Serenity was founded 50 years ago at the height of the The Last War by four retired soldiers who wanted a chance to start over. They seized upon a small, isolated spice-trading port on the Dragonwatch Islands just south of Q’barra on the Thunder Sea. Once the local lizardfolk were pacified, they began to recruit what labor as was available (mostly deserters and freebooters) and in that way founded a town away from the The Last War.
Given the value of spices and the possibility of dragonshards to be found, the settlement grew, although it still pales against Adderport. Most of what Serenity produces goes through Adderport en route to Sharn and the rest of Khorvaire.
Now as Serenity approaches it’s 50th anniversary, a debate rages across class lines over the future of the settlement. Many would like to see the settlement remain small and distinct from the larger world. The plus side of this is opportunity for everyman but also greater risks, more crime and violence, and less comforts. There are others who would like to see Serenity continue to grow and prosper, attracting the dragonmarked houses, until it becomes a ‘civilized’ place.
The disagreement over the future of the island has manifested in several visible ways. The city council forbids operation of Dragonmarked Houses on the island, except through special arrangement and a sizable contribution to the civil coffers. To date, only House Tharask and House Jorasco have received permission to open offices in Serenity. An agent of House Sivis was caught operating without permission and that House has been banned from the island by the council.
Law Enforcement in Serenity
Serneity adheres to the Galifar Code of Justice. Currently, the protection of the law is extended to all citizens of the 12 nations recognized by the Treaty of Thronehold and all members of the dragonmarked houses. This notably excludes Droaamand The Shadow Marches, although Marchers or Droaamites in the employ of House Tharashk are protected. As a result, creatures from Droaam are not protected by the law unless they are working for House Tharashk. All beings are expected to abide by the laws of the city, so while there is technically no legal penalty for killing a Droaamite gnoll, the gnoll is held accountable if he murders a Brelish citizen.
Undead are also excluded from the protection of the law, regardless of whether or not they are intelligent. Once a creature has died, he no longer has any status in the eyes of the law.
The warforged are protected due to rights granted them by the Treaty of Thronehold, but getting the representatives of the law to always enforce this protection is tricky.
Breaking the Law
As a civilized city adhering to the basic tenets of the Brelish law and the Galifar Code of Justice, Serenity has a fairly typical set of laws. While many crimes are obvious, a character can always make a DC 10 History or Streetwise check to establish the legal status of a specific action.
The city garrison also serves as the constabulary. They patrol the streets defending the public trust and seeing to it that citizens enjoy a peaceful environment. They also keep an eye out for pirates, as they can collect Aurum bounties the same as anyone else.
However their principal duties are to defend against pirate raids, such as the attack by the Burning Tide six months ago, and to be vigilant against incursions by monsters from land or sea. A Serenity guardsman spends more time on the walls than on the streets. Still, Serenity is a small place and word travels fast. Just because no one arrests you does not mean a crime has gone unnoticed. There are forces besides the watch who may take an interest in troublemakers.
Some of the most serious crimes under the law are those actions that bring direct, physical harm to another person.
Assault and Battery: The consequences of unarmed brawling depend on social standing. In lower class districts, the law completely ignores brawling. An innkeeper may throw a rowdy barbarian out of the inn, but the guards simply don’t have time to follow up on every bar fight.
In a middle-class neighborhood, the consequences depend on who is involved in the fight. If two laborers get into a fight, the guards don’t care—but if a seedy adventurer punches a respectable barrister, that’s another story. Officers of the Watch break up any fight involving respectable citizens. This is a minor offense that can be handled by a sergeant of the Watch. A mark is made on the identification papers of the guilty party. He is fined 5 sp for each assault charge shown on his papers. Finally he is escorted out of the district and ordered to stay away for at least one day. If the character doesn’t have gold or identification papers, he is taken to the local garrison and assigned to labor detail. Generally guards do not investigate any sort of assault that they did not personally observe.
An upper-class district follows the same guidelines as middle-class. There are more guards on the streets of an upper-class neighborhood, so a brawl is more likely to be spotted and stopped.
Armed Assault: Once people start inflicting lethal damage on one another, a brawl becomes more serious. Guards rarely investigate armed assault in lower-class areas, provided that both parties survived (if not, it’s murder). But they certainly do break up fights that they observe and fine the aggressors. The fine increases to 10 gp per offense, and a character with three or more marks on his record may be sent to the garrison and held for trial. It is also common policy to confiscate the weapon of the aggressor, which could be a far more serious loss to a high-level adventurer.
Assaulting an Officer: Attacking an agent of the law is always a bad idea, and anyone captured after such a battle is held for trial.
Murder: Murder—the theft of life—is a serious offense. A murderer who is taken by the Watch is held for trial, and execution is certainly a possible punishment. However, this assumes that anyone reports the crime, and that the guards consider it worth the time to investigate. Self-defense is a strong mitigating factor; if the party is attacked by a group of Blackhull Goblins and kills them, the Watch won’t try to track them down and hold them accountable. Likewise, the identity of the victim plays a major role in determining punishment. The murder of a noble likely results in execution; the death of a goblin gambler probably never reaches court.
MISUSE OF MAGIC
The Galifar Code of Justice includes strict guidelines for the use of magic, as laid down by the Arcane Congress in ages past. These include the following:
Use of any spell that can inflict physical harm on another being—from magic missile to finger of death—is considered to be armed assault. This includes spells that permanently incapacitate a target, such as flesh to stone. Careless use of fire magic is treated especially harshly, due to the significant threat of property damage. If a summon spell conjures a dangerous creature that harms another person, the conjurer is liable for the actions of the beast.
Spells that incapacitate a target—such as sleep— are treated as simple assault.
Spells that tamper with the thoughts of another being—charm person, suggestion, fear—are considered to be a form of fraud.The forces of the law are authorized to use any form of magic in pursuit of their duties.