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Ankh-Morpork City Watch (Terry Pratchett's Discworld)

Ankh-Morpork City Watch


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The misadventures of the City Watch are a subset from the Discworld series of fantasy novels, by Sir Terry Pratchett . Most of the action occurs in the unruly city of Ankh-Morpork , a not-so heroic fantasy setting where policing is but barely feasible.

The Discworld stories are highly regarded for their witty writing style, incisive satire, and charismatic characters. Their differences from more traditional fantasy stories such as Tolkien’s contributed to their great popularity.


Background

Organization

Full Name: The Watch and Ward of the Cities of Ankh and Morpork

Purpose: Keeping the peace.

Modus Operandi: Regular patrols and responding to emergencies.

Extent of operations: Ankh-Morpork and its environs, unless in pursuit of criminals (or happening across such).

Bases of Operations: Pseudopolis Yard, Ankh-Morpork.

Major Funding: Ankh-Morpork.

Known Enemies: Deep delvers.

Known allies: Other city watches.

Membership

Number of active members: 100+.

Number of reserve members: Unknown number of special constables.

Organizational structure: Run by Commander Vimes, with an unknown number of captain, sergeants, corporals, constables, and lance constables. They also have an Igor and an Igorina as medical support and forensics.

Known current members: Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain Angua von Uberwald, Sergeant Fred Colon, Corporal Nobby Nobbs, Sergeant Detritus, Sergeant Cheery Littlebottom, Constable Wee Mad Arthur, Constable Dorfl, Constable Brick, Constable Reginald Shoe, Constable Downspout, Lance-Constable Salacia “Sally” von Humpeding, Constable Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets, Inspector A E Pessimal, Corporal Buggy Swires, Sergeant “Kipper” Haddock

Known former members: Acting-Constable Cuddy, Sergeant Stronginthearm.

Membership requirements: Willingness.


History

The Watch and Ward of the Cities of Ankh and Morpork was founded in AM 1561 by King Veltrick I. Well equipped, King Veltrick I gave them his personal motto, “Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter” (“Make the Day, the Moments Pass Quickly”).

They comprised 4 separate forces:

  • the palace guard
  • the Cable Street Particulars, a government intelligence division
  • the Ward, who watched the gates and enforced the law during the day
  • and the Watch, who did the same during the night

Their glory days lasted 4 days, at which point Veltrick’s son assassinated him and became Veltrick II. Having little interest in the Watch, he allowed it to deteriorate into irrelevance as the guilds began policing themselves.

The Watch had a brief resurgence in AM 1688, after Commander Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes and his Ironheads deposed the monarchy and became the city’s rulers. When he was deposed in favour of the Patricianship, the Watch sank even further into obscurity, and the rank of Watch Commander was dropped.

Night Watch

Under Lord Winder, the Watch was a tool for suppressing the growing dissent against his rule, especially the Particulars (now generally known as the Unmentionables). The secret police regularly tortured and sometimes disappeared those believed to be revolutionary types.

Public unrest saw the Watches ordered to clamp down on any trouble. This was resisted by the Watch house on Treacle Mine Road, where newly-arrived Sgt. John Keel kept them maintaining the peace.

Serving there at the time were a young Sam Vimes and Fred Colon. Street urchin Nobby Nobbs was also recruited as eyes and ears by Keel. They became part of what would be known as the Glorious Revolution of the 25th of May, aiding civilians to keep the peace.

They erected barricades to keep out both the riots in other parts of the city, and the army brought in to quell the riots. This made them targets for Lord Winder’s forces and the remains of the Unmentionables.

Keel and a number of other watchmen were killed before Winder’s assassination and the rise to power of Lord Snapcase. Who proved just as insane as Winder, but in a different way.

Modern Times

The Watch fell upon hard times after the ascent of Lord Vetinari as Patrician. His legalisation of the Thieves Guild made crime more stable and predictable in the city, with the Guild dealing with any unofficial thieves.

This made the Watch virtually redundant, dealing mainly with disturbances of the peace caused by alcohol. With their funding and numbers ebbing, they found it safer to wait until after the affray and then arrest those unable to resist.

A couple of decades after the Glorious Revolution, the Watch consisted of three officers: Captain Sam Vimes, Sergeant Fred Colon, and Corporal Nobby Nobbs. Shortly after being joined by Lance-Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson the dragon appeared, and changed the Watch’s fortunes.

Guards Guards (part 1)

The Watch were the first to discover a true dragon had returned to the world and was causing havoc in the city. They had trouble convincing anybody of its presence until it went on a rampage, destroying their watch house among other places.

They were given the use of Pseudopolis Yard by Lady Sybil Ramkin. Sybil was a keeper of smaller swamp dragons from whom Vimes had sought information during the investigation. She also gave him the ailing swamp dragon Goodboy Bindle Featherstone, who’d taking a liking to Vimes. This creature was renamed Errol by the Watch.

Their investigation, and close encounters with the dragon, appeared over when it was seemingly slain by a long-lost descendant of Ankh-Morpork royalty. Vimes was unconvinced by the cleanness of the solution.

With Vetinari thrown in the dungeon, and a coronation quickly arranged for their new King, he had little opportunity to act. He was soon thrown out of the Watch by Lupine Wonse, former secretary to Vetinari and now to the King.

Guards Guards (part 2)

The King’s coronation was disrupted by the return of the dragon, and the alleged monarch left a pile of ashes. Deducing Wonse’s guilt in summoning the dragon, Vimes confronted him. This ended with him sharing Lord Vetinari’s cell, but he escaped in time to race to the city’s first sacrifice to the dragon: Lady Ramkin.

Vimes and his men rescued her from the rock she’d been chained to, but didn’t escape before the dragon arrived. Aid arrived in the form of Errol, who somehow rearranged his internals so he could use his flames to fly (expelling it from the opposite end to normal).

Errol fought the larger dragon, and actually won, downing it for a time. Sybil soon realised they hadn’t been fighting to the death: the summoned dragon was female, and the fight was actually a courtship.

The two dragons departed the city, Wonse fell to his death resisting arrest, and Lord Vetinari returned to running things as though he’d never stopped (which is entirely possible).

Men at Arms

Having regained some of its reputation, the Watch began to expand. As part of Lord Vetinari’s desire for it to reflect the multi-cultural nature of modern Ankh-Morpork, a number of officers were recruited from minorities, most assigned to the Night Watch. These included the troll Detritus, the dwarf Cuddy, and the werewolf Angua.

The initiative came at a fragile time for relations between dwarfs and trolls, with violent clashes bursting out over the city. The trouble was exacerbated by a mysterious killer who’d stolen the Gonne – a mechanical device capable of firing projectiles, which had developed its own form of sentience – from the Assassin’s Guild.

It’d been the work of Dr. Cruces, head of the Assassin’s Guild. He wanted chaos in the city in order to force Corporal Carrot – the not-so-secret last heir to the Ankh-Morpork throne – to accept the role of King. Dr. Cruces had also come under the influence of the Gonne, which just wanted to kill people.

They were stopped, and the Gonne destroyed. The chaos on the streets, and the actions of the day watch in exacerbating things, led to the Watch becoming unified under Vimes, whom Vetinari made Commander.

Feet of Clay

There was further trouble in the city when murders appeared to have been the work of a golem. The panic it caused was exacerbated when Lord Vetinari was found to have been poisoned.

Vimes took charge of the ailing Vetinari’s security, and brought in his new forensics specialist, Cheery Littlebottom, to work out how the poison was administered. Deaths among the castle staff led Vimes to realise the poison was in his candles, and that it was linked to the golem murders.

After a string of golem suicides, they managed to stop the golem Dorfl from following suit. From him they learned that a group of golems had created their own golem as a just and fair king for their kind. But the instructions each had placed in his head proved conflicting. Dorfl helped them stop him.

Tracing the poisoning to a cabal of guild leaders who planned to elect Nobby Nobbs as King – for reasons that probably seemed cunning to them – Vimes discouraged their activity. The axe was so firmly lodged in the council table that it should have been scrapped, but Lord Vetinari kept it a while as a reminder to the guild leaders.

Dorfl was recruited into the Watch, to help quell the fears of golems that still remained. Or at least to replace indistinct fears with that of a golem backed by the authority of the Watch.

Jingo (part 1)

Tensions erupted between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch when the island of Leshp rose in the middle of the Circle Sea and was claimed by citizens of both nations. The Watch were assigned to protect the visiting Prince Khufurah of Klatch.

An assassination attempt on him heightened tensions. This wasn’t helped by Khufurah’s associate, 71-Hour Ahmed, absconding with the ailing prince. Furthermore, too many clues were found to possibly determine whether the culprit was Ankh-Morporkian or Klatchian – unless one had already decided beforehand.

Ankh-Morpork’s laws dictated that the Patrician step aside during times of war. Thus, Lord Rust declared martial law and the nobles began raising armies to go off and give Johnny Foreigner a good drubbing.

Vimes, refusing to take the draconian measures Rust demands for martial law, used his rank as a knight to raise his own army, mainly comprised of the Watch. When Corporal Angua was abducted by 71-Hour Ahmed after spying on him as his ship sets sail, Vimes led his small army after them on a requisitioned boat.

Jingo (part 2)

This caused Rust to order the other forces to set sail immediately, before he was prepared. Meeting up with Angua, Vimes’ force were taken guest by the sharply polite D’regs. Vimes nevertheless caught up to 71-Hour Ahmed, and realised the Prince’s brother, Cadram, ruler of Klatch, had arranged the assassination.

Riding up between the two armies as Rust and Cadram went through the formalities, Vimes arrested both armies for breaches of the peace. An international incident was averted when Vetinari – who had seconded Sgt. Colon and Cpl. Nobbs as an escort – arrived and surrendered on Ankh-Morpork’s behalf, with reparations to be arranged on Leshp in a week’s time.

On returning to Ankh-Morpork, Rust ordered Vimes to arrest Vetinari for treason. Having little choice, Vimes did so. When brought before Rust’s council, Vetinari didn’t have to wait long before news arrived that Leshp had sunk again, as he’d expected.

Since the reparations could no longer be discussed, and the disputed land had disappeared, Ankh-Morpork had lost nothing. And Cadram’s reputation had been so damaged that he’d had to flee.

The Fifth Elephant

The Ankh-Morpork Dwarf Bread Museum then suffered the theft of the replica Scone of Stone. Soon afterwards Vimes, in his role as Duke of Ankh-Morpork, was dispatched to the coronation of the Low King in Uberwald.

He travelled to Uberwald with Watch members as his entourage. After being presented to the elected King, Rhys Rhysson, Vimes deduced from the unrest in the dwarven mines that the real Scone of Stone was missing. Saying so out loud got him access to the crime scene, and he began investigating while going through the diplomatic motions.

After foiling an attempt on the King’s life, Vimes was suspected of complicity and thrown in prison. Finding a weapon left in his cell he realised he was being set up to be killed while escaping. While overwhelming the guards, he left them alive and fled.

Reaching the surface, he found himself in the wilds of Uberwald. He was being hunted by the leader of the conspiracy, Wolfgang von Uberwald – Angua’s brother – and his werewolf gang. Vimes manages to stay ahead of them until rescued by Angua and Carrot.

Wolfgang was dealt with, and Vimes uncovered the dwarf conspirator, unhappy with Rhys Rhysson’s progressive worldview. The conspiracy dealt with, the King was crowned, thanked Vimes and his men, and suggested they soon return home.

Thud! (part 1)

With the anniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley increasing tensions between dwarves and trolls in the city, rumours of a dwarf being murdered by a troll didn’t help. Dwarves being told not to tell the Watch only irritated Vimes, who led an investigation.

Forcing their way underground they discovered the dwarves, led by some visiting fanatical Deep Delvers, had extensively undermined the city. It was fairly easy to do, since most of Ankh-Morpork is built on older Ankh-Morpork that’s sunk over the centuries.

Their discovery that there had been a troll in the tunnels shocked the dwarfs who’d insisted a troll had committed the murder. But by the time they put together enough clues the Deep Delvers had fled the city.

Exploring the mines they found the bodies of local dwarves the Deep Delvers had murdered because they’d witnessed whatever was uncovered. One had drawn the symbol for the Summoning Dark before dying. The Dark was a quasi-demonic entity believed to wreak vengeance on dwarves who’ve done evil.

Thud! (part 2)

Vimes learned of the theft of a picture of the Battle of Koom Valley by a mad artist. The image purportedly held a secret to the truth of what had happened. He led watchmen in hot pursuit of the Deep Delvers to Koom Valley.

Possessed by the Summoning Dark, Vimes fell into the cavern system beneath the valley. There, the Summoning Dark led him into the midst of the Deep Delvers. He’d slaughtered a number of their guards before resisting the Summoning Dark. The rest of the Watch and the Low King’s forces arrived to arrest the Deep Delvers.

They found the Delvers had been destroying the fossilised remains of the dwarven and troll leaders of the original battle and their followers. They’d been trapped underground by the treacherous floods of the valley, and had died playing the board game Thud! with one another.

Before closing the cave to preserve it, the dwarves and troll who’d turned up were allowed to view it, to see the peace achieved there. An official peace between their peoples was agreed by the Low King and the Diamond King of the Trolls.

Snuff

While Vimes was forced to take a vacation, Sgt. Colon got taken ill after contact with a goblin pot which he couldn’t let go of. Constable Wee Mad Arthur flew to the distant plantation the cigar it’d been in had come from, where he found and freed goblin slaves.

Searching for a goblin community nearby to help Colon, they learned of one on the Ramkin estate where Vimes was holidaying. He’d already gotten involved with them following the murder of a goblin girl. Thus, he stumbled across a smuggling ring for troll drugs.

Colon was transported to the goblin mines in time to recover, and the smuggling ring run by the local nobles was shut down.

Raising Steam

The Deep Delvers became a problem again as a railway system began to be developed in Ankh-Morpork, quickly spreading to other places. The Delvers struck at clacks towers (a communication system), and eventually at the railway itself.

While the Low King was away from Uberwald trying to maintain the peace the Deep Delvers sought to destroy, they seized powers. The Watch was assigned to escort the Low King on a rapid railway journey back home to regain power.

The Deep Delvers launched a few attacks at the train, but proved even less of an impediment than the fact all the tracks hadn’t yet been laid. The train reached Uberwald, and support for the Delvers coup fell apart as the Low King arrived to reclaim his throne.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

All members of the Watch have at least Low level Police Credentials, and a couple AP of Detective (Police Procedure) and Weaponry (City Watch weapons). Experienced officers may also have Area Knowledge (Ankh-Morpork).

Equipment:

  • GUARD ARMOUR [BODY 04, Skin Armor: 01, Limitation: Partial Coverage (-1CS Trick Shot to bypass)]
  • Short Sword [BODY 05, EV 04]
  • Truncheon [BODY 04, EV 03]
  • In emergencies they can also be armed with:
    • Crossbow [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 01, R#02, Drawback: Long reload time]
    • Pike or Halberd [BODY 05, EV 04]

By Gareth Lewis

Source of Character: Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett

Helper(s): Discworld Wiki , Darci

Writeup completed on the 7th of September, 2014.

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