Justice at Thranduil's Hall

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Macilion
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Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Macilion » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:26 pm

Good evening comrades!

As many before me, I finally end up posting here, after lurking through the many topics and wonderful resources of this forum (and, if it is not yet obvious, English is not my native language; apologies in advance)!

As a fairly new LM, I have been running the beginnings of the Darkening of Mirkwood campaign with my group. Spoilers ahead!

We recently played The Questing Beasts scenario, in which they successfully hunted and injured the White Deer in Northern Mirkwood (for those who would be interested, the Deer ended up killed by a pack of wargs, which was considered as a very bad omen, prefiguring the return of the Eye in 2951).

During this adventure, they met with Polin and Pomin dwarf brothers, and as one of my players did know who Frar was, they were especially interested in the untold story they heard (i.e., Frar would have lied about why he had been shaved). They took Ruthiel's bow, Penbregol, but then rushed to confront the wolves; when healed at Thranduil's Hall, they were asked about the bow and about Ruthiel, and told the Elves the whole story.

The Elves took the bow back, and said they would send hunters to free Ruthiel and capture the two brothers. One of my player, the one that knew Frar, worried about the sentence the brothers would endure if captured, and is asking me about 1) how Thranduil usually punishes such crimes — that are, to be fair, rather serious (it's not a mere robbery or anything) and 2) if he could do anything as a witness to diminish the sentence.

And here I come to ask for your valuable opinions! What do you think will Thranduil do when it comes to such an event? What are the Elvish customs and habits when ruling? Is jail the only sentence, or are they likely to ask for ransom?

I would initially believe he would jail the two dwarves, but how long? I don't see death penalty as being used by Elves, at least not as long as Ruthiel is not killed by the brothers. I did not decide yet if the brothers will eventually be caught (they may flee the forest), and I will probably have Ruthiel escaping on her own at some point; but I am interested in what you guys think about the Justice at Thranduil's Hall. Thanks a bunch!

Macilion

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Falenthal
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Falenthal » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:36 pm

I'd make it something simple. Probably banishment from Mirkwood (the brothers and some other refugees live under a tree in the wood), with the menace of being shoot on sight if they ever return to elven territories.

Thorin and Co. were imprisioned because Thranduil wanted information from them. That's not the case here.
And a ransom would be out of place, as the dwarven refugees are poor to the bone, and there's little hope the Elvenking could receive anything valuable from them.

If you want to make the player feel important here, his intervention (if succesful in an Encounter with Thranduil), could allow the King to accept being paid with work: the dwarven brothers could be offered to expand the caverns of Thranduil's Halls, which would be a service to the elves, but probably also a good ocupation for the dwarves.

Macilion
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Macilion » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:00 pm

Thank you for your answer! Although I like the idea of keeping it simple, I thought this would be quite more severe.

I mean, in one hand, I find that banishing them from Mirkwood is somewhat pointless; are they not supposed not to be here in the first place? They already are trespassing on Thranduil's land, and I would think that a mere reminder is not enough; that being said, I love the idea of threatening them of shooting them on sight.

Yet, the main reason I thought of something more was because they not only lived there (by the way I always thought it was only the two brothers, and not a small group, but it also makes sense), but also they captured a fairly important elf (Ruthiel), along with a relic of the kingdom (Penbregol). And they did not even say what their intentions were; wouldn't that be considered a more serious offense?

I do love the idea of working for the Elvenking, though; it feels very Tolkien-ish, in a way.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:24 pm

Well, one severe punishment might entail shaving the brothers' beards and placing a 'spell' or 'curse' upon them that would prevent the beards from growing back (the Mirkwood Elves might not phrase it in those precise terms). A successful intervention should soften such a punishment, either by imposing a different penalty (such as service to Thranduil or his Realm) or eliminating the condition that the removal of facial hair be rendered permanent.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Michebugio
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Michebugio » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:14 pm

I've run The Questing Beasts some time ago, and I brought it to the extreme consequences.

My players tried to sneak into Polin and Pomin's hideout to rescue Ruithel, but they were spotted. Attempts to reason with the dwarves also failed, as they threatened them aggravating the situation. So, in the end, my players just went back to Thranduil, told him the whole story and let the Elves do the rescue.

I decided then that something went wrong with the rescue, and the Elves, fearing for Ruithel's life (also considering that the twin Dwarves are also half mad), end up shooting dead Polin and Pomin.

This causes severe tension between the Dwarves and the Elves, and while both Dàin and Thranduil are reasonable enough to not start a war for this incident, Fràr takes this personal (since Polin and Pomin's actions were meant to do justice for him) and he wants revenge no matter the cost. As if this is not enough, also Ruithel wants revenge for her kidnapping, so she joins the Wayward Elves and starts harassing mortals who draw too close to the Woodland Realm (but especially Dwarves).

So, Fràr gathers a small number of exiled Dwarves who sympathize with his cause and starts harassing the northern borders of the Woodland Realm, going as far as injuring isolated Elven hunters and patrolmen and stealing goods from them. As the number of the exiled Dwarves grows, the tensions will rise up to an inevitable bloodshed between the exiled Dwarves and the Wayward Elves if my players won't stop it before it's too late.

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Majestic
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Majestic » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:38 pm

Wow! Excellent use of the existing materials, and extrapolating what might happen based on how the PCs react and perform, Michebugio.
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

Arkat
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Re: Justice at Thranduil's Hall

Post by Arkat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:19 pm

This is a tough question since you have to consider how historically accurate you want to make the Elves. If you go with history, jail doesn’t actually exist as a punishment. If you lock people up it is because you want to hide them away or need something from them. So in effect you are left with fines, banishment or corporal punishment.

Realistically, trespassing and an attack on a member of the King’s court would easily be punishable by death. And in the terms of dark ages it wouldn’t even seem particularly harsh. But you need to ask yourself if this is the picture you’d like to paint of the elves, since you players will probably think it is extreme.

One option is to make the King’s initial reaction to have them both killed, but let the players change his mind and settle for permanent banishment on the pain of death.

Edit: Oh, and shaving the dwarves before banishing them would probably be seen as a worse punishment by the dwarves. Not only does it shame the two dwarves, it shames their house and forefathers. This is the kinds of stuff that create wars.

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