The Judges

Copyright Tero Oksala © 2004

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"We had aspired to the virtues of honour and justice and the actions of our commander shocked us."

History

Three hundred years ago, on a continent of Emer, there was a rather large mercenary army. The army consisted of roughly 300 mercenaries, who were skilled and cruel fighters. They did what they promised, but they did not have any sense of honour or justice.

One day, the mercenary army was hired by a local baron to attack a Lugro encampment. The Baron said that the army had to stop the advance of the Lugro forces. According to his spies, there was an encampment about 140 miles north in the thick forest. The strength of the enemy was only about 100 Lugros.

The commander of the mercenary army accepted the job, took half of the reward and left with his men to stop the Lugro forces. The army travelled for five days before they reached the Lugro encampment on the morning of the sixth day. The encampment was as small as Baron had said, but there was something that wasn't right. At the center of the camp, there was a big tent. The tent was dark as night and as enormous as the circus tents that one sometimes sees in towns. Right in front of the tent stood a man wearing a dark blue robe. The man spoke with a Lugro, who was supposedly the chief of Lugros. Some time later, the man in blue robes went inside the tent. The Lugro chief headed to his own tent.

The commander of our army commanded our men to arms, because in daylight the Lugros were helpless (at least most of them). When the men were ready, our commander gave the order to attack. We charged their camp, but before I had a chance to kill any Lugros, the man wearing the dark blue robe contacted our commander and said: "We know who hired you and we know that you are mercenaries. I also know that mercenaries do their job if they get payment, but if I offer you more, will you help us to destroy the village where the Baron lives?" The commander said then: "I have given my word and it has to be kept. I have no intention of prolonging this conversation." But the man wearing the dark blue robe persisted: "I am willing to offer you twice as much as the Baron did. Is that enough for you? You can also keep everything that you can get from the village. It is my final offer."

The commander thought about this for some time and ordered his men to lower their weapons. Then he said: "I accept your offer and we'll help you with your request." Our commander took his new payment and ordered us to go our encampment.

I and two other mercenaries from the army overheard the discussion. We had aspired to the virtues of honour and justice and the actions of our commander shocked us. We decided to be avenged for this outrage. We plotted the whole night while marching with the Lugro forces and when the sun started rising, we started with our plan. Pretending to be drunk, one of my friends accidentally shoved our commander to the ground. We knew that the commander was quite short-tempered and sometimes violent to the men. As expected, the commander was angered and he unsheathed his sword. At this point, the two of us came upon the scene and interceded with the commander. He said that a man has to face the consequences of his actions. Our suggestion to him was that an honest duel was the right approach. He set the duel to start at sunrise. Our terms for the duel were also clarified. If our leader should lose the duel, he then should go back and help the Baron to fight the Lugros. The commander accepted our terms.

The morning came and the two men met in a duel. The commander lost in a fair fight and he had to fulfil his promise by protecting the Baron's land from the Lugro army. Later the three of us left the mercenary army and headed south to the city of Kaitaine. Some said that we were brave and honest men, but others said that we were stupid and foolhardy. We didn't care about those evil words. During our trip to Kaitaine, we decided to begin a new society which should spread the word of Justice and Honour. We also swore an oath:

I swear to protect all innocent people.

I swear to protect all betrayed people and bring the betrayer to justice.

I swear to follow the path of law.

I swear to help friends when they need help.

I swear to follow any lawful command without question.

I swear to listen to the voice of a friend.

We spread the word about our society. Within a few weeks, we had almost two hundred candidates who were willing to join our forces. At that point, we named our society "The Judges". We established two main bases, one in Kaitaine and the other in Helberna (Haestra).

Overview

Today the Judges can be found almost everywhere - there are about 500 Judges within Emer and Jaiman. Most of the time they work alone, except if more than one Judge is needed to complete a job. Today few can hire the Judges as they will only take part in missions that are carefully considered.

Almost anyone can join the Judges after passing a test. The Judges also recruit young people (aged between 15-20) and train them for the organisation. Characters can join the Judge forces later during their journeys by passing the test or purchasing membership as a training package using development points. There is also a list of skill prerequisites - these can be achieved through a Judge education, otherwise the character must already have met these criteria when joining the Judges as a novice member. A Judge Education costs 40 development points. If the character passes the test of the Judges he gets the other benefits (if he hasn't bought the training package with his/her development points), but no education. Character can also spend one or two background options to pass the test and start play as a novice member.

The test is in two parts. In the first part, the character must demonstrate proficiency in at least three non-weapon skills (partial success is enough) from the list of prerequisite skills. The first test is of Easy difficulty, the second test is Light, and the third test is rated Medium.

Every novice member must also pass the combat part of the test. A small group of the Judges tests all the novice candidates. In the test, a character must either fight and defeat one training opponent (a novice member usually) with training weapons (training weapons do only stunning damage) or a novice candidate can perform a series of attack maneuvers requested by one of the Judges. (These are made using weapon skill; the first is rated Light difficulty, second is Medium, third is Hard, and the fourth is Very Hard. It is also possible to pass test with the bow. The character must shoot five arrows at a target, which is usually 50 feet away. Every arrow that hits and scores a critical receives points (A=1, ..., E=5). If the character gets 18 points or more, the test is successfully completed. If a character defeats his training opponent or clears any other combat test then he passes the combat test. If the character doesn't pass all of the tests he/she can try again after one full year, when the Senate gathers again.

Novice requisites

Skill Bonus
Primary weapon 70
Secondary weapon 50
Law 40
Tracking 35
Perception 40
First Aid 35
Climbing 35
Streetwise 35
Interrogation 35
Diplomacy 35
Disguise 35
Public Speaking 35
Acting 35
Focus 35
Power Striking 35
Any other skill 35

A Novice also gains two +5 magical weapons, a set of armour (which the character can used), cloak emblazoned with the Judges' sign (made from black silk), all clothes (black or very dark grey/blue), boots (shining black), belt, scabbard, and a broad-brimmed hat (black) with a big white feather (sign of the Judges). A novice can also receive living quarters and assistance with his job (at the Senate's discretion). A character can obtain almost all the mundane equipment that he/she needs. Herbs are 15% cheaper to members when bought from the Judges. Characters get only minor missions during their time as novices.

There are also a few rules that characters must adhere to. A novice member must always obey orders from higher grade members. A character should give 40% of any received payments to the society. In the case of betrayal, sabotage or crimes committed during a mission, the novice will be jailed. One has to live honestly and observe the law. If characters don't obey these rules, they will be jailed and then expelled.

The next grade are the Older Members, usually simply known as the Judges. To become a Judge, the Novice member has to provide the society with at least 200 gold pieces and have spent one year in the Judges' service. There is also an annual ceremony where Novice members can prove their skills if they have met requisites. The player should choose three skills and roll d100, if the result (skill + roll) is 101+, the character is promoted to a Judge. The first skill is made as a light maneuver, second roll is made as a medium maneuver and third skill roll is made as a hard maneuver (no weapon skills can be used within the test). If the character should fail, he can try again the next year. There are also some other requisites that Judge must have:

Judge requisites

Skill Bonus
Primary weapon 100
Secondary weapon 65
Law 65
Tracking 55
First Aid 50
Interrogation 55
Public Speaking 50
Focus 60
Streetwise 55
Perception 65
Tactics 50
Power Striking 50
Diplomacy 50
One Lore skill 45
Any two skills 65

Older Members are sent on more dangerous jobs and they have the greater law enforcement ability. They can also get better equipment and three Novice members under their direct command. Judges receive a new weapon from the organisation. This weapon has the Judges' symbol on its hilt, is +10 magical and does 1.5 x concussion hits damage. A Judge has to give 35% of their payments to the order. Judges are also responsible for training Novice members, especially those under their direct command.

The third grade is the grade of High Judges, also called Lieutenants. To become a Lieutenant, Judge has to serve at least five years and fulfil the following prerequisites.

High Judge / Lieutenant prerequisites

Skill Bonus
Primary weapon 120
Secondary weapon 80
Law 85
Tracking 75
First Aid 65
Interrogation 75
Public Speaking 85
Streetwise 75
Tactics 80
Diplomacy 75
Focus 75
One Lore skill 65
Second Lore skill 55
Any two skills 80

Lieutenants may use, when permission from three other Lieutenants is gained, any and all magical equipment, weapons and armour owned by the order. They can also command all lower grade members, not just members that are under their direct command. There can only be 7 lieutenants and one commander-in-chief at any one time. These eight form a Senate, which makes the decisions on the order's activities and deals out punishments for erring members. The senate has to vote on every decision. The commander-in-chief has more influence than the Lieutenants as he casts three votes to their one. His word usually counts as the final decision.

Benefits

Novice

Time to Acquire: Special
Starting Money: Normal
Special:
+5 Magical weapon 100
Society sign 100
Society clothes 100
Equipment 100
Law enforcement ability (Lesser) 100
Category or Skill # of ranks
Weapon Skill category (primary) 2
Choice of 1 skill 2
Body Development skill category 1
Body Development 1
Lore- Obscure 2
Law 2
Technical/Trade * General Skills Cat. 1
First Aid 1
Awareness * Searching skill category 2
Tracking 2
Influence 2
Public Speaking 2
Stat Gains: Two of the following: Constitution, Strength, Agility or Quickness.

Judge

Time to Acquire: Special
Starting Money: Normal
Special:
Judge weapon 100
Society sign 100
Society clothes 100
Equipment 100
Law enforcement ability (Greater) 100
Commands three novice members 70
Category or Skill # of ranks
Weapon Skill category (primary) 2
Choice of 1 skill 2
Lore- Obscure 2
Law 2
Technical/Trade * General Skills Cat. 2
First Aid 2
Awareness * Searching skill category 2
Tracking 2
Influence 2
Public Speaking 1
Interrogation 1
Technical/Trade * Vocational Skill Cat. 2
Tactics 2
Stat Gains: Two of the following: Constitution, Strength, Agility or Quickness.

High Judge / Lieutenant

Time to Acquire: Special
Starting Money: Normal
Special:
Judge weapon 100
Society sign 100
Society clothes 100
Equipment 100
Law enforcement ability (Greater) 100
Senate Member special
Commands part of the Judges special
Total use of guild armory 100
Category or Skill # of ranks
Lore- Obscure 2
Law 2
Technical/Trade * General Skills Cat. 2
First Aid 2
Awareness * Searching skill category 2
Tracking 2
Influence 2
Public Speaking 1
Interrogation 1
Technical/Trade * Vocational Skill Cat. 2
Tactics 2
Lore * General Skill Category 2
Choice up of two skills 2(total)
Lore * Technical Skill Category 1
Choice of any one skill 1
Stat Gains: Two of the following: Constitution, Strength, Agility or Quickness.