Judge Dredd as a Magus?

How would you write up Judge Dredd as an Ars Magica Magus? I have seen the movies but not read the comics, and have done a quick wiki read up on him this evening.

Here are some quick thoughts I invite folks here to correct me on:

House: Guernicus
Name: Dreddicus
Concept: Uncompromising Lawman
Tribunal: Any Tribunal struggling with enforcement and/or a peripheral code that strongly empowers Quaesitors suits Dreddicus best. Perhaps: Stonehenge, Hibernia, Loch Leagan, Novgorod, Levant, or Iberia.

Starting Virtues & Flaws:

-3 Driven (Uphold Hermetic Code in all circumstances)
-1 Infamous (Order of Hermes: Punishing Quaesitor)
-1 Higher Purpose: Serve the Greater Good for the Order of Hermes
-1 Weak Enchanter
-3 Enemies (Various Magi or Mundanes who feel wronged by Dreddicus's form of Justice)
-1 Deleterious Circumstances (Must wear a Helmet that obscures his face, or faces halved Hermetic casting totals)

Flaw Comments:
Driven - Seems obvious.
Weak Enchanter - in the comics/movies Dredd uses equipment made for him by others
Infamous - No one wants to hear that Dreddicus is investigating them
Higher Purpose - Does terrible things for the Greater Good
Enemies - in the comics and movies there are always people who want him dead.
Deleterious Circumstances - In the comics his helmet never comes off, so this gives a reason in game why he doesn't like to take it off.

+3 Improved Characteristics
+1 Independant Study (HoH: MC, pg 85 - adds bonus xp to Practice or Adventure Xp. Dirus spends most of his time in the field.)
+1 Hermetic Prestige (House Virtue)
+1 Piercing Gaze
+1 Puissant Ability (Awareness)
+1 Puissant Ability (Code of Hermes)
+1 Puissant Ability (Folk Ken)
+1 Puissant Ability (Bows)
+1 Self Confident

Improved Characteristics - because base Ars is stingy with Characteristic points.
Independant Study: This is a Magus who rarely is in the lab.
Piercing Gaze: Seems to fit the concept well.
Puissant Abilities - Dreddicus is good at solving crimes, assessing guilt and dispensing Justice physically.
Self Confident: The extra confidence points will help him get out of various spots of trouble.

I see over time Dreddicus may join a Mystery Cult to gain access to further Virtues in his quest for Justice. A Minor or Major Magical Focus in Justice or Truth seemed a bit broad and unweildy to me.

May organically gain virtues/flaws like:
Disfigured (alluded to in the comics, apparently)
Social Contacts (Informants) who feed him information about crimes
Further reputational changes/increases, depending on his actions

+1 Intelligence
+3 Perception
+2 Stamina
+1 Strength
0 Communication
+1 Presence
+1 Dexterity
+2 Quickness

Comments: Presence and Perception seem like no brainers, the others are.. eh? Not sure on.

Keeping this part a big vague... Though I do see good abilities scores for physical combat, Code of Hermes, Awareness, Folk Ken, & Bows, specifically. Leadership to intimidate opponents. Athletics & Brawl seem part of the concept. Probably local mundane laws of the region of the Tribunal as well. This would also allow him to ascertain Mundane Interference more accurately as well.

This part I'm unclear on. Likely Intellego spells to ascertain crimes, and spells to enhance his physical abilities to dispense Justice.

Signature Mask - could be enchanted over time, perhaps as a Talisman
Armor: Part of the theme.
Crossbow - In the movies/comics this is a gun, but in Ars Magica an enchanted Crossbow fits best. Likely enchanted (by a Verdituis, commissioned to do so?) with Hermetic Bow Analogues to the following bullet types:

  • Standard execution - A standard arrow.

  • Heat Seeker or Hot Shot - Heatseeker arrows lock onto the target's heat source.

  • Ricochet - A bullet coated with rubber. Ricochet arrows can bounce off solid surfaces while retaining enough kinetic energy to penetrate flesh. This enables the Judge to, for example, kill a perp that is using a human shield, bouncing their shot off a back wall and hitting the target from behind.

  • Incendiary - A napalm round.

  • Armour Piercing - Useful against armoured opponents.

  • High-Explosive (Hi-Ex) - Self-explanatory.

  • As well as the usual six rounds listed above, a stun shot has also been depicted in the comic, and a variety of other rounds have been shown in the films.

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Not enough time to analyse.

Quick note "Timor" is Latin for dread.
At one point in comics he had picked up so much disfigurement that he was ordered to use a face change machine to restore his looks

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I am really not well equipped to critique your build.

I should point out that Dredd is really, really Strong Willed, though as he has gotten older, he has shown a lack of confidence about the Law he serves. Several times in the comics he is shown resisting blandishments, threats, telepathic incursions and psychic assaults.

My favourite example of Strong Willed is the 2nd storyline with Judge Death, who is now backed up with his fellow supernaturally charged undead planetary genocides.

Dredd is Driven to uphold the Law and protect the citizens of MegaCity One, even from themselves. There are several incidents where he has thrown himself into harms way to protect the innocent. When the unemployment riots happened, he sentenced them to hard labour, and they were heard to remark "He is Harsh, but Fair".
And once in a blue moon, when the Law allows and the situation merits, he has even known to be benevolent, much to the confusion of witnesses.

His Communication is rather good. During the Mutant storyline when Judges Dredd and Anderson were sent into the future to check up on a prophecy of doom, he faced off against patrol house of Judges who had been turned into vampires. He declared something along the lines of "Maybe you can take me down, but you know how many of you I will take down in the process". As the vampire Judges scattered, Judge Anderson requested that he give her the name of the Vocal Training School he attended.

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Thank you for the feedback. I think the hard part is that the character concept demands more virtues than a typical starting character in Ars Magica receives. I did consider Strong Will, but my innate bias against the virtue (only a +3?) moved me against it, however it should be part of the concept.

From what I've seen in the movies (especially the reboot), Dredd doesn't really... communicate that much. If he only occaisionaly says something deep, even someone with lousy communication can roll well once in a while. :wink:

Fair enough.
In the comics, when he speaks people generally listen and understand.

One suggestion. Remove Blatant Gift, and replace with Infamous - he is heroically good, but you don't want him judging you.
And maybe Minor Personality "Higher Purpose" (he really only does the terrible things he is driven to do because it is for the greater good)
And for the final Flaw, conceivably "Weak Enchanter" - Dredd outsources to Tek Division

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Good suggestions, I'll throw some edits in.

One of the most important Virtues for combat heavy types is "Careful with Ability". Less important with ranged, but if he has a Melee ability then it matters since combat between two skilled and armored opponents often comes down to "he who botches first... loses".

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When I stat him up properly for the game, he will be a "illegal" character who doesn't follow the rules in order to give him the virtues/flaws he needs to fill the concept. :wink:


He can get more V&F from Initiations, Twilight Scars, or Pilgrimage.

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He's in "Promises Promises" isn't he? The quaesitor is named Dread in Latin, or his hoplite is.

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No, unfortunately not. The hoplite is creatively named Cremate.

For the art I'd put him some rego and terram. That allow protective spells, lighter and stronger armor and you could even add the Vilano sling and go finesse instead of bows (but a dreadd with no weapon is not a dread).
Some intellego seems important too (espacialy the low level spells to know how someone died and to locate a target based on an arcane link).

Or if you want to strictly stick to the concept, make him a mythical companion instead of a magus. Magic can do too much things that the judge couldn't. And that would fix the need of Uber stats you have with this character.


Quaesitores can be appointed from any House, I believe, and such individuals always command extensive respect to achieve this distinction. Dredd embodies the power structure of the Justice Department, and is very ready to call for specialist backup; Tremere? He also never hesitates to accept any potential challenge to the Law; Tytalus? He even once became a (were)wolf… Bjornaer?!?
In Arts, one might also be looking to reproduce some effects of technology, such as the’birdie’ lie detector. (Strong InMe?) His Parma is almost certainly specialised in Mentem.
Dredd’s willpower is paramount, and various virtues and flaws associated with this suggest to me a relevant Mystery Cult; called Senior Quaesitor perhaps?

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Good thoughts @Carologus and @Archange !

The whole idea for my campaign is to keep him a magus. Im going to have fun statting him out.

A Spiritual Pact (RoP:M, page 88) with Nemesis might be an option. The visual manifestation of the pact might be why he wears a helmet/mask and that kind of bond might explain the harsh and uncompromising personality...


No, I'm right.

Quaesitor Timor translates as "Judge Dread".

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I will go from a very different angle: An Ex Miscellanea Quaesitores, Rusticani tradition.
His main weapon will be a invested wand with various effects of Vilano's sling: either higher magnitude for larger, more lethal projectiles, or variant with a different form (Herbam for arrows or lance, even Animalem for bone shards). He will be carrying various man-made projectile (non-magic), like lead ball, sharp stone arrowheads, coated with alchemical, yet natural poison.
He will have a Minor Magical focus on weapon type-projectile (feel free to disagree between Major and minor, I won't object, everybody has a different take on what his minor and major) and he will be using his Rusticani abilities to craft specific "ammunition" once he knows the type of enemy he will be facing - he could even get decent Penetration with single use effect.
Obviously, he will need a high Finesse, so Puissant and Affinity looks like a must have.
He should have as well Hermetic Prestige - he is from Ex Miscellanea, a house which rarely has a good standing with House Guernicus, so he must have build a serious reputation before he was offered to become a Quaesitor.

Strong-will and other similar virtues will be rounding the character. Self-confident gives him a higher chance to overcome unlikely odds. Extra virtue points should go into characteristic as he is clearly above a 0-average-based character.

As for Flaw, I wonder if Shelter Upbringing would fit: in the movie, he has been genetically engineered, and a lot of his past memory are man-made. Sheltered Upbringing could kind of simulate that aspect.
Driven or Wrathful are valid options.
Plague by Supernatural Entities - with a slightly different interpretation (although it will have no different effect than the Flaw as described): no matter where he goes, he is doomed to unearth some evil shenanigans and will have to confront it. It is not an organised vendetta, he just happened to always step on something dodgy.
I would consider "Creative Block". I don't see him as a skilled inventor, he will purchase, or even commissioned spells, that he will then learn, to possibly invest effect using his Rusticani ability.

Now, depending on your take of Containment spell, he could also using ReVi (without vis) to store effect into projectile that once broken release their effect. There is an ongoing trend on this forum debating on the topic, I won't say more, pick up your side.


A few more thoughts:

  1. Dredd is old now. He’s been a senior Judge for decades, and if he’d wanted the top job he could have had it. That suggests that he could be statted up as someone at least qualified for Archmage status (he has trained apprentices, and wrote a famed treatise, the Comportment I believe) and hence advanced in various Mysteries.
  2. Dredd started out as a street Judge. The equivalent would be to say that he made his reputation as a Hoplite; if building a younger version of him, this influence would be more noticeable, and it increases the likelihood that he was not originally of House Guernicus. Possibly he was the apprentice of a Quaesitor from his own House (named Fargo or something derived from it)?
  3. His familiar could be either a mount, or something else that would accentuate his abilities.
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Dredd can certainly intimidate even other Judges!
One other line I recall alongside the iconic “Gaze into the fist of Dredd!”

was a strip intro which read something like-
“Beyond Duty there is Obsession
Beyond Obsession there is Madness
Beyond Madness there is only… Judge Dredd”
That suggests both Driven and Obsessed flaws to me.


A bit late for the discussion, but:


You'd say that regardless of how many points for characteristics there were. =9

Does he needs to be a magus? A mythical companion can have 20 points of virtues and 10 of flaws. If you don't need him researching spells himself he could be designed as a Mythic Redcap (free items every now and then). Change his two seasons of delivering letters to two seasons of delivering justice (in the other two he delivers justice for free) and you have it.