A lot of what adventurers do is illegal, from fighting and carrying weapons in towns, to robbery and tomb raiding. Sooner or later, many of them are going to be arrested and find themselves up before a judge.
This judge is notoriously cruel, making no effort to make sure those who are tried in his courtroom have a fair trial, and taking pleasure in handing out the maximum sentences possible. A hanging judge, he delights in handing down death sentences and then going and seeing the executions of those who he has sentenced to death.
Like Judge Jeffreys, he likes to hand down the maximum sentence, hence his nickname. However, unlike Judge Jeffreys, he believes in giving the accused person as fair a trial as possible, and allows them to talk in private with their lawyers and pass their lawyers notes, rather then just railroading them through the legal system. Once there is a conviction, however, he has no mercy.
Despite being well-paid, Pay Me is deeply corrupt and before the trial begins will have the defendant taken before him privately in chains and offer to try and swing the trial in his or her favor if a hefty enough bribe is given, and to hand down the lowest sentence possible if the defendant is somehow still convicted. He has friends in the world of organized crime because of this.
This judge is over eighty years old, and withered and frail, yet he still manages to drag himself out of bed every morning and make it to the courthouse no matter what the weather. His mind is not as sharp as it was in his prime, but he refuses to retire. And because of a law that protects judges from forced retirement, he cannot be made to retire either.
Soft Heart genuinely feels sorry for the accused people who come before him, unlike most judges. He tries to avoid handing down death sentences whenever possible, even when the criminals rightly deserve death, and after handing down a death sentence will pray for the criminal's soul. His prison sentences are often on the short side, and some fellow judges think he is too soft on crime.
6-By The Book
By The Book believes in running his trials exactly by the book and according to the very letter of the law. He prefers even that a criminal should be wrongly acquitted rather then an innocent person wrongly convicted, and has earned the grudging respect of those on the other side of the law because of this attitude.
The last two judges to hold the post that In Fear has were assassinated by gangsters, and they have privately made it clear that he will be victim number three if he seriously tries to enforce the law against them. Therefore he does his best to get them set free on legal technicalities when they come before him, or given at most short sentences, because he fears what would happen to him if he was to make a stand.
This judge should not really have become a judge at all, as he lacks the formal legal knowledge and was given the post as he has friends in high places. To be fair, he does his best, but his knowledge of the law is sketchy and has resulted in both wrongful acquittals and wrongful convictions. Anyone trying to point out that he is doing things wrongly runs a high risk of being jailed for contempt of court.
A firm friend of By The Book, unlike some of his fellow judges White Suit is well known for his honesty. He refuses to take a bribe from anybody, no matter how rich and powerful that they might be, and is not going to be intimidated by anybody either. Any genuinely innocent person who ends up before him has a fair chance of an acquittal.
By day a well respected High Court Judge, by night Judge Dredd heads a secret chapter of The White Knights, a gang of violent vigilantes. He has personally helped lynch a score of alleged criminals without getting caught, as he masks his face, leaves no fingerprints, will also murder witnesses if need be, and besides, who would suspect a judge with more then thirty years of legal experience of being a killer?
This judge has the commandments of (insert suitable name of god or goddess here) engraved on a prominently displayed plaque inside his courtroom, often quotes from the holy book of said religion during the summing up process at the end of a trial, and is rumoured to hand out lesser sentences to those that follow the same religion as him and to those who he personally feels are suitably religious enough and show penance. He thinks that he is doing the god/goddess's job by judging sinners.
This judge believes that all of those who come before him must be guilty, and so heartily dislikes conducting trials. He is not averse to having the accused taken to his office before the trial begins and privately telling them that if they insist on a trial and are found guilty he will hand down the maximum sentence possible, whilst if he or she pleads guilty the sentence will be much shorter.
A criminal gang somehow managed to steal The Chair Of Life from a high security prison, and then had a high ranking judge murdered and one of them who had been deliberately left ignorant of the murder plot changed into a copy of the judge. As he was innocent of the judge's murder, his mind was not changed and he was able to impersonate the judge and swing trials in the gang's favour, either getting their members wrongly acquitted with favourable summings up or handing down the minimum sentences when a conviction was unavoidable.
Whilst perfectly fair to male defendants, Woman Hater has a deep hatred of women, seeing them as basically inferior to men at best and as wicked creatures at worst. He actively tries to get those accused of rape acquitted, belittles women in his court at every opportunity, and hands down the maximum sentences to convicted female defendants.
Whilst Woman Hater unfairly hates the female gender, Woman Lover goes the other way and idolises the vast majority of women, intervening on their side during his trials. Women facing a divorce feel very lucky when he is chosen as the judge in their case. Men often privately think that he must wish that he had been born female, but know better then to say that to his face, not wanting jail time for gross contempt of court.
Orc laws may be far fewer and simpler then those of the other races, but amongst themselves, they are far more then brawling barbarians. They do have a law code, and the chief of each tribe acts as a judge. This particular Orcish chief takes his judicial role seriously and tries to ensure a fair hearing for the accused Orcs who are brought before him for harming or stealing from members of their own tribe. Whilst his punishments are painful, he is respected as a fine judge and a warrior king by his tribe, and even to a far lesser extent by the members of other Orc tribes as well.
This judge follows the religion of The Order of Dalraaen and as such is scrupulously honest, as he does not want his soul torn to shreds and obliterated in the afterlife. Respected by his fellow judges, he is close friends with Avenging Angel and wishes that he would convert and join the Order, as he thinks that it really would be the best religion for a fellow judge to follow. Avenging Angel has politely turned him down, but they are still the best of friends.
This judge is a key member of (insert name of secret society here) and as such, rather then following the impartial laws of the land, his judgements are slanted to favour the secret society in both civil and criminal cases. There is a certain slight hand signal that only members of the secret society know, which is how they identify themselves to each other.
This judge privately has anxiety issues. Do his fellow judges think he is doing a good job? What if the defendant on trial is in fact innocent? Or what if he is guilty but escapes a conviction? What if things get messed up. These are the sorts of thoughts running around his head during a trial. He thinks everything should work the way he wants it to and has insomnia because of his fears that things will be less then perfection.
This judge works undercover as a member of the secret Night Court-as a vampire himself, it is he who serves at the secret trials of vampires who kill too many humans too often, reveal vampiric secrets (such as vampires being real) to other races thus breaking the Masquerade, or otherwise break the Blood Code, which are the largely self-imposed laws which vampires live under. Since the penalty for breaking the code is death, he tries to make sure that those who face trial are indeed guilty and their trials are fair.
The Vyshinsky specializes in large televised show trials of the political opposition in a dictatorship. He hectors and humiliates the unfortunate defendants at every opportunity. Most of said defendants have been tortured beforehand into pleading guilty and confessing their *sins* and he knows this has happened but turns a blind eye to it. All in all, he is a thoroughly nasty, unpleasant and self-serving individual.
The Judge-King is more then a judge-as one of the leading judges in a kritarchy, a state ruled by judges, he and his fellow top judges make the laws as well as holding trials for alleged lawbreakers. He, personally, genuinely does try and do the right thing most of the time, but he needs to spend as much time ruling as judging.
This judge is in fact a very powerful magic user who illegally uses his magic to warp the very fabric of reality and hand down magical punishments that exist in no book of laws. Amongst other things, he has turned a sex offender into a tree under which children can safely play, and a murderer into a cow destined to be slaughtered for meat. For lesser offences, he likes to change the gender and age of the offenders and place them with new families, who think that they were always their children.
This judge works within the military system and sits on a court-martial board dealing with deserters, mutineers and other military offenders. He is very strict even by judicial standards, but before becoming a military judge he served for a long time as a junior officer in a war zone and was lucky not to die or be permanently maimed upon the battlefield. He thinks that since he avoided committing a multitude of military sins, so should everyone else, and is merciless towards military mess-ups.
The Newbie has just started his first trial as a judge and has no close friends amongst his fellow judges yet. He might grow up to be honest if his close friends end up being judges like By The Book and Maximum John. If he chooses to befriend judges like Pay Me or Secret Society , on the other hand, he could very easily fall into a cesspit of corruption.
The Trainee has several years of legal experience as both a defence lawyer and a lawyer for the prosecution, but he has only recently started to train as a judge with *sandbox* trials in which noone in reality faces punishment if convicted. He is doing his best, but he has some way to go before he can be let loose on the real thing.
27-For the Family (1)
This judge works in the semi-secret Family Courts and has a lot of sympathy towards social workers, unlike the public, who either think of them as tyrants who break up happy families, or are idiots who allow children to be murdered. He generally does his best to deal with messy divorces and the like day in, day out.
28-For the Family (2)
When his brothers were going into organized crime, and his sisters were being used as pawns to unite crime families, the Don had a special plan for him. He was to infiltrate the Law, and then use his position with care to benefit the Family when it really mattered and the stakes were high enough. He protested; after all, becoming a judge was a no-no on a level with becoming an informer or a cop. But the Don said that not only his Family but the other Families had agreed; now that there were new crime-fighting tools available to law enforcement like the phone bug and the witness protection scheme, the Families needed someone on the inside to help them, and reluctantly he agreed.
This judge is indeed a dragon-a mighty red scaled dragon, and he rules a sizeable amount of territory including two human towns. His trials are pretty rough and ready and he eats the defendants that he finds guilty, but he does not run a kangaroo court-more then once he has set a defendant free as he personally felt that the evidence was not strong enough. All in all, he is a lot fairer then you would expect a dragon to be towards humans.
30-In The Mind
One day he may well be a great, famous and wise judge, but for now he is a ten year old boy and his trials are games that he plays with himself in his own mind. He knows what he wants to do when he grows up, however.
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? Responses (7)
Another great 30 Cheka. For all the times PCs get caught by the law, I could easily use these judge's personalities as the sheriff or Guild leader that gets crossed. Most any authority figure that has the power to pass sentence for a digression. Some fun judges with good twists. Get out your dice, lets see who the law is in this town. Bonus for wrapping in some other subs!
Solid! And there is no 'Itchy' judge, yay! :)
Nice archetypes here.
Handy list for street level supers or police games, also great for random contacts for characters that could come in handy.
Here is another list that will come in handy.
A good set of Judicial archtypes. Great list!
Sorry, I think it's incomplete. #30 isn't a judge at all, and a couple others towards the end is about what they are or what their backstory is, not about how they act on the bench.