Vigilante Justice

The PCs are rogue crimefighters - not merely maverick lawmen. They might be in cahoots with the police, tolerated by them, or actively hunted by criminal and cop alike. If the vigilantes are wanted by the authorities, then a secret identity is a must.

Suitable characters and martial-arts styles depend on the campaign's location, time period, and realism level. In a realistic, modern-day game, guns are more useful than martial arts. In cinematic settings, though, vigilantes tend to be as good with their fists as they are with firearms, and use Jeet Kune Do (pp. 164-165), Taijutsu (pp. 202-203), etc., to defeat crooks. Templates such as Crimefighter (pp. 32-34), Assassin (pp. 31-32), and Spy (p. 38) suit fictional heroes well. While implausible in real life, even Movie Star (pp. 3638) or Stuntman (p. 40) could work, for a vigilante with a secret identity.

Without investigation or some other form of activity, this kind of campaign quickly degenerates into a series of fights against the Bad Guy of the Week. To keep the game fresh, the GM might want to combine this theme with another. The Quest (p. 247) works well if the heroes are hunting a long-term foe or criminal mastermind, while stepping too far over the line can lead to a Wanted! (see right) campaign.

This theme is extremely popular in martial-arts fiction. The Green Hornet television series is a perfect example, with secretly police-sanctioned vigilantes and a nod and wink to reality. Kung Fu features a Shaolin monk wandering the

American West, dispensing fortune-cookie wisdom and hard kicks to bad guys. Other sources include Yojimbo, with a feudal Japanese ronin playing both sides of a conflict to further his personal sense of justice, and most Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies. In fact, all of Lee's movies except Enter the Dragon feature him as a private citizen bent on justice - in that movie, he's a sanctioned agent!

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