We’re taking a look at the judges and gangs of Mega-City One; soon to enter into perpetual urban warfare in the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game.
Mega-City One is a sprawling megalopolis, its inhabitants beset by unemployment, boredom and crime, all whilst under the authoritarian watch of the Justice Department. Mega-City One is home to the wild, the weird and the dangerous.
With unemployment and boredom rife in Mega-City One, many citizens, especially juves, join gangs. Many gangs identify with and recruit solely from a single block, whilst others pull in members from all across the city, attracted to the gang’s philosophy, colours, or charismatic leader.
Many gangs will simply protect their own territory and try to take control of the local ‘black economy’ of illegal drugs and other banned substances such as tobacco, sugar, Umpty Candy and 20th-century comic books. Other gangs identify with causes or crazes, including the many anti-robot and anti-mutant outfits such as the ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Purity First’ or anti-Judge and pro-democracy terrorism like the ‘Total War’ group. Others go on to specialise in organised crime such as body-sharking, organ-legging, alien- and perp-running. The ranks of the many Mega-City One gangs are made up of juves, punks, and lieutenants amongst others. Starting as early as the tender age of six years old, the majority of juves carry melee weapons although some may have low-grade firearms.
Low-level gang members, punks are the foot soldiers of the organisation, acting as extra muscle when necessary. Gang lieutenants coordinate the day-to-day activities of the gang and are usually permitted to organise heists and run their own rackets as long as they bring in the creds and continue to show respect and fealty to the boss.
To the average Mega-City One inhabitant, the most obvious symbol of the power and authority of the Justice Department is the Street Judge. These formidable individuals are responsible for the strict enforcement of the law on the dangerous streets of the ‘Big Meg’, where they act as judge, jury and executioner.
Crimes ranging from littering to first-degree murder fall within their remit and the punishments of a perpetrator can vary from a stern word of admonition, a crack on the head with a daystick, to imprisonment in an isolation cube or, in the most serious cases, a Lawgiver execution round.
Becoming a Judge is a lifelong undertaking and many individuals falter on the arduous path. Some end up on the streets disenchanted and bitter at what might have been whilst for many Street Judges Resyk will be their final destination.
For millions of Mega-City One’s citizens, there can be no greater symbol of the law than Judge Joe Dredd, not even the Statue of Judgement itself. The mere mention of his name is enough to give even the most hardened criminals pause.
Dredd has been appointed a temporary member of the Council of Five on several occasions. However, he is only truly content when patrolling the streets dispensing the law directly and his well-known dislike of bureaucracy keeps him well away from the Hall of Justice.
If it is true that a man can be measured by the quality of his enemies then Dredd will take some beating. Over the years, he has clashed with mad Chief Judges, transdimensional denizens of Deadworld, super agents of the Sov Bloc, necromancers and powerful mutant pre-cogs. Yet it’s probably safe to say that from Dredd’s perspective bringing one of these individuals to justice is no more important than the prosecution of a citizen for littering or a juve for spraying graffiti on a wall. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law!