The Badge of Justice

Backdrop
It's today, but a bit dirtier and sleazier. Drug dealers kill each other all over downtown to expand their market, addicts mug citizens for a little more blow, murderers stalk lone women down alleyways, and cops stand in the way of all of them.
As civilization ignores law, and crime runs rampant, how can police officers stop a wave of violence, theft, and addiction? For this setting, turn to cultural and literary sources:

Books
  • White Jazz by James Ellroy,
  • just about anything else by James Ellroy,
  • The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
Comics
  • The Sin City series by Frank Miller
Movies and television
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Donnie Brasco
  • Se7en
  • Training Day
  • The Shield (TV)
  • Monk (TV)
Organization, Faith, and Charter
The characters are all police officers, working in the inner city, fighting crime wherever they find it. Light Animus represents belief in the law and its ability to keep civilization from killing itself, Dark Animus represents a lack of faith in and contempt for the law. You can play "The Badge of Justice" in two different ways:

Magic cops.
You and your brethren are a select unit of policemen, all inducted into a secret society. You've been taught techniques passed down since the founding of the United States, brought by Lodge members to protect the newfound country's freedom. You worship Lady Justice, also known as Themis, the blind goddess with a sword and scales seen in courtrooms across America. Themis was her name as she appeared to the Greeks as a Titan, and as an oracle at Delphi. By following her command to bring divine justice to the streets, you are empowered with abilities beyond mortal man.

Straight cops.
When you play "The Badge of Justice" this way, you play ordinary, everyday street cops trying to survive and get the bad guy. You have no special powers or abilities - but your courage and firm belief in justice does let you exert yourself beyond what you ever should.

When using this option, the following rules apply:
  • Characters cannot commit supernatural acts of any sort.
  • They can, however, perform acts up to 2x normal human capacity, fueled by adrenaline and training.
  • They can perform amazing - but not supernatural actions - in accord with the Powers below.
  • For character creation, distribute 8 points among Flesh attributes, 4 among Light Animus attributes, and 2 among Dark Animus attributes. Distribute 4 initial Animus points.
  • Characters cannot have more than 10 Animus points, and must spend one Animus point to activate an Animus attribute. They cannot re-activate Animus attributes.
Either way that you run this setting, you can expect to see a lot more Dark Animus flying around. The conflict that is emphasized is "how do you protect the law while staying within the law?" Crooked cops are this setting's Dark Paladins, and the relationships between them and the player characters should be emphasized.

Code
Minor Laws
  • Do not commit brutality against suspects.
  • Do not put your safety above the law.
  • Do not endanger innocent citizens with your actions.
Major Laws
  • Do not become a judge and inflict your own sentences. You are Justice's tool, not Justice.
  • Do not let transgressors of the law or suspected transgressors of the law go free, no matter what the reason for their crime.
Unbreakable Law
  • Do not use your position as an officer of the law for your personal gain. (Free donuts, coffee, and lunch do not count, obviously.)
Arms
Unlike most settings, you do not have a special weapon in "The Badge of Justice." You can be expected to have a gun (+1 or 2 dice weapon), handcuffs, and maybe a nightstick (+1 die weapon). Your real power lies in your badge, though - as a talisman of your commitment to justice, it can be used for one bonus die in any situation where you are using it to intimidate or surprise others, and can be used as a focus for yourself during melodramatic senses to increase your own courage and will. All characters do have an Arms ability, which applies to using any standard police weapon. Many characters will have a Driving ability as well.

Power
The cops' commitment to justice gives them the strength to perform deeds greater than normal men. They can:
  • Perform feats of incredible physicality.
  • Discern truth.
  • See what is hidden.
  • Calm and soothe the frightened.
  • Drive like crazed men, and perform driving stunts that seem impossible.
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