The 3rd Amendment and Your Character

The 3rd Amendment to the US Constitution states:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

It makes me wonder what the conditions must have been like in colonial America that this protection was important enough to be third on the Bill of Rights. And more importantly, I wonder how those conditions relate to our fantasy worlds. Since the standard D&D world draws a lot from the Middle Ages, it’s plausible that quartering troops in people’s homes is a regular practice.

Since D&D characters often act as mercenaries or direct agents of a lawful authority (church, king, baron, etc), they might be the “Soliders” discussed in the amendemnt. To me, that implies in a pre-3rd Amendement world, when acting as lawful agents, PCs can demand food and shelter from citizens. That is a great way for PCs  to save the 5sp for a night in an inn’s common room and get a hot meal to boot.

As a bonus to the characters, if a homeowner is going to let you sleep in his barn or guest room, he’ll probably roll over if you requisition his horse, weapons, or other goods needed in pursuit of your service. After all, who is he going to complain to? You’re working for the authorities. (It might be interesting to try this in a land where your organization is not recognized or treated with hostility).

On the flip-side, PCs may be asked (or required) to provide accommodation for NPCs, especially for those higher ranking in the characters’ organizations. This could mean giving up their rooms at the inn all the way to turning over magical gear! When that happens, your characters should begrudgingly give them over and then you should remind your DM at every opportunity that he owes you one!

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7 thoughts on “The 3rd Amendment and Your Character

  1. Or more likely the PC’s will kill and rob whomever dares demand their magical gear.

    I mean, its stolen gear to begin with. I can’t just can’t keep any ancient artifacts I find in an abandoned warehouse (even if filled with giant rats). It is still someones (often the crowns) rightful property.

  2. Thats a really interesting analogy…. I’m currently creating a set of different rules for various cities/regions of the world my campaign is taking place, basically to introduce a sense of uniqueness from city to city the players visit, this one will be a nice addition. I’m thinking in a city ruled by a single entity (king/barony/etc) that require its citizens to house adventurers performing services to the kingdoms…

    great post 🙂

  3. @Zzarchov,

    The assumption is that the PCs have some sort of “privateer” license or agreement with the king, church, etc that lets them keep all or some of the captured loot.

    @DM Baloo,
    Thanks!

  4. An interesting idea. It has been my experience that most DnD players roam the tabletop like wild west outlaws with little thought to what real dark ages society would be like. I never see DnD games where the local princedom has a state church with mandatory worship sessions or a kingdom that forbids any of the non-noble/royal classes to own or carry personal weapons. How about a sovereign duchy that forbids the slaying, sale or eating of the “holy” chicken?

  5. Watch the movie “The Seven Samurai” and you will get an idea of how peasants and soldiers got along.

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