Friday, February 1, 2013

Off the Shelf: Law Books

From time to time adventurers may find themselves in libraries and other places where books can be found. Some players will want to know exactly what's on those shelves, so with that in mind, Off the Shelf consists of lists of book titles for the referee to use in rolling or choosing exactly what the adventurers find.

Law books may be found on the shelves of lawyers, magistrates, bureaucrats, burghers, and members of a bishop's curia as well as some merchants and bankers. Roll 1D6 for the number of books, then roll 1D20 for the individual titles. Duplicate rolls may be treated as additional copies of the same volume or re-rolled at the referee's discretion.

1. Mare Liberum, Hugo Grotius
2. Opera sacra juridica his orica miscellanea collecta, Pierre Pithou
3. Extricatio labyrinthi dividui et individui, Charles Dumoulin
4. Tractatus de legibus ac deo legislatore, Francisco Suárez
5. De iure belli, Hugo Grotius
6. Les Six livres de la République, Jean Bodin
7. De feudis commentatio tripertita: hoc est, Disputatio de jure feudali, Commentarius in usus feudorum, Dictionarium verborum feudalium, François Hotman
8. De la Souveraineté du Roy, Cardin Le Bret
9. The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, or, a Commentary upon Littleton, Sir Edward Coke
10. De magistratibus et republica Venetorum, Gasparo Contarini
11. Juris civilis Schola Argentinensis, François Baudouin
12. Corpus Juris Civilis, Justinian (edited by Denis Godefroy)
13. Commentaires sur le Digeste et le Code et des traités particuliers, Hugues Doneau
14. Codex Fabrianus definitionum forensium, Antoine Favre, baron of Pérouge
15. Treatise on Tenures, Sir Thomas de Littleton
16. Institutions au droit des Francois, ou Nouvelle Conférence des Coutumes de France, Guy Coquille
17. Questions et responses sur les Coutumes de France, Guy Coquille
18. De legibus connubialibus, André Tiraqueau
19. Commentarius de pactis, François Douaren
20. Coutumes de ____________, various

Note: Coutumes are collections of customary law, specific to a region of France and often dating back to the Middle Ages. Examples include the Coutume de Paris and Coutumes de Beauvaisis.


  1. Mike,

    I love all your Off the Shelf lists and have used them for helping decide what texts literate or scholarly characters may have with them or in their library in my campaign. I appreciate the effort you go to in adding period appropriate reality to your campaign and in sharing that with the rest of us. I do wish you also included, when known, the publication date(s) and language and version similar to what Call of Cthulhu does for Mythos tomes. That make the list even more useful. Since I like to be accurate, I've slowly started filling publication date and languages for my versions of your lists.

    1. After the first couple of lists, I realised that more information would be helpful - like you, I kept dates in a separate file on my wiki - but I locked into the format, so I didn't make a change.

      Adding the date at the end would be easy enough. Personally I find that the language is pretty obvious from the titles, but if you don't think that's the case, then that might be something to consider as well.

    2. The date is useful/crucial and as you say wouldn't take up much room for first publication date. While the titles are a good clue to the language, presumably of first publication, some of the works will be translated and that might be useful for some important works.

      I think that combining the lists, expanding some of them, and adding some details would make a great RPG supplement for the period.