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Montana's detention container
Amnesty Offer - needs both Anarchy & Behemoth installed

Issues with Law in-game

Law is all very well and good. For it to impact our gameplay it must be enforced.

In the Vanilla game there are fleets of Vipers and dockable space stations. These do the enforcing (attacking your ship, refusing docking rights etc).

If you start adding OXPs, these might affect the enforcement and the laws one is expected to obey. Smugglers & Weapon Laws start changing the laws. The Navy OXPs add more enforcement. Phkb's projected Anarchy overhaul would usher in less enforcement. Et cetera. There is a list of relevant links at the bottom.

Understanding the GCW Systems of Law

  • 1. For such a massive political body the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds possesses a remarkably simple and logical legal system. While a discussion of the full system falls outside the remit of this document, the following exerts cover the laws in relation to independent starship commanders. These extracts have been taken from the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds Police (GalCoP) public information document An Overview Of The Laws Governing The Galactic Cooperative of Worlds.17th Ed., Galactic Cooperative of Worlds Central Publishing, 2083800 and are used with their permission.
  • 2. {Culture Note: Since the most public face of the GCW is the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds Police (GalCoP), it has become common practice to refer to the GCW as the GalCop even though it is grammatically incorrect to do so.}
Synopsis of Legal System from your downloaded OoliteRS sheet

The Core Of GCW Space Laws

  • 3. When the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds was founded, one of the core constitutional concepts written is ‘that it would have only legal jurisdiction in the regions of space defined as interstellar territories.’ An edited version of this definition is listed in Table 1.
  • 4. The GCW’s responsibility is to defend, police, maintain and develop the interstellar regions of the GCW. Each member system is has a responsible matching set of requirements but only within their territorial domain. The GCW may provide assistance to the local government through its agencies, such as the Galactic Navy, GalCoP, OrbiSpace, etc.
  • 5. GCW registered beings and vessels are considered to be separate from the local laws. This concept was introduced to insure the neutrality and safety of both the ships and crews in the dynamic, and sometimes violent, social-political cultures that make up the GCW. On a more practical level, concept allows the free movement of goods and beings across the member systems without the interference of the local governments. While goods, passengers, or crew remain aboard the vessel, or conduct their activities in GCW controlled facilities such as the GCW stations, they will subject to only GCW laws. This insures the free trade vital to the health of the GCW, and prevents accidental contamination of local cultures by materials and beings from outside their society.
  • 6. A reminder to all GCW citizens. When leaving GCW controlled territories, you must adhere to all local cultural and legal requirements. Likewise before you allow non-GCW-registered beings aboard your vessel, that the individual have a current GCW access stamp on their permits/passports/ids. Failure to do so will make you subject to punishment by the local government to the full extent of their laws.
  • 7. {Table 1: Simplified definitions and applications of GCW territory concept.
  • The volume of space which outer limits is defined by outermost member systems in each Galactic Chart accessible to the technology of member cultures.
  • Each member systems’ territorial domain is defined by a sphere centred on their stellar bodies and the outer limit is set at one GCW standard light day beyond the outermost natural orbital body.
  • All witchspace points, wormholes, or other sub & super dimensional areas are under GCW management. While their approach and nexus points may occur in the local system’s territorial domain, the GCW will manage their access for the equity for all.
  • Only GCW laws apply within any station, base, faculties, anchorages or habitats (planetary or space-based) funded and operated by the GCW and its’ member organisations. Any attempt to apply local government laws to agencies, operations or individuals within the location are prohibited unless authorised by the senior-most GCW representative on duty.
  • Any vessel registered in the GCW Central Ships Registry and operated by a GCW licensed commander. All non-GCW citizen or agencies can not interfere with its lawful operation unless authorisation has been given by the appropriate GCW agencies or representatives.}

Understanding Your Legal Status

  • 8. All commanders start with a Clean legal status. Any criminal acts will result in demerits reducing their status to Offender. Additional demerits will demote the commanders standing to a Fugitive. Should the commander perform acts of services for the local governments or GCW, merits will be logged thereby improving their legal status. Commanders should realise that it takes many more merits to restore their status than the demerits to damaged it. A wise commander knows not to commit criminal acts, unless they want the attention of GalCoPs’ highly trained and heavily armed Vipers wings.
  • 9. The commanders’ legal status has a direct effect on their ability to act within the member systems of the GCW.
1 Clean
  • 10. They are free travel to all system and full access to all GCW stations. They will receive full protection from GalCoP Vipers and local government craft.
2 Offender
  • 11. The commander is free travel and access all GCW stations. They will receive only limited protection by GalCoP Vipers. The commander may be targeted or protected by local government craft dependant on the planets’ political system. The GCW will list a small bounty against the vessel’s id, which opportunist commanders may attempt to collect.
3 Fugitive
  • 12. The commander will barred from docking with GCW stations and can only access other types of anchorages in more politically unstable systems. They will be actively targeted by GalCoP Vipers and local government ships. The GCW will list a large bounty against the vessels’ id, which will result in persecution by both bounty hunters and independent commanders.
  • 13. {GAME NOTE: Officially, a commander can only be legal clean, with any criminal act dropping their standing. In reality, should the commander build enough credit with the GalCoPs by earning a large number of service merits, they may be able to avoid a response from the GalCoP network for minor infractions of the law.}

Crimes Against The GCW

  • 14. The following actions are classed as crimes in the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds and its’ member states. Any commander found committing will receive demerits which will result in a downgrade of their legal status.
1 Trafficking
  • 15. The most common legal issue for a starship commander is dealing with Prohibited Commodities. Due to the vast variations of social and political structures that make up the GCW, every commodity sold on the Commodity Market is prohibited by at-least one member state. It is recommended that commanders exclusively trade commodities on the Commodities Markets operating on the GCW stations to avoid falling foul of such laws.
  • 16. Some commodities are almost universally classified as prohibited due to the social or political impact they have when distributed a local system. The universally prohibited commodities are Slaves, Narcotics and Firearms. While the production and purchase of these commodities may be legal in many systems, the unrestricted movement of goods in the GCW make it impossible to prevent the sale of these goods to worlds where it is illegal. To discourage commanders from trading in these problematic goods, the GCW has adopted the following practice. It will allow a vessel to carry and enter GCW controlled stations with these prohibited commodities, with the understanding that the goods are removed from the vessel before station exit. Should a vessel exit the station with any quantity of the prohibited commodities on board, the commander will be charged with crime of Trafficking and receive demerits against their legal status.
2 Vandalism & Property Destruction
  • 17. Damage done to property belonging to the local population or GCW, is classed as a universal crime among all the member races/cultures of the GCW. Such acts will result in Vandalism demerits being logged against a commanders’ legal status. Should the acts result in Property Destruction, demerits of much larger value will be logged, with Murder demerits also being applied where appropriate. Property is classified as follows:
  • Stations, asteroid bases, other habitats and anchorages.
  • Beacons and satellites.
  • Other objects or locations whether manufactured or natural deemed of cultural importance. (See the GCW Central Database – search term Cultural Artefacts for more information.)
3 Piracy
  • 18. Piracy is the act of attacking craft with the goal of stealing their cargo. When an act of piracy is committed, it is weighed against the degree of violence perpetrated. Should the victim release their cargo and be allowed to go free, then the pirate is charged under the crime of Violence Against Others. Should the pirate destroy the vessel or crew in the process of obtaining the cargo, they will be charged with the crime of Murder.
4 Violence Against Others
  • 19. Attacking other vessels without due provocation is a criminal offence. Demerits will be applied regardless of the commanders’ actual intentions. An accidental hit against an innocent target will be treated the same as a deliberate attack. Should the target be legally classed as an Offender or Fugitive, these demerits may be waved. (See Termination Of Criminals.)
5 Murder
  • 20. Murder is legally defined as the killing of law-abiding individuals through the destruction of their vessels. Regardless if the action as deliberate or accidental, the same demerit value is applied against the perpetrators’ legal status. This act is considered the worst of all crimes and result in the largest demerits available. Should the target be legally classed as an Offender or Fugitive, these demerits may be waved. (See Termination Of Criminals.)

Actions On The Behalf Of The GCW

  • 21. Both the GCW and local governments will recognise the acts of commander that are a benefit to community as a whole. These services earn merits which can will improve the commanders’ legal status.
1 Space Lane Hazard Clearance
  • 22. The GCW relies on having clear space lanes for the smooth operation of the transport networks. A commander can aid this with the destruction of navigation hazards in the space lanes. They will reward commanders with both in merits for their legal status and a credit deposit in their bank account. Hazards include ship wreckage, free-space cargo and asteroidal materials. (This excludes asteroid anchorages like rock hermitages, the destruction of which is a crime.)
2 Termination Of Criminals
  • 23. In an effort to improve the safety of the space lanes, the GCW funds a bounty system to encourage individuals to police the space ways. Should a commander chose to follow such a course, they must exercise due care to clearly identify their target as a criminal or else run the risk of themselves being charged with the crimes of Violence Against Others or Murder. When a commander destroy or capture an Offender or Fugitive rated ship, the will receive a bounty payment to their bank account and merits logged on their legal status.
3 Defence Of GCW And Their Member States
  • 24. The GCW is currently in a state of war with the Thargoid culture across multiple fronts. While the majority of their Invasion Fleet is fighting the Galactic Navy in interstellar space, individual Warships will raid member worlds. Destruction of these vessels by commanders will result in merits and a financial reward.
  • 25. {GAME NOTES: The Galactic Navy will pay a reward for the capture of any Thargoid technology. Search through the post battle wreckage for anything retrievable with a Fuel Scoop.}
  • 26. {GAME TIPS: The game allows two quick and dirty ways of resetting your legal status to clean. Firstly, due to a glitch in the GalCoP computer net’ your criminal status is tied to your ship ID. If you use an Escape Capsule, your ship is classed as being destroyed and a new legal status is assigned to you with the new ship. Secondly, due to limitations of communications networks between the Galactic Charts, it is uneconomic to transfer data about the legal status of starship commanders between them. Any commander using a Galactic Hyperdrive to enter a new Galactic Chart will find their legal status reset to clean.}

Author’s notes

This is a single chapter of the Oolite Manual, so some details in this document will be covered in other chapters. Paragraph number have been added to simplify fact checking for this provisional version. Text in braces will be tables and breakout box for the final version. Any graphics will be found in separate documents included in the zip file.

Editor's notes

This was written by KZ9999 back in 2009. It is by no means canon, but is put up here to stimulate the imaginative juices!
KZ9999 expanded upon Darkbee's original RS Reference sheet (which comes with the Oolite Game Download) and also had a stab at writing a Game Manual of which this would have been a chapter.
KZ9999 also put a nutshell synopsis of this in the Oolite Reference Sheets which came with your game download (search for OoliteRS - stashed away in the entrails of your computer - or File:OoliteRS


Docking protocol & Orbit Space Regulations

In Classic Elite's Manual we find:

Docking protocol, and Orbit Space Regulations, are numerous, and are available in the GC Orbit and System Space Code, published by Federation Planet Bureau
(The Space Traders Flight Training Manual p22)

Reprobate Act

Added by the Refugee Adder OXP which adds leaky home-made ships of refugees fleeing oppression.

The Reprobate Act was passed to deal with the growing numbers of Refugee Adders, which were then used as disguise by slave traders: the Act orders GalCop cops to decommission Refugee Adders to help stop the slave trade.


The Galactic Supreme Court

Added by The Assassins Guild OXP

Trials of some of the most notorious criminals in the eight galaxies have taken place in this august court house. Situated in the Galaxy 7 system of Estiri, security is provided by a special division of the Galactic Navy. A well armed Navy Base orbits Estiri’s ocean covered moon, Nemean and Navy Class Asps can be seen upon patrol in the space lanes.

Vulnerable witnesses are housed aboard the armed Military Station, before being transported to the Court aboard heavily armed Navy Frigates or Cruisers. The Navy Base is normally open to civilian traffic, but at times of heightened security the base is placed in “lock-down” mode. During a lock-down an exclusion zone is placed around the base. Ships entering the zone without the correct clearance codes are fired upon without warning.


The Edorte ice prison is the end station for some of the meanest criminals in the galaxy (added by Famous Planets).

Historical Context

Added by The Assassins Guild OXP

Between 2997 and 3007, the GalCop government chose to respond to almost every social ill by enacting criminal legislation. Over this ten year period 23,000 new criminal laws were passed and over 1,000 new offences were created. This trend continued for almost 50 years and by 3053 doing absolutely anything at all was a criminal offence. The prisons were overflowing. Things then changed.


  • Safe Docking - laws for docking and fines for transgressions by Phantorgorth
  • New Cargoes - inter alia, introduces permits for illegal goods
  • Smugglers - The Galactic Underworld by Phkb: different systems ban different commodities. Black markets, secret compartments etc.
  • Bounty System - criminal records are now visible at GalCop Security Offices or through on-board warrant scanners. Bounties no longer degrade over time.
  • Anarchies OXP - makes fugitive status more enduring, but also offers more escapes from it (Amnesties, tampering with records etc).
  • Diplomancy OXP - taxes! wars! citizenship! the need for Visas etc. by Commander Day
  • Weapon Laws OXP - restricts sales of weapons in the safer systems (eg - you can only buy Military Lasers in the more dangerous Multi-Governments, Feudal States or Anarchies).
  • Illegal Goods Tweak OXP - you are now interrogated on arrival at a GalCop station with slaves etc in your cargo

Your bounty status

  • BountyStatus OXP - shows your bounty status on your F5F5 screen: an early oxp (2011)
  • Bounty System - as above (view and pay off your bounty)
  • Useful MFDs - shows your bounty status (with other information) on an MFD
  • Life in the Frontier - visit the GaCop precinct in the station and see your bounty status - and pay it off if you so wish

Police & Navies

Police forces are paid for by GalCop, usually with extra funding from the system's government. Anarchies don't have one, so no money, lots of pirates and a beleagured local police force. Corporate States at the other end of the spectrum stump up loads of extra dosh for more and better police ships. If you add in Commies and Dictators then they will provide their own police forces too. Both Navy OXPs are currently (2021) broken (can you fix either of them?).

  • Galactic Navy exists throughout the 8 galaxies and can impose law with an iron fist. At the moment (2021) it is seen only with Behemoth & Anarchies, the naval stations are missing, as are the flotillas... This can be easily fixed if you have the skills.
  • HIMSN is much more modest, the Navy of Her Imperial Majesty of Lave, and is the navy of the Vanilla game missions. Unfinished (alpha).

Needless to say, in terms of the thorny issue of enforcement mentioned at the top of this page, the existence of a navy - and the type of navy it is - has major ramifications. With no navy/a weak navy GalCop has much more difficulty imposing its laws on the systems in the eight galaxies as well as on you, the player.

You will find that a number of the OXPs are built around the assumption of a muscular GalCop, whilst others presuppose an enfeebled GalCop. In many cases, you can fudge the difference.


The Dark Side