The Judge is a mechanic that you could use a lot or a little. With his flexibility and strange ability to appear – as poet laureate Shakira once said, “whenever, wherever” – you can toss the judge into an encounter when combat has become a bit too boring, or your players attack in the same way every time.
When players roll initiative, they are suddenly joined on the battlefield by a mysterious, heavily-armored paladin known only as “The Judge.”
Of course, he doesn’t appear in a magical cloud or some sparkly flourish.
Instead, he comes stumbling out of nearby bushes, picking twigs from his armor, or, if players are in a dungeon, he comes crashing awkwardly through a stone wall Kool-Aid-Man-style.
Once he is on the battlefield, the Judge blows his whistle. The player with the lowest initiative must roll a d20 to determine the Judge’s rule for combat.
Possible rules can include things like “no ranged weapons”, “no conjuration”, or “no moving more than 10 feet at a time.”
If any creature breaks the rule, they are given a red card by the Judge and a fitting punishment.
For example, failure to follow the “no moving more than 10 feet at a time” rule transforms the guilty party’s legs into immobile tree trunks for the duration of the battle.
Of course, for additional strategy, the roll can also determine something that the judge wants to see, like “Use Items” or “Knock Targets Prone.”
Performing one of these actions, earns a non-stackable green card that works like a d4 bardic inspiration die.
What rules would you include in the Judge’s table? Let us know in the comments below.
This NPC was inspired by the Judges from Final Fantasy Tactics. For your purposes, The Judge can come from a lawful evil group of dimensional travelers. He is bored with his day-to-day of making judgements on court cases and instead decides to travel through time and space, trying to make the lives of others just a bit more difficult.
Voice type could be deep and gravelly, but very unsure of himself if asked too many questions.