A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

26 April 2010

Mini Map Monday: The Ruined Watchtower of Al'Makhor

Behold, the Ruined Watchtower of Al'Makhor!

Click here for .pdf.

The Watchtower of Al'Makhor stood for a half-century on the Western Border, overlooking the Plains of Gaensa. Alone atop a desolate hill, the Watchtower was the first and critical obstacle facing any barbarian incursion from the Gaensan wilderness. Even though the tower itself was only three floors high, each floor was fifteen feet in height; from the hill-top, the tower owned a commanding view in every direction. The signal fires set upon the roof of the tower provided sufficient warning that no Gaensan incursion ever succeeded.

The walls of the watchtower and adjoining outpost are reinforced stone nearly three feet in thickness, broken only by arrow slits placed at irregular intervals. The skills of Al'Makhor's men combined with the strength of stone gave the watchtower the reputation of "unbreakable." In the first five years of its existence it rebuffed twenty-seven major assaults and countless minor scouting attempts. General Al'Makhor became the most decorated leader in the history of the land of Dimal. Many said he was next in line for the throne, as King J'yai and Queen Eliphex were childless.

And then came Gronth Knockstone.

Ten years ago, the giant appeared one morning, stopping just at the limit of bow-shot. Al'Makhor's men scrambled to battle readiness upon the walls. The survivors say that the giant stood and stared with malice at the watchtower for an hour, pacing back and forth around the tower and outpost. At the end of the hour, the giant called down great magic and caused a huge snake to appear. The snake attacked Al'Makhor's men who fought valiantly, but the arrows and spears would not pierce the beast's scales. Many brave men fell to the venom and hunger of the vile creature.

Once the defenses of the watchtower were sufficiently weakened, the giant waded into battle. Boulders flew and mortar shattered. Bricks and stones rained down upon Al'Makhor and his men. The General was struck and killed by a section of the outpost's roof falling on him. The Generals' demise broke the morale of his few remaining men; they seized their first opportunity to flee.

Much of the watchtower and the outpost remains standing, although the floors are littered with stones and debris, making walking a treacherous proposition. Some of the broken walls remain standing amid the rubble, varying in height from 5 feet to 1 foot in places. Some of the second floor remains, as does a portion of the roof-- accessible through a trap door by a ladder--although the signal fire pit has fallen into the first floor debris. Many of the interior rooms remain in excellent condition, although several doors are blocked by bricks and stone. It is uncertain what treasures, supplies, or equipment may remain in the watchtower: the few survivors suggest that there was at least one significant magic item held in safe-keeping in the watchtower, as well as precious metals and gems recovered over the years from Gaensan bandits. General Al'Makhor employed at least one wizard; it is possible that the wizard's spellbooks may still be within the ruins.

One thing is for sure: anything left by Al'Makhor's troops when the giant attacked is likely still there. The giant made his lair near the ruins; looters and treasure seekers are no match for a territorial giant.

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