Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council.   Posted by Henry LeMaistre.Group: 0
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 105 posts
 NPC - Charter Holder
 Noble & Merchant
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 08:00
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
OOC - All PCs are members of the Midmarch Council and may take part in the discussion.  Because this is a Fuzzy Thread, it is assumed to go on around any other activities.

Henry calls a meeting of the Midmarch Council, to review a matter that has been causing him some concern.

"Recently a number of you have asked Andalon and his priests to draw up wills on your behalf.  Borric tells me that this creates a legal issue pertaining to certain clerical spells, which can bring a person back from the dead.

First - I have spoken with Mother Beatrix and the House of Pharasma have no objection to such Divine Intervention of this type.  After all, the soul will take its journey to The Bone Yard eventually. Undead and other ways of avoiding that journey are, of course, anathema to the House of Pharasma.  So I can see no reason why we, as the legislative body, should implement a law to forbid such Divine Intervention.

Second, and more of a legal concern, is the time that some of those interventions might take.  I am told that ...

Breath of Life is a spell that can bring someone back to life, if it is applied immediately after death.  It is almost like the person never died, so  I don't think that is an issue for us.

Raise Dead is a spell that some senior clerics can cast.  Before long both Andalon and Ethankos will have access to that spell.  Other will have access to it later.  Under certain circumstances it can bring a person back to life after three weeks.  Is that sufficient for a will to come into effect?

Eventually our clerics might have access to a spell known as Resurrection.  This can have the effect of bringing someone back to life centuries after they died.  By that time goods and chattels might have passed done to the fourth generation of grand children.

Other Divines have access to a spell called Reincarnate, which brings the dead persons soul back into another brand-new body.  It will always be young, won't look like the old body and will probably be of a completely different species.  Perhaps even a Goblin or a Kobold.  I am led to believe that will be within one week of the death, however there are rumours that some  really experienced Divines can use a similar spell up to a year later.

I would like to hear your views.  When should a Will be read and enforced?  How do we know that the right person has come back from the dead?  The body might be different? How do we know that the original soul returned?  Could it be an imposter?  Perhaps it would be easier to outlaw such divine interventions.  Or  just read the will immediately?

I would like to hear your views before I make any decisions."

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 817 posts
 Cleric of Abadar
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 16:34
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
"Ah, yes," Andalon responds thoughtfully. "Some aspects of those prayers were covered during my training at the Temple of Abadar. In particular, the financial aspects. Breath of Life does not require any expensive material components but the other three do. Reincarnation, if I remember my lessons correctly, requires precious oils worth 1,000 gold, Raise Dead requires diamonds worth 5,000 gold and Resurrection requires diamonds to the value of 10,000 gold. Plus the fee or donation payable to the cleric or druid performing that service. Those costs place them beyond the reach of most ordinary folk but successful adventurers may very well be able to afford them.

"My advice to anyone writing a Will is to include instructions in their Will regarding those options. In the event of untimely death (not in the case of death from old age), do they wish to leave instructions that a given proportion of their wealth may be spent on a particular one of those prayers to restore them to life, if possible?

"Therefore the reading of their Will should take place as soon as possible, so that their wishes be known in time for them to be acted upon.

"The next question is really what should be done if the deceased has not left a Will. If there is a clearly identified and uncontested beneficiary to inherit their estate (their spouse or children, for example) then that person would and should have the choice of how to use that inheritance; whether to pay for such prayers or not.

"In the particular case of an adventuring party faced with that decision, too far away from town to be able to read a Will or consult with the victim's heirs, then it would probably be appropriate for them to make that decision on behalf of their fallen comrade, and no laws of ours should be imposed to restrict their decision.

"If one or more of their friends wish to take it upon themselves to fund the cost of those prayers from their own pockets, then so be it. I was taught that the deceased must be willing to return to life, so those prayers will only succeed if the deceased wants to live again. In such a case we might rule that those funding the prayers do so at their own risk and have no claim upon the deceased estate to reimburse them, whether the prayer succeeds or not.

"However, if someone dies here with no known heir and no one offering to fund such prayers, I suggest that their estate should pass to Midmarch itself, to be administered by the Midmarch Council as deemed most appropriate for the greater good of all the folk of Midmarch."

Zelona
 player, 192 posts
 Half-elf Druid
 HP: 21 - AC: 19/12/17
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 17:36
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Zelona stood and addressed the council and Lord Henry, "My lord, and Council, as one who has had the good brothers draft such a document, here are my thoughts on the matter."

"I think if we are to pass a law relating to Wills and such miraculous spells, it should be one that requires anyone drafting a Will, or with one in existence, to include details related to those spells which are more directly impactful. So the Raise Dead and Reincarnate dweomers specifically need to be addressed in a Will, as their limits are fairly short but are costly spells. I agree Breath of Life needs no regulation. If someone wants or specifically declines a Raise Dead or Reincarnate, it should be spelled out in any Will document."

She looked around, "I would say that the outer time limit for enacting a will would be that limited by those two spells. Anything beyond that and the Will will be enacted. Should someone Reincarnate or Resurrect after the three week period, they would need to work individually with the lawfully appointed heirs to come to some accord related to their previous estate. That is if that newly embodied person chooses to seek to reclaim some part in the first place. They should not have legal standing to reclaim the estate."

"We do need some limits and I think the shorter time limits of the Raise Dead and Reincarnate spells are reasonable ones. If a person has declined such spells in their Will, then it could go into effect immediately. If they have asked to have those spells done, then the Will should pause for those spells to be attempted before being enacted."

"Perhaps before setting out on an adventure with a group, it would be good information to pass on to the group as to your desires related to those spells as well. That way those who may survive you in the wilds don't have to deliberate or make that decision themselves."

Zelona inclined her head to Andalon, "I also agree that if any dies with no Will and no next of kin, their estate should pass to Midmarch for the good of the region. However, I would also propose that the Council set up a fund with the Church of Abadar to allow those of lesser means, who still wish to stipulate certain things after passing, can have the documents drawn up and stored to be read, at no cost to themselves."

After she had said all this, she once more inclined her head to Lord Henry before sitting, "My lord."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:37, Tue 09 July.

Adoven
 Player, 489 posts
 HP 34 AC 18 F+2 R+8 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 18:00
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Adoven adds "the deceased person also has the option while alive to include a 'do not resuscitate or resurrect' clause in their Will if they have strong moral or religious convictions against it".
Kendrick Winters
 player, 340 posts
 Marshal of Tusk Town
 Knight Paladin of Iomedae
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 19:19
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
"If one were to attempt lichdom or any other similar means to extend their live... then the Church of Iomedae would have to get involved to purge the evil." Kendrick Winters stated evenly. "Would the church be allowed to review these 'Wills' to make sure that there isn't anything nefarious within the document?"
Zelona
 player, 193 posts
 Half-elf Druid
 HP: 21 - AC: 19/12/17
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 19:45
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Zelona nodded, "I agree Adoven, and I think I said, if there is a new Will or existing, any law should require it to be updated to include their wishes related to these blessings, either for or against."

"I see no reason why the Church of Iomedae should review or have access to our personal documents. The question at hand is about enacting laws related to the passing of Wills and divine blessings which restore life, not undeath. If you and the Pharasman's want to discuss other laws for Midmarch related to undeath, I would support that, but it is a different discussion."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:06, Wed 10 July.

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 818 posts
 Cleric of Abadar
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 15:17
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
"Kendrick, I can assure you that the Church of Abadar will not be involved with the preparation of any Will that we consider evil or unlawful, so I would not favour allowing another church access to something we, or the Bank of Abadar, hold in trust for one of our parishioners. If there was any question raised about such a document we would review it ourselves.

"I agree with Zelona's comments, for the most part. The only thing I would add is if someone's estate was being administered by Midmarch Council after their death, then there should be no time limit on that person reclaiming their estate if they are resurrected months or even years later. Even if their estate has gone to the beneficiaries named in their Will it might be reasonable to allow them to reclaim an appropriate share of their estate again, although I foresee that such cases might end up making a few lawyers quite wealthy as well. There might need to be some sort of test to confirm they are who they claim to be, but that would be a minor matter by the time we have the ability to resurrect someone."

Ethankos
 player, 88 posts
 Cleric of Pharasma
 All stories end in death
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 05:41
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Forewarned by Henry of this discussion, Ethankos is in attendance at this council meeting at the Lord Warden's request, though his manner on the occasion is one of utter seriousness, the large man lacking his usual good humour.  Sitting at the back of the room, he listens to the discussion grimly, finally speaking up.

"My Lord," he addresses Henry, "I fear it may be some time before I am worthy enough to attempt such a casting.  Nevertheless, as you say, in time ..."

"While my faith has no objection to the raising of the dead, I myself have no few qualms.  My life is devoted to the laying to rest of those spirits who have clawed their way back from beyond the grave.  To stave off death through the healing of a body from which the soul has not yet departed, I do applaud as a kindness and as a duty, however I would be unwilling to return any soul that has already gone on to its final judgment."

"To that end, I would be willing, when I am able, to cast Raise Dead, to coax back a soul still on its journey to the afterlife.  But I would not seek to cast Resurrection ... save only that the Lady of Souls herself did provide guidance as to some greater purpose still expected of the deceased that the gods themselves would see fulfilled, and I ask that this council enshrine that in law."

"I bow to the wisdom of this worthy priest of Abadar," he indicates Andalon with a respectful nod of his head, "as to the wording and legalities of any Will."

"I would suggest, however, that any reluctant to face the judgment of the gods would do well to provide in advance the diamond dust necessary for their return, for I doubt that such will be easily available in these lands upon such short notice."

"For the record," and now a smile dances on his lips, "I myself do not wish to be brought back, and what possessions I have will pass to the Church to be disposed of as they see fit."
Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 819 posts
 Cleric of Abadar
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 15:04
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
"I respect your opinion, Ethankos, and your right to present your position, your Church's position, on the matter of Resurrection, but I doubt that the majority of other Churches would agree with your proposed ban on Resurrection. Therefore I would submit that it would be inappropriate for this Council to enact a law banning Resurrection in Midmarch. If it should become apparent that I am mistaken in my presumption of a general lack of support for such a ban then I think I would be inclined to abide by the decision of the majority. Until then, though, I would not support such a ban."

He looks at Ethankos thoughtfully for a long moment before voicing another thought.

"Your final comment actually raises another issue. There is no reason why a person's Will should only be valid in written form. Your statement here before so many witnesses should certainly be acknowledged as a clear indication of your wishes if you have left no written Will. There are clerical prayers available, such as Zone of Truth or Discern Lie, or the two of them used together for increased certainty, which would offer reasonable levels of protection against someone deliberately misrepresenting what someone else had said."
Zelona
 player, 195 posts
 Half-elf Druid
 HP: 21 - AC: 19/12/17
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 16:21
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Zelona looked at Andalon, "I am leery of witnessed verbal statements as valid personally." She bowed to Ethankos, "while I acknowledge Ethankos' statements to be valid for him and what we know of him, there are many questions raised by the concept of recognizing witnessed statements alongside documents."

"Would you accept the testimony of one witness or require two or more to corroborate in addition to the spells mentioned? Who would be the official arbiter of such witnessed statements from a legal perspective?  Would any verbal statements supposedly more recent than that of a written Will supersede the written document? Though witnesses may truly hear verbal statements and attest to them under oath and spell, there are magics that can confound the mind of the one speaking that may cause them to say things prior to death they wouldn't have said normally, but would then take on the force of law with this concept. I find that... dangerous. In my opinion, if people want a Will, they can draft one. If we provide for the fees of those who can't afford, then there is no barrier to do so other than an untimely death."

"I would propose and add, if people draft no Will and have no next of kin, then in addition to their estate passing to Midmarch, it should be codified that they are defaulting to NOT having any spells used on them to re-embody their souls. If they have no Will to dictate but have next of kin inheritors, then those inheritors can choose to attempt the spells at their own costs."

"I find Brother Ethankos much to question in your assumption that any who wish to be re-embodied after death are doing so simply to avoid the judgement of gods. Either way, it may be prudent if one can afford it to set aside such a diamond for that one spell. However, if one wished to be reincarnated that calls for no diamonds from what I have been told, though it is still expensive. Asking people to pre-purchase may be asking a bit at this stage of our development as well. There are questions of storage and security and such that come along with that idea that I feel we're not ready to address as a fledgling colony."
Ethankos
 player, 89 posts
 Cleric of Pharasma
 All stories end in death
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 06:33
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Now Ethankos's smile grows much broader.

"Peace," the large man begs, "I am more than happy to put my intentions to parchment if it will simplify the process ... and in light of the issues that Zelona brings up, I propose the following - that all Wills be made before a priest of Abadar who will commit it to parchment and store it safely, for whatever fee your church deems reasonable."

"As to the other matters you raise ..." the priest shifts in his chair, seeking a measure more comfort than the hard wooden seat provides.

"I merely ask and pray that the use of Resurrection be banned - else strictly governed or curtailed - but I accept mine is but one opinion amongst many, and if the law thus allows and another priest is willing, then I will bow to that decision.  I do not believe we are speaking of forcing a priest to cast any spell, let alone this ?"

"My choice of words was perhaps poor - perhaps 'postpone' might be better than 'avoid' - I merely wished to point out that such decisions as are made here today might be only academic if the means by which the spells are to be cast are not available.  Even if one such stone is kept at hand, ready to be onsold ... what happens if there are two or three vying for it ?  No doubt the highest bidder would prevail.  No, as you say, that suggestion was merely one of prudence."
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 106 posts
 NPC - Charter Holder
 Noble & Merchant
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 08:47
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Henry clears his throat and rehearses the augments he has heard.

”As I see it there is a difference between a formal will and the expressed wishes of an individual. A formal document lodged with the House of Abadar should always bear more weight than a word spoken, perhaps casually.

So, unless you tell me differently, a written will that has been lodged with the House of Abadar, shall take precedence – UNLESS priests of three different churches are content that any other instruction, written or verbal, is legitimate and should be allowed to supersede the written document.
Second, I suggest that the implementation of the will should take place no less than one month after death and no more than two months.  The one exception will be if there is a clause in the will authorising the sale of possessions to fund a Raise Dead or Reincarnate spell.  In which case that will be implemented immediately.  Should the Raise Dead or Reincarnate fail, then the rest of the will shall be implemented as normal.

Should the deceased return before that deadline, a court of priests from three different faiths shall be convened to satisfy themselves that all is in order and, if so, they will suspend implementation of the will until death occurs again.

That should meet all the concerns I have heard expressed concerning those matters.  Ethankos, it is not my desire to impose any given religious philosophy on any of our people, so I have no immediate intention to ban reincarnation or other interventions with a longer duration. I have to say, in that should a person return to life, after their will has been executed -  then I believe that the will should stand.

However, I am unsure about how you think we should manage the estates of those who fall without leaving a will.  In my case there is a long document describing ownership and responsibilities within the House leMaistre, drawn up by Brother Bartholomew with Mother Beatrix named as primary executrix.  However, a copy of that can be lodged with the house of Abadar, but is not a will per se.

I suspect House Lebeda-Ondari will have something similar, Valoria’s family are very well-organised.  In some cases it is fairly obvious - Dara has a child, Sara, who must be cared for.  In others cases, less so.  WSM is co-owned by Kendrick and Domitius -  what happens if one of them should die without leaving a will?  Or V&A shipping?  Adoven, Vik, their child and Percy are all involved in that.

And if there is no obvious heir?  Property and possessions come to the state?  Some of you  suggest that they should become state possessions, other of you appear to think the state should become guardians and be prepared to return them later, should the deceased suddenly reappear."

Zelona
 player, 200 posts
 Half-elf Druid
 HP: 21 - AC: 19/12/17
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 15:19
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Zelona nodded along with Lord Henry's recap.

"Lord Henry," she began, "I see no reason why you thought of priests from three different faiths being convened in other areas related to this issue should not also apply in the case where one has died without a will, but who have obvious heirs to their estate. Perhaps in those cases, we could allow for a non-religious view as well? Two Senior magistrates or perhaps even Sir Borric should he be available could aid in those determinations."

She nodded at Adoven and Kendrick, "In the case of a business partnership, the partners should be allowed to buy out the share of the deceased, and then the deceased estate can be administered as normal. That way, should it devolve to Midmarch, the town won't also be dragged down with business administration or have the potential of favoritism to businesses they had a material stake in advancing over others."

"As to those who die without heir or Will, aside from divesting their estate of business interests, yes I think it should devolve to Midmarch. I see no reason why it needs to be repaired to someone should they come back from the dead some far time in the future. Especially if more than one generation has passed since their passing. That seems... overly complex for the State to be asked to administer. If someone doesn't want it passing to the State, draft a Will and file it. If they want to put stipulations in the Will for some portion to guarantee a return to them on a late re-embodiment, that is up to them in their Will, though I would advise that we limit those kinds of clauses to a certain percentage maximum as well as a certain time maximum. It is unreasonable to assume claim to anything should one re-embody seventy or a hundred years after passing. I would say even twenty or thirty years is too far gone to expect any reinstatement following a re-embodiment."
Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 826 posts
 Cleric of Abadar
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 16:04
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
"You didn't mention Breath of Life, but as that must be done within seconds of death, it is as you noted earlier, almost as if death had not occurred at all. Perhaps it would just be worth noting that there is no objection to the use of that prayer.

"I think you confused Reincarnation and Resurrection at one point. I believe you meant there would be no ban on Resurrection, the same as for Raise Dead and Reincarnation.

"As for the timing of implementation of the Will, your one to two month timeframe would generally be quite appropriate but I could envisage circumstances that might require a longer period. It should be permissible to extend that period beyond two months in exceptional circumstances. For example, if someone announced that they would fund resurrection of the deceased but it would take more than two months to get a powerful enough cleric to perform that service, or for the resurrected person to return to Midmarch to reclaim their estate, it should be permissible to allow a longer period.

"If someone dies intestate (without a Will) or with no obvious beneficiaries, I am still of the view that their estate should be managed by Midmarch Council for the greater good of the whole community but should be able to be reclaimed by that person if they are resurrected. In practical terms, however, I acknowledge there may need to be a time limit on that, because it may be that the only practical way for the community to use an estate is to sell it. Perhaps a time limit of one year after death should be imposed before the Midmarch Council should be allowed to sell off such assets without being liable for compensation if the deceased person is subsequently resurrected?

"What happens if someone disappears and is merely presumed dead? What if they turn up three months later, alive and well? Or six months later? A one year time limit before Midmarch Council may dispose of their estate would avoid most of the problems that could lead to. If there is a Will then your suggestion of a one to two month timeframe would be appropriate as the beneficiaries of the Will are likely to need access to the estate fairly quickly."

Ethankos
 player, 92 posts
 Cleric of Pharasma
 All stories end in death
Sun 28 Jul 2019
at 05:48
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Despite his own strong views on the matter, the priest of Pharasma ne'ertheless accepts the Lord Warden's authority to rule on this matter, dipping his head in acknowledgment.

"My suggestion was far simpler," Ethankos chuckles as an aside to whoever is sitting next to him at the back of the room, as Zelona and Andalon raise valid point of order as to how Henry's ruling is to be administered.
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 107 posts
 NPC - Charter Holder
 Noble & Merchant
Sat 31 Aug 2019
at 12:43
Fuzzy: The Midmarch Council
Some time later  henry reconvenes the meeting.  "I have decided to implement the following Will format.  However, individuals are free to write their own, should they so wish."

Midmarch Will Pro Forma

1) If there is enough money in my estate I DO/DO NOT request the state to purchase a suitable spell to return me to life.  I understand that, in some circumstances, a Reincarnate type spell will be used and I may be returned into a very different body to the one I inhabit now.
2) I also understand that state appointed priests will ascertain that it is my spirit, rather than that of a malignant interloper, that has been returned.  Should it be shown that the Returned Spirit is an interloper, the body will be destroyed and the rest of the will executed.
3) Excluding the previous clauses, my will shall be read 1 Month after my death and executed 1 year after my death.  However, my estate will make suitable interim provision for my spouse, children and any other direct dependents.
4) If I return from death after the will has been executed, I will not be entitled to the return of any of my previous estates.
5) My personal estate  will be left  to :-     (delete as appropriate)
    a. My spouse
    b.  Equally divided between my children
    c. My oldest (or a named) child
    d. Equally divided between my spouse and my children.
    e. Another named individual.
    f. The State of Midmarch.

However, the following specific bequests should be honoured .......

"I will ask Sir Borric to act as executor, or to oversee any self-appointed executor.  Borric or I will make any decisions relevant to the wills of members of the Midmarch Chapter.  The Temple of Abadar will make decisions on other wills, although they can also be referred to me or Borric if necessary.

In cases of no will being left, I shall leave it to Borric's magistrates and the priests of Abadar to make an appropriate judgement.  However, they will be required to "





Sorry Guys. I should have rounded this up ages ago.  I never knew that this semi-retirement lark would be so busy and time consuming!

This message was last edited by the player at 12:46, Sat 31 Aug.