Tuesday, February 28, 2012

River Freedoms

Another thing I wanted to point out is the six river freedoms.

This looks like a fairly important aspect of the upcoming game, while many of us are lawful we are trying to become rulers of a chaotic neutral nation.  While there is little in the way of formal laws or tolerance for formal laws there are traditions that the vast majority of people here follow.  Its important that we work with these traditions if we want to get anywhere with these people.

Here are the traditions:
Say What You Will, I Live Free
Basically this means freedom of speech, anyone can say pretty much anything in the river kingdoms.  This does not cover the consequences of free speech, so you can knock someone's teeth in for talking smack about you but any attempt to actually censor people will be looked upon as one of the vilest forms of oppression possible.

Oathbreakers Die
There is almost nothing in the way of formal laws in the river kingdom, but this is perhaps the most important is that when you swear an oath you better mean it.  Oaths are how things get done, if you want people to take you seriously you need to make oaths and hold them sacred.  In a region where chaos reigns people who keep their oaths are what people depend on.  When we become rulers we need to swear oaths to the people and when we take on retainers we need to swear oaths to each other, it is very important that people take oaths seriously.

Also it would be a great help if Carden Shaw took the orison Brand so we can mark people who have broken oaths.  If your character believes in nothing else he should believe that when a man gives his word he should mean it.

Walk Any Road, Float Any River
We need to take care to be seen as generally benevolent and true to our word because one of the key rights of all people in the river kingdoms is the right to just pack your **** and hit the road.  If we tax people to much or don't protect them adequately they can just leave sticking us with empty towns and fields.  Its one of the reasons why its so important that we be seen as oath keepers, because if we are not offering a good deal to our citizenry then they will go to someone who is.  That said, this is medieval times and the night is dark and full of terrors, as long as it looks like we are trying and there is room to prosper we should have people but keep this in mind:  If we suck, people can just leave.

Courts Are For Kings
Basically this is a expression of the idea of sovereign territory, in our land people from the other river kingdom are expected to regard us as rulers but in their lands we are supposed to extend them the same courtesy.  I recommend we make a practice of the idea that visiting nobles and diplomats can rope off a small area and temporarily call that patch of land their sovereign territory so that other nations extend us the same courtesy.  Its for this reason I feel we should have a communal fund to purchase important items like pavilion tents, flags, tabards, signet rings and other symbols of office so that we be regarded seriously as rulers.

Slavery is an Abomination

Pretty simple, no slavery is allowed.  I should point out that this makes a prison system where people are jailed or forced into community service difficult, which is why being able to brand, flog, fine and exile criminals is important because we can only jail or press people into labor who agree to be, otherwise we are practicing a form of slavery.  Allot of crimes would be punishable by things like branding and exile or three years of work on a road crew, criminal's choice, after all it cannot be slavery if people agree to it.

You Have What You Hold
Basically if you cannot defend your people, your goods or your land it is good and right that someone better comes along and takes it from you.  Being able to hold these things is what gave you the right to rule in the first place.  If someone defeats us or takes our symbols of power then all those people who swore oaths to serve us are suddenly realize that we where never worthy of those oaths in the first place and disappear in the night.

Let me give you a hypothetical, lets say Reinhart of Brevoy is our King, and I Cairne Garess make him a Magical Bow that we call Witchbane so he can be an even better archer paladin, in the eyes of the people Witchbane becomes part of the legend of Reinhart much like Excalibur is part of King Arthur's legend, it goes on the flag, a trusted ally always holds it and a full quiver of ammunition where he can reach it at all state events etc.  Then an Ogre King by the name of Grock Stag-Slayer somehow beats up Reinhart and takes Witchbane.  Grock has not just defeated Reinhart, he has emasculated him in front of the people and the people start thinking that if Reinhart can't even protect a magic bow then perhaps he can't protect them, then they execute their river freedoms and start looking for farming land in the valley of the Stag-Slayers.

It can get bad if you cannot protect your stuff, but remember that it is a double edged sword, if we shatter the Stag-Slayer's throne made of gold dipped human skulls we are showing his people he does not have the strength to rule his tribe, and we have the power to smash his little valley if we so chose.

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