Table of Contents
The Wardens are the City's sworn protectors, an order of latter-day knights dedicated to protecting the innocent and punishing those who spread injustice and misfortune. At their best, the Wardens are peacekeepers and justice-bringers, serving as a sort of ad hoc police force for the City. They are close allies of the Crown, and will act as the City's military in the event of invasion or open rebellion. The ultimate goal of the Wardens is the elimination of all threats to the Crown and the people of the City.
The Wardens lack many of the powers and resources of a more modern police force. Their authority is derived from tradition and their own ability to enforce it, rather than any official role. Technically they have no more power to arrest or imprison people than any other faction, but they have enough support and reputation in the City that it is usually just accepted as a fact of life. Few factions would want to enter open conflict with the Wardens enough to challenge them. It is fair to say that the Wardens operate largely on a basis of might makes right, however they do have a reputation for fairness, and most of the public accept the faction's presence.
Wardens are protectors more than investigators. Faction members patrol the streets, keeping an eye open for crime and acts of evil, and offering their help to City residents in need. With only so many Wardens to patrol such a vast area, one cannot guarantee that any will be near or available, and they have limited time and resources available to commit to investigating crimes that have already occurred.
Wardens tend towards the low end of the technology spectrum. Faction members prefer melee weapons to firearms and suits of armour to Kevlar vests. As a general rule, Wardens prefer blunt weapons like hammers and maces, but it is not uncommon to see a Warden armed with a sword or axe. The armour and weapons of Wardens tend to be of the highest quality, often made with materials and technology not strictly matching their medieval esthetic. Some Wardens practice magic, though there is institutional pressure against depending on such unchivalrous methods.
Wardens do not have a tight command structure. Squires must follow the commands of the Warden they are assigned to serve, and a squire's success and chance of promotion (or indeed continued membership in the faction) is entirely at the discretion of the squire's commander. A fully invested Warden, however, has a great deal of independence. He chooses his own patrol routes and schedule, and is free to choose which crimes to investigate and which suspects to pursue. A Warden is expected to respect her superiors and fulfill their requests, as well as lend aid to any fellow Warden, but she will not be given orders on a daily basis.
Warden applicants are expected to be in good physical shape and have nominal fighting skills. Applicants are also expected to provide their own weapons and armour, but individual Wardens have been known to provide these to promising candidates. The applicant must take a series of oaths, promising to protect the weak, fight against evil, refuse corruption in all its forms, and uphold truth and justice in word and deed. There is no compulsion, magical or otherwise, to keep these oaths, but anyone proven to be breaking them is subject to expulsion and worse.
Once the oaths have been taken, the new Warden may present himself as a Warden and use the title Squire, and is assigned to work under a fully invested Warden. Only after he has proven himself (usually after several years of service) will a Squire be officially knighted, allowed to use the title "Sir" or "Dame" and granted full independence as a Warden Knight.
The full list of Warden ranks, from lowest to highest, goes: Squire, Knight, Captain, Commander, and Marshal. Captains are responsible for outpost stations and the Knights assigned to them, and are very often older Wardens who provide a wealth of experience but are no longer as physically capable as they once were. Commanders are distinguished warriors with a demonstrated leadership ability, promoted purely on merit. The rank is often granted temporarily to give one Warden authority over many others for specific missions and operations. The Warden Marshal is the supreme commander of the faction, and the rank is currently held by Andreas von Panzer.
Wardens have no official uniform, but all display the Warden's emblem on their person as proof of their membership.
Marshal Andreas Panzer has led the Wardens for the last sixty years, and his firm leadership is largely responsible for the faction's reputation for fairness and justice. When he took over, the Wardens were little more than a band of mercenaries, and he transformed them into one of the most respected and powerful forces in the City. Panzer is still a cagey and capable warrior, but his health is in decline, and there are no secure plans for his succession.
There are Warden outposts throughout the City, in every canton, where Wardens can seek shelter and aid, repair weapons, replace equipment, and temporarily keep prisoners and confiscated goods.
The Warden central headquarters is Fort Blackrock, a massive fire-blackened fortress in the Stone Canton. It is both chief fortress of the Wardens and the City's only official long-term prison. Residents of the City who commit serious crimes and get caught by the Wardens can expect to spend months or years under the watchful eyes of Warden leadership.
The official seal of the Wardens is a hexagonal frame displaying a warhammer against the flame of justice. Upon being invested with the rank of Knight, every warden is given a bronze medallion bearing the seal, which they may display in the manner of their choosing. Wardens use the seal to identify themselves as Wardens, and the medallion will usually be affixed to their armour, shield, or clothing in some manner. Some Wardens prefer to display the emblem in different materials (such as embroidered on a vest). Using a precious metal like gold or silver, or using gemstones, is not strictly banned, but the Warden would open himself up to mockery and accusations of vanity by his fellows. Squires are permitted to display the emblem in embroidered cloth, wood, leather, or a lesser valued metal such as tin or iron.