Holmgang

A holmgang duel takes place in what is essentially a 15 by 15 foot square – it is nine hides, three on each edge, and a hide is about three to five feet. The combatants must remain within in this square during the entirety of the duel. To force your opponent out is considered dishonorable, and to step out of the square even more so.

A holmgang is not merely about winning, it is about winning with style. Power attacks are expected, and it is noteworthy to smash your opponent’s shield (and then toss yours aside to face him or her on even footing, etc.)

Some holmgangs will go until one or the other shield is smashed. There may be one shield, or two or three that you have to go through, both of you attempting sunder maneuvers.

Possible rule: An opponent’s shield has an armor class of 15 and is resistant to nonmagical damage. Once it has absorbed 5 hit points of damage it is considered broken.

Other holmgangs will be to the first blood – that means the first injury for low-level characters, or the first serious injury (critical hit or reduced below 1/2 hit points) for higher-level characters.

The most serious holmgangs are to the death.

Any use of magic is highly unusual for these duels, and will have to be negotiated beforehand. Poison is absolutely precluded, and to use it is to invite being declared an outlaw and exiled, or worse. Trickery and cunning are rewarded – one does not need to “fight fair.”

Winning a holmgang usually means you do not lose standing in the community. If you win with particular style, however, it can lead to an increase in standing.

Losing a holmgang always means you have disadvantage on social rolls for a short time, and the outcome is binding. If you refuse to fight, however, you have disadvantage on all social rolls until the next winter phase.

Holmgang

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