Posts Tagged ‘ place of power ’

Fun with Laws

This week, I’ve posted thrice about Galgenbaum, a fantasy town ruled by Mayor-Justices who long ago bound minor death gods via contract to help defend the town. Galgenbaum is a magistracy, a community ruled by judges and their subordinate judicial officials. At least on the surface, Galgenbaum is a well-ordered, disciplined town, but, as Circero observed, “More law, less justice.”

My musings this week about Galgenbaum included pondering just what sorts of laws the town would have. Writing up a body of legal precedents and statutes is well beyond the scope of this blog, but I was reminded of Chaotic Shiny. If you’re not acquainted with this site, give it a visit. Chaotic Shiny offers numerous random generators for categories such as alphabet, RPG class, and ballads.

Curious, I generated ten laws using Chaotic Shiny’s Law Generator. Here’re the results:

The penalty for attempting bribery is a warning.

The penalty for robbing an official is a considerable term of servitude.

The penalty for killing a tradesman is a long imprisonment.

The penalty for smuggling spell scrolls is a moderate fine.

The penalty for a nobleman smuggling body parts is life imprisonment.

The penalty for a craftsman lying under oath is execution.

The penalty for maiming a mule is a considerable fine.

The penalty for plotting against a member of the royalty is a warning.

The penalty for a member of a certain bloodline stealing artifacts is public humiliation.

The penalty for a guild leader trespassing is execution.

At first glance, some of these seem appropriate, some seem interesting, and at least one seems silly. Take a gander at the eighth one about plotting against the royalty. Really? You get off with a warning? Absurd? On the surface, sure, but it did make me think.

The first function of the law is to instruct the citizenry, especially the young, about what is acceptable and not acceptable. In this respect, the tired canard that one cannot legislate morality becomes glaringly untrue. If the primary function of law is to teach about right and wrong, then one cannot help but legislate morality. With that in mind, what sort of community would punish plotting against the royalty with a warning?

Well, it seems fairly obvious that the community would be one that places little value on being royal. It would be a community that encourages plotting against the royalty. This doesn’t mean that the royalty don’t serve their usual functions within the community. The king is still the king, but His Majesty’s power and authority are subordinate in the community’s esteem regarding a well-executed plot against the royal family and its interests. The crime isn’t in the plotting against the royalty; the crime is in getting caught, and getting caught is embarrassing. One should be ashamed of oneself for not being devious enough to get away with whatever it was one was trying to get away with.

There’s probably an adventure idea in there….

May 19th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

“Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!”

Galgenbaum is ruled by five Mayor-Justices, each one serving for life and holding jurisdiction over part of the town, and all five meeting to decide matters that affect more than a single jurisdiction or the entire town. When a Mayor-Justice dies in office or is no longer able to perform his or her duties due to ill health, a new Mayor-Justice is carefully chosen from the Rechtsanwälte, the guild of lawyers. The selectee must be approved by the unanimous consent of the Mayor-Justices. Each Mayor-Justice possesses a magical gavel and sounding board. When a Mayor-Justice takes the oaths of office, the other Mayor-Justices invest the new justice with the gavel and sounding board. This ceremonial process links the Mayor-Justice with the gavel and sounding board. Their powers function only for the Mayor-Justice to whom they have been entrusted.

When a Mayor-Justices strikes the sounding board with the gavel, the magic takes effect on all who hear the gavel’s raps. Mayor-Justices are immune to these effects, which vary depending on the number of raps of the gavel. A Mayor-Justice may choose to exempt certain persons present from the effects. Typically this courtesy is limited to the bailiffs present in the court.

One Rap: All those affected are subjected to a Hold Person effect. After one minute, a saving throw can be attempted to move normally.

Two Raps: Those affected must stand up and remain relatively motionless. After one round, a saving throw can be attempted in order to move normally.

Three Raps: Those affected must sit down. After sitting down for one round, a saving throw can be attempted in order to stand and move about normally.

Should a gavel and its sounding board fall into unauthorized hands, the magical powers still function, but the user cannot exempt anyone from those effects. This includes the unauthorized user himself. Furthermore, the gavel and sounding board are invested to a particular Mayor-Justice, who becomes instantly aware of the items’ misuse. The Mayor-Justice even knows the general direction and distance to the gavel and sounding board. The closer the Mayor-Justice is to the items, the more precise is his or her knowledge of their location.

May 18th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Henker of Galgenbaum

The hanged undead of Galgenwälder are not the only defense present in Galgenbaum. Aside from the town watch, mostly volunteers who patrol certain neighborhoods in small groups armed with clubs and whistles, there are the bailiffs, court officials with some martial training who are empowered to determine guilt and mete out minor punishments on the spot for lesser infractions of the law or offenses against the public order.

More serious threats to law and order might be met by a Henker backed up by a squad of guards and possibly some of the watch as well. A Henker is a religious official who answers only to Galgenbaum’s Mayor-Justices. Each Mayor-Justice has several Henkers under his or her command. Because of their devotion to the gods of law and due process, a Henker possesses certain magical abilities that help defeat and punish scofflaws. Whereas the guard is authorized to only mete out minor punishments, such as a fine or a mild beating, a Henker enforces the law with stiffer penalties, up to and including summary execution.

A Henker is recognizable by the distinctive uniform of black leather, white gloves, high-collared cloak, and hangman’s hood. He wears a noose around his neck as a badge of office. In combat, a Henker fights with a stout rope, one end of which is tied into a noose. He can strike with the rope, using it as a bludgeon or a whip.

He may also command the noose to ensnare a foe’s neck, after which he releases the rope, which snakes up into the air, jerking the foe several feet off the ground. A successful saving throw avoids this attack; otherwise, the foe takes 2d6 points of damage each round from strangulation. The rope can be severed as normal, and the Henker can command the rope to cease its attack.

Once per day each, a Henker may use Darkness 15-Foot Radius and Fear. A Henker is immune to sleep and hold magic.

Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attack (Damage): By weapon (1d6)
Move: 12
Save: 14
Alignment: Law
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Special: Darkness, fear, hangman’s noose, immune to hold and sleep

May 17th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Willkommen!

One of the roads leading away from Galgenbaum travels for about two miles and ends in Galgenwälder, a rugged draw. Instead of trees, Galgenwälder is crowded by gibbets from which hang those condemned by Galgenbaum’s zealous magistracy. Not only are those hanged in Galgenwälder condemned to death, but ancient and carefully worded contracts between the magistracy and several minor death gods also condemn the hanged to undeath. Any of Galgenbaum’s Mayor-Justices can call and command the hanged dead of Galgenwälder. The nature of the undead called depends on how much time has passed since the criminal’s death.

For the first 1d3 days after death, those hanged serve Galgenbaum’s as zombies. After this, for the next 1d3 days, the criminal’s body starts to bloat. Bloody foam leaks from its mouth and nose. This sort of undead is much like a zombie, but its bite may cause disease. After this stage, for the next 1d4 days, the criminal’s body turns various shades of green to red. Internal organs fill with decomposition gases. These sorts of zombies expel a cloud of debilitating stench when pierced or cut. After ten days, a criminal’s body is too rotted and damaged to call into service as a zombie, but doesn’t mean the danger to those who threaten Galbenbaum’s public order has passed. For another 1d6 days, the criminal’s cursed spirit lingers in Galgenwälder as a shadow.

The Mayor-Justices of Galgenbaum welcome merchants and travelers, encouraging them to enjoy the town’s many fine amenities. The ale-houses along Flusstraße are especially friendly, catering to visitors from throughout the region.

But don’t forget: Galgenwälder waits only two miles away, and the dead are contractually obligated to help enforce the law.

May 16th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Tres Brujas

From “Tres Brujas” by The Sword from Warp Riders:

Inhaling deeply of the sacred smoke,
Slipping in between the worlds,
He beheld a living column of light,
And it sang to him without a word.

Three witches you shall meet
Upon the path to your fate.
The first will love you, the second will deceive you,
And the third will show you the way.

Click here to see the video. Read on for an idea about how to use this song for your Dungeon World game.

When you are upon the path to your fate and inhale deeply of the sacred smoke, you slip between the worlds into the realm of the Three Witches. No food or water, however, make the transition with you. This realm, a strange and magical place of rocks and twisted trees and shifting sands, changes every time you enter it. Dangerous creatures stalk the realm, hostile to all visitors. To reach the First Witch, you must travel through hostile territory, but the scout must roll+Wis with -1 forward.

The First Witch always lives in a modest but sturdy house. She appears as a girl in her teens, but her eyes reflect ancient wisdom. She is the most benevolent of the Three Witches. When you meet the First Witch, roll+Cha. On 10+, choose two. On 7-9, choose one. Even on a failure, the First Witch will not seek to harm you, but something in your manner has offended her love for you.

* The First Witch permits you to rest in her home.
* The First Witch provides you with provisions for your journey.
* The First Witch answers one question about what the future holds.

To reach the Second Witch, you again must travel through hostile territory, but both the trailblazer and the scout must roll+Wis with -1 forward. The Second Witch lives within a dark, treacherous cavern. She appears as a woman approaching middle age, and her demeanor is compassionless. When you meet the Second Witch, roll+Cha. On 10+, choose two. On 7-9, choose one.

* The Second Witch does not deceive you about which path to take.
* The Second Witch does not deceive you about what seeks to bar your progress.
* The Second Witch does not deceive you into leaving behind something that you value.

To reach the Third Witch, you must travel through hostile territory one last time, but the quartermaster, the trailblazer, and the scout all must roll+Wis with -1 forward. The Third Witch lives on the shore of a vast, roiling sea. She appears as a woman well into her twilight years, and she is kindly but condescending. When you meet the Third Witch, roll+Cha. On 10+, choose two questions that the Third Witch will answer honestly. On 7-9, choose one question that the Third Witch will answer honestly. On a failure, she refuses to answer of your questions, but will still show you the way to the final obstacle.

* What is about to happen on the way?
* What should I be on the lookout for on the way?
* What is useful or valuable to me on the way?
* What is not what it appears to be on the way?

October 19th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »