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More To Watch

Written by Scott - Published on January 17, 2010

Many Faces

Within any town or city you will more than likely find a watch or guard of some description. Adventurers tend to interact with these guardsmen on numerous occasions. Whether its running afoul of the law or seeking assistance or guidance from these law enforcers, the members of the city watch have a tendency to become very similar and almost in each town or city. Below are a couple of different characters for you to use in your campaign, as well as how they would differ between small towns and grand cities.

The Old Sword

Kaan is a burly and grizzled man of middle age, his greying beard and armour hides a series of scars earned from his days of adventuring during his younger years, which are now long past. He settled down when he met his wife serving in a tavern seventeen years ago. He loves his wife and two daughters with all his mighty and grizzled heart and as commander of the watch works tirelessly to protect them from the type of evils that killed his family when he was a teen. With years of knowledge and untold experience Kaan was quickly promoted through the ranks of the watch after he joined, following his marriage. He is now the commander and zealously works to ensure the safety of his family, watchmen and denizens of his town.

Within a city, Kaan’s experience and past lifestyle see him commanding the watch within some of the highest crime riddled areas. Coupled with the large amount of people under his command, Kaan is often stressed and overworked. His driving desire to protect everyone in his area from harm often portrays him as short tempered and unhelpful towards adventurers and their ilk, but it very quickly becomes obvious that the old burly adventurer is more concerned with stopping criminals and sinister monsters, than hampering the efforts of adventurers. Saving members of his watch from danger and stopping evil plots and organizations from achieving their nefarious goals will quickly improve Kaan’s attitude towards adventurers, especially young fighters that he will relate to and mentor. Primarily commanding from behind his desk, Kaan has little use of his old adventuring gear and honourable fighters who earn his respect will be rewarded. A magically sharpened and never dulling sword and a helmet that inspires courage and strong will, strengthening a hero’s resolve against sinister effects. Any adventurers that show immoral attitudes or little care for the safety of others receive little help from Kaan or his watch and actions taken against Kaan’s advice will only infuriate the commander. Kaan is not above escorting these types of adventurers from the city or evening arresting them if he feels their actions will cause more harm than good.

Life within a small town suits Kaan quite well. His demeanour is generally friendly and he maintains a healthy relationship with all law-abiding citizens and adventurers. Kaan will often take it upon himself to scare or teach rebellious youths away from a life of crime, when they play up or pinch items from the markets. His inherent desire to protect the town and its people as well as the members of the watch he commands is extremely strong, which in turn sees Kaan dealing with dangerous problems by himself when he can. The people of the town hold the old adventurer in high regard and will do anything to help him and his family. Anytime adventurers enter the town, Kaan will openly greet them and do what he can to help. Within the frontier wilds, where monsters raid farms and harm people, Kaan is accepting of adventurers of all walks of life, while generally favouring warriors and fighters a little more than others. However any action adventurers take that may cause harm to the town and its people, will change the commander’s attitude immediately from helpful to inhospitable. A commanding role on the frontier sees Kaan utilise his old adventuring equipment often and his combat skills remain intimidating. Any that save the town or help it greatly will often receive rewards from the commander personally as a sign of appreciation, while these gifts are not always of great worth, the gear from the local blacksmith and markets is always of the highest quality.

Takes One To Know One

Tilith is a young woman, raised by the streets and a former thief. The brutal murder of a witness to one of the jobs she had committed shocked her out of her life of crime. Tilith spent a lot of time making amends for her past and eventually joined the watch in a final effort to right her past wrongs. Her many skills from her life as a thief grant her abilities that are unique compared to the rest of the watch. Considered attractive by most, the young blonde haired woman has an attitude and reputation that tends to intimidate most men.

Tilith tends to play a vital role within the city guard. Her former life sees her infiltrating groups and tracking thieves and assassins. This type of undercover work is highly dangerous, especially when her cover is blown. Because of this, Tilith will attack adventurers if need be, but will never kill. When safe, she will make contact with her superiors and inform them of the injured adventurers and her role within the attack. If pressed, Tilith will break her cover and turn on her current targets to prevent the death of an adventurer or civilian, as she detests all forms of unnecessary death and is always disgusted even when death is the only option. Adventurers who work with or near Tilith who kill relentlessly will receive baleful looks and eventually become paralysed by a unique poison she carries with her. Tilith often works along side adventurers in the field that have been employed by the watch or been granted approval to achieve their goals. She reveres the purity of clerics and paladins often inquiring into their gods and beliefs, while unlawful characters are kept at a distance and never spoken to, warlocks especially. There is no one else that knows the streets and dark alleys better than Tilith, as such any group that earns her trust and respect is shown the best places to purchase the rare and sometimes illegal goods.

Within small towns, Tilith is somewhat of an exile. Her unique abilities and knowledge are rarely needed and her past tends to be a hot topic of gossip and rumour amongst the townsfolk. Tilith fled to the small township to escape her past and previous crimes. She was accepted into the watch begrudgingly, as her talents were too useful to pass up. Battling encroaching monsters is always left to the more able watchmen but on the occasions bandits occupy the surrounds of the town, Tilith is relied upon heavily to apprehend the culprits, a task that she has never failed at. Unexpected adventurers are often visited unknowingly by Tilith to search their belongings for information and inform the watch of the adventurer’s true intentions. Tilith will regularly approach rogues and other shadier adventurers as long as their intentions are good. She finds these people to be kindred spirits within a town that always keeps her at an arms length. If Tilith trusts the adventurers she will pass on valuable and accurate knowledge to the adventurers, as she has a very potent knack at discerning rumours from truth.

There Is Always One

Casil is the rookie of the watch, a young man who is excitable and nervous at the same time. His abilities in both battle and investigation are impressive but his age still tends to hamper his position within the ranks of the watch. Casil’s father and grandfather were both members of the watch and he spent his entire childhood dreaming of the day when he would join their ranks and make his family proud. This desire coupled with a tenacious attitude saw Casil trained from a very young age by both his father and grandfather for the city watch.

Joining the watch on his sixteenth birthday, Casil passed through training at a record speed. He now patrols the streets of the city, scouting for pickpockets and illegal activities. On several occasions Casil has been reprimanded for confronting large groups of lawbreakers on his own, and while he has yet to be injured, his eagerness to act over waiting has often let several key criminals escape. The young watchmen is overly suspicious of most people, believing that everyone has broken the law at some point and will do it again. But he is especially suspicious of adventurers often following them until they act in any sort of untoward manner, where he immediately arrests them. When arresting adventurers, Casil plays everything by the book and is usually placid while making the arrests. Any that resist will be forced to fight the young man, whose swordsmanship is rarely matched. If peaceful during the process and cleared of any major wrong doing, adventurers are released and soon approached again by Casil, following another lecturer from his commander. Upon the second meeting Casil is often over eager to learn of the adventurers ordeals and is mesmerised by wizards and other arcane users. If Casil believes the adventurers to be true heroes he will dispense watch passes amongst the party. These small slips of parchment will grant access anywhere except for royal buildings.

Within a small town, Casiool is highly excitable and often voices his desire for a major event to occur. His reports on tavern brawls and minor thefts often turn into regaling stories of foul deeds and heroic actions, that never fail to keep his commander entertained. His masterful swordsmanship is called upon during goblin and monster incursions. Even though his years of training and raw ability make him the watch’s best fighter, his age keeps him from the front lines and out of any real danger. Adventurers that enter the town are confronted with Casil’s zeal as soon as they settle in to their accommodation. He often makes an almost comical attempt to assert his power and the law upon them to make sure they stay in line. Adventurers who belittle the eager watchman are never helped by the rest of the townsfolk, who truly adore Casil. Whilst adventurers who accept the boy for what he is and respect his position are welcomed within the town and helped by the townsfolk immensely. Any adventurer who is willing share heroic stories are quickly Casil’s close friends, especially bards and warriors.

Does your party work with or against the wishes of the city guard? What is your most memorable moment involving the watch? What are some of the unique watchmen you have encountered? Tell us in the comments section!

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Written by Scott

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11 Responses to “More To Watch”
  1. Will F says:

    Great article Scott,

    This will save me some time and effort next time my party runs afoul of some local law.

    Would love to see a follow up article detailing some corrupt and evil Watch members.

  2. person says:

    I just can’t wait to send a party against a group of these three character types. Being part of said party wouldn’t be so bad either.

  3. person says:

    sorry about the double post
    @Will:
    that would be awesome, that and an article made only of houserules for fights of EPIC (this means continents go boom!) proportions, but that’s an entirely different discussion

  4. Kolbold Minion says:

    My favorite watch moment occured when the players were invited to the royal ball. My wizard, secretly a worshipper of the demon lord of mischeif (think Loki) got a task to read one of Loki’s scrolls in the center of the ballroom. He did, to hilarious results. The clothes of everone within 100 feet disappeared, including the wizard’s. In addition the wizard had a few embarassing… effects placed on him by Loki. Needless to say, quite a memorable chase seen followed as the wizard attempted to avade the scantily clad royal guard, the fighter and ranger on the floor laughing,

  5. Scott says:

    @ Will, Glad you found the article useful. I plan on writing an ‘Evil Watchmen’ article to match this one in the next couple of weeks.

    @Person, I tend to use a lot of skills within combat to focus on such large events, such as cataclysmic and earth shaking battles. My motto in combat is let your players try anything they want and roll with the punches.

    @Kobold Minion, That sounds like a really fun chase scene. Well fun for everyone watching and not so much the Wizard.

  6. person says:

    thanks for the idea on the skill usage scott, i’m going to suggest it to my current dm soon, if he hasn’t already seen this

  7. shyDM says:

    Thank you for this article! I just know it’ll find some use in my games eventually.

  8. Noumenon says:

    Sorry, I think this article is short fiction, not a list of NPCs. An NPC you can actually use in your game looks like this:

    Name, race, class, job
    Memorable physical trait or mannerism
    Motivation or goal (so you know how he’ll react)
    Story role (eg patron, rival)
    Secret

    That’s all you’re going to have time to refer to in a game, and all the details about what the captain of the watch thinks about his ex-wife are rather unhelpful — there’s no likelihood the PCs will actually ask him about that.

  9. Elderon says:

    @person
    Yeah i’ll think about it

    and as for EPIC theres a spell that is the equivilant of an atomic bomb the damage was like 200d10 the range was like 5 miles radius the effect was incineration and if the monster survived the damage it does poision damage afterwords to imulate radiation Its my own creation and person if you want to learn it ill teach it to you It might take a month or two in game time though

  10. Scott says:

    @ShyDM, Thanks, glad you find it useful.

    @Noumenon. Your right, the NPC’s detailed above aren’t pick up and play NPC’s. When i wrote this article, i wanted people reading it to be inspired and use some of the ideas presented above for their games and NPC’s. I beleive it is more fun to be inspired, then go and create your own story and characters. Hope you still got something from it

  11. person says:

    could someone post some pick up and play versions of these though, that would be cool to look at

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