Codes and Law

Weregeld

Weregeld is the price you pay for taking a life. It’s not a universal law, but it’s often presumed to be, just in case. There is no distinction between murder and manslaughter. The price is paid to the kin (family, House, temple, clan) of the dead. The common cost for a free peasant is 1000 gold pieces, but for a noble it can be three times as much. Failure to pay a Weregeld is an extremely serious issue that usually ends in war.

Imprisonment

Incarceration is a drain on the state, and is generally avoided. The major exception, aside from jails and other temporary forms of holding, is debtor’s prison. Debtors are kept in prisons until their kin can pay their debts, including the costs of imprisonment, and get them released. Or, prisoners can work in labor yards until they’ve paid their own way out. In the most dire situations, they might choose to sell themselves (or just be sold) as indentured servants, and enter the slave class until they can buy their freedom. Which is unlikely to ever happen.

Outlawry

It isn’t technically a death sentence, but it often ends up that way. Outlawry is basically when the law of your nation turns its back on you. It means you’re now free to do whatever you want, which is probably what you’ve already been doing and how you ended up in this situation to begin with. But it also means that everybody around you can do whatever they want to you, and the law will turn a blind eye because you don’t exist to them anymore. Fresh outlaws first order of business is usually to make a mad dash for the borders, but depending on their crime and notoriety, they don’t often make it. All nations allied with the one that outlawed you will similarly refuse to protect you. Outlaws are marked with either a brand or a tattoo of a rune representing their court, which is usually national but is occasionally religious.

Badges of Shame

They tell everybody you fucked up. Badges of shame vary a lot depending on the crime and the sentencing body. They can range from a lost appendage or a brand, to a tattoo or patterned scars, to shackles or shorn hair. Often, a missing finger denotes a thief, a brand denotes a deserter, any tattoo markings on the face denote an outlaw. Those who fail to pay census taxes are cut from the tip of the nose to their brow.

Execution

Many punishments end up becoming a death sentence, but you can still get an actual official death sentence too. Formal execution is reserved for crimes against the King, crimes agains a god or temple, and sexual assault.

Trial By Combat

This is the method of settling accusations for which there is no confession on the part of the accused, nor witness to the crime. The accuser and the accused engage in single combat and whoever wins is proclaimed to be right.

Social Codes

Feudalism

Vassals swear fealty to their Lord and are in return given a Fief. Vassalage entails ownership of a heritable Fief, which is a revenue-producing property (such as land, civil office, hunting rights, etc.) and in exchange, the Vassal must stay on military retainer for their Lord, who may summon them at any time.

Hospitium

All travelers are under the direct protection of Radogost, and are entitled to hospitality. There are sacred obligation inherent in the relationship between a host and a guest. Failure to offer shelter, food, and clothes to a traveler is a crime. Stealing from a host or damaging a host’s property is a crime, and violence on either side is punishable by outlawry or sometimes death. Most temples and monasteries include Hospitia, dorms for travelers. These laws apply in rural and isolated areas, for the most part. They apply to the impoverished in populated areas but it’s bad form not to pay for an inn when one’s available.

Pirate’s Codes

I. All company is to have a share. The Captain is to have two shares, the Quartermaster is to have a share and a half, the doctor, mate, gunner, and boatswain are to have a share and a quarter each.

II. Any person who steals from their Company to the value of one silver will have their nose cut off and shall be abandoned at the nearest populated shore.

III. None are to dice or game for money. At second-last bell, all games stop, and candles out belowdecks. Those who wish to drink must do so on deck.

IV. Arms are to be kept well maintained and properly cared for at all times.

V. All crew has a vote in affairs of the moment, and equal title to fresh provisions or strong liquors when seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary to vote a retrenchment.

VI. Disputes are to be settled on land. Any crew who strikes another at sea or aboard the ship will be whipped.

VII. No pipe-smoking without pipe-caps belowdecks, and no candles without lanterns belowdecks. Those who offend will be whipped.

VIII. Any who meddle with another without their consent shall be put to death.

IX. Cowards and deserters shall be marooned.

Codes and Law

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