Go to Arcane Magics      Go to Epic MysteriesGo to Game Mechanics     Go to Greyhawk Locations
Maldin's Greyhawk

Melkotia Castle

The New Guard Tower

by Denis Tetreault
 Version 1.1


The New Guard Tower was constructed by Lord Arabis Melkotia I over a two and a half year period from 461 to 463 CY as a means of significantly increasing the defensive capabilities of Melkotia Castle. The tower did not originally have the rather unique demonic stone skull attached to its front. That feature was added by Marchanter Melkotia in 520-521 CY. The tower itself can only be approached from directly forward, as the tower, and the road leading up to it, is perched on a relatively narrow ridge.

The most interesting feature of the New Guard Tower is the internal spiral ramp that lifts people entering the castle from ground level up one floor to the bridge that crosses a chasm over to the Old Guard Tower and Barracks building. Any individuals attempting to storm the castle would find themselves cut off from outside assistance and trapped inside a highly defended shooting gallery as they attempted to climb the ramp. Maneuvering siege engines and battering rams up the ramp would be very difficult under fire, as would the 90 degree turn at the top through the portcullis and onto the bridge. In times of normal operation, a specially constructed horse-drawn cart (see Level 4) designed to easily compensate for both the curvature and slope of the ramp is used to lift bulky items to the top, where it is offloaded onto normal carts. Smaller horse-drawn carts have little trouble negotiating the ramp. The tower is completely of stone construction, with a slate roof, making it essentially impervious to fire.

When Marchanter built the skull attached to the tower, there was method to his apparent madness. The skull is essentially a siege platform, something that was lacking from the original design of the tower. No less then two ballistas and two catapults can be simultaneously operated on this level. This is possible through both eyes of the skull because the ballistas in front use direct fire, while the catapults behind use arcing fire. Numerous locations within the skull for archers and crossbowmen also afford complete coverage of the inside of the skull, the inside of the tower, and the relatively narrow approach in front of the skull.

Most people believe the castle to be abandoned, however the Sons of Marchanter actually hold the New Guard Tower and the next building, the Old Guard Tower and Barracks. While they do not have as many troops here as there were when the castle was still actively occupied, the defensive nature of the New Guard Tower is so formidable that even with their limited manpower, it would be very difficult for anyone with less then a full siege-capable force to take the tower. This is just as well, since much of the Sons' defensive efforts are actually directed inwards, towards the rest of the castle, and not outwards towards the front of the castle. On average, there are generally 20 Sons occupying the ground level led by at least a 7th level leader, and at least 15 more on the seige level. Remember that all Sons of Marchanter are double-classed. Also, while the outer-planar creature infestation of the main castle cannot reach the New Guard Tower, there were at last count at least two special familiars (an imp and a quasit) trapped in the tower and now consider it home. Keep in mind that any PC with a non-prime-plane special familiar will be in for a big surprise when they leave the tower (in either direction).

If you are not using Melkotia Castle in your campaign, DM's are of course welcome to use the tower description for your own devious campaign purposes and come up with your own history and locations.

Level 1 - Ground Level

New Guard Tower Level 11.  Skull Entry

Anyone entering Melkotia Castle must enter the mouth of the giant stone skull at this level. Against the back of the skull is a massive iron gate. Numerous arrow slits have clear view of the entire interior of the skull from Levels 2 and 3.

2.  Main Gate

The main gate is a massive, magically reinforced, iron portcullis which can be raised or lowered only from the winch room on Level 3. Numerous arrow slits cover the area immediately behind the gate.

3.  Ramp

From here, the spiral ramp rises up and around the interior of the tower. Dozens of small trap doors in the floor of Level 3 allow arrow and crossbow coverage of the entire length of the ramp. The ramp has a missing section above area 2 (See Level 2).

4.  Front Office

This is the main office from which the Gate Keeper and Captain of the Tower Guard operated. Meticulous records were kept of all comings and goings from the castle, as well as records of materials. All shipments were inspected by assistants. The Sons have looked through many of the record books, and there are always several Sons here continuing to read through them, taking notes. These mind-deadeningly boring ledgers record that for the most part the constant flow of supplies that passed through these gates were the standard fair that one would expect for a large castle that contained hundreds of people. Periodically, one finds a record of more interesting fair, such as crates of arcane reagents and supplies, weapons shipments, and boxes of books. In fact, over the years Marchanter had hundreds of crates of books shipped to the castle! Thousands of books in total collected by hundreds of hirelings.

   a.  Storage and bathroom

5.  Inner Office

The Gate Keeper's office contains a finely crafted solid oak desk, and numerous shelves shelves filled with record books.

6.  Guard Room

The guard rooms on this level contain weapon racks, benches, chairs and a few tables for numerous on-duty guards. Arrow slits afford complete coverage of area 2.

7.  Armory

Weapons and armor were stored here for the guards posted on this level. The bulk of the extra weapons were stored on the upper levels, however, in case the lower level did fall into enemy hands.

8.  Guard Room

Same as Room 6.

Level 2 - Ramp Level

New Guard Tower Level 29.  Inner Lift Bridge

Controlled from the winch room on Level 3, the ramp bridge can be quickly lifted to the ceiling of this level. Also visible at this level are the cables and tracks along the wall that the main portcullis slides up into when the main gate is opened (again, winches for this are on Level 3).

10.  Inner Gate

This heavy, magically reinforced, iron portcullis bars the way to the bridge that leads to the Old Guard Tower. The winch for this gate is on Level 3. A thick iron door leads to stairs up to the winch room on Level 3.

11.  Bridge to the Old Guard Tower

This open bridge, rebuilt when the New Guard Tower was constructed, can be fired upon from arrow slits on Levels 3 and 4 of the New Guard Tower, as well as from the Old Guard Tower.

12.  Archery Station

This area can only be accessed from Level 3. Arrow slits along the walls allow archers to fire into both the skull and the ramp areas of the tower. Racks on the walls hold extra missile weapons and ammunution, as well as sonces for igniting flaming arrows.

Level 3 - Seige LevelNew Guard Tower Level 3

13.  Winch Room

This large room houses the winches for both portcullis' (Areas 2 and 10) and the ramp lift bridge (Area 9). A large panel in the center of the floor can be removed, allowing the main lift winch to lower a platform carrying seige weapons, supplies, or the spiral cart all the way down to ground level. Dozens of locations all around the winch room floor have small trap doors that can be lifted off. From these holes, as well as from the lift shaft, arrows and boiling oil can be rained down upon any attacker attempting to climb the spiral ramp below. Oil poured onto the ramp would make it particularly difficult for attackers to storm the castle, especially when a torch is them dropped upon it.

14.  Storage Room

This room contains seige weapon missiles, spare parts, hand weapons, lead ingots, barrels of oil, and other equipment required to maintain and repair the various weapons found here. Also stored within this room are weaponry and ammunition for the archers and crossbowman that were stationed on this level.

15.   Storage Room

This room contains spare parts for all the winches, as well as rope, chains, hooks and other related equipment required for the maintenance and repair of all winches in the New Guard Tower.

16.   Seige Room

Stationed in this room are 2 catapults and 2 ballistas. Also found here are lead ingots, a cauldron and small furnace for melting lead. Near the furnace is a funnel-shaped hole in the floor for pouring molten lead or burning oil out of the nostrils of the skull. Continous Light lanterns hang inside the "eye sockets". Steps lead down into Area 12 on each side of the room.

    16a. Archery pits for firing inside the skull area. The pits are approximately 4 feet lower then the rest of the room, and accessed by short steps along the side. Racks of bows, crossbows and ammunution are along the wall. A small locked cabinet in each pit contains arrows tipped with liquid-filled glass bulbs. When the glass bulbs are smashed, they release a heavy gas (save at -4 or lose consciousness for 1d4 turns).

Level 4 - Main Winch

New Guard Tower Level 4

17.  Main Lift Winch and Storage

This level contains the main lift winch for bringing large objects up from the ground floor, to levels 3, 4 and 5. The block for the main lift winch is attached to the framework of the conical roof high above, allowing the lift platform access to all the floors below, as well as the balcony above. Stored here are several spare seige weapons, and a large wheeled platform or cart that is specially constructed for easy negotiation of the spiral ramp. When on a flat surface (such as the floor of Level 4), the cart's bed lies at an angle. Large hooks on the cart that fit into carved notches on the floor and wall enable it to be locked into place at the top of the spiral ramp near Area 10 for easy off-loading.

18.  Storage

Barrels of oil and a partially constructed spiral cart are stored here, along with various miscellaneous supplies..

Level 5 - Attic LevelNew Guard Tower Level 5

19.  Balcony

The balcony is used for miscellaneous storage, and is accessed by the main lift platform, which can be attached to a platform protruding from the main balcony for stability.

Return to the Melkotia Castle page

Return to the Greyhawk Locations page
Return to my Main Page (in case you got here through a search engine)

This page last modified on December 23, 2004