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City NPC – Guardian (A to Z Challenge – G)

8 April, 2013

The trio of masked Guardians moved through the crowd, they did not even have to use their staves, the crowd just parted for them.  Arriving at the scene of the altercation, the tallest of them spoke, “What happened here?”

They cut through the babble of voices and quickly analyzed the situation.  The person responsible for starting the fight and his friend, who had instigated it, were taken to the guardian’s cell to await their appearance before the town’s magistrate.  Their prisoners in tow, they departed as quickly as they had arrived, leaving calm in their wake.

Guardians

The Guardians are an offshoot of a highly ordered philosophical sect, possibly originally inspired by the Law Lords, the gods of law, governance and order, the Guardians survived the war and the Sundering to continue to expound and expand on their way of thought.

Goal: Order in All Things

The Guardians seek to maintain peace and order throughout the world, but they are willing to move slowly.  They do not seek to impose laws, but to maintain those provided by others.  Only within their own Chapters and in the Citadel of Service do they follow their own laws exclusively, elsewhere, they follow local laws as long as they no not conflict with the ethics of the Guardians (for those, they step aside and let the locals enforce such).

Alignment

The Guardians follow a strict code of conduct and system of rules, most common contingencies are covered in basic training and a Guardian is expected to be able to reason from first principles to solve whatever situation they find themselves in.

Leader and Organization

The Guardians are organized in civic Chapters, sometime with associated rural Chapters, each autonomous but answerable to the rules of the organization with the Charter able to be revoked by the Great Conclave by a two-thirds vote.

Each civic chapter of the Guardians elect their leader, called the Chapter Prime, every other year and every fifth year they elect a Speaker who travels to the Great Conclave to present lessons learned and a portion of the fees collected to maintain the Citadel of Service.

Headquarters

The Guardians’ central library, universal meeting place and training ground is the Citadel of Service on the Island of Whitefield which is an Imperial Holding, though the Empress does not impose a satrap or other ruler upon the Guardians she does maintain one of her agents as an observer and advisor to the Great Conclave.

Joining

The Guardians recruit by gathering orphans usually around the age of five, though occasionally younger as children are left on their doorstep, but very rarely older.  Sometime they will purchase slaves of an appropriate age but this is rare.

Gaining Prestige

A Guardian gains prestige within the order by completing tasks efficiently and by contributing to the ongoing philosophical debates within the society.  Those well thought of by their fellow Guardians become the Chapter Prime.

Those in training, which usually lasts until the Guardian is fourteen, are called aspirants.  They either graduate to becoming full Guardians or move into support tasks as Aides.  Aides are welcome to leave the life of the Guardian at any time, while Guardians serve until they are thirty, if male, or twenty-four, if female, when they are allowed to retire into society (where they are often prized as husbands and wives) or they decide to commit themselves permanently to the order as Oathed Guardians.

Resources

The Guardians have access to appropriate equipment to wherever they operate, but their nearly universal uniforms is lacquered faceless mask, robes, gloves and heavy foot ware.  The Guardians try to appear uniform and interchangeable, cogs in the machinery of justice.  Their primary weapon in the staff but they also use specialized tools to capture and detain as needed.

Each Chapter House includes a library, training ground, armory, barracks and cells.  Though some are still quite petite with no more than fifteen Guardians and five Aides.

Allies and Enemies

Guardians are aligned with the powers that be in an area, as they only operate where they are invited to do so.  The law enforcement and court system is usually quite friendly to the Guardians who do much of the basic work for them.

Equally, criminal groups do not like the Guardians but can often skirt around the laws they enforce.

Adventure Seeds

In a city with a Civic Chapter
•    One of the characters could be mistaken for a wanted criminal.  If they talk, the Guardians are willing to do so and even admit their mistake, but if they fight, greater problems could arise.
•    The Guardians could need information or specialized skills that the characters, they are willing to pay, mostly in goodwill, for aid.
•    A chapter, hearing that the characters are traveling to a distant city, offers them a sum of money to transport a prisoner there as the local Guardians are overstretched and cannot spare Guardians for the task.

Outside an area with a Chapter
•    The Guardians are rarely charged with escorting a prisoner to or from a state without a chapter, they do so reluctantly and requiring a donation to the chapter providing the escort.  Such an escort is likely to be standoffish and wary but may ask for help if their charge has escaped.
•    A scouting group of Guardians are looking to establish a new chapter and are gathering information about the laws and peoples of the local area.  They will pay for a local guide and introductions.

Adapting the Guardians to other settings

A Guardian-like organization can exist in any world where there is a philosophy or religion that exists to promote order.  It is an easy enough fit for most game worlds.

Notes: Partly inspired by Plato’s Republic.

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