Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Questhaven Campaign Setting Preview: Our Steely-Eyed Judge and his churches.

Our Steely-Eyed Judge
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Portfolio:  inquisitions, judgment, justice, law, magistrates, owls, retribution, sphinxes.
Worshipers: consuls, barristers, bounty hunters, inquisitors, judges, wyrd, magistrates, thief-takers, sphinxes,  
Aliases:  Sovereign of Souls, Master of Law, Judge of the Dead, Firstborn of Death and Mercy, Wielder of Justice.   
Cleric Domains: Law, Protection, Repose, Rune
Subdomains: defense, inevitable, judgement, language, purity, souls, wards
Favored Weapon: longsword
Superior:  Our Mother of Wisdom and Mercy
Allies: Our Reaper of Life and Death, Our Fairest Lady of Love and Song
Foes: Their Vicious Brother of Destruction
Symbols: silver sword or owl often both

The church of Our Steely-Eyed Judge has only a few devout worshippers, due to their rigid and inflexible codes of conduct.  Its power stems from the fact that it administers the law of any given location, and includes every member that administers that law as part of the church, so often times the church becomes more bureaucracy than religion. Governments give them such authority because they perform their duties without bias, judging all cases based on their merits and their rulings are always seen as wise, even when not seen with popularity, though the governments still control the creation of the laws.

In the city of Questhaven there are two separate courts the Common Court of Our Wielder of Justice and the High Court of Our Master of Law, often simply called the common court or the high court. The difference between the two is that in the common court’s judgments are pronounced by magistrates while the high court is trial by jury, this jury is always comprised of members of the Questor’s Society and it is presided over by one of four judges. The First Hero appoints these four judges for life in consultation with the church, but the Circle of Heroes must confirm them.  This arrangement allows for appeals to the high court though mostly the High Judges only hear appeals from members of the Questors Society. The First Justice (the highest level cleric of the church) can chose to hear any case he or she chooses and the Circle of the Heroes must sit as the Jury, though this has only happened 3 times in the history of the High Court. The last time being when the First Justice ruled “not guilty” in the matter of the Tanra Incident or as many of the common folk call it the Tanra Massacre.  The courts also have a special relationship with The Great Church of the Pantheon, which use them as a neutral third party to arbitrate disputes within the Great Church.

I have found myself serving as a member of the jury. Once while a member of a new company I had joined. The courts chose us to hear a charge of arson against another adventuring company. We found the Questors who committed this crime, guilty, and the Courts backed by Society forced them to pay restitution, though I thought we felt the judge should have exiled them as well. This led to an ugly battle in the Ruins Perilous at one point when both our companies crossed paths.

There are three orders belonging to the Courts: the clergy known as the Old Owls. Not all of the clergy serves in the bureaucracy as some quest for “The Holy Dictates” a collection of sacred texts written by Our Master of Law whose discovery will bring a new age of harmonious co-existence, these clerics are referred to as the Prolocutors.  The second order, the Steel Justicars, is a collection of bounty hunters, inquisitors, rangers, and paladins who help enforce that judgment and edicts of the courts. When criminals must be pursued, when judgment must be backed with force, the Steel Justicars are there performing their duty. The Steel Justicars also maintain the Isle of Gone (a penal colony guarded by boundfuries) and Salvation Keep the local prison facility though inmates refer to it as “Damnation Keep.”  The courts often hire members of the Questor’s society as bounty hunters and prisoner escorts. This has also given a rise to the hiring of thief-takers by the common courts. 

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