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- "The Jarl says you die. Slowly. And I am nothing if not loyal to the Jarl."
- —Vasallo anónimo
Un vasallo es un guerrero al servicio de un jarl concreto. Tiene el deber de vivir en la casa del jarl, compartir su comida y profesarle una lealtad inquebrantable. A cambio de este juramento de lealtad, el jarl recompensa su servicio con regalos como armas, armaduras y, en el mejor de los casos, tierras y títulos. El valor del regalo nunca se mide por su valor real, sino por el prestigio que otorga al vasallo. Es preciso recordar que estos regalos no convierten al vasallo en mercenario, sino que son un premio por un servicio leal y continuado.
Two relationships are of significant importance to bondsmen: their loyalty to their jarl, and their relationship with their jarl’s other bondsmen.
Loyalty is everything to a bondsman, because it is only through his loyalty that he can advance. Jarls value insight, endurance and, especially, martial prowess, but consider loyalty more important than any of them. A bondsman with little talent beyond loyalty can advance to die a freeholder, while a superb warrior whose loyalty is suspect will find only an early death. A bondsman who betrays or fails his jarl risks losing everything, so bondsmen obey their jarl’s orders without question.
Relationships between bondsmen in the same clan are far more complex. On the one hand, they must rely on each other during times of war, and all are loyal to the their jarl, making them natural allies. On the other, they are in competition for the jarl’s favour; a jarl has a limited number of gifts to distribute between his bondsmen.
The Norse are a quarrelsome breed, but a jarl keeps order by punishing infighting between his bondsmen with death. If a bondsman wants to advance at the expense of a rival, he must be subtle. A jarl may reward a bondsman who exposes disloyalty in another. There are always casualties in battle, and sometimes a bondsman might engineer an “accident” to befall a rival. However, anyone caught doing so may face a life of slavery or a swift death.
Bondsmen are interested in their jarl’s success, because it directly increases their prosperity. This self-interest reinforces the oath of loyalty, and has made the system very resilient.
Little Known FactsEditar
In some remote holds, where there is little wealth, few resources or no tactical defences, there may not even be a true jarl. Instead, the bondsmen swear loyalty to each other, and the fruits of plunder are distributed by the vote of all the warriors. The warriors must be devoted to a single ruinous power or to none, as mixed loyalties would soon tear the group apart.
Bondsmen swear loyalty to their jarl over a weapon, called an oath weapon, and traditionally use that weapon in their jarl’s service. However, tradition holds that anyone who loses their oath weapon will be cursed with ill fortune. When a bondsman is not wielding his oath weapon in anger, he keeps it close, even taking it to bed with him at night.
- Warhammer Fantasy JdR: Tomo de Corrupción (2ª Ed. Rol).
- Warhammer Fantasy JdR: Career Compendium (2ª Ed. Rol).