Note: This is an OOC document produced as part of the Purple Monday project, borrowed for the purpose of enhancing Stormwind City's roleplay on Moon Guard US. All credit should be given to the Purple Monday group of the Earthen Ring EU server. Everything presented is only a proposition.
Some people love to be punished. But we're not happy with “some people” - we want everyone to enjoy the process of being thoroughly disciplined. Punishment should be something that criminals are happy to undergo, and which is also fun for all the family; bring your friends, bring your kids, bring your parents. Thus follow our proposals, with which we hope to address some long-standing difficulties.
We believe there's a fundamental problem with punishments that require a roleplayer to stop playing. It really begs the question of why he should bother playing at all; after all, if penance is so onerous that it cannot be accepted as part and parcel of criminality, then there's no incentive to be a criminal - or, worse, no incentive to get caught, which creates a dangerous attitude. Punishment should be as much a part of cops-and-robbers roleplay as crimes are, and they should also be as fun. Yet our key penalties, if I'm not mistaken, rely on depriving the player of RP – jail, exile, execution. How can this change?
Look to history. It wasn't until the late 19th century when prison became the primary punishment, and, more than that, where prison actually became a punishment itself. Because, one or two centuries earlier, the idea of locking people up for years to punish their crimes would have been absurd. There wasn't the money or the space; hell, you had to pay for your own lodgings in prison, because prison was a place that people were held until they could be sentenced.
How were they sentenced? Their crimes were revenged upon their bodies. Flogging, hanging, amputation, branding – the violence that they had committed against the king's peace was visited on them in return. And, so that others could take note of the consequences of crime, and learn a moral lesson, these events were public; they were occasions, events in the community, open for all to see. And, once they were finished, the criminal was free – if he could still walk.
Adopting this attitude is both loreful – that is, historical – and much more beneficial for us as players. Because the best punishments don't stop roleplay, but stimulate it. There are other rationales: such methods make things easy for guards, who can just punish then let the criminal go; they also appeal to people's sense of badass, letting them walk away with a scar, a missing finger, or a seared mark of shame, which, as well as creating RP on the spot, will continue to provide RP in the future (“where did you get that scar? Why is your finger missing?”).
We have therefore codified a list of punishments and ways to perform them, noting their benefits and drawbacks. We're indebted to the Stormwind Watch of Steamwheedle Cartel, who are probably themselves in debt to that of the Argent Dawn.
There are no punishment guidelines becasue the matching of crime to revenge should be at the discretion of magistrates!
The felon must pay an amount of money to absolve himself. Can be used in combination with other punishments. A note should be made of this and passed to His Majesty's treasury.
(( Bog-standard, and easy, but to my mind undesirable, since nobody ever treats money in WoW as if it exists or matters. How many poor characters do you know? Still, this is also a virtue: you can implement this punishment without actually really punishing anyone. ))
The felon is deprived of any land, livestock, or other items that the Crown sees fit, so that he might feel a biting penance for his actions, and that his loss might at the same time profit His Majesty, or recompense the victims of the crime. This punishment may also be useful to remove from a felon's possession some item with which he has caused mischief, or even one which he holds in affection, that it might be used as a hostage, and destroyed if he should transgress again. Can be used in combination with other punishments.
(( Houses and property, items, imaginary or 'real' – it is all fair game. Good for punishing nobles or merchants, this also gives a little life to imaginary items that might be transferred to other ownerships and thus stimulate RP. Guards may wish to keep a record or simple list of such items so that they can use them, sell them, or give them back in future. ))
Of hand, finger, ear, nose, etc. A part of the felon's body should be cut off, either so that he might never use it again for crime, or that he shall bear always the disfigurement which is the wage of sin. The body part in question should fit the crime, viz: a thief may have his snatching hand removed, a pickpocket one of his nimble fingers (and one more each time he is caught), an eavesdropper his ear, and so on. The part should afterwards be sold to a local physician or doctor for the study of anatomy. It should not under any circumstances be sold to other persons on a 'black market' for the benefit of the Guards.
(( This punishment maintains some severity while still allowing players to come back from it, and they come away from the punishment having affected their character in some way. The injury they take away will stick with them and will be a hook for further RP – I mean, who wouldn't want to get a hook-hand? - and the fate of the body parts can provide some fun for guards and medic players. ))
A hot iron is used to brand a letter onto the skin of the felon, so that he shall forever bear the mark of his sin, a shameful sign that will show all others what sort he is. The best places are on the chest, the arm, or the palm of the hand. Certain letters should be used for particular classes of crime – e.g. 'T' for Thief if he has stolen property, 'M' for Malefactor if he has made violence against another, or caused a disorder in the peace, 'H' for Heretic if he has offended in religion, and so on. Can be used in addition to other punishments.
(( Again, gives the character in question a 'memento' of their crime, and allows them to use it in their future RP. Also allows the Guard to identify them in future, which could lead to some cool roleplay. ))
Felon is whipped with a length of rope in some private location for punishment, such as the courtyard of the Command Center. The number of lashes may be determined by the magistrate according to the severity of the crime, yet too many will cause serious injury or death ((or boredom)), so be wary. This may also be carried out public ally, so that crowds may gather to mock and marvel at the punishment.
(( Good and punitive, a flogging doesn't leave the same kind of mark that branding might but it allows the playing out of state-sponsored violence in public or otherwise – a pleasant thing, you'll agree. ))
The felon is placed with his hands, and possibly legs, through holes in a wooden stock, so that he cannot move, and is confined that way for whatever stretch the magistrate deems apt. It may be wise to station a guardsman nearby, to ensure no friends of the felon should gather and help him to escape.
(( A punishment that really gets the community involved, making a proper public event of it with rotten fruit and all. The criminal, though rooted to a spot, can continue to RP with people, and doesn't have to just sit around. ))
Ordinarily used for interrogation, torture may also be a punishment in itself, to scour a felon of sin and convince them of the error of their ways. Should take place inside the Stockade.
(( Fairly sadistic. Use with caution. ))
This punishment fits minor criminals, that they might be put to work, in the company of a watchful guardsman, helping the city in some way – removing graffiti, cleaning the streets, working as servants for upstanding members of the community, or whatever may be had. A common option is to bind the felon into the service of that whom he has wronged. Do not use for violent criminals.
(( Not sure precisely what this might entail, but it allows guards and criminals to roleplay about the city, providing the guard can think of some interesting task. “Community service” sounds far too modern, doesn't it? ))
The felon is put to hard work, preferably in company with others of his stripe, breaking rocks, digging graves, or whatever harsh task of labour is required of them.
(( Get a few criminals together and you might find things for them to do – although my mind is blank to think of particularly interesting tasks right now, the presence of the harbour and the lumber camp within Stormwind's vicinity means you can probably imagine something. One amusing idea is to harness criminals to an imaginary cart driven by a Guard (on their mount, while the criminals stand in front on foot), who then advertises it as a taxi service, free of charge to any law-abiding citizens. Alternatively, with this recent plague, good work for criminals might be using them to clear out remote areas of lingering Scourge bands. After all, if they die of plague, no loss, right? They could be sent down into crypts or into areas of dark forest with simple strips of cloth wound around their mouths...))
The felon is forced to serve a fixed term in the service of His Majesty's armed forces, that he might fight for the King's peace, which he has so grievously wronged.
(( A good option for unguilded criminals – negotiate with armed forces guilds, such as the 5th Rifles or the 13th Regiment, and so on, to see if they are willing to take on criminals, and under what conditions. If so, you can offer criminals a chance to temporarily – or permanently, if they like it – join or fight with one of these guilds. This can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! ))
The felon is kept in gaol. This is inadvisable; His Majesty has neither the money nor the desire to provide free housing for criminals at the expense of his own treasury. Felons should be gaoled until they can be properly punished, or otherwise only in the following circumstances, viz: if they are too violent or dangerous to be let free on the street, yet their lives are somehow valued by the Crown; if they possess information that might be of use to the Crown in the future and might in future be extracted; if other punishments are for some reason inappropriate; etc.
(( Not really a good option in most cases, unless the person in question is genuinely willing to keep their character locked up in the Stockade, or unless they are leaving the game temporarily – if permanently, execution is better. You should never put a person in prison unless they don't mind staying there. That said, prison would be a little better if you really did do the 'Prison Nights' idea. If there is regular RP in the prison, I think I for one would be quite happy to be in there for a week or two. ))
Order of Exclusion
The felon is forbidden from entering some part of the city, or performing some action, or holding some office, to keep him from the source of his sin. If he tramples people, do not let him near a horse; if he is violent in taverns, do not let him be seen with drink; if he is prone to seditious outbursts, do not let him play in a theatre, speak to a crowd, or publish in print.
(( Useful catch-all for specific things you want to forbid a criminal from doing. Can create some interesting RP, with loopholes and whatnot. ))
The felon is cast out and bidden not to return, on pain of death (by execution, not on sight). He may be forbidden to enter the city, or the province of Elwynn, or to ever set foot on His Majesty's soil, according to the severity of his crime.
(( an excellent punishment for serious or multiple crimes when the person doesn't want their character to be dead or in prison. It allows them to continue roleplaying, just not here – and if they do want to stay, they must use disguises or adopt fake identities. Can be temporary, although that doesn't have the same force. ))
The felon is sent from this earth, with prejudice, usually in public. There are several manners of execution and each has its best time.
By beheading with axe or sword – only for noblemen, or others similarly honoured. The blade must be sharp so that only one blow is required, and those executed are advised to give a gold coin to the executioner so that he ensures them a quick death. After decapitation the head shall be held up for the crowd.
By hanging by the neck – for commoners. Two drops are permissible:
- Short drop: the condemned should be placed atop a cart, horse, ladder, etc, which should be removed at the moment of hanging. The condemned will die slowly of strangulation.
- Standard drop, using a gallows or other high place, between four and six feet high – calculated to break the neck of the condemned, causing swift death.
In cases of High Treason, the condemned may also be drawn and quartered.
By firing squad – for serving soldiers, and traitors in war-time (such as those convicted of aiding the Horde or Legion). The condemned shall stand against a wall (a blind-fold is permitted) and upon the mark, three to five soldiers will fire their guns into him, so that he dies instantly. The soldiers should be told that one of the guns contains a blank shot, allowing them to believe that they have not killed. (( Make sure emotes are synchronised! ))
By burning at the stake – for heresy and witch-craft, the condemned shall be tied to an upright post with fuel heaped at its bottom, and consumed – for heresy and witch-craft, the condemned shall be tied to an upright post with fuel heaped at its bottom, and consumed in flames (rarely used).