Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Fantasy Medieval Style Law. Part 2
As Sigurt and Thil enter Lado's shop, the one of the two Greene men following them runs to tell Aldus and Marcus where Sigurt is. Unfortunately for Sigurt, the Greene has gathered everybody and ready to move. Several minutes later everybody arrives at Lado's shop.
Lado was successful at covering his discomfort at the arrival of Sigurt and Thil and managed not to tip them off that something was amiss. Their conversation about provision was interrupted by a loud insistent knock at the door. When Lado answered he see Marcus with his posse backed by a City Guard patrol standing nearby.
Marcus presents his writ and then turns to Sigurt and Thil announcing he is here to arrest Sigurt for the murder of his brother. Sigurt puts his hand on his weapon but Thil noticing the posse and the guards stops the Northeron. Thil examine the writ and finds it in good order. Sigurt and Thil get in to a heated argument until Thil pointed out the dozen or so armed individuals outside in the street. Thil will take Sigurt's gear and get back to Corbin to see what can be done. But for now they are out numbered.
To everybody's relief, Sigurt surrenders after giving his gear to Thil. Marcus, the city guard, and his posse take Sigurt to the nearest Jails and has Sigurt locked up. The writ is signed by the Jailor indicating that the arrest has been made.
Aldus and Marcus Green return to Alderman Mallory and present him with the signed writ. Aldus requests that Sigurt be tried at the next assizes for the murder of his son. Alderman Mallory agrees and issues a Writ to compel Sigurt to appear before the commission of oyer and terminer when it assembled in 18 days at the monthly assize to answer for his crimes. Aldus pays the Alderman another two shilling for this writ.
Rob's Notes: Eastgate as a freetown is not allow to try capital crimes. The king holds monthly assize in where felonies can be heard and adjudicated. In this fantasy kingdom, the Grand Jury is a group at the assize that issues indictments requiring the named individuals to appear at the next assize. Indictments can be presented to the Sheriff or Aldermans to secure a writ to arrest the named individual to force them to appear.
The Commission of Oyer and Terminer, actually hears the case and renders a verdict. To have the commission hear a case the plantiff has to secure a writ in order to be put on the schedule or docket.
It is quite possible that the indictment step is skipped as in the case of Sigurt. In which case, if a suitable authority, like an Alderman or a Sheriff, issues a writ to put the case on the docket.
In the 18 days that follows these things happen.
Both the Greenes, and the Adventuring Party gather witnesses who would swear an account of the events that led to the death of Micheal. The Adventuring Party has a hard time of it due to the Greenes better connections. However they manage to find a merchant who was present during the incident who happened to be a rival to the Greenes.
Sigurt sits in jail and one of the adventuring party makes sure that he has food, water, and clothing each day. Medieval Jails provide minimal food and water. The expectation is that the family will keep the prisoner supplied. Luckily none of the jailers wants to mess with the Adventuring Party after the first visit so Sigurt is able to get everything that the party delivers until the assize.
When the day of the assizes arrives, Sigurt and the other prisoners to be tried are escorted by the city guard to the commons where the tents and the commission's benches are set up. It is cloudy day with rain drizzling off and on so everybody is in a foul mood and ready to get this over with.
At first the trial goes badly for Sigurt as the Greene line up an array of witnesses swearing that Sigurt instigated the fight with no provocation. And other testifying to Micheal's good character. However prior to the trial Thil managed to find out that one of the commissioners was a knight whose son got in trouble because of Micheal's rowdy ways. Thil's investigation and persuasion abilities (along with a few quiet Charm Persons) allows him to highlight Micheal's rowdiness.
At the conclusion of the trails, the commission finds Sigurt guilty of manslaughter not murder and fines him double weregild (400 shilling or 4,800 sp) for Micheal's death. The Greene family wanted death is not happy with the verdict. The party pays Sigurt's fine and quickly leaves Eastgate on their long delayed expedition to the Barradine Ruins. It unlikely the Greenes will be able to exact any type of vengeance unless the party returns to Eastgate.
Wrapping it up
I deliberately made the resolution more peaceful than would likely be the case. Odds are that Thil and Sigurt would have made a scene at Lado's shop. Either fleeing through the back of Lado's shop or attempting to take on the posse and the guard. Each with their own negative consequences.
But the scenario path I opted for allowed me to illustrate each part of how medieval style justice would work in a fantasy RPG campaign. The key to Sigurt paying a fine and not hanging from a noose is Thil clever work in discovering that others were negatively by Micheal. Thus painting the incident as one where a crime has been committed, manslaughter, but caused by Micheal's history of drunkenness. However because the Adventuring Party had no local ties it was a uphill battle at every step.