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Ironhall

Copyright © 2001 by Bob Hall

Return to Adelfarn

Introduction

The bastion of Ironhall began many centuries ago as a stone keep built upon an outcropping of sandstone in the north portion of the town of Adelfarn. When the keep was destroyed during a particularly nasty siege, it was decided to build a reinforced citadel in the same location. The top of the outcropping was leveled to provide training grounds and the cylindrical structure known as Ironhall was built atop the peak.

Ironhall is made from rock that is magically fused together to withstand even magical attacks. The wall at the base is at least ten feet thick, with three stories plus a large cellar and dungeon complex. This proved adequate to withstand over four centuries of attacks against the town.

In time a stone barracks was built next to Ironhall to house the guards, aides, and lower officers. The barracks were built as a self-contained fortification with the same magically fused rocks as the main citadel. Later an outer wall was added to protect the yard and to provide a safe haven for the town folk.

Ground Floor

The main gate consists of two reinforced oak double-doors separated by a portcullis. Murder holes in the ceiling allow arrows and burning oil to be poured down on anybody who breaks through the first gate. In the inner court are the stables, a small smithy, and the entrances to the ironhall, the barracks, and the three towers. There is also a cistern well that catches rainfall thanks to an ingenious system of pipes connected to the building roofs.

The entrance to the Ironhall follows an S-shaped stairway, making it easier to defend. There is also a swinging stone door and an arrow slit to block and cut down any invaders. The center of the first floor contains the Great Hall, with a large fire pit and two semi-circular tables facing each other. There is also a kitchen, larder, and the primary armory. Stairways lead up to the first floor and down to the cellar.

At the north end of the outer wall is a postern that serves as a sally port.

First Floor

The first floor of the barracks hall is the main sleeping area for the guards. There are rows of double bunks with a shared foot locker at the foot of each bed. Located next to the staircase leading down to the first floor is a storage area for the guards use, as well as spare arms and crossbow bolts.

The Ironhall contains a modest chapel with shrines to the three gods commonly worshipped in Adelfarn. There is a modest guest quarters as well as the captain's suite. A stone hatch can seal off the stairway leading up from the ground floor, and an arrow slit in the privy allows any blocked invaders to be shot. In the guard post, a trap door leads down to the secret room behind the kitchen. This allows invaders to be surprised from behind.

The gatehouse is accessed by ladders leading down from the top of the wall. Here there is a winch to raise and lower the portcullis. There are also murder holes and supplies for assaulting any invaders. The top story of the stables contains a hay loft and a winch for hoisting up the horses' provisions.

Second Floor

The second floor of the ironhall contains the office of the quartermaster, a supply room, and a station hall for the current watch officer. From the quartermaster's quarters a spiral staircase leads up to the large attic storage area. A corridor runs around the outside of the fortress, allowing bowmen unobstructed access to the arrow slits.

Passages lead out to the barracks and the gate tower, and the walkway follows the wall perimeter with crenellations on both sides. In the barracks is a sleeping area for more of the guard, plus a watch room for on duty guards to keep warm in between their patrols. There are two utility rooms with mobile siege equipment, such as pots for boiling oil or lead and rocks for hurling down on attackers. In the center of the building is a ladder leading up to the low ceiling attic.

At the center of the three wall towers is a column supporting a firing cupola. This rotating cupola contains an arbalest and racks of munitions. These are primarily intended for use against flying creatures attacking the fortress. A ladder is used to enter the cupola from the tower roof.

Cellar and Dungeon

From the ground floor, a staircase leads down into the cellar. The servants quarters are located here, along with the steward and the cook. In the center is a locked ale room which contains barrels and bottles of various beverages. From the cellar a twisting staircase leads down to the dungeon. About halfway down is a gated entry to a one-way staircase leading down into the underwarrens. The staircase is magically trapped to make it appear infinite when travelling upstairs unless a certain sequence of steps are followed.

The dungeon contains a guard room to protect the fortress strong room and the cells for the prisoners. There is a holding cell for securing temporary prisoners, including prisoners of war. Beyond the dungeon cells is a little used torture chamber that is primarily employed for extracting information from outside invaders.

At the bottom of each tower in the outer wall is a storage chamber that contains enough supplies to make it self-sufficient for a few days.