Wergild is a value placed on a human being. If someone gets killed, and the killing is deemed unjust, or otherwise offends the laws of the victim's clan, then the offending party must pay a wergild. Refusing to pay a valid request is considered to be a major insult.
There are several events where you might need to pay a wergild in order to avoid offending another clan or provoking a feud. You may also have chances to demand wergild from others, and they can be expected to pay as long as your relations are good.
In Orlanthi society, the value of a wergild varies depending on the rank of the individual:
- Cottars are worth 5 cows.
- Carls are worth 10 cows.
- Nobles and thanes are worth 20 cows.
You may get away with paying less than custom demands, but it is considered an insult.