This site is games | books | films


The Judge

Judge, The Bench, 1758 William Hogarth
The Bench, 1758 William Hogarth

Crime and Punishment
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003

The judge is similar to both the expert and the aristocrat. He is physically weaker than either class and has limited combat training, but he has a good selection of skills and receives more skill points than either of the other two NPC classes. Needless to say, a character does not have to have levels in this class to hold the office of a judge. The class simply represents formal training for legal service; a character with levels in this class has dedicated his life to the law, as opposed to spontaneously being appointed to the role.

While it is an NPC class, the justice has an excellent selection of skills. In particular, if a character wants to become an inquisitor, the fastest way to reach his goal is by serving as a justice.

NPC Class: The Justice

Abilities: A high Charisma is vital for a judge; as an agent of the law, he must be able to exert his authority over others and get people to Listen to his words. Wisdom is equally important; a justice must have an unshakeable force of will and a keen ability to see into the depths of the human soul.

Physical abilities are less important; as a general rule, the justice will have guards to protect him from harm.

Alignment: Any lawful. As an instrument of the legal system, it follows that a justice would respect the power of the law. Of course, a lawful evil justice may twist the law to his own benefit – but that’s a different story.

Hit Die: d4


The class skills of the justice are Appraise (Intelligence), Diplomacy (Charisma), Gather Information (Charisma), Intimidate (Charisma), Knowledge (All skills, taken individually) (Intelligence), Listen (Wisdom), Perform (Charisma), Profession (Wisdom), Sense Motive (Wisdom), Speak Language, and Spot (Wisdom). Common specialties for the Knowledge skill include Geography, Law, Local, Nobility, and Religion; Perform is generally reserved for oratory
and other forms of public speaking.

Skill points at 1st Level: (8 + Intelligence modifier) x 4

Skill points at each level: 8 + Intelligence modifier

LevelBase AttackFortRefWillSpecial Abilities
1+0+0+0+2Judicial Authority


All of the following are class features of the justice:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A justice is proficient with the club, dagger, quarterstaff, and three additional simple weapons of his choosing. The justice is not proficient with any sort of armor or shield.

Judicial Authority: A justice is a representative of the law. As long as the justice is pursuing his duties and is within the dominion of the force that grants him his authority, he may demand room, board, and cooperation from the local representatives of the law. All citizens are expected to cooperate with a justice acting in the pursuit of his duties, but your mileage will vary based on the degree of respect that the populace has for the governing body. A justice in the service of a much-loved church may receive freely offered advice and assistance, while if he serves a hated tyrant the citizens may actually try to sabotage his efforts behind his back.

Judicial Authority is a privilege; if a justice fails to perform his duties or incurs the wrath of his liege, he will lose his authority. Likewise, if a player character takes a level in this class during his adventuring career, he does not automatically receive Judicial Authority. He has the training required to become an excellent justice, and a lord may recognize this, but he still has to be invested with an office by someone in a position of power.

The Judge in the Party

Crime and Punishment
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003

Itinerant Judges

If you’re looking for an interesting alternative to the standard dungeon crawl, you might consider trying a brief campaign in the service of the law. The life of a traveling justice can be filled with adventure and intrigue, and can make an interesting basis for a party.

Consider the following party structure:

The Justice — If you’re going to make a campaign out of the pursuit of the law, someone needs to play the justice. A justice can start taking levels in
the inquisitor class as early as 3rd level. If you start off with a somewhat experienced group, the justice can begin with a few inquisitor levels. That
way he can serve as his own truthteller and also make up for the fact that he’s got an NPC class.

The Investigator

Most of the time an itinerant justice will trust in the report of the jury. But as an adventuring group, you never know what you could encounter. Cover-ups, conspiracies, doppelgangers, and stranger things abound for such cases, it’s good to have someone on the team who specializes in gathering
information. An investigator is the logical choice for this, but a rogue or bard can serve equally well.

The Confessor

Assuming that the nation isn’t filled with atheists, it never hurts to have a representative of the gods in the party. Criminals and townsfolk alike may be more willing to unburden themselves to a minion of the divine that to a representative of the king. And if blood is shed, the ability to heal never
hurts. A hint: a cleric of a god of Good, Protection, the Sun, or the like usually makes a better confessor that a priestess of Death, Destruction, or Evil.

The Shields

An itinerant justice would be wise to travel with a few good blades at his side. Aside from the likelihood of bandits on the roads, there’s always the possibility that the townsfolk may take umbrage with an unpopular ruling. The justice must be prepared to enforce his decision through force of arms. And if you conduct your own investigation, you never know what you might find. Both fighters and paladins serve this purpose admirably, but if you start at higher levels you may want a magehunter, to help to control mystical prisoners.

Scroll to Top