From Tales of Rokugan
- 1 Law Sphere
- 2 Laws
- 3 Charter of the Emerald Magistrate
These are the ones who get out there and investigate and hunt down criminals.
They investigate scenes, chase down rogue ships and defend the Empire’s interests in the locale sea.
PCs are assigned to “Magistrate Hisa”, a female magistrate who is in charge of their group in the island. She has the top Imperial authority in the area. (There is no imperial presence otherwise)
PCs will be meeting her when they are first sanctioned, when they report. Otherwise they are “being assigned to someone they do not know beforehand”.
PCs are both afforded some power of the Emerald Magistrates, but also some restrictions.
Here are a few of the major laws, and the penalties that come with them. Definitions:
-”Restitution” This means paying back the wronged the value (or more as appropriate).
-”Labor Internment” This means forced labor (slavery usually at best) to the party wronged and/or the Council.
-”Death” This indicates the way of death is up to the magistrates or Council as appropriate. This means seppuku or execution and the associated repercussions.
Note the Law Sphere (Magistrate) Restrictions under their charter. The cliff notes are:
1. They have no authority inside the city walls unless asked to assist the City Guard.
2. They have authority over local Guard anywhere outside the City Walls.
3. There are tasks they may not perform, and tasks they are expected to perform, check the charter.
Definition: Raiding, Pillaging or otherwise using force or cunning to seize the cargo or goods of another ship.
Penalty: Restitution (up to 300%) and/or Death.
Penalty if against the Council: Execution.
Definition: Moving (goods) illegally into or out of a country.
Penalty: Labor Internment (up to 10 years) and/or Death.
Penalty if against the Council: Death.
Definition: The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
Penalty if against the Council: Execution.
Definition: The action or crime of stealing.
Penalty: Restitution (up to 200%), Labor Internment (up to 2 years)
Penalty if against the Council: Labor Internment (5 years) and/or Death.
Definition: Holding another person against their will
Penalty: Labor Internment (up to 5 years) and/or Death.
Penalty if against the Council: Death.
Before anyone could be brought to justice, a confession must be made by the perpetrator, or the criminal must be caught red handed. Torture was a common method of obtaining confessions.
Invoking the Name of Ones Lord
When dealing with functionaries and others of technically higher station than the Samurai in question, it can become rather difficult to get people to take you seriously. Medieval Japan recognized this and the invocation of a lords name to indicate that you were there on their behalf tended to make things a bit easier for lower ranking functionaries. And this was a socially acceptable form of intimidation within the Samurai caste. Annoying a lower ranked bushi was one thing. Angering a Shomyo or a Daimyo was another kettle of fish.
When invoking the name of ones lord during official business, the bushi is treated as having Glory and Status of one rank lower than their lord. Standard rules apply for such rolls at the adjusted levels.
Testimony with multiple samurai against a single higher ranking samurai
Generally, if you have bushi within the same rank (Bonge, Buke, or Kuge) it usually takes multiple samurai of Rank equaling or exceeding the target samurai’s rank before anyone will take them seriously. This is modified if the Target Bushi has a title of some form or position, and general reputation of credibility vs the accusing samurai. If one has a reputation that is upstanding, then the accusers had best have very good Sincerity skills, cold hard 'proof', or the ability to convince another bushi of higher caste to back them.
If accusing a bushi of much higher rank, without damning testimony and backing, other more radical actions may need to be taken (see the 47 Ronin) or the accusers will be doomed.
Charter of the Emerald Magistrate
Wherein is delineated: those matters which concern the Emerald Magistrates; those duties which the Emerald Magistrate shall at all times labor to discharge; those restrictions placed upon the Magistrate to ensure honorable justice within his or her jurisdiction; and those rights and privileges give to the Magistrate to aid in the pursuit of justice and social order.
Part One: Jurisdiction
Wherein is delineated those crimes which are specifically the concern of the Emerald Magistrate and which require diligent pursuit.
- Section One: Crimes Against The Emperor Any attempt to harm, insult, endanger, steal from or otherwise inconvenience the Son of Heaven is a crime deserving of the utmost attention from all Emerald Magistrates. Any similar action taken against a member of the Emperor's family shall be constituted as a gesture against the Emperor himself and as such merits the attention of the Emerald Magistrate. Similarly, any action against a direct servant of the Emperor or the Imperial Family shall also be a matter of concern for the Emerald Magistrate.
- Section Two: National Crimes Crimes (including theft, murder, treason, robbery, murder, forgery, armed uprising, tax fraud and other transgression of local law) which are national in scope, either in planning or execution, are a concern for all Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Three: Shadowlands Incursions Any entry into Rokugan by denizens of the Shadowlands or by those who have been corrupted by the influence of the Shadowlands, or by those who have made pacts with the sinister forces of the Shadowlands, are forbidden by law. The enforcement of this law is the duty of the Emerald Magistrates. Crimes committed within Rokugan by violators of this law also fall withing the enforcement charter of the Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Four: Fugitives The capture of any criminal who has fled across city or clan territorial boundaries is a matter of concern for all Emerald Magistrates, regardless of the scope of the crime or the location of its commission. Similarly, any criminal who flees the location of his or her crime, or attempts to, falls within the operational purview of Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Five: Organized Blasphemy Any meeting of more than two individuals for the express purpose of participating in blasphemous or obscene rituals is forbidden, and is a matter of concern for the Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Six: Civil Disorder and General Lawlessness Any crimes or actions with result in widespread civil disorder and/or general disrespect for the law and its enforcers is within the jurisdiction of the Emerald Magistrates.
Part Two: Duties
Wherein are delineated those tasks that the Emerald Magistrate is honor-bound to perform in addition to enforcing Imperial Law.
- Section One: Tax and Tariff Collection It is the duty of the office of the Emerald Magistrate to oversee the collection of the yearly Imperial Tax and to enforce tariffs upon goods being transported across clan boundaries. In the case of larger cities this duty may be delegated to tax officials operating under official charger from the Emerald Champion. In such cases, it is still the duty of the local Emerald Magistrate(s) to audit the collections, ensure their accuracy and protect the tax collectors and the gathered taxes.
- Section Two: Authorizing Travel Papers It is the duty of the Emerald Magistrate to make him- or herself available at least one day a week to sign Imperial travel documents. Such documents are required only in the following instances: for persons who intend to travel across two different clan boundaries; for persons who require an open pass to all points within the Emerald Empire; for persons whose travel papers are to remain valid for longer than one year but not more than five years; or for residents who are not native to Rokugan.
- Section Three: Protection of Visiting Dignitaries Dignitaries from outside Clan boundaries may, if they wish, request that the local Emerald Magistrate provide protection against threats mundane, military and supernatural. The Emerald Champion is bound to provide protection appropriate to the threat and to the visitor's social station.
- Section Four: Briefing the Emerald Champion Once per month, the Emerald Magistrate shall meet with the Emerald Champion to provide a briefing on his or her current and ongoing activities and investigations. The Emerald Champion shall also be informed about any matters of national concern.
- Section Five: Notification of Non-Jurisdictional Crimes When any Emerald Magistrate becomes aware of a crime that is outside his or her jurisdiction, that Magistrate is honor bound to give a thorough briefing on the matter to whatever authority has jurisdiction over the crime in question.
- Section Six: Briefing the Governor The city or regional Governor of the province in which an Emerald Magistrate is stationed may, at any time, demand an accounting of the Magistrate's current and ongoing investigations. The Emerald Magistrate is to provide a detailed accounting in no less than three days. The Governor may not demand such an accounting more than once per month.
- Section Seven: Notification of Accusations If a person of samurai class, living or dead, has been accused of or implicated in a crime being investigated by the Emerald Magistrates, it is the duty of said Magistrates to inform the local family and/or clan leader of the accusation.
Part Three: Restrictions
Wherein are delineated those tasks, investigations and duties which are excluded from the obligations of the Emerald Magistrate
- Section One: Incidental Law Enforcement It is not the duty of the Emerald Magistrate to provide street patrols or random policing.
- Section Two: Problems of Limited Scope It is not the duty of the Emerald Magistrates to investigate crimes which are strictly a local concern
- Section Three: Authorization of Blood Feuds Emerald Magistrates have no authority over the matter of blood feuds. They can neither authorize such a feud nor declare one invalid.
- Section Four: Levying of Troops Emerald Magistrates have no authority to command the service of troops except as noted below in Part Four: Sections Five and Six
- Section Five: Acceptance of Gifts and Monies No Emerald Magistrate shall accept gifts, favors, monies, services or special considerations in exchange for any aspect of his or her duties as magistrate.
Part Four: Rights
Wherein are delineated those special privileges, powers and rights which are given to Emerald Magistrates to enable them to better pursue their goals and duties
- Section One: Right of Questioning In the case of persons of inferior social class, station or worth, an Emerald Magistrate may arrest and restrain the individual for questioning about criminal matters. The right of arrest, restraint and inquisition also applies to individuals of superior social class, worth or station who are apprehended in a criminal act by an Emerald Magistrate. Persons of higher social rank, station or value may be apprehended, imprisoned and questioned if the Emerald Magistrate has obtained a valid Order of Appearance (cf. Part, Section Three)
- Section Two: Right of Sentencing If a signed confession has been notarized by an Emerald Magistrate, that Magistrate may opt to sentence the confessed criminal. This right of sentencing may be passed on to a different Emerald Magistrate, at the option of the notarizing Magistrate. Transcribed confessions are legitimate only in the case of illiterate criminals. Sentences are to be appropriate for the crime and its circumstances. Possible sentences include, but are not limited to the following: execution by beheading for samurai criminals; execution by hanging from the neck for criminals of lower class; class-appropriate executions for spouses, parents or children of criminals, cuffing for periods not to exceed three months; public beatings with rods, sticks or whipse; house arrest; or fines, the sum of which is to be remitted to the office of the Emerald Champion.
- Section Three: Orders of Appearance An Emerald Magistrate may exercise rights of arrest, imprisonment and inquisition upon persons of higher social worth only upon the presentation of a valid Order of Appearance. An Order of Appearance must describe in detail the crime of which the samurai is accused, it must be dated within one month of its presentation and it must be signed by the presenting Magistrate or Magistrates. In addition to this signature, it must also have the signature of one of the following: the Emerald Champion; the city or province Governor; or the local chief magistrate. The date of an Order of Appearance must be listed as the date on which the last individual signed it.
- Section Four: Right to Prior Information It is the duty of local Governors and daimyo to inform Emerald Magistrates of large scale military or police actions within that Emerald Magistrate's jurisdiction at least one day before the action occurs.
- Section Five: Right to Commandeer Troops Emerald Magistrates have the right to amass groups of troops for necessary operations, provided that they inform the local daimyo of Governor of their intentions. They may commandeer troops from local leaders if they can show demonstrable need and provide reasonable financial compensation for the troops services.
- Section Six: Right of Imperial Levy Emerald Magistrates may, at any time, petition the Emerald Champion for the command of Emerald Legions. The assignment of those Legions is entirely at the discretion of the Emerald Champion. Emerald Legions have rights of actions and armament in any and all places within the Emerald Empire.
- Section Seven: Right of Privy Investigation If there is a conflict of jurisdiction between an Emerald Magistrate and a local magistrate, the jurisdiction of the Emerald Magistrate takes precedence. If the Emerald Magistrate presents the local magistrate with a signed and dated Order of Privy Investigation, that magistrate must immediately cease all new investigations into the matter of contention. An Order of Privy Investigation is valid only if it fulfills the following conditions: it is dated on the day it was completed; it is signed by the Emerald Magistrate; it contains a complete description of the crime in question; and it explains, completely and reasonably, why the two investigations cannot proceed in parallel fashion.
- Section Eight: Right of Travel Authorization In addition to their power to pen Imperial travel documents (defined in Part Two, Section Two), Emerald Magistrates also have the right to provide valid travel documents of more limited scope. These documents cannot be confiscated or contradicted by local magistrates for more than two days.