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Public Executions.


Darius West

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In Glorantha, the death penalty is largely ubiquitous for any number of crimes across all major cultures.  Non-Lunar citizens who perform capital crimes against the Lunar Empire are likely to face crucifixion i.e. they are nailed to a wooden death rune, which denies them the possibility of resurrection.  I believe I have read about criminals being buried alive in Esrolia.  What else do we know about public executions as practiced in various Gloranthan societies?

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Malia worshippers are killed, preferably from a distance, and their houses and possessions are burned.

Orlanthi on the few occasions they capture and execute a traitor rather than just killing them probably fling the traitor  off a cliff, and let Orlanth choose whether to grant them clemency.

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Guide p. 279, Safelster Regional Activity Table: "Agent from Kingdom of Seshnela discovered undermining the city; public execution scheduled for the morning."

Guide p. 555, Fonrit Regional Activity Table: "Public execution." (This is Common, even.) 

It's unclear whether Kralorelan exuctions are public, but I would think it fits their style.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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In Caladraland they could be thrown into active volcanoes.

I can see people being thrown off cliffs amongst the Orlanthi - If Orlanth helps them they can fly.

Being trampled by Earthshakers might work for Maran Gori.

I remember watching Hang them High, when I was much younger, and being both fascinated, and appalled, by the public hanging. A lovely day out with a bit of excitement at the ned.

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Does anyone know if there any culture that performs hangings?  IRL history it was (and in some places remains) a preferred method for mass executions because rope is cheap, and trees are plentiful.

The literature implies that if someone is due an execution in Orlanthi lands that a weaponthane basically just runs them through.  No decapitations, just a stab through the opening in the clavicle and into the heart with a straight blade, most likely.  I would personally not want to execute a Malia worshipper this way, as it involves close physical proximity.  Better to send them to a fire.

Edited by Darius West
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Just now, Darius West said:

Does anyone know if there any culture that performs hangings?

In the Westfaring, when Orlanth and co. came to the shore, didn't they find Eurmal being hanged?  If so, may suggest that the practice exists in the West.

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16 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

In the Westfaring, when Orlanth and co. came to the shore, didn't they find Eurmal being hanged?  If so, may suggest that the practice exists in the West.

That sounds familiar and it would make sense.

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Well, not every culture is going to make a spectacle out of public executions or have a very elaborate way of executing criminals, in the same way that not every culture mutilates or imprisons criminals. Sartarites and Praxians, IMO, are probably pretty casual when it comes to killing outsiders who commit crimes; just stab them dead, dump the body in a ditch somewhere, and go about your day.

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11 hours ago, Darius West said:

Does anyone know if there any culture that performs hangings?

There's an obvious 'air' trope here, given that short-drop hanging is essentially asphyxiation.  So it might be an Orlanthi thing for the most horrific offences that are formally 'capital crimes' -- consorting with chaos, spreading disease, etc -- as opposed to the 'outlawry with intent to kill' or modifications of that method.  (i.e. if there's no "head start" involved or the outlaw makes no attempt to use one, then it's the 'weaponthane and a sword' (or axe, spear, or maul, YEMV) method, give or take variable activity levels on the part of the condemned.  You could, at a push, see long-drop hanging as a variation on the "throwing off a cliff" method, with a bit of insurance as to reliability thrown in.  Or conversely it might be seen as too horrific, by the same logic.

 

11 hours ago, Darius West said:

I would personally not want to execute a Malia worshipper this way, as it involves close physical proximity.  Better to send them to a fire.

Curiously the Orlanthi seem to regard cremation and even immolation by fire as an especially noble means of disposal.  Not that it'd be ruled out for disease and chaos, either!

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On 10/26/2021 at 1:42 PM, Akhôrahil said:

It's unclear whether Kralorelan exuctions are public, but I would think it fits their style.

Or as a plot twist/change of pace from these various other public methods, the court issues an immensely detailed judgement of how it'll be carried out, then publishes an more meticulous and lengthy report about it afterwards.  No doubt including what fates in the afterlife their various soul-parts are being assigned to.

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1 hour ago, Alex said:

Or as a plot twist/change of pace from these various other public methods, the court issues an immensely detailed judgement of how it'll be carried out, then publishes an more meticulous and lengthy report about it afterwards.  No doubt including what fates in the afterlife their various soul-parts are being assigned to.

Heh... I once delivered a decree of execution to a neighbor (he'd pushed me into the swimming pool as I'd come home from work -- fortunately no electronics on me at the time). It ran something like:

... to be hanged by the neck until near death, cut down; a blood eagle (lungs pulled out through slits to represent wings) to be cut into his back; his guts to be drawn out & then quartered by four teams of horses; the parts to be fed to hogs; the hogs to be slaughtered and burned; the ashes to be scattered in the woods.

Date of execution to be Samhain. I think I actually had him worried as he didn't want to come out of his apartment on that day.

In the meantime I'd made a very poor doll, using twine (dipped in blue and red ink) for the guts, an oven-bake clay head... Couldn't figure out how to fit balloons for the lungs (and no teams of horses in the complex <G>). Did do the hanging, and drawing out of guts...

 

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13 hours ago, Alex said:

There's an obvious 'air' trope here, given that short-drop hanging is essentially asphyxiation.  So it might be an Orlanthi thing for the most horrific offences that are formally 'capital crimes' -- consorting with chaos, spreading disease, etc -- as opposed to the 'outlawry with intent to kill' or modifications of that method

n.b. there's an obvious Axe-based execution for sufficiently-heinous crimes against the Earth, or the community, or etc...
 

to wit, a B.Gori Axe-Sister decides it's time that person dies...

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13 hours ago, Monty Lovering said:

Is the crucification-stops-ressurection thing actual canon?

IIRC it's canon that the Lunars use it for (some) executions.   And it's certainly canonical what the shape of the Death Rune is...  That it might prevent or hinder or hinder to some degree resurrection has certainly been around for quite a while, and hasn't been ritually rubbished as a weak-ass fan theory by the IP holder at any point that I can think of, but that doesn't technically canonify it.

 

13 hours ago, Monty Lovering said:

Obviously doesn't work here on round world, button the lozenge?

Buttoning my lip on that first part!

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17 hours ago, g33k said:

n.b. there's an obvious Axe-based execution for sufficiently-heinous crimes against the Earth, or the community, or etc...
 

to wit, a B.Gori Axe-Sister decides it's time that person dies...

That's essentially how most "executions" for "crimes" work among the Orlanthi.  Either with or without the legal formality of outlawry beforehand to facilitate this without the messiness of kinstrife, feud, or violation of hospitality.

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How about Fonrit, impalement perhaps? Possibly also beheading, burning and stoning depending on the crime or social status of the condemned. One advantage of impalement is it doesn't damage the skeleton or major musculature so would be ideal for victims intended to be subsequently raised as undead.

What about pressing? It seems earthy to me.

Edited by simonh

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On 10/27/2021 at 5:50 AM, Darius West said:

Does anyone know if there any culture that performs hangings?  IRL history it was (and in some places remains) a preferred method for mass executions because rope is cheap, and trees are plentiful.

The literature implies that if someone is due an execution in Orlanthi lands that a weaponthane basically just runs them through.  No decapitations, just a stab through the opening in the clavicle and into the heart with a straight blade, most likely.  I would personally not want to execute a Malia worshipper this way, as it involves close physical proximity.  Better to send them to a fire.

I feel like somewhere I read that Orlanthi hang Tricksters. Slow hanging makes sense as an Orlanthi execution because it robs the victim of air. Also if Orlanth loves you, you don't dangle, you fly, so you'd survive (as long as it's a slow hanging as opposed to a sharp drop).

 

EDITTED:

Just saw Eric's post saying the same thing, essentially, so this is really just an "I agree with Eric."

Edited by RHW
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10 hours ago, RHW said:

I feel like somewhere I read that Orlanthi hang Tricksters.

In the special case of Eurmali, I can't help but think of the Tarot Hanged Man, dangling by a foot.  Can't even do that the same way as right-minded, clean-living folk!  Which as a punishment is either much more lenient, being non-fatal in the first instance...  or even worse.  Starve slowly to death, crows peck out your eyeballs.  At night, ice-weasels come...

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5 hours ago, Alex said:

In the special case of Eurmali, I can't help but think of the Tarot Hanged Man, dangling by a foot.  Can't even do that the same way as right-minded, clean-living folk!  Which as a punishment is either much more lenient, being non-fatal in the first instance...  or even worse.  Starve slowly to death, crows peck out your eyeballs.  At night, ice-weasels come...

From the Wikipedia page on the tarot card, this is apparently reflective of a relatively common method of execution in Italy back in the day:

Quote

A 1393 decree for Milan and Lombardy of the punishment for traitors: “Let him be drug [dragged] on a [wooden] plank at a horse’s tail to the place of execution, and there be suspended by one foot to the gallows, and be left there until he is dead. As long as he lives let him be given food and drink.”

 

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21 minutes ago, Leingod said:

From the Wikipedia page on the tarot card, this is apparently reflective of a relatively common method of execution in Italy back in the day:

Interesting -- in a 'fake curse' and 'utterly horrific' sort of way.  That the victim is being actively fed during the process surprises me a little, and I suppose implies it's an even slower version of death by crucifixion -- eventually the victim succumbs to some cardiopulmonary complication, sepsis, or some miscellaneous other malady.

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The only times my character imposed public executions from the position of king were with war captives.  In one case the culprit was guilty of crimes against duck-kind (the great duck hunt), so the manner of punishment was left to the discretion of a duck weaponthane from my character's community.  execution was rendered right there on the battlefield, while others were tending the wounded and stripping the dead; I seem to recall he ran the prisoner through, then burned his duck-feather cloak.  no great fanfare.

the other time was with foreign mercenaries proven to be in league with chaos cults, specifically thanatar and cacodemon.  our community was founded on battle against chaos monsters, and very few rules of war were being observed on either side.  those prisoners my character gave to the Kyger Litor and Zorak Zoran cults, as sacrifices towards magic for the decisive clash.  The executions were quite public: visually, if you could see in the dark, and audibly, as the cries echoed up from the caves beneath our city for some time.

these are cases of a troll king rendering judgment in an extremely heterogenous community, using mostly Esrolian practice as guidelines, and so wouldn't be a good model for many places outside the old Kingdom of Night

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