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primarchvulken
01-11-2008, 03:01
what are they? what do they do? any information is welcome

Sikkukkut
01-11-2008, 03:31
Someone will probably show up shortly with a slab of quotes from a Codex and/or a Lexicanium link, but until then here's the nutshell version.

The Arbites are the enforcers of the Lex Imperia, the supreme Imperial law that governs the functioning of the Adeptus and the proper duties and responsibilities of Imperial citizens to rightful Emperor-instituted authority. They are not regular police who perform day-to-day cop work for the planetary governor. Their concern is with crimes that strike against the Imperium as an institution, crimes like incompetence by Adeptus officials, disobedience, subversion, treachery, non-payment of tithes and so on. They are empowered to arrest and/or summarily execute anyone up to planetary governors or Imperial military commanders (and in the case of governors, at least, to then step in and carry out that office until a replacement is appointed). Rather than a police force, think of them as a combination of the FBI - high-level law enforcement with a jurisdiction that overarches regular police - and the KGB or the Stasi, a political force charged with rooting out threats to the smooth operation of the State.

As a note to the above, while the Arbites are usually concerned with a fairly high calibre of lawbreaking, I think it would be possible to see them doing much more "mundane" work on certain occasions. There's an insane quantity of Imperial law and precedent, such that legal cases can take literally more than a lifetime to be considered, and a Precinct commander who wants to get their forces involved in something will certainly be able to find some interpretation of something in there which will let them.

This next is slightly more my own personal interpretation, but I think it stands up to the core background pretty well. Because the Arbites' remit is to do with the Adeptus and the functioning of the institutions of the Imperium, sometimes their priorities might look a little odd. A powerful planetary aristocrat murdered along with their family? Men, let whatever cops the planetary governor has set up deal with it, unless there are hints of the wrong sort of foul play. A queue brawl outside an Administratum petitioning house results in some junior assistant scroll-filer getting accidentally dinged with a thrown rock as he's coming off-shift? Full purge of the neighbourhood and a healthy round of very public executions for whoever was even peripherally involved.

There are examples of Arbites getting involved as general peacekeepers and suppressors of riots and unrest, but only when it reaches a point where it's a substantial threat to order and stability and planetary authorities are evidently unable to cope. And if you thought being a rioter who's just been clubbed down with a shock-maul was bad, wait until you see what happens to the poor bastard in the Governor's cop shop when he gets hauled into the Arbites' precinct fortress to explain exactly why he let matters get so out of hand...

Condottiere
01-11-2008, 06:29
Read Judge Dredd, which is what they were based on.

Raellos
01-11-2008, 09:12
Pretty much a well armed and powerful policing force. Planetary Arbites have the power to take over government for a time.

They are also a great excuse for some kickarse Judge Dredd action, and for players to shout "I am the Law!" when the Arbites kill somebody.

Allen
01-11-2008, 09:50
Think at the Arbites as the tool the Imperium use to directly influence each planet political life. They are a "police" force with the task to monitor and mantain the loyalty of the planetarian organizations.Of course being an instrument of a repressive, paranoid millennia-old tiranny they're not exactly the friendly local police force you can think of.

That's the main task of the Adeptus Arbites as a paramilitary force. On a more mundane side, however, the Arbites (or Judges) are appointed to the "normal" routine of a police force in a galaxy-spanning tiranny: investigating normal crimes, repressing cults and separatist groups, imprisoning and/or killing honest citizens just to "give the example", using torture during interrogations and so on.
The official rules of Arbites Warband for "Necromunda" show us that the Judges work as a (roughly) civilian police force, and does not only follow the grand agenda of mantaining loyalty on a planetarian level.

Leftenant Gashrog
01-11-2008, 15:13
The official rules of Arbites Warband for "Necromunda" show us that the Judges work as a (roughly) civilian police force, and does not only follow the grand agenda of mantaining loyalty on a planetarian level.

Untrue, for starters there is no Arbites Warband for Necromunda, there is the Enforcer Warband: http://www.specialist-games.com/assets/nec_enfor.pdf
which states that:

"However, while the Adeptus Arbites are responsible for ensuring that Imperial Decrees are obeyed across the galaxy, the role of everyday control and policing usually falls to local security forces, working under the orders of the Imperial Commander and his staff. Such is the case on Necromunda, where policing is carried out by Necromunda Enforcers."

Shadow Marine
01-11-2008, 15:24
Also read execution hour and the there is an Arbites triology which provide some good background on arbites.

People have already given good answers so I won't repeat them.

VanHel
03-11-2008, 01:27
I like to think of them as Judge Dredd but with better weapons.

tez
03-11-2008, 08:33
basically from what i know the enforcers are the cops and the arbites are the FBI

taffeh
04-11-2008, 11:43
I loved the old citadel journals with the Arabites mini-dex (i think this is where it was publish!) in there back in the 90s. I put together a nice 500pt force of them - was really fun to play.

Sikkukkut
04-11-2008, 12:39
There's also a few people around the 'net working on Arbites lists as well, most recently the Bell of Lost Souls (too tired and lazy to chase a link, will post one later).

SpinyNorman
04-11-2008, 12:51
I've always seen the Arbites as the civilian analogue of the Commissariat.

Both are designed to be above local entanglements and outside the power structure so they can maintain oversight on their respective charges.

taffeh
04-11-2008, 13:10
There's also a few people around the 'net working on Arbites lists as well, most recently the Bell of Lost Souls (too tired and lazy to chase a link, will post one later).



Yea I did see this, braught back the memories of old - seemed quite interesting!

I guess SoB / WH really replace the Arabites as a force in game though with the benifit of powerarmour over carapace.