Law and Justice in the CG

Most things that would be considered a crime in modern societies are likewise a crime in Continuing Game society: theft, murder, assault, blackmail, and so on. Except where noted below, these are defined the same as in the real world.

Murder is unusually punished by death; manslaughter sometimes is. Assault (which may include use of mind-influencing spells) is usually punished by a fine, depending on the nature of the assault and the rank of the injured party. Theft and vandalism are punished by fines or cutting off of hands.

Slavery is illegal in the Northern countries. Southern lands (Marakhin and Kiljukan) sometimes practice slavery, especially on non-human races. (Note that the Law-Abiding and Law-Enforcing disadvantages prevent you from engaging in slavery, regardless of your country of origin.)

Lastly, there are crimes against social order, a necessarily broad topic with equally broad punishments. Crimes against social order may include brawling, heresy, irresponsible use of magic, public insult, public drunkenness, rioting, unlawful use of mind-influencing (Test of Will) spells, usurpation of noble rights (including High Justice), and so on. Punishments vary depending on the severity of the crime and on who you have offended.

High Treason (threatening or conspiring against the king and his family) is also a capital offense. Low Treason (e.g., assaulting the king's offers) is punished depending on the nature of the crime. 

(Note that "democracy" is treasonous, since it implies that the king should be dethroned and the government handed over to serfs. But more importantly, it's not period, since Hesket is a land where "divine right" is a given, and ruling power comes with station and high birth. Similarly, feudalism is considered a perfectly valid, not oppressive, form of government, where each class has a series of obligations to the next higher class, who in turn protect the classes below it.)

In general, law applies only to civilized areas under the protection of a lord, and is enforced in proportion to the closeness to the lord or his representative. In a lord's walled town, the law is strictly enforced. On the roads of his domains, it is somewhat more lax, though a clear violation will still bring his justice. In the wilds where no lord rules, there are no laws. 

Outlaw

A person who commits a crime may be declared an outlaw. This means that they are literally outside the law—the law will not protect them or recognize them in any way.

Duels

Dueling is legal. Ideally, it is a formal affair with legal sanctions and a healer/priest in attendance, but as long as both participants are willing, both have the same weapons and each has a witness or second, the duel is considered fair. Duels are not obligatory (though you may be called coward if you refuse) nor are they always to the death. Duels are only fought between freemen: trying to challenge a serf to a duel is silly.

Similarly, when a case is about honor or question of honor, it may be judged by a trial by combat. Every effort is made to keep these trails fair, with champions of roughly equal skill and weapons.

Justice

Who has the Right of Justice?

Justice is the exclusive right of the nobility, and you must be at least a knight to possess justice. Priests and mages occasionally have Rights of Justice, but this is usually due to noble birth rather than their rank or trade. In general, the further a noble is from central authority, the greater his or her right of justice. An important noble in a city might possess only the ability to pose fines, whereas a border lord on the frontier might be able to issue capital punishment ("high justice").

Often, when the right is granted by a King, there are conditions to the right. A forester might have full Rights of Justice to those in a forest, but no rights whatsoever outside it. The lord of a manor has full (High) Justice over the serfs bound to his land, but no such right to those outside his land, or to freemen living in his domains.

Players and Legal Powers

Realistically, player characters who are knights, nobility, and other authority figures should have appropriate powers to enforce the law.  However, realism must take a back seat to the proper functioning of the game. It can really screw things up if a player attempts to supercede the authority figure(s) that the GMs have made for the game. In general, players should not expect to be able to use their "realistic" legal powers, unless the GMs are willing. And the GMs' decision is final; remember that the GMs have to keep in mind the enjoyment of all the players, not just one.

What is High Justice?

High Justice is the right to sentence executions, and is normally held only by nobles, sheriffs, and the like.  These figures may have limits on their High Justice, as noted above. High Justice is a right granted by the Vicars of the Collegium. The granting of this right is performed by an Anointer, who must be a priest of Nen (since only Nen, the judge of souls, can delegate the right to decide life and death).

Executions and Resurrection

A formal execution in Hesket includes the casting of Spirit Speed and the burial of the criminal's corpse. Since resurrection magic is so rare, it is not reasonable to assume the criminal will be get raised from the dead. It is illegal to resurrect or restore to life any criminal legally executed; they've been sentenced to death, and this death is supposed to be permanent. (Miraculous events, e.g. Miracles, are the one exception here.)

Though the death sentence is supposed to be permanent, the law recognizes that, rarely, a figure is brought back to life. Is the person to be executed again on the spot? Well, that depends. It is recognized that a few months in the hells tend to straighten out even the most incorrigible criminals, and death is seen as a very purifying experience. Thus, by ancient law recognized throughout Hesket, anyone who is executed and returned to life more than six months after their death is regarded as having been purified and their former crimes pardoned (if not forgotten) as far as the law is concerned. After all, the gods saw it fit to let the person's spirit come back, and who are you to argue? However, individuals restored within six months of execution are violating their sentence, and will be re-executed.

There is one exception to this law, and that is if the sentence is proclaimed to be "binding beyond death." This is very rarely done, and only if a person's crimes are so horrific that it is thought that the demons of the hells will welcome the criminal as a brother rather than another sinner to be tormented. If a sentence is proclaimed as binding beyond death, there is no forgiveness, ever. The criminal's body is usually dismembered and the pieces burned or buried separately, bound with curses never to rise again. If he somehow does return, this process will be repeated, ad infinitum.

Note: The custom of six months is important, and anyone coming back after being dead that long should come back substantially changed. This must be roleplayed. Those who return before the six months is up are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but in general such occurrences are treated as a botched execution, and the subject executed more carefully the second time around. Also note that even if the law forgives your crimes, this does not mean it is wise or safe to settle among those who your crimes have harmed.

Incidentally, a similar process applies to other corporal punishments (e.g. regenerating a hand that was removed for theft), though the law may dictate a particular length of time other than six months for dismemberments. Having the limb healed does not automatically mean the law will remove it again -- only if it is healed within the specified time frame. As with the restoring of life to the executed, it is illegal to heal another's limb that was severed as a punishment, if the healing is done within the specified time frame.

Mutilation and regeneration:

The law passes judgment and the criminal's limb is removed. On Earth, that's that. In the CG, it can be regenerated. While such regeneration is illegal, once the PC leaves that area, how is anyone to know? Thus, there exist holy items that can be used to place the Mark of Nen on someone. Such an item, a Brand of Nen, may only be used by someone with Middle Justice or High Justice.

The Mark of Nen is an indelible "N" brand. It can thus mark outlawry, limbs that may not be regenerated, etc. It cannot be healed or removed by any normal process (including Dispel Magic, or severing and regenerating the limb); only death and resurrection will remove it. The Mark fades after the specified time. This allows sentences like losing a limb to be effectively enforced.

A brand on a limb indicates that the rest of the limb should be cut off and not regenerated (leaving the mark just above the cut). A brand on the cheek indicates an outlaw (however, it's only there if the outlaw was once captured), and a brand on the forehead indicates someone who should be dead.

Note that the Mark does not prevent the limb or person from being healed; it just indicates that performing such a healing is illegal, and anyone bearing a Mark may have the punishment re-enacted by anyone at any time.

Miracles and the Law

It is already established that Fendel can raise even executed criminals. It is clear that with the possibility of mutilation and receiving the Mark of Nen, there are sentences that (for a PC with Miracles left) are worse than death. A PC may, with GWC permission, spend a Miracle to eliminate any corporal punishment or other penalty assigned in-game. Thus, if a character is reduced to an "unplayable" state, they can be restored with just a Miracle, explained as some miraculous escape from judgment.

Spells and the law

There are certain spells (most notably Truth and Interrogate) that are massively invasive of privacy (and can also take a lot of fun out of an investigation). The use of any TOW can be considered assault by the law, and is illegal. There are two exceptions: when the subject has given permission, and during an actual trial.