Monday, March 27, 2017

Imperial Security

You are under arrest, my lord. 
-Mace Windu, Revenge of the Sith 

I never broke the law! I AM THE LAW! 
-Judge Dredd
I must admit surprise that Star Wars almost never deals with the police (The films; the EU references the Imperial Security Bureau).  Sure, I realize that Star Wars is, of course, about war, but so much of what Star Wars deals with actually falls under something a police officer would deal with: A smuggler should fear the port authority (and not Storm Troopers), and a conspiracy of evil Sith should be uncovered by detectives, not by space knights.  In fact, we regularly see military personnel or the Jedi acting in a police role that the sudden and inexplicable abscence of the police becomes rather transparent, at least to me.  That, alone, is enough to justify the inclusion of Imperial Security (something the Old Republic does as well, by the way).  But I have more reasons.
Hannah Arendt, who wrote the classic analysis of totalitarianism,said that totalitarian societies had three characteristic institutions:massive propaganda efforts directed at their own populations, secretpolice forces, and concentration camps that caused mass deaths.   
-Bill Stoddard, Social Engineering
A police force imposes the will of the government on the people.  The Imperial Ministry may make the law but Imperial Security enforces those laws.  More than that, dictatorships need police, taken to extreme levels.  The Empire is almost certainly CR 6, and it must therefore police its people to make sure that no "sedition" or "corruption" has seeped in, and that nobody threatens to topped the delicate structure upon which the Emperor has settled his throne.  All must embrace the cause, all must understand the divine purpose of the Emperor, and all who do not must be found, convicted and shipped off to labor camps to die out of the public eye.

More than any single force, I expect the players will run up against Imperial Security.  When they try to assassinate officials, or smuggle medical supplies onto a rebellious world, or when they're trying to make sure their machinations aren't uncovered by the empire, it's Imperial Security, not the Imperial Military that they'll face.  Thus, we need them, both as someone to serve (especially if you're a Bounty Hunter), but especially as opposition.

Imperial Security

Imperial Security, or the Ministry of Justice, enforces the Emperor's will.  They act as guard dogs, rooting out sedition, conspiracy and crime, and anything that would undermine the Emperor setting the Galaxy right again.

Arguably, the Empire enforces its laws on three levels.  First, it relies on local law enforcement to enact the will of the Emperor.  The Empire allows conquered (or "allied") worlds to police themselves, using their existing law enforcement structures, provided they don't step out of the imperial line.  

Imperial Security itself serves broader roles.  It acts as a supplementary force for existing law enforcement, bringing additional firepower if locals don't have enough, and it investigates crimes in an interstellar jurisdiction.  That is, if a known criminal escapes off-world, he's Imperial Security's problem.  Imperial Security enforces the law with people who are "beyond" the reach of local law enforcement, such as making arrests of corrupt Viceroys or other ministers.  Finally, Imperial Security is tasked with the protection if the Imperial Ministry.

The Ministry of Justice governs Imperial Security, and it also passes sentence on criminals on the Emperor's behalf.  "Trials," such as they are, follow the Trial by Judge rules on page B508, and the Empire presumes guilt.  That is, if a Security Agent believes you are guilty, he probably has good reasons for doing so, and generally a trial consists of the Security Agent explaining what you did, perhaps offering some evidence to emphasize the severity of his claims, and the magistrate typically passes sentence.  If the magistrate finds the arrestee innocent, that's an enormous repuditation of the Security Agent!

Agendas of Imperial Security

Like any ministry, the agents of Imperial Security often work tirelessly to promote their own self-interest, but they work less to hide corruption within their own organization because, as the ultimate imperial watchdog, they can turn a blind eye to their own wicked deeds. What sets the agendas of Imperial Security apart is that they often work to advance their interests by exploiting the crimes of others, and they do work to uncover corruption, especially if it advances their careers. Most Imperial Security agendas however, simply advance investigations against known criminals. Examples include:

  • Imperial Security builds evidence against a smuggler. They have collected numerous interviews, confessions from family members and former associates, and now gather resources to mount a raid against his entire operation. This requires nothing less than a light cruisers and several corvettes, plus an entire platoon of assault troopers, of course.
  • An Imperial Security Agent believes that a powerful minister has ties to the rebel alliance. However, the minister enjoys a powerful position, the favor of the Emperor and friends in the Ministry of Justice. To take him down will require both incontrovertible proof of his guilt, which the agent can use to justify the next step, which is concocting a scandal sufficient to make the minister untouchable, and thus cut him off from his political ties, making him vulnerable to an arrest.
  • An Imperial Security Agent has integrated himself with the local crime gangs. He gains kickbacks in exchange for turning a blind eye, and some of those kickbacks, vitally, include information regarding criminal activity, or the coming and going on known rebels and traitors. As a result, higher ups in the Ministry of Justice have quietly worked with the Security Agent to hide evidence of the agent’s useful corruption, including hits taken out at the request of the crime boss, or concentrated efforts to hide evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the crime boss. However, Imperial Security does keep around just enough black-mail that should they wish, they can pressure the crime boss, or arrest him if he stops cooperating.

Imperial Security as opposition

 The Ministry of Justice, like any Ministry, lacks serious opposition and is seldom a major threat.  It's usually BAD -0 to -2.  Imperial Security, on the other hand, offers substantially more challenge for players, and is typically between BAD -2 and BAD -5.

Imperial Security also supplies direct muscle.  In keeping with the heavy militarization of the Empire, most such "troopers" are heavily armed and well-trained, and likely to shoot first and ask later.  These consist of:
  • Troopers, armed with pistol and neurolash baton
  • Paramilitary response teams, including
    • Lethally armed response teams
    • Riot suppression squads
    • Snipers
Imperial Security also fields vehicles including:
  • Armored grav bikes
  • Armored grav cars
  • Surveillance drones
  • Riot suppression tanks
  • Aerial support vehicles
  • Patrol Starships
The starships fielded by Imperial Security tend to be Corvettes meant for the transport of a single Imperial Agent and his team.

More on this tomorrow.

Serving Imperial Security

Imperial Security Ranks

10: Emperor
9: Emperor's Hand
8: High Minister
7: Minister
6: Director, High Magistrate
5: Special Agent in Charge, Assistant Director, Magistrate
4: Special Agent
3: Lieutenant, Junior (Pro Tem) Agent
2: Sergeant
1: Corporal
0: Trooper

Low level Security Agents follow their paramilitary role and primarily represent muscle used by actual agents. Security Rank 0 through 2 represent paramilitary security soldiers and follow similar names and ranks.  Men with pistols and armor are "Troopers" and those who lead them, or more elite troopers, are corporals or sergeants.  Security Rank 3 represents a unique role: Lieutenant, which is a uniformed officer who might act as a local investigator and takes on a local administrative role, akin to a police chief.  He almost never takes the field, except to supervise less dangerous tasks, such as supervising customs.  These "paramilitary security agents" have Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Security) [10].  These agents may make arrests and perform limited search and have a local jurisdiction, but any violence they commit isn't looked into in great depth or detail.

The "real" security agents begin at Security Rank 3 with the Junior (or Pro Tem) Agent.  These can only assist a genuine Security Agent (Security Rank 4) and only act within the bounds they give them, but otherwise have the same Legal Enforcement Power as above.

All Imperial Security Agents Security Rank 4 and above have Legal Enforcement Powers (Special Imperial Security) [15] and are free to do as they please with very loose guidelines.  Their jurisdiction covers the whole of the Empire (within the constraints placed upon them by their superiors), they may kill with impunity, engage in covert investigations and are under no obligation to support any "civil rights."  They are the long arm of Imperial Security.  They may seize command of any local law enforcement or security assets and use them to further their investigations.

Higher levels represent administrative ranks.  Directors run entire planetary security departments or cover specific sorts of cases (interstellar murders, missing persons, seditious acts, etc), and are assisted in their largely administrative role by Assistant Directors.  Collections of these departments answer to a Minister of Justice, who all answer to the High Minister of Justice, who answers to the Emperor's Hand, who answers to the Emperor himself.

Magistrates (Security Rank 5) and High Magistrates (Security Rank 6) represent a special role, that of judge.  They belong to the Ministry of Justice, rather than Imperial Security, and oversee the actions of Agents.  That is, they verify that the Agent has done the job he set out to do and arrested the right person.  In practice, this is typically a rubber-stamp (so much so that Agents who summarily judge and sentence their convicts when a magistrate is unavailable are almost never sanctioned by the Ministry).

Favors of Imperial Security

Entry Clearance (Pulling Rank p 13): Imperial Security bases aren't public, and their prisons certainly aren't.  Imperial Security can grant players access to a particular criminal or facility.

License (Pulling Rank p 13): Bounty Hunters who want to work with the Empire will first need to gain a license (Legal Enforcement Powers (Bounty Hunter) [5]) with Imperial Security.  The Ministry of Justice also issues licenses to carry weapons within the Empire.  Treat this as a License [1].

Warrants (Pulling Rank p 14): It should be noted that the Empire generally doesn't believe in warrants and that its security agents are free to do as they wish.  Warrants might be necessary to go after high level officials, but only if a Security Agent wants to be sure he'll face no blowback for his actions.  In this case, it represents the fact that the whole Ministry stands behind him in his actions.

Consultation and Specialists (Pulling Rank p 15): Imperial Security can offer Contacts with skills like Criminology, Electronics Operation (Surveillance), Forensics, Intelligence Analysis, Law (Imperial Law Enforcement), and Observation.  They're usually between Skill 15 and 18.

Imperial Security also has access to confidential informants and criminals with interesting insights, and they'll certainly make use of them!  Treat that as a "Specialist" request.

Files and Record Search (Pulling Rank p 15): The Empire has nearly every citizen and immigrant recorded in a database, as well as criminal records, evidence, locations of prisoners and incriminating surveillance on just about everyone.

Cash (Pulling Rank 16): Imperial Security can offer agents funds for minor expenses, using the noted values (that is, rank 4 agents can expect $25k, Rank 5 Special Agents can expect $75k and so on).

Gear (Pulling Rank 16): Imperial Security can offer access to any of the vehicles, equipment or weapons noted in tomorrow's post.

Bailout (Pulling Rank 17): The Ministry of Justice, via the Emperor's will, decides all sentences and thus may commute a sentence or even absolve a criminal of his guilt.  This certainly includes Security Agents who went too far, but it's more interesting when it's applied to other criminals that a Security Agent wants released.  Note that the Ministry of Justice does not have pull in foreign countries.  For that, you need the Ministry of Affairs.

Evacuation (Pulling Rank 17): Imperial Security has access to vehicles, starships and paramilitary attack squads.  If you're in trouble, they can pull you out.  Rescue work and bodyguard duty is one of their primary purposes.

Facilities (Pulling Rank 18): Imperial Security offers top-level surveillance and forensics facilities (both offering +5 to such rolls), but they can also offer to hold prisoners in extremely high security prison cells, at least BAD -5.

Muscle (Pulling Rank 19): Imperial Security offers 5-10 basic troopers, armed with neurolash batons and blaster pistols.

The Cavalry (Pulling Rank 19): Imperial Security offers 5-10 paramilitary agents, such as riot troopers or armed response troopers.

Character Considerations

Requirements: Characters serving Imperial Security must have a minimum of Wealth (Average) [0], Security Rank 0 [0], and Duty (12 or less or 15 or less, Extremely Hazardous) [-15 to -20]. and must take Legal Enforcement Powers (Imperial Security) [10]. Imperial Security Agents must have Legal Enforcement Powers (Special Imperial Security) [15] and Security Rank 4 [20] or higher.

Taking the whole of Imperial Security as one's enemy is too much.  A single Special Agent as an Enemy is worth -10 points by default (equivalent to a PC's power level, generally).  This is true as an Ally as well, which is more common than Patron.  For Patrons, see the Imperial Ministry.
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