The former capital of Galifar stands to this day as neutral ground, accessible to all nations but belonging to none. Thronehold Castle is still maintained by the Wardens of House Deneith, and remains off limits, but every other foot of land on the island belongs to every citizen of Khorvaire. Everyone knows that it was here that the warring nations hammered out the Treaty of Thronehold that ended the Last War.
The treaty did far more than that, however. The “warforged question,” the Sentinel Marshals, the settlement of borders—all these issues and more were addressed in the months of negotiation. So, too, was the issue of war crimes. The independent nations of Khorvaire had no central authority to whom they could turn to levy charges against citizens and military leaders of other countries. The Last War saw many atrocities committed in the name of kings and gods, and the populaces cried out for someone with the power to convict and sentence those responsible.
Thus did the treaty establish the Tribunal of Throne hold, a court that rules from the neutral island, ensconced in a wing of the castle. From here, the long hand of justice, supported by all sovereign nations, reaches across the continent to smite those responsible for the worst horrors of the war.
Or, at least, so the politicians would have the citizenry believe. The truth is, for all its symbolic importance, the Tribunal has very little true power. Thwarted at almost every turn by the very nations that formed it, it struggles to carry out its mandate in the face of ruling classes that simply want to put the Last War out of their minds—or else reignite it into an even larger conflagration.
THE TRIBUNAL ESTABLISHED
The Tribunal of Thronehold was almost an afterthought to the treaty. Although the documents that could confirm this assertion are sealed, most people claim that King Boranel of Breland first suggested the formation of a multilateral court, following months of bickering and fighting among the rulers and representatives. Many of these arguments were sparked by accusations of war crimes and atrocities between rivals, and some people believe that Boranel’s primary motivation was to end the arguments, not to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The formation of the Tribunal added several weeks of deliberation to the Treaty. Thrane wanted an exemption for formal inquisitions carried out by the Church of the Silver Flame. Queen Aurala of Aundair wanted a strict definition of a “war crime” as opposed to a “military operation with civilian casualties.” Kaius refused, initially, to subject his warlords’ troops to foreign oversight.
The hobgoblins of Darguun had to have the human concept of “war crimes” defined for them. And so on, and so forth. Eventually, like all else regarding the treaty, this issue was hammered out. The Tribunal’s first magistrates were assigned from the ranks of the participating nations’ nobles and politicians.
Magistrates of the Court
The Tribunal of Thronehold consists of ten magistrates, one from each of the treaty’s signatory nations, with the exceptions of Q’barra, which refused to recognize the court’s authority, and Valenar, which simply had no interest in participating except as hired “retrievers.” Magistrates from Aundair, Breland, Karrnath, and Thrane hold the power of two votes each, while every other magistrate has one. It requires a simple majority for the court to agree to hear a particular case, and to demand the appearance of an accused war criminal, but it requires a two-thirds majority for conviction and sentencing.
The following list enumerates the current roster of the Tribunal, including each member’s nationality.
Adias Navel, Aundairian, LN female human aristocrat 3
Berem Lann, Brelish, LG male human aristocrat 2/expert 2
Crick, Lhazaar, LE male(?) changeling expert 3
Evam Taralos, Thrane, LN male human aristocrat 3
Imbrala Luun, Eldeen, NG female shifter adept 4
Imra Irandra, Talentan, NG female halfling fighter 3
Jalara Sholkaran, Zil, LG female gnome beguilerPH2 2
Olaf Stonebrow, Mrorian, LN male dwarf aristocrat 4
Syan Jarus, Karrnathi, LN female half-elf knightPH2 2
Vhuklok Vant, Darguun, LE male hobgoblin fighter 2
THE TRIBUNAL IN THE WORLD TODAY
The Tribunal of Thronehold holds an immense amount of symbolic power. It represents the efforts of all (well, most) nations to seek justice for the worst offenses of the Last War. It shows that they can unify behind higher matters than war, that they can cooperate for the good of all.
Symbolic power, however, has not translated to much real power. By the strictures of the treaty, all nations must cooperate with the Tribunal, turning over records, evidence, and accused war criminals when requested. Most of the nations are quick to accuse rivals of stalling, but are remarkably hesitant to turn over their own materials and “fugitives.” The Tribunal lacks the personnel to hunt down and take most accused by force, so it must reserve such efforts for only the most heinous and fearsome war criminals.
Nations might bring economic pressure to bear against their neighbors at the request of the Tribunal, in hopes of forcing a resolution, but many will not risk their own trade status by doing so, and none will launch military missions for these purposes. Thus, the Tribunal is largely limited to issuing a writ of accusation—a declaration of an individual’s accused crimes, and an insistence that he turn himself in—since it can rarely force an individual to appear.
All the signatory nations are required to provide fifty soldiers for the Tribunal’s use, forming an “army” five hundred strong. Most soldiers see this duty as either a cushy assignment or an exile; few take it seriously. These soldiers serve little more than a symbolic purpose; they aren’t really needed to guard the island, because House Deneith does that, and they aren’t a sufficient force to invade a sovereign nation in search of a fugitive. (Even if they could, the Tribunal is unwilling to send troops to invade its member nations, since it is justifiably afraid ofdivided loyalties.) Thus, these troops do little more than serve as court bailiffs, bodyguards for the magistrates, and jailers for the occasional accused criminal the Tribunal does manage to drag in.
The ten nations also provide a small amount of money to the Tribunal each year, to keep the court operational. From this treasury, the Tribunal draws funds to hire Deneith, Medani, or Valenar mercenaries when it thinks the charges against a war criminal are so severe that he or she must be brought in. These “retrieval teams” are hated by the sovereign nations, and occasionally face military opposition, but most of the time the various countries grudgingly allow them to operate. Given the delicate nature of these retrieval operations, the Tribunal has given some thought in recent months to hiring smaller, more precise teams than mercenaries—such as skilled adventuring parties.
Officially, anyone can travel to the Hall of Judgment, seek an audience with the court, and levy charges against someone for war crimes. On a practical level, however, the Tribunal rarely has time to listen to anyone who doesn’t arrive with official government, house, or church backing. Even when it does, the only result is a writ of accusation; the Tribunal has never sent a retrieval team out based on charges brought by a civilian.
THE HALL OF JUDGMENT
Recently refurbished from a mothballed area of Thronehold Castle, the Hall of Judgment is the seat of power and authority—such as it is—for the Tribunal. The first floor consists of several audience chambers, dining rooms, kitchens, shrines to the Silver Flame and the Sovereign Host, and the Tribunal’s sizable store of records and texts. Living chambers for the magistrates, their staff, and the hall’s soldiers occupy the second floor, while the courtroom fills the top of the complex. Most war criminals sentenced by the Tribunal are shipped to Dreadhold or other prisons, but the basement of the hall holds its own cells, either for prisoners awaiting sentence or transport or for those the Tribunal wants to keep on hand (perhaps as witnesses in future trials). The underground also includes the court’s vaults, where it stores evidence, monies, and emergency supplies, and maintains a hidden escape route in case of long-term siege.
Every room of the hall is warded against scrying and teleportation, and the courtroom itself can be shifted to become its own pocket dimension, not unlike a larger version of rope trick.