Star Law (often referred to as the "Star Law Rangers” or colloquially as “the Rangers”) is the United Planetary Federation's interstellar police force. It is primarily concerned with Frontier-wide threats such as the Sathar, Mechanons, Zuraqqor, and their agents, tracking them from planet to planet and fighting them on their own terms, but the organization is also active against pirates and other interstellar criminals.
As a result of its limited mandate, Star Law does not maintain a large, standing force either on the ground or in space. The UPF and planetary governments prefer it that way to prevent the organization from undermining their own powers and authority. Instead, Star Law officers operate either alone or in in groups of 2-6 so as to not pose a threat to city or planetary law enforcement or to planetary militias.
Star Law Headquarters is located in the city of Port Loren on the planet Gran Quivera in the Prenglar system. The Star Law Academy is located on Morgaine's World in the same system. A special annex for training candidates for the rank of Ranger exists on Dillon, a moon of Moonworld.A Star Law office exists on every civilized world of any size in the Frontier Sector, as well as on all non-military spacestations. These offices range from large complexes to one-man offices, depending upon that world's needs. Star Law has established and maintains several penal colonies on uninhabited or sparsely populated worlds. It is not uncommon to have a small town spring up a few kilometers from these prisons, to house the prison's staff and their families as well as support personnel. A small military base, funded by the nearest local government, will sometimes be present as well.
Star Law offers one of the best educational programs in the Frontier, and looks for only the best candidates. An applicant must have four ability traits higher than his or her racial average, two of which must be their Intuition and Logic scores.
Star Law officers have a much greater level of authority than normal law enforcement agents, therefore, they have a much greater responsibility. Because of this, the screening of Star Law applicants is incredibly detailed and thorough.
In order to apply for admission, applicants must complete a series of forms at a local Star Law administrative-branch office and pass a personality check. They must also have a clean criminal record. Applicants will be doped with Telol and psycho-probed while being interrogated on every facet of their beliefs, attitudes, and history.
All interviews are monitored by hidden cameras and sonic analyzers so that any attempts to use Hypnotism or Persuasion skills will be detected. Anyone who attempts to use those skills, or who has a record of subversive beliefs (including a "bad attitude"), will never be admitted to the academy.
Applicants who passes the screening, will be granted an interview with the Admissions Director of the Academy. Those who make a favorable impression (passes a Personality check), are accepted as a cadets. The applicants will be notified within two months of acceptance or rejection by the Academy, and must provide thier own transportation there if accepted. Applicants who fail may try again next year.
Note: In the entire history of Star Law (127 years), there has never been a recorded instance of a "bad apple" getting through the screening (though occasionally Lawmen have gone bad after years of stress and exposure to the criminal element). Tough discipline at the Academy further shapes a future officer's attitudes and behavior. Any disobedience is dealt with swiftly. Severe disobedience results in the offending party being relieved of duty and court-martialed (the results of which are decided by the referee).
The Academy Edit
The main Star Law Academy is a huge complex on Morgaine's World which includes hundreds of hectares of land enclosed in climate-controlled domes that simulate adverse conditions found on various worlds for the purpose of combat and survival training. The cadets undergo extensive physical and tactical training and are educated in all available information on enemy capabilities and tactics, the culture and history of the known races, and anything else considered useful to their line of work (which means practically everything). The training period lasts for one year, during which cadets receive free room and board, but no pay.
Graduates of the academy receive a number of benefits. The continuous physical training improves them physically: they may add five points to one ability of the STR/STA pair and one of the DEX/RS pair. They will also have acquired extensive skills during the program, depending upon their PSA and desires.
These skills are listed below:
- Technological/Biosocial PSA: One 5th-level skill and one 3rd-level skill from the appropriate PSA, a 2nd-level ranged weapons skill (usually beam), and 1st-level in a non-ranged weapon Military skill (usually Melee).
- Military: Two 5th-level weapon skills, 2nd-level Martial Arts, 1st-level Demolitions.
Note: This makes a Star Law officer a powerful character for beginners. Referees may reduce the skill levels, but should keep in mind that even low-level Star Law officers are supposed to be awe-inspiring and formidable.
Service and Advancement Edit
As with any other law enforcement agency, Star Law has multiple administrative, technical, legal, and operations branches. Each branch has its own hierarchy of grades, functions, and positions. Most characters will interact with (or actually be) Star Law field agents of the following ranks:
- Star Law Deputy Officer (DO): A Star Law DO is a rookie fresh out of the academy. He or she is in effect a lower-grade City Officer and is assigned to assist someone of a higher rank, usually a full City Officer. After a period of time (usually one to three years), the Deputy Officer is evaluated and may be promoted. On rare occasions, a DO might be promoted into positions as high as Chief Agent, depending upon his background, skills, and abilities; however, a Star Law DO cannot be immediately promoted to Ranger status.
- Star Law City Officer (CO): A Star Law CO may have many Deputy Officers below him. Usually, a CO has authority only over one office. COs work only in major cities on highly advanced planets and aboard space stations..
- Star Law Planetary Officer (PO): A Planetary Officer may have many Deputy Officers below him; on major civilized planets, he may command some COs as well. A Planetary Officer cannot exercise his authority on another planet unless ordered to do so by his Commanding Officer at Port Loren.
- Star Law Deputy Agent (DA): Star Law DAs may command numbers of Deputy Officers, POs, and COs. A Deputy Agent governs investigations that assist other law enforcement and security forces. DAs can command POs and COs in their planetary system only.
- Star Law Chief Agent (CA): A Chief Agent is one rank above the DA and can command all officers below his rank. He has the power to override the authority of the security forces within his planetary system when dealing with investigations there. A CA is extremely powerful within his system.
- Star Law Ranger: Rangers are a sort of cross between DAs and CAs in authority, except they can exercise their power in any system within the Frontier Sector. They operate one level above CAs in the Star Law chain of command but usually work with other security forces rather than commanding them. Rangers are usually called in when hostile alien intrigue is suspected (Sathar plots in particular).
- Star Law Marshals: This unusual position is usually awarded to Rangers whose jurisdiction extend into the Rim systems. Some Marshals patrol the Rim exclusively. They have authority over other Star Law Rangers and all lower ranks. Their numbers are few and turnover is high. They usually work alone.
- Star Law Commanders: A Star Law Commander is a Marshal empowered to venture into alien space, where he has complete authority to operate in the UPF's best interests. COMs can command all of the above levels of Star Lawmen. Commanders are the only persons in the Star Law who can legally kill an intelligent lifeform without any evidence but their own word. Only a handful of Commanders exist, and they report to the UPF Security Council along with the Star Law Captain-General.
Other parts of Star Law that might come into play are:
- Star Law Posse: A group of officers whose mission is to help out Star Lawmen in trouble. They can only be assembled by a Marshal, Commander, or Star Law HQ. Their stats are usually normal for their race, and they should be armed and armored competitively by the referee. Note: The posse does not exist to haul the player's "afterburners" out of the fire all the time. They are there to help if the referee has accidentally swamped the players with foes.
- Star Law Penal/Corrections Officers: The worst criminals in the Frontier Sector are kept at certain remote penal colonies scattered across the Frontier. Maintaining these secluded prisons and the transport ships that conduct prisoners there is the business of Star Law Penal/Corrections Officers (known as "PO-s" or "CO-s". Outside of their penal functions, they operate at Deputy Officer rank.
- Star Law Internal Affairs agents: When investigating Star Lawmen, IA agents have the command capability of a Marshal.
- Star Law Undercover Agents: While most Star Lawmen can go undercover, UAs are in what is known as "deep cover." They have maintained their cover for years and may not even reveal themselves to player characters, but can pass information to them secretly. They usually only answer to Star Law Marshals, Commanders, or HQ, and are found in high-risk areas such as the Rim.
Advancement Costs Edit
Star Law rank XP needed Daily pay (Cr)
Deputy Officer (graduate) 50
City Officer 25 75
Planetary Officer 50 100
Deputy Agent 100 125
Chief Agent 150 150
Ranger 250 200
Marshal 300 250
Commander 350 300
Star Law has broad authority within its jurisdiction. Acceptance of Star Law authority is a condition of UPF membership. It is not, however, recognized on some non-UPF member worlds, or beyond the limits of planetary atmospheres (where Spacefleet is the primary authority).
Star Law does not fight wars on a planetary or system-wide scale. That is the purview of individual planetary militias and defense fleets, to which the duty ordinarily falls to deal with large-scale invasions, riots/revolutions, etc.
Likewise, Star Law is not responsible for day-to-day law enforcement in cities, regions, nations or continents, which are the jurisdiction of the planets' local/state/national law enforcement agencies. Neither is it tasked with providing or maintaining corporate security. Corporations employ their own private security forces to see to such issues.
Any or all of those situations, however, can come to involve Star Law if the criminal activity involves or comes to involve two or more planets or systems, or if it involves information, resources, or other property that might be of interest to hostile non-UPF powers. In addition, Star Law personnel have the power to call the UPF's attention to major criminal transgressions by city or planetary governments, though they try to avoid intervening directly in matters arising from purely local politics whenever they can.
Investigations of other security forces (Spacefleet, planetary armies, etc.), and system or inter-system governing bodies (such as the United Planetary Federation) are handled by special investigation committees appointed by the Star Law Captain-General. Investigations dealing with possible crimes committed by Star Law personnel are handled by a special branch of Star Law Internal Affairs that answers only to the UPF Security Council.
Any investigations beyond the Frontier or “on the Rim” (as unexplored, possibly dangerous systems are called, and not specifically referring to the Rim) are the official responsibility of Star Law. All investigations of known hostile races (Sathar, Mechanons, Zuraqqor, etc.) are made under the authority of Star Law and their agents' powers are greatly expanded when dealing with this responsibility.
Under article 12 of the Securities Act, a Star Lawman of any rank can impose Stellar Law in a city, region, or continent if he deems it necessary to maintain civil authority.
Under article 13 of the Securities Act, a Star Lawman of Ranger rank or above may also impose Stellar Law on an entire planet if he deems if necessary to maintain civil authority.
Under article 14 of the Securities Act, the Star Law Captain-General may impose Stellar Law on an entire system if he deems it necessary to maintain civil authority or UPF security. (Only the UPF Security Council can declare Stellar Law on the entire Frontier.)
Under article 15 of the Securities Act, a Star Lawman of Ranger rank or above may commandeer any ship, private or UPF-owned, not engaged in an active defense of UPF space for the purposes of pursuing enemy agents in or out of the Frontier.
Star Law retains its authority during both peacetime and wartime.
All Star Lawmen have the following powers in addition to those listed above:
- The authority to pursue, warn, detain, or arrest anyone within their jurisdiction who breaks the law. The decision to warn or arrest is at the Star Lawman's discretion and dependent upon such factors as past record, the severity of the crime (speeding vs. possession of a weapon), the attitude of the lawbreaker, etc.
- The authority to commandeer any vehicle and pilot it, or cause it to be piloted, in excess of normal legal regulations, in an attempt to fulfill section 1. This authority does not include any overt actions that unnecessarily threaten innocent bystanders or society.
- The authority to search premises in an attempt to fulfill section 1 if due cause exists. In those cases where Star Law Command can be contacted immediately for confirmation, such must be obtained. In those cases where Star Law Command is more than ten minutes communications distance away and the Star Lawman decides that this wait is to the detriment of, or dangerous to society, the Star Lawman may gain access to the premises in any fashion possible. In cases where a Star Lawman is in pursuit of a criminal or lawbreaker or is witness to a criminal act, then the Star Lawman may gain access to the premises in any fashion possible.
- The authority to protect society, himself, or private property (in that order), whether in an attempt to fulfill section 1 or in the normal course of his activities, by whatever means necessary excluding measures which may be more harmful than that which is threatening society, himself, or private property.
- The authority to close down any establishment, business, or operation which is either breaking a law or endangering society and the common good until the appropriate agency, governmental department or proper level of authority can investigate the problem. In some cases, the Star Lawman himself must investigate the alleged crime.
Miscellaneous Data Edit
- When a Deputy Officer graduates from the Academy, he receives his dress uniform, his duty uniform (a military skeinsuit in Star Law blue), and regulation weapons for his assigned planet - typically a sonic stunner and a stun stick. Certain planets such as Outer Reach require more powerful weapons as standard issue (such as the M-3 rafflur, developed especially for Star Law), and perhaps a defensive screen as well. Of course, when on an assigned mission, agents will be issued whatever weapons, defenses, and equipment are appropriate and reasonable. Due to the fact they frequently work alone or with minimal support, Star Law officers are heavily armed.
- Star Law agents are a special group of beings. Though the work of defending the Frontier is demanding and dangerous, Star Law agents thrive on it. Their courage and dedication have resulted in their becoming universally admired folk heroes of the Frontier. Whenever an NPC must make a Leadership check vs. Star Lawman, the agent gets a +5 bonus per rank.
- Since agents often have to rely on their own resources, Star Law encourages them to develop their personal skills. This policy has a practical side: Star Law will provide hypno-training (see Expanded Rules, p. 11) for any agent wishing to gain new skills or skill levels.
- Star Law agents are often called upon to perform undercover work. This assignment will be of two basic types. The first is infiltration, where the agent attempts to join an organization, "become" an enemy agent, or other similar action. In such a case, Star Law will fabricate a history for the agent right back to his birth records, and will alter computer databases and hypnotize key people so that almost any amount of checking will not discover anything unusual about him. The other type of assignment is replacement, where an enemy agent has been neutralized, but Star Law does not wish that fact to become known or wishes to plant its own contact inside the organization. For this type of assignment, setup will include plastic surgery, voice and carriage training, and memory overlays so the agent has instant access to most of his model's memories.
Notes & ReferencesEdit
- This article compiled from information originally found in Dragon magazine #87 and 91.
- The early and alternate badges were made by ChrisDonovan using a badge blank and alternate UPF logo found online.
- The officer is based on Andy Park concept art for Marvel Studios' Avengers.
- ↑ Not to be confused with the interplanetary youth association known as the Star Rangers, or with regional law enforcement agencies such as the Lossend Rangers.
- ↑ Space stations are considered legally as if they were part of the planet they orbit, thus under Star Law jurisdiction. Source: Zebulon's Guide pp.47
- ↑ See Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules, p. 59.