In my current campaign, one of my players has decided that he wants to take the Justicar prestige class to accent his paladin's ability to uphold the law. Personally, I love the idea. However, I have one minor issue: if a justiciar’s knowledge of her code is magically flawless, what is the actual law code of Varisia?
Is there a written document for this somewhere? Or has anyone used something as a reasonable basis when their player decided to invoke this ability? I don't want to get into endless legal debates with a player at the table, because that could become very tedious very quickly. So, having something of a documented legal code - or at least a logical basis for one - would be tremendously helpful.
If all else fails, I can spend the next few weeks putting something together.
I don't believe Varisia has an overarching law, as there is no single ruler/government. Rather, each city has its own authorities. The law in Korvosa, for example, is going to be very different from the law in Riddleport or in Kaer Maga. I guess it would depend on where your PC is and which authority is appointing him/her.
Ah, okay. Perhaps I should provide a bit more detail. This PC wants to help defend a "redeemed" evil NPC against charges of arson, murder and criminal conspiracy commited in Sandpoint before the Justice Court in Magnimar. She's being sent to Magnimar because there was no way Sandpoint would have given her a legally fair trail.
The NPC did actually commit these crimes, having personally burned down a small temple while the priest slept inside and being the head of a group of Lamashtu worshippers who attacked Sandpoint, even though she didn't directly participate in the attack. The paladin/justicar is trying to provide the defense of her being abused, neglected, and under the influence of an evil deity.... I'm not so sure such a defense should hold up, though.
I'm thinking that, based on the charges, the NPC could end up with a sentence of 25 years to life in The Hells.
Does that seem reasonable? Or excessively harsh?
My Paladin-king in the Kingmaker game is VERY lenient when it comes to Mental control. Magic a proven viable thing that forces people to do things they wouldn't want to do... and he doesn't hold that against them. Provided they can convince him that's the truth...
As for the rest? abused and neglected wouldn't be an excuse for murder. Other people's actions don't excuse your actions when there obviously is a legal system to turn to. (or you wouldn't be on trial right now)
There may be an asylum around there somewhere... I seem to remember an Asylum in one of our games that if she is THAT messed up she may be sentenced to... but if its deemed the mind control wasn't actually 'MIND CONTROL' and was still her making her own decisions... it'd probably be an execution. Murder isn't taken lightly in worlds like this.
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For being a Justicar in that region of Varisia, you'd be under the jurisdiction of Magnimar, as Sandpoint, and most areas around it are part of Magnimar's official holdings (which stretches as far east as Turtleback Ferry, excluding Ilsurian, if memory serves). Magnimar and Korvosa both have jurisdiction within their own large holdings, and Riddleport even has a few towns nearby under its proverbial thumb.
The PC would have to be associated with, and probably ordained by the church of Abadar in Magnimar, and the local laws will change depending where the campaign goes. I'd suggest reading through Varisia, Birthplace of Legends to get a better idea of where the loose boundaries of each major city-state's holdings are.
As an aside, from a fellow GM of the same Adventure Path:
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Was the Justicar appointed by a religious or secular authority. If it is the former, Paladins of Abadar are known for acting as Judge/Jury/Executioner on occasion. And the Paladin’s code of Abadar IS well defined.
Interestingly, my player is a paladin of Abadar. Also, I'm exactly not sure about the justicar's appointment, unless there's some background on Ironbriar that I haven't seen yet. For the purposes of my game, I'm going to say that he was appointed politically to protect the interests of the religious organization that he is a member of, somewhat conveniently.
The sentence wouldn't necessarily have to be an execution. Magnimar does have a prison, and there's at least one person hanging out in there who committed horrible crimes (sacrificing his entire family to a demon lord) and doesn't want to atone in the slightest. Particularly if the court can be convinced the NPC is sincerely repentant and wishes to atone, the sentence might be prison with time off for good behavior, or something like that.
I'm in a RoTRL game right now and we're also redeeming Nualia, though we didn't take her to trial. The party decided to publicly assign blame for the attacks to Tsuto, leaving Nualia out of the story. She spent awhile hanging out hidden in the Sandpoint jail (they told the sheriff the truth) while they convinced her away from evil.
Also, I'm exactly not sure about the justicar's appointment, unless there's some background on Ironbriar that I haven't seen yet.
I think you may be confusing Justice (the Magnimarian position of office) and Justicar (the Abadarian prestige class).