Sentinel Rock's laws are a pretty complicated document -- the kind of broad lawmaking that comes from having been a living document in existence going back to the 1700s. This is a quick overview of what these laws contain. The more complicated full legal document will be posted, but these are the highlights that impact the freehold as a whole.
The Sentinel Rock Charter is written in ten sections. Their overview is as follows.
- Section I - Preamble
- Founder's Day is July 4th of every year. While Independence Day was not the actual founding of Sentinel Rock, sentimentality and ease of gathering and celebrating has turned this day into an important one. The Charter gets re-ratified every Founder's Day -- it's when big changes get made to the foundational documents, if people want to change laws. The Charter CAN be changed some other day -- there are exceptions written in -- but it needs at least an annual rubber-stamp (or set of changes).
- The Preamble thereafter revolves around the freehold's purpose: around the freehold's definition of Free Lost versus its enemies, and its commitment to opposing the Gentry and allowing its members to live and maintain their freedom. It states that the Gentry are given no quarter and no rights under Sentinel Rock's laws and are named Enemy; it likewise states that knowing and willing Loyalists and Privateers are likewise enemies with no rights or quarter recognized by the freehold.
- The freehold does acknowledge that unknowing Loyalists may need special handling, and that unwilling servants of the Gentry may be given an opportunity to become Free and turn against their masters, though if they reject their opportunity, they are likewise to be considered Enemy. The Preamble builds in room for freehold authorities and Entitlements to treat with Enemies in the course of their duties if necessary, but also builds in checks and balances -- the Monarch and Aldermembers, as outlined in Part II, must generally be informed and consent as a body (not merely as individuals).
- Section II - Structure
- This section outlines most of the major freehold positions: the Monarchy and how Sentinel Rock acknowledges and empowers it, as well as a Board of Aldermembers and their responsibilities, and provisions authority for a number of positions beneath these.
- The Monarch and Aldermembers bear a great deal of resemblance to a Mayor-Council structure, with checks and balances within. The Monarch sets policy, but the Aldermen decide on how the laws and actual carrying-out will take place; the Monarch holds both veto power and a tiebreaker vote over the Aldermembers. The Monarch has broad appointment powers over positions in the freehold, although the seasonal representatives among the Aldermembers have say over particular Court appointments. There are provisions for the Monarch to act as pishogue to freehold Oaths and ceremonial acknowledgement as leader of the freehold, as well as for a Monarch’s Second to be empowered and the possibility of replacement of the Monarch codified formally.
- The Aldermembers of a given season will consist of: The Monarch’s Second, representatives of the three Seasonal Courts outside his or her own, a representative from any non-seasonal Court that has quorum membership in the freehold (quorum being defined as ‘at least two members’), and two ‘floating’ members - Solstice and Equinox, serving six-month terms running Solstice to Solstice or Equinox to Equinox - who may be of any Court or none at all. This means that Aldermembers may have different numbers in a given season, depending on freehold makeup, and their membership can change frequently -- or not at all. Monarchs, once their term is passed, are eligible to sit as Aldermember in any seat they qualify for. They have the power to put some questions to vote to the overall membership if need be, as well as voting as their representatives to generally carry out the freehold’s will.
- The Monarch’s powers to name positions beneath him or her includes: general freehold defense, freehold hospitality, and a broad range of positions not empowered specifically by the Aldermembers. The Aldermembers’ powers to name positions derive from their Courts and those roles chosen by those Courts. All positions in the Court structure are acknowledged to have responsibilities as well as rights. The Structure section specifically precludes Oathbreakers from sitting as Monarch or Aldermembers, although it does not forbid them from any other position.
- Section III - Rights and Responsibilities
- This section details rights and responsibilities of Sentinel Rock members and position-holders. It includes an acknowledgement that freehold members’ personal capabilities and strengths may vary, and that the freehold must take ‘best of one’s ability’ into account.
- General responsibilities include: Vigilance against threats, aid the freehold in stability and protection where possible, acknowledgement of other members and their rights as long as they are not forsworn, responsibility not to abuse one’s freedoms or the freedoms of others, honoring of deals, truthtelling regarding crime or threats to the freehold, among others.
- Rights include: Right to vote and petition the Aldermen and Monarch, right to expect aid and succor, right to hospitality, right to a hearing in the case of a breach of freehold law, right to petition for trial by duel to contest arbitration or that hearing, among others.
- Leadership responsibilities include performing of duties, providing access to the charter and laws, being subject to their own laws, acknowledgement of others’ positions; Leadership rights include the right to declare amnesty or punishment for breach of freehold law, among others.
- Section IV - Crime and Punishment
- This section outlines how transgressions are handled within the freehold. Trials are allowed for, both by sitting Aldermembers plus Monarch as tribunal, or by duel with approval of Monarch plus Aldermembers. It also outlines punishments in very general form that are approved, with some guidelines as to their employ. Those punishments, from least to most severe, include:
- Amnesty -- must be agreed by all tribunal members or a condition of duel
- Fines/weregild -- the most common punishment for small transgressions.
- Forbiddance, oath, pishogue enforcement -- enforced pledges are often considered as ‘plea bargain’ here.
- Banishment/outlaw status -- the most serious crimes are answered this way. Further transgression may result in being named Enemy.
- Death sentence -- reserved for those deemed Enemy.
- Those named Enemy -- either blanket within Charter or individually -- are beyond the Freehold’s protections and allowances for trial and process. Outside of Enemies, this section specifically forbids vigilante justice -- any punishment outside the bounds of the Freehold’s authority against those within its authority. Provisions for demonstrable Clarity issues that may require alternate treatment versus punishment are also found here.
- Section V - The Courts and Their Role
- This section acknowledges the Freehold as a Seasonal Monarchy, though one that welcomes members from Courts outside their own process. It acknowledges the Seasonal Courts as able to determine their own ritual to name their own Monarch, empowers all Courts to name their Aldermember when their court is not in Season, gives them leeway to determine their own Hollow spaces and whether these spaces will be considered Commons (during their season, outside of it, or not at all).
- Section VI - Humanity and Outsiders
- This section discusses the freehold’s relationship to the mortal world and non-mortal outsiders. It emphasizes that information should not be given willy-nilly to mortals without pledges/ensorcellment, and requests that mortals not be ensorcelled by freehold members except by acknowledgement of the Monarch/Alders, or after a waiting period of at least one month. It outlines visitor status to the freehold that may be extended by the Monarch and Alders to any being not a part of the freehold, and the rights and responsibilities that go along with that -- generally, a pledged position. This section details that some abuses of outsiders, even if those outsiders are unknowing, is forbidden -- specifically, kidnapping and any treatment of those others in a manner better befitting the Gentry.
- Section VII - The Hedge and Its Denizens
- This section discusses general cautions regarding the local Hedge. Most important among these rules is that anyone who opens a Hedge Gate is thereafter responsible for that gate -- and what goes in and comes out.
- Section VIII - Sentinel Rock Commons and Life
- This section discusses general Freehold comportment -- the Commons, which always includes the Lighthouse Hollow, the sharing of information. It creates a monthly meeting of the whole which is open to the public, as well as names several Freehold celebrations -- Solstices and Equinoxes for the changeover of leadership, July 4th as Founder’s Day, as well as a number of other holidays TBD.
- Section IX - Sentinel Rock Membership and Services
- This section contains some information about what its members can expect in the way of freehold aid and resources. Currently, this includes: Housing, temporary or otherwise. Identification, jobs and finance assistance, some small aid in reacclimating to the real world, research assistance and shared Hedge resources, Jack Ketch, and aid with Clarity issues. This section also outlines membership -- that pledging ties one to these laws and definitions, and that all new members may expect to be observed for a period of at least one month by their fellows.
- Section X - Miscellany
- Like it says on the tin. Some of the miscellaneous laws here are a little weird, including a prohibition against dancing beneath local hanging trees and a declaration of total truce on July 4th of every year.