Judge Dredd Background
Welcome to Mega-City One, a city of over four hundred million people and everyone of them a potential criminal. Stretching the length of the 22nd century American eastern seaboard, Mega-City One is the most dangerous city on earth, for it is calculated that one serious crime takes place every second of every day. So dangerous, it demands a special breed of law enforcer. Here, there are no police, no trials and no juries – only the Judges. It takes fifteen years to train a Judge for life on the streets of Mega-City One. Fifteen years of iron discipline, rigid self-control and concentrated aggression. Most feared and respected of all Judges is Joe Dredd, a man vested with the power of instant sentencing, a man whose court is the streets and whose word is the Law!
Playing Judge Dredd
Being a Judge in Mega-City One is to adopt a position of not only near supreme authority, but also great responsibility. A Judge’s sworn task is to protect the citizens of the city – he acts as Judge and jury in upholding the Law, but a Judge should never be an mindless executioner.
The fans of the 2000AD comic strip will, no doubt, know all of this already and have a good idea of how to play a Judge. For those players unfamiliar with the comics, the guidelines below should clarify how the Law works in Mega-City One.
- It is the sworn duty of every Judge to protect the citizens of Mega-City One.
- A Judge is not automatically an executioner – perps must always be brought to justice and serve their time in an iso-cube. It is difficult to question a perp and arrest his associates if he is lying on the conveyor belt at Resyk. However, Judges have the authority to respond with lethal force if a perp endangers either a Judge or a citizen.
- A Judge should always use the minimal force necessary – do not use your Lawgiver when a stun shot will do.
- Citizens may not be subjected to unwarranted violence.
- Perps must always be given a chance to surrender. Justice cannot be served if they are dead.
- The full resources of the Justice Department are behind you at all times. You can query the Central Computer for information, call in forensics or riot squads, ask PSU to follow a suspect or monitor a vid-phone call, or have Weather Control rain upon an illegal demonstration. Judges are not lone law enforcers – they have the backing of a massive organisation.
- Judges uphold and enforce the Law – they do not interpret it. Whatever their personal feelings, it is the Law.
- Judges have an incredible range of equipment and almost supreme authority. Do not abuse the trust the citizens have placed in you.
The imposing authority of a Judge in full uniform is enough to make most perps surrender immediately, dropping their weapons and ceasing any criminal activities, leaving the Judge free to handcuff and arrest them. However, some perps are truly desperate and are willing to risk even the wrath of a Judge in order to remain free.
To make an arrest, a Judge must present himself to a perp and issue a verbal challenge – ‘Freeze, meathead!’ for example. Only one Judge may call upon a perp or group of perps to surrender at any one time. This is considered to be a standard action. A perp must be able to witness or hear a Judge in order for an arrest to be attempted.
Before a Judge continues his street patrol or current investigation, he must sentence the perp to a period of time in the cubes.
Judge Death and the Dark Judges
The Dark Judges, namely Judges Death, Judge Fear, Judge Fire and Judge Mortis, are undead perversions of Judges from another dimension, who decided that, because all crime was committed by the living, life itself became a crime, punishable by death. They Judged their whole world and found it, unsurprisingly, guilty. Mega-City One presented a fresh task for them, and they have periodically tried to inflict their warped justice upon it.