Friday, June 14, 2013


I've made no secret of the fact that Kusseth is my favorite country In The Known World, nor do I apologize for it. I like Kusseth, so I tend to pay attention to things related to Kusseth and spend a good portion of my time pondering Kusseth. We all have our favorites. Today I'm going to write about about Kusseth's Wardens. Now, Kusseth has several branches of their military, the most well known are the Blackcoats, Greycoats, Redcoats, and Brasscoats. The Wardens are a part of the military, technically, but they are a "peacekeeping" force stationed in the cities of Kusseth that aren't really part of the military command structure and obey that obey the orders of lords of Kusseth rather the orders generals and such. There are also the Bounty Hunters, but they are basically a licensed collection of thugs that Kusseth hires to do odd jobs like finding those that don't pay fines or taxes, or those that run instead of paying back loans and such. This post is about Wardens though, so we'll talk about that. Most of the following information is just rattling around in my brain, but I'm sure I'll come up with a bit on the fly. It'll be fun. I like Kusseth and its Wardens. 

So what does a warden do? Are there different types of wardens? How are they organized? How does one become a warden? What kind of equipment and resources do they have? What are the legal powers of a warden? That's what this post is about.

So how does one become a Warden of Kusseth? It's kind of an apprenticeship of sorts. In Kusseth there are these things called youth gangs. These are primarily a collection of kids ranging from eight or nine years old to about thirteen or fourteen, these aren't hard numbers by any means. They're not so much a criminal element as they are a nuisance, though a fair few of them end up being classified as criminal gangs when they hit the age of fifteen. Sometimes they're homeless or orphans or homeless orphans, or just have shitty parents or lack something better to do. Most youth gangs are a combination of those elements. They generally hang around and act up and cause trouble and engage in what might be called petty larceny.  In rougher areas, they band together for mutual protection. They typically have names for their group and generally hang out in a specific ward doing specific things. A lot of times they end up as scouts and informants for wardens, and wardens typically end up drawing their recruits from the ranks of youth gangs they are familiar with. This is a simple process, the warden vouches for the youth, the youth enters into the two year training program for wardens, if the youth succeeds, they then shadow their sponsor for three to five years to ensure experience and competency before they're issued their badge and start being the law. There's no age requirement per se, but wardens tend to only sponsor youths they've had their eye on for some time, so most warden recruits enter the training program around thirteen or fourteen years of age. 

Warden training typically involves what you'd expect. Lots of physical training and hand to hand combat training accompanied by firearms training. In addition, there is extensive training on the laws of Kusseth and its complex system of fines, taxes, and imprisonment. There is also a lot of focus on restraining oneself from blowing holes in every criminal you meet, as Kusseth sees people as a resource and if wardens blow holes in all of the people with their fancy guns, Kusseth can't tax or fine them. So generally, wardens are advised to only shoot to kill if their lives are directly threatened. If they do end up killing citizens or criminals, they go before a review board and if the board doesn't agree that the warden was at risk, or they disagree with the degree of risk, the warden is fined. During training, Kusseth provides room and board and equipment, along with a stipend, for the potential warden. However, once the trainee becomes a full warden, his pay is docked by a percentage to pay off the costs associated with this. If a trainee happens to fail out of the program, he is now in debt to Kusseth. 

The shadowing period is probably the toughest portion of the whole process, and where most trainees bomb out. This is because shadowing is a misleading term. In practice, it is more that the full warden is shadowing the new guy. The trainee basically operates as a full warden in control of their sponsor's district while the warden follows them around (ideally) seeing if they can cut it on their own. Some wardens take this period more seriously than others, and some think of it as kind of a paid vacation. Some trainees succeed, others end up dead in an alley while their sponsor sleeps in. This haphazard system leads to lots of dead or failed out trainees, but also ensures that those that make it through are tough as nails and are truly ready to run their own district. There isn't a grading system for the period of shadowing, you either pass or fail. You pass when your sponsor says you pass and he goes before a review board to explain why he says you pass, and you fail when he says you fail, or if it takes longer than five years for him to say you pass. 

Most new wardens end up running their own district within a year and a half of being issued their badge. There is a bit of a wait list, but there is plenty to occupy new wardens in that time. The wait list is based on first come first serve, but like many things in Kusseth, a fee can be paid to advance your position in the list. However, this is only acceptable if your sponsor backs you up and agrees that it isn't a huge mistake to put you ahead of others. While the new wardens wait for their spot to come up on the list, they are attached to the Warden Auxiliary Force. These are kind of a pool of bodies and guns for wardens to draw on if they feel it is necessary for a raid or the pursuit of a case. They get used for raids and crowd control mostly. They have no legal powers, unless the warden grants them some in the field, and all their equipment is issued when they are called into action. They receive a ridiculously small stipend, but receive a relatively decent bonus when called into action. They are typically composed of failed warden trainees, wardens that couldn't cut it on their own, and various other military types that couldn't cut it in Kusseth's actual armed forces. If a warden is on the wait list, but the WAF isn't doing anything, he'll typically just keep "shadowing" his sponsor.

It should also be noted that in some extremely populous districts, two wardens oversee the area. Additionally, in some areas of Kusseth cities where there is very little change in activity when night falls, the district will have a night warden and a day warden. These kind of postings are not ideal. Wardens are paid a fair wage (Kusseth has always believed in making sure the guys with guns aren't disgruntled because they don't get enough money for aiming the guns at its enemies), but in situations where two wardens are stationed in a district, the combined wage of the two wardens ends up being 1.75 times what a single warden would normally make. Kusseth's logic, sensible or not, is that if one person can do the job in another district, why should we reward you with a helper for not being able to take care of business.on your own? Warden wages are generally based on years of service, but they receive yearly bonuses based on how efficient they are (i.e. how often they come under budget or return requisitioned special supplies). This bonus is automatically reduced based on how prone the warden is to leaving bodies behind instead of capturing criminals for the penal labor and legionnaire forces

So what does a warden do? The day to day primarily involves patrolling their city district. Each warden is in control of a one mile by one mile chunk of a city. It's his job to keep order there using whatever resources he requests and can justify a need for or whatever ones he has at hand. As he patrols, he issues fines and taxes as necessary. He forms a rapport with the youth gangs, as they are rather useful as scouts and informants. If he finds an unlicensed sorcerer or brothel or something along those lines, he runs the information up the chain of command to his senior warden and goes from there. It's mostly standard stuff you'd expect a cop to do on a day to day basis. Wardens also assist Kussethian Guild of Bankers representatives and bounty hunters in their district when they are pursuing back taxes and folks that have outstanding fees and such. 

What kind of resources and equipment do wardens have at their disposal? The basic equipment a new warden is issued is an Abraxen revolver, a warden's duster, a wolf-iron breaching axe, the station house for his district, and his badge. The badge isn't terribly useful, primarily it just sits on his duster. The badge is a brass dodecagon (twelve sides) and the only insignia on it is the four digit badge number of the warden wearing it and a small star along each side of the dodecagon. The revolver is of Abraxen make, so it is of high quality and fires large caliber rounds and packs quite a punch (1d10 damage, 20/x4, 45 ft. range increment, fine quality, enhanced rifling, and sights upgrades, exotic single handed firearm). Each firearm is crafted for the warden specifically and his Kussethian identification number is etched into the metal in multiple places on the firearm. The duster is usually brown leather and has plates of metal sewn into it and comes in two varieties, heavy (+4 AC,  +4 max Dexterity bonus, no check penalty, 20% spell failure, 20 ft. movement, masterwork and custom fit upgrades, don or remove as a move action, medium armor) and light (+3 AC, +5 max Dexterity bonus, no check penalty, 15% spell failure, 30 ft. movement, masterwork and custom fit upgrades, don or remove as a move action, light armor). The duster is also made for each warden specifically. The wolf-iron breaching axe is a sturdy, long-handled handaxe with a wolf-iron head with a hollow cavity full of mercury (1d8 damage, 20/x4, mercury filled upgrade, ignores object hardness of less than 20, martial two-handed weapon). Typically, as the name indicates, these axes are used for breaching doorways. The standard process is to flip the axe around and swing it hard into a a door with the back of the head impacting right above the locking mechanism. It is rarely used in combat situations, but there is no rule regulating its use. Some wardens opt to cut down the axe's handle, resulting in a shorter hatchet that can be more readily used in melee while still having a bit of capability for breaching a door (damage reduced to 1d6, martial one-handed melee weapon). 

The station house for a district is typically a small 40 ft. by 40 ft. by 10 ft. fortress made of reinforced brick walls and a reinforced wolf-iron door. It usually consists of an armory full of ammunition and tools for weapon and armor repair, a basement with cells and a wall safe, small kitchen area with an icebox and stove and cabinets for food supplies, a desk for reviewing reports and such, a telegraph station, and a cot. The station houses are designed to house a warden if necessary while acting as a defensible position in the event of invading armies or rioters. Most wardens have their actual residences within a short walk of the station house. The contents of the armory varies from warden to warden and depends on the warden's skillset and those of the other wardens that have served there and how much looting the wardens stationed there have done in their time of service. It also depends on how often requisitioned special supplies like flash grenades and pocket lightning projectors get "lost" or "used" or "stolen" while pursuing a case. The basement wall safe usually stores evidence and a relatively small petty cash to be used for bribes and informants and such. Depending on the age of the station house, there will also be either writing supplies for keeping logs and reports or a typewriter for the same. 

Are there different types of wardens? How are they organized? So we have the youth gangs and the Warden Auxiliary Force at the bottom of the hierarchy. Above them are the regular wardens, the guy or guys in control of a district. I say guy, but there are lady wardens two. All Kusseth ultimately cares about is getting the job done. Doesn't matter if you've got a dick or tits (or both in the case of some Fell Humans and really icky sorcerers). Above wardens are senior wardens. These guys are kind of overseers, typically with at least a decade of experience. They oversee a ward, which consists of six districts. Each warden in the six districts in the ward reports to the senior warden. The senior warden is kind of their commanding officer, he reads their reports and requisitions and such. He calls the review board for actions they perform that he deems review is necessary. He reviews and reports on budget issues, deals with issues affecting the whole ward such as organized crime and illegal immigrants and such. As you move up the chain of command, the job is basically that of the senior wardens, just on a larger scale. Above the senior wardens are the warden captains, and they oversee a great ward, which is a collection of six wards. Above the warden captains are the chief wardens, and they oversee a major ward, which is a collection of six great wards (see a pattern?). Above the chief wardens is the Lord Warden of the City. This position only exists in Kusseth City and is one of the spots on the council of the twelve Lords of Kusseth. The Lord Warden of the City guides the policies of law and order for the entire city, he tries to snag as much of he country's budget as he can (though whether or not he uses all of it for issues related to keeping law and order is up for debate). 

So, if we look at Kusseth City itself, we have 922 districts and figure it has to be close to a thousand wardens. We have 153 wards (one with only 4 districts), and thus 153 senior wardens. We have 26 great wards (one with only 3 wards) and 26 warden captains. We end up with 4 major wards (one with only 2 great wards), and one Lord Warden of the City. I have no idea if this is remotely feasible to keep law and order. I have no idea if a walled city that is thirty miles on each side is remotely feasible either, but fuck, this is Pathfinder. 

In addition to these wardens, there are specialty wardens. The most utilized kind are the wardens errant. These guys are at about the same rank as wardens, but their hierarchy is broken down by sixes similar to the way it is in the cities. Six wardens errant report to a senior warden errant, six senior wardens errant report to a warden errant captain, and so on. The chief wardens errant report to the Lord Warden. Wardens errant roam Kusseth's territory as they are needed. Typically they bolster law enforcement in border towns, or are sent to cities that are in need of a replacement warden but haven't received one yet. They are typically stationed in an area with a functioning telegraph or post system and kind of hang out until called into action. They are also used to pursue fugitives that flee a city, but have not garnered the interest of bounty hunters. In rare cases, they pursue fugitives that leave the country. There isn't a hard limit on their numbers, but if records show there are a lot of wardens errant hanging around doing nothing, Kusseth puts a hold on transfers to that division. 

The wardens sorcerous are a specialty group that pursues issues related to sorcery and psionics. They have the same organization system and naming convention as wardens errant, but they are usually only found in major cities. They are of equal rank with wardens of the same rank, except in issues directly related to sorcery. Typically, these wardens possess sorcerous or psionic powers, or an innate resistance to these forces. There are a lot of Vyanth in this branch of the wardens, they tend to have the highest survival rate because of their innate resistance to sorcery. Their numbers are typically limited to one per ward. They don't operate on a district level. Their assistance may also be requested by other divisions, like a warden errant in pursuit of a known sorcerer, for instance. 

Corrections wardens operate Kusseth's prison facilities and oversee penal labor forces. The correction facilities in Kusseth are operated similarly to the cities. It's broken down by number of prisoners instead of districts though, one corrections warden per six prisoners and so on following the hierarchy I've listed before. 

Wardens militant are wardens that operate in Kusseth's military and help to maintain order in armies and such while also supporting them in military actions. Typically they are pulled from whatever branch of the military they are part of. Their ranking system is kind of haphazard and is often based on the traditions of the regiment or the branch of the military and its size and resources. Wardens militant only have jurisdiction within the military branch they are part of, if a criminal flees the regiment or deployment zone, they fall under the jurisdiction of the wardens errant, if they then enter a city, they fall under the jurisdiction of the city's wardens. They also oversee any penal legionairres attached to the regiment.  

I'm sure if I spent a bit of time on it, I could come up with half a dozen other specialty branches of the wardens, but this post is lengthy as is. 

What are the legal powers of the wardens? Kusseth's main method of law enforcement and crime prevention is a system of ever increasing fines and eventual incarceration in labor camps. So basically wardens write tickets and assign fines. The more "illegal" the activity, the higher the fine. For instance, theft results in a fine dependent upon the value of the stolen item. Someone engaging in unlicensed prostitution down an alley is a minor crime, a fine of a few bits. Someone organizing prostitutes and operating an unlicensed brothel would be fined based on a reasonable assessment of their profits. Basically, it breaks down into negligible fines (less than 10 marks), minor fines (less than 100 marks), moderate fines (less than 250 marks), major fines (less than 1000 marks), but that isn't to say that a thousand marks. Ultimately, Kusseth's courts and wardens can fine you however much they want, as long as they can justify it. For most clearly defined crimes there is a legal minimum and maximum a criminal may be fined, with guidelines for increases based on recorded recidivism.

Wardens may also detain suspected criminals and criminals, there aren't any hard and fast guidelines for this, it depends on what the warden can justify before a review board. Chances are, if you're innocent, you'll be out in a few days. If there is strong suspicion of your guilt, you'll likely be there a week or more. If warden can't justify the detainment, a fine based on the length of the detainment is levied against the warden and a note is added to their record. 

Wardens can also commandeer vehicles and equipment at will, as long as they can justify it to their superior or a review board afterwards. If they can't justify it, a review board assesses the value and replaces if it was lost by the warden. If the warden fails to justify it, the warden replaces it out of pocket. If it doesn't get destroyed or broken, it is returned. It should be noted that there is a lengthy wait on reimbursement and a forest of red tape and bored administrative types to get through to be reimbursed. The warden also receives a negligible fine for his trouble, and a note is made about him being a little too happy to take stuff from citizens. The more notes in his record, the higher the fine. 

Wardens can also use force against criminals and suspected criminals as they deem necessary, including lethal force. But again, they have to be able to justify it. If they aren't able to justify it, they receive a moderate fine and a note in their record. More notes equals higher fines. 

Wardens can also question citizens and criminals and suspected criminals at will. Justification is only needed if their questioning is accompanied by detainment or torture. Unjustified torture is fined based on the type of injury the subject sustains. Psychological torture that results in no physical injury gets the warden a minor fine. Torture that results in injury gets a moderate fine. Torture that results in maiming or death results in a major fine. 

Wardens may also ask any individual to present their Kussethian identification tattoo or visitor's pass for inspection without justification. Anyone found to have a fake identification tattoo is immediately detained. Anyone found to have deliberately obscured or altered their identification tattoo is charged a major fee. Wardens can do whatever they want to anyone without an identification tattoo or visitor's pass with impunity, as long as it eventually ends in death or detainment or removal from the country. Non-citizens are non-entities without the proper paperwork behind it, thus they have no standing in the law. It should be noted that if a warden were to kill a lucrative foreign trader that he surprised in the bathroom and said trader left his visitor's pass in the other room, the warden would likely find himself in the labor camps and likely find most of his neighbors to be criminals he is partly responsible for putting there. It should also be said that no wardens of any kind have any sort of jurisdiction over Greyskin Abraxens, and they operate with a sort of diplomatic immunity in Kusseth. 

There is a set rate of increases for fines based on recidivism, with the eventual punishment for constant recidivism, or excessively varied types of fines a citizen has received, being incarceration and forced entry into the penal labor force. Sentences last until the prisoner works off his literal debt to society. The penal labor forces receives the standard wage for whatever task they perform, but their food and supplies and such are deducted from their earnings. The cost of arming, feeding, and bunking penal legionnaires is not deducted from their earnings, and they are paid about half what a Greycoat makes. 

So there is some text on wardens and law and whatnot. I'm not sure it is at all feasible and functional, but whatever. I like it and it is fun to imagine an alternate system of law enforcement, though it isn't exactly completely different from what we use in our world. 

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