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Author Topic: The Law: Territorial Authority vs Steward vs Dogs  (Read 3343 times)
cra2
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Posts: 53


« on: August 05, 2009, 06:45:18 AM »

I've done a search on Territorial Authority and still haven't quite come to a concrete picture in my head.
Was hoping someone could help me...

In terms of "law enforcement" and justice, what is the difference betweent he TA, the Steward and the Dogs?

In a town that has a TA and a Steward, if someone's ... I dunno.. stealing chickens... who investigates, arrests, tries, and punishes the guilty?

I get that the TA is more of a "tax collector" but it does say that he's there to ensure taxes CAN be collected.  In other words - a town plagued by crime doesn't produce taxes.  So does the TA carry a gun?  Does he investigate crime?  Does he have the ability to arrest/jail someone?
Even if not.. what happens when someone doesn't pay their taxes when he comes calling?
Does he go tell the Steward to get the money?
Or does he enforce his will with a gun?
Or does he go back to his Superiors and "report" the crime so they can send law enforcement?

Or is "criminal justice" the Steward's job only?
Or is the Steward only concerned with Faith issues and "law & order" (the way we see it) aren't important?

And if criminal justice is the Steward's job, then the Dogs are really more like a U.S. (territorial) Marshall, while the Steward is like the town sheriff?  They do the same job - just the Dogs have more authority when they're present?  Doesn't seem right cuz I thought Marshalls tended to stick to issues that are bigger than an individual town - like breaking up a County-wide cattle-rustling gang.  Or tracking a criminal who has left town and is on the run.

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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 07:57:49 AM »

The way I play it:

The TA is the federal government's representation out in the Territories. The rep is one part sheriff, one part taxman.

He enforces TA laws.

The steward isn't (generally) recognized as a legitimate authority figure by the TA. Sometimes the steward is also a town mayor, but as a rule he's a spiritual and social leader rather than an elected figure. Where TA law and the tenets of the Faithful coincide, he enforces the law. Where they differ, he follows the Faith. This can cause problems with the TA. As a rule though, the TA isn't right there in the town unless it's a bigger one. Often, the TA rep may be one of the Faithful, so he may turn a blind eye to what the law forbids but the Faith allows.

Such as the Dogs' King-given authority to shoot, hang or whatever they please.

Other times, the TA and the Dogs may not see eye to eye. The Dogs don't recognize the laws made by the corrupt, decadent government back east. The TA doesn't recognize the divine authority of the Order Set Apart.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 08:35:34 AM »

Very well written, thanks!
Is this the generally-accepted view of their roles?

The way I play it:

The TA is the federal government's representation out in the Territories. The rep is one part sheriff, one part taxman.

He enforces TA laws.

The steward isn't (generally) recognized as a legitimate authority figure by the TA. Sometimes the steward is also a town mayor, but as a rule he's a spiritual and social leader rather than an elected figure. Where TA law and the tenets of the Faithful coincide, he enforces the law. Where they differ, he follows the Faith. This can cause problems with the TA. As a rule though, the TA isn't right there in the town unless it's a bigger one. Often, the TA rep may be one of the Faithful, so he may turn a blind eye to what the law forbids but the Faith allows.

Such as the Dogs' King-given authority to shoot, hang or whatever they please.

Other times, the TA and the Dogs may not see eye to eye. The Dogs don't recognize the laws made by the corrupt, decadent government back east. The TA doesn't recognize the divine authority of the Order Set Apart.
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cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 08:49:42 AM »

You know what might be very helpful - a concrete list of examples where the laws of the faith may differ or agree with the laws of the TA.  And a differentiation between a "Steward" issue and a "Dogs" issue.

Stealing chickens, for example.
Has to be against the "law" - right?  TA law.
But theft has to be a "sin" in the Book of Life, as well.
So I'd assume the Steward or the TA or both would handle it.
No?

So what are some examples "sins" that the Steward would handle but the TA wouldn't care about?
Lust, greed, pride, etc.  right.

Seems simple except when you bring "justice" into it.
What happens when the Steward can exact justic on his flock in forms that would otherwise be considered crimes by the TA?
You know - if the Steward shoots (or beats or interrogates or brands) someone for crimes of the Faith, does the TA call that murder?

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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 09:53:27 AM »

Yes! Great topic.

Lance is right on.

The office of Steward is solely religious; a Steward has no legal authority at all. Same with the Dogs! If a Steward or the Dogs shoot and hang people, this makes them murderers in the eyes of the Territorial Authority.

The TA guy has a tough job of it, though. Think about the beat cop in a (cinematic) Mafia neighborhood. If someone's stealing your chickens, do you go to the cop? The hell you do. You go to the Family. If there's a murder in the neighborhood, does anybody talk to the police? NO.

The Faith fled out here into the West to get away from the federal government, and the Territorial Authority is the federal government's representation out here. It's not easy relations. Sometimes the TA will employ Faithful, to ease relations; sometimes Faithful will step up to be TA reps, and turn a blind eye (like a Mob guy joining the force).

One Dog of mine got herself chased halfway across the Mountain Territory by the Territorial Authority's rangers, for being (in their eyes) a murderer and rebel. She'd gun down a TA rep for meeting her eyes.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 09:58:17 AM »

(I'll add that this ended her career as a Dog, and took her out of play. Not because she wasn't justified - she was, it was the King Himself told her to gun down any TA bastard she met - but because she couldn't very well do her service as a Dog while on the run.)

-Vincent
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jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 10:01:39 AM »

One of the best towns I ever ran involved a solider of the Territorial Authority investigating rumors about a vigilante organization (i.e. The Dogs) operating amongst The Faithful.  The climax involved The Dogs literally performing a miracle to show the soldier that there were things in this world, here amongst the faithful, that were best left within the faithful.  It was beautiful.

Jesse
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cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 10:33:42 AM »

The office of Steward is solely religious; a Steward has no legal authority at all. Same with the Dogs! ....Sometimes the TA will employ Faithful, to ease relations; sometimes Faithful will step up to be TA reps, and turn a blind eye (like a Mob guy joining the force).

excellent clarity, thanks!

(pulls hair out wondering why either a) this wasn't in the book, or b) how I missed it, if it was.)

Now then.. Stewards vs Dogs.

If Stewards have the same general responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the town, why do they need Dogs?
Or, are Dogs just "super-stewards?"  - when something gets too big for a steward, the Dogs must step in.

Don't have the rules in front of me but I recall that the dogs cut off the arm (judge the sinner) to save the "Body" (Branch), while the Steward heals the wound ("tends to his flock before and after").  At least I think that's the impression I got.
Anyways.. if I have that right, then the question is, why?  Why doesn't the Steward just shoot the sinner and take care of his own business (as a local sheriff would).

Is the Steward more like the local preacher?  He can organize prayer meetings and call out sin, but he can't "do" anything about it.
i.e. Can't perform exorcisms and doesn't own a gun.
If that's the case then are the Dogs more like the "dad who is gonna wear your butt out when he gets back from his business trip?" 
So the Steward says to the sinner, "you better behave or the King won't like it."
And if the sinner continues, then he says, "you better behave or I'll tell the Dogs when they come through."


This interpretation (which is mine alone and is prolly WAY off) kinda makes the Steward seem like the tattle-tale though.
But it sure makes concrete sense to my little mind that wants to sort these roles into nice, neat bins.

TA = representative of LAW back east.
Steward = preacher man
Dogs = fist of GODDDDDDDDDDD!  lol.

Another interpretation could be that the Steward has all the same abilities and authority as a Dog (when a Dog's not around).
ie.  Steward equals town sheriff, Dogs equal sheriff's regional boss who visits from time to time.

But then that makes the Dogs look like nosy interlopers if they take any actions without the Steward requesting it.
In other words, if they storm into town and start telling everyone their business and dishing out justice, the Steward's going to feel like they stepped all over his toes.  Seems like they'd ask him if he needed any help, and if he says no, they mozy on (unless they suspect HE is the threat in that particular branch).

sorry for the questions.
thanks for any more input.
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cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 12:26:57 PM »

Ok, found the rulebook.
Thinking out loud til someone interrupts...(pleeeease. lol)

"Notice that the branch Steward has Stewardship over the families in his congregation, while the Dogs assigned to that route have Stewardship over his congregation as a whole, including him in his official capacity. Dogs have no authority to solve the problems of families or individuals, thatís the Stewardís job, except as the problems spill over into the congregation as a whole. (Which they pretty much do, so thatís okay.)"

Seems like intentionally blurred lines.  :)
The Steward is over the families in his congregation.
The Dogs are over the Steward's congregation.
Isn't that one and the same?

The (fuzzy) takeaway I'm getting from this (and it's prolly wrong) is that the Steward does everything in a town that he can.
From taking care of families issues to dealing with issues that have grown larger and are plaguing the whole town.
If and/or when a Dog shows up, they lend that Steward a helping hand unless a) he seems competent and/or b) the problem seems to be isolated to a family or two and doesn't threaten the branch.

When the Dogs ride through, if there are no problems (or at least none worth their attention), they just bring mail, smile, preside over a wedding, and ride on.

Am I anywhere near close?
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jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 02:35:49 PM »

Seems like intentionally blurred lines.  :)
The Steward is over the families in his congregation.
The Dogs are over the Steward's congregation.
Isn't that one and the same?

Yes. And Sort Of.

There is a built-in power struggle between the Dogs and a Steward.  Which leads to scenes like this:

Dogs: "Brother Joseph needs to allow his daughter to marry Brother Carl."
Steward: "Hey!  You can't tell Brother Joseph what to do with his family, that's MY Job!"
Dogs: "Uh, but until Brother Joseph allows his daughter to marry Brother Carl, Brother Carl will have no family to help him tend is farm which will cause everyone to starve... and that's OUR problem"
Steward: "Fine.  But as I've said, Brother Carl should marry Brother Nolan's daughter and that's MY JOB!"

Who has "authority"?  Both.  Guess you're going to be rolling some dice soon.

In other cases I've had the Dogs "contain" a problem to a single household and then "punt" the Steward.  They basically said, "Your problem now, Steward.  Hope you don't screw it by the next time we ride through" before going off into the sunset.  That's a weakness I have when prepping a Dogs Town.  Sometimes I forget to have the problems of a single family "spill out" into the congregation because until that happens it's the Steward's responsibility, not the Dogs.

Jesse
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 02:51:41 PM »

(pulls hair out wondering why either a) this wasn't in the book, or b) how I missed it, if it was.)
All these conflicts are where the fun is to be had. Think about it this way: If I give you a list that clears up everyone's authority in every situation, so your Steward knows "Ah, this is a Dog issue. Ah, this a me issue. Ah, the Dog's don't have any legal authority to charge taxes. They're breaking TA law, etc." how will that list improve your game?

Isn't it better to have the Steward, the Dogs, and the TA all in dissagreement about who has jurisdiction and who is justified?
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James R.
Danny_K
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 04:19:21 PM »

Another way of looking at it is that the towns where the Steward can handle the problem on his own are towns that don't need the Dogs as much -- those are the implied but unplayed towns where the Dogs don't do anything but bring the mail and have a chicken dinner and bless some babies.  The towns where the Steward can't or won't handle the problems, or where he's the problem -- those are the towns that the Dogs dig into. 

Also, it's very human and understandable that sometimes a Steward might want to let the Dogs handle somethings,, like a no-good brother in law who needs shooting.  There was an Actual Play I read recently (Star Wars DitV) where an NPC said,something like "You'll leave soon, but I live here." 
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I believe in peace and science.
Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 09:44:11 PM »

In other words, if they storm into town and start telling everyone their business and dishing out justice, the Steward's going to feel like they stepped all over his toes.

And this is a bad thing how?
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James R.
cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 04:24:27 AM »

In other words, if they storm into town and start telling everyone their business and dishing out justice, the Steward's going to feel like they stepped all over his toes.

And this is a bad thing how?

Well I see what you're saying now about there being a built-in conflict for the game.
Guess I had never thought about that as one of the main, repeatable issues for the Dogs to face.
I figured that sort of problem only came up if the Steward was incompetent or corrupt.
(which I assumed would be a rarity, not the norm - else, the Faith would need to re-think how it selects Stewards)

I think that I thought there must be a formalized relationship there somewhere in the text and I was just missing it.
I mean, if this big organization (the Faith) exists to shepherd the flock yet they continually receive reports that the Dogs and Stewards are in conflict, I would think they'd have come up with a solution by now.  Dilineate roles or whatever. 

Having armed men in conflict with each over vague roles just leads to pride and anger and resentment.
Kinda counter-productive.
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lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2009, 07:44:55 AM »

Stewards are preachers, yes. Pastors. They're responsible for the well-being of the individuals and families in their congregations, as individuals and families. They're responsible for the sinner's well-being just as much as for his victims'. That means calling the sinner to repentance, not murdering him for the good of all. If the sinner won't repent, the Steward's job is to nevertheless keep working with him. (See pages 44-45 for an example.)

One of my favorite lines for a Steward to say, when the Dogs give him grief about the state of his congregation, is this: "Dog, if God allowed me to gun my own parishioners down in the street, He wouldn't need you."

-Vincent
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