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Breton Society Part II, Through the Realms of Tamriel


Started by Harlwystyr
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Daggerfall Covenant
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Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Wayrest
Chapter III: Daggerfall
Chapter IV: Shornhelm
Chapter V: Evermore
Chapter VI: Farrun
Chapter VII: Jehenna
Chapter XI: Breton Society Part II

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The importance of laws and enforcement of them in High Rock is truly another hallmark of breton civilization, and nowhere is this more evident than in Daggerfall. To a citizen of the kingdom, it was laws, conceived by the king and enforced by the Knights of the Dragon and other militias, that tamed the wilderness of Glenumbra and brought the region under an organised, peaceful existence.

Of course, it would take a collection of volumes in itself to properly describe every detail in the legal system of Daggerfall, and some laws are naturally more enforced than others, and each town and community differs in its treatment of violators. Some demand that fines be paid whilst others banish miscreants from their midst. Listed here are a few national laws of note, to give a general view of how society functions with distinct laws.

  • Men and women of the working class bow their heads to royalty.
  • Visitors to a community bow their heads to the local lord.
  • Mercenaries and adventurers who live in Daggerfall during peacetimes must wear "peacestraps" around their sword hilts, which (in theory) prevents the drawing of swords in haste. They do not directly interfere with a quick call to arms - such as when bandits attack - and are more or less a symbolic gesture.
  • Visitors and citizens alike must submit to a search by the militia or the Knights of the Dragon upon request.

Laws such as these are often handled in what is likely one of Daggerfall's greatest achievements; its court system. At the risk of sounding biased, I can honestly say that it is one of the best working legal systems in Tamriel. Whether or not it is the best system for the sentenced party is a matter of debate, but many times it works just as well in practice as it does on paper.

The court system of Daggerfall has much in common with that of neighbouring Wayrest and Shornhelm. Local lords and nobles have a seat in judgement and sentences violators to punishment, and can demand by either the king or a jury of their peers (other nobles or the court wizard). In rare cases, they appeal the verdict, and in such an instance, a jury of a dozen commoners is handpicked by the king himself.

However, Daggerfall is unique in two respects. First, the accused party is not considered guilty nor innocent until proven otherwise. Instead, the accused party must yield all the information it can to the charges of the accuser, who in turn must substantiate his charges with evidence. Second, as mentioned before, an appeal process can be called for. Any taxpayer of the kingdom is entitled to appeal the sentence given to him to a higher official in the chain of legal authority.

More often than not, the heads of militia are used as accusers, and in small communities, this also makes them the judges, giving certain communities a reputation as bad places in which to be charged with serious crimes. Furthermore, the realm does not provide the accused party with any sort of facilities or resources. It is entirely his, her, or their responsibility to make their case to the judge and persuading him that he should be found not guilty.

But what truly binds the justice of the land together? To answer this, one must look at the lifeblood of Daggerfall; its leadership. Without it, the kingdom would quickly fall into the disorganised mess of a feudal patchwork.

In the capital city of Daggerfall, there are approximately 25 small castles and estates housing noble families. These castles are not restricted to any part of the city, but are generally found in the northern, "noble" district. Castle Daggerfall itself lies on the hill western hill, with the "Royal Court" leading up to it through connected stairs; and nobles usually socialise and spend their time here with other officials of the realm.

The 20 major noble families of Daggerfall tend to intermarry a lot, and this sometimes complicates the royal lineage, as nearly everyone in the most senior houses have some kind of claim to the throne. Should the unlikely event happen in which the king and his immediate heirs all perish, there would almost certainly be some kind of conflict to decide the rightful heir, despite the fact that sharply detailed genealogical records are kept in the royal library.

Nobles of the senior houses are born, not made. Whilst the breton quest-obsession has certainly helped plenty of individuals to be elevated from their original class, the majority of the middle and lower nobility are made up of local lords. These are individuals appointed by the king to govern a town or a community in the king's name.

These local lords are usually also appointed from a lesser member or distant cousin of the senior noble families - families the king can trust - but on occasions the appointee is someone the townspeople have elected and recommended to be their leader by default. Of course, a local lord must belong to the nobility, and so, upon selecting a local lord, the reigning monarch grants that person a noble title (if one is not already held.) Henceforth, regardless of whatever power and influence that person may gain or lose over the years, he or she will always be known as the lord of their town. (Note that gender is not revealed by title; women and men are called "Lord.")

The monarch also selects from the nobility when filling out important official positions within his realm, such as government posts. Nobles are known to have become court advisors, with the ear of the king and have actually influenced the history of Daggerfall through their wisdom (or, sometimes, petty personal goals.)

Unlike in other kingdoms, when a noble or local lord betrays the confidence of the king or his peers, he is not stripped of his title. (Such would indicate the king made a bad decision in granting the title in the first place, and never let it be said that a king of Daggerfall makes poor decisions.) Instead, this person is sent to perform some obscure duty in the king's name. This can include military duty on the frontier, such as wintering in the borderlands of the Wrothgarian Mountains with the Knights of the Dragon, or seeing to the maintenance of the navy or keeping trade routes in the Iliac Bay clear from pirate raids in the summer. A more detailed look into the inter-class relationships of Daggerfall (once more as an example of High Rock) will be looked upon in the next chapter.

- From the Journals of Harlwystyr the Wanderer, Through the Realms of Tamriel, published in 2E 188.
This post was last modified: February 9th 2014, 07:51 AM by Harlwystyr
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Theodore
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Bosmer
This is a great addition, I like the last paragraph the most!


Member of the Twilight Seers of Aquilas Domini
Foriel Barkwing- Bosmer Archer
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Amaund Storm-Quencher- Breton Mage
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