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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    In several of my settings, there is a concept called ash-kerampf, (meaning roughly enemy of all goodness) which I am going to explain and I would like your opinions on this. Ash-kerampf comes in four different flavors, which have slightly different rules. They are greater and lesser individual, and greater and lesser group. In these explanantions, I will use the Orre nation as an example of a people following the ash-kerampf laws, but they are not the only people that can do this. In fact, it can even be followed by multiple nations, in which case a declaration of ash-kerampf applies to all nations simultaneously.
    I will start with the lesser individual version because it is the most commonly invoked. When an individual is declared ash-kerampf, everyone under Orre law is required to do everything in their reasonable power to kill and oppose this individual. Failure to do so is a capital offence. In other words, if someone who’s been declared ash-kerampf comes to a village, everyone in the village who’s physically capable of doing so must charge and attempt to kill that individual, even if he’s a massively powerful sorcerer who can zap them dead with a flick of their wrist. Similarly, it is important to realize that there is absolutely no mercy. Cold-blooded murder of someone who’s ash-kerampf is not only permitted, but required on pain of death. An additional, and slightly peculiar rule, is that if an ash-kerampf individual enters another country, they must give them up to the Orre or execute them. Failure to do so is considered an act of war. Not a cause of war, an actual act of war. The implications of this are mostly theoretical and legal, but it can have a devastating impact if you don’t know it, because it means that the Orre won’t declare war before attacking, because you have already declared war on them. Further, the war cannot be ended, or a truce called for longer than one consecutive month, until the ash-kerampf individual is given up, killed, or dies for some other reason.
    A group can also be declared ash-kerampf. This essentially amounts to a declaration of total war. All people whatsoever in the target group are fair game for attack, not merely soldiers. Prisoners may be taken but must be executed immediately after a battle, unless you’re going to interrogate them, in which case they must be executed immediately after interrogation. Also, surrendering or being taken prisoner by the ash-kerampf group is a capital offence. While only warriors are actively required to seek out and kill the enemy, all people physically capable of doing so must oppose them if they actually show up. Once declared, the war this invokes cannot be ended until the last member of the group is dead.
    Finally, either the individual or group version of ash-kerampf could theoretically be called in the greater form, though to the best of my knowledge this has never happened. If called, what this would mean is that every Orre individual anywhere must drop whatever they are doing and devote themselves only to the target’s destruction. So declaring a group greater ash-kerampf would make every member of the Orre nation uproot themselves and march out, their sole goal being to kill every member of the target group.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    Eh, the custom seems overly harsh and difficult to maintain. Internally, you'd need either:

    • a population utterly devoted to their government to be willing to follow a custom like that: random farmer Joe would probably be unwilling to walk out into the middle of street while a sorceror is leveling buildings with fireballs
    • a fanatical cult-like group that is more terrifying than anyone they declare ash-kerampf: again, random farmer Joe might willing to walk out into the middle of a street while a sorceror is leveling buildings with fireballs if they knew that the group enforcing it would do so much worse than a fireball


    Externally, you'd need either:

    • the countries that enforce it are significantly more powerful than the countries that don't enforce it, otherwise they couldn't launch invasions any time an ash-kerampf fled to a country that wasn't obligated to hand them over
    • the countries that enforce it are all located close to each other and are geographically isolated from countries that do not enforce it powerful enough to stand up to an invasion, as otherwise any ash-kerampf would simply flee to that country


    Eh. Again, overly harsh and probably a little evil: I don't think I'd include it in my campaign. How has it faired in yours? What do you typically use it for? Do players become ash-kerampf, do they encounter an ash-kerampf, or do you use it to set the tone of the nation they're in (probably somewhat evil)? I think I might see more value in it if you gave an in-game example of how it benefited the game.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    I haven't actually had a chance to use it in a campaign yet. I've been considering using an example where the players, shortly after arriving in a new country, encounter a ragged man being chased by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. He begs the PCs to help him, and if they do, it's not until after that they discover that they are now condemmed criminals. Haven't really figured out what to do after that.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

    Warhammer 40K: Where the faction that is a cross between the Inquisition and Space Nazis are the good guys.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    Eeeeeh. I'd be very unwilling to do that. Because it's a ragged man, that means ash-kerampf is not reserved for incredibly dangerous or powerful targets. This means that, it might not be unreasonable that if they resisted capital punishment for assisting an ash-kerampf they'd be considered ash-kerampf themselves.

    If you're going to do it like that, I'd say relax the rules on not attacking an ash-kerampf: make it instead of being obligated to do it, it being on honorary thing to do it, and if they don't help they're obligated to ignore them. If they don't ignore them, then they could be considered dishonorable and worthless: it means the players can still do things in the country, and continue with whatever adventure brought them there, but still adds a whole "do not help the ash-kerampf" vibe to it. It'd also resolve most of my issues with it on an internal scale.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    Well, technically the old man is supposed to be supposed to be a fairly powerful sorceror who's ragged because he's been chased continuously for several days straight, but I get what you're saying. Usually ash-kerampf is only declared on very powerful targets, because anyone weak who does something heinous enough will probably be caught and executed by the regular lawkeepers before the procedure for declaring them ash-kerampf can be completed.

    Unfortunately, the entire flavor of ash-kerampf would be nixed if I made it optional. The entire point is that this is a person so evil, so opposed to all goodness and beyond all redemption, that opposing him is never optional. It is always mandatory.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

    Warhammer 40K: Where the faction that is a cross between the Inquisition and Space Nazis are the good guys.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    Ah, makes sense: you might need to give more explanation for that then. Maybe the players could see him fleeing, firing fireballs into the crowd behind him while they fanatically chase him? Lots of things you could throw into the description to make it more clear that he's an evil villian who is being hounded by the righteous.

    As for optionality, I get what you're saying: again, the only way I could see it working is if there's a very fanatical bent to either the entire population or a group that's enforcing this practice, but you've made it sound like there is a bit of fanaticism to the whole thing already.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    There is a bit of fanaticism to it, yes. But it's not just that you're commanded to do this, it's that you'll be executed if you don't.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

    Warhammer 40K: Where the faction that is a cross between the Inquisition and Space Nazis are the good guys.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The custom of ash-kerampf: requesting commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    Usually ash-kerampf is only declared on very powerful targets, because anyone weak who does something heinous enough will probably be caught and executed by the regular lawkeepers before the procedure for declaring them ash-kerampf can be completed.
    This is like declaring your intent to execute large swaths of your population because you can't adequately protect them. This is a recipe for discontent. If the government can't protect my family and my land from these people, why the heck am I being so patriotic?

    Unfortunately, the entire flavor of ash-kerampf would be nixed if I made it optional. The entire point is that this is a person so evil, so opposed to all goodness and beyond all redemption, that opposing him is never optional. It is always mandatory.
    That is not how a government will use it. They will declare it on criminals they can't catch, they will declare it on enemies of the state, and they will declare it on inconvenient people that they know will flee the country or who are already out of the country so they can conveniently declare war. Why? That's what most countries powerful enough to round up and execute entire villages would use it for, because that's what the country using this law and custom is going to have to be able to do.

    The closest real-world system I can think of to this is the procedure of declaring someone outlaw: they were no longer beholden to the law, but the law no longer protected them from anything. In England's common law, it even became known as "caput gerat lupinum," meaning any outlaw's head is essentially the same value as a wolf trophy. This is mostly because catching outlaws was a lot harder than simply declaring them outside the law's protection (you could be declared outlaw for just not paying your court fees or not showing up for your court date).

    Interestingly, the Latin "caput" is where the French get their word for "bonnet," and from there the Germans got their word for "destroyed." And the modern usage of the word "kaput."
    Last edited by hiryuu; 2012-11-17 at 04:03 PM.

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