The simple cross or crucifix, so beloved of the Roman and Greek civilisations, was more a torture device than a method of execution (although death was almost always the end result).
The piercing of both wrists and ankles with nails is the key. Also it is vital to position the ankle nails such that the victim's knees are slightly bent. (Note that, contrary the Christian mythology the upper nails were nearly always driven through the wrists rather than the hands as this provides a more secure hold. Similarly the lower nail was typically driven through the ankles rather than the feet, although this was largely a matter of convenience).
It works as follows:
The victim is suspended by his (or indeed her) wrists. This not only causes considerable pain but also tightens the pectoral muscles across the chest, constricting the lungs and making breathing all but impossible.
In an attempt to breathe the victim instinctively straitens his knees, in order to relieve the pressure on the lungs. However, the only support is the nail driven through the ankles, which causes the victim excruciating levels of pain that cannot long be endure.
To relieve the pain the victim relaxes his knees and is again suspended by the wrists. Thus the cycle repeats endlessly.
The perverse beauty of all this is that no active torturer is required as the victim's own instinctive desire the live does all of the work.
Contemporary accounts suggested that a healthy man might take three or four days to die. Go to Comment
Death wasn't always by asphyxiation. Dehydration, blood loss, and simple shock were also ways to die when crucified. In addition, the manner of crucifixion wasn't set in stone. There were constant variations in the specifics, sometimes including piercing through the actual palms.
In addition, in an honor/shame society (as the ANE was), crucifixion would be a most shameful, dishonorable way to die. That was a major part of it's purpose. To degrade and shame, as well as torture and kill. Something to keep in mind if you're going to be using this in a campaign. Go to Comment
Just because something has an asian flare to it doesn't mean it should never be used. We could apply the same criteria to other cultures. "Oh, those horsemen are too Mongolish. Toss'em out. Those Iron Maidens too. They're a bit too European for my taste."
Something feeling 'asian' or not is a foolish criteria for usage. Go to Comment
mmm... Physical torture. So gruesome, and so unnecessary.
A galss ball is put into the person's mouth, then a belt like thing is put around their head, from the bottom of their jaw up to the top of their head. A pen and a piece of paper are given to them, and they are told to answer the questions. They are also told, in excruciating detail, what happens when that ball shatters and shreads their mouth into ribbons.
If they don't the belt is tightened one hole. Eventually the pressure on the ball will become so great that they don't know if the next lie will be thier last. Also, you can have the ball be hollow, and filled wih a noxious gas that would cause them to gag/puke to prevent them from swallowing the glass shards. Go to Comment
For this one the victim is strapped to a chair, with both of their palms face up. A substance such as heroin is heated up to the point where it melts, and a knife is heated until it is red-hot. The knife is then run through the heroin, or any other suitable drug, until the whole blade is coated with a thin film of the drug. The knife is then used to peel the skin off of the victim's exposed arm, in thin strips so that this can be done repeatedly on the same arm.
The knife is then heated again, and the drug reapplied, the process is repeated until the victim caves. Go to Comment
I disagree. I don't think that lawful characters will have many qualms about it. If it is a punishment for breaking the law, or to get the guilty to admit their guilt, where are their problems? Go to Comment
First you bind the person's hands so that their finger nails go into their other arm. Then you cast a spell on their finger nail alone, something along the lines of 'speed up growth so that 1 year passes in a minute' Soon their nails will grow into their skin causing them undue pain. You then stop the spell, and cut the nail off. Move their hands and re-bind. Repeat until desired results are achieved. Go to Comment
You're right, heroin wouldn't be the best torture device, but in addition the the psychological horror that manfred noticed, after a while they become addicted, causing more pain latter one when you move on to some other method of torture. Go to Comment
The way torture works is by making someone feel powerless. By making them want to die, yet be unable to. A torturer is only as effective as the healer he works with. (Dark Healer class anyone?) My favorites are chinese water torture and being eaten alive by animals or insects. an old indian method of torture was burying someone up to their neck, then cutting the throat and leaving them in the wilderness. Scalping was also torture, as it was done by ripping off the scalp after making the initial cuts, kind of like a perforated box. Go to Comment
This device was invented when Sir Leonard Skeffington was the lieutenant of the Tower of London. 'Scavanger' was a corruption of Skeffington. In Italy this was known as the 'cicogna' or "the stork".
Originally used as a bondage device to transport prisoners between two buildings-this device also caused painful cramping of the abdomen and rectum. The neck was placed inside a loop, the hands placed through smaller loops, and the legs stuck between two bars, with the feet locked into stirrups. This placed the prisoner into an uncomfortable fetal position, with the knees and hands drawn up to the chin. Any kind of significant movement was painfully impossible.
Variations existed, which allowed the torturer to slowly compress the distance between the knees and chin. This resulted in broken bones, througout the ribcage and spine. Go to Comment
An execution device designed in ancient Greece, and one of my favorites!
A brazen bull, life-sized, made totally of brass, was hollow, with a door in the side. The victim was shut up in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became "red hot" and causing the victim inside to slowly roast to death. So that nothing unseemly might spoil the spectators viewing pleasure, the bull was usually designed in such a way that its smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense. The head of the ox was supplied by a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner's screams were converted into sounds not unlike the bellowing of an infuriated ox. It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the victims' scorched bones shone like jewels and were made into bracelets.
In my campaign, the jaded aristocrats of the Empire of A'Thun, 'improved' on this design, by allowing a more intricate set of tubing and piping to emit a sound not unlike music, during the roasting victim's muted death screams. Composers, of a sort, competed among themselves to produce short, inspired pieces of symphony for the amusement of the masses. Go to Comment
A deviously simple tool that was used on victims either cold or red-hot. Built somewhat like a huge scissor with four to six curved prongs in lieu of blades. Suspended from the ceiling, the pincers would be used to lift the victim into the air, using the soft flesh of the buttocks, belly or breasts- or the eyes and ears, much like a bowling ball. Go to Comment
A classic Shaw Brothers Kung-Fu film which featured quite an array of disturbing torture and killing methods.
1- A weakened (from torture) and sleeping victim, is excruciatingly killed by asphixiation, being slowly smothered to death in his cell with several layers of wet paper sheets, placed snuggly on his face. No mess, no fuss. It appears he died from previous injuries.
2- The classic Iron Maiden makes an appearence
3- A breastplate of iron, heated in a fire is forced onto a victim's chest, causing his flesh to burn, bubble and scar permanently.
4- One poor sap, a witness to a killing, is 'silenced' permanently by the murderers, by having his throat ripped out from the inside with a long steel hook inserted through his mouth. The villains killed another chap by jamming a long sewing needle up his nose, and into his brain. A little blood around his nostril was the only evidence of how he died. Go to Comment
I'm definitely not advocating pc's to 'use' these devices and methods necessarily, certainly not 'good' or 'lawful' ones. These are mainly for the many villains of the any given game, but even more specifically as a GM tool for atmosphere and ambience. I guess I'd rather throw a 'brazen bull' in my next dungeon, than yet another 'rack'.
I should also add that as opposed to becoming an index of every torture device ever made by man, I intended for this scroll to include some of the more peculiar or rarer ones, as well as 'made-up' (campaign specific?) items, techniques and methods. Go to Comment
Which brings us to one of my favorite Native American torture techniques. I believe the Iroquois were particularly known for this one. A small hole is drilled into the lower belly of the victim. His or her intestine is pulled out some and nailed to a tree. The victime is then forced to walk around the tree in circles, until the entire intestinal thread is pulled out...slowly. Go to Comment