Judge Dredd - Agressive Judge Players


I have found that my players are developing certain styles which is great, but I'm a little concerned about one of my players. He is ignoring skills that would help him to arrest anyone, and instead of making himself very combat oriented. He then plays in a very aggressive fashion, but I'm struggling to find a good way to make him behave a bit better. Nothing wrong with a bit of violence, but I think he sometimes thinks he is Dredd and can get away with the things Dredd does.

Spoilers below from Full Eagle Day:

An example, was that a suspected perp (only had the word of other people and the fact that he ran) was running away from them and ran around a corner, jumping into his hovercar. By the time the Judges got to the corner, the perp was taking off in his hovercar from his landing platform outside his office. Now, what I was expecting the judges to do was to call for a H-Wagon to bring the perp back, but instead, my aggressive judge rapid fires hi-ex at the engine of the hovercar! Understand that hovercars only have 40 hit points. He got extremely lucky by getting good enough rolls to hit the car with all three shots (could have have major problems if he'd missed and hit civilian traffic) but also hitting for low enough damage that the car crash landed with 4 hit points remaining.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can bring my player to better understand life as a Judge? I am reinterating the section from the manual on "To be a Judge" and hoping that will have some effect.

As I have understood the SJS constantly supervise other judges. If you think that the player is getting out of hand with his behaviour let the SJS pay him a visit. If other judges in his team won't report such activity you might give their judges some sort of reminder as well (that can be turned into a scenario where they get a really nasty but important assignment).

When I GMed the old GW Dredd one of the PC judges was very keen on informing the SJS if he thought that anyone was crossing the line and I think that one of the PC judges got busted because of his behaviour.

I suppose I would not have thought that your example of his action as poor but then again I want my players to handle as much as they can before asking for backup. I suppose this is a matter of taste...

I'd agree... but only because he didn't miss... SJS take a very dim view of High Explosive rounds (they gotta hit something...)... Maybe a quiet word in his ear from the Chief....
Thanks guys. I guess I'm trying to find the fine line between being aggressive enough to have fun and stay true to the world of Judge Dredd, and going action hero like demolition man. If my player had missed, I would have made a table up on the fly to see if he hit anything else, but considering the amount of traffic in the skys of Mega-City One, there is a strong chance he would have hit "innocent" civilians... or maybe even a passing H-Wagon... now that would be amusing.

Perhaps I am trying to control my players too much. I think I might try to get them watching each other a bit more. It would break up the group if one of them was sentanced to work the Cursed Earth camps, or worse, Titan, but if they work as a team it might be ok. I have to remember that as long as the Law is being upheld, the how is not too important :)

never forget Dredd gave Santa a solid beating... but its hard to establish were 'justice ends and aggresiveness starts' certainly judges have a lot of power at their finger tips, but they must uphold the law impecably (accidents are forgivable... once generally). Things such as beating a suspect after detention are a no-no, and if every suspect is brought in dead then the SJS will look into it....

Of course had he missed then the SJS would 'have taken a look' maybe...
During playtest the core rules we came across this problem with a couple of players who like to think with a Lawgiver rather than their heads. One solution as already been mentioned use the threat of the SJS, or have them repremanded by their Sector Chief if they continue to use force where the don't need too.

One of the players in one of my playtest groups insisted on taking a Widowmaker with him on every adventure, just in case! Of course a Widowmaker is a very powerful weapon, even in the hands of an ordinary street judge, and every adventure he sulked like a small child because I wouldn't allow him his way.

The thing is with the Dredd rpg is that although Dredd is nothing more than a glorified policeman, the nature of the game, and to a lesser extent the comic itself, dictate action over investigation, which really isnt what is required in a cop game!

A way around this is to try and limit combat options in your adventures, sure give the players something to shoot at if you feel the need, but not every adventure will rely on gunplay over good old fashioned investigation.

Here are a few ideas I use when writing a new adventure for a Dredd game with one of my groups that may be of use!

Okay simple as this sounds it is always a good idea to work out in advance just what you would like to happen in your adventure. You can be as detailed or vague as you wish at this stage, but it can be of great benifit to yourself and your players if you do plan out your adventure before hand.

Roleplaying is nothing more than a form of story telling so it is good to get the basics out of the way.

Think on your feet
This is something that only comes with practice and can not really be taught, but like a boy scout you must be prepared to change your plans, but always remain in sight of your story. If the players decide to go and investigate something you havent planned on, let them, but always remind them of their original mission.

Sometimes you will get a player who is very arguementative and will argue at every opertunity about something or other. These are the kind of people who give roleplaying a bad image, and are best dealt with swiftly before they ruin your group.

This is may sound harsh but you are god when it comes to your games and if a player is ruining things for your party deliberatly then you have the power of life and death over them! Dont kill off player characters for no real reason but loud mouthed players are often the kind who will make mistakes and let their own actions work against them!

Investigation over Action

Not every adventure need be about shooting the bad guys down in a hail of Lawgiver rounds and some of the most rewarding adventures can be those without a single shot being fired!

Give the players something concrete that they can get their teeth into, and challenge their intellect rather than dice rolling skills. Investigative adventures should always start off small and work their way up, but remember that you will have to seed clues into your adventure or your players will go nowhere fast.

Seeding the Clues
This is something else that can be difficult to pull off, especailly if you are new to roleplaying. One of the easiest ways to do this is to go through your story and make notes that will help you and work out a very simple tree style chart that will be something like this:

Arrive at Billy Graham Con-Apts for Crime Blitz
Find empty Stookie bottle
Interrogate suspects and learn of secret lab
Raid lab and learn that the lab is financed by mega-corp
Investigate mega-corp
Learn of off-world influences
Head off to Luna-1

That is a very basic way of seeding clues, but I am sure you will get the idea.

Hope that this helps someone.

True, my players have actually done a good job and not actually killed anyone yet. They have defeated a whole bunch of perps, but one of them specialized in first aid and people skills and so they have stabalized all the perps and sent them to the cubes so far. Of course, our next session will involve the biggest fight they have seen yet, and there will be the first real gunfight so I'm sure somebody will die.

The point is, I think they are generally being good... so I need to block out their motivation discussions and only respond to their actual actions. It can be quite disturbing to hear judges discussing "Well, I could do this as it's technically not illegal". Personally, I don't think a judge should ever think that as to them, their life is devoted to upholding the Law.

The other day, I had an interesting discussion about grappling. Since the helmet doesn't appear to have a strap, I think that during a grapple there is a chance that the perp would pull off the Judge's helmet. My aggressive Judge told me that if I made such a ruling, it could be used against me (which is fine by me). We spoke about a possible grapple where a judge pinned down a main boss type perp, and pulled off his helmet so that another judge could get a clear shot at his head. I think that this action would be more of an execution and should result in those two Judges being charged by the other Judge players. The Judge tried telling me that surely it would be okay to execute mutants and aliens at least.

The discussion then turned to trying to get them to understand that while mutants and aliens are not protected as Mega-City One citizens are, they are still covered by the Law. I mentioned that when a Judge goes in to The Cursed Earth, he is taking the Law to the Lawless, not going on a hunting expedition.

My main problem I think is that my players are all American and therefore didn't have years of reading 2000AD to get used to the world. They are coming in to this fresh. I loaned them some graphic novels to read to get an idea of how to act, but unfortunately they saw more of the aggressive side of JD.

Wish me luck.

Arabin that last comment sounds a lot like a gross oversimplification. One of the guys at the game store I spend most of my time at was talking about a Judge Dredd game where the biggest problem was one judge was over charging perps, getting them on 12 counts instead of the 3 someone else was going to charge them with.

Really it's up to the individual on what they see, yes some only see the violence, some see what is actually intended, and some can be made to change their minds. Unfortunately I can't guess at how many people fall into all three camps.
Arabin said:
I have found that my players are developing certain styles which is great, but I'm a little concerned about one of my players. He is ignoring skills that would help him to arrest anyone, and instead of making himself very combat oriented. He then plays in a very aggressive fashion, but I'm struggling to find a good way to make him behave a bit better.

Even if other Judges do not see a problem with his behavior, or are unwilling to say anything, the aggressive Judge will get a reputation.

Maybe the bean counters notice he is using far more ammo than other judges even though reports fail to justify this.

Local Perps see him as a threat. His shoot first, identify the perp later scares them. While on routine patrol a report comes in and witnesses direct him to the perp. Since there was no crime, or the suspect could not have been involved in the reported crime, the judges aggressive actions could get him in trouble. Of course the witnesses are nowhere to be found . If lucky he figures out he is being set up, if not he gets a visit from the SJS. This in turn plants a seed for an assignment, track down the conspiracy to weed out aggressive judges.
Thank you all for your fantastic comments. It's really helpful to be able to post here and hear fellow GM's and their perspectives. I now have many ideas of how to handle this going forward, and look forward to continuing the adventure.

Thanks all.