Waterdeep City Watch

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How would a character go about joining the Waterdeep City Watch? How about the City Guard? Question from the DH FB group. Thanks.


There are many different “roads in,” but showing up and expressing interest is the long one, involving training and covert honesty tests during off-duty time. The Guard takes trainee recruits who start OUTSIDE the city, on road patrols (alongside trusted Guard veterans), and then graduate to “wall watch” sentinel duty, then to guardpost garrison duty in the towers along the city wall. The Watch prefers to spy on citizens and then privately recruit individuals who impress them. Neither organization likes to take on outlanders; they prefer longtime Waterdhavians. They don’t mind taking in adventurers, but senior officers in both services (the Guard especially) are VERY suspicious of the motives and long-term loyalties of adventurers, and even long-serving members who were adventurers before joining up get spied upon, diligently. By small, shadowy groups of James Bond- or Cormyrean-Highknight-like groups of undercover agents who are in turn watched (including prying into their minds, magically) by the Blackstaff. The city is rarely desperate for recruits, as they’ve had robust training programs for centuries, so they’ll be in no hurry to induct someone who seems eager to join. The BEST way into either service is to, as a private individual, aid the city’s safety and security (i.e. render help to either or both the Guard or Watch without expectation of or request for reward or pay) in a manner that impresses Guard or Watch veterans. Trying to join has been an ongoing theme in the “home” Realms campaign from the Company of Crazed Venturers days onwards, so this is something I’ve roleplayed time and again. In the days of Piergeiron, Madeiron Sunderstone ran his own private group of spies, informants, and paid-by-the-city adventurers acting as an internal police/watchdog on the Guard, the Watch, and all known adventuring bands present in the city; the chief concern was and is “outland interests” (and Waterdeep’s own nobles!) worming agents into positions of power within Waterdeep, by infiltrating the Guard and the Watch, not just aiming for an invasion or takeover, but to help guilds or outside sinister smuggling/thieving/ organized crime organizations operate more easily within the city (thanks to Guard and/or Watch collusion). As Mirt once said, “Corruption is never dead. You have to beat it down with a stick, all too often. Twice a tenday, at least.”

Hope all of this is of help. I recall a fun chat with Terry Pratchett at the last Toronto Worldcon where he and I talked through the fun and ins and outs of doing a “Guards! Guards!” type of D&D campaign in Waterdeep, with its Watch, instead of Sam Vines and Carrot and their crew in Ankh-Morpork. Wish Terry was still here to chat with again…

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