This is the entrance to the city of Kestidel for new immigrants. It is a fortified tower located outside of the city walls. The Ellis is a loud and noisy place were many different languages could be heard spoken. It is the gateway to the city of Kestidel where its new population registers as citizens, owning land and paying taxes, or as workers for the factories.
The Ellis is located outside of the city to help control the flow of immigrants into the city. Because of its location outside of the city it must also be defensible from Orcen tribes raiding the city. But at the same time it must serve its main purpose as the official entrance to the city.
The Ellis is named such for another similar facility in the capitol. The Isle is named Ellis. So everywhere they have a similar facility, they are called Ellises.
The building itself has two parts, The Line and The Tower.
The Line is a long, long main room. It is nine times longer than wide, and it is about seven meters wide. The main doors are thick, heavy, and guarded at all times. There is a long low wall running the length of The Line. Along each wall there are tables. Each table has a functionary that performs some part of the bureaucratic process. For those functionaries that search people or do “exams”, they have tri-fold screens to provide some modicum of privacy. There is a long low wall running down the center of the main room. (Of course you often have to see someone on “the other side”, so you have to go against the flow to get back to the front, then argue with the functionary to let you go up the other side… then wait in line to reach him… then redo the process to get back to your proper place). The very end has a HUGE desk - The Roles. It is here that your “tenative citizenship” is recorded and your chip/ papers are generated. Behind this huge desk is a blocking wall. It has the stairs that lead up to the tower.
The walls of the Ellis are decorated with carvings and sculpture proclaiming the might of the city. Many of the scenes on the relief panels depict important battles in which the cityâ€™s troops were victorious. It also includes some obscure references to certain non military historical events as well.
The Tower is a round, five levels high, tower, topped with a pewter dome. The various levels of the tower hold administrative offices for the Ellis. The Magistrate’s main office is actually here, since it is a Government Building, rather than a City Building. The Tower also has several store rooms of supplies and arms, should the Ellis be besieged.
Under the stairs that lead up to the tower, there is a little door which leads to downward stairs. The door is easy to miss and seems to have been offuscated. Here the archives are kept.
As additional support for the Ellis, the top floor houses Gryphon riders who do long range reconnaissance missions to spot invading orcs.
Note: Why is this place called Ellis? It served as the chief immigration point into the city as refugees and player characters came into the city. For Americans, most people instantly recognized what the building was and what it was like. Most people have never seen Ellis Island in real life, nor will we ever be able to experience it the way it was when it was still operating, but most Americans will have an instant understanding of what it is. You can mentally see new immigrants to America moving through incomprehensible lines, being poked and prodded, scared of doing something wrong, speaking foreign languages. That’s the mental image this location should produce.
New players/ character’s first experiences in a campaign should be through the Ellis. It should be a collectively horrible experiences, a right of passage into the campaign. Every player should go through the experience because it is scary, and because successfully completing the immigration process was viewed, as a player was actually entitled to play with his comrades that had gone before. By using such “modern” names I hope that you will be able to transpose the known into the fantastic.