I am writing a campaign which relies heavily on crime: investigating it, clues, leads, witnesses, evidence, corruption, etc... The setting is fantasy, low-tech, and for the time being - let us leave magic out of it. It is sort of D&D, but my answer does not need to be about this specific system.
I would like to know if there are any good generic guides, or if anyone can inform me as to methodology about this.
Also, historically, how were these things done before fingerprinting, DNA tests, blood types, lie detectors?
Was there even a court system, with lawyers, judges, jury? How did it work in the middle ages, I'm sort of trying to base it on that, with the addition of a fantasy setting, and, possibly, some magic...
As you can see its a very broad question.
Right now I am sort of basing my system off of movies I have seen, mostly taking place in the 15, 16 hundreds with those British judges with the funny hair, where there was not really any "evidence" and its mostly just two lawyers shouting at each other. But I want to make it more interesting to the players, engage their skills, all of them, at the scene, at manhunts, in the court.. Getting clues from people around the case.. Etc etc.. even forging evidence if need be..
So, kindly guide me, give me ideas, because I want to try to be as stable as possible, and without loopholes, I want a real immersible feeling, and I have an idea that this site can help me iron out all the wrinkles.
I'm looking specifically for how to integrate these elements into a fantasy setting. which means while I do appreciate the historical information, I am more interested in manipulating it to fit into my world, so understanding the reasons behind the historical so I can understand if these reasons fit more in my world with different races or not.
Each race or tribe or group or empire might have a different way of dealing out justice, but these methods for me need to make sense, not just be cool, from a natural evolution standpoint, how would that group of people develop their system?
Not to mention the inclusion of magical supernatural elements into a system where evidence, witnesses and clues are important, just as important as status and who you know.
Basically, as much as I appreciate all the answers so far, it would really help me to get to the source of them, why is it how it is, what is the cause, what led that people to develop their system how they did? How will that natural development be different in my world, when fantasy is involved.