07 October, 2015

Darkhive Worldbuilding (Part 31) - Criminals

Not everyone in the Darkhive co-operates in the eternal struggles against the monsters or trades as a part of an extended economy between settlements. Some are self-serving opportunists, some struggle against the tyranny of dangerous individuals who happen to be in legitimate positions of power, some  have cultural values different to those of the settlements nearby and choose to live alone.

Despite the numerous types of underhanded individuals who make up the criminals of the Darkhive, the officers of the law typically divide them into two types. The first of these are "Bandits" who live separate from settlements (either as nomadic raiders or in hidden enclaves), the second are the "Scoundrels" who live within settlements.

Bandits are generally considered the most dangerous criminals because they live apart from society and have little to regulate their attitudes or their potential mutations. This is probably xenophobia on the part of those who live as a part of "regular survivor society", but it's a xenophobia that law enforcement officials are more than happy to exploit. In truth, bandits typically have a harder time surviving in the dark corners of the hive and are more likely to be targeted by Shellbrood and other monsters who are inclined to hunt weaker forces.

Scoundrels are considered less dangerous, because they typically work within the society of a settlement, they may do occasional bad deeds but on the whole they work with the people around them. Again, this is a dramatic oversimplification, and the scoundrels may actually be more dangerous, because they often live at the centre of webs of intrigue, sometimes pulling strings until they end up in positions of legitimate power. This is one of the few ways that a person might gain control of a village without the benefit of mystic power, fungal symbiosis or mutation. That's not to say that all "regular" people in positions of power are criminals...but there is a distinct bias in the numbers.

The largest network of settlements across the Darkhive has an order of paramilitary law enforcement officers, in these areas when a criminal is caught, a trial may be held or the officer of the law may impose immediate justice. There are a number of potential punishments depending on the type of crime, such punishments range from fines, through to ostracism from a settlement or even execution.

In other parts of the hive, specific individuals may be appointed into a "sheriff"-like role by a settlement. Such individuals often have a charter of law to gauge their law enforcement duties, but typically end up as judge, jury, and executioner for the settlements they guard.

In a lot of cases throughout the Darkhive, the difference between criminals and the law is simply a badge of office.

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