© 1994 by Scott Gray and Sharon Tripp. These pages may not be reproduced for profit. They may be copied, provided they are not altered and the authors' names remain attached.Previous section | Next section | Contents
The town of Isseter is one of the few posts held by the crusaders from the Guided nations. Though much of the mission has gone poorly for the Guiders, they have held Isseter strongly, and set up a colonial government. This is primarily because the area of Isseter is known to be a high-mana place (a source of great magic), and the Guiders see preventing its use by mages as of paramount importance.
When Isseter was taken in 952, the Tepharan mosque was burned to the ground. Most of the residents of the town fought or fled, though a number were unwilling to leave their homes, or had nowhere else to go, and so remained while Isseter was occupied. Now, 45 years later, the mosque has been rebuilt and the Tepharan faith allowed once more, with the understanding that all Urukians must be exposed to the Way as well as Tephar and allowed to choose.
Very few of the local inhabitants are old enough to have been alive before the occupation, and so the tensions between the foreigners and locals is minimal. There are always a few people wanting to rise up against the invaders, but generally speaking, the two groups get along fairly well, and most "battles" occur on an economic level (prices varying depending on whether the buyer is a local, soldier, or Guider, stiffer fines or tithes, etc.).
The Isseter Tepharites are now permitted to keep mosques and practice their faith, provided they do not break Guider laws. It is now known that some Tepharites met secretly as a self-proclaimed "mosque" when the Tepharan faith was outlawed. A secret mosque may exist even now that the Guiders keep Tephar legal -- such a mosque being used by Tepharan mages or others who would be illegal under the Guiders' Way. The Isseter mosque has been restored, and returned to the Tepharites, but without any of the magical tomes or books.
The world of Emeth operates, for the most part, in the way that people of the middle ages believed that it operated. One factor in this game is that there are certain small "superstitions" which may be followed that, to a greater or lesser degree, are actually true.
The mechanism by which the effect of the superstitions is brought into game will vary. The GM may note who follows which superstition. Some LCs may be given authority to create certain "good" or "bad" effects of luck depending partly on which superstitions they see being followed or flouted. Players are also welcome to play out bad luck and effects on their own -- such as purposely setting a trap mechanism off out of game to represent bad luck on the character's part.
Below are examples of some of the superstitions which exist, and what areas they come from.
Certain evil creatures or people can only harm a person who has invited them into his/her home. Evil has more power over those whom it can fool into trusting it.
Some mages or demons are affected adversely by silver, some by iron, some by wood; but a creature specially affected by more than one of these is very rare.
Talk about potential good or bad luck is dangerous, but knocking on wood helps mitigate the danger.
Horseshoes, rabbit's feet, and certain other objects are lucky.
The words "by the Way," preceding an honest statement, cause good luck, or at least prevent the bad luck from being too horrible.
A trapper will avoid bad luck if (s)he releases any female animals caught.
It is bad luck to harm a sleeping person.
The bone of an innocent, falsely accused and executed, who maintained his/her innocence to the end, is a charm of great power.
Certain dreams are prophetic, but others are lies. It is hard to tell the difference, but the more people share a dream the likelier it is to be true.
Players should try to play out the cultural differences between characters of different nations. There are also subtle physical differences between Urukians and those of the Guided nations. When playing an Urukian, a player will be required to darken his/her upper and lower eyelids with makeup. Some other possible additions to play up the distinctions are outlined in the Makeup section; but it must be kept consistent which racial features the same character keeps. A number of books on stage makeup exist. If other racial or regional physical differences are used in a campaign, such books are a good source material.
Accents. Although there are no "national" accents, there are some regional ones as determined by the GM. If, for example, a player wants his/her character to speak with an Irish brogue, (s)he should talk to the GM; the GM will determine what part of Kelby the character should be from in order to have developed such an accent. In this way all of the same accents will be from the same locales.
Most Urukians have no obvious accent. There is a tendency, however, to speak quickly and loudly. To emphasize a point, they often punctuate their speech with gestures.
Food. Urukian cuisine tends toward fried food; heavy use is made of oil, especially olive oil. There is an active spice-trade with the east, and Urukians show wealth and influence through heavy use of spices. Urukians often sweeten their bread before baking, or cook it in small pieces of dough at very high temperatures (making pita bread).
In the Guided nations, people cook their meat over open fires, and boil almost everything else. Their bread is baked open in medium ovens, often with coarser grain than the Urukians use.
Money. There are two types of coinage minted by the Guiders and used by the Guided nations and areas under their control. These are brass farthings and silver shillings. A silver shilling is equivalent in value to ten brass farthings.
Most of the nations which have accepted the Guiders have almost exclusively the Guiders' currency. There also exists paper money, in the form of bank notes of various major banks of different Guided nations.
Trade. Although the Urukians use the foreign coinage and bank notes freely, they generally tend to barter. Urukians are also more prone to haggling over prices (usually speaking dramatically about how the other person is trying to bankrupt him/her).
People of the Guided nations trade coin and paper currency often. Even when they do barter or trade, they tend to think about the "cash value" of the goods being traded.
Battle. Warriors from the Guided nations tend to fight in small units, working together from one flank; giving their foes the option to flee, thereby decreasing their opponents' morale. Each unit is led independently by a sergeant or lieutenant. Officers tend to make plans before entering battle, and make few changes to plan over the course of battle.
The Urukians prefer to make more use of high ground, and try to surround their foes. Their leaders tend to signal all of their forces on the field with flags, drums, horns, or high-pitched shrieks which are repeated by the soldiers. The leaders constantly signal changes in tactics by the same means.
In Isseter, all "citizens" are subject to the judgment of the local magistrate. However, members of the army are subject to rulings of both the local magistrate and the military court under the judgement of the general or a person (s)he appoints to conduct an investigation. In rare instances, such as accusations of magery or fleshshaping, the Guiders may take an active role and demand the right to try any cases and pass any judgements.
The Hierophant may, in cases of impiety, excommunicate a person from the Way. Note that in practice this entails nothing more complex than occasionally signing a writ with 20-50 names handed to him/her by a trusted Instructor. Excommunicants are not allowed to bear arms or work as soldiers, and will be refused charity by the monasteries and Guiders. In addition, some Guided nations give different legal status to excommunicants. Not all excommunicants ever accepted the Way; according to Guider law, Eshalkian is excommunicated and may not bear arms. Those who engage in regular dealings with persons who have been excommunicated are often suspected of impiety in turn.
In all cases, each of these three "courts" (and others) are constantly aware of the others; moderating their judgements to keep peace -- or making an extreme judgement in order to "set an example."
In cases where the only persons concerned in a matter are the accused and the accuser (such as theft, assault, or harassment, but not including such crimes as treason, murder, or magery), they may work out an alternative means of determining guilt other than the courts, but only if both parties agree, without duress. In such instances, the decision reached by their agreement is law, and someone unhappy with the outcome may not then bring the matter to the courts. This might mean having a duel, placing the judgement in the hands of a wise person not affiliated with the courts, or simply working out an exchange of goods, property, or services which appeases both parties.
The sorts of punishments likely to be given out by the courts include fines, enforced labor, time in the stocks or pillories, indentured servitude, flogging, maiming, or execution.
Members of the military, Guiders, and nobility are expected to uphold the law. Generally, persons of rank who commit misdemeanors are likely to have the case hushed up. But when a person of rank actually does appear for sentencing, (s)he is likely to receive the full penalty allowed by law. Such persons may also be stripped of rank.
In certain instances, chirurgeons and healers are forbidden to render aid to those who have been flogged for a crime. In such cases, it is illegal to heal the criminal, and those caught doing so will be charged with breaking court orders.
Using magic is a capital offense. Depending on what acts of magery it is known that (s)he has performed, a convicted mage might be allowed to live -- but maimed and made to act as a servant to the Guiders. The magics designed particularly to harm people or which violate the dead are likely to receive maximum punishment.
Being capable of magery (having the potential for magery, but never having cast or wanted to cast a spell) is not illegal, but will get one watched very closely.
Fleshshaping, the act of torturing a person to death, is a capital offense.
Theft is punishable by heavy fines, removal of limbs, time in the stocks, enforced labor, or flogging.
First degree murder is punishable by death.
Manslaughter is punishable by indentured servitude, maiming, or death.
Knowingly consorting with mages or fleshshapers is punishable by death, maiming, indentured servitude, enforced labor, or flogging.
Knowingly consorting with demons, undead, lycanthropes, or other evil creatures is punishable by death, maiming, indentured servitude, enforced labor, or flogging.
Knowingly using items created by magery, demons, or the like is treated as consorting, and subject to the same sorts of punishments. Certain natural "charms," created without the use of magery, are reputed to protect against magic. Though such charms are legal, some of the Guiders frown on these as magical themselves.
Soldiers who become involved in romantic relations with other soldiers are guilty of insubordination (such relations are deemed to undermine a soldier's commitment to duty), and their punishments may range from public ridicule to being stripped of rank.
A person found guilty of levying a false accusation, or giving false witness, will receive the punishment for the crime (s)he wrongly accused another of.
Treason is punishable by death, exile, maiming, or imprisonment.
Falsifying bank notes is punishable by fines up to twenty times the value of the bank notes forged; second offense is punishable by maiming.
The punishment for falsifying of documents varies greatly depending upon the type of document; certain instances will be punishable by death, others by light fines.
Breaking and entering is punishable by fines, maiming, or flogging.
The possession of poisons is illegal, and punishable by fines, maiming, or flogging. Conviction will also result in confiscation of any and all alchemical substances and tools, and the possessor will be forbidden from ever owning or using alchemical tools.
The use of poisons will influence the magistrate's decision in choosing a sentence for the crime attempted with the poison; be it murder, assault, magery, or torture.
Poisons are defined as those elixirs which have no beneficial effect, and the interpretation of this will be left to the magistrate. Note that individuals may be, on a case by case basis, licensed to own and work with poisons -- especially if those individuals are researching antidotes.
If a person fails to fulfill a legal contract, the court will enforce the contractual terms regarding unfulfillment of the contract.
Harassment and/or threats against a person's life are punishable by fines, time in the stocks, etc., and the offender will likely be ordered (on penalty of breaking court orders) to remain away from the victim.
Disobeying court orders (including failure to pay fines or serve sentences) varies greatly in punishment.
Having an unlicensed drawn weapon in a public place is punishable by fines, time in the stocks, or both. Only guards posted in such areas are licensed for carrying drawn weapons -- and even then, only whilst on duty in that area. Weapons, if allowed at all in such areas, must be peacebonded.
Use of unnecessary force to capture a suspected criminal is treated as assault. The definition of unnecessary force is left to the magistrate; it may mean that which does permanent damage, or may be taken to mean doing any physical harm.
Assault is punishable by maiming, time in stocks, enforced labor, or death.
Disturbing the peace is punishable by fines, time in the stocks, or enforced labor.
Destruction of property is punishable by fines, flogging, or indentured servitude to the wronged party.
Impiety, the destruction of Guider property, or open slanders against the Way, is punishable. In most instances, the Guiders will be given full authority to choose and administer the punishment.