Crime and Punishment

“If a freeman lie with a freeman’s wife, let him pay for it with his wergeld, and provide another wife with his own money, and bring her to the other.” – Edict of Exarch Leve Satyev written in the Leges Satyev Confessoris (55 AC)

Laws and customs of Lor’Elvenor are far and wide. Below is a chart of common “crimes” and their punishments at a kingdom by kingdom basis. There are always exceptions to the rules, some of which will be listed and these should be considered guidelines of potential punishment.

Some crimes are not crimes in some kingdoms while other kingdoms might hand out a steep punishment for the same misdeed. Any adventurer worth his weight in salt is going mind the rules of the lands he travels. The samples of crimes and punishments are a good way of judging a culture’s ideas of what is right and wrong.

Crime The Empire Ungar Lindwyn Anion Thrakad Faher
Improper Speech Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Not a crime
Public Drunkenness Night in the stocks Not a crime Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Night in the stocks Not a crime
Prostitution Fine, Cloistering Fine Not a crime Not a crime Fine, Light Flogging, Cloistering Not a crime
Adultery Flogging, Fine, Branding Branding Fine Light Flogging Not a crime Fine, Light Flogging, Branding, Mutilation
Assault Fine, Flogging, Cloistering Flogging, Forced labor Fine, Light Flogging, Flogging Fine, Flogging, Exile Fine, Flogging, Cloistering Fine, Flogging, Branding, Mutilation
Rape Branding, Mutilation, Cloistering Branding, Exile Branding, Exile Branding, Exile Branding, Imprisonment Death by Beheading
Theft Fine, Flogging, Mutilation, Military Conscription, Forced labor Fine & Mutilation, Forced labor Fine, Flogging Fine Fine, Logging, Cloistering Fine, Mutilation, Branding, Forced labor, Exile
Burglary Fine, Flogging, Mutilation, Military Conscription, Forced labor Fine, Flogging, Forced labor Fine, Flogging, Exile Fine Fine, Logging, Cloistering Fine, Mutilation, Branding, Forced labor, Exile
Tax Evasion Flogging, Fine, Loss of Land or Title, Military Conscription, Forced labor, Cloistering Fine, Forced Labor Fine Fine Fine, Light Flogging Fine, Forced labor
Smuggling Heavy Flogging, Fine, Forced labor, Imprisonment, Military Conscription Fine, Flogging, Imprisonment Fine Fine Fine, Flogging Not a Crime
Forgery Fine, Flogging, Military Conscription Fine, Flogging, Forced labor Fine, Flogging, Imprisonment Fine Flogging, Forced labor Fine, Flogging
Arson Military Conscription, Imprisonment, Death by Hanging, Death by Gibbeting, Death by Beheading Imprisonment, Forced labor, Death by Beheading Heavy Flogging, Imprisonment, Exile Exile Forced labor, Heavy Flogging, Imprisonment, Death by Beheading Fine, Hobbling, Mutilation, Branding, Death by Hanging, Death by Beheading
Murder Fine, Imprisonment, Cloistering, Military Conscription, Death by Hanging, Death by Gibbeting, Death by Beheading Fine, Death by Beheading Fine, Branding, Exile, Death by Hanging Branding, Exile Fine, Imprisonment, Forced labor, Death by Beheading Fine, Branding, Mutilation, Exile, Death by Hanging, Death by Beheading
Heresy Racking, Death by Beheading, Death by Burning, Death by Gibbeting, Death by Hanging Not a crime Not a crime Not a crime Not a crime Not a crime
Treason Death by Beheading, Death by Hanging, Death by Gibbeting, Burning at the Stake, Racking Death by Beheading, Racking Branding, Exile Branding, Exile Death by Hanging, Death by Gibbeting, Racking Death by any means

Most offenses have some type of fine attached to them known as wergeld. Each crime had a set wergeld fine based on the social class (or standing) of the person who committed the crime or in the case of crimes such as murder or wrongful death the social class of victim. If a freeman was killed by his neighbor is worth 40 Florin wherein a Deacon murdered the wergeld is 120 Florin, 100 Sovereign (200 Florin) if it is during mass. In the case of murder it is more then a simple fine unless you are a member of the Faher tribe. In their culture blood feuds can get every much out of hand, so in the case of any crime the elders can order during the “Lagting” that a fine is paid for whatever the crime and then that is the end of that. Of course if you have enough coin you can pay your way out of almost any trouble. Wergeld is important tool in maintaining order if many kingdoms, unlike in modern times where there is a jail cell for every criminal, penitentiaries are far and few between. The largest penitentiary in Lor’Elvenor is in the Kingdom of Ungar, It is deep in the mountains and only temprary. A new city is being dug out between Klorfal and Izkul and prisoners from all across Lor’Elvenor are doing the work. Besides that there is a prison in Dargarth which is the capitol of punishment in all of the Myrmidon Empire and Brunhild.

A crime like “Improper Speech” is really at the discretion of the local Town Watch, Constable or Reeve. The offense could be as simple as saying the Constable’s wife is a troll and every ninth night she treats him like a woman or it could be you called the Reeve he was a dolted daffe or you could have been called any lady a harlot without proof. Often this offense goes hand in hand with “Public Drunkenness” which has the same punishment in most communities.

Now the crimes of Prostitution and Adultery are horses of similar colour. Prostitution is technically illegal throughout the Myrmidon Empire but there exceptions. In cities like Rathreigh and Heldenfeld Prostitution is completely legal and handled in public (not to say the act is in public but that there are brothels that operate openly). In most other towns and cities throughout the Myrmidon Empire there are women and some men who work on their backs as it were. They can be found at Taverns, Inns and shady parts of town. Unless some incident occurs they are paid no heed.

Adultery is an odd little crime in the Myrmidon Empire Adultery amongst freemen is a crime only if the pair are caught in the act or evidence of the crime like a red headed baby. There is a set punishment for the man as stated in Leges Satyev Confessoris written in (55 AC): “If a freeman lie with a freeman’s wife, let him pay for it with his wergeld, and provide another wife with his own money, and bring her to the other.”. The woman in the adulterous relationship is often branded at least socially and often physically. The most common branding is having their nostrils are cut so all can see their crime right on their face. This occasionally happens to the man but not that often. In situations that involve Nobility or Members of the Church a public flogging will occur as well as the other punishments listed before.

Of course when it comes to Adultery there are loop holes, pun likely intended. Among the Faher tribes in the northern Province of Erris a man is allowed to take more then one wife and is allowed to have concubines so long as they are declared as such. The same is true, although taking a second husband is rare, for women amongst the tribe. When Adultery is a crime amongst the Faher is often when a married woman has the child of another man. The man bares the brunt of the punishment and the child is frequently an outcast.

The more serious crimes require more serious consequences. Capitol Punishment is used in all the kingdoms of Lor’Elvenor save the Anion. The only crime in which the Gnomes in Linwynd will hand out a death sentence on is murder and more often then not branding and exile is used opposed to a beheading. The Myrmidon Empire uses death sentences for the following crimes: Arson, Murder, Treason and Heresy. Being even suspected of Heresy warrants an empire citizen a visit from the Legion of Solan. The Legion of Solan uses very intensive and prolonged questioning tactics. Every sin of the accused is dragged out into the open. Confession of Heresy brings a quick and merciful public beheading or hanging. The unrepentant die much more agonizing deaths including being burnt at the stake, being racked and being boiled in oil. Many confess just to end the pain. The execution of heretics is always in public and well attended. On rare occasions the Myrmidon Empire uses an oldie but a goodie: Stoning. This punishment is long out of date but is occasionally used on “witches” in smaller more rural settlements.

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Crime and Punishment

Defenders, Deliverers or Deceivers JPoisson