Laws and Justice
If you have any questions about the laws or justice process, please contact the moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to get involved, feel free to contact the mods or one of the players involved with the justice system. The players involved can be found on the current Business Listings for the Atian Legal System--Collared Division or the Atian Police Force--Collared Division.
❧ Laws of Atia
❧ Legal System
Laws of Atia
As its own sovereign nation, Atia naturally has its own laws. These laws are a combination of edicts ordained from the gods, particularly Atia herself, and additional laws established by the Natives over the years. Written copies of the laws are publicly accessible can be readily viewed in several places around the island, such as the library and the courthouse. All people on the island, whether Native, Collared, or Outsider, are expected to abide by them while on the island, though there are some laws that may apply only to certain groups or circumstances.
A crime is any act that violates the law and/or is defined as a crime by the law. Most crimes fit into what are roughly three tiers--minor, moderate, and major--depending on the nature and severity of the crime. An overview and some example crimes are as follows:
Things that are technically against the law, but cause little to no harm generally fall into the category of minor crimes. These crimes usually have light sentences, such as a small fine and/or a few nights in jail, and generally don't require going through the process of a whole trial.
- Public Drunkenness
- Minor Vandalism
- Unlicensed Drug Sales
Anything that's more severe than a minor offense, but still not particularly drastic, usually falls into the category of moderate level crimes. Someone convicted of a moderate crime can expect to pay a sizable fine and probably sped some time in jail, as well.
These are crimes that are considering to be especially offensive, and have sentences that are appropriately heavy to match. The minimum punishment for most major crimes is a hefty fine and a stay of a few years on Lethia; depending on the severity of the crime this can rapidly increase, up to and including a life sentence on Lethia.
- Arson/Significant Vandalism
- Kidnapping/Human Trafficking
- Theft in large amounts
Note that on Atia, while there are no laws against public nudity or sex in public, actual sex crimes or crimes bordering on them (such as some forms of harassment) are considered to have an increased severity compared to their real-world counterparts. As the Natives view sex as a sacred, consecrated act, anything that would defile that is seen as particularly egregious. This means that crimes such as rape will generally be treated more harshly than might be expected elsewhere.
Also noteworthy, is that because of the unusual circumstances surrounding the collared presence on the island, the collared court has established a rule that a collared cannot be prosecuted for a crime they have no memory of. This is to account for the fact that collared occasionally vanish from the island, only to return with no memories of their previous stay, and that some collared question where or not the individual truly is the same person and not similar but different versions entirely. OOCly, this is so that a player apping a character that had previously been in the game played by someone else and had acquired a lengthy rap sheet during that earlier stay does not need to worry about their character getting thrown into prison for it.
Regulatory Laws and the Black Market
The island of Atia is in many ways extremely lax when it comes to laws. While the basics such as stealing or violence against a person or property are covered, the Natives have never seen in point in outlawing things like weapons or drugs. The only limitation in these areas, in fact, is that it's illegal to traffic in drugs created to do harm without a license granted by the island's council. However as there are legitimate markets for such drugs (ranging from exports to medicinal use) such licenses are quite possible to obtain if one follows the proper procedure and guidelines.
These lax laws, however, do have other consequences: namely, that Atia's port is a popular location to unload, obtain, or trade in goods that are illegal or regulated in other parts of the world. As long as any appropriate fees and taxes are paid, the Natives don't particularly trouble themselves over what may or may not be against the law in other countries, nor what the origin or destination of such cargoes may be. But by that same token, most of the Natives by and large eschew being a party to any such illicit dealings. This has nothing to do with any sense of legality or moral compunctions, so much as a combination of disliking to deal with the unsavory types such business usually is run by as well as looking down on such outsiders as being unworthy of any particular attention.
This means that the trafficking of questionable goods through Atia's ports is largely unregulated, and while popular, lacks any particular efficiency or organization beyond what individual cartels have established for themselves. Collared attempting to learn more about these dealings will have to wade through a quagmire of ever-changing arrangements and associations that lack any sort of structure or common protocol. Of course, should one have the patience, savvy, and lack of scruples to sort out who's who and trafficking in what, it could potentially provide interesting new business possibilities. However, anyone doing so must always keep in mind that the outsiders they're dealing with often have no more respect for Atian traditions and laws than the Collared themselves, and may respond accordingly if their displeasure is roused.
There have been, over the course of the game's history, a few court cases that have been particularly notable, either for their subject matter and/or the sentences given. While this isn't a complete list of all major court matters in the game, these are a few that are noteworthy.
Sometime early in the game's history: Dahlia poisoned numerous people by poisoning the sugar used at Les Bean. She was found guilty and given a prison sentence. It was because of this that Lethia was OOCly established so that characters would not be rendered unplayable due to being stuck in prison for a long period of time.
2013, February-March: at Thanatos's order, Chloe executed a collared who'd murdered a native to attempt to win favor with the god of death. Chloe was found guilty of murder by the collared court. Tir McDohl presided, and Chloe was sentenced to a prison term on Lethia
2013, April-July: Boyd Crowder bombed Thanatos's temple, with the god himself making a network post naming Boyd as the culprit. Boyd petitioned to be heard by the collared court and entered a guilty plea there. Sion Astal presided, and Boyd was sentenced to a fine, community service, and prison term, subject to a five year probation period.
What is the police system like in Atia?
The police and law system in Amat is mostly player run, from the characters who patrol behind the scenes to those who answer any call on the network for help. Greater NPC Native scrutiny has fallen upon the Collared as more and more of the disgruntled 'guests' cause greater amounts of trouble within the city - most recently the destruction of the Temple of Thanatos which caused a great deal of (temporary, thankfully) meta-physical harm to the very order of the universe.
Collared who commit crimes against Collared are left to other Collared in the employ of the legal system to sort themselves out.
Collared or Outsider crimes against Natives default to being handled by the Native court.
Native crimes against Collared are typically handled by the Collared court when possible, provided there are Collared willing to deal with the matter.
Crimes involving just Collared and Outsiders can be handled by either court upon request of the person(s) involved in it, though generally Collared matters will default to the Collared court.
Civil matters will default to the Collared court if only Collared are involved, or either court upon request if both Collared and Natives are involved. Outsiders do regularly request the Collared court when possible to handle civil matters.
The mods may occasionally step in as needed with some divine intervention, but this is very rare.
What happens if I want to commit a crime? Does my character have to get arrested?
Remember, In Character Actions = In Character Consequences!
Before you commit a crime, think! Please report all crimes in the appropriate venues. This allows the affected players (such as the police and court staff) to know to respond and to keep an eye out for any information that they need, if applicable.
Please keep in mind that if a crime is publicly broadcast over the network, then the entire island can see the crime as well as whose device it was broadcast from. Unless the character is masked in some way (for instance, using the victim's device instead of their own, and not showing their face), then they can expect to be found suspicious, if not outright guilty in some way.
In a society like the characters of Amat have created, crimes (especially those of the violent variety) can shock, depress and infuriate others. They will want justice. They will want to see the person who hurt their friends given some sort of punishment. It is for this reason that we ask anyone who wants to commit a public crime in such a way please realize that their characters are more often than not going to be brought to justice.
If you'd rather your character not be arrested, charged, and possibly sent to jail, please do not have them commit a crime publicly. If they can cover the crime or operate strictly behind closed doors where no one finds out, then they might not suffer the consequences, but do not assume that your character can get away with something without at least consulting with all affected parties and possibly the mods first. Remember, ICA = ICC.
So what happens after a character commits a crime?
Once a character has been identified as a suspect in a crime, they will likely be arrested and charges filed, though it's possible for a character to be charged without being arrested depending on the circumstances. The character will be given a chance to consult with one of the defense attorneys if they desire, and an initial hearing in court will be scheduled.
At the initial hearing the character will be offered a chance to give their plea (either Guilty or Not Guilty) and both sides may make any requests or motions or such of the court at this time. If the plea is Not Guilty a trial will be scheduled; if the plea is Guilty then the process skips straight to sentencing, either during the same hearing or scheduled for a later date if more time is needed. If the case goes to a trial, both sides will probably be asked to present a list of their evidence and witnesses before the trial begins so that any necessary arrangements and scheduling can be taken care of in advance.
The trial takes place in front of a single judge; there aren't any jury trials in Atia. Each side, starting with the prosecution, will get to argue its case, present any witnesses or evidence, question the opposite side's witnesses, and so on. A trial may be as brief as a few hours or as long as several days, depending on the case. If at the end of the trial the judge finds the character Not Guilty, the case is dismissed, but if the character is found Guilty then the case proceeds to sentencing.
Sentencing can happen either immediately after the trial, or be scheduled for a later date. Generally speaking, if a crime is minor and a character pleads Guilty from the beginning, a sentence will be given immediately, but more major crimes will nearly always require a separate sentencing hearing. This hearing gives each side a chance to argue for or against what kind of sentence the character should receive before the judge makes a final decisions.
In some cases, if a crime is relatively minor or otherwise lacking in strong evidence to convict the character, the prosecution may offer to reduce or dismiss part of the charges if the character pleads guilty. This basically means that the character would get a smaller sentence than they would if they went to trial and were found guilty. Whether this option is used is generally up to the discretion of the players, but some cases may require mod approval if the crime was significant and/or committed against natives.
What are the sentences for these crimes committed?
The general guidelines for sentences is given in the list of crimes at the beginning of this page. Generally speaking though, possible sentences for a character convicted of a crime include some combination of fines, community service, jail time or house arrest, or prison time on the island of Lethia. Obviously, more severe crimes will result in more severe sentences.
Also, please note that if a character has previously committed a crime which included probation as part of that sentence, and then commits another crime that violates that probation, the character may end up having two sentences: one for the new crime, and one for the probation violation on the old crime. A character will be ICly informed of any probation terms when given their sentence, and if there's questions you can at any time message the relevant members of the Collared legal team or the mods for more details on a specific sentence.
What is Lethia?
Essentially, Lethia is the 'prison' island where Atia sends its most dangerous criminals.
Located north of Atia, the island is surrounded by a perpetual fog and storm, making it extremely difficult to sail to and from, especially for anyone not intimately familiar with the appropriate safe route. The lone village on the island is set on the north cove, surrounded by a more tropical forest than one encounters on Atia's main island. The village is populated solely by prisoners and the staff and guards who watch over them.
It is said that time on Lethia is distorted due to the fog and storm surrounding it, and that one can spend months on Lethia, only to arrive back mere days after they had left Atia. Whether this is the true cause for this phenomenon is unknown, but the fact remains that time on Lethia does not move at the same pace as on Atia.
OOCly, this is so that the characters sentenced to time on Lethia will not be out of commission and unplayable for an excessive amount of time. The minimum sentence on Lethia is one month, so characters will be out of the game for at least one day. Despite how long a sentence on Lethia is, the time passed on Atia will not exceed 10 days unless specifically requested otherwise by a player, such if a character will be in prison during a player's hiatus.
What do I need to know if my character is sent to prison there?
A detailed description of what arrival and life on Lethia is like is included below, but the gist of it is that the character will be assigned to a small cabin within a walled, enclosed village to live, and while they will be provided with basic necessities, life will be somewhat limited. It's a prison, after all. While books and such are allowed for entertainment, characters won't exactly have a lot of options, and may be required to do various daily tasks that help with the maintenance of the facility, such as tending to the gardens and such.
It's very important to note, however, that while only a week or two of time will pass on Atia, a character will experience every day of their sentence on Lethia. They will have lived there for literally years (if the sentence is that long) and if the sentence is long enough will have aged accordingly. This means that it's certainly possible for a character to have spent a good deal of time reflecting for weeks or months on personal matters and end up returning to Atia deeply changed by the experience. If you're uncertain the limits to what you can do in terms of character development from a stay on Lethia, feel free to contact the mods.
How do characters get onto Lethia?
A supply ship makes regular trips to and from Lethia, about once every two weeks when there are no prisoners or visitors being brought back and forth, both to bring supplies and personnel as well as to ferry prisoners back and forth as needed. Characters may visit prisoners on Lethia if they so desire and go through the proper channels for approval. Visitations are generally required to be kept short, and a character overstaying their allotted visitation time may find themselves escorted back to the departing boat by the guards.
Any character just visiting (doctors for special injuries, people visiting prisoners, etc) will be given a special golden tag placed onto their collar for the duration of their stay. This keeps the collar from tightening any more than it currently is, though it can be loosened with sex.
Prisoners are not so lucky. While prisoners with collars will have the gold tag placed on them (it's needed to pass safely through Atia's waters), that tag will be removed upon arrival to the half-way island, the very last of the arc of islands reaching between Atia and Lethia. It takes approximately six hours to reach the island from Atia's shores.
What is it like on Lethia?
There are only a few buildings on Lethia, all somber and morose. The largest of the buildings is the 'processing' center for Lethia, where incoming prisoners are prepared for their stay.
All characters entering Lethia as prisoners will have personal items removed, especially any sharp or dangerous items. The device may be kept, however no connection exists between the two islands. If characters are scheduled to make a return trip at the end of their sentence, their items are labeled and stowed away to wait for their return. They are given three changes of their new Lethia wardrobe, a simple bright yellow uniform that helps them stand out in the mist. They are also given a quick medical checkup. This exists simply to check for any weaknesses, wounds, disease, etc. Their measurements are taken, as well as any allergies they have or medication they're on. There are two women on the island who can give this examination to female prisoners.
Once the examination is over, characters are shown to their rooms to wait out the rest of the night. These rooms are bare of all but the essentials; only a bed, a shelf (for their new clothes) and a small table and chair are in it. As a sort of 'last meal' deal, characters heading to Lethia have a menu of sorts to choose from dinner, though they'll eat in solitude in their room. Lights go out at approximately 10 pm, and with nothing else to do even the very most anxious prisoners will likely quickly find themselves falling asleep.
Prisoners are both natives and non-natives, all of them fitted with a collar that tightens as though they were on Atia's shores. Unlike on Atia though, the collars never tighten enough to bring about death, instead hovering just at the point of being uncomfortable (approximately day 8/9, where it's difficult to swallow but not quite painful). Luckily, it seems as though the collars will be loosened with the same methods as on Atia, with sex. Because of this, condoms are available from any guard, and birth control is given to women free of charge from the medical staff.
Life on Lethia, while limited, is not completely without its bright spots, however. Inmates on the island do have access to some forms of entertainment, such as books, games, and their devices. Sharp objects are not allowed, since so many of the inmates are in for violent crimes, but many other less dangerous things are allowed on a case by case basis. Well-behaved prisoners may even be allowed the occasional (supervised) garden tool to help out in the prison garden, as Lethia grows much of its own minor herbs and vegetables.
If a prisoner requests something special, such as equipment to work out with or new books to read, they are usually granted it, within reason. After all, many of them will be here for years at a time, and the guards don't want to make them completely miserable.
Lethia also offers counseling for all inmates at least once a week, and more for inmates who require it. All counseling takes place inside the watchtower. Regular physical checkups (once per month) are performed in the same manner.
What is the village like?
The village is populated by about twenty tiny cabins and the watchtower. Each living cabin is quite small indeed, about the size of a modern jail cell. One twin-sized bed, a shelf for personal items and very little more. Restrooms are in separate buildings, divided by gender. Rather than a door or bars, the one door is barred by a heavy curtain. Outside, the character's name is prominently displayed, as well as the length of their remaining sentence. If that weren't enough to help identify, the collars around their throats always seem to tug in the direction of the cabin.
While regular inmates are allowed to interact and roam around the village on a daily basis, they are not entirely free. The village is surrounded by a tall dark fence and if a prisoner happens to climb over it while the guards are not watching, they will simply find themselves lost in a forest outside of time, stumbling out only when they've exhausted the last of their strength, finding themselves back on the edge of the village. Once they're re-apprehended, they will realize that little to no time has passed since they'd left. These inmates are usually put in isolation for a few days.
What is isolation like?
Isolation is generally used for 'at risk' or more violent inmates than regular prisoners. Because of this, isolated inmates live differently from regular inmates. Their cabins are larger, because they're meant to remain in them for longer periods of time. Here at least they have their own restrooms, though there's no door on it. The only door in the cabin is hard wood, with a small special hatch so that food and supplies can be delivered without it being opened. There are high, thin windows, and while an isolated inmate can find themselves in the room for weeks at a time with little human contact (they are checked up in person once every day or week, depending), it's very easy for someone to stand near their window to talk with them them, though the guards keep an eye out for anyone who loiters too long. Occasionally the windows may be blocked from sound if there are continuing problems with an inmate in isolation.
What is the watchtower like?
The watchtower is where the guards, the employees on the island, and the mysterious 'Warden' live. There appear to be no doors, simply a circling balcony at the top of the third floor. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. There is some way to enter and exit (somehow, the walls always open up at just the right time and place), and those prisoners who've stepped inside have said the interior is much larger, housing all the staff and holding the necessary supplies to keep the island running. There is a "cabin" made of stone set into the side of the watchtower. This serves a kitchen to the entire island, where meals (and the occasional medication) are served to prisoners at any time of the day through a special hatch/window.
The watchtower is large and spacious inside, consisting of three stories. The first story contains rooms for counseling and for 'higher risk' inmates to live, which includes inmates who get bullied or harassed frequently, as an alternative to putting them into isolation. Counseling is usually done one-on-one. There is also the medical bay here with its six staff, who oversee all injuries and the well-being of everyone on the island, both physical and mental. They do weekly/daily checkups on isolated prisoners (with guards) as well as monthly check-ups on regular prisoners.
The second story contains the living area for the guards. Since Atia traditionally has a low crime rate, there are not very many of them, approximately 32 or so with at least 8 on duty at all times. They also worship Ares in addition to Atia. As weapons of all kinds are barred on Lethia, the guards are almost always men who have been well trained in martial arts and in subduing violent people with their bare hands. Like with the watchtower entrances themselves, the entrances to all the rooms are strangely barred and impossible to find. Rooms are usually shared, with two guards per room.
There's no library on Lethia, but there are personal bookshelves in each room, and guards can request new books when supplies are brought. There's a general supply room for the inmates on the first floor, which includes things like bedding, new clothes, toiletries, new books/games, etc.
The third story is where the Warden lives and where the majority of the actual guarding takes place, as aside from his room, it is a wide, open place. The Warden, a mysterious and charismatic man with his face always obscured by a mask, possesses the only known device able to reach Atia, despite the distance and the fog. From the balcony on the watch tower, the guards can see all of the village and observe the on-goings of all the prisoners. There are also a multitude of catwalks connecting to other, smaller sentry towers.
Anything I need to know about the prisoners or guards?
The guards are all men, older men, who've spent many years training in martial arts and self-defense. While some of them do have families on Atia, many of them are still single due to their devotion to their job. Because of their studies, they tend to worship Ares as their main god, though they do of course bow to Atia as well.
The Warden tends to keep to himself if there's not a crisis going on or need for him to direct the guards in their work. He keeps his face hidden at all times, and possibly due to his device and other equipment in his room, he seems to know all the goings-on of the island. It's rumored that his name is 'Argus'.
The other staff includes a medical team consisting of one general doctor, one psychiatrist, and four others who are able to help them both with nearly everything they need. If there are any physical wounds the doctor can't handle, then they call in a specialist. There are also two maintenance/cleaning staff, as well as four people who work in the kitchen. The regular staff contains some women, but again, all of them have been trained at least a little in the martial arts and self defense.
There are about 10 prisoners currently on the island. A few are serving life sentences for serial murder/rape/etc (and one of them would be the man that's referenced on Atia several times, for assaulting a priestess in the temple and killing her), but others are in for only a few years. There are a couple of women serving time as well.