Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Counterpart to the Damaran Gate, the Vaasan Gate bars Bloodstone Pass from invasion from the north. It is a smaller structure, but no less sturdy. The wall of the Vaasan Gate is barely a half-mile long, but is fully forty feet high and thirty feet thick. The top of the wall, from mountain to mountain, is a jumble of heavy weaponry—mostly ballistae and catapults of various sizes. The central gates are thirty-feet-tall and almost 40-feet wide. Built by dwarves, it contains mechanisms that make it easy to open and close. Between the two portcullis, a veritable deathtrap awaits any army that seeks to force its way through the gate. Large side doors lead to the northern and southern tower.
Like its southern counterpart, the Vaasan Gate is anchored on both ends by fortresses built into the sides of the mountains. The towers are each end of the wall are almost ninety-feet-high, topped with massive ballistae that may be able to take down dragons.
The total Bloodstone militia stationed here numbers only 500, but they are superbly equipped and the fortress is equipped to house many times that number. Furthermore, they have few responsibilities but the Gate itself. Only a minimal amount of patrolling is done around the immediate area of the anchoring fortresses.
The Vaasan Gate’s primary mission is to block invasions from the untamed kingdom to the north. Its role is more than that of defense, however. The Gate also provides a forum for trade and diplomacy, and serves as a home base to adventurers.
Many interior chambers of the Vaasan Gate house traders, merchants, and craftsmen. The Gate itself has become an important marketplace. Miners and farmers from Vaasa can get fair market value for their goods, which frees up time for more production of those goods. The dwarves of Hillsafar Hall are being encouraged to trade through the Gate. Plans have been drawn for a tunnel which would connect the Vaasan Gate to the easternmost digs of Clan Hillsafar.
The dwarves could then bring their minerals direct to market without risking surface transportation—a distinct benefit over crossing the wilds of Vaasa!
The Vaasan Gate fulfills another purpose by providing a haven to the hardy people who brave the dangers of the northern kingdom. Food and supplies are stockpiled here, and temporary shelter is always available. All this is offered at no charge. Even weapons can be purchased at below-normal costs.
The baron’s generosity is founded in good politics. Gareth believes that through such tempting offerings, Damara can move closer to taming Vaasa. He is determined to win over the hearts of the people of the Sunderland. Finally, if Vaasa’s meager farmland can be made more prosperous, Bloodstone will benefit. Although the Duchy can support itself on the fish from Lake Midai if it must, a broader support system is desirable.
The Vaasan Gate serves a related purpose, one that is, perhaps, the most important mission of all. While its counterpart, the Damaran Gate, is manned solely by Bloodstone soldiers, an open invitation has been extended to adventurers and mercenary companies to come to the Vaasan Gate. These folk may use the Gate as a home base for their expeditions into Vaasa. To further encourage these people, bounties have been placed on the ears of certain creatures, as follows:
Goblin: 2 gp
Orc: 3 gp
Gnoll: 4 gp
Hobgoblin: 4 gp
Bugbear: 7 gp
Ogre: 10 gp
Giant: 50 – 100 gp (by type)
Rates for other monsters are negotiable, but usually quite generous. Officials will also pay well for valuable information, such as the whereabouts of a certain bandit army…
The Southern Vaasan Gate is home to the military, containing war rooms, armories, barracks, mess halls, guard rooms, prisons, workshops and smiths sworn to the armies of Bloodstone. The southern gate also has a large audience chamber and private rooms for the royal and baronial families when they are in residence. Entrance to the southern gate is by invitation only.
The Northern Vaasan Gate is another story altogether. Designed as a marketplace, stopover, and adventurer’s rest, the north gate bristles with opportunity and excitement. The ground floor of the northern gate contains Defender’s Rest (a large inn), Taggin’s General Outfitters, Weird Wingham’s Weapons, an area for traveling merchants to sell their wares and a large area for merchants to house their caravans and wagons in relative safety. The army also has a guardroom-barracks chamber for keeping the peace.
The Vaasan Gate is a safe place for adventurer’s looking to gain notoriety and undertake missions from the board in Defender’s Rest. When the overabundance of troops begins to feel confining for adventuring companies, the town of Virdin is a mere six miles away (2 hours at a normal pace) and offers more entertainment than a military outpost ever could (or would want to).
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