Friday, June 27, 2014

The Temples of Justicia

What follows is a little bit of information about the holy order in which Absolom is ordained.

Justica is the goddess of justice and fairness. She is  judge of the guilty and the innocent, Justica carries a scale in her right hand and a double-edged sword in her left hand. She has a third eye in the center of her forehead with which she sees truth and falsehood.

Priests and priestesses of the goddess are known as justiciars (not to be confused with a paladin's 8th level title “Justiciar”). Justiciar are empowered by law and tradition to act as judges and mediators in legal and criminal disputes. Most justiciars are assigned to a temple in a village and are granted legal authority by the local archon (equivalent to a baron). Larger towns have a magistrate (equivalent to a bishop) or arch-magistrate (arch-bishop), who oversee and coordinate all the justiciars in a region. In the old days of the Agarthan Empire, the magistrates reported to the imperial legate (a regional governor), but there hasn't been an empire in many generations, and since legates were not hereditary titles, there hasn't been a legate either.

Absolom is a peregrine justiciar, meaning he is not assigned to a temple. He wanders the land, hearing cases and resolving disputes wherever he goes. His legal authority is recognized in all the provinces of the former Agarthan empire and anywhere where Justicia is worshiped.

The knights of justicia are called executors (pronounced like executive). They carry out the sentences pronounced by the justiciars. Most paladins are assigned to the justiciar(s) of a temple. Valerius, however, is assigned to Absolom. Most executors are simple fighters. An exceptional few are chosen by Justica herself to serve as paladins. These holy champions are few and far between. Fewer than a dozen can be found in both the upper and lower reaches of the Xanthus river valley.

All executors report to a master. Masters are true paragons of justice and virtue, they are great leaders and tactical geniuses. Masters oversee the training and discipline of all the paladins of the temple. Masters are appointed by the temple magistrate. Large temples will also have a grand master who is assigned by the magistrate or arch-magistrate. 

When a paladin reaches 8th level, they are not only executors of the will of Justicia, they are also justiciars in the legal sense, able to make judgments on their own like a cleric. The party has yet to go to a city big enough to have either an arch-magistrate or grand-master.

It is important to remember that justiciars and executors are not constables. The job of keeping the peace and apprehending lawbreakers falls to the city watch. It should also be noted that not all judgments need to be made by justiciars. A town's archon or a legal lay-magistrate may pass their own judgement on lawbreakers for committing crimes. However, most archons know that punishing the innocent is a crime against Justicia and fear her wrath, so many cases are deferred to the justiciars.

Once a justiciar has passed judgment, it is the duty of the executor to carry out the sentence. Often, the perpetrator is sentenced in absentia. It is then the duty of the executor to apprehend the guilty so that the sentence can be carried out in public. Where that is not practical or possible, they must carry out the sentence using any means necessary.