Bas-Lag Wiki

The New Crobuzon Militia are New Crobuzon's police force, secret police, and military. During the events of Perdido Street Station the Militia operate almost exclusively undercover, with the exception of special guards. During the Tesh-New Crobuzon War in Iron Council, the Militia don uniforms and begin operating in the open. Their symbol is a shield, referred to as an escutcheon.


The militia relies on a network of well-paid informants to provide information and to maintain an atmosphere of fear. The ubiquity and anonymity of the informants and their militia handlers is a defining characteristic of New Crobuzon.

Prior to the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, the militia were primarily a secret police that operated without badges or uniforms. After the election of Mayor Eliza Stem-Fulcher, the government instituted a new policy that enabled the militia to operate openly and in uniform.

The militia are based in militia towers that dot New Crobuzon, which effectively function vertical barracks. The towers have aerostats and dirigibles stationed and are equipped with artillery and surveillance devices. Most towers are linked by the skyrails to the Spike, the westernmost militia tower at Perdido Street Station



The defining equipment of the peacetime militia was a dark hood that they would pull over their heads when making an arrest. When assigned to guard sensitive installations, the militia wore dark-gray leather uniforms and mirrored helmets. Some units were equipped with mirrored shields.

During the Construct War, the plainclothes policy was removed in favor of allowing the militia to openly project their presence. This policy was maintained through the subsequent Recession Riots and into the the Tesh-New Crobuzon War; as a result, all militia now wear their regular uniforms, sometimes enhanced by interwoven trow yarns that seem to eat light and excrete darkness at night.

The open-patrol policy has continued under Mayor Triesti in the wake of the attempted uprising by the Collective.


See also: Weapons of Bas-Lag

  • Baton - Most militia in the city proper are equipped with conventional batons.
  • Firearm - Militia are issued pepperpot revolvers as well as longer rifles. They also make use of motor-powered rotary guns and large-bore cannon when necessary
  • Prefabricated golem - Used by the overseas militia, prefabricated golems, or "prefabs", are portable, unfolding weapons made of leather, wire, and metal piping. These golems are capable of flight via their leather wings and skewer their targets with bayonets mounted on thin, extending metal limbs.
  • Rivebow - The Cactacae members of the militia are armed with large rivebows, which fire spinning chakra that are more than capable of severing limbs and torsos.
  • Stingbox - Some members of the Militia are trained in the use of Khepri stingboxes, complicated pieces of equipment that stun or kill their targets with elyctricity.

Military animals[]

The militia use Remade and thaumaturgically-modified animals for a variety of purposes, from troop transports and heavy artillery to riot control.

  • Burncur - An undescribed entity used by the militia in the Tesh-New Crobuzon War. Possibly a kind of fiery attack dog based on the word's etymology.
  • Horse - Remade horses with piston-enhanced legs are used by the elite elementarii.
  • Ictineo - Massive Remade whale sharks used to transport companies of militia under the sea. They are abandoned after landfall.
  • Men o' War - Modified floating jellyfish used by the militia for riot control. Men o' War are feared for their neurotoxin-covered tentacles and feature control sticks and saddles fused into their tops.
  • Nashorn - Used by the overseas militia during the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, Remade nashorns were two stories tall and clad in iron armor. Nashorns were armed with a rear-mounted gun platform and enhanced with neck-pistons and horns that had been modified into drillbits.
  • Tracking dogs - Remade hounds with "hugely enlarged" olfactory centres, "doughy and distended" crania, tiny eyes, and nostrils that have been dilated and set into mobile flesh similar to a pig's. Their preternatural senses are further enhanced with thaumaturgical equipment that allows them to track prey across entire continents.


Only a few militia ranks are known. Prior to the reorganization under Stem-Fulcher, one rank was colonel-informer. Other ranks include captain, captain-thaumaturge, and captain-informer.


At least some miltia informants are recruited with blackmail, although they are also well-paid for their service. Informants report to militia handlers with varying frequency: some "freelance" informants may only report once or twice a year, and sometimes not for several years.

Military units[]

  • Perdidae - A specialized unit of Militia who are charged with guarding Perdido Street Station.
  • Clypean Guard - An elite unit charged with guarding major political figures in New Crobuzon, including the mayor. They are famous for their oath, "I see and hear only what the Mayor and my charges allow me to".
  • Overseas Militia - The general name for the militia units that serve overseas, such as during the Tesh-New Crobuzon War.

Occupational specializations[]

  • Thaumaturges - Militia thaumaturges are usually attached to regular Militia units. The Elementarii, an elite unit of Militia thaumaturges, is organized into its own units and deployed independently.
    • Elementarii - An elite unit of thaumaturges who are able to control the fickle and deadly elementals. They are equipped with gnoscourges and advanced thaumaturgical devices for summoning legendary elementals of incredible power.
    • Karcists - A specialized order of thaumaturges who deal with demons. While most karcists are unaffiliated with the militia, there are a few who are active in combat.

Known Miltia and Informants[]