reducing blemishes, of the sort that impede promotion, marriageability, or social standing. Facial scarring will always rank at least this high, as will broken or knocked out teeth.
VIII. Temporary Total Disability
Anything from which a man is rendered completely unable to work, until he has fully recovered, over a period in excess of a fortnight. This includes any wound to the Twelve Doors of the Soul, any of the seven principal bone-breakings, any sickness or infection which keeps a man home or bed-bound, temporary blindness, total deafness, or any other thing that prevents the afflicted from doing his job according to his station.
IX. Permanent Total Disability
As above, but a permanent affliction, from which recovery is impossible. Amputations tend to fall into this category, for certain professions, as does the loss of one or both eyes, or, in many professions, a permanent loss of hearing. Anything that affects the victim's reproductive capabilities in a permanent fashion, like castration, is always at this level.
He's dead, Jim.