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Making a fantasy court system

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Amaterasu34, May 9, 2022.

  1. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    Hello! New here and was wondering if anyone could give some helpful tips on a court system? I have a goddess of law and she wrote the laws of the universe with the leader of her pantheon and her pantheon essentially judge the gods or other very dangerous individuals. Some ideas for laws that could get gods or very dangerous people in trouble. Also the court system as a whole! So to sum it up…need some help thinking of laws and possible punishments. Anything would be very helpful!
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Would it be fair to say that since she is a goddess of law and wrote the laws that she is unfailingly accurate in her ability to judge?
     
  3. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    What's the aim of this legal system? Is it to get the gods to play fair and be nice? The dangerous people to not be too dangerous? Or is it more to preserve authority and the status quo?

    In the first case, laws would be along the lines of, no murdering, no stealing, no cheating, no assaulting anyone. In the second case, folks who challenged a high ranking god's authority or exposed the gods' dirty secrets would be the ones in real trouble. That kind of court would punish Prometheus and Arachne. In the other kind, Zeus would be a big time criminal.
     
  4. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    She is fully capable of judging it is just that she has a more important job, which is what her pantheon is for. She’ll sit on trials and judge but not often. She comes around to adjust the laws with the changing times.
     
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well, from a gods perspective, the big ones would probably not be much different from the ten commandments. Worship me and make me important, and don't kill, rape, lie or steal.

    For Gods, laws of the universe sound like they would be along the lines of natural laws, such as gravity, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

    To judge, especially if the laws are changeable, she just needs a system. If she delegates to her lesser gods, she needs only get involved when it is over their heads, or out of their range. So...maybe a panel of gods. Three get together and vote on things that violate their laws, and what to do about it. Course...the gods may not be responsible, like in the Greek example, or may be strict adherents, that is up to what you want.

    Laws about Gods towards other gods might be dont kill each other, dont undo what another god has already ruled on, and stick to you sphere of influence.

    What do you envision?

    It could be Gods dont have laws, just grievances, that keeps a judge busy trying to be fair.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
  6. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    The aim of the legal system is to keep the universe safe, but also so the Gods aren’t too out of hand in what they do. They have free will, but per serving life and the safety of others is also very important. Also so the dangerous people aren’t too dangerous lol, and to preserve authority.
     
  7. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Keep the universe safe from what?

    Dont undo the laws of nature might be a rule.
     
  8. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    Ok so I’m realizing a bit of back story is necessary for this and it still is very much a WIP. So basically…my goddess of law is apart of a group that protects an even more omnipotent being from another force. This omnipotent being created the universe but fell into a fit of despair. So the Gods weren’t regulated and did whatever they pleased. So she trusted my goddess of law to keep order and look over the laws.

    Now my goddess of law has gathered together a pantheon of ten other beings to help with this workload. The de facto leader of her pantheon helped my goddess of law write some of them. To be transparent…I thought it was a cool idea and I’m really trying to make it work lol.
     
  9. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    There is a malevolent force at play in my work that tries to convert other Gods to fight against the good side of things. So anything allied with it tends to be viewed very badly. Also yes, undoing the laws of nature is a rule and a big issue if broken. It could also just be called the “personification of malice and evil”.
     
  10. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well...I'm just gonna ask questions. What you choose to do is up to you :)

    The Creator God already made things they way they were. Are the threats that people would undo its creation, such as a law of gravity and let the start just drift away. Or that something is trying to kill it or supplant it?

    I would think the Creator God already laid something in stone that the law maker gods would have to take as a given. Such as, gravity is a force, and things give off light. Other laws, like people should not have wars, may be worth making laws about, but can it really be stopped? Would they want to directly interfere in the affairs of mortal, or just govern themselves?

    Of the Ten gods, are they all committed to protecting the creator deity, and who opposes him? Do those that oppose him care what the law is? Are they somehow bound by it? such that an opposing God cannot ignore gravity until the law making gods change it somehow?

    If the creator god was to lose its sadness, might it just come back and restore things...Does it need the ten to impose its will? (I bet the creator god has kids ;))

    It will work if you put enough effort and passion into it. No worries there.
     
  11. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    It would seem that the Ten gods are not equal to the malevolent god, and the creator god has become indifferent.

    I would seem the ten gods are doomed into a losing contest if and until the creator wakes up, and says no more.

    To preserve its will would be seen as noble and to oppose it as against nature. Its a good conflict.

    I would expect a lot of subterfuge, as the opposing force would want to take these one at a time so they cannot be strong, as they might be if they were all together. So....perhaps defending the laws of nature really requires all Ten, and they are challenged from all sides. Its not that the need to make laws and pass judgement, they already know who the baddies are, they need a way to contend with them?

    OR is it that other gods outside the Ten may go bad, and they stand in judgement over them? In which case, is not a vote by the Ten enough to condemn?
     
    LieutenantWolf34 likes this.
  12. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    This sounds rather like the mes of Sumerian mythology: laws that governed both the gods and humans. Me (mythology) - Wikipedia
     
  13. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    Ok, so more backstory...when my Creator God was "born"( the malevolent force was also "born" at the same time) when they began making the other gods...they didn't have any rules made to follow or some sort of system. The Gods were running pretty rampant and the malevolent one wanted to control them, while she believed in free will. Now skipping over some things...she eventually fell into a depression over her inability to stop the malevolent one from causing mayhem and destroying the universe. The malevolent one is trying to supplant her eventual rule and cause destruction and mayhem. She eventually gets her act together.

    Also...I don't think I explained the ten pantheon thing correctly. My goddess of law is in a group of five that protects the Creator God. My goddess of law is the one who has a ten-member pantheon and only one of them is a god. The rest are just immortal beings that were chosen by her to sit on this universal council. The malevolent one does not care for these laws in the slightest. Laws of nature and such aren't subject to change ever, but the Gods are bound by that.

    My Creator God does occasionally pop up to these trials to see the fuss, and in extreme cases, if the situation demands it she will overturn a vote from the council, but this rarely happens. She herself binds herself to the rules though, and she has complete faith in them to uphold them.

    Shockingly, she only has one child lol.

    Also sorry if this has been long and convoluted.
     
  14. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    I have never heard of this and it is very interesting, to say the least. I'm usually a mythology nerd so it's really cool to read and learn about this.
     
    Aldarion and Rosemary Tea like this.
  15. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Mythologically, most pantheons are families, frequently of the autocratic variety.

    Hence the patriarch will hand down decrees and judgments, and the other gods suffer or scheme along. Most judgments will be to keep the patriarch in power and the pantheon intact.

    Now...the Patriarch having an 'evil brother' is valid, but the 'evil' part is going to be because of the patriarch's biases. Get right down to it, the 'evil brother' might or might not be actually evil. Case in point, quite a few of the Titans from Greek mythology were better behaved and far more beneficial to humanity than were Zeus and the majority of his family.

    That said, I could see the patriarch allowing a deity of law to have independent leeway - some of the time. But he'd also meddle on occasion as well.
     
  16. Avery Moore

    Avery Moore Minstrel

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    Sorry, I'm a bit confused. I think I need a bit more detail on the council itself. Specifically, what are they judging? Are they judging major or minor crimes? If they are judging minor crimes, then we can have your typical sins such as murder, theft, adultery, all of that stuff... But then, I don't imagine that a council of ten would have the time to judge every single individual in the world for every single petty crime. (Unless of course they have the ability to be in multiple places at the same time. Then they can judge as many crimes as they like.) On the other hand, if the council can only judge one crime at a time, I imagine that they would only be focussing on crimes that effect the world on a major scale, like genocide.

    Finally, what exactly are the motivations of the council and the Goddess? Is the Goddess benevolent or selfish? For example, a benevolent Goddess would take things like murder and rape very seriously, as she genuinely cares about the mortals under her protection. To a selfish Goddess on the other hand, something like "blasphemy" would be considered the worst crime of all, and carry the heaviest punishment.

    Once I know a little more about how the council operates, how great a sale they operate on and what their motivations are, I'm sure I can come up with some ideas of possible crimes that each of the council members can reside over. :D
     
  17. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Long an convoluted is the best kind, gives us all something to do.


    So, you have three questions:

    1) What system would they use:

    I think this one is not a great leap. You have a bunch of gods who are already trying to contain the bad god, and you have the creator god who has already set some things in stone. The creator god is probably more on the immutable side of things, what they say goes. But in the absence of their input, the lessor gods and their counsel would vote or come to agreement on important issues and that would be system enough. Maybe the bad guys have input and maybe they don't.

    2) What would be a set of laws?

    I can just say from the law firm I used to work at, we had walls and walls full of book on what the law was, and it is very easy to get carried away to insane levels of trying to write it all down. Laws are tricky. The more vague, the more loop holes, the more minute, the harder it is to account for it all and write it all down. If I were Gods, I would stick to bigger platitudes, and not get into how many grains of rice can be the fine for killing a neighbors cow (and If I was a law god, I might let my priests figure that one out). Since your avatar is of Amaterasu, maybe you could look to Shinto for some suggestions on this. I would only suggest that if I were a god, I might make laws on big issues (like the 10 commandments), but I would tend to stay out of the details of the smaller stuff.

    3) How to punish them?

    Well...that's the tricky one. How do you punish the big evil god? Can you injure him? Imprison him? take away his powers? Isolate him? Or is he just too powerful...in which case only the banding together of gods may prove a controlling mechanism. Is the bad god even really bad?

    What do you envision on this?

    Does the evil god have lessor gods as well, cause you may be able to punish lessor gods with things the greater gods are immune to. If you take away enough lessor gods, does the greater god become weaker?

    What if I make a law and the greater god just ignores it? Is there any thing that can be done? Or is it just live with it or patch the holes?

    Maybe the bad gods is really just a force of change, and what he does seems bad, but really just alters things and a new normal comes out.

    Is the goal of the story to have a conflict between the two greater gods until one is victorious and the other defeated?
     
    Rosemary Tea likes this.
  18. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    To me, the most interesting part of that story is how the mes were given to the people: initially, Enki owned the mes and kept them locked away, didn't share them with other gods, let alone mortals. Inanna got him drunk and tricked him into giving her all the mes. She then bestowed them on the people.

    Is any gift from the gods story ever complete without some good trickery?

    If your story is simply, these gods got together and wrote the laws, maybe they had to contend with other gods trying to trick them out of it. Or maybe there's a god in the pantheon who tried to stymie certain laws, until the others tricked him/her into agreeing.

    Could be a reason why the laws didn't come out perfectly. No legal system ever does.
     
  19. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    So the council is comprised of ten individuals that my goddess of law picked. The council seats are for life, but they can quit whenever they want. The beings on the council were all given immortality when they accepted the offer. Only one of them on the council is a goddess. They judge major crimes like genocide especially. Also this is a universal council so they judge beings across the cosmos.

    The Goddess and her council are benevolent and they want to ensure peace across the cosmos. They each have their own reasons for joining the council. For example, some for money, some for the impact the malevolent one did to their lives, others just having a strong sense of justice, and also as a favor to the goddess of law for helping them out personally.

    Also…I mentioned the malevolent one in some prior posts if you’re confused about that
     
    Avery Moore likes this.
  20. Amaterasu34

    Amaterasu34 Dreamer

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    I have imagined a 10 commandments sort of deal, but that is what I’m struggling with. The big evil god is in a constant battle with my Creator God, although that more or less isn’t very important is this instance of punishment. The evil god does have lesser gods that follow its will and are punishable in ways that aren’t possible for them.

    If my Creator God chooses to ignore these rules and act anyway, nothing can be done about it, but once again this happened very very rarely.
     
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