This is a longish post, containing the bio of a character I may never end up actually playing. He’s a Lawful Good Human. In D&D 3.5, he would be a Paladin. In Pathfinder, he would be a Cavalier [Knight Errant]. In D&D 4e, he would be a Warlord (multiclass Paladin). In Legend he would be a Paladin (with Shaman Spell Circle track).
Constable is not my name. Once, when asked to identify myself, I replied “I’m Constable…” and then stopped mid-sentence. I wasn’t used to hiding my name. Before I could think of an alias, the innkeeper said, “And how many nights will that be, Mr. Constable?” It just kind of stuck after that.
I was a real constable once! A commander in the city watch, that is. And I had the best constable job, too: I was in charge of the City Center district, the richest and busiest part of the town. Most of the city was choked with crime, but not where I watched. My handpicked guardsmen and I didn’t take any bribes, not the Thieves’ Guild, not the local smuggling ring, nothing. People in the city learned to trust us. And when criminals struck, even if the victims didn’t have any money or property, we would track down the criminals, and make them stop. No matter who they turned out to be.
I guess I never realized how corrupt the rest of the city watch was, though. I always sort of assumed that everyone else worked the same way we did, or at least, tried to. I was pretty wrong about that, though. Turns out, they took money from the very worst sort of criminals, in exchange for letting them get on with whatever dirty deeds they wanted. They did still arrest people who couldn’t pay, but I don’t think that makes them any better. I myself usually let the poor people who stole stuff off with a warning, as long as they gave back whatever they took. The mayor liked to make examples out of thieves.
Oof, the mayor. If I want to tell you about myself, I guess I gotta tell you about him. The old mayor who made me a constable was a sweet old man, kind of senile, but he really did his best for the city. One day, though, he died. The story was that he tripped down the stairs, fell on a suit of armor, and was impaled by its rusty sword. I don’t know if anyone believed that — I certainly didn’t! But I didn’t have any proof that it wasn’t true, either, and the new mayor wouldn’t let anyone investigate.
Everyone was kind of scared of the new mayor. He liked to wear spiked armor in public, complete with a helmet that made it hard to see most of his face. Oh, and he was seven-and-a-half feet tall. He used to be the deputy mayor, and I guess the King just decided that he was best suited to take on the job after the “accident.” The man decided to “expand the civic economy” by opening up a bunch of new gambling houses and whorehouses — not respectable brothels, mind you, but really disgusting places that brought in sailors and lowlifes, and ran on slave labor. A lot of the girls in there were the daughters or sisters of criminals who had no other way to bribe the guards except by selling their families into slavery. At least the old mayor tried to keep the corrupt city watch from ruining any lives. For the new mayor, it was good for business!
Have I made it clear that the new mayor is a bad guy yet? Good.
Okay, so, the city was mostly crime-ridden slums, except for the city center, where I was the Constable. I was proud of myself for that. I don’t think the mayor liked me very much, but he left me alone because he liked having one part of town he could show off to visitors. Anyway, that was the situation when, one night, I heard shrieks coming from a tavern a couple of streets away. It was in the merchant’s quarter, not my district, but I figured I was probably the closest one to the scene. So I ran as fast as I could. What I saw inside… twisted my stomach. A young man, clean-cut but obviously completely drunk, was carving the limbs off a shrieking barmaid. Another dead woman laid in pieces next to her.
Everyone else in the room was watching, but nobody did anything to stop him. There were even two armed guardsmen from the in the room! “What are you doing?!” I shouted, both at the guards and at the crazed man. The guards shook their heads at me, eyes wide. Were they really going to let this happen because nobody could bribe them to stop it? The crazy man turned at me, sneered, and then advanced on a young boy and his mother. Well, the other guards apparently cared more about their purses than about lives, so it was up to me. I ran to the man, drawing my sword. He had his blade up to the boy’s throat when I ran him through.
After that, everyone left the bar. I thought someone would congratulate me on stopping the murderer, at least, but no one said a word, not even the boy I saved. That was weird, I thought.
The next morning, I told the other guards in my district what happened. They were all shocked when I described the crazy young man. “That was the mayor’s son!” they told me. Whoops. So THAT was why everyone was too scared to stop him.
Five minutes later, I heard the mayor’s voice outside the guardhouse. He and his cronies had the building surrounded, and they were going to have me drawn and quartered for murder. The mayor shouted for me to come out. I drew my sword. He called for the guards who were with me to hand me over. They drew their swords, too. I knew I couldn’t take them all, but they said, “We’re with you, Constable.” Those were my boys, loyal to the end.
We came out after that. As it turned out, we were outnumbered five to one. He REALLY wanted me dead. My boys fought bravely, and told me to make a break for it. So I ran, right past the mayor himself. He tried to grab me as I ran past, but I ducked past him. Well, not completely past him. The side of my face somehow caught one of his armor spikes, and gashed my face. I still have a scar on the left side of my chin.
I hope some of my boys got away, but as I’ve never heard from them, I can only assume they were all killed.
I managed to lie low at a small holy shrine for a while. Unfortunately, a bounty hunter somehow managed to track me there. I was still using my name at that time, so this bounty hunter posed as a courier and just asked for me by name. The priests had no reason to lie, so they showed him where I was staying. Luckily, I won that battle, but a couple of my priest friends fell during the fight. Even though the head priest miraculously restored the fallen clerics to life, I felt I had to move on after that. And this time, I would leave my name behind me.
In thanks for protecting their little shrine for the year or two I was there, the priests let me have their best horse. I called him Badge, since I don’t have a real one anymore. I rode him to a new town, to start all over. That’s when I that whole “Mr. Constable” conversation I started my story with, and that became my new name.
Since then, I’ve tried to help people as best I can. I can never go back to my home, but whenever I see another city heading down that same path of corruption and crime, I make it a point to fight back. I may not have a post in the town guard, but as long as I’m being called Constable, I may as well act like one as best I can, stopping criminals and evildoers, that sort of thing. If you know any opportunities for me to fight the forces of crime and evil, let me know, okay?
Let’s see, what else can I tell you about me? I’m a little over 6 feet tall, dunno how much I weigh, but I’m in pretty good shape, as you’d expect from someone who goes around in armor and swings a big sword. I have brown eyes, brown hair, and a scar on the left side of my jaw. I’ve been told I’ve got big eyebrows, but I don’t see it. I usually wear armor, unless I’m sleeping, because I’ve had bounty hunters come at me once too often in places I thought were safe.
I don’t know why the Mayor is still so keen on seeing me dead. I like to think it’s because the people in the city remembered how I protected the inner city from corruption, and are keeping up the good fight for me. It also occurs to me that the mayor, rich as he is, probably could afford to have his son resurrected… maybe that went wrong, somehow? Or maybe it went right, but now the son is after me? All I know is that I can’t use my real name, even with people I trust. I’m afraid that if I so much as speak it aloud, he’ll find me, and then I’ll put everyone I care about in danger again, like I did with my loyal guardsmen and my cleric friends.
I’m glad I got to know those priests in that shrine. Maybe someday I’ll learn more of their holy teachings. I never learned much about the gods when I was a boy, despite my father’s best efforts. A lay assistant at a local temple, he always did his best to care for my mother and me, even though I wasn’t really his child. I’ll never know who my birth father was. At the time I was born, my mother worked at one of those old, respectable brothels I mentioned earlier.
She married my adoptive father when I was eight years old, and he made enough money so that my mother could retire. I loved him like he was my real dad, and I loved my mother too. She passed away a few months before the new mayor came to town, and adoptive father left town when his temple burned down and a gambling house was put up in its place. He offered to let me come with him, but of course I was busy keeping the city safe by then. He’s probably working at another temple by now, and the last thing I want to do is put him in danger by contacting him. Better that the mayor and his cronies don’t know he exists.
Since I don’t have a mayor or anyone else looking over my shoulder, I need to take steps to make sure I uphold my own moral code. I’m not really smart or anything, but I wrote up these rules for myself: Root out corruption wherever it exists, even if it means breaking the law. Stop those who would prey upon the innocent or the weak, preferably by working with legitimate authority if possible. Never let a pal down.