At a Glance

Chill, Chill Companion: [p# by color]

St. Michael
The Patron Saint of Police Officers

, p.

The Chill Companion states, "...a police officer has the Privilege Edge because he has the abilities to make arrests and carry a gun." The Companion also refers to these as "two advantages," meaning Law Enforcement Officers obviously need to spend at least two points (2 CIP) on Privilege.

Related "advantages" -- such as restraining perps with handcuffs, carrying tasers, whatever -- can be assumed to be covered by the previously mentioned Privileges.

The cost of these Privileges (2 CIP) should be factored into the cost of the template (p. 62).


Law - p. 43

Professions (Companion)
Law Enforcement Officer - p. 60
Lawyer - p. 60
Bounty Hunter - p. 54
Secretary - p. 54

Chain of Command
Chief of Police

Other Professions (Companion)
Accountant - p. 52
[Sketch] Artist - p. 53
Clergy - p. 54
Computer Programmer - p. 55
Mystic [Psychic] - p. 62
Photographer - p. 62
Psychiatrist - p. 64
Reporter - p. 64
Social Worker/Psychologist - p. 66
Street Punk - p. 66

'80s Action - p. 25
Gritty - p. 29

Police, the Law, and the Department

With all the snooping around and dead bodies in your average Chill adventure (much less campaign), encounters with authorities are inevitable at some point. Even if the PCs themselves are not directly responsible for, or involved in, a crime, it is reasonable to assume they will be stopped or questioned by authorities at some point. Even if this never happens, they are certain to know or somehow become involved with a law enforcement agent of some type throughout the course of play. This information is also great for PCs with any profession in the legal field.

PCs outside of the department generally should not encounter law enforcement agents, nor should they be forced to roleplay the rigors of a traffic stop or judicial trial -- it's just not the type of thing one generally finds in a tabletop RPG featuring the Unknown -- although it may be a good fit for some sub-genres, such as the "Occult Detective." Also, because there simply will be times when situations and character types such as these must be faced, having an underlying system already in-place ensures continuity and eases play. But unless your party contains an active PD employee, specifically in a law enforcement role, do not force them into the reality of the game just for "realism." All of these things are merely props for the underlying game.

Law Enforcement as PCs

Cops see and hear a lot of strange things -- a lot -- and though most of those things are all-too natural in origin, police officers are often cited as reliable eyewitnesses in many paranormal reports.  Getting involved in S.A.V.E., or paranormal investigation in general, is a very natural progression for some police officers.  But cops also have a strong tie to the force and one another, and even those who do not believe in the Supernatural will support those who do.

The Sidebar lists professions found in every police department, as well as tangential professions that might be found in and around the department and area of town in which the department is located. Chain of Command is grossly oversimplified for play, but can be extended and modified for personal use. Likewise, there are several precincts in, and surrounding, Vincent, but these can largely be determined by individual CMs. For simplicity's sake, we assume Vincent is a city-state, meaning it is also its own "county," so all arrests in and around it will be handled at the Vincent Courthouse.

There are great differences in police departments' structure, depending on the location, needs of the community, and similar factors which change over time. Also, unless the campaign literally revolves around -- i.e., is based out of -- the police department, most troupes will never need that specific information, and there is so much of it that it would be counterproductive to play. Players wanting a fully-functional PD would do better creating it themselves, as only they know the level of detail and attention it deserves.

Again, if it seems that I have oversimplified these, or any other, systems, add as much detail as you feel necessary to your campaign, but be careful not to bog-down the troupe or game with needless details, rules, NPC, and encounters. All of this -- the legal system, legalities, NPC, and the like -- are merely props to assist you in running your game.

The chain of command varies by county and city, but the following pared-down structure is suitable for Vincent, and most other cities, as well. Even if your campaign is set in a real city, the city is still a fictionalized recreation and RPG requires abstracts.

Chain of Command

There are several precincts in Vincent and there is a dearth of communication between them, for the most part. Entire campaigns can usually be run through a single precinct, especially if the legal and penal systems are almost solely background concerns. Competition and tensions between precincts can provide political intrigue and complicate missions.

Beyond this level, there are agencies such as the Homeland Security, FBI, and more. The pecking-order is specific, jurisdictionally: Federal trumps state, trumps local; but questionable, legally, as states' rights are a continual issue in Vincent, as in many places. Large-scale conspiracy campaigns may involve one or more of these agencies, but unless this is your campaign, the existence and operation of these branches can probably be ignored.

The Chief of Police oversees all precincts' budgetary concerns and works as a political liaison between them, as well as a representative for Vincent police, in general. Each precinct has a Lieutenant in charge of day-to-day operations of his police force. Beneath him, Sergeants head the various divisions.  Several more operate in administrative roles. While Sergeants occasionally work the field, it is usually to oversee an ongoing operation -- such as a sting or raid.

Detectives work in teams and form the upper-echelon of the street-level police force. Beneath them are the officers (T), the working "cops on the beat," and below them, the rookies (S). Rookies do serve actively, though they must serve as a team, and there are at least as many rookie/rookie teams as those comprising a rookie and officer.

There are a number of departments within any PD that handle specific types of crimes. Depending on the area and its needs, there may be a Vice Division to handle all vice-related crimes, or a separate Narcotics Division. Other Divisons include Gang-Related, Labor Relations, Traffic Division, and many more. The police department also includes personnel for food services/cafeteria, secretarial pools, budget, operations, jailing, training, and more. The size, area, and needs of the PD and citizenry dictate the divisions and personnel. Do not be afraid to alter things solely for gaming purposes.

Other Professions

There are a number of tangentially-related professions to be found in and around police stations, and working with the force. Law Enforcement Officers may not know one of these professionals directly, but it isn't hard to find one. CMs will find it easy to incorporate PCs from these professions into their police department adventures.

Design Notes

The police department's original purpose was to work as both a "drop-in" play accessory and template for your own designs. However, once I began, I saw little use for most of the details surrounding such a structure and organization; much of it is semantic and superfluous to actual play.

Instead, I put together the most crucial elements of a citywide legal and penal system, working from the core books (Chill and Chill Companion), as well as the extended line, and other (non-gaming) resources. Hopefully one day, I will get around to creating a full bibliography for this section.

The long-running popularity of the crime procedural, a closely-related genre in and of itself, was also an inspiration. Though 2nd-Ed modernized it, S.A.V.E. and many of the Creatures are heavily influenced by noir and pulp fiction, including the classic "Feature Creature" monster movies of the 1940s and '50s. Police and law enforcement were major players in these sagas, and though times have changed, there is no reason they can't work "behind-the-scenes," at least once in a while. I have detailed some key NPCs who are great Contacts and Information Sources. These characters will sometimes "drop" a possibly Unknown-related case to S.A.V.E. members, and may show-up just in the nick of time to cart-away any bad guys and say things like, "I don't know what I just saw, Mister, so I don't guess I saw nothin'. Now get out of here."
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