Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fantasy Legal Systems: Crimes & Punishment...

Good Afternoon, All:

What follows is a fairly comprehensive list of pseudo-medieval fantasy crimes and their punishments compiled into four basic categories: Capitol Crimes, Felonies, Misdemeanors and Infractions. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but I think there's enough here to cover a majority of the efforts that might be encountered over the course of a fantasy campaign. I may make a few adjustments, based on potential recommendations that come from readers of this blog (and other sources as well), and then I'll start formalizing my research into a PDF for my group. (Yes, I'll be sharing that with everyone here as well, as a "Thank You" for all the great help I've gotten on this topic.)

Capitol Crimes:
Arson, Assault resulting in mutilation or crippling, Assault upon high nobility (includes expectoration), Counterfeiting, Defiling a holy place, Impersonating royalty or high nobility, Kidnapping of high nobility, Magical assault, Murder, Poisoning the water supply, Rape, Sabotage, Slavery (in anti-slavery kingdoms), Spying, Treason.

Punishable by Death, Exile (permanent), Fines & Damages, Hard Labor/Slavery (3+ years), Humiliation, Imprisonment (10+ years) and/or Mutilation (as appropriate).

Blackmail, Bribery of a city officer or official, Burglary, Extortion, Fencing stolen goods, Forgery, Fraud, Impersonation of a guardsman or officer of the watch, Kidnapping, Murder with justification, Repetition of any misdemeanor or infraction, Robbery, Tax evasion, Theft of temple goods or offerings (includes spoilage or consumption of same), Theft or killing of livestock or mounts, Theft, Tomb-robbing (or unlawful entry and/or vandalism of a tomb), Unlawful dueling (manslaughter), Usury, Vandalism, Willful disobedience of any official edict.

Punishable by Exile (5 years to permanent), Fines & Damages, Hard Labor/Slavery (1 month to 3 years), Humiliation and/or Imprisonment (1 month to 10 years).

Assault (wounding), Assault on livestock or mounts (non-fatal), Assault upon a priest or lay worshiper, Assault upon any city officer who is acting in the line of duty, Damage to property, Entry into city after curfew or not by main gates, Unlawful dueling, Unlawful entry into the harbor (1 charge per vessel per occasion), Unlawful hindrance of business, Unlawful observation or copying of an official document.

Punishable by Edict Against Convict, Exile (up to 1 year), Fines & Damages, Humiliation and/or Imprisonment (1 week to 1 month).

Assault (without wounding or robbery, includes expectoration), Blasphemy against any city officer, Blasphemy against foreign ambassadors, Brandishing a weapon dangerously or threateningly without due cause (note: being in a brawl is not due cause unless one is menaced with a weapon), Bribery, Dangerous operation of a coach, wagon, litter or other conveyance (including airborne), Desertion, Drunkenness (and disorderly conduct) at worship, Excessive noise (interfering with sleep or business), Impeding the swift process of law by delaying the actions of the guard or watch, Leaving the city after curfew by means other than the main gates, Littering (includes relief of human wastes in public), Public blasphemy of a god or priesthood, Trespassing, Unlawful flight intrusion (into city airspace, of intelligent being flying by means of an aerial mount or magic), Vagrancy.

Punishable by Edict Against Convict, Fines & Damages, Humiliation and/or Imprisonment (Overnight to 1 week).

Clarification on Punishments

Death: A sentence of Death can only be granted by High Justice, and the convict can be executed by being drawn & quartered, impaled, beheaded, hanged, tortured to death or flayed alive. The court confiscates all property owned by the executed convict.

Edict Against Convict: Edicts against the convict often include a ban against performing further actions related to his crimes.

Exile: When Exiled, the court confiscates all property save for one weapon, one week's rations and the clothes worn by the offender.

Fines & Damages: Fines are payable to the court, while Damages are payable to the victim of the crime. Most damages are defined as the relative value of that which was lost by the crime. When considering the value of a sentient life, such damages are roughly equivalent to the wages that would have been earned by that sentient over the course of the next five years. Fines are typically based on the level of crime: infractions (5-50 silver shillings), misdemeanors (50-500 silver shillings), felonies (500-2000 silver shillings), and capitol crimes (2000-5000 silver shillings).

Hard Labor/Slavery: Hard Labor/Slavery can include being impressed into service (for one tour of duty), enforced public works, gladiatorial combat in an arena (until the convict earns early release or serves the complete sentence), or being sold into indentured servitude (and the money from such sales going into the coffers of the court.)

Humiliation: Humiliation includes flogging, flaying, whipping, time spent in the stocks, running a gauntlet and other public displays (ex. being paraded through the streets tied behind a mule or other stubborn beast of burden as a crier extols the convict's foul deeds.)

Imprisonment: Imprisonment can be performed in a jail, dungeon or similar structure. Convicts with a history of contribution and attachment to the local community may be able to petition the court for Probation instead of Imprisonment. Probation requires the convict to report to the City Jail once a week, and the convict is prohibited from drunkenness, wearing armor, carrying any weapon (other than a dagger), and any other legal violations for the period of Imprisonment. Any violations of the terms of Probation send the convict directly to Imprisonment for the remainder of his sentence.

Mutilation: Mutilation can include extreme torture, crippling and branding, in addition to the actual removal of body parts.

As always, any feedback you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

With Regards,

1 comment:

James said...

Please include this in the MyD20 Lite Referee's Guide!