The laws of Cormyr covered various recorded rules, regulations, proclamations, and guidelines that determined which activities were permitted or forbidden, along with those that had to be undertaken in a specific manner. These laws regulated matters that pertained to, among others, military, mercantile, bureaucratic, and adventuring interests along with those surrounding the arcane arts.[1][2][3][4]

Laws and rules must be observed at all times. Even by kings. For if a realm is a bright-armored knight, every rule broken is a piece torn away from his armor that a traitor's blade can thrust through later, with its wielder crying, "But in days gone by, so-and-so set aside this rule, why then cannot I?"

Reputation[edit | edit source]

And in Cormyr none shall starve or thirst
For so the fair law demands.
But of all fair folk we are the first
To strike down bad laws and commands.
— Lines from "The Cormyte's Boast"[6]

Cormyrean law was highly regarded by the people, who believed it was the monarchs' laws, enforced by Purple Dragons and militias, that tamed the wilderness and brought order and peace, and was the foundation for the kingdom's greatness. These laws were to be applied with compassion and diligence in balance, so that criminals neither went free nor feared for their lives without reason.[1]

They were similarly proud of their court system, thinking it the best in all Faerûn. However, whether it was actually best for the people, and not just the rulers, was debatable. Regardless, it continued to function just as it was originally conceived.[1]

One of the foremost authorities on the law in the mid–14th century DR was Alaphondar, Sage Most Learned of the Royal Court.[7][8]

Laws[edit | edit source]

National Laws[edit | edit source]

Laws of Cormyr
  1. All persons entering Cormyr must register with the officials of a border garrison.
  2. Foreign currency can only be used in certain locations. Please exchange your coins for Cormyrean golden lions at your first opportunity.
  3. Adventurers must acquire a charter before undertaking any operation as a group.
  4. All weapons must be peace-bonded. The only persons exempt from this law are members of chartered adventuring groups and members of mercenary groups that can offer proof of employment.
  5. Harming cats is forbidden.
  6. Bow your head to royalty and the local nobility.
  7. Purple Dragons have the right to search you upon request.
  8. Hunting on private land is forbidden.
— Major laws posted on signs at entry points to Cormyr[2]

The Forest Country maintained a number of laws and ordinances that regulated activities throughout the kingdom. These included:[1]

  • A commoner must bow their head to royalty, regardless of their sex.[1][2]
  • A visitor must bow their head to the local lord and to royals, regardless of who any of the parties were. Cormyreans impressed on outsiders this need to show respect to their rulers.[1][2] By custom, even ordinary folk were supposed to be treated with some respect.[9]
  • An armed adventurer in peacetime must be peace-bonded. Peace-bonding involved cords called "peacestrings" tied about the hilts and scabbards of weapons to prevent them being drawn in a hurry. In practice, this was symbolic, and little stopped a veteran fighter from pulling them when forced.[1][10][2] There were a variety of exceptions: nobles, Purple Dragons, War Wizards, on-duty militia members, weapons dealers, people training with weapons under their lord's supervision, people on a hunt with their lord's permission, attendees of a hunting lodge, mercenaries, chartered adventurers, and bearers of a crown writ for a temporary right to bear arms, which were usually granted to foreign dignitaries, their bodyguards, agents, and special messengers. They were permitted un-peacebonded weapons, but had to display their Purple dragon ring, Court token (a numbered brass plaque engraved with the Purple Dragon symbol), proof of employment, license, charter, or writ on request. Good records were kept of all these.[11][12][13][2] A weapon was classed as any blade larger than a dining knife or any blunt instrument that wasn't a walking staff or worker's tool. Ideally, anyone with a weapon should go directly to a Purple Dragon guardpost to have it inspected and properly tied with their secret knots.[13]
  • All persons must submit to a search by Purple Dragons or militia when requested.[1][2]
  • Foreign currency must be traded only at certain businesses that are permitted to do. (This was to prevent foreign coinage being introduced into the local economy and devaluing Cormyr's golden lion and others.)[1][2]
  • The King's Decree of Rights Noble obligated commoners, to the cost of their lives, to aid nobles in times of need and danger.[14]
  • Under the Crown's law, a Lord had a right to pronounce summons on any citizen or guest of their lands. This made it an obligation of those pronounced to immediately seek audience with the summoning Lord.[15]
  • It was illegal to hunt on land privately owned by another without their permission.[1][2] Offenders were, at a minimum, ostracized by the community until they made amends like holding a feast and opening their own lands.[1]
  • It was illegal to harm cats.[2]

An adventuring charter was granted under the selected adventuring group's name. No two groups were allowed to have the same name. The name was considered unavailable as long as any members of the group remained alive. Each charter required a sponsor. In cases when a charter was sponsored by the Crown, the monarch assigned a ceremonial sponsor.)[16][12][13][2]

Charters were penned using special magical ink created by Cormyr's War Wizards. The ink was enchanted to allow the agents of the Crown, Vangerdahast Aeiulvana, or other members of the Wizards of War to know the exact location of the individuals the charter was issued to. The magic was activated via a command word. The same enchantments allowed War Wizard Stonegrip detect forgery with ease.[17]

Rules of Succession[edit | edit source]

Only someone with Obarskyr blood could assume the crown. This meant that, for example, Queen Filfaeril Obarskyr could not assume the crown.[18]

Additionally, the rules of succession were bound by ancient treaties between the Forest Kingdom, the elves who held the land that became Cormyr, and the dragons that ruled the land before the elves. The treaties were signed at the dawn of Cormyr by the first Obarskyrs. The law demanded that, no matter what, nobles of the realm could not be restored, resurrected, or otherwise returned to life, including the members of the royal family. No sitting regent or monarch could be returned to life. An exception could only be granted to nobles of the Obarskyr line who'd abdicated from the throne before their death and cut all claims to nobility (unless their faith forbade it). No person who died and was brought back could sit on the Dragon Throne nor take it by conquest. Cormyrean teachings claimed that if this law was ever broken, then the Dragon Throne would shattered and the dragons return to hunt humans.[19]

Laws Regarding Magic[edit | edit source]

It was explicitly illegal for an individual to receive payment, in the form of money or valuables, to remove the effects of a spell they themself had cast.[4]

It was forbidden to cast or unleash any magic within the signposted around the village of Mouth o' Gargoyles, owing to the wild magic curse upon the place. Only War Wizards and officers of the Crown were exempt, but faced other penalties for doing so.[20]

According to a certain ancient law, the extra-dimensional refuges of the Sword Heralds were off-limits to the monarch of Cormyr and their agents such as the War Wizards. They could not demand to enter or even see such a refuge, nor compel someone to reveal one's existence. In practice, however, past kings hired chartered adventurers and private citizens to do so for them.[21]

Maritime Law[edit | edit source]

Cormyrian maritime law governed the activities of Cormyrian ships on the Sea of Fallen Stars. Captains of ships on which individuals had committed crimes usually imprisoned the individual in question in the ship's brig until making landfall in Cormyr, where local authorities dealt with the case.[22]

Mutiny was usually a hanging offense, although there were a small number of cases in Cormyr where mutineers were spared.[22]

Piracy was dealt with harshly. Upon the first offense, the pirate had one hand cut off. Upon a subsequent offense, the pirate was put to death.[22]

Fishermen were required to pay local authorities for the right to fish in Cormyrian waters.[3]

Law Enforcement[edit | edit source]

Depending on the law, some were enforced more thoroughly or more seriously than others. Towns could also vary in how they responded to lawbreakers; some would take fines, while others would banish them.[1] Depending on city, town, and need, the Purple Dragons and War Wizards enforced laws, maintained peace, and served as custom agents.[23][24] They stopped people they found with un-peacebonded weapons to either explain and enforce the rule, or arrest them and confiscate their property, imprison them or banish them from the land. Provably defending oneself was the best defense if caught with unbonded weapons.[11][13]

Authorities such as the monarch, city lords, and town mayors could appoint magistrates to investigate and pass judgement on disputes and crimes such as murder when required.[25][26][27] Magistrates were accorded various rights to let them go wherever they wished and question whomever they needed,[25] to detain suspects and make arrests.[27] Lord magistrates could even command Purple Dragons garrisons, such as Lord Magistrate Sthavar of Suzail, leader of the capital's government.[28][29]

Cormyrean justice required a formal arrest and trial, but the monarch and the Royal Magician could order these circumvented in case of a threat to the realm, and even order an immediate execution instead. Moreover, they could pass the authority for this to a trusted agent.[30]

Legal System[edit | edit source]

Like the legal systems of other realms, in a Cormyrean court a local lord or other noble served as judge and passed sentence. Nobles accused of crimes could demand to be tried by the monarch or a jury of their peers, such as fellow nobles, other rulers, or senior War Wizards.[1]

Two aspects were distinct to Cormyr, however. First, an accused was not presumed to be innocent or guilty until proven otherwise. Rather, a suspect was charged with a crime, an accuser was required to "substantiate" the charge, and the accused was required to "respond" to the charge. However, an accused received no special facilities or resources; they were forced to argue for their own innocent to the judge. In turn, accusers were often the heads of local militias, who in a small town would also be the local lord, and therefore also the judge. Thus, some towns had a bad reputation for unfairness for the accused.[1] For example, in Thunderstone, the rowdy and wilful Purple Dragons garrison were the police and had a habit of making trouble for strangers, and their commander Oversword Faril Laheralson would be both accuser and judge, making them the sole law in the town, with no chance to appeal to authorities in Suzail.[31][32]

Second, Cormyrean courts had an appeals process. One who owned land and thus paid taxes to the crown was entitled to an appeal, made to higher-ranked legal authority. A noble could appeal a verdict, but only to a jury of a dozen commoners, who were all personally selected by the monarch.[1]

Executions were typically done by means of hanging.[33]

History[edit | edit source]

Lukas Spoondrift, innkeeper of the Sheaf of Wheat in Ghars, and Rolf, a local roofer, got into a dispute over a damaged roof and payment for repairs in around Ches of the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR. Lukas and Rolf's father took the matter to a magistrate in Wheloon, and argued about it through the rest of the year.[26]

When Dovo, a blacksmith's assistant of Ghars, was found murdered on Eleint 17, 1367 DR, Mayor Tobald appointed retired War Wizard Benelaius, current War Wizard Lindavar, and Benelaius's servant Jasper as honorary magistrates of Ghars, with all associated rights.[25] The next evening, following the death of king's envoy Grodoveth, Royal Magician Vangerdahast gave Benelaius the authority to rule on the matter and moreover for Captain Flim of the Purple Dragons to immediately execute the killer once identified, without formal arrest or trial.[30][33]

That same year, when Lord Partic Thistle was found murdered in his chambers in Thistleflame Keep in Suzail, Purple Dragon officer Aleka Ravenheart was authorized by King Azoun IV to investigate and detain and arrest suspects. She was supported by Lord Magistrate Sthavar.[27]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), pp. 35, 37–38. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  5. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 6, p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  6. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  7. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), pp. 11, 46. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  8. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  9. John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.
  10. Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chaps. 7, 12, pp. 40, 67. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), pp. 61, 63. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 7, 8. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  14. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  15. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 12, p. 145. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  16. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 9, p. 104. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  17. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 10, p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  18. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 170. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  19. Ed Greenwood (August 2006). Swords of Eveningstar. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 6, p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-4022-0.
  20. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  21. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 226. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
  23. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  24. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 12, p. 71. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 23, pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.
  28. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  29. John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), pp. 22, 45. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chaps. 26, 27, pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
  31. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 194. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  32. John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), pp. 58, 65. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Chet Williamson (July 1998). Murder in Cormyr. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 30, p. 194. ISBN 0-7869-0486-0.
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