Justice System Example

Basic sample Justice System criminal point values and consequences, using time scales outlined elsewhere in this document (6 to 1 game to real world).  This system can be more easily applied to a pen and paper system, like most things that are worthwhile in RPG’s.

Penalties Table

These are general guidelines for criminal points accrued by the criminal.  The exact point penalties can be influenced by factors like the social status of the victim, amount of property stolen, etc.

Criminal Act Points
Attempted tax evasion Fine
Attempted smuggling Fine + confiscation
Attempted smuggling of a controlled substance Fine + confiscation + 10-30
Pickpocketing while a member in good standing of a Thieves’ Guild 5-10
Pickpocketing without Thieves’ Guild protection 25-50
Theft from a house while a member in good standing of a Thieves’ Guild 15-50
Theft from a house without Thieves’ Guild protection 75-250
Murder, victim with low social standing 100-250
Murder, victim with moderate social standing 200-500
Murder, victim is a civil servant or noble 500-1000

Pursuit Table

Any crime committed that is immediately noticed by an authority will result in that authority pursuing the criminal for a short period of time, within that authority’s patrol range.  Chance to be recognized by authorities applies in situations where the criminal is within sight distance of an authority who is not actively pursuing that person, but may recognize him from sketchs, briefings, etc.  Dedicated patrols are looking specifically for that individual.  Criminals may generally only be apprehended within the zone of control of the government in question, although particularly heinous criminals (10000+ points) may merit the dispatch of bounty hunters beyond this range.

Criminal Point Total Intensity of Pursuit
1-50 No pursuit, will not be caught unless caught in the act.
51-100 No pursuit, will not be caught unless caught in the act.
101-200 No active search, chance to be recognized by authorities = (points/5)%.
201-400 Dispatch of a squad of dedicated aldermen/rangers to track by mundane means, chance to be recognized by other authorities = (points/5)%, not to exceed 60%.
401-1000 Dispatch of several squads who will converge on the target if his location becomes known, chance to be recognized by other authorities = 75%.
1001-2500 Dispatch of several large squads who will converge on the target if his location becomes known, chance to be recognized by other authorities = 85%.
2501+ Dispatch of a very large force with the assistance of a magical finder who uses sympathetic magic to track the target within a certain radius, chance to be recognized by other authorities = 95%.

Penalty Table

Penalties may seem light given the state of dark ages justice historically (poach a deer, get killed for it), but an attempt is made to err on the side of compassion for the player.  Executions are based on the base 5 resurrection before permadeath model.  In no case should a player character get permadeath through criminal penalties (i.e. no executions past 0 remaining resurrections).  The permadeath risk for the career murderer lies in the idea that once a murderer is caught, it is possible that player characters will hunt him down in an effort to permakill the murderer, and such a criminal with no remaining resurrections will probably be spending a certain amount of time getting resurrections back through waiting, evil temple devotions, etc.  This is considered a reasonably effective way to protect society from the depradations of the murderer, at least for a while.

Also note that penalties for levels of criminals who are not normally pursued by the authorities (1-50 points) are presented in case the inept criminal is caught in the act.

"Known property" includes all monies and items in a criminal’s personal possession, bank accounts and storage areas within the government’s zone of control, and legal houses within this zone.  "Hidden property" includes wilderness shacks and such outside the government’s direct influence, hidden caches, etc.

Incarceration does not allow for any beneficial offline activity.

Criminal Point Total Incarceration Time Material Penalties Execution Chance
1-50 Limited (0.5-1 RW hours) Possible fine. N/A
51-100 1 working day (3 RW hours) Fine. N/A
101-200 (points/100) days (4-8 RW hours) Fine, confiscation of a small amount of known property. (points/20)%.
201-400 (points/80) days (8.5-20 RW hours) Fine, confiscation of a variable amount of known property. (points/15)%.
401-1000 (points/50) days (32-80 RW hours) Fine, confiscation of known property, token search for hidden property. (points/10)%.
1001-2500 (points/50) days (80-200 RW hours) Fine, confiscation of known property, reasonable search for hidden property. 1 execution minimum, chance for second execution = (points/25)%.
2501+ (points/50) days (200+ RW hours) Fine, confiscation of known property, fervent search for hidden property with magical assistance, possible persecution of known associates (other characters on that account). 2 executions minimum, chance for third execution = (points/100)%, chance for fourth execution = (points/100)-100%, etc.

Sentence Mitigation Table

These are some optional ideas to allow players to mitigate their sentences.  Since the computer is a lousy judge, you cannot really have an effective trial, and must assume the computer knows the criminal is guilty.  However, the player might have a chance to reduce his penalties through bribery and good connections (social status).  Note that social status will not be much of a mitigating factor for a career criminal, since his status would presumably keep dropping, but it may be a factor if a normally noble player is arrested for a criminal act.  The degree of bribery required to get a particular effect depends on the status of the game economy, of course.

Mitigating Factor General Penalty Modifiers Execution Modifier
Criminal turns himself in or surrenders peacably to authorities Incarceration time reduced by 25-50%, slightly reduced material penalties. Reduce mandatory executions by 1, variable execution chances reduced by 50%.
Bribery Variable decrease in incarceration time based on amount of bribe.  No reduction of material penalties through bribery. Variable execution modifier based on amount of bribe.  No possible elimination of mandatory executions through bribery (1001+ criminal points).
Social status Variable reduction in incarceration time and/or material penalties based on social status. Variable execution modifier and possible reduction of mandatory execution penalties based on social status.

Criminal Point Reduction Table

Obviously, activities such as "Community Service" and "Bribery by the Criminal" are only possible if the character can reasonably perform these activities, i.e. he is at 100 or fewer criminal points (thus not actively pursued), or manages to make his way to City Hall or wherever without being spotted and arrested by the authorities.

Activity/Event Criminal Point Reduction
Normal Passage of Time -1 point per game day, online or offline (4 hours RW time).
Community Service as Offline Activity -2 additional points per offline game day (4 hours RW time).  Note that a "Community Service" offline activity selection allows for no concurrent skill gains or benefits of any kind aside from criminal point reduction.
Bribery by the Criminal Variable reduction in criminal points based on amount of bribe.
Bribery by Others On Behalf of the Criminal Variable reduction in criminal points based on amount of bribe, about 1/3 as effective as a bribe made by the criminal himself.
Influence of Social Status Variable reduction in criminal points based on amount of Social Status lost in exchange for this consideration.  Character may not go below a "normal" social status (zero) to reduce criminal points.
Being Incarcerated as Punishment 50% of total criminal points at the time of capture.
Being Executed as Punishment (any number of executions) 10% of total criminal points at the time of capture.
Being Fined or Losing Property as Punishment 1-15% of total criminal points at the time of capture, based on the amount of money/property taken.

Release from Incarceration

Characters who are released from incarceration who remain at over 100 criminal points obviously should not be re-released within the government’s zone of control, lest they simply be arrested again on the spot.  Such characters are released just outside the borders of the civilization he has offended, at a semi-random point (to discourage criminal camping).

If a criminal wishes, there may be an option for further voluntary criminal point reduction in the form of bribes made by others or community service.  During the character’s incarceration, other characters may make bribes in the normal fashion to reduce his post-incarceration criminal point total.  The criminal may also opt to volunteer for community service as an offline activity immediately following his release.  If this option is taken, the criminal’s period of incarceration is immediately followed by a period of community service that may not be interrupted (i.e. the character is unavailable for logon) until his criminal point total is reduced to 100 or less.  Of course, this may take a very long time, but it allows for the possible social redemption of the criminal if he wishes it.

2 Responses to “Justice System Example”
  1. I’d consider adding more risk for the criminal as well when it comes to bribes. Sometimes this should “backfire” and cause more accumulation of criminal points. The chances of this happening would depend on the corruptness of the system and the individuals involved.

    Also, the justice system would need to recognize when a PC is killing another PC “lawfully”, i.e. killing criminals. Possibly, the system can incarcerate defeated criminals (depending on thier criminal status) if the PC is defeated by another – this could be automatic, or perhaps chosen by the PC criminal killer. If they choose the incarceration option fine, otherwise they too become killers – remember most law enforcement do not like vigilantes.

    Hope that makes some sense. 🙂

  2. I would also apply some of the criminal points to the player offering the bribe in behalf of another. Otherwise, what is to prevent a truely rich player from completely buying himself off in one go. If the one offering the bribe was given 25% of the criminal points removed from the murderer, it would serve to either require the murderer to have many non-criminal “friends” to split up his points or a single “friend” to do it over a period of time that would allow him to not become hunted as well.


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