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What to arm a City Watch with?

Recently listening to a session of ‘Douglas and Dragons’ there was an encounter with the City Watch. This got me thinking what should a City Watch or other fantasy pseudo-medieval police force be armed with?

Obviously it depends on your government the ‘Evil Overlord’ is probably quite happy to arm his watch with roman style shields and short swords to chop up unruly townsfolk. Add a few ogres with two handed swords to glare at folks passing the palace and ballista on watch towers and you might say ‘job done.’

Pratchett's Guards series are a classic City Watch

Pratchett’s Guards series are a classic City Watch

However for more benign even ‘lawful good’ countries the equipment of the city watch must be proportionate and able to be used to restrain as well as dispatch troublemakers.

The Gold cloaks of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones

Game of Throne’s Gold Cloaks are a ruthless City Watch

In my ‘Captains of Atlantis’ game the Vigilants or City police had gladius style short swords which had heavy rounded scabbards they were strapped into. The Vigilants could detach the scabbard from their belt and use it strapped to the hilt of their sword like a heavy club. Or they could unclip the bindings and have a lethal short sword pulled from their scabbard if needed.VIGILANTS OF ATLANTIS

Vigilants - Atlantean Police

Vigilants – Atlantean Police

I understand Japanese police used to use ‘Sais’ which enable swords to be caught and then the wielder disarmed.




Alternatively it’s struck me that the axe is a handy weapon – the stave can be used to beat opponents and potentially for choke holds and similar like a modern day nightstick. It can be used as a tool to gain access to buildings or chop down obstructions or create fireblocks. The blde provides lethal options for when the situation merits.

Finally the crossbow seems common as a police weapon in fantasy settings– obviously it can be carried loaded, requires minimal training and mirrors modern firearms in dramatic stand-offs. However lassos, bolas and sling seem to be plausible alternatives.

Certainly there seems to be more options than the polearm or spear carrying City Watch stereotype would suggest – what do you think?


One comment on “What to arm a City Watch with?

  1. Good call Kehaar ! I agree a Lawful Good watch would be armed with lots of non-lethal weapons like a bola, a net and trident combination, shuriken with a sleepy time drug, caltrops to slow down runners, short staff and the sai are a great idea !

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