Prophecy: Quick Reference Laws

Laws: Quick Reference Sheet
Prophecy Campaign, Greyhawk

What basic things do adventurers need to keep
in mind when practicing their trade to avoid running afoul of the
law (this having nothing to do with what they need to keep in mind
regarding running afoul of their alignment)?

 

Where do legal rights come from?

  • There are five fonts of justice: Manorial law, feudal law,
    king’s law, canon law, and charter (civic) law. Their precedence
    and jurisdiction are not always clear-cut. In general precedence
    follows competance (king, manor, canon, city) but any one may claim
    a stronger jurisdiction than another. Adventurers need to be
    careful to avoid break the laws of each font. More details can be

    found here.

What legal rights do adventurers have? Are they free to do
as they please? Do they have the right to arrest people, kill them,
and/or take their stuff? Can they go about armed and armored in
public?

  • In short, adventureres have the same legal rights as their
    social class would normally grant them (nobles have many rights and
    can get away with lots of things, freemen have few rights and can
    only sometimes get away with things, serfs and slaves have some
    rights and can’t usually get away with much).
  • More specifically…
    In the wilder parts of Greyhawk, they are free to do as they
    please in areas that are under no legal jurisdiction (which
    includes badlands, marches, and most war ravaged areas). They don’t
    have the right to arrrest people, but they can kill them and/or
    take their stuff. They can wear and carry whatever they want. Might
    makes right in the uncivilized areas of greyhawk.
  • In civilized areas, they are generally free to do as they wish
    unless doing so violates some local laws.

    • They do not have the right to arrest people, kill them, and/or
      take their stuff. If they kill people, they will at the least have
      to pay wereguild to any surviving relatives, exceptions being make
      for slain individuals who were engaging in abominable practices
      such as trafficing with demons, undead, or enemies of the state
      (creatures with the evil subtype can be killed without
      repercussion, many monsters can also be classified into this
      category, but check with local authorities before proceeding).
    • They may not take other people’s stuff (unless it was someone
      who they were legally able to kill in the first place). Theft
      usually results in the loss of the thief’s hand as well as monetary
      restitution.
    • They can freely wear light armor in most civilized areas
      (though not in areas where nobles frequent), and can usually get
      away with medium armor in seedy neighborhoods (though they might be
      mildly harrassed by a guard if they do).

      • Heavy armor (unless worn by a dwarf) is considered armor of war
        and is not allowed when walking about the town.
      • You can usually get away with wearing whatever armor you want
        when travelling the roads, particuarlly when there are rumors of
        bandits or monsters (which there usually are).
      • Wearing armor when not allowed to usually results in the
        confiscation of the armor and a small fine. Perhaps just a small
        fine if travelling in a heavily patrolled area.
    • They can carry weapons, but usually will have to peace-bond
      them when in towns (tie them up, requiring a full round action
      provoking attacks of opportunity to release them).

      • Magical weapons (and other magical items for that matter) need
        to be registered at the gate, but then can be taken like their
        non-magical equivalent. Guards for a noble can get usually away
        without peacebonding their weapons (though not in the more peaceful
        and prosperous areas).
      • Failure to register a magical item at the gate indicates that
        the person responsible was planning to either 1) sell the item
        without paying the hawking tax (that would be theft from the city),
        or 2) use the item in a crime. In either case the item will be
        confiscated until the person is ready to leave the city and then
        they can buy it back at 75% of full value (or someone else can buy
        it back for 100% of market value).
      • Wearing weapons unbound usually results in the confiscation of
        the weapon and a small fine. Magical weapons can be purchased back
        from the authorities at 25% of market value upon exiting the
        town/city.
      • Wearing weapons when travelling is not a problem (except in
        heavily patrolled areas when the weapons must be peace-bonded then
        as well)
    • Anyone has the right to arrest and/or kill individuals who are
      wanted dead or alive (whether in town or in the wild). Most repeat
      criminals/bandits get this label. The individual’s belongings
      belong to the authority who issued the wanted warrant, though there
      is usually a reward for the capture of the villians (which may
      include a portion of their belongings).

How can adventurers enhance their legitimacy? Can they
organize as a registered adventuring company? Does doing so give
them extra rights? What if they are working for a wealthy or
respected patron, or are deputized by the legal
authorities?

  • Adventureres can enhance their legitimacy by associating with a
    noble either as bodyguards or as knights if eligible. They can
    organinze as a registered adventuring company (technically under
    the command of a noble). Becoming deputized by the legal
    authorities functions similarly (as technically again they are
    under the command of a noble). Templars of the state sponsored
    church are also enhanced (as they are under the command of the
    church which is functionally equal to a noble in rights). Doing so
    gives them the following rights:

    • They can wear whatever armor and weapons they want when
      travelling between towns.
    • Within town they do not need to peacebond their weapons and can
      wear whatever armor they wish if they are in the company if the
      noble who is sponsoring them or if they are wearing the livery of
      the town guard or their patron. Falsely wearing the livery of the
      town guard, a noble, or church is a capital offense.
    • They may arrest individuals who appear to be breaking the law.
      Templars can only arrest individuals who are violating canon
      law.
    • They may defend themselves with lethal force when attempting to
      apprehend “villians.” However, they MUST use subdual force when
      first attempting to apprehend individuals. Templars may only do so
      when the “villian” is breaking non-canon laws as well, otherwise
      they must get permission from the local secular authorities before
      apprehending villians.

What about collateral damage? What happens if the PCs damage
or destroy something or kill someone in the line of duty? What kind
of restitution do they need to make?

  • All adventureres and guards (registered, civic servants, etc.)
    are responsible for any collateral damage they may cause. However,
    sometimes the person who suffered the collateral damage waives the
    damages (if not too excessive) out of thankfulness for the
    protection provided. This is frequently influenced by the attitude
    of the person causing the damages towards the offended individual.
    Usually members of the town guard get any damage they cause paid by
    the town unless the person in charge of the investigation feels
    that the guards were acting recklessly.
  • Killing someone in the line of duty (who was not a villian),
    necessitates the killer to pay wereguild to the surviving family.
    Again, if the investigator feels that the guard did so recklessly
    the guard will have to pay out of his own pocket, but otherwise
    they town covers the wereguild.
  • If an innocent noble is killed in the line of duty (and they
    are all innocent until overwhelming evidence magical and
    non-magical proves otherwise), the killer is executed (though his
    family will receive wereguild from the government).

What if PCs run afoul of the law? Will magic be used in the
investigation? How corrupt is the legal system? If PCs are found
guilty, how will you factor their punishment into the
campaign?

  • Magic is used in many investigations depending on the wealth of
    the local authorities (which may include offended nobles, churches,
    guilds, etc. any of which can sponsor the investigation). The
    results of magical divinations are considered fully acceptable in
    court if provided by a resident templar or a civilly authorized
    wizard (adventuring wizards are never authorized as they are not in
    town enough to justify their authorization). Magical divinations
    from other legitimate authorities (such as sponsored adventurers)
    is considered acceptable enough to apprehend a subject, but not
    convict or judge.
  • The corruption of the legal system varies by local. In general
    the larger the local the more likely that someone can be found who
    is corrupt. Similarly, in locals controlled by “corrupt” nobles,
    the local legal system is bound to be somewhat corrupt as well. The
    church legal systems (when lawful or good) are virtually free of
    corruption except in isolated cases of magical control.
  • PCs found guilty will have to pay fines (or be branded outlaws
    and thus subject to wanted dead or alive warrants) and in some
    cases may have limbs amputated or even be killed. Individuals who
    are killed or maimed, will also have a mark placed on them to
    indicated their felon status. Individuals punished with amputation
    or death will not be restored or raised by lawful churches and will
    usually not be restored or raised by good churches (other churches
    will provide services if the price is right, usually at least twice
    what is normally charged for such services.

What does it cost to adventure? Are there taxes or fees to
be paid for the privilege of adventuring, or on treasure found? Who
is paid? How much? How often? Do you get some proof you’ve paid (so
you don’t get shaken down twice)?

  • Sponsorship by a noble is free if it can be obtained.
    Membership in adventuring companies varies by region and sponsoring
    company (anywhere from 100 gp annually for a little respected or
    not widely known company to 50,000 gp or more annually for well
    recognized companies or knightly organizations). Templars are
    expected to tithe anywhere from 10% to 90% of their earnings to
    their church.
  • Goods brought into a city to be sold are subject to a hawking
    tax usually 10% of market value. Valuable goods (including many
    magic items) brought into a city that could be sold but are not
    planned on being sold must be bonded (when registered) for 1% of
    market value. Unregistered valuables are considered stolen
    merchandise and will be confiscated.
  • Adventurers will get a certificate indicating items have been
    bonded that is good for the life of the individual so long as the
    item is in their possession (the bonds are not transferable). Some
    large cities have a program that recognizes bonds from other
    cities, but the practice is not widespread. Forging a certificate
    is considered theft and usually results in the loss of a limb as
    well as fines.
  • When a character becomes a sponsored they have the opportunity
    to register their personal belongings. These belongings are not
    subject to bonding fees (but are subject to hawking taxes if
    sold).
  • Guards will usually not require registered adventurers to
    provide proof of ownership of most magic items unless they are out
    of character for the percieved profession of the adventurer or if
    the adventuerer is carrying a lot of some item(s).

What does this mean for the Prophecy characters?

The Seer is considered the equivalent of a noble. Thus she can
and has sponsored your adventuring party.

  • She does not have livery for the PCs to wear, so they must
    still peacebond their weapons in towns (unless she happens to be
    with them).
  • She has purposefully disentangled herself from local politics
    (thus there are likely no people out to get the PCs because of
    their connection to The Seer), but as a result they have no arrest
    powers (except within The Seer’s caverns).
  • She will, in general, not pay fines for collateral
    damages.
  • She will register your personal magic items as you get them so
    that you can carry them into town without needing to bond
    them.
  • She will not pay bonding or hawking taxes for salvage that you
    seek to profit from.
  • There is no membership fee for her patronage. The only thing
    she “requires” of you is that you tell her of your exploits when
    you return from an adventure and that you remain good.