Judex, The Guild of Law

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“Are you sure he will be up here?” Jeremiah asked, his voice weak from the thin air and lack of water.

I nodded, my eyes fixed on the top of the incline. The journey up the mountain had been difficult, and strenuous, but not altogether dangerous. It was more of a matter of inconvenience–a deterrent from frivolous matters being brought before the White Robe. “I saw him once, a few years ago, when I came here with my father.”

We reached the brow of the hill, and there the two of us, being weary, stopped to rest. Jeremiah looked visibly agitated. “I don’t see anyone. We’ve made this trip for nothing.”

I said nothing and looked around. A small campfire, perhaps recently extinguished, an old wooden crate, and a few sparse flora before the sheer cliff face…I became curious and stood, sauntering over to the cliff. Carefully, I peered over. There, on a cleft of the adjacent rocks, sat a person, robed in silvery white, meditating inches from the thousand-foot drop. I opened my mouth to speak but the person spoke first.

“Hello, travelers,” the Judex said, not looking up. Her voice was full of authority, but also calm and serenity. “Please, feel free to sit down and rest before speaking to me. There is water in the crate near you. Please help yourselves.”

I turned to see Jeremiah opening the crate to reveal some rations and water. He plucked one of the glass bottles out and opened it. 

I looked back over the cliff. “I don’t want to take much of your time…we just need a conflict resolved.”

“Go on,” the Judex said softly. “Jeremiah has been moving his land markers for months, encroaching on my plot. I have tried to stop him and believe it violates the Laws…he says he is not taking it by force and that those markers were always there.”

Jeremiah wiped the water from his chin and waited.

“And you’ve come to me to declare whether the markers were or were not moved? Seems hardly a reason to involve the Judex. But you’ve made your journey here. So I will try.” She raised her hand, and white glowing writing began to scrawl across her skin, the hive-mind of the Law spinning through her connected consciousness. “Jeremiah. Did you move the markers?”

Jeremiah stiffened, his eyes becoming unfocused. “Yes. Yes I did.”

The judge lowered her hand. “Then you are guilty of attempting to claim another’s property by force. The penalty for which is death.” She looked up at me. “But you knew this already. I told you this answer when you visited me six days ago.”

Jeremiah shook himself back to reality. “Wait, I thought you said–“

But his words were suddenly consumed by a scream as I pushed him off the edge of the cliff into the fog below.

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The Immutable Guardians of Law

The Span has but 7 laws, which are considered to be the unquestionable truths of society:

1. No person or law may contribute to a loss of Sympathy in another person or persons.
2. No person who has shunned his Sympathy shall be allowed to live.
3. No person or law may prevent a person or persons from contributing to the goals of his Guild, nor deny him the rights and privileges thereof.
4. No Guild shall trespass on the duties of another.
5. No person or persons may take the property of another by force or coercion.
6. The rulings of the Guild of Judex shall not be infringed.
7. The Waste is forbidden. None may go there.

These laws, which supersede all local laws of Wardens and their jurisdictions, are enforced by the Knights and by society itself, but the interpretation of those laws is sometimes a matter of dispute. What one Warden interprets as a violation of the Laws might be interpreted as completely legal by another; and the resolution of those conflicts becomes a matter for the Judex.

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Becoming a Judex is a choice to give up all a portion of oneself in order to serve the greater good. This is not to say that the Judex are all the same; in truth, they are diverse and retain their own identities and personalities. However, they give up their privacy and loan out some of their reasoning skills to others; in this way, when one talks to a Judex regarding the Laws of the Span, one will always receive the same answer. The answer and the legal ramifications are, in essence, crowd-sourced. This neural connection among all guild members is called The Contemplative.

Even in retaining their identity and sense of self, most Judex become more contemplative and logical over time as The Contemplative intertwines with their own personality. Not every person is suited to be a Judex: only those who can handle conflict and analysis are chosen to finally go through the Ascension–the ritual connection to the shared consciousness–and join the ranks.

Structure of the Judex

Judex are unique among the Major Guilds in the fact that they have no structure or factions. The highest-ranked Judex in the Span who sits on the Supreme Council, is referred to as the Grand Judex, but this title means nothing; the Judex chosen to fill this seat changes often, and regardless of the person holding that tile and rank, the Laws of the span are well represented at the table. All Judex are of equal station regardless of Rank, and are given tasks to fulfill from The Contemplative itself in the form of instructions from the Grand Judex.

Judex do, however, fill roles called “Orders” based on their skills. Unlike factions, these roles do not report to a head and do not have a chain of command; they are simply tasks that various Judex fill. Judex can even change roles with relative ease, unlike factions.

Magistrates

Magistrates are an order of Judex assigned to certain Wards to act as local adjudicators. They are often found in more populous places, and handle many different legal matters including local ones. These are either new Judex who are becoming accustomed to the connection to The Contemplative, or older Judex who are less able to travel abroad.

Travelers

This order, like its name implies, is tasked with traveling to different Wards, resolving their disputes, and moving on. Some Wards only get a visit from a Judex every few years, and there is much tension until those conflicts are resolved; others may have a Traveler visit a few times a month.

Detectives

This order wanders much like the Travelers, but instead of following specific routes, the Detectives are sent by the Council to investigate specific breaches of Law.

Dignitaries

This Order is comprised of those whose social grace and prowess make them very useful as guides for others. They act as advisors to leaders in the ways of Law. A vessel, station, or town that is assigned a Dignitary is somewhat of an honor; it implies that the population is important enough to the Span as a whole that it warrants additional support from the Council itself.

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Technology in The Span

Since the fall of the Architects of the Stars, technology has been on a slow but steady decline. No new innovations are being made, and the people of The Span have enough knowledge to keep the world running under its own momentum…for now.

One side effect of this situation, however, is that technology is not readily available everywhere. the wealthier and more populous areas might be able to acquire the most advanced of gadgets, but newer or distant Wards are not so lucky. This divide of technology has led to a classification system for not only types of technologies, but the towns that employ them.

The first 3 classes (A, B, and C) are what would be considered “Power” technology. Using some form of electricity, light, or other form of energy to work, they are driven by processors and programs. The last three classes (D, E, and F) are known as “Analog” technology, and are chemically, manually, or otherwise non-digitally powered.

These classes are a reference but are not absolute. Sometimes, but not often, two classes of technology are combined to form a single one–a windmill, for example, that provides energy for a small Class D town might also be equipped with a class C computer for monitoring. Generally, one would refer to such things by the technology they are closest to.

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Class F – Simple tools

Class F technology comprises the absolute most basic of technology, from a corn-grinding bowl to a setting-maul, is of the simplest form and is common on freshly-terraformed colonies. THis technology has few moving parts, and those that do use simple mechanics and physics to work. Buildings are often made of sod, brick, or in some cases stone. Class F tools are revered by the Blue Hand.

Class F weapons would include clubs, spears, hammers, and slings.
A player might compare Class F tools to cultures of antiquity such as those in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, and Ancient Greece.

Class E – Simple machines and refined materials

As the refinement of metals and other materials increases, so can the potential for greater growth. At this class, weapons are often edged or sharpened, and transportation moves into the realm of wagons and carriages. Buildings are made of stone and mortar, wood, and other materials.

Class E Weapons include swords, axes, bow-and-arrows, and other melee combat weapons; it may also include single-shot pistols and cannons.

A player might compare Class E tools to those of the European Dark ages through the Renaissance or Japan’s Edo Period.

north-315865777Class D – Steam, Guns, and early electricity

Trains and carriages are the main modes of transportation for Class D Wards, with buildings being made of cement, stone, and wood. Cobblestone and brick streets wind through towns where soldiers armed with guns and seated alongside cannons prepare to defend their homes.

Class E weapons include Handguns, rifles, and higher-powered cannons.

A player might compare Class D tools to the Old West, Civil War, or Japan’s Meiji Period, up through the late 19th century.

Class C – Military, industry, and machinery

Combustion automobiles replace carriages in Class C towns and cities. Tall buildings fill the more densely populated places, while the outskirts billow black smoke from factories. Steel and iron machinery create tools of war and tools of peace alike. The sky has aircraft in it.

Weapons include high-powered rifles and machine guns, vehicle and aircraft-mounted weaponry, and explosives.

A player might compare Class C tools to those of the more recent modern day, through the industrial revolution up to the computer age.

Class B – The Digital Age

Computers and digital technology replace the valves and wires of Class D computers, devices becoming more powerful and adaptive. Technology brings humankind off the ground into space, and allows for greater luxury as she sits in an encapsulated space station in orbit far above the surface of a planet or moon. Computers can become disgustingly small, and perform amazing functions. Nearly all station-based Wards are Class B and above. The majority of “advanced” colonies are Class B.

Weapons include energy-based weaponry, radiation-explosives, sonic weaponry, and powered melee weapons like tasers.

Players can compare Class B tools to “futuristic” technology from modern computers onward, digital application of computer processors and similar aspects of the science-fiction genre.

Class A – Beyond Computers

compyyyy2When technology converges in form and function, anything can be some form of computer or other. Nanotechnology becomes the norm in the building of materials, and computers can be created with little physical constraint. Technology here is relatively seamless, and considered to be the epitome of technological luxury. the Nanoid cloud that most inhabitants of the Span have is considered in itself Class A technology. There are few things that cannot be done with this level of power.

Class A weapons are rare, highly regulated, and in some cases outright banned for their sheer power, but when encountered often take the form of tools that bend space and matter. Weapons that trap a victim in a quantum state, or create miniature black holes that shred a person apart are not outside the realm of possibility.

Players can compare Class A technology to distantly futuristic technology limited by few constraints.

Class X – Beyond Reality

Class X Technology exists in theory only. Computers no longer constrained by physical forms, with the ability to affect the world in terrifying ways. This technology would not be made by humans at all, but instead be the product of self-aware supercomputers. Infinitely powerful, self-aware, and unquestionably unstoppable, the academics of the Span theorize this technology might already exist, and we would never know it.

 

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Wards, Wardens, and the World

The structure of communities in The Span is as organized as the guilds. There are countless communities and colonies in the Span, and each of them reports to a single local leader. those local leaders in turn report to higher leaders, all the way up to the high council.

Local Governments

The basic unit of the Span is the Ward: a group of people, usually between three and ten thousand people, who live in the same general vicinity and are ruled by a single governing individual. The people of a Ward share history, culture, and laws–many of which are regional. A Ward need not be tied to a particular geographic location, though–some are located on space stations and ships that house thousands of individuals.

The local laws of a Ward vary, depending on the culture, shared morals, or community wants or needs. Any law of a ward may be perfectly legitimate so long as it does not directly conflict with the Laws of Order. Laws can be about any part of life, and sometimes, due to cultural differences, are somewhat arbitrary in nature. The difficult task of enforcing these laws and governing the colony or ship falls to an individual called a Warden.

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Wardens

The rights of a Warden are established by convention: a Warden’s rule is often considered absolute and beyond reproach. Despite this, many Wardens divide the rights to govern to councils, assemblies, and other governmental groups. In smaller colonies, and on ships, the Warden may lead his people directly.

How a Warden is chosen is a right left to the colony itself. Often, but not always, this manner of selection is codified in local statute, and may range from a democratic vote to a contest of arms. As with the ward itself, the particular way in which a Warden is chosen is often dependent on which guild is in control of the Ward: the Knights tend to tests of strength, while Gold Men tend to base their status on their sheer wealth.

Wardens, in turn, report to their District Warden, who oversees, but does not usually directly govern, the wards under her supervision. She in turn reports to a Provincial Warden, all the way up to the High Council itself, which governs the Span as a whole.

An example colony is found below.

Aspen Holmes

Location: Near the South Pole of Ateus, a moon of Ira
Technology Class: C
Guild Control: Fizex, Inc.
Warden: Tom Allenbar

Tnorth-315865777he quaint town of Aspen Holmes is nestled on a green, hilly habitable area on one of Ira’s moons. The neighbors are polite, resources are cheap, and happiness is at an all-time high. The secret to Aspen Holmes’ success comes from the hill on which the town is situated: it is actually a massive nuclear reactor covered in shielding and filler. The reactor, which supplies all of the town’s energy needs for practically nothing in cost, is one of the most advanced of its type. It also has the unfortunate history of having once gone into catastrophic meltdown.

Many years ago, due to a clerical oversight, the reactor was put into an unstable state and began to pour radioactive materials into the access tunnels below the town. Swift action by Fizex’s Technical Team patched the issue before it could spread, but the way the town had grown around the reactor made it, unfortunately, irreparable. This left the townspeople with a horrible decision to make: how would maintenance be done on the reactor, when the radiation fried any and all electronics that went into the tunnel?

The answer, handed down by Warden Edward Castler, was simple: any person in the town having reached the age of fifty-two, would enter the tunnels and join the maintenance team, resigning themselves to a slow and painful death by radiation over the next few years so that the people above could continue to live in peace.

The people of Aspen Holmes have accepted this fate without question, until recently. Warden Allenbar has instituted a new law, exempting members of Fizex, Inc. from being subject to the ritual sacrifice inflicted on his people. This has caused significant controversy as of late, and talks of a coup have been surfacing recently…