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Thieves & Low Life

 Thieves, Brigands and other Criminals

   There is no large scale, valley wide criminal organization. (That anyone knows about.) Most criminal activity is perpetrated by local gangs that control relatively small areas. An entire town or city, or perhaps a county. Although these gangs have cooperated on large jobs in the past, there is no strong loyalty except to their own group.
  Most criminal activity can be divided roughly into Town Vs Country.
  In the countryside most activity falls into banditry, smuggling, rustling, slaving or, in certain areas, piracy. Most gangs specialize in one field but do not hesitate to try what ever seems likely to turn a profit.
  Bandits specialize in holding up travelers and attacking isolated Manor houses, farms and the like. They principally seek small portable valuables that are easily converted to cash, or things they themselves can use, like food and weapons. The penalty for this type of activity is death by hanging.
  Rustling horses and cattle is a common practice. The men, and women, who engage in this activity prefer to operate at night and seek to avoid confrontations when ever possible.
As long as the rustlers avoid violence the penalty is limited to flogging and indenture. If they become involved in an incident the crime becomes robbery and the penalty is death by hanging.
  Slaving is practiced in the city as well as the country side. Many bandits will take likely prisoners to be sold as slaves in Khun Dagra or the nomad cities. Preferred captives are children and young women. (Many of the rulers and leaders of Khun Dagra and the desert kingdoms, maintain Harems.) Some gangs specialize in this alone. Slaving carries the combined penalty of flogging and hanging.
  Smugglers fall into several categories and how they practice their trade will effect how the law treats them.
A smuggler either deals with the desert nomads or the Jhensari or Khun Dagra. Of the three the law is harshest on those that deal with Khun Dagra. Dealing with the valley is an act of treason and the penalty is death by beheading. Further smugglers are subdivided by what they smuggle.
  Those that handle normal produce and do so to avoid taxes will be charged with Tax Evasion. Those that deal in weapons, especially to the Jhensari, are guilty of treason.
Those that transport slaves are guilty of assault and robbery. Those that handle Bahgra and Mali are guilty of distribution, sale and possession of controlled substances.
  In addition to the bands of smugglers that make the dangerous treks to and from, most smugglers have affiliates in the towns and cities, since these are the obvious market places.
  River and lake pirates are rare but nasty. They are essentially brigands that operate on the water ways of Velitrium. They tend to be nastier and most of them are also involved in smuggling and slaving.

  In the towns and cities where there is a wider range of opportunity, thieves tend to work alone. There are some street gangs but the Watch will make more of an effort to address such an obvious threat.
  Thieves tend to specialize in a technique and work to develop a high level of skill at it. Some of the more common techniques are: Pick pocket, cut purse, foot pad, grifter, house breakers, and snatchers.
  Pick Pockets specialize in removing items from a persons pockets or pouches that are close to the body. It is a difficult and tricky way to make a living and a skilled pick pocket is highly respected in the underworld.
  Cut Purses practice their trade by either cutting the strings that attach a victims purse to his belt, or slitting the purse sides or bottom for access. It is a slightly less difficult task than pick pocketing but not much so.
  Both pick pockets and cut purses can be charged (in most cases) with minor theft, the penalty is flogging and fine.
  Foot pads are muggers. They stalk a likely looking victim and rob them either by threat or force. In either case if they use a weapon they are guilty of robbery and will be hung if caught. If they do not employ a weapon, and do not harm the victim, there have been cases where they were charged with minor theft and assault, but that is not always the case.
  Grifters are con artists. They rob victims by using their wits. Depending on the serious of their depredations they can be charged with minor or major theft.
  House breakers specialize in illicitly entering vacant or sleeping houses and commercial establishments. If there is no confrontation the thief can face charges of major or minor theft. If there is a confrontation they are treated like a foot pad.
  Snatchers are usually fleet footed children. They run through a crowd and grab or snatch valuables without pausing. When and if caught they will be charged with some degree of theft, depending on what they stole.
  As mentioned earlier slaving and smuggling both occur in the towns and cities, but these groups often have ties to gangs outside the area in order to dispose of victims and obtain merchandise.

  Grave robbing
    A somewhat specialized field of endeavor the seriousness varies with what is stolen.  Theft of valuables, jewelry, grave goods, etc., results in a charge of major or minor theft.  Stealing the body brings a charge of Necromancy.  Stealing a corpse from a Mitraen cemetery brings the Ecclesiastical authorities into the case and adds a charge of impiety, stealing from a public cemetery limits the crime to a secular one.  In either case the perpetrator can be charged with Necromancy even if he or she is not a mage.

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