Common Law

Common Law

Common Law

Although each of the assorted settlements tend to have their own special and local laws, there are certain common crimes throughout Wyrlde, even within the savage lands. The reason dates to the Age of Dread first, with the Decrees of Belial, and then to the Age of Myth, with the Code of Mansa, and most recently with Chicory showing up to remind people, usually in ways that get very bloody and painful and destructive.

In both cases, the Powers That Be set forth a set of basic laws that were taught to everyone, with the expectation that they would be handed down over the generations. These make up the fundamental basic laws, and many Ikons have noted that the stories do not track with what their patrons have said.

These basic laws have been in place for as long as there have been people on Wyrlde, in any case. The full code lists one hundred crimes and describes a set of specific punishments for each (ranging from 1 day in jail to 50 years in jail). Over the intervening years, however, the punishments were altered even if the crimes themselves were not.

Over time, the full list seems to have lost some of the crimes, but those that remain are still universal, with local Realms having additional crimes that will vary according to the culture. However, these crimes are all still enforced across the world, and remain the principal basis of laws throughout the Bright Lands.

It should be obvious that in some locations not all the laws are fully enforced. This is due to the way that many realms engage in punishments and determine guilt or innocence, as well as local corruption and laxity among those within The Agency, though few would ever say so out loud and within earshot.

Some of the laws are a bit confusing these days. For example, what is Accessory Disabling? What is temptation? While the laws do apply to nobles, it is not typically the common folks that punish and try them, it is the secretive and Powers backed Agency.

Chicory is especially concerned with the laws. It is said she has thirty rules, and woe betides those who break them and come to her attention.

Common Crimes of Wyrlde

Abuse of Authority

Acceptance of a Bribe




Assault with Intent to Rape

Assault with Intent to Rob





Breach Of Prison

Breach of the Peace

Attempted Bribery



Common Assault

Concealment of Treasure Trove

Conduct Unbecoming


Contempt of Court (Contumacy)

Contempt of the Sovereign

Defamatory Libel

Dereliction Of Duty


Accessory Disabling



Fabrication Of False Evidence

Failure To Appear

Failure to Obey a Lawful Order

Forcible Detainer

Forcible Entry






Influence by Magic



Malicious Mischief





Murder of Five or More

Murder of Two to Four

Obstruction Of Justice


Public Indecency

Perjury of Oath



Use of Magic to Harm







Unlawful Assembly




The Charter Laws

Shortly after the start of building Sibola of old, there were certain laws set forth that were proclaimed to be inviolate, and that form the basis of all law throughout the civilized world – that is, everywhere but the Dread Realms. These laws were present before the God’s War, and had been lost, but were restored – though the agency that restored them remains somewhat controversial, as all the Powers claim to have done so.

They are laid out in 32 Laws, each with a light explanation. These laws are:

  1. Nobility are the Agents of the People. Those Laws they create will be based in and drawn from this Charter.
  2. All people are born free and equal, endowed with reason and conscience, and should live with in a spirit of dignity and common good.
  3. All people are entitled to all the rights and freedoms of this Charter, without distinction of any kind; and no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political status of the person or to whom they have as a Liege.
  4. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, wellbeing, and security of person.
  5. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
  6. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  7. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, and nobility is not exempt from this.
  8. All are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any violation of this Charter and against any incitement to such violation.
  9. Everyone has the right to fair tribunal for acts violating the fundamental rights granted by the Charter.
  10. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
  11. Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of rights and obligations and of any criminal charge.
  12. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be prove innocence according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense.
  13. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which was not a crime, under any law, at the time when it was committed.
  14. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
  15. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference or attacks on their self, family, home, correspondence, honor, or reputation.
  16. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each realm.
  17. Everyone has the right to leave any realm, including their own, and to return to their realm.
  18. All people of full age, being at least 16 years of age, have the right to marry free of any coercion or obligation or duty, and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  19. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  20. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by Nobility.
  21. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their property.
  22. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
  23. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers.
  24. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  25. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work.
  26. Everyone has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  27. Everyone who works has the right to an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  28. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
  29. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
  30. Everyone has the right to health and well-being of self and of family.
  31. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
  32. Everyone has duties to the community subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of public order and the general welfare.

It should be noted that despite this, not all the laws of the many lands follow these entirely. However, most of the realms do at least make these the baseline effort, excepting Hyboria and Kahokia. It is rumored that the Exilians have even more of these for their own people.

Banditry & Piracy

Wyrlde does have those who band together for illegal and often violent theft and extortion and other crimes. They are general scourges to trade and travel, and while some are land and some are sea, they are all called the same thing: Corsairs.

Corsair camps are found in out of the way, easily defensible places, though on occasion some have even grown large enough to strike up small villages or hamlets. Corsair groups are typically led by a charismatic leader, often with some form of gift, and are dangerous people who have strong rules for keeping such groups of people in line. Corsair Camps are often based in ancient ruins and may even use a Goblin Lair that was cleaned out and sealed off. This often puts the onus on Adventurers to help wipe out entire bands who have become too large or too threatening.

Corsairs engage in open banditry and piracy, often taking on tasks of robbery and theft, raiding and sometimes pillaging. Corsairs are known to engage in slave taking, and other unsavory acts. Not all corsairs are wicked, and redemption seems to be a theme among them once they have seen too much, but often the true key to a corsair is that they come from a background of disenfranchisement and harm at large scales. Many Corsairs operate secretly in service to some realm or other.

Extreme poverty, raids by goblins or infestations of imps, the often-absent presence of the local Lords, famine, drought, crop failures – the sources are always something that has placed people in a situation where they must either become desperate to fend for themselves, or they have to find a way to provide for their families.

Corsair Camps often are led by one who leads through skill and cunning, a true Rogue, whose ability to deal with many things is only the start. They will have Seconds, and Thirds, who help to enforce their will – but also provide training and teaching of the crafts of those who would be corsair, in what is very much an apprenticeship all of its own.

Corsair camps are not often self-sufficient, and often will raid not for wealth, but for supplies. There are many large Corsair groups operating at any given time – it often seems as if once you take out one, another will rise in their place. Corsairs love to attack Exilian caravans, because they always travel with enough to feed themselves, and as a result Exilian caravans are not the easiest prey.

The spoils of a corsair group are often divided evenly among those who did the despoiling. Many will contact a guild for fencing, or perhaps try to pass themselves off as ordinary merchants with goods that they came by honestly, in order to find the coin to live. They then take those earnings back to the camps, where there are individuals and families who live and struggle together, often in defiance of the local customs and laws, living by what most of the all the Higher Law.

One corsair I know, who styles himself as “The King of Thieves” has five camps, scattered through three of the realms, and what comes to him often finds its way to those who have the greatest need of it. Not that he is a kindhearted sort, mind you – for all his charm and manners, he is as wicked as any other when the blade touches the throat.

As a result, while many Corsairs are hostile to the Foe on their own turf, they may not be so opposed to dealing with them in some circumstances – a corruption that always pleases Pallor.


There are three kinds of organized policing that are designated as Police within the Empire, and all the realms still follow this because the funding for two of them appears to be derived from the God’s themselves, and so no one worries much.


The first and most basic are the local settlement watches. Watches are organized and overseen by the local Nobility and can vary widely in structure and nature. They are tasked with enforcing the local rules and policies within settlements and have a roughly half day boundary beyond the settlement as part of their jurisdiction. The Knights of Eld, charged with law keeping in Dorado, are an example of this, albeit a unique one, being hereditary and especially dangerous.


The next is chartered through the Grand Council and the Convocation, known as the Imperial Enforcers, and is charged with enforcing the Imperial laws throughout the Empire, outside of the settled areas. This is an immense area to cover, and there are not a lot of them, but they do their best, focusing on banditry and the like. They are also charged with keeping an eye on Powers that may be in their region. They will not engage with the Foe, except under the direst of circumstances; they are not cowards nor running, but their arsenals and training are not up to it.

These units are headed by a Sheriff, who has a designated area that they are charged with, and who is the Commander of a Guard Garrison – typically a small, tight wooden fort built in a defensible location. Sheriffs must report to the convocation yearly, and so have an Undersheriff whose task is to step in for them when they are absent and serve as second.

Reporting to the Sheriffs are Deputies, typically twelve. Deputies oversee Watches, which are eight-hour shifts. A watch is led by a Commandant, who has a team of six to eight Enforcers reporting and taking orders from them. There are additional assorted logistics staff to support these activities, but not much. All prisons and jails are assigned to Imperial Enforcers, regardless of where they may be, though Durango has a consistent issue with corruption that has led to there being additional jails where Enforcers are denied access.

The Agency

The last and final group is the Agency. The simplicity of their Title aside, they act as wards of and are charged with the previously mentioned Crimes and the Charter. They follow no jurisdiction, answer only to the Convocation, are some of the toughest people around, mostly Elfin, and are easily identified by the strange, all black clothing they wear.

Most folks encounter a Constable. Considered akin to a one-person army, a constable must be able to handle a great many duties in the course of their work – investigating, gathering evidence, arresting, detaining, and so forth. They operate in groups of three and are accompanied by a large wagon with bars over the cabin to hold prisoners and other miscreants.

Investigative work is often done by Reeves, who are generally outside the normal reporting framework, and act as both a check and balance to the rest, as well as providing essential knowledge to ensure they do their jobs properly. Reeves are independents, solo operators, often recruited from Envoy and Messenger guilds.

Constables report to a Bailiff. Bailiffs, and their team of clerks, keep records based on the reports of Constables.

Bailiffs report to Marshals. Marshals are charged a given region, and while their exact number is unknown even to the Convocation, it is believed there are twenty-five of them. A Marshall has earned their position through both reputation and seniority, and both are significant.

Marshalls in turn report to the Agency, which is run by Agents, who have some arcane process by which they gather in The Directorate and make decisions collectively. It is known there are factions within the Agency, but the nature and divisions remain a mystery. No one knows who the Directorate is run by, or what the history of it is beyond that the Directorate is entirely subject to the Convocation, and only the convocation as a whole.

Of note is that none of the groups of police here make decisions on guilt or innocence, and do not engage with the doling of punishments. They leave that up to the nearest court, though they will testify (especially the Police). One exception to all of that is Reeves. Reeves have a special license to judge guilt, but if they do so they must provide proof supported by the word of many others, and they must also sit in judgment of other cases. Reeves are often used for exactly that by that Nobility.

The one exception to this is when the accused requests an Ordeal. Then they will haul the individual off to a place of Worship and let the Ordeal happen under their ever-watchful eye.


Most disagreements are of a more business or personal nature, and those are overseen by the same Courts that handle the more serious actions of criminals and ne’er-do-wells.

These Courts vary by region and settlement – some are overseen by the local Nobility, others are charged to designated people assigned by the Nobility, but in the end, Nobility is the final arbiter and is subject to their will. In general, the local head of a community is the final appeal, with most courts being presided over by a judge of some sort, and the specifics of each court vary from realm to realm.

All sentences must bear the mark of a “responsible” Noble, and this matters because the Police have nobility within their purview; as a look at the common crimes of the world will reveal, even nobles are not safe from them.

The Police once deposed a Crown Prince of the Empire. He now spends his time trapped in a mine in the Golden range, and his sentence was life, with his Father, the Emperor, being forced to abstain. Among his crimes was an attempt on the life of his sister, the Princessa Himesama.


Although most will not openly state so, all realms allow for the personal Defense of Ordeal. Part of the reason for this is the presence of the Powers That Be themselves, who do take an active interest and participate in the daily affairs of the people. The problem is that they do not always work together, and sometimes work at cross purposes – a particular person undergoing trial may be fiercely loyal to a particular deity but have angered a different one.

During the ordeal, the opposing deity may act to harm the individual with intent, while the supportive one may simply not be paying full attention.

Nevertheless, there is usually someone who requests it. Often the young, who are beginning to lose the fear of the Powers That Be and the anger towards them. An interesting thing about Trials by Ordeal involving magic comes to mind. Some have figured on using magic to escape the effects of an ordeal. The spell is cast, and for all intents appears to work perfectly, except if it goes against a God’s Will, nothing happens.

Ordeals are overseen by the Temple and replace a standard trial for that region unless the realm has a formal declaration of Trial by Ordeal. The outcome of a trial is absolute – it is as the God’s desire, and only a damn fool argues with a God.

Ordeals can only be called for by the Accused, and while they can demand it beneath any Power they are consecrated by, it may be done under the power of the Accuser’s Power. While it is not perfect, for the most part the Powers That Be do, in fact, pay attention and intervene. The possible Ordeals are as follows:




Accused faces the trials designed for the Grand Games

Burning Brand

Accused must submit to being branded

Burning Hand

Accused must place hand in a fire or grasp a hot stone


As above, but each side selects a Champion


Individual fights Accuser in a one-on-one battle. First blood, usually, death for high crimes


Accused and Accuser must stand with arms raised parallel to ground. First to drop


Accused is buried except their face for a specified period of time

Floating Water

Accused is tossed into water – if they sink, they are innocent if they float, they are guilty

Freezing Water

Accused is submerged in frigid water for five minutes


Accused must ingest sacred items (such as holy water)

Molten Metal

Accused must endure having molten metal poured on their body

Oil Stone

Accused must retrieve a stone from the bottom of a cauldron full of boiling oil

Seated Pyre

Accused must sit within a pyre for five minutes


Accused must endure without food or water, unclothed, in a chamber, for a set time

Sulphur Brew

Accused must drink a concoction of some sort (traditionally Sulphur)

Walking Fire

Accused must walk three paces (9 feet or so) across burning hot coals

Water Stone

Accused must retrieve a stone from the bottom of a cauldron full of boiling water

Weight Stones

Accused has stones equal to the weight of themselves/ their accuser placed on top of them for a variable amount of time


For the most part, the Realms avoid the use of death as a punishment except in cases of the murder of five or more people.

Corporal punishments used are usually amputation of some sort when used, or flogging (public or private, depending on the crime), or perhaps pillory. Pillory is the lashing of an individual to a post, typically in a cage, for all to see, for at least three days and not more than a fortnight. Those in a pillory are allowed only water, and only one cup each day.

Fines are common, in some form the guilty can pay, and fines are always in percentages, tracked by the Fodge based on taxes. For a large business, this can be significant. A criminal fine can be as low as 1% or as high as 40% for significantly harmful crimes.

Enslavement is a sentence, and some jurisdictions will impose stripping of name, status, wealth, and similar effects. Enslavement is always for a set time in the Empire. The length of that time is always three to nine years. No person may be enslaved for longer than nine years, even one day. They do not call it enslavement, instead calling it Indenture, but that is the practical outcome. Indenture is recorded before the Trusty of the region itself, witnessed by at least two Imperial Enforcers, and often with some part of the person’s Clergy and possibly even an Agency representative. They are denied their rights, their homes, their families, and can be made to do anything except be killed or die by the holder of their Penal Lien.

On the flip side, those charged with holding such Liens are responsible for the well-being of the enslaved. A meager ration, a place to sleep out of the elements, and clothing (including, explicitly, shoes) are required, and should a slave die while under sentence, the holder of a lien is required to fulfill the time remaining on that slave’s sentence.

This does not mean that death of slaves is uncommon. Merely that there is strong encouragement not to do so.

Enslavement is only actively used in Akadia. All other realms do not use it, though on occasion someone will apply it as an example within Sibola.

Prisons & Jails

Prisons exist, and are used, but they ae dark pits of despair where people who have no value or purpose to society are sent to die for the most part. The most famous prison is Tarterus, located in a hollowed-out mountain in Durango. It is overseen by a very cruel Warden and is said to be able to house as many.

There is usually one Prison in each Realm – even Antilia has one. Prisons are used only when there is no other option and are not pleasant places. Inmates must not only provide everything for themselves, but they must also provide often unreasonable burdens to the Wardens, who in turn must send that to the government.

Jails are always used as short-term detainment, and a standard jail cell has a cot, a desk, a chair, facilities, fresh water brought in daily, at least three meals, and is usually a two-room space about 10 by 10 in total. Cells are typically located below ground, with no outside visibility or access.

There are secret Prisons, of course. Filthy pits where people are placed, usually via a sliding tube that is the only access point besides a lift for food delivered once every three days. It is in these dark places that people who are never expected to be seen again are placed. In no small part because getting them out again is all but impossible.

Goddess of Change, Mystery, Wonder, and Fun
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