Society Models

Crime and Punishment

Author Keith Baker

Series Campaign Style

Publisher Atlas Games

Publish date 2003


Needless to say, an omnipotent god is difficult to reflect in game terms; you could choose to give the priests of such a god access to all domains (as their god is all things) or you could limit domains to the most abstract concepts, like Good and Law for a benevolent divine overlord.

Society Models

A nation dedicated to the god of Strength and War would be an aggressive and militaristic nation. Justice would most likely involve trial by combat, and duels would be a common method of resolving disputes. Any theocracy dedicated to a War god is likely to try to spread its influence through conquest and crusade, to better display the power of the god.

The goddess of Water and Travel would inspire a nation to focus on trade and naval power. The people of such a nation might spend much of their lives on giant houseboats, or even create floating cities.

A god of Nature and Animals would result in a strongly agricultural nation; such a country might avoid the construction of large cities and other structures that come between the people and the land.

A realm devoted to the goddess of Knowledge and Magic would place a tremendous emphasis on education and learning. Physical violence would be abhorred, and any sort of aggressive behavior would be punished. Magic would be an integral part of law, both for determining guilt and enacting punishments.

In a nation that revered the god of Luck and Trickery, the only crime would be getting caught! A court of justice might literally involve the roll of a die or spinning of a wheel to determine the fate of the victim; alternately, the defendant might play a game with his accuser, or get to engage in a bluffing contest.

The Nature of Crime

In a nation dedicated to a goddess of War, murder may not be considered a crime as long as the target has a chance to defend himself. If the goddess is of good alignment, this rule may only apply to combat between equals; however, an evil goddess may see the weak as being unfit to live. In either nation, assassination would be considered a truly vile crime as it denies the warrior the chance to die in battle.

On the other had, in the nation of a god of Trickery and Evil, assassination may be perfectly acceptable; it could be that if no one sees the crime, the guard won’t even investigate. But outright street violence goes against the teachings of the god and must be punished. Likewise, in the realm of a god of Trickery, crimes like fraud and theft are unlikely to be investigated; however, a criminal caught in the act will be punished for her incompetence.

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