Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
Laws in Creed
The kingdoms of Creed hold many tenants and beliefs as vital and often sacred in their lands. While the kingdoms may not always agree in what appropriate punishment should be, many agree in what is a criminal violation of their citizens’ rights and freedoms. What is lawful, honorable, and good is also held in common consent largely in todays world. Examples of these tenants in various situations is available here.Crime
Acts commonly considered crimes are: theft, poaching (varying by land and custom), vandalism, harassment, assault, smuggling, treason, and murder.Keepers of the Peace
Kingdoms almost unanimously recruit…Judicial Systems
In most kingdoms, crimes must be brought before some sort of judge for a sentence to be passed. Witnesses and physical evidence are often required for this determination. Large cities and castle towns always have an established court and judge, some kingdoms require a jury of peers in addition to this. The granting a particular witness testimony more weight based on station and wealth is fairly common in more corrupt towns and some kingdoms, with station playing a particular role in Alabastra.
Many kingdoms license individuals to travel from town to town in outlaying areas and deal with minor legal matters, or investigate into larger legal situations. Paladins, clerics and inquisitors are all commonly licensed for this task.Judged and Wanted
Some criminals are known, have been judged despite their absence and are wanted for sentencing. The legal writs against these people are usually clear. These individuals usually have a bounty against them, and the behavior against them is pre-approved in these bounties. Most bounties list the crimes that the criminal has committed.
Wanted Alive: This means that all care should be taken to bring this person in alive. The criminal’s death may be dishonorable, depending on the circumstances of the death. They should not be summarily executed. Most likely, they must face trial, or they are merely suspected of a crime and wanted for questioning. It is almost always illegal to kill this person unless it is in self-defense.
Wanted Dead or Alive: This person is so dangerous that capturing him is important, but stopping him is more important. It is honorable to either kill or capture these people. Once captured, they may be summarily executed, although many consider this evil.
Wanted Dead: All purpose should be taken to kill this person. Sparing them may be dishonorable, depending on circumstances. Summary execution is mandated. Killing this person, even after capture, is not an evil act.In the Hands of Heroes
When the situation is urgent and action is required immediately, it’s not uncommon for heroes to alert a nearby village leader to the situation and carry on with what they feel must be done. In these cases, capture is usually the preferred process unless the target is easily proven an affront to the gods or may be killed on sight (see below). While killing another sentient being that falls under neither category without a judge’s sentence is a crime, the law usually looks favorably upon actions taken with consent and warning to village elders in such situations. However, a number of paths are open to heroes in these situations, all of which the law looks favorably upon, though in the case of sentient beings most nations request that they’re informed and often delivered a known token of the being or the being’s head (often offering a reward for such services).
Summary Execution: Some lawbreakers may be killed without a trial. In these cases, the proper ritual is to line them up, and read the evidence against them. After reading the evidence, they are condemned to death. For each criminal, an executioner states, “I condemn you to death for <crime>. Do you have any words in your defense?” If they can provide no compelling reason why they should not be executed, then they are executed. Executions may include hanging, beheading, drowning, or other terrible deaths. Good characters prefer swifter executions. Some good characters will give clemency on conditions to the condemned based on the crime.
Trial by Fiat: In some circumstances, when there is no clear law in an area, parties may form their own ad-hoc court to determine the fate of a being. These impromptu courts are viewed both honorable and good, and the law looks upon them with favor. This is especially true in areas where the law is ignorant or powerless. These courts are usually held in circumstances where formal justice is impractical or impossible. Example: Having determined that evil creatures are enslaving humans, the party uses trial by fiat to act against the slavers, kill their leaders, and drive them from their hidden fortress.
Affront to the Gods: Some beings violate the religious laws of the gods. Clerics, inqusitors, paladins and those noted and anointed by the reigning local religion have a legal right to hold trials over those who affront the gods, may determine their guilt or innocence, and may determine punishment, including execution. For example, someone seeking to raise a demon, and so destroy the world, is an affront to the gods and so may be killed or summarily executed. Killing those who are an affront to the gods is held as good. Undead, by definition, are an affront to the gods.
Death on Sight: Some beings may be killed for existing. Killing such a being is both lawful and good. These include all forms of undead (being who exist via negative energy), beings that are murderous or become murderous (such as evil lycanthropes), outsiders of evil alignment, beings that are worshipers and servants of evil gods, and other blatantly evil ilk. Killing such things is held as lawful and good. See below for more information.
Detect as Evil: Anyone who has done enough evil deeds to detect as evil, or is sufficiently enmeshed in dark forces as to detect as evil, may be executed without trial or justification. (See detect evil for details.) Do note that there are forces which can cause a man to seem evil, so care should be taken with this ability. An evil person may legally be held for simply being evil and stripped of all possession. If this person still detects as evil, a paladin or inquisitor may seek a dispel magic from a temple (most always performed gratis for them). If the person still detects as evil after seven dispel magic, and is not under a curse or similar magic, then they may be executed. Once the paladins, inquisitors and clerics have done their utmost to remove any doubt about the condemned’s alignment, that person may be executed. (If a mistake is somehow still made, and an innocent dies, paladins do not lose their abilities. They have done due diligence in such a matter.)
Best Judgment: Paladins, inquisitors, knights, and clerics may invoke the traditional right of best judgment. In these cases, the law or the morality is unclear as to how it applies to a situation while the situation itself is perilous. Best judgments are held as morally neutral. These judgments, unclear of what is good or lawful, seek to avoid being evil or arbitrary. Later, should there be questions about these actions, all courts hold Best Judgment as a valid right, and generally defer to this right unless grievous error was made. Best Judgment requires that the executors show that all other avenues are either more illegal or immoral, and that the current set of actions is the least bad of all options, including doing nothing.Those Who Prey on the Weak
There are many folk that prey upon the civilized lands. These folk are usually dealt with rather harshly. The key identifier of such individuals is that they seek wealth (even if their justifications include more noble ideas) and are willing to extract it in blood and tears from any to get it. These people include: bandits, raiders, pirates, and other similarly violent ilk, including those noted above. In regards to these people the following is all true, though kingdoms still desire to be notified of such actions and often offer a reward for such actions.
- Any such person, caught in the act, may be summarily killed or executed.
- Any such person who is captured may be summarily tried and executed.
- Any summary executions are honorable and good.
However, there is a flip-side of this that applies particularly to heroes with something of a bloodlust. The killing of non-combatants, cripples, women and children, even of bandits or pirates or of a race viewed as universally hostile, such as orcs, is generally held to be dishonorable, and usually evil. The killing of juveniles is held to be dishonorable and possibly evil. These actions should be avoided, and heroes who find themselves preying on the weak and young often find themselves heroes no more if the public finds out.War Prisoners
Those who surrender in war are prisoners. Wars are declared, and held for articulated reasons. Wars are political in nature. While the conflict in the West and near the Mists are commonly called ‘wars’, neither technically are and the world currently has no official wars between kingdoms being waged. However, the Avens, Fire Angels and the rest of the recruits in the area often follow the following rules regarding the rare orcs captured or the rarer yet that surrender. Ogres are rarely given such regard, even by the most noble. These rules would also come into common effect should war break out, as many fear Keld seeks.
- Disarming prisoners and sending them home is considered honorable and good.
- Holding prisoners captive is considered honorable and good, although sufficiently long captivity is not held as good.
- Pressing prisoners into labor during wartime is considered honorable. Selling prisoners into slavery is considered honorable, but also held as evil.
In the past there have been many conflicts over land and control of territory. These have a higher standing over most conflicts, as the opposition usually has a lawful claim to their action. While there are currently no territorial disputes, save arguably in the West, this confusing area of the law when kingdoms clash in a lawful way has a rough review of popular thought available.
- Opposing or conducting these incursions is honorable.
- Acting to minimize death during these incursions, or resisting them, is held as good.
- Deaths resulting from such actions are held as lawful.
- Use of excessive force against your opponents (causing unnecessary death) is held as evil.
- Ending such conflicts through negotiation and treaty is both honorable and good.
- Ending these through surrender of either party is held as honorable and good.
- Unnecessarily drawing out the conflict is seen as evil.