2019-01-29 Player Character Jail

Talysman wrote Time to Go to Jail! about characters being sent to jail and asks how we handle it in our campaign.

My first thought is that this doesn’t happen often in my campaigns because the authorities don’t tend to imprison player characters. The last time it happened, the character simply disappeared from play for a few sessions and it wasn’t a problem for my player because they can simply play a retainer of their main character instead. In this particular case the player only had a single character and essentially started playing a retainer of another player’s character. I guess we were lucky because the other player wasn’t too attached to that retainer. A few sessions later, the jailed character was freed.

But as I think about it, I’d much prefer prisons not to exist. In medieval times imprisonment was never a punishment, it was a means to an end: preventing people from getting to places where they can excert power, or getting paid a hefty ransom in exchange for freeing them. Punishment was simply corporeal punishment and mutilation: lashing, cut off your hair, cut out your tongue, cut off a hand, cut off a foot, blinding, nailing your ear to a wall, that kind of stuff. Yikes! And these things leave marks and have in-game effects.

I think that’s what I would do. I like harsh consequences in-game.

And if players then want to retire their character, so be it.

I hate cruel and inhumane punishment out-of-game!

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