Crime in Elysia is not equal. A person might get away with something in Hesia? that they would be arrested for in Espur?, and rural areas barely have any law at all while the more "civilised" towns have plenty of rules they enforce to varying degrees.

List of Crimes

  • Elysia does not have access to modern chemistry so drugs like heroin do not exist. However, there are natural drugs and alchemical concoctions with various effects. These are illegal in most towns and other drugs are forbidden in certain rural areas.
  • Therians are captured and broken through use of wolfsbane and various telepathic or empathic techniques to be sold as pets or used in cage fights. Keeping a Therian as a pet is difficult because they revert to human form by default, but wolfsbane can trap them in a particular form and they often develop an addiction that will keep them tethered to their "master". Those taken in childhood make the best "pets", while those captured as adults are usually intended for so-called "dog" fights.
  • Murder is a common crime. That technically extends to assassination (though the Asteri special forces in the Anyeli Empire? are sanctioned), but killers-for-hire are often "overlooked" by the guards. (The punishments for things like murder and rape tend to be more of the "personal vendetta" variety, especially in less populated areas.)
  • Theft usually involves bandits who target trade routes or raid rural homesteads, and pickpockets who mostly haunt marketplaces. Burglary is less common as home owners are permitted to defend themselves in whatever manner they see fit. However, Elysians are more concerned with theft of mounts than they are of personal property (it is especially dangerous to be left in the wilds without a means of transportation) so a horse thief will receive a much more severe punishment than a pickpocket even though the crime is legally the same.
This list is incomplete. Contact Emma? if you'd like to discuss further crimes and their punishments.

Crime Prevention

Towns that can afford it have a Guard? (a military force meant to keep the peace) and access to a Magistrate? who serves as both judge and jury.

However, many of the smaller settlements don't have either of these and, even in the larger city-states, Elysia's frontier justice makes it very much a case of "every man for himself".

Here are some ways citizens protect themselves:

Self-Defense
For the most part, a citizen's first port of call for protection and defence should be themselves. Those who can't protect themselves and their kin don't normally survive for very long, and certainly not outside the city limits. To that end, citizens are permitted to use deadly force to defend themselves. If you're attacked, whether out in the wild or on a city street, you're allowed to kill someone if they attack you first. For that reason, you won't find a Guard stopping you if you're carrying weapons.

One of the flaws of this system is that you could just as easily assassinate someone and get away with the murder by claiming it was self-defence, but there's always the danger of a telepath? finding out the truth (and the penalty for lying about why you killed someone is usually harsher than for straight-up murder). There's also a danger of the victim or victim's family sending bounty hunters after you regardless of your reasons for killing them, but that's just a risk you'll have to take.

Protection for Hire
Protection can be bought at the right price, which is where bodyguards and the like come in. Any merchant who doesn't provide for the costs of a protection detail in his or her budget is asking for trouble, especially on the busier trade routes where bandits and robbers are most common, or out in the wilds where you'll be tripping over just as many monsters.

This of course doesn't extend only to commerce. Anyone who's anyone can afford to hire a bodyguard, permanently or even just for a day trip. And while the emphasis is very much on being able to protect yourself, not everyone can dedicate their lives to combat training or its ilk, so bodyguards will always have a job.

Keeping the Peace
Even though the emphasis is on self-defence and protection, there are provisions (chiefly the Town Guard?) within the limits of larger towns and cities for those who can't protect themselves. These men and women are paid to maintain a constant watch over their town and to keep the peace (as well as protecting the city from monsters).

Criminal Investigations

Elysia? doesn't have an official investigative department. The Guard? will often put up posters for wanted criminals and let the civilian quadrant (bounty hunters, mostly) handle it for themselves, but that doesn't usually involve trying to figure out who actually committed a crime in the first place.

Thus, there are other methods instead:

Private Investigation
It is possible for citizens to hire private investigators if they aren't sure who committed a crime against them. Depending on the crime involved, this investigator may be a tracker, a mind-reader?, an empath? or even a bruiser meant to intimidate, but probably very few people bother with this part.
Pursuit of Criminals
Elysia? mostly relies on its criminals being caught in the act, and/or the honesty of the accusers — which is to say that telepaths? probably have a lovely little niche in the judicial system.

However a criminal is fingered, it's not the government who goes after them. Instead, the Watchtower? handling the case will post bounties with varying rewards determined by the crime committed (murderers net a bigger reward than, say, thieves).

Bounty hunters are private citizens with enough combat? experience (usually) and a license to go after criminals, and they're permitted to use any means necessary for the capture and transportation of said criminals. Success or failure is determined by whether or not they can survive the chase.

Bounty hunters don't actually need a license in most places. It's only really in the three major cities where the Guard? are better organised and documented that hunters come under greater scrutiny. Even then, they're normally left to their own devices as long as they don't disturb the peace, and it's only when they break that golden rule that they'll be asked for that license.

It's not only the Guard who can post bounties, however. Private citizens can do so as well, and for things like murder you'll most likely find posters from both (i.e., the Watchtower might post an official bounty for a murderer, and each of his victim's families may also post a bounty for the same murderer, so depending on which evidence is required to claim the reward, it may even be possible to claim several for the same bounty!)

Of course, here lies another failing of the system: Anyone could claim that anyone else has committed a crime, and subsequently set any number of bounty hunters on to that person whether they're innocent or not. ((But that could lead to some fun plots. >D))

Punishment

Some towns in Elysia? have a structured legal system. It may be as simple as having a magistrate to oversee legal disputes, and possibly this occupation is most filled with telepaths? or empaths? rather than book-learned advocates.

For these towns, it's not unusual for Watchtowers to have a couple of jail cells. These cells have to be solid enough to withstand the abilities of their criminals and often feature mesh wiring as well as iron bars, but are meant only as a temporary means of holding criminals while they await a Magistrate's judgement. In large part due to those same supernatural abilities, imprisonment in the long term is just not feasible, so corporal punishment (including the death penalty) is still widely used.

More than that, Elysia is mostly about personal justice. While there are provisions for the protection of citizens not able to defend themselves, it's an 'eye for an eye' society and the choice of punishment is usually left to the victim.

Typical punishments can include:

  • A victim of rape might have their rapist castrated.
  • The family of a murder victim might have the murderer killed or sentenced to slave labour.
  • Pacifists may choose to banish a criminal or force them in to community service.
  • Warriors might challenge an aggressor to trial by combat? until their sense of justice is satisfied.

It's very much up to the individual how they wish to seek vengeance, and it's for that reason alone that many people are deterred from leading a life of crime. (Well, would you want your future to be left at the mercy of someone you've wronged?)