Strelock Castle is owned by Duke Strelock and would appear from the outside, for those criminally inclined enough to think of doing such a thing, but it boasts some doughty defences of its own. The moat is deep and wide and surrounds the entire castle, but it has a thick white growth upon its surface that smells slightly chalky in the spring and autumn, and can be a stink if the summer is hot enough. From the towers fly the crimson banners of the Strelock family.
The only formal way across is by a guarded drawbridge that always has a couple of guards on duty at any one time. They are well paid, well disciplined and trained and only spend two hours a day on duty before the shift is changed, so they are very hard to bribe and it is unlikely that you will catch them asleep on duty. Starting a fight with them is a bad idea, as other guards will soon come to help them.
Should one stand on the moat, the spongy growth will allow one to take a few steps upon it before giving way, causing the would-be trespasser to fall into the moat with a loud splash which might or might not alert the guards. The growth is Chokesprout and whilst it is not deadly in itself, it will infect any food supplies, rendering them inedible as tubers sprout from them within hours. It also has a nasty habit of infecting wounds and spreading when scratched, but is unlikely to be deadly unless the affected one is already very ill.
Those who know of the chokesprout growth but still want to break in may find another way across the moat, but another and far deadlier peril awaits them on the other side. Most of the gray slate walls are covered with thick vines that appear to be just the thing to use to help climb into the castle. Those who try such a thing however, may well find that it is the last thing that they ever do, for amongst the plant growth is more then one of the fearsome Dire Vine that tends to eat unwanted trespassers.
Inside the castle has several floors-the servants quarters, the Great Hall where the nobles feast, the Hall of Justice where criminals are tried and if convicted, sentenced, and the private quarters of Duke Strelock. It has servants, cooks, entertainers, 30 Guards and everyone else needed to keep the castle running smoothly. Ornate tapestries cover its walls and in the winter the fireplaces are filled with well tended roaring fires to keep the cold at bay.
Below the floors on the surface, is the extensive wine cellar and the castle dungeon. And below that is another hidden layer, with an Urn Beast waiting to be freed by a footstep in the wrong place, and one or more deadly Mechanical Traps along with one or more Silly traps.
These traps are protecting the greatest treasure of Duke Strelock, worth more to him then all the gold in his strongbox. Her name is Helen, a noble girl from a nearby noble family that is the love of the Dukes life. She has the finest food, clothes, books to read, and almost everything she wants except for her freedom.
On the great feast days he takes her to the Great Hall to show her off, and he often takes her for moonlit walks on the battlements. He spends a lot of time with her, and to an extent she does actually love him. She would love him a lot more of course if he gave her back her freedom, but he is too paranoid to realize that.