Criminal

Criminal

Punishment Guidelines and Explanations

This section will explain the various punishments available in both the settings and guidelines on how to assign/rule which one will be applied in a given scenario, as well as give the ability to help A/SHs kind of be able to think in terms of 'punishment fitting the "crime"' in cases where the list of given punishments do not seem to fit what has happened, or in the duration of the RP the character may have been able to talk into a different kind.

This will also give players an idea what to expect in regards to their characters getting caught and punished as well to ensure we are all playing from the same page and are well advise on the risks involved in playing certain roles in certain regions.

To see common punishments by region please go to the following:
Vaxia Region Punishments
Sirian Region Punishments


What to Expect from Punishment Roleplay

The overall goal of having established criminal justice systems for the regions of both our settings is to introduce another facet of play into the game. While activities that are generally counted as 'criminal' (this will vary by region too), can be fun and produce great rewards, there is also much risk involved. The details on why such systems exist and how we build them will be covered Philosophy Behind Criminal Justice Systems : here , this section is just for the punishments end of such systems.

If a character is caught breaking the laws of the region there should and will be consequences. Such consequences should be done in a way that a character should truly think about their actions, and have something for the player to grow off of in their role play as well. However it does need to be more then just a 'time out' and dire consequences even as they exist will be built up to.

With that in mind, first and foremost: punishment roleplay is not a session.
While some punishments may be carried out by a group of characters, most punishments will be able to be carried out as a solo scene. No rewards will be given, as the goal of the punishment roleplay is to in effect 'pay a cost' in order to make up for the character's criminal activity. Some costs will be much higher then others.

It also may be possible that a character's punishment may also interfere with their ability to attend sessions. These will be IC reasons and not OOC ones, for the time being there was no reason felt to automatically ban a character from being able to go to sessions if they are undergoing punishment. However a punishment may create an IC reason as to why that character may not participate in the session. Some examples include:

    A character gets branded as a thief, a merchant NPC may avoid recruiting them to help out in fear that the character would steal from them.

    A character gets assigned to a service type punishment. They may be transported to a different area to serve the punishment out and therefore will not be in the area where a session is taking place.

    A character was banished from an area and warned if they returned they would be killed. Any session that takes place in that area would be a very high risk of the character getting seen and the warning enforced.

Therefore it is really important to be aware of the severity of punishment a character may face and the additional consequences the character may suffer. This will be clearly noted on the character sheet as well, especially if there are any special conditions that comes with the punishment.


Explanation of the Types of Punishments

How the punishments are handle will differ between the two settings, and even in the various regions found with in. This is just to give a general overview on what types of punishments to expect and what they are.
In some cases a character may be assigned more then one type of punishment depending on the offense.

Fines and Fees - The offender will be charged a monetary value as a punishment for a crime or other offense. Fines and fees will start out at 100 silver for the smallest offense and will increase by increments of 50 silver. Fines and fees are paid to an authority/government.

Restitution – The offender must make some sort of compensation (often in the form of money but other things/services may be requested by the victims to satisfy this) in order to pay for their crime. Restitution is different from a fine or fee as the money is paid to the person or persons the offender had wronged and not an authority/government, and counts as a separate punishment.

Imprisonment – as a punishment by itself and not being held until offender can be punished. The offender will be put in a prison or jail, where their freedom has been taken from them. In Vaxia an offender may be charged rent fees in order to pay for their stay in a prison. If their offense should permit they may be able to pay the rent fee in the form of work (there is a silver to XP conversion to allow for this, 100 silver = 1 XP worth of work done)

Service Type Punishments - if an offender can not pay their fines or fees then they will have the option to work off their debt (Much like our own community service programs work). Some regions may flat out assign this kind of punishment instead of fining an offender. There are a few different type of service related punishments, but the basics is a character will do work. This character must fulfill an set amount of XP in order to complete the service work. For cases of money owed a conversion based off of 1 XP = 100 silver will be used.

A player is not allowed to get an A/SH to help their character complete service punishments, but a character is allowed to try and convince other characters to help them. The player will be given an idea or ideas on what task or tasks their character is expected to carry out as their service punishment and then can do a scene. Service type punishments may include:

    Indentured servitude – an option for certain offenders. In essence a citizen makes a request for an offender to come work for them. The offender will not receive payment, but rather work for that person as a means of working off the ‘debt of their crime’. This is for private work (as in not laboring for the empire or other government official etc.) Would be considered kind of like we would bail, as the person making the request may have to pay a fee to gain access to an offender that would fit their needs. Though if the offender should re-offend - depending on what exactly happened the person whom indentured the offender may suffer a small punishment, and the offender would have to serve their other punishment in addition to any new punishment that comes with their newest offense. This also may be used as a form of Restitution as well.

    Being put to work for the government – Civilian type work, will vary in what kind and in severity depending on region and offense.. Some would be things like community service such as teaching kids or cleaning up parks, to mucking out garbage units or sewers, to really hard labor like being shipped off to a mining institution across the world. The offender will not be paid for their work, as their work will be used to cover the debt of their crime and any other fees incurred related to their punishment.

    Military service – The offender would be offered the chance to join the military (or equivalent) instead of facing what other punishment to be assigned to them. Most likely be unable to gain promotions for a long time and could be sent to some really crappy areas. Characters will not gain an Economy boost from joining such services until they have completed their mandatory service (this will be in the form of a required XP amount and given tasks they can complete on their own.) Once the character had fulfilled their required service and the player would like the character to remain employed with the service they had joined the player must request a Job Recruitment session to determine any Economy gain.

Branding (or similar marking items) – Basically a physical mark or item on the body (often done with a branding iron in a sensitive place or visible place – common areas the wrists and shoulders. Some regions may even do the forehead), to label an offender as someone that steals, kills, etc. Alternative forms of this kind of punishment are Tattoos anklet/bracelet, or necklace that gets locked on the character. This can make everyday life harder for the character.

Removal of a Body Part - The removal of a body part, usually a finger or toe as a punishment. In some regions this may be done instead of branding. Usually given when an offender performs multiple severe offenses, or repeats an offense a few times.

Exile or Banishment - The offender may be forced to leave a region and never allowed to return again. Should the offender return to the are they were banished/exiled from they will face severe consequences. This kind of punishment may also include a character being removed from a job/role/position, or banned from doing a type of job/role/position (either for a temporary amount of time or permanently depending on the severity of the offense.)

Death – The offender is killed as punishment for their offense(s). This is considered one of the most severe kind of punishments.


Determining the Punishment for a Crime

While the idea behind having IC punishments is to be able to have consequences for characters that violate and break the laws of a region or regions in IC, it is also very important to remember that we must balance such things as to not make the roleplay so miserable that it will drive off the player. The player must keep in mind that what is assigned is a punishment for the character - more severe violations will have severe consequences, and the A/SH needs to keep in mind punishment role play is not about punishing the player.

Should a player feel like the punishment is too great for what their character did, they request to have the situation reviewed.

Provided below are guidelines for A/SHs to help them be able to make such decisions. This will also help inform players that may be interested in having a character perform more criminal activities be aware of our thought process and better expect what kind of punishment their character may receive if they should get caught. If at any time a A/SH feels like they are unsure on how to proceed with which punishment to give they may request a review of the situation as well to get a second opinion on the matter.

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Philosophy Behind Criminal Justice Systems

The following is a brief discussion about law, justice and criminal justice systems and trying to incorporate them into a game to serve as a guide of sorts and to help inspire.

The purpose of this is to help educate our A/SH crew on these systems work in order to help them get a better idea on how to incorporate them into their sessions or to be able to rule scenes where such knowledge would be helpful. This is also to help give our player base as a whole an idea on how these things developed in our own world in order to help give them ideas for when they go to create such content or update it as the times change for our games.

Punishment is a large part of a criminal justice system and has its own discussion page, where players can learn what to expect from punishment roleplay IC and to provide a guide for the A/SH staff: Punishment Guidelines and Explanations
There is a lot of reading, but there is much to consider when developing these kinds of systems, especially in a game. Just take your time, take it in bites, and at any time a discussion can always be brought up in the Setting Forums



What to consider when developing a criminal justice system

One of the first things we must stress that while a criminal justice system is to reflect the social agreements and flavors of our settings we must endeavor to keep it interesting while not screwing over the players. This is about having another facet of play, while it may be kind of unpleasant and gritty, it should not be so miserable that it would drive off the players or be completely unreasonable to the point of abuse. This especially holds true when assigning a punishment when a character has been caught. Even still everyone must keep in mind is that at the heart of it - criminal justice systems are about consequences. Though when part of a game system, it should still be about consequences, but we must scale this as such to afford opportunities for the characters to grow from such roleplay and ensure the player base is fully informed of the consequences their character's actions may face when caught so they know what to expect.

When building a criminal justice system it is important to know what the region's (to note region will be used to mean country,nation,region,tribe,clan,etc.) culture and government is. These are two of the largest factors that determine what kind of system this region will have, and especially what kind of punishments and laws the region will have. Therefore before a criminal justice system can be fully developed for a region, the government of the region must be solidified first. This will allow us to clearly define what the players can expect when they are roleplaying their characters in an area, especially if they should engage in questionable activities for that region.

In regards to Sirian we can easily base much of the systems we can expect in the setting off of our own modern day ones with some possible twists to reflect the differences in the cultures as well as the growth of technology. However if we were to in-cooperate every detail of a modern day court system the play can become overwhelming and miserable for everyone so some parts will be excluded for the sake of trying to keep things interesting and manageable.

Vaxia poses some challenge. While Vaxia is not based on any of our historical past, we often look to certain time periods in order to get an idea or be able to compare what was there in order to help better establish the flavor and narrative of the setting. The problem is that when it comes to criminal justice and punishments the our past was extremely harsh. Portions of those systems however can lead to some interesting play as well help establish the feeling of the severity of the consequences, but some modern day concepts must be mixed in with the past concepts in order to try and balance such systems to keep it from going to the extreme one way or another. The consequences should be more then just a "time out", but they also should not be boring misery.

For both settings it is also important that whatever system is built for a region that there is ways to kind of introduce the characters and their players to the region's systems. Here documentation will be key especially in regards to the more severe violations and punishments. When a new region is opened up make sure that any and all documentation is clear and established and provided to the players. The most severe punishments should be reserved for repetition of an offense or multiple severe offenses. However certain violations, such as treason, may go straight to one of the more severe punishments (such as exile or death pending on the culture and government flavor). If such a situation should arise, the player should be well informed of the possible situation the character is getting into, and there should have already been well established documentation to help inform the character of what to expect in that situation in that region.

The classification of crimes and actual legislature (aka written law) should be simple and not confuse the players. The goal is to make sure everyone can be clearly informed on what to expect when role playing in a region, but also try to cover as much as possible. It is also important to try and leave room for adjustments and additions as things may change over time.

The law of a region should reflect the tone and flavor of the culture and government of that region without being too oppressive for characters. While misunderstandings could lead to some interesting punishment roleplay - we must make sure we allow for misunderstandings to be overcome and worked through.


A brief discussion of why we have Crime and Punishment as the concepts they are today:

What is justice is an age old question that even the great Greek philosophers touched upon. Most of it had to do about how we basically make sure everyone in a society gets along peacefully. In other words how to keep civilization civil. There are many theories surrounding the ideas of law and justice but it can all bed boiled down to one key concept: the social contract. This is basically an idea that for whatever reasons we form our societies (in the form of countries, nations, empires etc), when we do the people form a kind of contract with each other. The details vary but in this contract are what gives the rulers the power, and set of agreements (aka laws) that help keep people from just doing whatever they want and maintaining a form of peace and stability in the society. When someone breaks that contract (be it ruler or subject) then the results can be quite bad. Therefore a society has sought ways to deter its inhabitants from breaking that contract, usually by public shaming or death.

This is why in many early societies had public displays of punishment (from the stocks where people could jeer and throw rotting food at a person, watch someone get lashed, or even the the good ol’ fashion public execution). Dungeons for the most part were temporary holding areas where it was convenient to hold the person charged with a crime for ‘questioning (this was more often torture) and other punishments like the iron maiden, the rack, etc. Those were not only kinds of punishments but also ways of interrogation of certain prisoners. The state of those prisons and dungeons were horrible and poorly maintained (which became a deterrent unto itself almost), many prisoners would contract diseases or be severely abused by other prisoners or guards. Even the stay was not very long as imprisonment was not seen as much of a punishment (some notable exceptions, but really it was not), but rather a holding place until the real punishment could be dealt, or until the interrogation occurred.

It wasn't until about the 18th century that we begin to see the concept of modern prisons being developed. As during the enlightenment it was seen where depriving someone of their freedoms is considered as a means of the punishment fitting the crime with just variations on the time spent imprisoned pending on the severity of the crime. In fact the term of penitentiary comes from the first forms of US prisons where the idea of prisoners serving time for their ‘sins’ (it didn't hurt the Quakers helped make some of the first kinds of prisons as a means to try and encourage a more humane alternative to criminal punishment). However prisons soon fell into a worse state than previous dungeons as overcrowding became a huge issue.

Prisons and jails are expensive, hence why in history work camps were popular as a method for criminals to earn their place back in society. Certain jails were a worse punishment than anything else as the conditions were unsanitary and the prisoners often forgotten about (especially if they had no one that knew them that was wealthy.) In modern times one of an area’s largest budgets is spent on their correctional system and that is mostly on jails and prison (for example California spends like 10 billion dollars a –year- to maintain its correctional system). So while we would consider our current system a bit more humane in comparison to the majority of the past forms of criminal punishment, it just doesn’t work in many ways for the game, would make things a little on the boring side in a game setting, and we would risk some players just developing oh it is just a ‘time out in the corner’ and would not encourage them to think of the consequences of their character’s actions.


Court Systems Discussion

This is just a discussion about court systems in general, for more specific details of a court system of a region please visit the following:
Court Systems of Vaxia
Court Systems of Sirian

Much of this discussion was written with Vaxia in mind, as mentioned in a section above Sirian will largely follow a more modern day set up in its criminal justice system, which means most of the regions will likely have set ups more similar to modern day courts. However as time goes on some of what is discussed here may still prove to be helpful in Sirian.

To note: Court system is a phrase assigned to be a generic label if the part of a criminal justice system that largely handles determining if someone committed a crime and the punishment for a crime. It is possible for a region to not have what most people would consider a court - but do have something that performs a similar function, for simplicity sake that is still referred to as a court system.

For the most part the concept of the modern court system is not that old in the grand scheme of history. In general much of went on in dealing with law and punishment was handled at a local level. There are a few varieties on how that was handled some having designed a more formal court system which had a process and a staff etc, or maybe just a single authority (aka a lord) that had a small process but was all the staff in the court, then others may just deal swift ‘justice’ and have no process at all (aka no formal court system with trials etc). This is just a brief overlook in some of the set ups to try and get an idea on which may fit a region/culture better.

In certain regions/cultures the lord or whom ever is the central authority of a region is the one in charge of making sure their people behave. When those people get out of line the lord becomes judge, jury and punisher. How they handle the case brought before them can vary widely for they can go off of the word of the guards and give punishment off of that alone, or they actually may hear the person that had been brought before them out. One common thing though is that the lord makes the punishing of those people a big public spectacle, for no matter which law philosophy that region goes with the violation of the social contract is a spit in the face of that lord and they wants to make sure that their authority is felt. Lords may or may not have other personnel that work with them in handling such things - this would be something that to be left up to figure on a region by region basis.

Juries are nothing new in the history of law and courts, but they were nothing like what we know today. In some regions would employ a counsel version of judgement which would be a group of people that decide things in regards to the crime. How they are picked/chosen/or volunteered will be left up to decided on a region on region basis to best fit the culture of the region. In this method there is no single judge, what happens is this group which can be as little as 3 people and up to 6 people on average. These people are notified when a crime has happened or if someone accuses someone else of a crime or wrong doing. The group then meet and then either can investigate the situation themselves or have the evidence and arguments brought before them from other sources. In general though this group of people tend to be very interactive in the entire process unlike more modern juries. Some systems that use a central authority to decide may even have a jury, however that kind of jury is people that were employed to act more like special advisers or a kind of witness.

Roles like lawyers (most often referred to as advocates) do exist, but people had to pay for their own out of pocket. Even then most kinds of advocates were there to just help advise a person during their trial. Most formal courts prefer the defendant make their own arguments, but they can be convinced to let their advocate argue for them. The requirements for being an advocate can vary from region to region, some may require a little law training, others won’t care what kind of background as they tend to focus more on how well one can argue. Though no matter what having some idea on the law will be a benefit. It should also vary by region on if someone can act as a ‘public defender’ - meaning someone willing to advocate for free for someone, or even if they desire to have such services provided if able bodies were around.

Though much like prisons, a court trial can costs a lot of money, a judge/magistrate has to be paid, someone to record the session has to be paid, the advocates have to be paid, as well as any other consultants and the such. Thus actual court trials were usually reserved for the nobility/upperclass that could afford to pay all the fees to have a trial. Very rarely there was cases heard without the defendant covering the bill. Even rare was to hold a trial to try and figure out how to handle a case, that due to the current law code did not have a clear answer as to what to do with the charged. Which helps provide additional flavor to consider for a region.

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Vaxia Organizations

Posting Template - Organizations Submission Guidelines

Vaxia Organizations

Organizations covers any unified group, from formal military units to gangs, councils and guilds, universities and colleges. Many religions (officially recognized or otherwise) fall into this category.

Organizations are also for groups that may provide a reputation within certain circles or are representative of groups (such as city populations and castes/class) that characters may be able to earn reputation with. Not all organizations will provide reputation.


Candenord

Shi Inkahan

GHOUL

Ish Lavin

Iskrania

Jorkana

Ramsalon

Elven Alliance

Elven Nation

Vaxian Empire

Druids

Pirates

Other


Historical and Ancient Organizations
These organizations may have once existed at some point in the past of this world but have long since been disbanded or replaced as time went on. Therefore these articles are for historical reference.

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