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The dungeon is where you go when you are captured by an enemy realm, banned and captured by your own realm, or (if you are an adventurer) whenever a noble feels like sending you to prison.
While you are in a dungeon you only receive a few of the messages that are sent to you. If you have spare money on you, you can bribe a guard, and start receiving all your messages again. Bribing a guard only gives a chance of success, so you may end up losing your money for no gain. There is also a small chance each turn that you will befriend one of your guards, and they'll start slipping you messages for free.
There are several ways out of jail. When you first arrive in the jail, a bounty will be set for your release. The size of the bounty depends on a number of factors. If you can afford to pay the bounty, you are set free from the dungeon. Every day the bounty decreases. You are automatically set free if you are in a dungeon for more than seven days. A hero can try to break out, but this has a risk of injury.
The Judge of a realm has various special commands they can use in relation to their realms dungeon:
Background: Takes you to the prisoners family page.
Set free: Releases the prisoner immediately.
Take gold: The judge may steal all the prisoners gold.
Torture: Reveals the prisoners last five messages. Has a chance of permanently lowering the prisoners stats.
Deport: Sends the prisoner to a different continent (Must be a criminal)
Banish: Releases the prisoner, but also declares them a criminal. (Must be an adventurer or infiltrator)
Execute: Kills the prisoner. (Must be a criminal or adventurer)
Talk: The judge may exchange messages with the prisoner.
A judge loses honour and prestige if they torture, execute or steal gold from one of their prisoners. They gain honour for releasing a prisoner early.