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Judge

You are a judge: a person tasked with the duty and authority to pass judgment and deliver verdicts on disputes according to the laws of your locale. The exact nature of your role and your place in the system is shaped by the laws and governmental structure of your particular venue, but in some form or fashion, you are at least one of the local legal authorities, and it falls to you to mete out justice when crimes have been committed or when two or more parties have disputes in need of official settlement by the local government.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Insight

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: Official papers verifying your authority, a set of fine clothes, sealing wax, a seal of your office, and a pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Rightful Judgment

Wherever your authority as a judge is recognized and when you are officially presiding over a legal dispute, those who abide by the law are bound to accept your judgment as final and just. While not everyone may agree with your decisions, once you pass judgment on a matter with you serving as the recognized arbiter, the people affected must abide by your decision or potentially suffer consequences by local law enforcement. What those consequences may be is determined by the situation, the setting, and the relevant laws governing such issues, which is all largely up to the GM to determine. In any case, you are both a recognized legal authority and an integral part of the justice system, so it behooves those within your jurisdiction to honor and respect any decision you make while in your official capacity.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: What territory do you preside over? Where do you conduct trials? What sort of laws govern you and those around you, and how does the local justice system function? Do you serve as judge to punish the wicked? To benefit yourself? Do you serve the concept of justice impartially? What are your goals and aspirations, and how does being a judge help you accomplish those (or not)?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did you decide to personally discover the truth in a complicated trial? Have those who put you in power tasked you with a mission on their behalf? Perhaps your path to adventure is because of a quest which must remain off the books from your official capacity as a judge.

Maybe your good name as a judge was besmirched and you have set out to correct that slight. Or is it that someone truly guilty kept their freedom due to a technicality, and you have taken it upon yourself to see justice done by your own hand? Regardless of the cause, it is important that you understand your motivations.

d8 Personality Trait
1 There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.
2 I never second guess myself after passing judgment.
3 I believe that my role is a righteous one.
4 I don’t enjoy being a judge, but it is necessary.
5 The prestige of my role is the best part.
6 I resent the responsibility of my profession.
7 I talk over people because I am very important.
8 I treat all occasions seriously and solemnly.
d6 Ideal
1 Self-Interest. I interpret the law to suit my own desires because I have the power to do so. (Evil)
2 Perspective. Law, ethics, and morality are all shades of gray. (Neutral)
3 Due Process. True justice demands that I follow the prescribed process. (Lawful)
4 Help. I use the law to help those who cannot help themselves. (Good)
5 Truth. I care more about the truth than rules. (Chaotic)
6 Fairness. Justice is blind. It does not care who you are. (Neutral)
d6 Bond
1 I worked hard to get this position, and I intend to keep it.
2 I will not fail to help bring justice to and for the people around me.
3 Someone close to me has secretly run afoul of the law, and I can’t make myself bring them to justice.
4 The people who put me in this role expect me to subtly work to their advantage.
5 I will never forget my first trial.
6 I still fear I may have condemned someone innocent.
d6 Flaw
1 I get impatient during long testimonies and explanations, so I frequently daydream.
2 I tend to pass judgment within the first few minutes unless evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
3 I abuse substances to deal with the burden of my authority.
4 I assume everyone is guilty until they prove otherwise, and even then…
5 I consider those I preside over to be inferior.
6 I have no discernible sense of humor.

Variant Judge: Circuit Judge

Rather than presiding over trials that are brought before you at a centralized location like a conventional judge, you have been tasked with moving from place to place within a certain jurisdiction to fulfill your duty. Usually, these are frontier regions or otherwise sparsely populated areas with scant resources, thus making a single center for justice in the region impractical. As such, it falls upon you to make a circuit through the area to see justice done wherever it is required. Upon arriving at such a place, you usually find that the local law enforcement has some quantity of disputes waiting for you to preside over. Due to the typical lack of legal expertise in these types of settings, the circuit judge is often tasked with rooting out the truth of matters personally, so it is common for a circuit judge to investigate matters themselves in order to reach a verdict.

If you choose the Circuit Judge variant of the Judge background, this background gives you proficiency in the Investigation skill instead of History.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Big Book of Backgrounds Copyright 2019, P.B. Publishing, Phil Beckwith, and Cody Faulk.