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Author Topic: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire  (Read 111053 times)
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« Reply #45 on: July 26, 2010, 03:00:33 PM »

The Argyrian society is riddled with intricate webs of loyalties and dependencies, from binding familial ties to formal positions within bureaucratic orders. Practically no none can live for long within the Empire without coming to owe allegiances and favours to some faction or another. Save for the Emperor himself, everyone looks up to some form of superior to serve with honor and obedience - or treachery.

Clientage

A practice that permeates all layers of Argyrian society, clientage is a relationship between a patron and a number of clients. The exact nature of the relationship varies, but in most cases the latter are sworn to be loyal and respectful to their patron, and to assist him to the best of their abilities when ever he so requests. In return, the patron (who is always someone of greater social standing and wealth) must tend to the well-being of his clients, aiding them in any troubles that might befall them - such as hiring a jurist to defend their rights in a law court, helping them back on their feet if their house burns down, providing food during a famine, or protecting them and their businesses against extortion or slander.

The ties between a patron and his clients can become quite close and familiar, and it is not at all uncommon for these ties to take on rather mafia-esque undertones, especially in cases where illegal or dubious business is involved. According to Argyrian laws, a client cannot be compelled to testify against his patron in a court...

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« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2010, 04:02:48 PM »

Just a couple quick questions on Clientage (which is a really cool idea btw). Can a Patron testify against a client? Also, I'm guessing this system has caused all sorts of legal issues in the past, so are there any abolitionist movements?
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« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2010, 06:04:40 PM »

Llum

Can a Patron testify against a client?
For the sake of clarity, here's how it works:
  • A client can only testify against his patron of his own will. No one can legally compel him to do so. (+)
  • A patron could be legally compelled to testify against one of his clients.
(+ Note that direct commands from the Emperor can ignore/override the law.)

Llum

Also, I'm guessing this system has caused all sorts of legal issues in the past, so are there any abolitionist movements?
The powers-that-be largely find that the system protects their own interests more than it harms them. Those who would have the most interest to abolish it can't really do anything about it.
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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2010, 03:16:54 PM »

The Sacrifice

Ceryx felt embarrasingly nervous; he couldn't help but fiddle with the folds of his crimson himation as he stood on the long shadow of the altar, cast by the Suns rising up from the horizon. There was some modicum of chill in the morning air, biting the exposed skin of his legs and right shoulder-area. The priestly outfit wasn't the most comfortable this time of day and year, but traditions had to be maintained. A wave of excitement washed over him, wiping away his mild discomfort as his eyes locked on the first sight of the approaching procession. Today he would have the honour of conducting the ceremony for the first time. Today he would be a full-fledged priest.

To his right side stood the elderly priest Trachyllos, a wrinkled and slightly hunched man in a saffron himation. Far to the left, a young boy was sitting on the ground playing the aulos, the double-reeded pipe. Behind him loomed the imposing entabulature of the Temple of Tatiane, held up by fluted columns of white marble. Ceryx's hands idly wandered to the hilt of a ceremonial dagger, gilded and elaborately decorated. The procession had now reached the sacred precinct, and was arranging itself into a semicircle. Then the ram was brought forth by two young men dressed in loincloths.

The wiry youths held the beast by it's horns, which had been painted to stripes of red and dark blue. The animal, able to smell the scent of dried blood and aware of the excitement of the crowd, was resisting fearfully but in vain as it was dragged to the altar. Ceryx cleared his throat discreetly, then raised his hands and called out: "Friends! Let us be diligent in our service to the Sovereign! Let none stand before Her vaunted altar who is unclean." With those words a bowl of water, consecrated at the feet of the revered cult-image of the Judge, was carried by Trachyllos by everyone present, and everyone did well to purify themselves. The elderly man then passed the bowl to Ceryx, who took it in his hands and loudly declared: "May Tatiane look favourably upon this sacrifice!" With those words he poured the remaining water on the struggling ram's head. And the beast nodded, declaring it's willingness to be sacrificed.

The crowd around him was now muttering prayers and making occult signs, as Ceryx prepared for the ritual slaying. The young boy who had been playing the aulos - perhaps ten summers of age - was now kneeling before the animal, holding a painted bowl under the ram's neck. Ceryx, grasping the decorated knife, recalled how he himself had once been like that boy, how his hands had shook and his stomach turned. That time seemed like ages past now, more like a shade of a memory out of a previous life than his own childhood. He pushed these thoughts out of his head and focused. The old Trachyllos was watching him keenly, observing. Judging. He would not embarrass his mentor now. With a swift and careful flick he made a single cut across the beast's throat. The pair of youths held it firmly, as the fountain of warm blood flowed to fill the small bowl and soak the boy holding it. Somewhere nearby a woman let out a scream.

When the spark of life in the ram's eyes had flickered away, the carcass was dragged to the edge of the sacred precinct. Ceryx received the container of blood from the boy, who stood before him suppliantly, covered from head to toes in sanguine stains. Ceryx glanced at Trachyllos. Surprisingly, there was a hint of warm approval - perhaps even fatherly pride - in the old man's withered face, which was far more accustomed to frowns. A feeling of contentment and confidence rushed over Ceryx as he sprayed the blood on the altar. After many years of apprenticeship he was finally ready. Today he had ascended among the peers of his mentor.

Ritual Sacrifice
Argyrians sacrifice all manner of domesticated animals (wild animals are an exception specific to Theramenes, the god of the hunt), most commonly sheep, goats, pigs, geese and the like. The animals to be offered must be in perfect condition, for sacrificing a crippled or diseased beast would be a grave offense. Sacrifice might be made in private or in public. In the former case it is likely to be less formal, and even in the latter case there is no one universal procedure. Usually a public sacrifice includes at least the following elements:

  • A procession where the sacrificial animals are led to the altar. Likely accompanied by music and singing. The animal(s) will be decorated with colorful ribbons and bells.
  • The ceremonial knife will be carried to the altar concealed in a basket of grain, possibly in the front of the procession.
  • The sacrifice will be conducted on an outdoors altar, typically a block of marble with a fire-pit. Most of the participants will stand in a circle or a semi-circle around the altar.
  • The ceremony begins with the participants washing their hands on a bowl of water to ensure that all involved are ritually purified. The water is then sprinkled upon the victim(s).
  • The priest - or lacking one, whoever is conducting the ritual - begins by pouring the grain (and any additional nonliving offerings) on the flames of the altar. While the victim is held in place by the altar, he loudly announces to which divinity the sacrifice is to be be offered, before cutting the throat of the animal with the ceremonial knife. All women present let out a ritual wail. The drained blood is collected into a vase and then splashed upon the altar.
  • Following their death, the sacrificial animals are butchered. Each of them, according to it's kind and to relevant theology, is separated into the parts belonging to men and the parts belonging to the gods (generally the bones, the tail and the entrails). The latter are burned as a fire sacrifice, while the former are roasted on a spit, then eaten by the participants in a ceremonial feast.

Needless to say, there are plenty of variations from this loose norm. For example Thalas, god of the Sea, requires that all sacrifices to him be given by drowning the animal in sea-water. Hedomus, god of intoxication, will only be pleased if the beast is properly drunk when offered.

Sacrifice can be offered by virtually anyone, and requires neither a priest nor any formal equipment. An impromptu altar can be constructed if a proper one is not available. That said, Argyrians will always prefer to make use of these things when opportunity permits it. Sacrifice is a most serious matter, and always carries the risk of offending the divinities through erroneous conduct (intent is irrelevant, it is the adherence to ritual that matters). Making sacrifice for a particular purpose such as to lift a curse off one's head, might require extraordinary rites and unusual sacrificial animals and should always be overseen by an esteemed priest.

Offerings to the gods and spirits are just that - wooing gifts accompanied by pleas. Nothing guarantees that the deities will listen, or care for the offer. This is why the sacrifice must be announced so loudly; to better the chance that it will be noticed. Blatantly avaricious or irrational requests will usually fall on deaf ears, and asking a deity to act contrary to it's own agenda will more likely result in a painful lash of misfortune. Even if an offering is accepted, divine favour might not be forthcoming. One's antagonists might nullify one's request via a sacrifice of their own (either appealing to the same deities, or asking different ones to intervene). When two offerings are pitted against one another, it is usually the one better conducted and richer that will prevail.

Communal sacrifice is regularly conducted:
  • As a part of yearly festivals
  • Incorporated into state occasions and court ceremony
  • Before major battles or the signing of treaties
  • During athletic competitions
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:58:07 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2010, 02:43:39 PM »

I like this specific bit about sacrifice.  
I also enjoyed the bit about opposing sacrifices.

Would a sacrifice help a difficult or powerful spell succeed, or fail?
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« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2010, 03:48:56 PM »

LordVreeg


Would a sacrifice help a difficult or powerful spell succeed, or fail?

Quite possibly. Even something as abstract as good fortune can be gained via sacrifice, so I see no reason why one couldn't ask for luck with a bit of sorcery. Of corse you'd want to call upon the right deities; ones that hold power over concepts relevant to the magic being made. For example if you wanted to place a curse on a ship or it's crew to make it sink, you'd want to appeal to Thalas (the sea) and Tarasius (disasters), and perhaps Aeron (winds/weather).
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« Reply #51 on: August 15, 2010, 02:18:43 PM »

A follow-up for my earlier post on clientage, here's stuff on factions and organizations - the vital building blocks for conflicts, plots and byzantine intrigue.

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« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2010, 02:27:44 PM »

The Lands of the Empire



The territories of the Argyrian Empire stretch far and wide, encompassing a multitude of environments from hot semi-deserts and subtropical islands to the chill of windswept highlands. However, the majority of it's inhabited portions exhibit a warm climate where summers are dry and hot, winters cool. Alternating between arid plains, deep-cut valleys, jagged rocky hills and towering mountain ranges, the landscape bears an overall character of ruggedness. A long, serpentine coastline gnaws deep notches into the continental landmass, while uncountable islands rise up from the waves, littering the restless waters like the scattered pieces of a broken stone tablet. There is some truth to the adage that Argyrians are never far from the Sea.



While it's climate may be generally habitable, at times even pleasant, and it's landscape adorned with scenery of striking, stark beauty, the Empire is frequently devastated by a host of calamities and natural disasters. The spirits of the earth seethe with untamed rage, unleashing their fury through volcanic eruptions, fissures, lava flows, mudslides and earthquakes. The scorching heat of summer leaves the land dry and parched, giving wake to immense bushfires that sweep across fields and pastures with terrifying speed. Winter brings with it relieving rains, but also violent storms that rise quickly and unexpectedly, felling trees and huts and lighting the sky with the flame of thunder.



Although civilization marches forth with the callous determination of an army of ants, raising it's head again and again after each debilitating blow, many corners of the Empire yet remain untamed. Beyond the protective walls of crowded cities, past the slave-tilled fields and orchards of Mankind, there are places unmarked on any map, pristine soil untrod by civilized feet: Unconquerable heights amidst ancient mountain-peaks, hiding the ruins of pre-human civilizations under the eternal ice of glaciers. Wild and primeval forests haunted by ancient spirits, shrouded in darkness under impenetrable canopy. Nameless islands hidden in mists, thrice accursed in the whispered tales of affrighted mariners. And unexplored valleys and ravines wherein roam lions and saber-toothed tigers and wild beasts from aeons long forgotten.




Regions
These regions fall under the august rulership of the Argyrian Emperor, some more firmly so than others:
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« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2010, 02:31:08 PM »

Helikia
Helikia is the quintessential maritime region, consisting of the large island of Helikia, a myriad smaller islands of the Imperial Sea, and a long coastal strip of the continental peninsula to the west. With it's population focused on port-cities and fishing villages, Helikia lives and breathes by it's access to the sea. It boasts of the oldest and most honorable traditions in shipbuilding, sailing and maritime trade among all Argyrians.



Helikian lands are rugged, more so than those of it's neighbouring regions. The soil is rocky, eroded and fairly arid. Vegetation is sparse, dominated by shrubs, palms and acacias. Arable land is at a premium, especially on the islands, and many hillsides have been terraced to maximize yields. While state of agriculture is mediocre, viticulture and olive cultivation prosper. Shipbuilding is a major industry, though much of the wood must be imported.

Helikia is regarded as the original homeland of the Argyrian peoples, and bears a great deal of religious and mythological value to them. Many ancient temples of particularly high status are located there - as is the seat of the Supreme Oracle, who resides in the sanctuary on Mt. Helix.
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« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2010, 03:04:12 PM »

Carantia
Carantia is the proverbial breadbasket of the Empire, famed for it's great estates and the throngs of hapless slave workers that till them. Carantian soil is volcanic and extremely fertile, while the Aetic Mountains to the East capture the rainfall from clouds brought from the sea by prevailing winds, feeding rivers that irrigate the fields via a carefully engineered network of canals. What land has not yet been converted to farming is largely left undeveloped, save where valuable mineral deposits or the like are found. The region's politics is dominated by a small cadre of extremely rich potentates who own all the estates and exploit their produce to fill their hefty treasuries.

Great port-cities line the coast, supplying the immense grain ships that make runs there from spring to autumn. Having filled their holds with the harvest, these behemoths head for the Imperial capital city to provide food for it's enormous population. Without imported Carantian grain, the streets of Atarneon would soon be overrun by desperate mobs of starving citizens, a fact that has allowed the potentates to amass excessive wealth and influence. Inebriated by the profusion of gold and power, the upper classes have become dangerously ambitious, decadent and corrupt. They hold the Empire's laws in contempt and stop at nothing in their efforts to gain ever more influence, confident in their ability to bribe and blackmail their way out of any adversity.

But there is much more to Carantia than just bustling harbours, fertile floodplains and plantations. It's mountains of karst and jutting hills rise high, riddled with maze-like passes and canyons, punctured with vast networks of caves and underground rivers. Amidst the precarious crags and gorges lurk a multitude of savage hosts - barbaric hill-tribes whose bewitched wardrums echo ominously through moonlit nights, bandit hordes that skulk in hidden fortresses and descend on the lowlands with steel on their arms and the glint of plunder in their eyes, and droves of escaped slaves gathering under the banners of charismatic leaders urging them on the blood-soaked path of revolt.

Carantia may be a disaster in the making, but the calm that precedes the coming storm may last quite a while yet. In the meantime, aspiring heroes will find plenty of opportunities in this land: sorting out the conflicts and trade-wars of feuding noble houses, exploring the mysterious caves beneath the mountains for deposits of gold and silver, fighting off raiding bandits and tribesmen, and returning fugitive slaves back to the pens they escaped.
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« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2010, 04:01:50 PM »

Chelonesia
A rival of Helikia in maritime activities, Chelonesia is an entirely island-based region, consisting of a major archipelago and an ill-defined number of other islands. It is located between four bodies of water: the Imperial Sea (Helikian Sea) to the North, the Erytanian Sea to the East, the Coral Sea to the South and the Sea of a Million Islands to the West. Chelonesian islands are volcanic in nature, and quite active. The volcanoes rise relatively low, their sides sloping lazily down from the smoldering craters.

Scarcity of arable land combined with natural aridity resulting from it's southern latitude has left the region sparsely populated compared to the continental lands. Agriculturally challenged, the people look to the sea for their livelihood. The region is well-known for producing highly valued purple dyes, extracted from certain molluscs, and for the large number of turtles and tortoises found in these islands. The people here worship a great turtle-god, which is not part of the general Argyrian pantheon. Turtle soup is a local delicacy, and decorative artefacts made from tortoise shells are imported overseas for fine profit.

Though the threat of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes is omnipresent in Chelonesia, it pales in comparison to the more commonplace menace of piracy. The broken coasts and uncharted islands offer an abundance of potential hideouts; obscure coves where swift galleys may be drawn to the beaches and hidden bases carved into the soft stone of cliffsides to store the fruits of plunder. It's central location between the seas makes Chelonesia a nexus of crisscrossing shipping lanes, which ensures that piracy thrives. Sailors who ply these waters ought to keep their eyes keenly on the horizon and their blades sharpened.
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« Reply #56 on: October 09, 2010, 10:49:04 AM »

Acropalaea
Although Therania is the political center of the Empire and Helikia the reputed origin of Argyrian culture, Acropalaea is regarded as the foremost cradle of civilization. It was in this land that the Empire was born, in the great city of Hedra where Argyros himself once sat upon an ornate throne, and wherein was of old the Imperial capital. Amongst all the regions, Arcopalaea is the one most urbanized, the most advanced, and the most prosperous. It's cities are ancient and proud, adorned with colossal monuments and lavish palaces. The land is very productive: it's fields fertile, it's gold and silver mines replete with wealth, it's wines and wares lauded for their quality.

The coastal plains along the western shores are densely populated, dotted with sprawling towns and covered in well-tended fields. As one proceeds eastward, the land begins to rise, at first gently, but soon giving way to deep-cut river valleys and ridges of highlands, which gradually turn into the foothills of the Polemos Mountains. The hill-lands of Acropalaea are less troubled than those of other regions, being inhabited mostly by reclusive shepherds. The mountains themselves, however, are ones of vicious reputation, said to be haunted by bloodthirsty spirits and abominable monsters. Fearful of these ancient peaks, the people are used to giving them wide berth save for the heavily fortified mining towns, thrust like spearpoints between the foothills to siphon the flow of precious metals from earth's bowels to the bustling markets on the coast.

Acropalaea is a land of vibrant commerce, high culture and carefully veiled intrigue. Merchants, diplomats and spies from across the civilized world congregate in it's wine-houses, villas and pleasure gardens, spinning their clandestine plots even as they indulge in a gourmet of a thousand luxuries. In the dark of night, poisoned blades and seductions of the flesh stalk all those who meddle in the dangerous games of trade and politics.
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« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2010, 09:59:54 AM »

Aspidia
It is said that the Aspidians only know true passion for two things: horses and battle. Their homeland certainly has given them both in abundance. Landlocked and far from the sea, Aspidia lacks the maritime culture of other Argyrian regions. It is a vast territory, comprising great open plains and arrays of low, gently sloping hills, broken by meandering rivers. To the north and east it is bordered by the mighty peaks of the Gora Mountains, while the dark treeline of the Forest of Satyrs looms menacingly to the northwest.

The soil in Aspidia is less fertile and the climate harsher than in the adjoining westerly and southerly regions, while the greater distances between towns, lack of sea access and position away from the primary trade routes has retarded local mercantilism. It is quite a poor and rustic region compared to most of the Empire, but it is also one of formidable power and military importance. The Aspidians are a notoriously hardy and warlike people, bred that way by generations of rough lives lived on this land. With the meagre harvests of their fields, they have had to rely on herding cattle and breeding horses on the scrubby pastures in order to avert famine and poverty, a state of affairs that has given them an outstanding tradition of equestrianism.

In a way, Aspidia has never truly known peace. The people are proud, clannish and hot-blooded, easily given to feuds and vendettas. The foothills to the north and east are inhabited by fierce hill tribes, and the Goras beyond them by even fiercer mountain tribes. A state of open hostility exists between these barbarians and the Aspidians, going back further than even mythic stories can recall. An endless cycle of brutal raids and counter-raids rages between the people of the peaks and the people of the plains; the former too few and disparate to challenge their foe on equal terms, the latter incapable of assailing the impervious mountain strongholds of the tribesmen.
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« Reply #58 on: December 07, 2010, 11:14:20 AM »

Many are the tales told about the legendary Eye of Skotys, which haunts the coast of Rhadinia. This is how people from the city of Ilissa, famed for it's resin-wines, recall it in their fables:

Argyros and the Eye of Skotys

It came to pass that during his wanderings, Argyros happened upon the town of Ceratopolis, by the mouth of the River Cyanis. It was the day before the night of the Torch Festival, and he found the entire city held in the pall of terror. The men went hither and tither in frightful hurry, clearing the streets from the carts and stalls of trade-goods, while from shadowy doorways women peered and cried for their children to come home with all haste. Everywhere windows were being boarded shut, doors barred and chimneys and smoke-holes sealed. And the beggars and urchins minded not their rightful place, but dared disturb their betters with frantic pleas for sanctuary, for they despaired being left out on the streets the coming night.

Argyros wished to know of the cause of this commotion, but such was the fright that beset the townsmen that he had to hold them at a spearpoint to hear an explanation. The menace, he was told, was the dreadful crimson star which was wont to rise in the black of night, heralding a plague of terrors upon the city. For three generations now had this doom visited Ceratopolis every year on the night of the Torch Festival. The star, it was said, was the abominable eye of the cosmic daemon Skotys, sent by the wrathful fire-god Phlegos to punish the Ceratopolitans, for three generations ago had the king of the city blasphemed against Phlegos by copulating within one of his temples. The coming night, this ominous eye would rise above the town's gabled roofs and peer down with it's monstrous gaze, shedding tears of blood. And this poisonous blood would rain down in torrents; and the wells would be fouled, and the crops upon the fields would wither, and the flesh of the livestock would rot and fall off their bones, and the people would be struck by madness and disease and misfortune.

Having heard this much, Argyros headed to the king's palace, and he was courteously invited to spend the night under his eminent host's roof, and to eat from his table and to drink of his wine. He talked at length with the king, reciting the words of the townsmen. And his eminent host did indeed confirm the truthfulness of that tale. The king on his part was as appalled by the peril as were his subjects, and he swore by his name that any man who should rid the city of this curse would earn his undying friendship and alliance, and that the men of Ceratopolis would gather beneath the banner of such hero when called upon. Upon hearing these words, Argyros announced that he would confront the menace that very night. And he took leave from his eminent host, and without fear he entered that perilous twilight outside the protective walls of the palace.

As dusk fell and the last stragglers withdrew into their houses, Argyros climbed atop the city's highest roof and lay in wait. Nary a cloud grazed the vault of the heavens that night, and the stars and the moons were ablaze. Behold! From the Northern horizon rose a star of crimson red, burning brighter still than the stars of old. With aberrant speed it ascended, anxious to reach it's destination directly above Ceratopolis, that it may cry a rain of blood. Facing that cosmic oculus, Argyros stood on the ridge of the roof and drew his mighty bow, which no one but him had the strength to string, and he nocked an arrow fletched with the feathers of a terror-bird. His aim was true, and with the single arrow he struck the crimson star, felling it from the sky like a hunter fells a bird in flight. And the star plummeted into the sea, sinking down to the bottom near the coast of Rhadinia, where it remains still, ever glowing with crimson light in the dark of night. And it is said that on the nights of the Torch Festival the sea by the coast turns to blood, and that unspeakable horrors shall befall the mariner who dares those waters after dark.

Such goes the legend as told by the people of Ilissa. In the renowned city of Saros one hears a different tale, where the curse of Ceratopolis is blamed on the sorcery of the Naiads of the river Cyanis, and where Argyros uses trickery to make the Eye of Skotys mistake the reflection off the water's surface for the sky, thereby causing it to plummet into the sea and drown. The proud men of Arete narrate yet another version, attributing the deed to their native hero Polydorus.


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« Reply #59 on: January 23, 2011, 03:21:04 PM »

Argyrian Law and Justice

The Art of Law
Throughout it's thousand years of civilization, the Argyrian Empire has wrestled with the scourge of crime and brigandage that plagues every corner of the known world. In that time the Argyrians have built and refined a sophisticated legal system, based on written-down laws and a bureaucracy that arbitrates disputes between citizens. On the public squares and plazas of the Empire's cities, justice is administered in formal trials presided over by educated judges, and cases won or lost by the carefully worded arguments of silver-tongued jurists. Riddled with myriad nuances and subtle loopholes, the corpus of imperial legislation is a byzantine maze navigable only by the wise and cunning, while the course of a trial exhibits all the intricacies and high drama of a theatrical play. To the Argyrians, law is much more than a means to seek justice - it is a form of art.


Roles and Scenarios
There are many ways for the lives of characters within the Empire to be affected by matters of law. They might commit crimes, or be unfairly accused of such. They may become involved in investigations, or find themselves drawn into a case as key witnesses. They could be aspiring jurists looking to make a name for themselves, or assassins hired to affect the outcome of a high-stakes trial.

Enforcement
Despite it's remarkable state of progress, the Argyrian justice system lacks one important element: organized law enforcement. There is no such thing as a police force within the Empire - nor in any other kingdom of the Savage Age for that matter. Although public order in settlements is enforced and roads patrolled by garrisoned militias, these forces have no duties to apprehend common criminals. Instead, the burden of delivering perpetrators to justice rests on the shoulders of the citizens wronged.

This poses little problem for the aristocracy; every noble family employs a corps of armed retainers easily up to the task. The governors who rule the various corners of the Empire can likewise rely on their henchmen should they have an interest to arrest someone. Even the common citizen isn't nearly as powerless as one might presume: binding familial ties and the clientage system ensure that virtually any free-born man has a large number of relatives - brothers, cousins, uncles, in-laws, etc. - to call upon, not to mention his powerful patron. And should these means prove inadequate, one can usually find bounty hunters willing to do the job for a handful of coins.

Investigations
As with law enforcement, the investigation of most crimes is left to the interested parties. Any characters possessed of experience or skills useful for such work are likely to be called upon by their allies, friends or superiors in need of such services. As the investigators usually lack police-like authority, they may have to rely on deception and creative solutions where more straightforward means are unavailable. For example, to search for evidence in a private house, they may have to get themselves invited in, or quietly steal into the place under the cover of night. Such actions may very well cross the limits of lawful conduct, but this is rarely a problem - provided they do not get caught...


Jurists
While there is an expectation that every citizen be able to speak up and argue his case in court, it is acceptable to enlist the aid of others. This has led to the rise of an entire profession of jurists; men learned in the arts of law, politics and rhetoric. Jurists offer advice and interpretations on laws to the customers who consult them, and draft contracts and other legally binding documents. They also act as advocates or judges in trials.

A jurist must be well educated, of a respectable social status, and have good connections. Thus a commoner cannot become one. The services of a jurist tend to command high prices, although sometimes one may agree to work for free if the case presents an opportunity to win great fame and glory. A man who could not afford to hire a jurist on his own might be able to obtain such advocacy via his patron.

Justice isn't Blind
All are not equal before Argyrian law. The social status of the parties involved influences how much weight is put on each side's claims (and whether a trial can even be held in the first place), and the status of witnesses determines the worth of their testimony.
  • A slave is not considered a person, and therefore cannot commit crimes, only 'cause them to happen'. A slave's master may be prosecuted if his servile causes crimes to happen. A slave can never press charges against anyone. A testimony given by a slave may be deemed legally valid only if it has been obtained via torture.
  • A non-citizen cannot press charges nor give testimony against a citizen. However, another citizen may press charges on behalf of the non-citizen.
  • A commoner cannot press charges nor give testimony against a nobleman. However, his (noble) patron may do so on his behalf.
  • A client cannot be compelled to give testimony against his patron.
  • A dependant (a direct descendant, a younger sibling, a wife) cannot press charges nor be compelled to give testimony against the head of their family (the eldest male).
  • Nobody can press charges nor give testimony against the Emperor. Ever. This immunity can be extended to any other member of the Imperial family at the Emperor's behest.

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« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 01:06:04 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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