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Offline Chaosmark

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Captivity!
« on: August 13, 2005, 09:17:49 PM »
Aloha! I had originally thought to make this an article, but figured that it would be served better as a general thought-provoker.

Captivity - The state or period of being imprisoned, confined, or enslaved.

With that defined for you, what about captivity in your campaign? Invariably your PCs will come across someone who was held captive by those barbarian hordes, or perhaps will even fall victim to those same hordes themselves. Therefore one should, as a proper world-builder, think at least partially on these things, and perhaps how to use them on your players.

To take examples from history, many prisoners in wartime situations or even non-war times were treated harshly and brutally. The name that comes to mind immediately is, yes, Auschwitz. While that might be the most commonly known prison camp, the soviets and other countries have had ones just as bad.

With that in mind, take the Babylonian Captivity into thought. The ancient Jews were held as captives in Babylon for 70 years: the entire country, just demolished and uprooted. Even so, conditions weren't really that bad. They were allowed to own land, to work jobs to earn money, and some even became wealthy. Heck, their king still held his title! So not all captivity is the horrific conditions we frequently think off.

Now, for the application. How does captivity relate to your campaign? If you can't think of how a culture of people treats its captives, the culture probably isn't fleshed out enough. How do your cultures deal with captives? How do the people within the culture react to being held captive? Is there some sort of "Geneva Convention" like what we have in our world? If so, how does it restrict such things?

Post your thoughts and questions.
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 11:07:02 AM »
The Company tends to enslave it's captives for a least a period of time and make them do the hardest, most dangerous and/or humilating work.
Captives in the area ruled by Big Red tend to end up as Kraken food, whilst in the area ruled by the Alliance of Shador they will be worked to death or eaten.Pirate and Regulator treatment  varies. For someone who will get a big ransom, there is no point in damaging the goods, whilst some captives who are the right sort can become friends with them or even be invited to join them.On the other hand they can be utterly horrible to their captives. Nowhere is there any "Geneva Convention" as such.

Offline Kinslayer

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Captivity!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2005, 02:16:10 AM »
Nearly every nation of Midian--outside of Osterre--uses some form of incarceration as part of its criminal justice system.  

The Kingdom of Formour incarcerates its criminals under a sentence of hard labour.  Most non-capital crime merits this punishment, outside of a few minor offences where a fine is generally sufficient.  It is worth noting that everyone has a measure of equality to justice in this kingdom--noble, peasant, and foreigner all share the same fate under Formourian law.  Every crime under Formourian criminal codes carries a maximum penalty, but the judge or nobleman trying the case is free to assess a lesser penalty.  In practice, the length of incarceration is almost always at least half of the maximum term.  The labour that condemned criminals undergo is generally for public works: bridges built, land cleared, walls repaired, roads grated, pauper's graves dug, streets cleaned, drainage ditches unslogged, carcasses cremated, sewers maintained, etc. Some work to support other Formourian criminals, such as by working fields that grow food for the convicts, clean the prisons, and similar supportive tasks.  The Formourian view is that someone who has harmed society--by committing a crime--must then repay society. Jails in Formour are rather small, and always local.  They serve two functions:  housing condemned criminals overnight (they spend their days working), and holding someone briefly if a magistrate is not immediately available to hear the case.  

The legal system of the Heldannic Confederation is as rough-around-the-edges as the Heldanns themselves.  Justice is often what you can find for yourself.  The basis for the responses to a crime is more long-standing traditions than written codes of law.  The social contract for order in society is much more evident to the Heldanns than to citizens of most other nations.  In the Confederation someone who feels that someone has wronged them has two possible choices to make.  They can either ask their pledged lord to help settle the grievance, or deal with the problem directly themselves.  Oftimes, the nobleman will tell the accusing party to handle the problem themselves. Rather than exact vengeance through direct violence, the accuser captures and holds the accused, holding them until a settlement can be reached.  For example, if one of your neighbours is responsible for the death of one of your sheep, you and your brothers & friends capture and detain him, until he agrees to give you one of his sheep, or his family pays you at least equal value to release the accused sheep-killer.  That is, what the Heldanns consider fair justice, other people might consider kidnapping and extortion.  If you hold someone in captivity this way, their family & friends (or that person themself, somehow) has the same options of going to their pledged lord for assistance, or handling things on their own.  Asking for aid in this way is only done when you simply cannot take care of the problem on your own, and few Heldannic men would dare ask for help for fear of seeming unmanly and incapable.  There are no prisons anywhere in the Heldannic Confederation, and few are wealth and powerful (and generally angry) enough to have an entire room devoted to being a full-time dungeon.  The Heldannic system may seem barbaric and chaotic, but the strong hold of tradition and an understood need for some social order makes this work at least as well as any country under the Rule of Law.  However, a foreign visitor is often unaware of the cultural complexities and obligations of this system--such misunderstandings often spark heated political standoffs, and was in part responsible for at least one war with the Killian Empire.  

Justice in the halls of the Dwarven Mountain Kings predominantly follows the Heldannic model.  In fact, Heldannic tradition and culture is Dwarven tradition and culture.  The Dwarves have had a stronger effect on the collective freeholds of the Confederation than the Humans and Trolls combined.  Some of the Mountain Kingdoms that border both the Heldannic Confederation are officially part of the Kindom of Formour.  The Dwarves in this bordering mountain range act as a buffer zone, keeping the opposing views of justice and incarceration from causing many political difficulties between Kingdom and Confederation.  Legally, these Dwarves have recourse to Formour's system of jurisprudence, but when dealing with another Dwarf (and sometimes a Human or Troll of Heldannic nationality), will oftimes follow the traditional method of handling a grievance.  During their enslavement under the Olde Empire, the Dwarves were largely moved from their mountainous homes and forced to work as farmers and labourers for the Hobgoblins.  Such forced exile scattered many Dwarves far and wide, some even as far away as Suditerre.  Some of these Dwarves were fortunate enough to escape this life of captivity and enslavement, and fled even further south into what are now the Elder Kingdoms.  It is from these escaped Dwarven slaves that the Gnomes descended.

The Killian Empire's prisons are remarkably simple, and little effort is made to prevent escapes.  Unlike the stone & concrete walls--with iron bars and strong locks--of prisons in nearby Formour, Killian jails look quite similar to peasant's huts.  Reeds or thin wood are often all that separates a prisoner from freedom.  Typically, only a single guard is posted, and he or she may be watching over several prison-huts.  However, the punishment for escaping from Killian justice is singular:  death.  Such execution is immediate upon recapture, and there are no appeals or hesitation.  Even for the most minor offences and most extenuating circumstances, the penalty for fleeing incarceration is a swift execution, by being slain on the spot.  The overall Killian view is that a disruption of the social order must be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Killian Empire is unique among the northern nations in that their entire justice system is administered by their military.  That is, the police force that originally captures you, the guard who watches over you, and the Bushi-Killian who runs you through with a spear should you anger her in any way, are all trained soldiers.  The only exception to this is that the judge does not hold military rank, but most magistrates are Ra-Killian of noble birth.  Also rather differently than their Formourian neighbours to the southwest, not all criminals under Killian justice are put to work at hard labour.  In that nation, labour is considered an additional level of punishment; a minor crime may be punished by a fee and jail time, rather than work.  Another aspect of Killian justice worth noting is that all criminals are considered non-persons.  That is, even if someone was only imprisoned for a day, they may be executed on the spot for any reason. It may be due to this readiness to impose the maximum punishment that the Killian Empire is noted for its low crime rate.

Among the Elves, incarceration is the preferred form of punishment, almost to exclusion.  The Elves do not execute (at least, not other Elves), and there is no unified currency needed to establish a system of fines.  There are three large prisons in the Elven Homeland, and a few of the larger and more militant Houses have their own dungeons. All crimes under Elven common law have a set punishment for a term of incarceration.  However, for these immortal folk, such a term may be for centuries or even potentially millenia.  The longest-held prisoner in an Elven gaol was (and still is) Aaeleranoes the Unhinged.  By the time this Elven serial killer was captured, he had slain 28 Elves (all but three of them children), 63 Faeries of various sorts, 3 Pixie children, over two dozen Goblins (for which he was not convicted, as the Pixies & Goblins weren't considered part of the Elven community), and two mocking birds, in addition to multiple non-murderous crimes.  The Carcerus maxumum security panopticon prison was created specifically to hold him.  To date, he has been imprisoned since the Second Eon AAS, and is not scheduled to be released until sometime in the Fourth Eon PAS.  The Elves feel that no one is truly incorrigible, and given enough time to reflect on one's folly even the most terrible offender will truly repent and again become a productive member of society. This view is in large part due to Elven immortality. With a growth rate approaching nil, the Elves place a very high value on life… at least with Elven life. Since criminals can potentially be given sentences of centuries, or even millennia, the theory is that anyone can change her ways granted enough time. Crime in the Elven Homeland is perhaps the lowest in all of the major nations, so there may be something to the theory. However, it must also be considered that there is a strong cultural bias among the Elves to be a useful member of their society. Also worth noting is that the trial for all crimes are heard by a noble of one of the Great Houses.  There is no other authority, and these Houses are esentially governments unto themselves.  

Further south, in the Byzant Empire, there are three forms of incarceration.  One may be held captive in a prison--either as a criminal or a prisoner-of-war, enslavement, and a form of imprisonment unique to the now defunct city-state of what was then called Vridtown (this was prior to the Darkmouth Emirate's incorporation to the Empire). Punishment for necromancy in Vridtown consisted of being forced into imprisonment inside a small box, following dismemberment.  This tiny prison was then catapulted into the deepest part of the harbour.  This ensured that the captivity was permanent, regardless of whether the offending necromancer was mortal or Undead. It was possible to obtain a license to be a necromancer, but the actual practice of that art, or just knowing such forbidden knowledge if unlicensed, was punishable by the aforementioned incarceration & ejection.  Most crimes in the Empire are punishable by fines.  However, alternate forms of punishment, such as imprisonment or enslavement, are used if the accused cannot (or will not) pay the heavy fine.  Purchasing a slave is not always legally or socially acceptable in all parts of the Byzant Empire, but the majority of the states at least allow a citizen to own and utilise slave labour.  Such slavery may be for a limited time (seven years is common for debts or for unpaid fines), until a set condition is met (typically when a debt is fully repaid, difficult for a slave...), and in some cases slavery is for life.  Several states of the Empire have laws that the child of a slave is also a slave, whose master then owns him or her forever.  Treatment of slaves varies by location, and some states' laws consider a slave to be of no greater respect than a shoe or shovel, while others mandate that slaves at least be given some measure of dignity and protection, such that a master cannot abuse or slay his or her slaves on a whim.  For slaves in many parts of the Byzant Empire, life is brutal, harsh, and short.  At least one organisation does give slaves an unprecedented measure of authority and power:  the Jaliq are an all-slave independent army.  These tattooed warriors answer only to their own generals (and whomever hires them for mercenary work), and even those generals are themselves slaves--all Jaliq are owned by the organisation itself.  

The Ogres, Trolls, & Olde World Goths of Osterre still have essentially tribal societies, and exile, rather than incarcerate or execute.  This is quite the opposite of imprisonment, and is an extreme form of social ostracism. Someone deemed not worthy of sharing their lands is the same as not being worthy of sharing the same air, and is sent out into the wilderness where they often die in that harsh land. Minor crimes typically merit less extreme ostracism--such as the community refusing to speak to the offender--and any form of captivity for an offence is very rare, and most commonly is only done when someone has gone mad and must be contained for their own safety as well as that of the community.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Captivity!
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2005, 09:16:42 AM »
While that IS good to know for your campaign, that's not quite what I was looking for. I was referring to kidnapping,  captives, that sort of thing, not incarceration.
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STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

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Offline Kinslayer

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Captivity!
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2005, 12:56:41 AM »
It's a matter of outlook, really. After all, the only difference between kidnapping and lawful incarceration is whether or not the group doing the capturing have to worry about a bigger & more powerful group intervening.  That is, when a crime gang does it, it's kidnapping, as they have to worry about the government.  When the government does it, it's legal & justified, as they don't have to worry about anyone with greater authority &/or power (same thing).

In my previous post, justice among the Heldanns is essentially the same thing as kidnapping.  The only real difference is whether the person doing the capturing tries to hide the crime (or at least their involvement) and does so for financial gain, rather than as a social redress.  As the Elves don't really have a government (at least not in the traditional sense), being held in captivity for a crime is again almost exactly the same as kidnapping.  There's no real fundamental difference between being held for a crime by an Elven Great House and a wealthy landowner elsewhere & far from civilization throwing a worker in "the punishment box" for failing to work hard enough.  

Also, my previous post did touch upon specific elements of your threadstarter.  Witness the Dwarven diaspora under the Hobgoblins.  This was as horrible a time of capture, relocation, and forced labour, as the atrocities you mentioned happening to the Jews.  Coincidentally, as this was done under the auspices of the Olde Empire, it was just as lawful as the actions of Babylon and Germany, however wrong and horrifying.  

I am however, playing Devil's Advocate with this post, and now understand what you mean.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Captivity!
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2005, 04:13:14 PM »
A very true point you've made. Now, if only we can get more of the campaign makers to post.

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P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Kinslayer

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Captivity!
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2005, 12:32:37 AM »
So you're channelling the spirit of MoonHunter now?

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Offline Chaosmark

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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2005, 09:12:50 AM »
Well, they DO say that the characters you roleplay are somehow related to yourself, and Hunthar /does/ channel spirits to his purposes. =P
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --