Crime and Punishment
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003
While in stocks, your movement rate is reduced to zero. You lose your Dexterity bonus to AC and take an additional -7 penalty to your Armor Class, and you’re effectively flat-footed. If your hands are left free you can perform any action that you could do while sitting. You take a -2 circumstance penalty on any melee attack roll due to your limited ability to move, however. Wooden stocks have a Hardness value of 5 and 30 hit points; you can break free of the stocks with a Strength check (DC 24). Iron stocks have a Hardness value of 10 and 60 hit points, and require a Strength check of DC 27 in order to break free. The stocks are held closed by a lock. Depending on the number of people the stocks are designed to hold, you may not be close enough to reach the lock; even if you are, you’ll take a -5 circumstance penalty on any Open
Lock checks due to your awkward position. If you make a successful Escape Artist check (DC 30) you can slip your legs free.
If you’re trapped in a pillory, your movement rate and AC are both reduced to zero. You lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC and are considered to be a helpless opponent. You cannot cast spells requiring somatic components. You cannot use skills involving any sort of physical motion, but you can still use Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge, or similar skills – although you get a -3 circumstance penalty on any use of Intimidate.
A wooden pillory has a Hardness value of 5 and 30 hit points, but it is extremely difficulty to force your way free from it; this requires a successful Strength check (DC 27). An iron pillory has a Hardness value of 10, 60 hit points, and a Strength check DC of 30. Like the stocks, a pillory is held closed by a lock. However, it’s impossible to reach this lock while you’re actually in the pillory. It’s also difficult to squeeze your head out using Escape Artist (DC 35).
If you’re left in the stocks or a pillory for an extended period of time, you may have to worry about starvation, dehydration, or exposure. But in the short term, the greater danger is the crowd. If your crime is minor, you may simply be subjected to ridicule; people may pelt you with rotten vegetables or other refuse. But if the public wants blood, there’s nothing to stop them from taking it, whether this means stoning you to death or getting in close and slitting your throat. Generally, you won’t be placed in the stocks if the justice truly believes that the crowd wants you dead; in such a case, you’re far more likely to be beheaded. It’s quicker for you, and it lets the people have a show.
Healing the Guilty
For more extreme situations – crimes where there is no way to punish the criminal without causing more death, or horrors have been committed that shock a community to its core – there is always the potential for magic to solve the problem. The spell steal the painful memory allows a priest to wipe the knowledge of an event from the minds of an entire community. This may mean that a criminal actually escapes justice. But sometimes being able to set aside the past and move forward with the future is more important than the need for vengeance.
New Spell: Steal the Painful Memory