Blackgate Hold Guide
by T.A. Saunders ©2012 all rights reserved.
It should be worth noting that non-Blackgate Vanguard personnel are not allowed in the Hold, unless they are either accompanied by somebody from the Vanguard, have been given waiver to visit the Hold (for purposes of enlisting or gaining mercenary status for example), have family that’s in the Vanguard or are of some official diplomatic status, such as visiting dignitaries and rulers. The latter stipulation also applies to Nahara, who are officially recognized by the Vanguard as a neutral body. Generally speaking, this rule is lax in the enforcement though and so long as non-personnel are not causing trouble, visits to the commissary and other non-secure places within the Hold are allowed.With its recent reclamation by the Blackgate Vanguard, the Hold itself was the first thing that was restored. Having been in the hands of Masoq for so long, the entire structure was a dirty, bug-infested ruin that had to be scrubbed, mopped and cleaned floor by floor before any serious repair work could be done to address the damage caused both 130 years ago and more recently. Months of hard work paid off, giving the Blackgate Vanguard a sturdy, well-made fortress in which to base their operations. With three above ground levels and one sub-level, there is plenty of room to both house a garrison along with feeding and entertaining them, while still having a place to plan military strikes at the Vanguard’s growing list of enemies. The recent discovery of aforementioned sub-level has left many to wonder if there aren’t more secret passages and sealed off areas to investigate, but as of yet none have been revealed.
Blackgate Hold is fashioned from kharumite, an incredibly dense rock found only in Zoda and Miroa. Capable of withstanding blasts from even boromandite round shot, this stone is a favorite of the Hammerspark Dwarves from which to build many of their structures. It is also excellent at retaining heat during the cold seasons and keeping reasonably cool in the warm seasons. The rock has a distinct beige color that has flecks of white and gold within it, giving a measure of beauty to its brawn.
The Hold’s main gate is fashioned from sorcerously tempered six inch thick boromandite, followed by another three inch thick boromandite secondary breach door. In the event of a siege, the secondary and primary doors are drawn down and locked. There is exactly three feet between the primary and secondary doors, from which a net of charged boromandite razor wire is dropped to slow down would-be invaders.
The windows, while small are covered in one inch thick sorcerously tempered boromandite that is enchanted to be transparent. This is a very recent to the Hold, following recent assassination attempts into the Hold itself. The added benefit has been that they also help keep the Hold cool because of boromandite’s natural trait to absorb heat.
Muster Hall: The room serves as a place to repel invaders that might otherwise breach the main gate. This is also where forces gather when a large mission or sortie is to take place. Equipment, ammunition and supplies will be placed here the night (or day before) larger excursions take place, so soldiers can load up quickly before departure.
Armory: The armory is situated next to the muster hall for both convenience and strategic purposes. Any number of firearms, melee weapons and armor as well as ammunition can be found within. Theft of such items would be ill-advised however; the armory is also one of the heaviest-guarded places in the Hold.
Main Barracks: Anybody of conscript, soldier and sergeant rank has their personal bunk in the main barracks. With over five thousand soldiers to house, the accommodations are tight and are often shared by two soldiers that work opposite rotations. There are also bathing facilities in the main barracks and water closets. Credit for the recently added plumbing is given to the Hammerspark Dwarves who put it in once the Hold was secured from the Masoq.
Recruitment Hall: Those curious to join the Vanguard are directed to the recruitment hall. Here, those from across Imarel and beyond can find all the information they need to join the Blackgate Vanguard and join the fight against Arisyeema. The recruitment hall also serves as an information hub for those new to Blackgate and are trying to find their way around.
Alchemy Lab: As the name implies, this is where the alchemists employed by the Vanguard work. Within, anything from medicinal curatives to explosive compounds can be found here. Occasionally, a Hammerspark Dwarves can be found also distilling his or her latest brew or grain alcohol. Requests for certain alchemical compounds can likewise be made here.
Tailor Workshop: All cloth and leather-related clothing and armor is manufactured here. Additionally any cloth or leather items that need to be repaired can be brought here for that purpose. It’s a rare day the tailor workshop isn’t extremely busy with making uniforms or crafting protective padding for soldiers. Cobbling is also handled here.
Smithy: Like the tailor workshop, the smithy is an extremely busy place in the Hold. Along with armor and ammunition, the smithy also crafts all the specialized parts many firearms require and replacement parts for the growing battalion of War Hulks the Vanguard has at its disposal. The forge within the smithy is an elemental one and can only be used by those trained in its use.
Dining Hall: The dining hall is where the soldiers of the Vanguard go to eat, drink and relax. Largely considered the social hub of the Hold, the kitchen and all the liquor stores are located here as well. The dining hall is always staffed and anything on the menu can be obtained at any time, providing that the necessary items are available. There is a fireplace on the right side of the room, with several long tables and benches to be seated upon. There is no bar, but there is a service counter that orders are placed and retrieved.
Commissary: Another popular social hub of the Hold (likely due to its proximity to the dining hall), the commissary is where one goes to find and retrieve mundane items, like rope, ammunition, tools or other supplies. Anything more exotic requires an order placed with the requisition office. Like the dining hall, there is a service counter where orders are placed and claimed and there are a few wooden chairs and benches scattered throughout for people to sit while waiting. The commissary also handles both incoming and outgoing mail post for the entire Hold.
Pantry: This is where extra foodstuffs are stored. Certain sections are cooled with sometimes unreliable Dwarvish cooling coils for storing vegetables, fruit and meats.
Requisition Office: This is where soldiers are sent to get their first standard issue armor, weapons and uniform. Additionally, requisitions handles exotic requests, like specialized ammunition, explosives or other hard to come by requests. All out of the ordinary requests require approval from the captain of that soldier’s division. Once that approval has been attained, soldiers can claim their items at the commissary.
The tower level consists of a long causeway that connects the four rotating Sunstrike Cannon towers. Each Sunstrike Cannon is roughly forty feet long and can fire a Sunstrike burst capable taking out even reasonably armored airships. Additionally, there are twelve thirty-two pound guns on the north and south battlements along with six golemized Witchfire Cannons per battlement. Despite the heavy firepower situated here, there is still a great deal of room for riflemen, bowmen and others to take position.
Special Notes about the Basement: The entire basement is lined with special blessed Starmetal plates to allow guards to use magic as needed, but not prisoners. Additionally, the walls are also reinforced with boromandite blast plates, to protect against use of explosives as a means of escape. Finally, there is a Ward of Lethargy that instills through divine mark a sluggishness on prisoners, to make it difficult to fight or flee (-10% to attack, -20% to evasion -5% run speed).
Guard Hall: When prisoners are to be processed, they are brought down here. At all times there are at least six heavily armed Aegis soldiers down here to ensure there is no trouble from the prisoners. Additionally, any complaints and requests for investigation are handled here.
Dry Storage: This is a storage area set aside for random supplies, odds and ends and things that simply can’t seem to find another place to be kept. Anything from grain sacks to parts to War Hulks can be found down here on any given day.
Guardsmen Barracks: Because the volatile nature of many of the Vanguard’s prisoners, the Aegis keeps a separate barrack below in the basement. In this way, should there ever be an escape attempt, all guards not currently on duty can respond quickly. Like the main barracks, these quarters are small and are often shared by two soldiers that work different rotations.
Prison: The prison contains eighty cells fitted with a small bunk and a very basic water closet. Each cell is locked by way of a gear lock that requires a key and a lock combination to open, thereby defeating the notion of stealing keys. The bars of the cells are fashioned from sorcerously tempered boromandite and have blessed Starmetal bracings.