• Justin Handlin

How to Deal with Murderhobos in Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms


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How to Punish Murderhobos in Dungeons and Dragons? (in a fair way of course)


Laws of the Land


A while back I wrote about some of the lore of my home game in Forgotten Realms. This time around I want to talk about laws and punishments. How do the lords of Waterdeep view crimes committed in their lands? What would cause an archmage to hunt you down for revenge? And what laws are they enforcing anyway?


In addition to being a wonderfully written Dungeons and Dragons adventure. D&D Waterdeep Dragon Heist book contains a powerful Dungeon Master resource called 'Laws of the Land'. These are rules that fully describe the guidelines for punishments from a simple drawing of weapons, to assault, impersonating a noble, property damage to much larger crimes such as murder, and using magic to influence an official. We found that many of the actions on this list are something that player characters tend to do freely. An essential aspect of any roleplaying game is to ensure consequences for actions taken. For better, or for worse. In this episode, we share our thoughts on each one of these laws and its punishment.


Punishment for a crime can include one or more of the following~ based on the nature of the crime, who or what the crime is committed against, and the criminal record of the convicted:

  • Death Exile (for a number of years or summers)

  • Flogging (a set number of strokes)

  • Hard labor (for a period of days, months, or years depending~ on the seriousness of the crime)

  • Imprisonment in the dungeons of Castle Waterdeep (for a period of days or months depending on the seriousness of the crime)

  • Fine (payable to the city; inability to pay the fine leads to imprisonment and/or hard labor)

  • Damages (payable to the injured party or victim's kin; inability to pay damages leads to imprisonment and/or hard labor)

  • Edict (forbidding the convicted from doing something; violation of an edict can result in imprisonment, hard labor, and/or a line)

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I. Crimes against Lords, Officials, and Nobles

  • Assaults or impersonating a Lord: death A

  • Assaulting or impersonating an official or noble: floggin~ imprisonment up to a tenday, and fine up to 500 gp

  • Blackmailing an official: Flogging and exile up to 10 years

  • Bribery or attempted bribery of an official: exile up to 20 years and fine up to double the bribe amount

  • Murder of a Lord, official, or noble: death

  • Using magic to influence a Lord or official without consent: imprisonment up to a year, and fine or damages up to 1,000 gp (applies to all categories)

II. Crimes against the City

  • Arson: Death or hard labor up to 1 year, with fines and /or damages covering the cost of repairs plus 2,000 gp

  • Brandishing weapons without due cause: imprisonment up to a tenday and/or fine up to 10 gp

  • Espionage: death or permanent exile

  • Fencing stolen goods: fine equal to the value of the stolen goods and edict

  • Forgery of an official document: flogging and exile for 10 summers

  • Hampering justice: fine up to 200 gp and hard labor up to a tenday

  • Littering: fine up to 2 gp and edict

  • Poisoning a city well: death

  • Theft: flogging followed by imprisonment up to a tenday, hard labor up to a year, or fine equal to the value of the stolen goods

  • Treason: death

  • Vandalism: imprisonment up to a tenday plus fine and/or damages covering the cost of repairs plus up to 100 gp

III. Crimes against the Gods

  • Assaulting a priest or lay worshiper: imprisonment up to a tenday and damages up to 500 SP

  • Disorderly conduct within a temple: line up to 5 8P and edict).

  • Public blasphemy against a god or church: edict

  • Theft of temple goods or offering: imprisonment up to a tenday and damages up to double the cost of the stolen items

  • Tomb-robbing: imprisonment up to a tenday and damages covering the cost of repairs plus 500 gp

IV. Crimes against Citizens

  • Assaulting a citizen: imprisonment up to a tenday, flogging~ and damages up to 1,000 gp

  • Blackmailing or intimidating a citizen: fine or damages up to 500 SP and edict

  • Burglary: imprisonment up to 3 months and damages equal to the value of the stolen goods plus 500 gp

  • Damaging property or livestock: damages covering the cost of repairs or replacement plus up to 500 gp

  • Disturbing the peace: fine up to 25 gp and edict

  • Murdering a citizen without justification: death or hard labor up to 10 years, and damages up to 1,000 gp paid to the victim’s kin

  • Murdering a citizen with justification: exile up to 5 years or hard labor up to 3 years or damages up to 1,000 gp paid to the victim's kin

  • Robbery: hard labor up to l month and damages equal to the value of the stolen goods plus 500 gp

  • Slavery: flogging and hard labor up to 10 years

Get your copy of D&D Waterdeep Dragon Heist here!


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