So, I had this idea for injecting writs, laws, and judges into the game system. Throughout various incarnations of the faction system, I used an additional faction that I called “pilgrims,” or “judges.” I eventually dropped that name for “slaves,” and then, “tribes.” Laws are funny things, so I want to talk about them.

Systems of law and justice are kind of a meta-concept, particularly when they run parallel to a game’s system rules. It’s a frightful thought that a rules lawyer might choose to play an attorney, but there it is. Like murder mysteries (or any mystery), good court cases can be difficult to set up and pull off in the context of a game.

Somehow, they need to be formulaic enough that the players can follow a trail of breadcrumbs (in the case of a mystery), or gather evidence, question witnesses, and deliver an argument (in the case of a courtroom) against reasonable odds, and not feel like they know how it will turn out every time. Formula without tedium.

With my work on Scribes and Speakers, my thought is that law falls somewhere between their respective disciplines: Academics and Persuasion. Scribes record everything from the movements of planets and stars to the rising and falling of the tides, and they surely keep a record of taxes, laws, and disputes.

Speakers use charm and a sharp wit to gather a group of people, and essentially preach to them an idea they’ve created from several disparate ones, or refined through other arguments. A judge then, would have to be anyone determining the victor of any such contest of law or debate. But a class? Probably not. Probably.

Thinking about how Academics and Persuasion might come together to perform a crucial role in society makes me wonder what other things might exist at the intersections of the other skills. I’m sure I’ll find them in time, but now I know to look. Now, as for how to make laws in-game, enforce them, and debate them, …

…That will take some more thought.