Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. Manslaughter is usually broken down into two distinct categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when the defendant may have an intent to cause death or serious injury, but the potential liability for the person is mitigated by the circumstances and/or state of mind. The common example is killing which occurred in passion, or heat of the moment killing, such as where the defendant is provoked into a loss of control by unexpectedly finding his or her spouse in the arms of another lover.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs where there's no intention to kill or cause serious injury, but death is due to recklessness or criminal negligence.
See also: Homicide.
Game and Story Use
- Games that have psychology rules may have (or should have) the possibility of a momentary flip-out of homicidal rage. A PC or NPC who commits homicide as a result of prompting from such a rule is probably only guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, not Murder. If he or she has lasting psychological damage from the event, they may even be able to invoke the Insanity Defense.