Non-Fiction: Legal Systems Very Different from Ours

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James K
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Non-Fiction: Legal Systems Very Different from Ours

Legal Systems Very Different from Ours by David Friedman is a book that does exactly was it says on the cover - describe a range of legal systems that differ substantially from the 21st Century Western oen we are familair with. There's a lot of world-building fodder in here. For example, in Saga-era Iceland crimes are hanlded in a simila rway to modern civil law. Imagine one of your PCs killing a barbarian in a bar fight only for the family to show up and sue you for the victim's blood price. Also the right to collect judgement was transferrable, so a group of weaker barbarians might offer to sell the party judgement rights for a powerful warlord at a discount, which is a great way to get a quest going.

Another interesting idea discussed is polycentric law. Tehre are four different schools of Sunni Islamic law and in many muslim societies all four were considered simultaneously valid. Imagine a cosmopolitan city that had different courts and legal codes dependign on who you were or what religion you followed.

Jard
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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

very cool, I really like that "sell the rights to judgement" idea as a quest idea.

Dave
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Joined: 2013-03-17 15:23

I read somewhere that the very earliest jury pool was all the witnesses and bystanders who could be rounded up.  No fixed size, no assumption of impartiality, reputation of the accused and the victim entirely relevant.  I can't find a source now, so I'm not even sure that's correct, but I like it for a fantasy justice system in a tribal/dark ages culture.

Tangent:  I've fixed one problem I've had in the past with paladins by making them all traveling judges, by definition.  Not necessarily Judge Dredd type judges, but the "take the bandits back to civilization for trial" debate can be avoided this way.