[RPG] Could a lone wizard act as a city’s law enforcement


A sufficiently powerful wizard could singlehandedly wipe a city off the map, but what if they wanted to settle down and maintain the public order instead? Could a single high-level wizard feasibly completely replace any other form of law enforcement in a large city?

Estimating the city's population at 300,000 people (the population of Carthage in 1000 CE) and taking a simple 80-20 ratio for level and class (rounded to the nearest integer) results in the following distribution:

\text{Level} & \text{Percentage} & & \text{Population} & \text{NPC Class} & \text{Full Class} \\ \hline
1 & 80.0000000\% & \approx & 240000 & 192000 & 48000 \\
2 & 16.0000000\% & \approx & 48000 & 38400 & 9600 \\
3 & 3.2000000\% & \approx & 9600 & 7680 & 1920 \\
4 & 0.6400000\% & \approx & 1920 & 1536 & 384 \\
5 & 0.1280000\% & \approx & 384 & 307 & 77 \\
6 & 0.0256000\% & \approx & 77 & 62 & 15 \\
7 & 0.0051200\% & \approx & 15 & 12 & 3 \\
8 & 0.0010240\% & \approx & 3 & 2 & 1 \\
9 & 0.0002048\% & \approx & 1 & 1 & 0 \\
10+ & 0.0000512\% & \approx & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ \hline
& \text{Total:} && 300000 & 240000 & 60000

Assume those top four individuals all sit comfortably in positions of prestige and have no interest in crime, so the highest level a criminal might conceivably be is level 7 (a very rare scandal) or level 6 (still relatively rare).

The wizard is a Lawful Good Universalist and has class levels only in wizard. They can be assumed to have PC Level Wealth befitting their level, and any gear or items such wealth could purchase. One obvious purchase for example being a ring of sustenance, for longer active hours protecting the city. There's no restriction (except wealth) on what they can have to start, but they can't leave the city to purchase items elsewhere in the long run, so restocking is limited to what can be produced by the above level distribution and whatever the wizard can craft themselves. Their yearly salary is 1500 gp.

They may summon creatures to assist them temporarily, but may not take Leadership, Monstrous Companion, or anything else that would give them a permanent, intelligent assistant beyond a familiar.

With these conditions, is it possible for such a wizard to singlehandedly maintain at least the same standard of law that a normal city would enjoy, and if so, what's the lowest level they could reliably do so? (I'm not looking for a detailed build. An educated estimate with justification is sufficient.)

Note: For the purposes of this question, you can ignore any external influence on the city, such as rampaging monsters from outside, or pesky adventurers that break the mold.

Best Answer

I believe the answer would be no, and here's why:

I firmly agree with the statement "No major crime committed would go unpunished." Major crimes being public manslaughter, openly aggressive acts of vandalism/robbery, kidnappings, or the like. This is due to two factors. 1: Most persons capable of committing these crimes would likely realize who and what they'd be facing, and so a good number of them simply wouldn't commit said crimes. 2: the wizard does what a wizard does.

I do not agree with said wizard being able to enforce the law the way a fully staffed guard corps would be able to, as there are an unending parade of petty crimes happening that he'd never be able to keep up with. He's a powerful wizard, but he's not omniscient (while he may have scrying magic, they don't last forever, and they don't cover an entire city OR able to see everything clearly at once) and he's not omnipresent (while he'd likely have teleportation magic, he doesn't have an endless number of spell slots to use them).

I believe he'd do great things in dropping a city's crime rate (Khelben Blackstaff did wonders reducing Waterdeeps magical disturbances when he moved in, for instance) but I don't think he'd be able to replace the guards. Too much ground, and not able to keep up with "my neighbor kicked my dog" and "but she let her dog in my yard first!" type pettiness."

Smallest city is hard to determine, but I'd say a few thousand or so. A few thousand citizens is enough that crime rate is low enough to personally intervene and be able to replace the guards, but the citizenry is also probably docile enough to not have much crime anyway.

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