Torture and Execution--Devices and Methods
There are a lot of bad people out there. That is why we must torture you: to keep you safe.
Many and varied are the ways of extracting a confession or ending a criminal's life, and the one usually follows the other.
Queensman: This complex beast of a machine may be used for either torture or execution. At the heart lies a sideways rack, with the limbs pulled apart horizontally rather than lengthwise. A crescent-shaped blade on a pendulum is suspended over either the neck or stomach. This has a clutch mechanism so that its rate of descent can be slowed or increased, and stopped at a certain height while still swinging from side-to-side. A pair of large spiked wheels may be rolled over the shoulders, & possibly the chest or arms & legs of whomever is strapped to the Queensman, depending on their size & build. Lastly, a fire is built underneath the table, with the smoke and heat adding to the misery. The Queensman is designed so that it may be used either as a means of execution or torture. It may kill by allowing the pendulum to continue dropping, allowing the full weight of the spiked wheels to crush the chest, pulling the limbs free as a cruel child might with an insect, or simply slowly cooking the victim. As a torture device, catches prevent all of these from ending the prisoner's life too early, and several levels of punishment may be applied. When used to extract information or confession, a fire is stoked, the limbs stretched to a painful—but not damaging—degree, the pendulum is set to swing, and the wheels set spinning. The torturer then simply walks away. The victim is left contemplating his inevitable an unenviable fate. Typically the prisoner is crying out to confess or reveal secrets within moments. It's a scary looking device.
Smallest of Worlds: This cruel implement is a giant version of a wind-up music box. It loudly plays the same melody: again, and again, and again, and again. Its power spring plays for several hours, and is geared so that it still plays while being rewound. Some interrogators use a series of cables & pulleys so that the Smallest of Worlds may be rewound from the safety and silence of an adjoining room. This horrid torture implement has a very high degree of success in coercing confessions or unveiling secrets. It may take several minutes, but they talk. Those few subjects who kept their mouths closed did so either at the cost of their sanities or by having the great fortitude to bite off their own tongues first—choking to death on their own blood.
Green bamboo slivers: This is a variant of the traditional method of shoving slivers of bamboo under someone's fingernails & toenails. The variation is that the slivers are still attached to a living plant, and continue to grow after insertion. Bamboo grows quite quickly and can exert sufficient pressure to cause agonising and crippling pain.
Andrella's Lament: This is an expensive method of slow execution known primarily from the children's story of the same name. Andrella was a Heldannic maiden taken to be a bride by the dreaded King Emmit of Barsevia. Whether Andrella was a princess or a peasant milkmaid differs according to who tells the tale. The evil King Emmit had heard of the pale skinned and yellow-haired lasses of the Heldannic Freeholds, and decided to add one of them to his collection of wives. According to the tale, King Emmit was entranced by the idea of a woman "with skin like cream". When the young Andrella arrived (whether kidnapped or sent by her noble father, again depending on the version) she was indeed as light skinned as most Formourian Humans, but not—Emmit had decided—with skin truly like cream. The fact that Human skin and milk are never going to be the same colour didn't seem to enter into anyone's thought processes, save perhaps Andrella's, and she had enough to worry about. Determined to make his new hapless bride match the advertised description—or to be rid of her at the very least—King Emmit ordered thousands of gallons of milk to fill his deepest and coldest dungeon. To this depressing and dire deep dungeon dairy dilemma the dainty damsel was distressingly deposited into disaster by being dropped down into doom. The cruel king told Andrella that if she could swim with enough vigour, she could turn the cream in the milk into a giant pat of butter. This she could then rest upon. Unfortunately for her, the heat from her body would soon melt the butter and she would be again dumped into the liquid. She could drink of the milk and eat the butter to survive, but the walls were too high and smooth to climb out. Fresh milk was added daily, and daily King Emmit would visit daily. "You shall be like cream or become it," said the king every day. Andrella made no reply. There is one version of the story, performed by a children's theatre group, where Andrella builds a castle out of the butter, and is eventually rescued by her father—the King of Formour—and lives happily ever after. In most versions of the story, and certainly the older ones, things do not turn out nearly so well for the poor girl. There really was a King Emmit of Barsevia, and his wealth and power were matched only by his inventive cruelty. The Line Rolls of Formourain royalty do not mention any Princess Andrella, nor are there any Andrellas to be found among Heldannic princesses, and the name is not at all common among the Heldanns. One thing is for certain, this is an inventive—if unpleasantly expensive—means of slow execution. Replicating King Emmit's method has been tried at least thrice. The first time the hapless victim drowned within the hour, after of course generating no butter. The other two times the victim was placed on a large chunk of butter preformed. The longest-lived victim survived nine days, by which time the milk had curdled to where escape may have been possible & the stench was unbearable—said victim was then riddled with crossbow bolts to end everyone's misery.
Ender of Worlds: This is a simple looking torture device with an ominous name. It consists solely of a large sphere of black glass, about a foot in diameter. It is sometimes also called the Devourer of Souls. The operating principle is pure psychology; it plays upon the victim's fears of the supernatural and unknown. Originally devised with an impressive, but powerless, ritual, the Ender has been found to be far more effective if it is simply placed inside an isolated room with the prisoner chained to the wall. The jailers don't say anything as they are shackling him in—other than side conversations among themselves about the Ender of Worlds doing its job of ridding them of the prisoner. Nothing is ever said directly to the victim. A cleanly dressed person carrying the Ender of Worlds comes in shortly thereafter, alone and mute, and places the dark globe on a pedestal on the other side of the room. The door is shut & locked, and then the waiting begins. The prisoner is never questioned, and receives no input of any sort until he is screaming his confession or secrets. This may take several hours, but usually lasts for less than one. With no means of marking the time, and no other company except the deceptively ominous Ender of Worlds and his own imagination, the prisoner is left screaming until he is near madness. It is only then that he is rescued and interrogated. Needless to say, this is a device that is best used with discretion, rather than as a first resort. However, it has proven effective if the next prisoner to be placed in the room is allowed within earshot. Many a time the next victim is ready to talk only after seeing the globe enter & shortly afterwards hearing the screams of the first prisoner begging for any relief from the terror caused by the device.
Second victim: "What's that?"
Guard: "The Ender of Worlds."
"Second victim: "What's it do?"
First victim: "Aaaaagh! Please! Please get it away! Aaaaagh! I'll talk; I'll do anything! Just... please!"
Second victim: "Okay, I'll talk."
Oubliette: This is a simple and degrading form of torture. The victim is tied down at the bottom of a toilet shaft. Ideally the victim's head is strapped into position facing upward towards the hole. Like many forms of torture, this may be used as a slow form of execution by simply not extricating the prisoner or cleaning the hole. As these spaces are intentionally poorly ventilated, some prisoners suffocated from gasses emitted by the waste, or choked to death on their own vomit. As the process of applying this torture method—especially removing the victim from it—is also very unpleasant (even for a torturer), other prisoners are often used, with the understanding that the same or worse awaits them if they—like the one being strapped down—do not comply with their jailers.
Serpent-maker: This device was originally invented in the Heldannic Confederation, but rarely used there. It consists of a series of blocks & shafts to which weight may be selectively applied. Each bone is isolated as much as possible. Pressure is added to each joint, starting with the tips of the fingers & toes. Joint by joint, bone by bone, the weight is added until the bones are demolished. Weight is then applied to the next bone, working upward toward the head. The name derives from the flexible nature of the corpse if the process is continued to its conclusion. The original device used water filling an angled basin above the blocks, which crushed each area slowly and surely. However, most exported versions more often use rocks as the weight—it's quicker to both add or remove the weight. At least one uses two very large rocks with the victim's limbs stretched as if on a rack. These rocks are slowly rolled toward one another, crushing the flesh & bone beneath them.
Upside down: This one is simple, expedient, and time tested. Hang them upside down. Their feet can be beaten with rods or burnt. This may also be used as part of another method of torture. Hanging upside down works best if the victim is made to stand upright every few hours. This causes the blood to again drop to the feet—which is unpleasant at least and painful at most—and means the victim must again have the sensation of all the blood pooling in his head once he is again upside down.
Borrowed faces: This is just wrong. The victim is tortured psychologically by jailers wearing masks that look like the faces cut from the prisoner's loved ones. Spouses, friends, children, even pets are used. It goes without saying that the most effective mask is one that was actually taken from a person's face. Some spirited torturers will actually kill and wear the faces of the prisoner's pets, et al. It is easiest to cut the faces off of the prisoner's partners in crime who have been already executed, but some will go out and find those close to their victim to slay and wear.
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? Responses (6)
We already have one of these.
Torture Devices and Techniques
You might want to rename it Midian Torture Devices and Techniques.
Still some nice addition.
Ingeniously foul. I like the Ender of Worlds.
MoonHunter, I thought it substantial enough to merit its own page. I have added it to the Torture Devices and Techniques page.
Although I would generally suggest use of existing codexes where appropriate, some of the more popular ones are getting cumbersome. These are suitably nasty.
Though I'm not sure about all of these, the collection is sufficiently wrong for its stated purpose. The Smallest of Worlds was the one for me, with its natural effect and no need for any gore. Keep at it... or better don't.
I like them. detailed. my favorite is queensman.