Law And Disorder
Law And Disorder
Despite rumors and accusations to the contrary, the Drowned Isle is not a lawless no-man’s-land where one is as likely to get stabbed as to get drunk. Rather, the neighborhoods (called lokals) are generally tightly run and their rules strictly enforced. These rules are not the same from one lokal to the next, however. Broadly, most lokals don’t care what people do, just how they go about doing it, and if they’ve fully paid for the privilege. You might be able to gamble for free in one casino, but cross the street, and you’d better pay the table fee. This both creates specializations, much like the mainland, but also reflects the character of the people who hold power in each lokal.
Another mainland misconception holds that these powerful individuals are notorious pirate captains retired from active buccaneering. This is mostly untrue, however logical it sounds. Informally known as mayors, these people are often the most wealthy, cunning, ruthless, and dangerous men and women in the lokal, but not always. They hold their office by informal public acclaim; in most places, everyone simply knows who should be mayor. Sometimes those people do not want the honor, however, or are quite badly suited to it. In such cases, the wisdom of crowds usually prevails, and the people don’t acknowledge that person, no matter how they may rail.
This strange, passive form of election is made possible only by the Isle's unifying circumstances: a hostile environment completely dependent on imports to survive and populated by people who strongly object to others telling them what to do. Each lokal has particular markets, taverns, platforms, or fields where residents gather, mostly informally. If anyone objects to a mayor loudly and convincingly enough, and can offer workable alternatives, the mayor must defend his position or step aside. Mayors trying to impose their will through violence find their community support rapidly draining away. Community support is protection on the Isle. More than one violent mayor has been locked outside in the dead of night and never seen again.
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