The Dark Isle
Although not technically part of the military, The Watch occupy a role somewhere between secret police and special forces. Trained for combat and special tactics, they take on missions that are too dangerous (either physically or politically) for the military to get involved in. Their headquarters are in Anyr, on an island in the middle of the mouth of the River Taris.
Watchman are all volunteers. In order to obtain a license from the King to become a freelance adventurer, one must serve three years in the Watch. In their first year, Watchman are known as Recruits. They do not leave the island upon which they are based, and train constantly for combat. The training is often grueling and approximately a third drop out before graduation. In their second year, they become Watchmen. At this point they are deployed out into the world on various missions on behalf of the King. After another year they return, and divide their time between training new Recruits, and going out on missions themselves. At this point they are referred to as Kingsmen. After this third and final year, they are free to leave and become fully licensed adventurers. Approximately a tenth of Kingsmen choose to stay with the Watch at this point, and become Freemen of the Watch.
- No Watchman shall leave The Island except on a sanctioned mission.
- The exact details of each mission must be inscribed in The Book of Deeds, including the names of all Watchman involved (both those who gave the order, and those who undertook the mission).
- All Watchman undertaking a mission will, in front of witnesses, sign The Oath of Blood. (The more witnesses the better. Generally speaking, they will sign in front of every member of the Watch who is currently stationed on the island. In years past, they would have signed in the blood of the party leader, but nowadays they simply use pigs blood.)
- Upon their return, the Oath of Blood is ceremonially burned, and they are released from it. A mission is not said to be complete until this final step is taken.
- A Watchman is free to leave the Watch at any time, except when bound under an Oath of Blood. However, they may never return.
The Oath of Blood
- Above all else, I will complete my mission.
- In completing my mission, I will uphold the laws of the land.
- All Watchmen are my brothers. To kill my brother is to forfeit my own life.
- I will follow an order from my superior as though it were an order from my King, except in such instance whereby that order would cause me to break another part of this Oath.
- I retain the Right of Challenge.
The Right of Challenge
- While under an Oath of Blood any Watchman who disobeys an order from a superior or issues any order that would result in the breaking of the Oath of Blood is subject to the Right of Challenge.
- A Watchman may exercise this right at any time, but must be backed up by at least one Second.
- The Challenged will immediately relinquish the title of Watchman and be placed under immediate arrest.
- The Challenged will be returned to The Island where they will stand trial.
- The Challenged will be judged by an assembly of their peers.
- Evidence will be presented, both for the defense and the prosecution.
- Guilt shall be decided by a vote.
- Should the challenge be judged to be false, punishment will fall to the Challenger.
- Punishment will be decided at the discretion of the Watch Commander.
Most members of the Watch have heard rumours of a secretive group within its own ranks known as the Nightwatch. Nothing is known of their activities or indeed who among the Watch might be a member. Most dismiss the stories as products of the over-active imaginations of idle men.