War of the Burning Sky 4e
Numbering in the hundreds, the guards also act as constables. Most guards are responsible for watching the gates and kill zones around the city. While all military are trained in mounted combat, the number of horses is limited, so the cavalry is small, limited to 4 squads which patrol the main roads in and out of Gate Pass. A small unit of twenty griffon riders patrols the farms in the outlying area and represent the elite of the cavalry units.
The livery of the city military is red and gold, with the emblem of a griffon in gold on the red tabard. Shields and weapons issued by the city are red with the gold griffon emblazoned on it.
With all the jaw about Gate Pass, me’s thought that it was somethin’ mag. But it’s same as other rumvilles; all innocents and cool ladies and budges. Everyone’s a pigeon, just like elsewhere; and now I’m here fighting a war …
… but I must say the districts impress me, each a half mile wide and walled all around — over a dozen of them. I could climb the walls easily enough; they’re only about thirty feet tall and made of hewn stone, but those grates at the top stick out — I would have to be a far better acrobat. I wish there were some rooftops near the walls, but there’s nothing within ten feet. This is probably by design. Maybe a massive ladder, like Rory suggested, would work, but finding the timber would be hard and the Ragesians would be quite suspicious.
So, I think my focus must be on the gates. Steeleye is right; they’re all similar in design. A pair of reinforced wooden doors 20 feet tall by 8 wide stay open in the day and closed at night. There is a small steel access door to allow passage for individuals after sunset, and I’ve never seen vehicles or beasts allowed through at night. There are the standard arrow slits and murder holes where the gate is, but they are easily avoided. The guards are so typical: they never think of guarding the gatehouse as heavily as the gate. Even with 8 guards inside, it should be easy to sneak around from the window and leave through the other side…
… the Rags are so hoddypeaked. We’ll get them foot wabblers hiking soon.
— Kerain, King of Rogues
Private journal, written during the Ragesian occupation
Gate Pass is divided into districts. Each district is about a half mile square with natural stone walls to the north and south and inner walls to the east and west.
North and South Walls
The northern and southern borders of the city have walls built from the natural cliffs,
averaging 40 feet tall. A district usually has a small gate either to the north or south, and a wide swath of clear land (about 30 feet) on the wall’s outer side which makes any approach by an individual easy to see. The walls are only a token defense, since a devoted military press could easily overwhelm them, but Gate Pass relies on the fact that reaching it through the mountains is slow and treacherous.
Only a handful of districts have gates that lead to actual roads, and most of these are used for deliveries by farmers and miners. Each day groups of Gate Pass soldiers patrol the northern and southern borders, looking for signs of illegal passage and occasionally apprehending criminals who try to hide in the craggy hills.
East and West Walls
The Gate Pass inter-district walls are 30 feet tall, 6 feet thick, and made of hewn stone. Scaling a wall requires a series of Athletics (DC 20) checks to reach the grate (at 30 feet).
An Acrobatics (DC 25) check is needed to gain the top of the grate from underneath. Each side
is symmetrical, so the same checks would be done on the other side. None of the buildings
near the walls are more than two-stories, so a long leap towards a grate would require an
Athletics (DC 30) check, then an Acrobatics (DC 25) check to grab and hold on to a grate. The jump might be noisy, so a Stealth –5 check against a nearby guard’s Perception is needed to avoid being heard.
A small guardhouse, which extends outward over the gate, is large enough to comfortably hold eight soldiers. The floor has murder holes and there are arrow slits along the outside walls. Stairs on the inside wall (the center-most side) lead to the upper barracks and a window that can be squeezed through allows a guard to see the area around the gate. More guards typically watch the ground level by day.
Passing between districts is relatively easy if one takes the main thoroughfare during the
day, though the guards are known to perform random inspections. The High District, in the
center of the city, is much more heavily guarded: typically twice the usual number of guards is on hand, and those guards have orders to randomly inspect someone every few minutes (especially those who look like outsiders).
The Pass Gates
Most traffic passes through the easternmost and westernmost districts, which have major gates that lead out of the city to Shahalesti and Ragesia respectively. These gates are much more heavily guarded: the exits have two sets of doors with a wide kill zone between them, and city taxes pay for a variety of magical defenses on the gates.
In a few districts are found smaller walled areas populated predominantly by a single race. Most common of these ghettos are those of the elves, who tend to shun outsiders. Elvish ghettos are renowned for having no visible entrances through their walls — all the doors are secret, which elves can intuitively notice.