Welcome to Part 16-2 of my World Building blog series 😀 I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know 🙂
Now that you’ve sorted out your Order Keepers (OKs) you can figure out what’s illegal and what happens if/when one of your characters starts breaking rules. If your characters are going to be involved in criminal behavior, you should decide how and why. Are your characters involved in the illegal underground? Are they dangerous criminals? Are they disadvantaged and simply know how to work the system to survive?
How are crimes punished? You run the gamut here from nothing happening, all the way up to execution. Consider what crimes might occur in your story and how they’re going to be treated if the characters are caught. They might go free with a warning, maybe community service, incarceration, forced labor, or they might be killed if the crime is extreme or there are other factors involved.
Why are your characters committing crimes? Are the laws unjust? Do they not acknowledge the authority that’s making the laws? Is criminal activity their only means of survival? If people don’t have ready access to food, health care, etc. then they’re going to be more likely to participate in activities outside of the law because their basic needs aren’t being met.
If people are incarcerated for crimes, how long is a typical sentence? What are the conditions like? A lot of places have THE prison, like Alcatraz, Tolbooth Prison and the Tower of London, places of torture and/or infamy. Are people treated well, but kept away from the general populace? Are they tortured? How are prisoners treated?
What is the judicial process for determining guilt? Innocent until proven guilty is one option, but in a lot of cases through history it was on the onus of the accused to prove innocence. Are there trials? Who is in charge of determining guilt?
Are laws applied equally or does the punishment change based on age, sex, status, etc.? Is intention taken into consideration? If something is an accident vs intentional, does the punishment change? Are laws applied equally across all regions or do things get lax once you’re out of the capital region?
The big things here are how and why characters are breaking the law and what is going to happen to them if they’re caught. I hope this helps 🙂