20 Bizarre Laws for Your PC's to Break
All cultures have some form of law; some system by which the actions of individual members of the culture can be judged. All cultures use laws to isolate themselves from behaviors that they do not approve of; unfortunately cultures often differ greatly, making what is perfectly acceptable in one place, absolute taboo in another. When travelling, even in your own country, one can forget that different people do things differently. A traveller might sometimes run afoul of local laws by accident, but sometimes there is no accident.
It is easy to run afoul of laws designed to trip up outsiders and that is what comprises the majority of the following list. The laws that follow are hardly critical for a society to survive; they may seem like nothing more than an excuse to jail or fine your PC's. That is exactly what they are. Lawful frontier towns often go a bit overboard on the "decency laws" and it is usually the outsiders that suffer from these regulations. What follows is far from an exhaustive list. It is just a short list to get you thinking about how the laws in your campaign world work. As always, I hope that there is something useful for you and your PC's in today's offering. Here are 20 Bizarre Laws for Your PC's to Break. Happy Gaming!
Public Drunkenness - Pretty much self-explanatory and universally unacceptable.
Public Blasphemy - Some places are much more religious than others.
Mistreatment of a Plant or Animal - Druids and Wood Elves have some pretty strange laws.
Failure to Wear Festive Clothing - Some places are really serious about their local festivals.
Leaving an Unlicensed Horse on a Public Street - There are places to stable one's horse if one is a visitor. If one is a resident, one can get a license permitting public use of a horse.
Giving to Beggars - There are official agencies for providing aid to those who truly deserve it. Giving to beggars might be supporting spies, thus it is treated like a minor form of treason.
Being Barefoot in a Government Building - A measure meant to limit those who either don't or can't wear shoes. Barbarians, monks and halflings are often more comfortable in jail, anyway. It's true.
Wearing Inappropriate Clothing in Public - Another piece of "trap" legislation for any outsiders who might need to be apprehended. "Stop foul knaves! Where are your hats?"
Transporting Alcohol - Many communities feel that alcohol is simply a road to perdition and they don't appreciate those who bring the "ways of evil" into their midst.
Unlicensed Spellcaster - More than a few frontier towns have been destroyed by magic. Many now require spellcasters to register with the town guard before entering the town.
Violation of a Racial Restriction - No humans allowed. -OR- No elves. No orcs. No tieflings. No gnomes. No dwarves. No whatevers.
Mockery of Public Officials - Smart-mouthed bards have been hung in this town before, so you just keep talking, mister. Just keep on talking.
Spellcasting in Public - Whoa, whoa, whoa. What part of being a licensed spellcaster made you believe that you were allowed to cast spells in public?
Use of Illegal Magics - A few communities might deem all magic items as Illegal Magics. Communities on the other end of the scale might only limit illusion items or ESP magic.
Violation of Public Standards law - This is a true catch-all category. The PC's might be out past curfew. Perhaps someone is wearing the color garnet; which is forbidden. Maybe it is temple day and the PC's are armed. Anything is possible.
Possession of Illegal Items - Are these thieves tools? Are these vials of poison? Is this a garrotte? Just what kind of people are you?
Interacting with Unrelated Children - Why were members of your group seen talking to children earlier? Halflings, eh? That's exactly what a group of murdering child molesters would say. Exactly what halflings were you speaking to? Who are they; what are their names?
Doing Guild Business without a License - Why are you carrying gems? Are you a part of the Jeweler's Guild? Are you subcontracted by the Carter's Guild to transport those gems? Your gems?!? Where are your ownership paperwork from the guild?
Wearing Shoes in a Temple - Remove your boots, infidel. What do you mean by bringing your shoe dirt onto the holy and blessed floor of the temple? Militant orders will not be so nice.
Unlicensed Solicitation of Labor - Rumor has it that you've been asking around for employment? We've got all the workers we need around here. It'd be best for your group to move along to the next town. Try your luck there; I hear they like strange nomadic laborers.