Friday, January 21, 2011

Fantasy Legal Systems: Are There Any Good Resources Out There?

Good Evening, All:

In the Madlands Campaign, my players have put themselves in a bad position with the law: in a fight that a PC assassin picked with other members of his own guild, several of the royal guards of the Lord Governor were slain, and this in front of many witnesses. This puts them on the Wanted list along with the assassin. They've fled town, of course, but I view this opportunity as an excellent chance to detail crime, punishment and the law in my games going forward. I've got the Ready Ref Sheets from Judge's Guild in PDF format thanks to, and there's a few good pages in that which I can borrow from. I can also pull from the old Forgotten Realms boxed set, as I remember that crime was covered in a small section there. However, I don't really remember either of them being particularly inspirational.

So, turning to the readers of this blog, I have to ask a big favor: are there any other good sources for medieval/fantasy crime and punishment that you would recommend? Something that you've used to improve that aspect of your own campaign? Free is preferable, but I'm not above spending a little cash to buy a PDF or book if it would address my particular needs. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

With Regards,


Kobold said...

You might have a look around on-line to see if any Medieval Law codes/Guild Codes are available in digital format - I seem to recall that a chunk of Charlemagne's Legel code has been preserved, as well as Alfred the Great's. Law 101 type courses often look at where modern law comes from, as well, eg habius corpus, trial by jury of your peers, etc.

Chivalry and Sorcery from FGU had a section on High and Low Law, which was probably drawn from Medieval practise, but most of it seems to boil down to "if thou has not powerful friends, then thy ass is grass" for things like attempted murder, assasination, working on the Sabbath, etc.

Good luck :)

Louis Porter Jr. said...

Debatable Actions and Verbal Diplomacy from LPJ Design (at exactly what you are looking for. I built them off of a OGL systems so you could use them in a lot of different systems.

Debatable Actions:

Verbal Diplomacy:

Blair said...

City State of the Invincible Overlord!

Rob Conley said...

Harn Law at

The original treatment of the subject is on pages 8 to 10 of Judges Guild Ready Ref book.

Everything from Draw & Quartered, Flayed, Whipped to the favorite Case Dismissed.