Midgardian law

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Currently the following public laws are in effect in Midgard:

The Laws of Midgard version 5, as written by Anton Undain on 16-05-2544 Lorekeepers date.

Law 1: Do not kill a non-outlawed humanoid. Punishment: Death.

Law 2: Do not steal or destroy possessions from a non-outlawed humanoid. Punishment: Banishment and payment for destruction or theft to harmed party.

Law 3: Do not rape nor intentionally physically harm a non-outlawed humanoid. Punishment: 10% tax increase plus 1 week slave work for harmed party plus payment of any medical expenses to harmed party.

Law 4: Do not disobey the Midgard guards. Punishment: 10% tax increase.

These are the laws, if you uphold them I and the banking guild bid you welcome in Midgard.

`Signed Anton Undain `

Further definitions:

Many large lawbooks give even further definitions to the laws above but here are the most prominently quoted in lawsuits:

  • "Killing" is intentionally causing the death of a living being. Self-defence is not considered killing.
  • "Self-defence" also includes but is not limited to defending your property against destruction or theft or defending others from beeing assaulted or killed.
  • "Non-outlawed humanoids" are any member of the 15 intelligent races of Heimr or any Vortexian that has not been banished from Midgard or in some other way excluded from the law.
  • "Stealing" is moving the property of somebody other than yourself without the other's permission.
  • "Property" includes a person's own body (kidnapping), his mind (influencing spells) and the land he claims (and is some cases, pays taxes for).
  • "Destroying" is changing objects in such a way they can no longer perform the function they could otherwise perform. (Banishment is only conducted with the act of stealing or when the destruction is non-reversible and non-refundable.)
  • "Rape" is the performance of sexual acts with the victim without the permission of the victim.
  • "Physically harm" is the act of causing physical pain to another. You can only cause physically harm to a person once every minute (according to the law, that is). Self-defence is not considered causing physicall harm.
  • "Disobeying" is ignoring or acting against a direct lawfull order.
  • "Midgardian guard" is a guard that is in a uniform and in possession of a badge.

Punishment:

These are deeper definitions of punishment. Even more deeper definitions, exceptions and the like are found in large lawbooks, stored in Svadilfar and in some of the more prestigious guardhouse libraries:

  • Death: A guard captain or executioner will cut of your head with an axe. If this does not kill you, you are free to communicate this beforehand and come to an agreement with the judge to a method that is to your liking and will result in your death. If you do not communicate this beforehand you will be burned to ashes or the judge will devise a method that will result in your death if burning does not do this.
  • Banishment: You are not allowed to enter Midgard and must leave Midgard within two weeks. If you are found within the borders of Midgard within two weeks you will be forced to leave. If you resist your punishment will be death. See above.
  • Payment: You are to compensate for any loss of possessions. The exact value is to be determined by the judge.
  • Fine: Your monthly taxes will increase permanently from now on and this money will be spent on catching and bringing criminals like yourself to justice. This tax increase is cumulative. If your are unable to pay you will be required to do slave work for a stated time by the judge. If you don't pay taxes to begin with, you will be required to do slave work for a time determined by the judge or pay a fine equal to 10% of the lowest tax factor for every month you resided in Midgard from now on.
  • Slave work: You shall perform non dangerous labor of the state's or harmed party's choice for the stated time. You are allowed to hire somebody to do the slave work in your name or let one of your own slaves do the slave work in your name. If you refuse to work the master is allowed to punish you physically. If you resist your punishment will be death. See above.
  • non dangerous [labor]: Labor that is equal to or less dangerous than mining. If you or your slave are in doubt, you can ask the Midgardian court whether or not the labor description is deemed non dangerous.
  • Payment of procedure: To any and all punishments will be added a one time fine that is equal to the expense made by the city guard to catch, judge and handle your crime. (Surrendering quickly, not resisting arrest and supplying details of your own crimes on your own initiatives are therefore wise options, complex trials that feature many uses of truth spells or potions can be quit expensive if you are found guilty. Early confession to crimes is a good tactic.).

Appeal, with effect of court

If a person refuses to accept the punishment of a guard, the person can ask for a formal appeal. In this case a court (sometimes featuring a nymph judge, specialized in social jungle neutrality instead of natural jungle neutrality) goes over the case again, the ruling of a judge overrules the ruling of a guard. If the defendant is still found guilty he must pay the price of the procedure, if however the defendant is found not guilty, the guardhouse that wrongly accused the defendant is charged with payment of the procedure.

When the appeal is accepted the case is handed over to the court and judge. Anyone is allowed to represent the defendant if the defendant so agrees. Anyone is allowed to prosecute the defendant if the guardhouse so agrees.

In almost all appeals, the case is decided by use of truth spells directed at the defendant. Truth spells can fail under various circumstances but are seen as evidence of guilt or innocence. Sometimes multiple forms of truth spells under multiple conditions are cast but remember: all costs of of the procedure are payed by the guilty party if found guilty or by the guardhouse if the accused person is found innocent. So guilty people usually don't want to push for multiple truth spells that will probably point more and more clearly towards a guilty verdict by the law of large numbers... unless they can out-bluff the guardhouse that can always opt to not cast the spell and instead drop the charges if they think the person to be innocent based on the fact that they are willing to undergo multiple truth spells.

The all encompassing question is: Did you knowingly commit the crime against law # that this court addresses, according to the definitions of law # that you assumed or that could have been possibly defined by us within your doubt, at the time of the crime?

Other common questions are: Did you knowingly commit any crime against any Midgardian Law? Do you have or had plans to knowingly commit any crime against any Midgardian Law? (Intention of committing an illegal act is not illegal in Midgard, but the act of asking this question in itself could prevent the crime.) Where you aware that you where in Midgard, not including the Midgardian wilds, at the time of the crime that this court addresses? (used to check whether or not the defendant knew he was in Midgard)

Not all court cases end with truth spells, in a lot of cases the defendant admits to the crime before a truth spell is cast because he wants to avoid paying the cost of the truth spell. A truth spell is incredibly expensive and so the guardhouses don't want to cast truth spells on people that they think have a high chance of being innocent. This could and often does result in bluff standoffs between criminals and prosecutors of guardhouses that have to make the choice whether or not to use magic. If a guardhouse cannot pay for further proceedings or doesn't wants to run the risk of prosecution a person, the crime is often auctioned of to some other guardhouse that still sees a chance of gaining some coin from the crime.

This leads to courtroom decisions based on probabilities, chance, bluff and ultimately gives a slight advantage to rich people (both guardhouses, suspects and victims of crimes (who can also of course opt to guarantee to fund the guardhouse it's use of truth spells)). This leads to many criticisms of the Midgardian way of dealing with crime.

Upholding the law

All apart from Law 1 of the Midgardian Law are not upheld unless the alleged victim claims the right of victim. A person surrenders his right of victim for the offends in question if consent is given. Law 1 will not be upheld if written consent is given beforehand to a Midgardian guard. Consent may not be given under strain of magic neither spiritual nor arcane in nature.

All laws are not enforced, unless the defendant knew about the law at the time of the crime and did not take steps on purpose to shield his mind of the knowledge of any Midgardian laws or definition thereof.

All laws are not upheld unless the defendant knew his act to fall under the definition of the law or did not inquire about the definition of the law when he was in doubt before or during the time of the crime.

You are able to claim the right of victim even if the crime was not actually committed; directly trying to commit the crime falls under the definition of the crime.

Be mindful of the fact that the law has no basis within the Midgardian wilds.

Lawmen

City and village guards of Midgard are recruited from the general public or from the children in the guard guild. They are paid purely by fines paid by criminals and are not paid by the government. This makes Guard houses effectively private businesses that are accredited by the government and therefore allowed to uphold law, arrest people, lay down fines and execute criminals.

Guards can also enforce legal binding contracts trough law 4. Make sure a guard is always present when signing a contract.

Guards can be called upon by the nearby city to act as rank and file troops in the army of Midgard, if they refuse, they lose their badge. This is only done in times of extreme need and guardsmen are given the safest military missions if called upon. Guards do not receive additional equipment if enrolled in the army this way.

The training of city guards has a duration of a year in which they are trained to respond to any kind of danger or crime. However longer and specialized training programs exist. Especially the children in the guard guilds are often specially trained for certain situations or certain crimes.

Equipment is paid for by fines paid by criminals and consists of:

  • Light leather uniformed armour + leather helmet.
  • A tabard with city and district symbol.
  • A short sword.
  • A spear.
  • A badge.
  • Basic under tunic is to be provided by the guard himself.

One in 7 guards is promoted to guard captain who has the following additional equipment:

  • A studded leather uniformed armour.
  • A horn.
  • A long sword.
  • Uniformed tunic.

A guard captain must have the following:

  • 5 year experience with the guard.
  • Fine leadership skills.
  • Must both speak Asgardian and Utgardian.
  • Must know the basic words of Utgardian wild languages.
  • Must be able to read and write both Asgardian and Utgardian.
  • Fine body.
  • Sound mind.
  • Must be able to identify basic magical effects, divine, primordial and spirit effects alike.
  • Must have completed the guard captain training (has a duration of 2 years).

Horses are supplied to guard patrols in times of haste. Their must always be at least one horse for the first five guards in any town. One horse for every five guards is another minimum. One horse for every two guards is the maximum allowed horse.

Lawmen are bound by an additional set of laws (unknown to most Midgardian) they must follow. These laws are called non-public laws.

Non-public laws

These laws are for the protection of the Midgardians against guardsman. Midgardians usually don't know these laws by heart but the regulate allot of the rights of the public and mostly dictate policy about the following subjects:

  • When he is allowed to employ public law number 4.
  • When the guardsman is allowed to use violence.
  • Standard rate of fines.
  • Allot of extra restrictions on the behavior of guards on top of the 4 public laws.
  • Their duties as militia. (and relationship and interaction with the military of Midgard).

All of these non-public laws can be found in the Standard Midgardian non-public laws document? and the first law within it states that every guardsman must carry one copy of the document at all times. Most guardsman lovingly call this document "the stow" because they stow it away somewhere amongst their belongings. "I am allowed to do that captain. It says so in my stow." is a phrase that could be uttered by a guardsman.

Constant revisions, interpretations and definitions are updated in large volumes of lawbooks, stored away in dusty archives of prestigious guardhouse libraries and of course the Svadilfar libraries.

High-Guard

The High-Guard of Midgard is a special form of guard than is allowed to ignore crime and focus on solving or preventing crimes that private parties pay for. They are effectively law bound mercenaries that are accredited by Midgard to uphold the law, punish people and enforce legal contracts. A difference with the normal watch is that the High-Guard is allowed to ask payment for their services and they are allowed to not act against crimes of their choice, instead focusing on the crimes they get paid for (note: This doesn't mean they are allowed to not report these crimes. A high-guard that ignores a crime must report that crime to a nearby guard house). Midgard gives the High-guard this freedom because of their strict regulated training program and quality. High-Guardmen are trained in Svadilfar.