Forest/ Jungle
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ID: 6575


December 15, 2011, 8:38 pm

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The Walls of Brightblade Keep



"Matron of the Sword, to you we gather.
This day we offer you our brother
For his service to you in life has ended
And now is the time for service eternal.
Take him into your Hold, our Lady
And let his faith stand testimony forever."


In centuries far past, age fell upon the frame of the Holy Warrior's son, even though he bore the sword imprinted with Her eternal soul. And as he felt the time of his passing coming upon him, he gazed out upon Her keep from its highest tower, and he pondered. He was but a pale shadow of his mother, who had taken up the golden blade proffered by the gods, and driven the minions of the Foul One from this land, he knew, but there was still service he could offer. He had drawn plans for the defense of that blade, and of the seal against the demons, a mountain erected by men, who would live within it. But mere stone alone could not hold forever. Something more was needed. 
The eldest of the Hellschwert line descended into the depths of the keep, and knelt then, his knees creaking with augue as he did, and prayed before the Holy Blade. When the words had finished echoing throughout his soul, he adjourned again to that high tower, and called forth the priests and the magi, and ordered them to build, and left them instructions. 
For six months they prayed and worked their spells, and as he expired, the old king laid himself down upon the bier that they had made for him before the Bright Blade. And as he did so, a cold flame of pale green leapt from the Blade to his body, and it consumed his body, until it was naught but ashes. And taking up the ashes, his sons and daughters blended it through the mortar that would build the great walls that had begun to take shape. And when they expired, and their sons and daughters, and their sons and daughter, and all the descendants of the Holy Lady were brought forth to the bier, and their ashes were used to build the Keep of the Bright Blade. 
Then, after many years came the orcs of the Northern mountains against the Keep, and against the walls themselves, no engine, nor any dark magics could prevail, though they shook the earth and split the sky in their efforts to free their dark masters from the prison in which the Lady had sealed them. And then, at last, after months of siege, through stealth and treachery, they stole into the sacred keep, and threw open the gates thereof. Standing tall in that same tower that his forefather had looked out over the keep from, King Lyle II raised the golden blade, and called out to his ancestors. And from the walls themselves they came, first as filmy phantasms, then at last as glowing figures of themselves, and set they upon the invaders, and smote them down with sacred might, until at last, with many sorely wounded, and yet more expired, the fell beasts fled, until not even traces of them could be found, and nevermore set against the Brightblade keep. 

An ancient city and castle, the Brightblade keep is unique in the world for being a man-made mountain, erected over millennia. A maze of rock walls many hundreds of feet high, each wall more hundreds of feet thick, the city itself is carven into those walls, so that nothing exists that is not a part of a defense of the central keep. While that maze is, itself, a trap designed to permit the easy slaughter of entire armies from within the city, it is not the sheer mass of the walls, nor the confounding architecture that is its final defense. 
Rather, the bodies of all the descendants of the Holy Lady who founded the keep are mystically burned upon a sacred pyre, be it there in the keep, or at any of the smaller holds they have established through the lands, and those ashes are incorporated in the walls. Any living descendant of the Lady may call their spirits to the defense of the city, so long as they bear her sword, and have been accepted by it. Once they answer that call, the spirits will do their forthmost to destroy the invaders by might and magic, with all the abilities they had in life, augmented by their incorporeal bodies, and the blessings of the Lady.  
Furthermore, their presence, and their faith, reinforces the walls far beyond the normal for stone and mortar - truly powerful magic would be needed to breach them without treachery. As well, they suffuse the tunnels throughout the walls with a soft, dim light, and in winter, a quiet warmth, just enough to blunt the edge of the dark and twisted corridors could otherwise bring against the minds of the inhabitants thereof.  

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Comments ( 10 )
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Siren no Orakio
December 15, 2011, 20:40

Originally created for the AuR game, this was the ancestral home of Adan Hellschwert. I've genericized it by leaving most of the names out, and adding the cliche demon-seal as a reason to have the castle. 

Voted Agar
December 16, 2011, 4:12

Great submission. Very evocotive descriptions of its creation and purpose, the dedication of the people's very being into it's existance. Only critique would be that is would be almost too powerful to put into the same scene as the players. If this was to fall into the plot the pc's were in, what purpose could it serve either for or against them?

Siren no Orakio
December 16, 2011, 7:40

In the AuR game, before it fell into stasis, the 'worthy' heirs were scattered to the winds, and the viper of treason was rearing its head. The princeling PC that theoretically had the blood to activate the city was banished for fratricide (that he was truly guilty of), and the city was already under siege, by forces that included demons who might be able to breach the walls - led by one of the PC's brothers. Thus, the objective for the PCs was to: Deliver at least one of the family that the ancestral sword would accept as true enough to the heart of the keep. Doing so would involve collecting them from around the kingdom, including at least one imprisoned by enemy forces, while evading enemy forces, and at the same time, playing the game of politics well enough to keep the friendly lords from summarily executing the PC prince.

Something like this is not to just 'fall into' the hands of the PC - to enter the city would be the climax of the arc. Then the PC gets pinned behind the dilemma of taking the sword with him... or leaving it behind, each of which he has powerful motivations to do.

December 16, 2011, 8:30

Also, PCs being usually dynamic, having a safe haven is not broken in itself. "I never leave my castle!" "OK, nothing happens."

Voted Cheka Man
December 16, 2011, 10:49

A nice place. What if one of the castle owners ended up as an Urn Beast ?

Voted Dragonlordmax
December 16, 2011, 11:07

I like it - it's an interesting "impenetrable fortress" that could be good as a major feature of a campaign world. I kind of agree with Agar in that it's a bit hard to imagine how the players would really interact with the castle. Your response to his comment is a great example, and sounds like a good plot arc, but I would have liked a few more plot hooks, I guess.

Voted Chaosmark
December 17, 2011, 11:32

I'll agree mildly with the plot hooks comment, but I think this castle and it's story add significant depth to a world, even if the PCs never set eyes upon it's walls.

Voted valadaar
December 19, 2011, 14:12

 I like seeing part of AuR alive here. Man I miss that thread.


This is an excellent submission on its one - I do like supermassive castles!

Siren no Orakio
December 19, 2011, 17:52
I was REALLY looking forwards to rumbling Vorodon around in here.
Voted angryscotsman93
December 27, 2011, 22:38

... Holy moly, this is some hard-core stuff. That'd be good to put into the magitek setting I'm working on. Essentially, Earth is destroyed by nuclear war, and the survivors of the human population of Earth travel through a number of portals to invade what is, essentially, a fantasy world populated by the standard-issue races ( orcs, elves, humans, dwarves, etc.). After a long, horrifically bloody series of wars known as the Exodus Wars, the invading Coalition of Democratic Nations, and its rival organization, the Pan-Asian Alliance, have conquered great portions of the world, and have begun the process of bringing technology to the newly-ravaged world. However, huge portions of the globe are still left up for grabs, as some tech (mainly military) ends up in the hands of various third-world tyrants and monarchs, and a cold war begins between the CDN and PAA. In essence, a near-future Magitek setting.

They way I see it, this fortress is the capital of a human kingdom that is highly resistant to both of the main empires, and has been involved in an especially brutal war against the Coalition Marine Corps and its troops. Recently, though, the Marines have managed to push the enemy forces back into their fortress, and have laid siege to the fortress itself. However, a problem has come up- no matter how much ordnance the Marine artillery launches at the fortress walls, the walls simply will not fall. The Marine's mages have deduced that the walls have been heavily augmented with enchantments, and have decided that the only way to get into the fortress is to either take the walls by storm (which could lead to horrifying casualties), or to send elite teams of personnel into the crypts beneath the city to emerge on the inside, overwhelm the main gate, and let in the Marine infantry. However, while the mages knew of the 'enchantments' made to the walls, they did not know about how these enchantments were created- nor of the vengeful ghost army that could be called upon by the castle's lord.

Qeue the players being sent into the catacombs, wherein the game would turn into a survival-horror race to the gates while being pursued by nigh-unstoppable spirits in an attempt to see the mission through to completion and survive.


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