Wolves on Watch
Nicholas was determined that civil war would not claim his new society. Instead of banning warfare, which he considered part of human nature, he decided to control conflicts through regulations and rituals. Thus, the Six Trials of Combat were established.
Most trials begin with a ritual challenge called a Batchall, where the challenger declares his/her name, the type of trial and other parameters depending on the type of trial. In most trials, the challenger and the challenged then perform bidding for the forces each will use in the battle. Each bid is less than the previous bid, causing both parties to keep undercutting each other until they reach the minimum amount of force. This is partly because to win with fewer forces is more glorious, but also minimizes the military waste created by the trial.
The trial is fought in a circle of equals. The circle is an area that the combat occurs in while peer warriors encircle the perimeter. During the trial no warrior can enter the circle of equals. The circle is usually a circle or sphere that has a radius of about five to ten meters for melee combat, two to five kilometers for ‘Mech combat and about a hundred kilometers for aerospace combat. The circle of equals ensures no non-combatants are caught in the conflict, and in larger battles, there is no collateral damage to surrounding building and equipment.
In individual trials, such as a personal conflict between two warriors, there is no batchall. The warrior who is being challenged will decide if the fight will be augmented, meaning that two MechWarriors will fight in their ’Mechs, or un-augmented, meaning a person to person fight using no weapons. The warrior who calls the challenge is allowed to choose the location of the fight. This may take place anywhere from a parade ground to a dropship. One example was when Phelan Ward, of Clan Wolf (a bondsman taken in battle, formerly known as Phelan Kell of the Kell Hounds) fought un-augmented against an elemental. He called for the challenge to take place in zero-g aboard a dropship in orbit.
Trial of Grievance
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Grievance.
When disputes arise between individual warriors that neither they nor their immediate superiors can resolve, both warriors must petition to have their differences heard by the Clan Council (or the Grand Council if the opponents are Bloodnamed or hold important rank). If the issue is not resolved by the council, the parties may then call for a Trial of Grievance. The rules governing the trial are many and strict.
Trial of Position
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Position.
Trials of Position are used to determine career advancement. There are three types of this trial: Training Trials, The Blooding, and Promotion Trials.
Trial of Bloodright
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Bloodright.
Trials of Bloodright determines the assignment of Bloodnames. Being a descendant of a Bloodnamed warrior gives a warrior the right to participate in the trial to earn the Bloodname (and due to the Clan eugenics program, there are a lot of potential warriors for a particular Bloodname at any given time).
By Clan law, at any one time there are up to 25 active warriors with the same Bloodname (there can be less due to Reavings). When one dies, a Trial of Bloodright is held to determine who should replace the Bloodnamed warrior.
Trial of Possession
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Possession.
Trials of Possession are between Clans over particular assets. This trial allows Clans to perform raids on each other while minimizing the military assets wasted in raids and eliminating collateral damage and danger to non-combatants.
Trial of Refusal
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Refusal.
The Clan Council makes many decisions and laws using an internal vote. After a vote, the council member can challenge the decision to a Trial of Refusal. A council member with a losing vote fights a member with a winning vote. The forces applied in the Trial depend on the importance of the decision.
Trial of Annihilation
For more details on this topic, see Trial of Annihilation.
A Trial of Annihilation is the most extreme punishment the Clans can declare. It goes beyond the question of right and wrong. A Trial of Annihilation virtually guarantees that the warrior will die and that his genes will be eliminated from the Clans’ gene pool. This trial can only be invoked by a unanimous vote of the appropriate council, and only for the most heinous crimes against Clan society.