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honor and capital sentence (or other justice decision)


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to be clear I am just talking about glorantha, I m not discussing about what is good or not irl.

 

Let's say a leader like Ned Stark in game of thrones... He is described in wikipedia as "known for his sense of honor and justice"

and.. I ask myself about Glorantha.

Does a guy who decides the death of people (ok bad people but people) and cut himself their head  an honorable man ?

We have in rqg a list of not honorable acts (and what could be the interpretation in this "justice" case) :

  • attacking an unarmed foe => an unarmed prisonner
  • killing a guest => a guest who did some bad things
  • killing kinfolk =>  a brother/cousin who did some bad things.

Does that mean that only unhonorable people pronounce and/or perform capitale sentence ?

In my opinion, if the crime is rather important, the only thing honor will provide is "be fair",don't care the status of the guilty (guest, kinfolk ...)and as it is not an attack, and not a foe but a criminal, providing death is not dishonorable.

Or does that mean the judge has to ban the guy (so no more guest, no more kinfolk), give him/her weapons (so no more unarmed),  and then organize a "hunt"  ? (I don't think attacking one person with 10 thanes more honorable by the way)

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6 hours ago, metcalph said:

Even among the Orlanthi, performing an execution is not a dishonorable act.  

I think I would rather say "Especially among the Orlanthi"! 

The Westerosi principle is that it is dishonourable to sentence someone and to be unwilling to execute them yourself.  Amongst the Orlanthi justice can be determined in a number of ways, and I would expect capital crimes to find their justice expressed in many ways - exile, execution, thralldom, spirits of reprisal etc.

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13 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Does a guy who decides the death of people (ok bad people but people) and cut himself their head  an honorable man ?

Leaders often have executioners for this exact reason. It might be dishonourable for the leader to do it but not for the executioner.

13 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

We have in rqg a list of not honorable acts (and what could be the interpretation in this "justice" case) :

  • attacking an unarmed foe => an unarmed prisonner
  • killing a guest => a guest who did some bad things
  • killing kinfolk =>  a brother/cousin who did some bad things.

Does that mean that only unhonorable people pronounce and/or perform capitale sentence ?

If the execution is against kin, or a guest under the rules of hospitality, then that could well be deemed dishonourable. If not then the leader is probably OK.

Killing an unarmed foe might be fine if you give the foe a dagger or something similar. It is then quite honourable.

One of the PCs in our RQ2/RQ3 game had weapon geases, Never use a Shield and, I think, never use an Axe, so he was sentenced to death by Combat and given an axe and a shield to defend himself, so he dropped them, grabbed his attacker's arm, ripped it off and beat him to death with the bloody end, because he did not have a prohibition against using crushing weapons.

 

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I'd imagine outright executions on a clan level are very rare. These are mostly family and neighbors, mind you, so it has to take a lot of either centralized power or social pressure to have that kind of thing happen. 

The equivalent of an "execution" between clans might simply be a retaliatory raid. An eye for an eye, for example. It doesn't matter, in principle, if you get the actual guy you wanted dead, so long as you get something of roughly equal value. Some kind of kinsman. Ask the Icelanders or the Albanians. Keep in mind, the Orlanthi justice system, much like many historical societies, is group-based, not really individual (except when it is, lol).

If you manage to capture someone who belongs to a party your party has sufficient grievances with, killing them is probably pretty accepted. It's not profitable, as you can't ransom them, and you might be forced, eventually, to pay weregild, but that depends entirely on if the opposing party manages to press the issue well enough, and whether any internal factors oppose the killing (maybe there are in-laws). 

I'm not sure I would get too hung up on the "unarmed" bit. It sounds too idealized to me. If he was armed when he committed the misdeed maybe that counts well enough. Point is, if the powers that be want someone dead, they're going to make it happen.

There are all sorts of (legal/moral) mechanisms by which executions can happen, and all sorts of (legal/moral) ways to legitimize them. 

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From Andrin's Words - In shame I pronounce their crimes, for they sicken my breath as I speak.

To murder in secret as a coward or an ogre; to murder a king in his sevens; to steal the breath of another that they die, or to curse in secret and to hide one's face, or to slay a guest in your house; to act as a broo with a woman, man, child, or beast; to speak that which is holy to those who are not; to betray or desecrate the true lands, the holy places, their buildings, or their temples; to kill or eat the flesh of a consecrated beast; to befoul oneself in consorting with the Predark; to breed disease; to deny the clan of one's birth outside the bounds of a lawful god.

Thunder Rebels, page 44

Edited by Ali the Helering
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20 hours ago, soltakss said:

Leaders often have executioners for this exact reason. It might be dishonourable for the leader to do it but not for the executioner.

Or as was often the case historically, it was personally dishonorable for the executioner as well, but why would the leader be concerned about that - that's what the executioner is there for! In Europe, the executioner could often be someone pardoned from execution himself in order to take on the job, or something like that.

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Or as was often the case historically, it was personally dishonorable for the executioner as well, but why would the leader be concerned about that - that's what the executioner is there for! In Europe, the executioner could often be someone pardoned from execution himself in order to take on the job, or something like that.

I remember reading about the development of the executioner position in Denmark-Norway. They attempted to "professionalize" the position by, among other things, giving them a new title and standardizing a salary. However, it remained a socially dubious position that few people would accept.

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On 5/29/2021 at 6:21 PM, French Desperate WindChild said:

Does that mean that only unhonorable (dishonorable) people pronounce and/or perform capital sentence ?

The fact is that in most societies the job of being an executioner marked a person as being dishonorable, and often made them a social outcast.

This of course begs the response, "Wait... isn't the person who demands the execution then the dishonorable one?  After all, they are just passing the dishonor to another person for coin.  Surely an honorable person who sentences someone to death should also have the moral conviction to perform the execution?"  This brings the point of honor into question.

The fact is, once a person is convicted of a capital crime (attracting a death penalty), someone will have to perform the execution.  For the person in authority to take on that responsibility is highly unusual, but assuming that they don't obviously relish the bloodletting, and they afford the condemned person appropriate respect, there is no need to lose honor over it imo.  A well conducted execution may even promote a leader's honor to some small degree. 

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To some degree this is based not so much on conceptual guilt of action ("the person who condemned them is as guilty of killing as the person who executed them"), but rather of ritual purity ("it is the literal act of killing that is polluting"). We see ideas like this repeating in lots of different cultures worldwide, not just with people but with animals (hereditary Tibetan, Japanese and Indian butchers and leatherworkers come to mind, as does the taboo of ancient Hebrew kohenim from touching deceased people, etc.) as well, which perhaps shouldn't surprise us, given that it shields the wealthy and powerful. 

Now, whether this applies to the Orlanthi, I have no idea. 

But it might be a reason why outlawry is so common, perhaps it's mainly a way to get around having to kill kinsmen in particular.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Thanks for your answers, guys !

this conducts me to an associated question in fact, probably the same point

57 minutes ago, Darius West said:

The fact is, once a person is convicted of a capital crime (attracting a death penalty), someone will have to perform the execution. 

This sentence gave me a resonance:

 

should the law / tradition in a "honorable" society define death penaly as apropriate punishment ? (at least Orlanthi say honor is a virtue and have to follow it, so they think they are honorable.)

Is there a myth where/when Orlanth punish one of his tribe with death ? Not because he was angry but because he was fair ?

After all, if the "judge" follows the community's rule and the executionneer applies the judgement, the question is not the judge's honor or executionneer's honor but more the community's honor ?

 

 

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I have an question that is somewhat related to this topic: how do Sartarites deal with the prisoners like Tusk riders and such, who will not be able to pay any ransom or wergild for the crimes they have done. I assume they'll be executed, but who does it and how? Will the local thane (like if there was one in Apple Lane) make the decision or does it need to be someone higher, like clan chief or tribal king? Will it be hanging, burning, what? 

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8 minutes ago, JohannesH said:

I have an question that is somewhat related to this topic: how do Sartarites deal with the prisoners like Tusk riders and such, who will not be able to pay any ransom or wergild for the crimes they have done. I assume they'll be executed, but who does it and how? Will the local thane (like if there was one in Apple Lane) make the decision or does it need to be someone higher, like clan chief or tribal king? Will it be hanging, burning, what? 

Might be less of a "capture them and execute them after deliberation"-situation, and more of a "no quarters given"-kind of deal. Immediate killing wherever is most convenient, at first opportunity, as it were. 

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Let's say some of those Tusk riders from the Apple Lane scenario are caught alive, or some other nasty murderhobos. As I imagine there is some kind of will to keep things under control, and maybe make them an example for other scoundrels. 

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Tusk riders are beasts, you don't murder them, you hunt them 😛

From my perspective you don't judge them for their acts, If you take them alive it is for a good reason, like prisoners exchange or thing like that. Not to bring justice.

Of course you may have "accident" : one is found wounded but alive.

Without honor: kill them

With honor: use them as beast (slave) or give them to Babeester Gor, that is an earth issue after all.

But the main question here, is more what could do the tusk rider(s) ?

Does a tusk rider in bad position accept to be prisoneer (fearing to be tortured by bad men in the same way his people torture its own prisoners) ?

A "good" tusk rider will try anything to kill or be killed in my opinion

Does the tusk rider's clan accept a weak member, someone who needs help to be free ?

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

But it might be a reason why outlawry is so common

Outlawry is common because the Orlanthi don't have (or believe in) incarceration, which is for crazy Sun People to do. You do something heinous, you're out on your ass, not locked into a weird house with guards. Or they kill you, if it's worse.

This is how humans dealt with serious crime before a juridical legal system like that of the Romans or the Akkadian Empire was adopted. Without support systems, you couldn't survive, so crime it up and you lose that; crime it up heinously and they just cut your neck to be sure you're dead.

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Outlawry is common because the Orlanthi don't have (or believe in) incarceration, which is for crazy Sun People to do. You do something heinous, you're out on your ass, not locked into a weird house with guards. Or they kill you, if it's worse.

This is how humans dealt with serious crime before a juridical legal system like that of the Romans or the Akkadian Empire was adopted. Without support systems, you couldn't survive, so crime it up and you lose that; crime it up heinously and they just cut your neck to be sure you're dead.

There's all sorts of reasons why outlawry is a thing, sure, such as the unfeasability of keeping someone a prisoner at all in a decentralized subsistence context, although enslavement as a punishment is clearly something Orlanthi will do if there's an incentive for it (Esrolia being a heavy outlier, although more for debt than violent crimes). 

My point is more that outlawry can be a convenient way to end an internal conflict without agitating and involving social obligations. A bloodline that has a member executed might carry a grudge for who knows how long (enough to destabilize a clan, maybe?). A bloodline that has a member outlawed might, conceivably, care less. It's dishonoring, but less public and dramatic. 

I'm speculating, obvs.

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5 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Is there a myth where/when Orlanth punish one of his tribe with death ? Not because he was angry but because he was fair ?

IDK about an actual myth, but there are certainly crimes in Orlanthi society that carry a death penalty.  They include:

Poisoning wells, spreading disease, rape, slaying a guest, slaying a host, breaking exile, betrayal/treason, having a chaos feature, secret murder.

The list isn't likely to be complete. 

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4 hours ago, JohannesH said:

I have an question that is somewhat related to this topic: how do Sartarites deal with the prisoners like Tusk riders

As Captain Renault said:  "We haven't quite decided yet whether he committed suicide or died trying to escape"

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Official execution implies you keep a criminal alive, and who has the resources to do that, unless you are expecting a ransom? Maybe someone who really upsets the tribe will be kept alive for the next holy day.
 

There are plenty of cults active in Orlanthi society which have no problem with gruesome executions, so someone who hurts a woman would probably just be handed over to Barbeester Gore fanatics, providing everyone can watch.

Edited by EricW
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15 hours ago, Darius West said:

IDK about an actual myth, but there are certainly crimes in Orlanthi society that carry a death penalty.  They include:

Poisoning wells, spreading disease, rape, slaying a guest, slaying a host, breaking exile, betrayal/treason, having a chaos feature, secret murder.

The list isn't likely to be complete. 

I quote my earlier reply

On 5/30/2021 at 4:48 PM, Ali the Helering said:

From Andrin's Words - In shame I pronounce their crimes, for they sicken my breath as I speak.

To murder in secret as a coward or an ogre; to murder a king in his sevens; to steal the breath of another that they die, or to curse in secret and to hide one's face, or to slay a guest in your house; to act as a broo with a woman, man, child, or beast; to speak that which is holy to those who are not; to betray or desecrate the true lands, the holy places, their buildings, or their temples; to kill or eat the flesh of a consecrated beast; to befoul oneself in consorting with the Predark; to breed disease; to deny the clan of one's birth outside the bounds of a lawful god.

Thunder Rebels, page 44

 

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