Re: Lunar penalties

From: John Hughes <nysalor_at_...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 09:12:38 +1100


> >Lunars are the law, and are free to hand out
> >any punishments they want to the locals. I'm not convinced there is a
> >standard, or even particularly a legal system in Sartar in the 1610s/20s.

> This is correct.
> The suggestions I made are those that are encouraged by the provincial
> government.

Another way of looking at it: there are two legal systems in Sartar post-invasion, and neither of them work very well.

HEORT'S LAW The various tribal law systems (all descended from Heort) only work between groups of kin. Non-Orlanthi strangers are effectively *outside* the law, and strangers are dealt with according to Umath's First Law ('Violence is always an option'). Tribal law is non-centralised, about compensation and social harmony, and extremely pragmatic. Clans take clans to court (or bloodline takes bloodline): individuals are secondary. Challenge by combat is always an option. Except for capital crimes like secret murder or consorting with Chaos, responsibility for compensation is shared by your bloodline/clan. Tribal Law is *not* about blame/punishment. There is no goal, no loss of freedom. Judicial disfigurement or mutilation is rare (I assume). Exile (effectively worse than death for many) protects the clan - it is not primarily about punishment. A person will be examined and questioned by people she knows, will be supported by kin, and may question who she chooses. Even a murderer will walk freely before his trial.

LUNAR LAW I know little about the specifics of Lunar law (which at base is Yelmic law) but the contrast with tribal law is profound.

Lunar law stems from a central authority, and applies to *everyone* (with some exceptions and/or increased penalties for nobility). It is abstract, absolute, universal, believes in "crime" and is more about guilt and punishment than social harmony. It is not in any way pragmatic - if you broke the law you broke the law, no matter what your reasons. Authorities take *individuals* to court, deprive them of their freedom beforehand, and routinely use torture to extract confessions. There is no recourse to kin, and seldom (for a Sartarite) recourse to legal representation. Punishment is severe, is applied to *individuals*, and includes inprisonment, mutilation and slavery.

The clash between these two systems of law is profound at every level. It's worse in Sartar, where the Lunar central system is exacerbated by impromptu military justice, martial law and corrupt officials. (Lunar law probably works reasonably well in the Heartlands (at least until MOB gets his hands on it :)) - it is, after all much closer to our system than the Orlanthi).

Which system actually *applies* in a given situation is extremely confusing, and depends a lot on the political relations between a given tribe and the Lunar occupiers. For a green young Orlanthi used to clan justice leaving his tula for the first time, its an invitation for disaster (and lots of scenario hooks).


nysalor_at_...                  John Hughes

My girl is the queen of ten villages
We live on the fruits of her pillages
She eats other queens - she's very religious She doesn't use a fork
I don't think I'll go back to New York.

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