1879: Saurids: The Lawgiver

The Saurids do not have prisons, or courts as Western civilization thinks of them. They have a Profession that administers the law on the spot, a sort of beat cop and judge rolled into one, and a law council that reviews decisions and handles the big cases. Their system loosely resembles that of several Native American tribes, and the restitutional Icelandic / Old Norse system, and that of the Sami. If a Saurid steals from another, they owe work or value in return. Take someone’s saddle? You’re going to be repairing their paddock fences for as long as you had the saddle, or until they get a new one if you can’t return it.

Kyaldjaivos (Lawgiver)

“You see what should have happened. I see what did happen, and what must follow.”

Maintaining order among a band or tribe or culture takes more than just setting up rules and hoping everyone follows them. Life is change, and the rules must change in response, and someone with an understanding not only of the what but the why of the rules must guide that change. Decisions have to be made as to whether or not rules have been broken, and if they have, what ought to be done to set things aright. Arguments sometimes need a referee, someone who doesn’t have a dog in the fight, to get all sides to see reason or at least to quit shouting at each other. Whether they’re called rules, or a covenant, or laws, every civilization needs a professional to interpret, apply, and maintain them. Among the Saurids, the Kyaldjaivos is that person. The Kyaldjaivos’ first goal is always to work things out, to get the situation settled, if not to everyone’s satisfaction, at least to the level of grumbling acceptance. Orthodoxy belongs to religion. If the situation requires creating an exception, or revising the law entirely, and it works out for everyone’s benefit, then so be it. There’ll be time later to get together with the other Kyaldjaivdar or the tribal council and review the decision. For big issues, getting a Law Council together and arguing it out in front of everybody keeps all the interested parties aware of the why of the decision. Part sheriff, part judge, part lawyer, part negotiator, and part teacher, the Kyaldjaivos guides their people in the law and instructs them regarding it. If everyone knows not only what the law is, but why it is so, at the very least nobody can plead ignorance. Abstruse points of moral philosophy are fine for arguing around the fire, but if you can’t take them out of the lodge and walk them through the village, what good do they do anybody?

Important Attributes: PER, CHA
Profession Skill: Evidence Analysis
Racial Restrictions: Saurid
Starting Equipment: Clothing, Symbol of office (determined by tribe)
Starting Funds: Moderate
Income: Moderate
Suggested Social Level: 4

Skills and Abilities

  • Initiate
    • Core Skills
      • Awareness, Eidetic Memory, First Impression, Knowledge (Tribal Law), Melee Weapons
    • Optional Skills
      • Avoid Blow, Equestrian, Sprint, Stealthy Stride, Unarmed Combat
  • Novice
    • Core Skills
      • Empathic Sense, Impressive Display, Lasting Impression, Shake It Off, Tracking
    • Optional Skills
      • Astral Sight, Danger Sense, Knowledge (Saurid History), Lip Reading, Taunt
  • Journeyman
    • Core Skills
      • Diplomacy, Disarm, Leadership, Resist Magic, Resist Taunt, Steely Stare, True Sight
    • Optional Skills
      • Anticipate Blow, Cryptography, Haggle, Lion Heart, Research, Second Attack, Thought Link
    • Abilities
      • The character gains +1 to their Mystic Defense.
      • The character gains +1 to their Social Defense.
      • The character may spend Karma on PER-based Tests.
      • Unnerving Glare: The Kyaldjaivos can shake someone’s calm by meeting their gaze. Make a Steely Stare Test at +2 Steps, and pay 3 Strain. With one success, the effect of Steely Stare extends to a number of the Kyaldjaivos’ allies, up to their Steely Stare Rank. On two successes, the target is Harried for the duration of Steely Stare. On three or more successes, the target must make a WIL Test, at a penalty equal to the number of successes, against the Kyaldjaivos’ Steely Stare Step, or blurt out an inconvenient secret. The GM (for GMCs) or player (for player characters) of the target determines the content of the secret. To shake off the effect, the target must make a WIL Test at -2 Steps against the Kyaldjaivos’ Steely Stare Step, and achieve the same or a greater number of successes that the Kyaldjaivos did.
  • Warden
    • Core Skills
      • Disarming Smile, Inspire Others, Oratory, Truth Through Lies, Witty Repartee
    • Optional Skills
      • Bardic Voice, Defense, Graceful Exit, Lion Spirit, Safe Thought
    • Abilities
      • The character gains +1 to their Physical Defense.
      • The character gains +1 to their Social Defense.
      • The character may spend Karma on Recovery Tests.
      • True Speaking: For 4 points of Strain, the Kyaldjaivos may enter a brief trance and speak 3 truths about any place, event, thing or person. The Kyaldjaivos must have a link to the subject: a blood sample or significant possession, the presence of the subject, or the Kyaldjaivos’ presence at the place or the site of the event. The Kyaldjaivos may specify what knowledge is sought, but what truths are actually revealed are up to the Gamemaster.
  • Master
    • Core Skills
      • Cutting Words, Memory Probe, Multi-Strike, Soul Aegis, Weapon Breaker
    • Optional Skills
      • Perfect Focus, Relentless Recovery, Resist Pain, Second Chance, Unflinching Fortitude
    • Abilities
      • The character gains +2 to their Social Defense.
      • The character’s Max Karma increases by 15 points.
      • A Voice That Cracks Like A Whip: The Kyaldjaivos may halt a conflict and pronounce judgement on both sides, even if all-out war has erupted. The leaders of the conflict must all be within earshot. The Kyaldjaivos makes a Cutting Words Test at +3 Steps against the highest Social Defense among the leaders, +1 for each target after the first, and pays 12 Strain. If successful, the participants all come to a halt, and listen to the Kyaldjaivos for a number of rounds equal to the character’s Cutting Words Rank. Participants out of earshot will halt in following rounds as they notice their leaders have stopped, and will wait to see what their leaders do. During the quiet, the Kyaldjaivos may take whatever Social actions or make whatever Interaction Tests they like. Skills that adjust the targets’ Attitude may be used. If the Kyaldjaivos or any non-involved party take a violent action, the effect is immediately broken, and all Attitude adjustments and other bonuses built up are lost.