Anyone who knows how to use a sword can try for a place in the Stormreach Guard. Your past is irrelevant; all that matters is your willingness to forget past loyalties and to serve the Storm Lords. As a result, the guard is a mixture of ruffians, war criminals and fugitives from the Five Nations, former soldiers still itching for a fight, and a handful of people who actually care about the law. They randomly patrol the streets and are as likely to ignore a crime as they are to intervene.
Guards who do their best to uphold justice find the obstacles in their path daunting. Rampant corruption in the Guard’s upper echelons makes displays of heroics potentially threatening to a guard’s continued employment. By doing their job, these devoted guards put pressure on their fellows to do the same, and the city’s rabble is much easier to dupe when no one steps out of line to help them. Also, busting criminals who paid bribes to higher-ranking guards ensures dire consequences.
The city’s gangs and militias are well aware of the Guard’s boundaries. They know the battlegrounds that guards will leave alone. The Titans might fight the Storm Hammers in the alleys of Dannel’s Pride, but they would never cross blades in the heart of the Marketplace. Common sense is the key to avoiding an encounter with the Stormreach Guard or the Iron Watch; you can brawl freely in Locksmith Square, but keep your sword in its sheath in Respite.