Xian Laws

Law in Xian is derived from the old legal code of the Ninefold Celestial Empire, enforced by the Mandarin by means of his chosen Magistrates. When the city watch finds an offender, he can expect to be left to cool in a cell until the next magistrate is available to hear his case. He is allowed to hire a pleader to speak for him if he wishes. When called to the court, the facts of the accusation are presented by an official accuser, the pleader or accused gives his defense, and the magistrate then makes his decision and sentence. Petty crimes are disposed of in five to ten minutes, while grave ones might consume as much as an hour. Citizens of the daifu class may demand a jury of seven of their peers, the jury in question being those currently appointed to the duty. The princely class of zhuhous can be judged only by the Mandarin, and they are effectively immune from all prosecutions relating to crimes against those of less than scholarly class.

Crimes tend to be fairly straightforward. Theft or fraud is punished by sevenfold restitution. Should the thief be unable to pay, they may be made thralls or suffer mutilation, depending on the magistrate's inclination. Assault of a commoner is fined, assault of a daifu is punished with thralldom, and assault of the princely class results in execution in the unlikely case the offender is still alive. Rape is punished on the same scale, with repeat offenders being gelded. Murder is punished with thralldom, should the victim be a commoner, execution if the victim is a scholar, and execution after torture if the victim is of the princely class.

Insulting behavior towards a daifu is fined, and insults towards the zhuhou are punished with fines and whipping. Impersonation of a city official or a class above one's own is met with thralldom or death. Disturbing the peace or creating a public hazard is met with fines, with thralldom for those who cannot pay. Sufficiently obnoxious behavior of any other kind may be treated as criminal, depending on the charm of the accused and the irascibility of the magistrate.

Magic is an acknowledged and expected part of Xianese law. Magical testimony, such as that gained by scrying or divination, is accepted as evidence on the magistrate's discretion. Most will decline it, as easy as it is to fake magical evidence, though a spellcasting magistrate may resort to it himself. Crimes committed by magic are rare, but severely punished when proven. Magic used in execution of an ordinary crime is punished by execution in all but the smallest of crimes, as renegade magic-users are greatly feared in Xian. "Lucky" defendents are sometimes sentenced to "community service" in some near-suicidal mission. There are no formally outlawed forms of magic- even necromancy is technically not forbidden. In practice, there's no family however humble that wouldn't bring suit against a necromancer who defiled the corpse of a kinsman, and no magistrate who wouldn't award them a heavy fine. Thralls and other kinless sorts can sometimes end up as fodder for necromancers, but all such activities are conducted very quietly or under the auspices of a very discreet church. In times of crisis, this social rule has been known to be temporarily overlooked for the sake of a few regiments of tireless, fearless corpse-warriors, though no one in the modern day is thought to have power enough to call such a force from the grave.

A few crimes only exist in magical form. Mind-influencing spells are rarely prosecuted, as difficult as it is to prove that a particular choice was made under a spell, but the wealthy and powerful often have wards and protections against such influence. Still, if a magistrate can be convinced that a particular enchanter is guilty of bewitching someone, death or "community service" is not at all uncommon.

It is also against the law to employ magical means to scry upon or otherwise divine the particulars of another person, unless employed by the city in that capacity. City officials have absolutely no compunction about scrying on dangerous sorts, but other spellcasters are well advised to keep their Detect spells and scrying concealed.

Outside of Xian, in the provincial villages and towns, law generally remains the same. Some important towns are assigned the services of a Magistrate, but most appoint local officials to enact the laws under the oversight of the City Watch captain assigned to the area.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License