One of the most serious crimes in feudal society is that of taking arms against one's lord. In a culture which is built on mutual trust and intricate webs of political and socialites, such a violation of trust is very dangerous indeed. In order to make an example of those who take such drastic action, the means of execution employed on convicted rebels is usually very unpleasant.
Refers to citizens of a realm who sell its secrets to a foreign power. Since they are betraying the nation of their birth, their's is by far the more serious crime. The crime of treason is regarded as the lowest act which any criminal can undertake. In many cases, even hardened criminals are loyal to the crown and will turn in traitors to the local constabulary. As described previously, treason is the selling of one's own nation's secrets to a rival power. It is important not to confuse treason with espionage.
Technically, this law applies to all persons who act in a covert manner to obtain the secrets of a realm. However, it is seldom used against the spies of one's lords, which are an accepted part of feudal life. However, the laws against espionage are enforced when the criminal is a spy in the payment of a hostile government or other faction. Such persons, when they are captured, are sometimes tried, convicted, and then traded back to their masters for a ransom. In cases where the spy's master holds one of the lord's own men, an exchange is often made. It is important to note the difference between espionage and treason. Both crimes involve the giving of information to the enemies of the realm, but they are very different. Espionage refers to citizens of another realm who are sent into a foreign nation as spies. Such individuals are considered to be simply "doing their job" when they act against a rival power.
This includes any attempts to make plans against the king or local lord. It includes plotting an assassination, making ready to stage a coup, or (in very strict realms) even making casual remarks about deposing a monarch. As you can see, this class of crime is very open to the whims of the local lord and his justices.
It is a criminal offense to knowingly cause the cessation of life of any human, dwarven, gnomish, or halfling person.
This crime, often considered the ultimate violation of the law, includes any act which causes a loss of life. It can be applied in matters where criminal intent was involved, but is also used to prosecute persons who have caused a death through extreme carelessness.
All citizens (or, at least, all warriors) are expected to act in defense of the weak, this crime can be charged against someone who has failed to act to save another person from death.
It is a criminal offense unknowingly cause the cessation of life of any human, dwarven, gnomish, or halfling person, or to knowingly cause the death of an elf. Anyone convicted of such an offense faces punishments ranging from execution to fine or imprisonment.
Any act of violence is considered to be at least minor assault. A fist fight or beating is the most common offense.
Physical restraint of an individual during a robbery is also considered to be minor assault.
In any case where a weapon is used, however, the crime is elevated to major assault and may well result in the death of the offender.
Only self defense is considered to allow one to use force against another person.
Minor assault may also be charged against someone for threatening another.
Minor assault may also be charged against someone for forcably detaining another.
This group of laws is a sort of "catch-all" for law breakers who use force in their actions. In short, major assault refers to any use of violence in which the life of the victim may have been in jeopardy.
Further, any attack with a weapon of any sort (either an actual or improvised one) falls into this category. In short, anything more dramatic than a fist fight is probably going to be major assault.
Of course, there are exceptions. As with many of the other laws, self defense is not a crime.
Drawing a Weapon
There are two ways in which this law is enforced. The first, and more serious of the two, is
Drawing a Weapon on Gentility
This includes any threatening use of a weapon against any member of the chivalric, noble or royal classes.
Drawing a Weapon on Common Folk
The second aspect of the law is intended to protect the common folk from rough treatment at the hands of trained warriors. Anyone who has been trained in fighting and threatens to use their skills against someone without such training is breaking a major tenet of the Chivalric Code. Because it is considered very improper to use superior weapons against a fairly defenseless serf, this is also a death offense.
In both cases, however, self defense is considered to be an exception to the law.
Dueling is only allowed on designated dueling fields, outside of city walls. The official dueling weapon is the longsword. Nobles and royals, and their peoples may not be challenged to duels by those below their station. Terms of duels are set by the duelers.
This is defined as any setting of a fire which causes a loss of life or property. Exception is made for those fires which are accidental, but not those which are purposefully set and get out of hand. No open fire sources are allowed within the city walls, without express and prior written permission. Violators will be fined
Most feudal societies hold a great respect for the dead and the places in which they rest. Thus, desecration of a tomb or burial area (a popular pastime with many adventurers!) is ranked among the violent crimes and violators are subject to the death penalty.
It is an offense to engage in the act of sexual intercourse with any person without the express consent of that person. It is an offense to engage in the act of sexual intercourse with any person who has not come of age.
Poisoning of Wells and Water Supplies
It is considered a violent crime to poison, tamper or enchant (even benign enchantments) public or private wells or water supplies.
Any act which deprives another person of their rightful property is considered theft. It can include shop lifting or a clever swindle. In addition to the penalties indicated above, the criminal is expected to return the stolen objects or, if that is not possible, reimburse the owner for their value.
Any act of theft without the offender being a member of a thieve´s guild is forbidden.
Any act of theft by a guild member outside of their jurisdiction is forbidden.
It is illegal to sell stolen goods.
It is illegal to purchase or accept as a gift, stolen goods.
Despite its name, this crime does not imply the theft of any object. A person can be charged with burglary simply for breaking into a home, shop, or other building without permission. In modern terms, this might be taken as breaking and entering.
It is also illegal to gain unlawful entry into a city, harbor or the airspace above a city or harbor.
Breach of Contract
Contracts in a feudal society are far less exacting than they are in our own world. As a rule, a contract is assumed to include any agreement by two parties, whether verbal or written, which can be verified by a third party.
In cases where a third party presents a false accounting of the transaction before a justice, he or she may well be tried as a perjurer.
Once a court rules on a breach of contract, the losing party is expected to live up to their part in the bargain and pay a penalty to the opposing side in the case.
This penalty will be determined by the value of the contract and the magnitude of the offender's violation of it.
Fraud & Forgery
These two crimes cover a broad range of violation which include any attempt to obtain money, favors, or the like by false representations or trickery. Possible examples include the use of incorrect scales in weighing goods, use of low grade materials in construction, inept labor, or the outright falsification of a legal document (including coinage). The greater the money involved, the greater the penalty.
Persons who are convicted more than once face the possibility of execution.
In all cases, a criminal must repay the money lost by his victims (if possible) in addition to the rest of his sentence.
It is illegal to impersonate a royal, noble or public official for any reason.
It is illegal to impersonate another to enact a business transaction, including the signing of a contract, or to commit a crime.
Taxes and Excessive Debt
Failure to pay taxes is a crime of tax evasion
Anyone who is unable to pay their debts to a merchant or tax collector may find themselves tried for the crime of indebtedness.
A conviction in such cases will result in the violator being required to sell off any personal belongings which they have to pay their debts.
If they are unable to raise the money they need, they may be ordered into service for a period of time. The length of such service will be determined by the amount of the debt.
The crime of poaching is defined as hunting on another's land without permission.
As a rule, the severity of the punishment is determined by the success of the poacher. A criminal who sets a few small snares might be treated fairly lightly, while one who brings down a deer might expect to see a severe sentence.
In cases where the land has been set aside for use by the local nobility or is deemed to be the King's Woods, the penalty for poaching is death.
Drunkenness, or displays of vulgar and base behavior is forbidden.
Excessive noise, which disrupts sleep or business may also bring a charge of drunkenness.
Defacing of property is forbidden.
It is illegal to begin, incite or take place in a riot.
It is illegal to slander another.
To threaten the religious beliefs of the community, or to threaten those of a religion, is expressly forbidden.
Any attempt to persecute or inhibit the growth or expression of freedom of religion shall be punishable by death.
Each individual is free to worship at the church or churches of his choice, and to honor his gods as he sees fit, in accordance with accepted worship practices, except where such worship is expressly illegal or forbidden by local law or statute.
Certain exceptions may apply - check with regional authorities to determine what exceptions are currently accepted.
Accessory to a Crime
Anybody who aids, through action or inaction, the commiting of a crime will be found to be guilty of being an accessory.
Conversion of Currencies
It is illegal for anyone other than official moneychangers to convert gems to coin, or coin to gems.
It is also illegal for anyone other than an official moneychanger to handle the conversion of foreign currency into Hurvan Standard currency.
All said transactions will apply a 5% charge to pay the moneychanger, and a 5% tax which shall go to the legal Government of Hurva.
Large Scale Transactions
Any sale or trade of goods or services within the confines of a major city of more than 1,000 gp must be handled by an official moneychanger, with the above mentioned tax being applied at this time.
No business may open, or operate, within Hurva without express and written permission from the local authorities.
Said business must be registered
Copies of the registration papers must be kept on the business premises at all times.
Conformance to Law
Businesses are expected to conform to those laws which apply to citizens, where applicable.
Failure to adhere to the law may result in the imprisonment of the business owner, and those who work the business.
Further penalties and fines may be assessed, and the business may be closed, or sold, with no recompense provided for the business owner.
It is illegal for anyone other than the Office of the Royal Exchequer to mint coins bearing any type of stamp, emblem, or symbol which would represent it as official or unofficial currency of Hurva.
Anyone who dies without a will shall have their property turned over to the local government and temples.
Any document claiming to be a will is subject to divination confirmations.
All wills must name an executer or executrix to be legal.
If an executer or executrix chooses not to fulfill their duty, then the estate will be treated as if there was no will.
Slavery is absolutely forbidden
All pets and other such novelty livestock shall be keep under control within the city limits.
The responsibility for any damage done by, or directly or indirectly attributable to, a pet shall be placed directly upon that pet's owner.
Only registered citizens of the Hurva may purchase sailing vessels of any sort.
Sale of sailing vessels by foreigners will be considered treason.
Privately owned sailing vessels are subject to conscription by the City of Registration in times of war or martial law.
No citizen may obstruct traffic.
It is not allowed to operate a vehicle or ride a beast in a dangerous manner.
No citizen may interfere with the law, or the pursuit, capture, or imprisonment of a known or suspected criminal.
Failure to aid a lawful member of the Constabulary upon request is punishable by imprisonment.
Interference with a Regional or Royal Tax Collector is a criminal offense, and may result in execution, fine or imprisonment.
Aiding in the hiding of income or a transaction is a misdemeanor.
As has been stated, the feudal courts will almost always try very hard to determine actual guilt or innocence before passing sentence. One of their most important tools in this quest for knowledge is personal testimony by witnesses. Anyone who provides false or misleading evidence is subject to execution as a perjurer.
In addition, anyone who withholds evidence which is vital to the court can also be tried under these laws.
Distortion of the facts is also considered to be perjury.
The bribery of the king´s agents, nobles, constables, tax collectors, or any other public official is a felony.
It is also illegal to accept monies to commit an unlawful act or to be an accessory.
Public use of any type of magic items within city limits walls is forbidden, unless said items are officially registered with the Affiliates Amagigo and the Royal government.
The sale of Magical Artifacts or other treasures of antiquity within Hurva is illegal. Offenders will be punished to the extreme of local and Royal law.
Hurvan society has had to deal with the issues of magic & psionics for hundreds of years. Each region may have its own specific codes of what is permissible and what is not, but generally the following laws will hold true no matter where a mage, priest or psionicist goes.
Crimes committed by magical or psionic means are punished normally. Killing someone by means of a fireball or by using telekinesis to steal is still a crime, and will be treated as such by authorities.
Using magic or psionics to obstruct investigation, resist arrest, or avoid the agents of the king is a crime.
A mage, priest or psionicist bears the guilt for any crime committed by someone under his mental control. This is difficult to prove, but there have been cases where a mage, priest or psionicist has been judged for the crimes of someone he charmed. There have been many more cases where criminals claimed that a mindbender made them break the law. Authorities generally scoff at this plea unless some astounding evidence appears to the contrary.
No one may read another´s thoughts. In most cities it is illegal for a mage, priest or psionicist to pry into someone´s mind without consent. This law is almost impossible to enforce, but it is often used as a general charge against a mage, priest or psionicist who has been arrested.
No one may use magic to influence another person´s thoughts or actions. This law is almost universal. Using magic to dominate people or to implant post-hypnotic suggestions is considered the vilest of crimes against a free citizen.
No one may use magic & psionics to spy on another. Using clairaudience or clairvoyance to pry into the privacy of a free citizen is considered a crime. Other means of magical espionage might include using magical devices or sound link through a third party. Again, this is difficult to enforce and even more difficult to prove to the authorities.
The summoning of extraplanar powers is considered a high crime. Most city dwellers take a very dim view of the reckless summoning of fiends or similar planar horrors.
Officers of court may use magical or psionic means for interrogations or investigations in due process of the law. If necessary, the authorities may summon a master of the magic to get to the bottom of almost any matter. This is usually a last resort by the authorities, since even the most oppressive rulers respect their citizens´ privacy of thoughts.
All mages and bards must pay the annual dues, as set by the Affiliates Amagigo
Failure to pay spellcasting dues is punishable by death or by the doubling of dues for the next five years.
Seizure of Property
Transgressors of the Law of Hurva may have all of their properties and possessions seized by the courts of Hurva.
Punishments may be increased or tempered due to mitigating circumstances, at the discretion of the governing authority.
One who is a natural fool, not of a sane mind, or magically charmed when commiting a crime may not be executed or flogged and the courts have the freedom to issue an alternative sentence.
Lawbreakers may seek sanctuary in any recognized temple
Sanctuaried persons garbed in white robes, and plainly bearing a Holy Symbol of the church granting sanctuary shall be recognized as being thus protected.
Violation of Holy Sanctuary shall be punishable by death.
Sanctuary may be circumvented by the expressed consent of the Archbishop
Rescues and Escapes
It is illegal to escape from prison.
It is illegal to aid someone in escaping from prison.
Denouncement of these laws, or the government of Hurva, is an act of high treason. Violators shall be executed.