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Behind Bars


Super Squirrel
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The game I'm in could easily be turning dark champions. One of the things that a player has raised, is that he doesn't trust the police to keep villains in jail. While he has no problem with outrightly killing a villain, he also would be willing to compromise with developing our own containment system for villains.

 

I would like to see some discussion, both for the player and the gm about this aspect. Focusing on not only methods of containment, but repricusions for violating a criminal's right to due process. It might also be helpful to provide assistance to the GM for what to do when players decide to imprision villains.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Both the Department of Justice and FBI have civil rights task forces dedicated to investigating such crimes. On the federal level they could theoretically be charged with any and all of the following crimes (and remember, sentences can be concurrent or consecutive based on the Judge's discretion). They would also be open to additional criminal charges at the state level, some of which would bear the same name, some of which would be unique to the state. Its definately a dark champions vigilante type of decision to make (denying due process and unlawfully impriosning someone). You will note that any conspiracy or deprivation of rights charge accompanied by a kidnapping charge is potentially a capitol offense, and that (see bolded text) a ransom isn't strictly necessary for a kidnapping charge.

 

 

USC Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13

 

Sec. 241. - Conspiracy against rights

 

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

 

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured -

 

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death

 

Sec. 242. - Deprivation of rights under color of law

 

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death

 

USC Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44

 

Sec. 1071. - Concealing person from arrest

 

Whoever harbors or conceals any person for whose arrest a warrant or process has been issued under the provisions of any law of the United States, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge of the fact that a warrant or process has been issued for the apprehension of such person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; except that if the warrant or process issued on a charge of felony, or after conviction of such person of any offense, the punishment shall be a fine of [1] under this title, or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

 

Sec. 1072. - Concealing escaped prisoner

 

Whoever willfully harbors or conceals any prisoner after his escape from the custody of the Attorney General or from a Federal penal or correctional institution, shall be imprisoned not more than three years

 

USC Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 55

 

Sec. 1201. - Kidnapping

 

(a)

 

Whoever unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof, when -

 

(1)

 

the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary if the person was alive when the transportation began;

 

(2)

 

any such act against the person is done within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States;

 

(3)

 

any such act against the person is done within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States as defined in section 46501 of title 49;

 

(4)

 

the person is a foreign official, an internationally protected person, or an official guest as those terms are defined in section 1116(B) of this title; or

 

(5)

 

the person is among those officers and employees described in section 1114 of this title and any such act against the person is done while the person is engaged in, or on account of, the performance of official duties,

 

 

shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life and, if the death of any person results, shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.

 

(B)

 

With respect to subsection (a)(1), above, the failure to release the victim within twenty-four hours after he shall have been unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, or carried away shall create a rebuttable presumption that such person has been transported to interstate or foreign commerce. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the fact that the presumption under this section has not yet taken effect does not preclude a Federal investigation of a possible violation of this section before the 24-hour period has ended.

 

©

 

If two or more persons conspire to violate this section and one or more of such persons do any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

 

(d)

 

Whoever attempts to violate subsection (a) shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

 

(e)

 

If the victim of an offense under subsection (a) is an internationally protected person outside the United States, the United States may exercise jurisdiction over the offense if

 

(1)

 

the victim is a representative, officer, employee, or agent of the United States,

 

(2)

 

an offender is a national of the United States, or

 

(3)

 

an offender is afterwards found in the United States. As used in this subsection, the United States includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places within the provisions of sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49. For purposes of this subsection, the term ''national of the United States'' has the meaning prescribed in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22)).

 

(f)

 

In the course of enforcement of subsection (a)(4) and any other sections prohibiting a conspiracy or attempt to violate subsection (a)(4), the Attorney General may request assistance from any Federal, State, or local agency, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, any statute, rule, or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

(g) Special Rule for Certain Offenses Involving Children. -

 

 

(1) To whom applicable. -

 

If -

 

(A)

 

the victim of an offense under this section has not attained the age of eighteen years; and

 

(B)

 

the offender -

 

(i)

 

has attained such age; and

 

(ii)

 

is not -

 

(I)

 

a parent;

 

(II)

 

a grandparent;

 

(III)

 

a brother;

 

(IV)

 

a sister;

 

(V)

 

an aunt;

 

(VI)

 

an uncle; or

 

(VII)

 

an individual having legal custody of the victim; the sentence under this section for such offense shall be subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection.

 

(2) Guidelines. -

 

The United States Sentencing Commission is directed to amend the existing guidelines for the offense of ''kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint,'' by including the following additional specific offense characteristics: If the victim was intentionally maltreated (i.e., denied either food or medical care) to a life-threatening degree, increase by 4 levels; if the victim was sexually exploited (i.e., abused, used involuntarily for pornographic purposes) increase by 3 levels; if the victim was placed in the care or custody of another person who does not have a legal right to such care or custody of the child either in exchange for money or other consideration, increase by 3 levels; if the defendant allowed the child to be subjected to any of the conduct specified in this section by another person, then increase by 2 levels.

 

(h)

 

As used in this section, the term ''parent'' does not include a person whose parental rights with respect to the victim of an offense under this section have been terminated by a final court order

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Since D-Man has already more than adequately covered the legal issues, I'll focus on other aspects of the heroes' private jail:

 

1) Escapes: There's no such thing as a completely escapeproof prison. Period. A prisoner who's determined to escape literally has all the time in the world to find a weakness in your containment and devise a plan to exploit it. Plus, from any villain's perpective, it's one thing to get tried and sent to Stronghold when PRIMUS busts you, That's more or less a matter of course; it's something else entirely to be incarcerated without a trial by viglantes. In such senerios, there's a good chance escapees may immediately come after their jailer(s) for revenge.

 

2) Logistics: Your containment faulty will require regular maintainance and repairs, plus it's going to be expensive to build in the first place. And since it would be inhumane to just leave your prisoners to rot (if you do that, you probably should have just killed them quick and clean in the first place), You have to provide them with food, water, and sanitation at a bare minimum. All of this is going to cost money and require you to devote time and personnel you would have otherwise had for fighting crime.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Both the Department of Justice and FBI have civil rights task forces dedicated to investigating such crimes.

USC Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13

 

 

My favorite is 18 USC Sec 241. The good part is the phrase "go in disguise on the highway".

 

 

18 USC Sec. 241 01/22/02

 

-EXPCITE-

 

TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

 

PART I - CRIMES

 

CHAPTER 13 - CIVIL RIGHTS

 

-HEAD-

 

Sec. 241. Conspiracy against rights

 

-STATUTE-

 

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or

intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth,

Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any

right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of

the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;

 

or

 

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the

premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free

exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured -

 

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than

ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in

violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an

attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit

aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined

under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life,

or both, or may be sentenced to death.

 

 

Your PCs don't wear masks or disguises, right?

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Marvel's Punisher 2099 comic book had the title character building and maintaining his own little prison, complete with death chamber for those the Punisher decided really were guilty of capital crimes.

 

While the 2099 technology really helped him out, there were all the problems you might expect, including escapes.

 

I think a more likely situation in a Dark Champs campaign would be our vigilante "heroes" investigating some other group's private incarceration facilty. And most likely getting an inside look at the cells.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

in teh JLA special secret society they sent dangerous criminals to the phantom zone where they had a pastural existance. an extra dimensional jail that you have the only access to is a pretty great place to hold people you considered to dangerous to be involved with society get enough and you can leave them to form there own society give them the basic tools and let them do an australia. or they can degenrate into savgary and kill each other either way its a win. Of course the tech level is a bit above dark champions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Re: Behind Bars

 

Marvel's Punisher 2099 comic book had the title character building and maintaining his own little prison' date=' complete with death chamber for those the Punisher decided really were guilty of capital crimes.[/quote']

 

DC Comics also had a short run comic book about three costumed do-gooders who ran there own privet prison out of Gothem City. Unforcently, the first costumed villian thay cought was The Joker. And it was the last one thay caught, as he killed each and evey one of them (if I remember corectly). It was called Chain Gain War (the group caled themselves The Chain Gain).

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Wormhole wrote:

 

2) Logistics: Your containment faulty will require regular maintainance and repairs, plus it's going to be expensive to build in the first place. And since it would be inhumane to just leave your prisoners to rot (if you do that, you probably should have just killed them quick and clean in the first place), You have to provide them with food, water, and sanitation at a bare minimum. All of this is going to cost money and require you to devote time and personnel you would have otherwise had for fighting crime.

 

I personally have a problem with this. If a villain group like VIPER can have dozens of supersecret bases all over a city, a full division of heavy tanks and flying lazer platforms, etc., etc.... yet almost never does anyone say "How the hell do they pay for this... have time to maintain this... get away with building and shipping all this stuff without discovery..."

 

Nope... it's just "genre" so they accept it.

 

Then a PC comes along and comes up with a cool, plausible concept that fits the established fictional world (high tech base and equipment that "just is" because finances aren't really an issue) and suddenly people are quoting the law... coming up with all kinds of "realistic" reasons why it wouldn't work, etc.

 

It's such a double standard, and one of the main things I think a "game world" needs to address, that comics never do. (It falls within the same concept as "hero's don't kill, no matter what" convention. Force the PCs to play by some arbitrary four color rule, while the villains run around slaughtering people by the dozen, breaking out of jail at will, and never held accountable.) It's stupid in the comics, and down right untenable in an RPG campaign. (In the above example, if you want the players to be four color/non-lethal... then have the justice system WORK, and villains stay in jail... as well as villains aren't mass murderers who really should be killed.)

 

Whatever you choose to do, the GM and the world she creates must follow the same rules as the PCs. If you don't do that, you are creating an "us vs. them" situation where the GM is seen as creating a "just trying to screw us" environment.

 

By this I mean... if you are going to give legal and financial scrutiny to every PC plan... then you should consider the same issues for the villains. Heroes should be able to track VIPER bases underneath secret barber shops, based on utility bills, unlawful excavations and construction work, shipments of materials, polution from illegal labs, etc. Heck... the EPA would likely be the biggest villain busting agency around, as they track hazzardous materials and output.

 

The point being... if you don't put such scrutiny on your villains... then the heroes should get the same leeway. They should be able to have secret bases and equipment and dangerous stuff, without all the "reality" getting in the way... whether it's prisons, or hightech aircraft, or whatever.

 

Be consistent... whichever way you choose.

 

(Personally, I find the realism is cool... especially when applying it to villains. When heroes discover a VIPER base, say... and realize that, in my world, it's not just a given... the fact that the VIPER base exists indicates high level corruption, payoffs, graft, cover-ups, etc. All this leads to further investigation, etc., and the loss of one VIPER base, or one unit of heavy armor... that is bad news for VIPER. That is millions lost. The heroes caused a major set back.)

 

Again... either way is fine... just be consistent and make the considerations in all situations, not just to criticise player ideas.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Re: Behind Bars

 

I personally have a problem with this. If a villain group like VIPER can have dozens of supersecret bases all over a city, a full division of heavy tanks and flying lazer platforms, etc., etc.... yet almost never does anyone say "How the hell do they pay for this... have time to maintain this... get away with building and shipping all this stuff without discovery..."

 

Nope... it's just "genre" so they accept it.

 

Then a PC comes along and comes up with a cool, plausible concept that fits the established fictional world (high tech base and equipment that "just is" because finances aren't really an issue) and suddenly people are quoting the law... coming up with all kinds of "realistic" reasons why it wouldn't work, etc.

 

It's such a double standard, and one of the main things I think a "game world" needs to address, that comics never do. (It falls within the same concept as "hero's don't kill, no matter what" convention. Force the PCs to play by some arbitrary four color rule, while the villains run around slaughtering people by the dozen, breaking out of jail at will, and never held accountable.) It's stupid in the comics, and down right untenable in an RPG campaign. (In the above example, if you want the players to be four color/non-lethal... then have the justice system WORK, and villains stay in jail... as well as villains aren't mass murderers who really should be killed.)

 

Whatever you choose to do, the GM and the world she creates must follow the same rules as the PCs. If you don't do that, you are creating an "us vs. them" situation where the GM is seen as creating a "just trying to screw us" environment.

 

By this I mean... if you are going to give legal and financial scrutiny to every PC plan... then you should consider the same issues for the villains. Heroes should be able to track VIPER bases underneath secret barber shops, based on utility bills, unlawful excavations and construction work, shipments of materials, polution from illegal labs, etc. Heck... the EPA would likely be the biggest villain busting agency around, as they track hazzardous materials and output.

 

The point being... if you don't put such scrutiny on your villains... then the heroes should get the same leeway. They should be able to have secret bases and equipment and dangerous stuff, without all the "reality" getting in the way... whether it's prisons, or hightech aircraft, or whatever.

 

Be consistent... whichever way you choose.

 

(Personally, I find the realism is cool... especially when applying it to villains. When heroes discover a VIPER base, say... and realize that, in my world, it's not just a given... the fact that the VIPER base exists indicates high level corruption, payoffs, graft, cover-ups, etc. All this leads to further investigation, etc., and the loss of one VIPER base, or one unit of heavy armor... that is bad news for VIPER. That is millions lost. The heroes caused a major set back.)

 

Again... either way is fine... just be consistent and make the considerations in all situations, not just to criticise player ideas.

 

I completely agree.

I run things strictly four-color, but I also create four-color villains.

I can see that a huge crime cartel like Viper might have the money to do a lot of things, but not in a vacuum. They could not just build a base without a massive amount of payoffs, murders, etc.

It is not like every builder, bricklayer, welder, etc. is so stupid that they would not realize what the huge underground base they worked on was, especially when crime skyrocketed in the surrounding area and Viper was in the headlines.

 

Either Viper and other villains must be held to the strict rules of "reality", or the heroes should get some leeway.

 

One way or the other.

 

And, if you are going to "go legal", it would be almost impossible to ever get any Viper agent released from jail!

You may have some hiccups in the legal system, but imagine the list of crimes that even a single agent could be charged with! Every time they have a "strategy session" it is probably "Conspiracy to commit murder." Every time they "suit up", it is probably "Distribution of illegal weapons." Every time they show their helmets in public, they are guilty of "Terroristic Threatening", "Disturbing the Peace", etc. etc. etc.

The "Viper has great lawyers, they usually are bailed out in hours" stuff would never fly in a world where superheroes are being charged with breaking noise pollution ordinances every time their punch goes "POW!"

(Unless you are truly running a distopia campaign where the legal system is 100% corrupt, and exists only to harass the innocent and help the guilty.

In which case, no wonder the players just kill everyone that crosses them, why bother to do anything else.)

 

KA.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

You know, extremly corupted legal systems are the norm for most "costume vig" comic books. So it is within gerdra to have VIPER agents going throua revolving door (or, more likely, Card Sharp agents), while more normal heros are arested for just standing there in costume 'disturbing the piece'.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

You know' date=' extremly corupted legal systems are the norm for most "costume vig" comic books. So it is within gerdra to have VIPER agents going throua revolving door (or, more likely, Card Sharp agents), while more normal heros are arested for just standing there in costume 'disturbing the piece'.[/quote']

You know, being a four-color kind of guy, I tend to somewhat overlook that, but you are right, this can be "in genre" for a very dark campaign.

I guess my main thing is that it should be expressly spelled out by the GM before the campaign begins.

"The legal system is totally corrupt and exists only to persecute the innocent.

Killing is the only possible way to solve any problem.

The law will automatically help the criminals and attack you."

 

I personally would find it extremely frustrating, unless I just designed a soulless killing machine from the beginning.

 

I would have less of a problem with "shades of gray" where some "bad apples" frustrate the normal course of justice from time to time, but that there is a chance to "do the right thing" if you really work at it.

 

I guess I feel that "dark" can be as much of a "straightjacket" as "four color".

 

While I would find it interesting to play a basically moral character who sometimes has to do the "wrong thing" for the "right reason", I don't think I would get any enjoyment of playing in a world that was so screwed up that you were "railroaded" into killing everything that moved.

 

I see "Dark Champions" as being about moral conflict.

 

But if the world is designed as Hell on Earth, where everything is dark and damned from the beginning, then where is the conflict?

 

If the world is too dark, you wouldn't try to improve it by killing the "bad guys", you would try to escape it by killing yourself.

 

Likewise, if every decent act a character tries to perform is shown to be futile and pointless, then all the conflict has been removed.

 

Everyone would just become a barbaric animal, killing everything that looked potentially threatening.

 

I see no more "depth" in doing "evil" all the time for no reason, than I do in doing "good" all the time for no reason.

 

By that standard, "Dark" can be every bit as "boring and unrealistic" as "Four color".

 

Just my opinion, please go back to the regularly scheduled:

"Oh boy, we get to kill things!"* discussions.

(*Just kidding!:D)

 

KA.

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Re: Behind Bars

 

Of course, not evey policeman is going to be corupted. Of course, not evey policeman is going to be alive eather.

 

To even things out, you should have a few honest, good policemen around (like, say, Jim Gorden in a typical Batman comic). And do show them trying to cleen the department up. This will get the local crim boss realy mad, and also give the heros someone to both trust on the force, and someone to protect from corupted cops and mad gainsters.

 

And then, prehaps later down the road, you can introduce some bright eyed and bussie tailed begining cops who were inspiered by that one good cop. This, the hero can see the force changing.

 

Of course, just the opisit can happen also. Seeing the local uncoruptble cop get killed, more and more normaly good cops sunenly decided that it is not worth a trip in a pine box and start basicly looking the other way.

 

It is your campain, after all.

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