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Silver Sword

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com

Aelfgar GreySeas writes

>                                                   [...] It occurs to me
> that our tournament fighting, as currently defined, is closer to the
> gladitorial games of ancient Rome than to the tourneys of High Chivalric
> period. The bouts are contests to the death, where a _killing blow_
> determines the victor.
> For reasons I only dimly comprehend, the definition of _killing blow_ has,
> over time, become heavier and heavier, and the dynamics of who wins and who
> loses do tend to push that trend in a way many have found disturbing.
> Suppose we were to redefine what it is we simulate when we fight-that instead
> of simulating combat to the death, we simulate martial contests among
> competitors? In such a contest, with weapons of war, the best of warriors are
> those who can demonstrate their martial prowess without doing serious harm to
> their opponents. Death is still possible, but not the intended outcome.

The Valencian romance _Tirant_Lo_Blanc_ describes a lavish tourney among
friendly competitors.  When two knights there get caught up in an matter
of honor (over a lady) and decide to have their own little duel to the
death, they hire some heralds, arrange for an impartial judge, and send
each other cartels of defiance.  One of them chooses Genoese daggers as
the weopon and allows his opponent to specify armor.  He chooses linen
shirts and paper sheilds.  I don't want to give away the end of this
episode in the book, but just let me say that the calibration was lower
than in the not-to-the-death tourney proper.

> Such a change would allow us to redefine a _good_ blow at some generally
> accepted level of force, acknowledged to be less than lethal. It would also
> open the possibility, if we were of a mind, to define some level of force as
> too much, by saying that killing your opponent is not as good as successfully
> hitting him with adequate but sublethal force. (No, I haven't the faintest
> notion of the details, but the possibility is there.)
> Well, there it is. I know this doesn't address fighting in wars, and the
> are less than detailed, but maybe it will do for a start.

I seem to remember that Sun Tzu, in his _Art_of_War_ said something
to the effect that the greatest general was one who arranged to
win without a battle, the next greatest one who let his enemy run
away, etc.

Also, isn't there some adage that goes something like, "Maim rather
than kill, injure rather than maim..." ?

I took the liberty of renaming this thread "Silver Sword" which
I coined on analogy to the Lone Ranger's silver bullets, which he
made to show that even the bad guys lives were precious.

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is? -- Frank Scully

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