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Old 04-04-2021, 07:15 AM   #21
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Which is no problem if you're a classic cultural-attache-hem-hem, but a problem if you're a junior trade official trying to get their superhero mask and utility belt into Latveria.
Even if you are a for-real intelligence officer running dangerous covert operations, what a player wants for the operation and what a professional civil servant in the Foreign Service can sign off on being authorized are going to be wildly different, diplomatic pouch or no.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:19 AM   #22
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
It might barely be any constraint at all if the proper use of the pouch aligns with the focus of play.
The only diplomatic pouch that was seen in play in the EU on Mars campaign was a large crate that came in from Brussels. The contents were petabytes of one-time pads, and the Ambassador's official supply of high-quality coffee beans.
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Old 04-04-2021, 02:28 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Maxed-out LI has always been attractive to players in my games, because they love having an official, sanctioned-by-the-GM-and-paid-in-points excuse to go around like they have a license to kill pretty much anybody who gets in the way. Thus, I'm very wary of permitting it unless the player asking for it is capable of some in-character discretion. So the answer is that yes, it has had its place in my campaigns, but never below the 15-point level, usually as a way to let would-be James Bonds laugh at Rank, Status, etc. as they pursue whatever mission they're pursuing.
In my opinion and experience, there is a not-so-rare case when LI working like a literal license to kill at the character's discretion entirely makes sense. A wizard, psi, xianxia cultivator, or super Person of Mass Destruction and Army of One that is so powerful they can crush armies with ease. They cannot bothered to obey the laws of puny humans, yet for whatever reason they don't want to overthrow Muggle governments and become the new ruler. The latter probably b/c they do not want to be burdened with the hassle of administration, and prefer to focus on adventuring, research, etc. Yet they find obeying the law far too inconvenient to do what they like to do.

A compromise to ease co-existence between the OP individual and society establishes the legal fiction they are sovereign nations. They don't own any actual territory, but they enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, and any place they choose to live is treated like an embassy. As a rule, Muggle authorities treat the character with the same respect due to a superpower or nuclear state.

In practice, the super agrees they shall not threaten the security of the world, and the human governments agree to look the other way about any crime they may do. The only feasible check, should such a super go rogue and do something like large-scale atrocities or environmental devastation, would be a posse of superpowered individuals that is strong enough to overwhelm them. However, those other high-powered wizards or supers, assuming they exist, cannot be bothered to intervene if their peer occasionally abuses some unlucky Muggle. Quite likely it is b/c they enjoy the same privileges and find it too convenient.

Last edited by Irioth; 04-04-2021 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 04-04-2021, 05:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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A compromise to ease co-existence between the OP individual and society establishes the legal fiction they are sovereign nations. They don't own any actual territory, but they enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, and any place they choose to live is treated like an embassy. As a rule, Muggle authorities treat the character with the same respect due to a superpower or nuclear state.

In practice, the super agrees they shall not threaten the security of the world, and the human governments agree to look the other way about any crime they may do. The only feasible check, should such a super go rogue and do something like large-scale atrocities or environmental devastation, would be a posse of superpowered individuals that is strong enough to overwhelm them. However, those other high-powered wizards or supers, assuming they exist, cannot be bothered to intervene if their peer occasionally abuses some unlucky Muggle. Quite likely it is b/c they enjoy the same privileges and find it too convenient.
In fact, that is almost exactly one of the settings I proposed in Chapter 8 of GURPS Supers, and I ran a campaign based on it where the PCs were a squad of supers not quite powerful enough to be sovereign as individuals, but able to survive a fight with a sovereign and versatile enough to get them under controlor offer a meaningful threat. Things like Clark Kent's apartment being legally the Kryptonian Embassy were part of the legal structure I envisioned.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:45 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

These posts from Legal Enforcement powers thread are probably relevant: once you start extended Legal enforcement powers and Legal Immunity the difference between them can get blurry.


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I like to use the permit perk, which is a form of legal enforcement powers, when building races which have formidable natural weapons and abilities that they get to take with them into "civilian" locations. I most often do this with aliens that have natural armor, but I've also applied it to Strength in settings where power armor and exoskeletons are common, and required it on some mages. I've also required mages to have have more expensive forms to represent that they get to me a walking, talking weapon.

Most of the time, its part of making powers and natural weaponry a lot cheaper: I require an accessory perk, the permit perk / legal enforcement powers, and occasionally payload, and you get to have powers equal to tech for 5 to 10 points.

When only using LEP as permission to always be armed, I offer the "De-facto" -40% limitation to represent that you don't really have a permit to be a wookie, people just can't really object to you being "armed".
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I don't know if I've ever used it "as intended", but I've come close. In campaigns where it would come up, instead it's a campaign feature and basically follows whatever rules I need it to as a GM. Outside of that, I've taken it a couple of times with Cosmic as a form of "I can ignore this specific, broad law and no one bats an eye"... but now that I say that aloud maybe Legal Immunity would be better?
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:08 PM   #26
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
These posts from Legal Enforcement powers thread are probably relevant: once you start extended Legal enforcement powers and Legal Immunity the difference between them can get blurry.
While there's probably truth in that, those cases seem more like having simply picked the wrong one.

It seems like there's a pretty plain divide between them though: Legal Enforcement Powers is built around an authority to make demands with the force of law (in particular demands to surrender to your arrest and demands to let you conduct searches, but I could see that being extended). If someone defies your authority it's not just you they're defying, it's the entire system that accords you your Powers. Legal Immunity doesn't give you any coercive power at all, it simply prevents regular laws from being enforced against you. If you have extreme Legal Immunity you might be able to kidnap someone or toss their house and get away with it, but your victim isn't obligated to cooperate.

However, the higher levels of Legal Enforcement Powers and of Legal Immunity do have much the same trend towards 'no rules govern your actions'.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:31 PM   #27
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Even if you are a for-real intelligence officer running dangerous covert operations, what a player wants for the operation and what a professional civil servant in the Foreign Service can sign off on being authorized are going to be wildly different, diplomatic pouch or no.
Well yes, I remember from one or two histories the diplomats often being annoyed at the spooks using their privileges to presumptuously.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:38 PM   #28
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

One cliche from cop shows is a villain with legal immunity. A diplomat's dependent or even a prince involved in some outrageous crime. Of course in real life that is usually for parking violations and if he behaves badly enough will be declared persona non grata (a fancy word for "tossed out on his ear").

https://allthetropes.org/wiki/Diplomatic_Impunity
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:28 PM   #29
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
One cliche from cop shows is a villain with legal immunity. A diplomat's dependent or even a prince involved in some outrageous crime. Of course in real life that is usually for parking violations and if he behaves badly enough will be declared persona non grata (a fancy word for "tossed out on his ear").

https://allthetropes.org/wiki/Diplomatic_Impunity
Yeah but there are three cases I know of off-hand where a diplomat did in fact get away with actual no fooling murder using their immunity. I'm particularly fond of the ambassador who murdered his wife and then burned her body in full view of the police and the press. The television cliche is supported by reality.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:22 PM   #30
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Legal Immunity

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Yeah but there are three cases I know of off-hand where a diplomat did in fact get away with actual no fooling murder using their immunity. I'm particularly fond of the ambassador who murdered his wife and then burned her body in full view of the police and the press. The television cliche is supported by reality.
Except what then happened is he was deported back to Burma, where he was officially to be put on trial. Then he utterly vanished. Which wasn't unusual for people who displeased the regime of Burma in the late 1960s, and isn't generally a sign of a good outcome.
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