A few words on Law and Order in the Maelstrom (safe)

Embrawk

Newbie
San Francisco Staff
Hello Friends,

It is I, Embrawk Hematite, Champion of Silence, a title I hold proudly.

I have come to realize a few things recently. After the banishment of Desky a friend of mine and Resete's recently "controversial" actions. Something bothering me for a while has come to a head. I was told to let it be for to awhile now. I now have realized listening to others in a position of power on such things is a fools errand. We need clear laws in maelstrom. If not in our day to day lives, than at least on the front lines.

Perhaps even a document to clear what behavior is and is not acceptable on the fields of battle and beyond?

I know this sounds perhaps juvenile, but simplicity often leads to clarity I feel.

So I've opened the floor now and the tin can of worms is open, so let us try and herd the felines. Let's discuss and not rely on the Emporess or others to determine our battle doctrine moving forward. Let's make it clear out right and all around here and now. Before another mistake is make let us make clear acceptable unusually tactic. I want to do this before it leads to another people's unnecessary banishment or worse.

please all opinions are welcome, I just ask that you all respect each others opinions and reply with respect.
 
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MondayMcGee

Scholar
San Francisco Staff
Thank you, Embrawk, for raising this topic. I think a shared understanding of how we each approach the field of battle, and, if we can reach it, a consensus on how to proceed going forward, will benefit us all.

As far as my own two coppers, I have seen a number of different systems for organizing a battle. In my admittedly limited experience, it seems that what system is used is much less important than whether all involved are on the same page. I think the most important thing is that it is well established who is in charge of an excursion, and what their expectations are, before the group sets out.

As far as a system of laws in general, that will soon become necessary as our population grows and we prepare to move to our new settlement. That is a question that will involve a larger group than those assembled here, but again, understanding where everyone is coming from can only help, I think.
 
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Dame Marisa speaking.

I do not dispute that we require our own system of laws as we both grow in population, and move forward into The Vale of the Hearth.

I am not here to make any comments on the situation regarding Desky.

I am going to take a moment to make one thing very clear at the outset of this conversation, before conflation and confusion burden the discourse and lead to disgruntled allies where we need not have them:

The decision by the knights, nobles, and other members of the populace to follow the Empress was not arbitrary. Up until this point we have been making our home in a land and among a people to whom she is the right and proper monarch.

We, the Lantern Bearers, do not have a codified system of government or nobility. We absolutely need one.

The Veltarri, however, do have law and order which we have abided by at large while residing in their home. Their home which, even accounting for all the immense good we do, was opened to us as a kindness and we have been granted almost unprecedented latitude under that very system of law and order in light of our unique circumstances.

While this discussion must happen I would please encourage people to not conflate the nebulous “positions of power” which you may well resent in those among the Lantern Bearers, with the decrees of the Empress handed down while standing in her halls, among her people, and literally spilling her blood to shelter us.

You don’t have to agree with Veltarri law as we have experienced it, expressing a wish to operate differently is not disrespect. But please bear in mind that our allies have their own understandings and practices surrounding justice, and the right to defend their home through the means by which their laws empower them.

All of that said, thank you for bringing this forward Embrawk, I hope this is a fruitful discussion.
 

sirmarcus

Newbie
I was once a simple farmer and honestly sometimes I wish I still was. However, since I accepted the belt, chain and spurs of Knighthood almost 18 years ago and took an oath to protect, defend, to lead others and to follow the orders of the Nobles above me it became clear that I could not return to that simple life. One does not simply set aside a responsibility that you have accepted. Being a Noble means that you must do what is right, regardless if it is easy or not or that it is popular. There are no days off and regardless of what some members of the Nobility may say, you do not get to "be on vacation" to ignore problems and the only easy day is yesterday.

It is my duty to follow the commands of the Nobles that are above me as it is the duty of those Nobles that are below me to follow my commands. I have taken an oath to do so, just as other members of the Nobility have. All of my Squires are oath bound, as is tradition, as are most of the members of my personal Household. A fealty oath must be administered. Duties and responsibilities must be defined and expectations met. Rewards given and punishments handed out.

This is the same for any society in Fortanis. The basic foundations are Hospitality, Loyalty, Kinship and Honor. I have witnessed all of these in the Maelstrom but I have also seen these ideals ignored in favor of greed, or personal gain.

Clearly there needs to be laws and those laws need to be fairly enforced. There are common laws in the various lands that make up Fortanis which will work, as they work in every other land. I shall track them down and present them.I ask you to remember one thing. Just because something isn’t written down does not mean that it isn’t wrong.

I will not comment on the ruling concerning Goodman Desky O'Houlihan as that has been ruled on by a Noble higher than myself. However, I am very interested in the incident concerning Resete. As a ranking noble, who was not on the field during the incident I am concerned with what I have heard transpired but I am also concerned by the rush to judgement over the incident. As a Baron, it is my duty to insure that all persons are treated fairly and as impartially as possible. I wish to meet with Resete and the “council” that convened to discuss his actions at the next gather in Maelstrom.

I must also remind everyone that we are at war. This is not a skirmish over a line on a map over a disagreement, for resources or to expand the borders of another land but a war that involves the very fate of Fortanis. I have personally seen victory snatched away at the last moment because of a person that betrayed the entire community. I do not wish to see that happen here. We are all in this fight together be we Noble, Adventurer, Lantern Bearer or commoner.

We are fighting an enemy that has already destroyed the land we are in and if not stopped will advance outside the Maelstrom if we fail in our efforts. Under the guidance of the Empress we have earned many victories and caused our enemy to recoil because of our efforts. Make no mistake that this is a total war effort where we can expect no mercy from our enemy and that any mercy that we show them will be used against us and our efforts.

I left my farm and became a solider because it was needed to ensure my people had a chance at freedom. I was created a Knight because a leader was needed. I was elevated to Baron because I was trusted by my Duke and my King to do the right thing no matter if it was popular or not. I was named a General because of my ability to command troops on the field and to destroy my enemy. I do not wish to see us fail because we are having internal issues that will cause us to fight ourselves and not the enemy.

In service,

Baron Sir Marcus Valerian Husarri Saephis
Lord of House Phoenix
 
Baron Sir Marcus,

To my knowledge no judgement has been rendered unto Resete by the nobility, you may have been misinformed. Embrawk, perhaps this is where the miscommunication lies? Resete hasn't done anything that is objectively illegal and worthy of punishment despite our lack of legal system. This is in stark contrast to Desky's situation. In fast, Resete's fast thinking when we first entered our mission probably saved almost all the lives that made it back through the gate at the end of the mission.

Embrawk,

I appreciate your desire to defend your friends. If you feel Desky's banishment was unnecessary please, contact me for the details. Despite my best efforts I've astonishingly heard multiple rumored reports of what happened (along with a report that I, personally leaned up and screamed bloody and horrifying threats against his person while he was in the ward? ...What?). I can count the number of people who have asked for details of what happened with Desky on one hand.

I believe the laws of a township proper are fairly easy. No stealing, no murder, no assault, etc. I have a list written up that I can share once I've fixed it up a bit. It is incredibly important we have a system of laws to prevent corruption down the line. Those laws, since they'll cover the entire vale, will have to be gone over with the other groups of people living here- not just lantern bearers. Plue and I can get that set up and started on. My expectation is that it will most likely follow traditional roles.

Moving on, here is my concern with codifying Lantern Bearer law:

"Endangering the group" is extremely nebulous but also probably the most important concept. I wouldn't even begin to know where and how to begin codifying that into law.

I would like to put forward the possibility... When I first resurrected and started writing a system of governance, I wrote a system akin to a republic. My experience thus far as a member of the nobility has been... Telling, and only solidifies my previous belief that while traditional nobility structures work in densely populated areas they often cause strife for groups of adventuring people. I, personally, would be happy to redefine my responsibilities so they are more in line with a republic system with the nobility acting as peacekeepers, tie-breakers, and neutral parties. When something happens that is *concerning* we gather together, as many of us as are present and wish to participate, let those who want to speak speak, and then take it to a vote with a required at least one member of the nobility organizing proceedings, breaking ties, making sure the proceedings are fair, and keeping things going smoothly. The hope would be at that point we wouldn't need to define nebulous terms like "endangering the group" because each situation would be completely unique and would be kept within the realms of reason by having numerous people there and a vote.

This would prevent having to write an incredibly long document detailing all the varieties of possible things an adventurer could do which could be 'concerning' (I believe it is infinite), prevents issues from being caused when someone does something not already written within the rules (extremely likely), and prevents people from using the letter of the law to help them escape consequences (it says "Northmen" but obviously this man is a member of the First People!). It also means that everyone who wants a say may have it, and anyone who wishes to be present for decision making may be.

This would only apply to Lantern Bearers as a method of internal law, and only in Maelstrom.

I often tell the people who ask me about being noble and making decisions that the hardest thing about it is that no matter what, everyone will say they could have done it better or would have done it differently. I don't wish to complain, but I think it is an important 'lifting of the curtain' to say it is miserable. It also leads to misinformation as what happens gets quickly twisted. I've personally given over weeks of my time talking to Desky, speaking at length to his friends and witnesses, trying to find a better solution and discover where the problem arose even though it goes against every fiber of my being as a Mystic Wood Folk since Enslavement was involved, and coming back to rumors like "screamed threats through his door" is painful.

Being nobility is to serve the people. If what we need to serve this group is a change in how matters are handled, then so be it.

In service,
Lord Terren of Knight's Ferry
Head Clerk
 
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To my knowledge no judgement has been rendered unto Resete by the nobility, you may have been misinformed. Embrawk, perhaps this is where the miscommunication lies? Resete hasn't done anything that is objectively illegal and worthy of punishment despite our lack of legal system. This is in stark contrast to Desky's situation. In fast, Resete's fast thinking when we first entered our mission probably saved almost all the lives that made it back through the gate at the end of the mission.
Indeed, to corroborate Lord Terren's distinction here, while this past gather the present Knights and nobles gathered to speak about an tactic employed by Resete which had caused some unrest, not because we found it unappealing from some lofty position of power but because untitled members of the populace felt unsafe.

I do not recount these events to try and shift the topic of this discussion onto Resete, or invite any sort of heckling or defamation of character in any direction, that is not the point of this dream, rather to quash a rumor which seems agitating this topic:

The Lantern Bearer nobility in the form of myself, Lord Terren, Sir Leon, and Lady Vellis did meet to speak regarding complaints we had received from other members of the populace when they felt that their safety was threatened and that their trust had been violated. While we are not immune to our own tempers the four of us pointedly set them aside in order to discuss a means of conflict resolution, and establish lines of communication going forward which would prevent misunderstandings at best, mob justice at worse. We sought to address the concerns brought to us, as the commanders of a long term military operation, to preserve morale and the chain of command.

Let me be clear: No judgment has been rendered concerning Resete. Nor is there a particular plan to render one.

We sought to speak to people in both sides of the specific issue and found that nothing which merited the term 'illegal' had been done, and as far as I am concerned at this point it is a personal matter. However in that very conversation we also felt the need for a codified set of battlefield laws, or to refresh or resist our understanding to the conventions many of us adopted when we first came to this land.
 

Resete

Newbie
If I may clarify - the main objector to my tactics was and is Sir Leon, not the populace at large. The slanderous and untrue words spoken about my actions do indeed put to question the judgement of those who met to discuss my actions as I was not allowed to be present to validate or defend my position. Meeting to discuss my actions and what should or shouldn't be done about them without me present is, in my humble opinion, a travesty on any legal position that we attempt to establish. Guilt could easily be presumed over a questionable act if only one side of the story is presented.

When one mentions "Endangering the Group" it is easy to cast blame without rationalization as ones own beliefs or perspectives can cause a skewed vision of events to occur. Without hard definitions of these things it is easy to bend them into your view or ignore them as situation provides. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that nobles do not require evidence to enact punishment in our society. Not being present while my actions were discussed only reinforces this negative belief.

Additionally, we must understand that - while there are those on the fields who call the battles - unless previously discussed or agreed upon, you cannot hold everyone to the same standard. I have tried to go off on my own with those who wish and we have been chastised to not split off. Then we are told so long as we fight with everyone, we must follow the commands given on the field. Forgive me, but to me that sounds like we are being called on to be indentured soldiers.

Not everyone strengths are the same. Some favor power with a blade, others with spells or the mind, and some - like myself - are gifted in speech. Just because someone specializes in a field you are not as familiar with is no cause to defame their character.

I implore you to think carefully on my words and not on the person saying them and your opinions of me.
 
Resete,

First, I would like to note that in many lands and many cultures it is true that nobility (or equivalents thereof like elders, shamans, chiefs, etc.) do not require evidence to enact punishment. This discussion here is purely related to the land of Maelstrom and even more specifically to the Lantern Bearers- other lands have their other laws. What kind of society we want to be in the Maelstrom is the topic of discussion here. I don't think I've made it any secret that I am not fond of 'absolute authority' systems of nobility, but I respect and go along with the system of governance within other lands that I am a visitor in.

If you are an individual who has concerns about other peoples' behavior to Resete, or Resete and his behavior, please feel free to bring them to myself or any of the other nobility. If your concern is about a member of the nobility, the person most directly above all us lords and ladies and knights is Baron Sir Marcus though if you wish we could bring it to him. As has been said, we do not currently have laws so unless it's something completely beyond the pale (as in, totally monstrous and requiring immediate action for some reason- like murder) my expectation is we'll just be taking note of it until such time as we do have a legal system. If it occurred in another land, like Tharros, Acarthia, Stradyn, etc. those lands have a formalized legal system. I am a recognized member of the nobility of Tharros and can bring it to the proper authorities there, Stevaan is also a deputy to the Sheriff there and can also assist. In lands with formalized legal systems those legal systems can sometimes take some time, and it is important that the victim(s) privacy be respected until they choose to be public about matters.

I agree with your words Resete but I feel that there is an important distinction- yes there was a discussion, but there was nothing to defend. You had done nothing wrong and like I said you probably saved everyone with that platinum lantern trick. Obviously if you had done anything wrong, or there was some evidence that you had, there would have been some kind of more formal process attempted most likely with everyone at the gather present since we presently (as evidenced by this discussion) do not have a legal system. There is also not, at present as far as I am aware, any intention from the nobility to attempt to charge you formally with anything once a legal system is made.

I ask that you take a deep breath- those here so far are defending you and your position.

Now that I've talked at exhausting length about Resete, I'm going to be hypocritical and ask that the rest of the persons in this discussion bring it back on track (of course if there needs to be more public discussion about Resete, feel free, just... Maybe a separate dream?). This is not about Resete, this is about formulating laws for our group as a whole going forward and the future of this entire civilization in Maelstrom. I'll dream some thoughts and further explanation of my idea for the legal system in a separate dream below this one in an effort to keep the topic separate.

In service,
Lord Terren of Knight's Ferry
Head Clerk
 
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On Maelstrom legal systems,

I push for a unique court system exclusively for Lantern Bearers since our efforts (and crimes) are usually pretty far outside the realm of typical legal systems. The town as a whole would have a separate and probably far more traditional legal system that we would still all answer to for crimes related to the town itself like theft, murder of the citizenry, arson, etc. but having our own separate legal system as a group allows us to handle the extremely strange situations we get ourselves into "in house."

The reason I push for a court system within the Lantern Bearers with loosely framed 'laws' is because our situation here is so deeply, deeply complex. Laws are created (or, at least should be created) around what is common sense and what injures others- like no murder, no thievery, no assault. I could say that it is common sense to not make deals with the elementals, it's something that has hurt us many, many, many times, but then that would make the entire method of closing the Lightning gate... Illegal. As frustrating as many aspects of that gate closure was, it was still a great victory and one that may not have been successfully done if interacting with elementals was illegal. It's the same thing with interactions with our great enemy, it's common sense not to and can easily endanger us and those around us, but those who have (at great, great personal sacrifice) interacted with them have brought us key and incredibly necessary information.

I think it is foolish to create a system of laws with the addendum to all of them of "but if it's successful and nobody gets hurt, no big deal" as it completely undermines the legal system in the first place, in addition I think it is foolish to cut off the opportunities afforded by these potential actions. My experience has also been that people who are going to do these kinds of things won't care that there is a law against them, and it will only result in them not telling anyone what they are doing- which is a breakdown of communication and could be deadly.

Turning the system into a "concern" based system, where one person has a concern and the Lanter Bearers are gathered to vote on it, means that all the strange possible concerns we can get ourselves into don't have to fall into the brackets of traditional laws. It provides us the chance to bring forward- publicly- concerns. Not even necessarily legal action concerns, but just concerns. It provides the chance for interventions en masse, allows people to directly speak about their experiences, and prevents the spread of misinformation.

Our options for punishment here in the Maelstrom are severely limited. We don't have the resources or ability to keep long term prisons, and we are in an active war zone... The prison may honestly be the safest place around. I've seen pain- floggings and such- used a punishment in military systems before but I feel like these things have strikingly little effect on adventurers. I also hope that I won't be argued with when I say slavery or indentured servitude are unacceptable. We are effectively limited to fines, exile, and death. I also still truly believe that the majority of these 'trials' will actually just be a time to express frustration and communicate, rather than any actual punishment. I also don't anticipate there actually being that many of these trials- for the most part we all get along with each other and rarely have strife big enough to require official action (the last few months notwithstanding).

I believe that, despite how much some of our number like to casually threaten it, not very many of us are actually willing to call for the death of one of our own when it comes down to the reality of the thing.

A reasonable worry at that point would be the issue of popularity and favoritism. I think this would be a greater issue if we were on a larger scale- I would never suggest this system be used for even a town, but we have... Around 30 people in the Lantern Bearer group. How many of us are truly concerned about being dog piled? Look at your friends, your neighbors, the people who have fought with you- even if they're frustrated with you sometimes, do you truly believe that a voting majority would call for your death unless something had gone very, very wrong? Regardless, that would be the purpose of an officiant who is a member of the nobility- they would be responsible for gathering people, informing of the... Trial isn't even the right word, perhaps discussion? They would also be in charge of maintaining order, making sure everyone gets their say, tie breaking in votes, and ensuring that this wasn't a plotted attempt to 'gang up' on an individual.

I feel that this way, everyone can have their say, anyone invested or interested can be present to learn about goings on, and we may be able to communicate more with each other instead of coming down to true punishment or legal action.

My mental picture of how one of these discussions happens (I'll use a very trivial example though I don't expect anything this trivial being brought up often):

1. A Lantern Bearer brings a complaint to a member of the nobility. "I am concerned about Goodman Brevick because he's always skulking around while I'm baking, and then one of my pies always goes missing."

2. That member of the nobility sets a time for the meeting, personally informs Brevick of the complaint, and sends runners to go and inform the Lantern Bearers that there is going to be a meeting. It is the member of the nobility's responsibility to make sure that everyone present is informed and there are a reasonable number of people present and that this is not an attempt to dog pile Brevick. In a situation of extreme significance like one involving potential death, it is up to the member of nobility to make the judgement if the meeting should be postponed longer to give other people not present at the gather the chance to participate.

3. The meeting is called. The complaint-bringer describes his complaint to the gathered Lantern Bearers, then Brevick speaks to his defense and answers whatever questions (as managed by the member of the nobility) the gathered collected kneads to know. The gathered Lantern Bearers may also speak their piece, including if the complaint seems half-baked, they have a personal defense of Brevick or the complaint-bringer, or if they have additional details.

4. Once the discussion is done, if it was not resolved just by discussion (like if it turns out Brevick thought he was the official taste tester, or if Kobalds were having a competition to steal the yeast number of pies and Brevick just happened to be nearby), the member of the nobility will make any statements they wish about the case, including making any recommendations for punishment ("I doughnut think this is a situation where death is appropriate, please keep any punishment under that bar."). My expectation is that most, if not all, of these situations will be resolved with just formal discussion.

5. A vote (using a 2/3rds majority?) can then be called for if Brevick is guilty of being the sticky-fingered thief at that point. The member of the nobility breaks ties.

5. The collected Lantern Bearers may then suggest punishment and vote on the suggestions (using a simple majority?) to determine any official punishment. The member of the nobility breaks ties. The goal is to avoid all-or-muffin justice and to find ways to resolve conflicts rather than simply punish.

6. Unless it's a specific aspect of the punishment, the member of the nobility rises and ensures the punishment is carried out.​

This is incredibly long so thank you for listening to my ramblings. I think it's incredibly important that we crepe a consistent system moving forward and I appreciate everyone being involved.

In service,
Lord Terren of Knight's Ferry
Head Clerk
Punner Unrepentant
 
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krieger

Scholar
San Francisco Staff
(OOG, while this is a secondary campaign, most elements are still very much in effect, please refer to page 29. of the Rulebook where it discusses Government, and Societal conventions. Please keep this in mind moving forward, thank you. )




(InGame)
An intense looking Empress clears her throat

Enough.

For some time now you all have fought, struggled, nearly starved, and risked very much to fight for these lands, and for many people who do not yet even know it yet. That is beyond reproach. You have all gotten on, with a few exceptions, extremely well, and carried together like a great warband, with very little need for oversight. You should be proud. I have not felt the need to sit you all down, and discuss with you Vaeltarii law, or any other laws as it were because you quite simply, did not need them. But, now with the advent of a few bad apples, and a rapidly increasing population, it is clear that we will have to have this discussion in depth.

This discussion has been had with many of the leaders of the Resurrected already, which is part of why I was gone, and will be had with many of you, and the necessary what is word, proclamations, notices, will be made available in due course.

For now while you dwell in these halls, in my people's place, Vaeltarii law is in effect, and I, am Empress so the decisions will go through me, that is the end of it. Those of you who dwell in the Vale, are also currently subject to Vaeltarii law, for now, and for the time being the laws of the Vales as enforced by Kharakhorum. These are not so dissimilar, and are not very different from what we have all been doing already for some time now so this should not be problem.

I think we can all agree that we will not be following laws of the Iron Hand, or those of the Eternal Sun for the foreseeable future (she gives a lopsided grin, and continues)

On the field you will be beholden to those of station who are in command of that field. If you can not, or will not be beholden to those commanding the field then that is upon your head, and you can choose to not be on that field, or suffer the consequences of your choices. That is the way of it.

Some of you have proposed new, and different ideas to leading a populace, but for now, and for the foreseeable future these are not practical. We will discuss this at another time, with the others who hold station that myself, Kharakhorum, Voice of Silence, and the other Resurrected leaders recognize.

If you have a problems, or concerns with this, you may come to me for the time being, until told otherwise. Baron-General, Sir Marcus is commanding our Resurrected troops, Dame Ashlyn, Sir Tolgar, Sir Leon, and Dame Maerissa should be prosecuting our multiple agendas, and Lord Terren's surcoat buttons up tight over a number of other responsibilities at this time.

The following laws should be fairly simple to follow.
No Theft
No Arson
No Murder
No Treason
Endangering others here, or on the surface can be seen as foolishness, or Treason, and will be judged, and dealt with accordingly.

Otherwise keep doing what you are doing.
 
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