It won’t come as a surprise to many that, among the myriad problems facing the Empire, Crime is rampant. The Empire being a relative land of plenty causes its citizens to always ‘want more’. From the grandest nobles, to the lowest scum, everyone is out to make a few extra Crowns. However, in a land as corrupt as the Old World, it is easy to see how one would be forced into crime.
Crazy laws abound in the urban cities, giving rise to laws detailing the manner of one’s singing, or the length of their blades. One such law details how all privately owned merchant vessels docking into Altdorf must moor in to ‘Empress Annette’s Quays’ unless there is no room available. Another, secondary law, states that such moorings will cost “two shillings per foot of length per day to dock there”. So any merchant wanting to make ends meet is robbed half blind under the law when he goes about his business!
No wonder we have instances like the Pudding Tax Revolt of 2433!
Naturally, in a world where crime is rife and the law confusing, the only ones who win out are the lawyers. Lawyers attend the great colleges of the Empire to learn their profession and seek the gold it reaps. When they are finished, they are thrown into a horrible world of politics and back stabbing (almost bad enough that it should be taken to the courts!). However, life for the lawyer is far sweeter than their charges.
That is, of course, so long as they don’t get posted as a Traveling Judge. The Traveling Judges represent an effort by some and a punishment by others on the rural settings of the Empire. Great ‘learned men’, carried on thrones on the shoulders of their menservants, arrive in villages and parishes all over the Empire and dispense ‘justice’ in the only form available to them. Death. Whether it is a petty crime, or a murder, the Traveling Judge will decide the punishment and his word held as absolute. The defendant will have to pay a fine, lose a limb, or lose their lives. When they enter a village the criminal underground stops moving.
Of course, they are still better than having a Witch Hunter run through the place…