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Thread: Imperial Law

  1. #1
    Special Guest (Donor) morgramen's Avatar
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    I'm trying to assemble some sort of "codex" ofancient Imperial Law, and was wondering if anyone else has either done this allready, or if they happen to have a few on hand to add to the pot in hopes of making some sort of definitive list.

    I've found that such info is generally popular argument material in PBeMs, and it was from such an instance that the idea struck me. In particular, I am grappling with the Rule of Conquest, and the Right by Might. The basis is that it is a law older than the new Gods, a law that was founded in the ancient days of tribal Aduria. It carried over when the tribes migrated, but was "civlized" once the Empire was beginning to form.

    Essentially, the strongest guy makes the rules, and what he has the strength to take, he gets the right to keep, until someone stronger is able to take it away in turn. Once the idea of vassalage and liege lords came into being, the law was altered to permit the Chief the right to judge/monitor such instances of the ancient law, by adding an ammendment to it that basically states that if any heirs remain alive to claim the throne, then the conqueror is not legally able to press his claim of dominion over the lands. This of course, led to the practice of ensuring that all heirs were slain conviently during the initial battles.

    The entire hing came to be over the Osoerde background in RoE. Raenech holds the throne (by usurpation), yet William (the supposed heir) yet lives, so by this ancient code, Raenech would be Illegally forcing his hold over the Duchy.

    Anyone have anything else to add? Any comments/improvements to the above?
    "You need people of intelligence on this mission... quest... thing."

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    morgramen wrote:

    >This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
    > You can view the entire thread at: http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1168
    >morgramen wrote:
    >... or if they happen to have a few on hand to add to the pot in hopes of making some sort of definitive list.
    >I`ve found that such info is generally popular argument material in PBeMs, and it was from such an instance that the idea struck me. In particular, I am grappling with the Rule of Conquest, and the Right by Might. The basis is that it is a law older than the new Gods, a law that was founded in the ancient days of tribal Aduria. It carried over when the tribes migrated, but was "civlized" once the Empire was beginning to form.
    >Essentially, the strongest guy makes the rules, and what he has the strength to take, he gets the right to keep, until someone stronger is able to take it away in turn. Once the idea of vassalage and liege lords came into being, the law was altered to permit the Chief the right to judge/monitor such instances of the ancient law, by adding an ammendment to it that basically states that if any heirs remain alive to claim the throne, then the conqueror is not legally able to press his claim of dominion over the lands. This of course, led to the practice of ensuring that all heirs were slain conviently during the initial battles.
    >The entire hing came to be over the Osoerde background in RoE. Raenech holds the throne (by usurpation), yet William (the supposed heir) yet lives, so by this ancient code, Raenech would be Illegally forcing his hold over the Duchy.
    >Anyone have anything else to add? Any comments/improvements to the above?
    >
    Wasn´t most legal systems, like the famous codex of hammurabbi created
    AFTER the realm was established?
    Some tribal clans in Aduria certainly could have very different laws and
    mostly rural (and uninteresting for role-playing who may lead water into
    his field at which time or such...).
    I would envision that the first emperor in Cerilia, established a codex
    of imperial law like Hammurabi did.

    Some minor things, but one that would nicely fit into most campaigns in
    Anuire would be rules like:
    - only knights are allowed to wear full plate armour,
    - only free men are allowed to posses a sword (so normal peasants or
    indentured not, and that would be most commoners),
    bye
    Michael

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  3. #3
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:

    > Anuire would be rules like:
    > - only knights are allowed to wear full plate armour,
    > - only free men are allowed to posses a sword (so normal peasants or

    If D&D had a decent economic model, only free men could *afford* to
    possess a sword, and it would take the entire economic surplus of a
    fair-sized village to keep the local knight in plate, horse and sword.

    That is not to say that rules of this sort didn`t exist IRL or couldn`t in
    BR -- other contemporary prohibitions of conspicuous consumption were
    common, such as certain kinds (colors, styles, fabrics, etc.) of clothing
    being legally restricted to nobles or clergy, to try to prevent rich
    merchants from showing off and pretending to high social station.


    Ryan Caveney

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  4. #4
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, morgramen wrote:

    > I`m trying to assemble some sort of "codex" of ancient Imperial Law,
    > [snip] I`ve found that such info is generally popular argument
    > material in PBeMs,

    True. It would probably not be a bad plan to state up front, "In this
    PBEM, Imperial Law reads as follows..." Of course, then you`ll get people
    arguing with that, but at least there`d be a framework for the inevitable
    discussion. :}

    > In particular, I am grappling with the Rule of Conquest, and the Right
    > by Might. The basis is that it is a law older than the new Gods,

    This is not so much a "law" as merely a description of what actually
    happens -- the basic truth of power that you can only have as much as you
    can keep. I suppose the part of it that says "you must obey anyone you
    can`t overthrow" could be considered a law, but it`s a pretty self-evident
    one, and doesn`t really seem likely to influence behavior much. That is,
    it says "rebellion is only illegal if you can`t get away with it," in
    which case it would be useless to try anyway.

    > Essentially, the strongest guy makes the rules, and what he has the
    > strength to take, he gets the right to keep, until someone stronger is
    > able to take it away in turn.

    We need a law to tell us this? All "Right by Might" says is "thou shalt
    expect people to do anything they can get away with," which is hardly
    news. I would call this a description of the absence of law.

    > by adding an ammendment to it that basically states that if any heirs
    > remain alive to claim the throne, then the conqueror is not legally
    > able to press his claim of dominion over the lands.

    OK, now we`re getting somewhere. This is a law worthy of the name. It
    has the proper generic format: "though you might be able to get away with
    this act, you really oughtn`t try to do it, because it`s naughty."

    > This of course, led to the practice of ensuring that all heirs were
    > slain conviently during the initial battles.

    Well, quite. It also doesn`t address the issue of legitimate heirs who
    start rebellions because they feel their elders are being too slow to
    retire or die. Into every law, some loopholes must fall.

    > The entire thing came to be over the Osoerde background in RoE.
    > Raenech holds the throne (by usurpation), yet William (the supposed
    > heir) yet lives, so by this ancient code, Raenech would be Illegally
    > forcing his hold over the Duchy.

    Another very common ancient theory of government holds that a ruler who is
    not acting in his people`s best interest is illegitimate. For example, it
    was widely considered that getting to be in charge conferred a duty to
    distribute largess -- a kenning for king is "ring-giver", because the
    Norse held generosity to be one of the great virtues and responsibilities
    of rulership. Any society, even a fantasy one, is going to have some
    concept that rulership has inherent duties as well as rights.

    Although Vosgaard with its worship of Belinik may believe that any law
    other than "might makes right" is actually immoral, we should still find
    things that kings must do, even if only things like "answer any challenge
    to a duel." There the legal system may consist largely of definitions of
    what constitutes legitmate challengers, challenges, forms of dueling, time
    in which answers are to be given, what happens to the property of duelists
    (what goes to the winner, and what stays with the loser`s family -- or do
    the loser`s family themselves become property of the winner?), etc., but
    there will still be social rituals and proper forms for fulfilling them.

    Different regions of Cerilia have different dominant religions, and their
    theories of the responsibilites of government ought to follow accordingly.
    Brecht rulers may be forbidden (by Sera) to interfere with free trade.
    Khinasi rulers may be required (by Avani) to pay pensions to scholars.
    Rjurik rulers may have to prove (to Erik) they can still hunt or fish to
    symbolically maintain their connection to the people and the land.

    Anuirean law, dominated by the religious teachings of Haelyn, should have
    immense and highly specific lists of those things a king must do to be
    considered legitimate. Raenech probably ignores some of the things he is
    supposed to do, but he thinks are foolish or injurious to his pride, power
    or treasury. There should be priests of Haelyn preaching against him for
    his flouting of these fine points of divine law, as well as priests of
    Cuiraecen trying to fight his rule more directly and personally. Or else
    he knows all the laws and follows them rigorously in every detail, in an
    attempt to convince the temples of Haelyn to support his rule and fight
    the rebels for him. Many plots, involving anything from long and complex
    philosophical debates to commando raids designed to make the other guy
    look bad to the people and the priests, are to be had here.

    I think the PS of Tuarhievel is mostly out to lunch, but one thing I think
    it gets fairly right about the elven theory of government is the Thorn
    Throne -- an artifact used to confer legitimacy upon a sovereign by means
    of a test, involving a direct appeal to the Land`s Choice. Such rituals
    of asking the land what it thinks "the good of the people" really is ought
    to exist in the other cultures, as well -- the duels of Vosgaard may be
    part of this thread. I`m pretty sure they`re big believers in trial by
    combat as a direct expression of the will of Belinik.


    Ryan Caveney

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  5. #5
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    Ryan B. Caveney wrote:

    >On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:
    >
    >Anuire would be rules like:
    >- only knights are allowed to wear full plate armour,
    >- only free men are allowed to posses a sword (so normal peasants or
    >
    >
    >If D&D had a decent economic model, only free men could *afford* to
    >possess a sword, and it would take the entire economic surplus of a
    >fair-sized village to keep the local knight in plate, horse and sword.
    >
    Yes, but in a game of whole realms there are plenty of villages to
    support such fighters - and the "old law" would prohibit some mercenary
    to wear the same full plate armour the knight is allowed.

    >That is not to say that rules of this sort didn`t exist IRL or couldn`t in
    >BR -- other contemporary prohibitions of conspicuous consumption were
    >common, such as certain kinds (colors, styles, fabrics, etc.) of clothing
    >being legally restricted to nobles or clergy, to try to prevent rich
    >merchants from showing off and pretending to high social station.
    >Ryan Caveney
    >
    To the clothing: Am I the only one, who thougt of Talinie as Calvinists
    or perhaps english puritans clothed only in black?
    The description of their "work to be rewarded", "you shall be rewarded
    in the afterlife according to your work" as in the PS of Talinie and the
    whole description sounded like that for me.

    And the most importat clothing: ermine fur would be reserved for
    aristrocracy of course ;-)

    Richt Merchants raise another interesting point: In medieval times in
    parts of old germany christians actually were not allowed to give loans
    and receive interest for their money which lead in some cities to a
    monopoly of lenders of jewish religion (who were among other things not
    allowed to own land and basically pushed into the role of moneylenders
    as one of the few options to make a living). A similar attitude, not
    necesarily base on religion, but noble codex could explain why foreign
    guilders in Anuire (Kalien, El-Hadid, Storm Holtson) do not find greater
    competition and give an IC reason why not every realm is running it´s
    own state guild. OOC nearly every landed regent trys to control the
    guilds either himself, or as closely as possible by a vassal.
    If the work itself would be seen as "unknightly" or against the religion
    (Haelyn as the god of nobility would fit into this) it could explain why
    in the 1000 years that have passed independent guilds have vanished in
    the face of greedy landed rulers.
    bye
    Michael Romes

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    I´m typing too fast, and making errors:

    Michael Romes wrote:

    > Ryan B. Caveney wrote:
    >
    >> On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:
    >> Anuire would be rules like:
    >> - only knights are allowed to wear full plate armour,
    >> - only free men are allowed to posses a sword (so normal peasants or
    >> If D&D had a decent economic model, only free men could *afford* to
    >> possess a sword, and it would take the entire economic surplus of a
    >> fair-sized village to keep the local knight in plate, horse and sword.
    >>
    > Yes, but in a game of whole realms there are plenty of villages to
    > support such fighters - and the "old law" would prohibit some mercenary
    > to wear the same full plate armour the knight is allowed.
    >
    >> That is not to say that rules of this sort didn`t exist IRL or
    >> couldn`t in
    >> BR -- other contemporary prohibitions of conspicuous consumption were
    >> common, such as certain kinds (colors, styles, fabrics, etc.) of
    >> clothing
    >> being legally restricted to nobles or clergy, to try to prevent rich
    >> merchants from showing off and pretending to high social station.
    >> Ryan Caveney
    >>
    > To the clothing: Am I the only one, who thougt of Talinie as Calvinists
    > or perhaps english puritans clothed only in black?
    > The description of their "work to be rewarded", "you shall be rewarded
    > in the afterlife according to your work" as in the PS of Talinie and the
    > whole description sounded like that for me.
    >
    > And the most importat clothing: ermine fur would be reserved for
    > aristrocracy of course ;-)
    >
    > Richt Merchants raise another interesting point: In medieval times in
    > parts of old germany christians actually were not allowed to give loans
    > and receive interest for their money which lead in some cities to a
    > monopoly of lenders of jewish religion (who were among other things not
    > allowed to own land and basically pushed into the role of moneylenders
    > as one of the few options to make a living). A similar attitude, not
    > necesarily baseD on religion, but noble codex could explain why foreign
    > guilders in Anuire (Kalien, El-Hadid, Storm Holtson) do not find greater
    > competition and give an IC reason why not every realm is running it´s
    > own state guild. OOC nearly every landed regent trys to control the
    > guilds either himself, or as closely as possible by a vassal.
    > If the work itself would be seen as "unknightly" or against the religion
    > (Haelyn as the god of nobility would fit into this) it could explain why
    > in the 1000 years that have passed independent guilds have NOT
    > vanished in
    > the face of greedy landed rulers.
    > bye
    > Michael Romes
    >
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:

    > To the clothing: Am I the only one, who thougt of Talinie as
    > Calvinists or perhaps english puritans clothed only in black?

    Yeah, the PS does seem to lean very heavily to that interpretation.

    > And the most importat clothing: ermine fur would be reserved for
    > aristrocracy of course ;-)

    The color purple for royalty was another biggie. At various times, the
    lengths of the pointy toes on shoes were tightly regulated. Laws about
    fashion could get very strange indeed.

    > A similar attitude, not necesarily base on religion, but noble codex
    > could explain why foreign guilders in Anuire (Kalien, El-Hadid, Storm
    > Holtson) do not find greater competition

    Or maybe it is religion -- perhaps as you suggest Haelyn is against
    commerce somehow, so followers of Avani (neutral) and Sera (very much in
    favor) would tend to replace them. Holtson is the odd one -- I think Erik
    is much more against big business than Haelyn, but Holtson seems to have
    decided life would be better as a Brecht. Actually, it would be
    interesting to have this be an ongoing theological debate -- perhaps some
    factions of Haelyn`s clergy support trade and engage in it, or at least
    don`t fight it, whereas other Haelynite temple regents Contest every guild
    that shows up near their holdings.


    Ryan Caveney

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Ryan Caveney wrote:
    > I think the PS of Tuarhievel is mostly out to lunch, but one thing I think
    > it gets fairly right about the elven theory of government is the Thorn
    > Throne -- an artifact used to confer legitimacy upon a sovereign by means
    > of a test, involving a direct appeal to the Land`s Choice. Such rituals
    > of asking the land what it thinks "the good of the people" really is ought
    > to exist in the other cultures, as well -- the duels of Vosgaard may be
    > part of this thread. I`m pretty sure they`re big believers in trial by
    > combat as a direct expression of the will of Belinik.

    Just been reading a book on Egyptian religion. Isis is originally the throne
    itself. Its the the person who sits on the throne who is king. The throne
    makes you king. Later as the Horace mythology developed, Isis was personified
    as a mother of Horace, so that she was also the mother of the king, since the
    king was the personification of Horace.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:

    > Yes, but in a game of whole realms there are plenty of villages to
    > support such fighters - and the "old law" would prohibit some mercenary
    > to wear the same full plate armour the knight is allowed.

    I have a schedule of how many knights a province can support, but its not at
    hand. I can re-post it next week. It goes something like this. Every level
    of a province supports one minor lord below the provincial count. Each lord
    has a number of knights. A province 1 supports something like 4d4 knights (or
    housecarls) per lord, for an average of 10 knights. As province level
    increases, so does the number of knights per lords, slightly, while the number
    of lords is equal to the province level. A province 3 might have 36 knights, a
    province 5, maybe 75. Beyond these fellows, the lords and knights, we no
    longer find those able to afford plate armor and swords. In my recent posts on
    fighting styles, these guys employ other weapons. Mercenaries typicaly don`t
    have the ready cash to buy expensive armors and weapons.

    Of course the easiest way to fix this problem is to eliminate Heavy Armor
    Proficiency for every class except Aristocrat.

    > To the clothing: Am I the only one, who thougt of Talinie as Calvinists
    > or perhaps english puritans clothed only in black?
    > The description of their "work to be rewarded", "you shall be rewarded
    > in the afterlife according to your work" as in the PS of Talinie and the
    > whole description sounded like that for me.

    I think its intended by design that Talinie is Scottish, so Presbyterians it
    is. The selection of names (both place and personal), the colors, and cultural
    descriptions make Talinie the home of Scottish culture in Cerilia.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  10. #10
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >On Tue, 24 Dec 2002, Michael Romes wrote:
    >
    >Of course the easiest way to fix this problem is to eliminate Heavy Armor
    >Proficiency for every class except Aristocrat.
    >
    Which would eliminate the reason for the law - when noone but the nobles
    can war heavy armour then a law prohibiting
    others than knights from wearing it would be senseless ;-)

    >I think its intended by design that Talinie is Scottish, so Presbyterians it
    >is. The selection of names (both place and personal), the colors, and cultural
    >descriptions make Talinie the home of Scottish culture in Cerilia.
    >
    Is not Mhoried described as scottish Highlands flavour?
    bye
    Michael

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