In Greyhawk’s earliest days, when the city fit well within the area now called Old City, this great fortress complex guarded the community from its enemies. Perched atop the peak of a low rise, the battle-scarred Citadel is visible from most parts of the city and along the full length of the Processional, a stalwart symbol of the city’s might and independence. Behind the looming forty-five-foot Battle Wall is a complex of dark gray stone buildings that house the offices for the city’s Directorate and Lord Mayor, the headquarters of the formidable City Watch, the city’s arsenal and treasury, and its best-guarded prison.
The Grand Citadel of Greyhawk – simply called “the Citadel” by the city’s inhabitants – occupies the dominant ground within the city walls, overlooking all quarters of the city from its position on a low rise. The great, stone edifice dates back to Greyhawk’s earliest days, when it was erected as a bastion of defense for all the city’s residents.
Back then the city occupied the low, accessible ground of the Old City, which was deemed of poor defensive value. So the Citadel was erected on the nearby knoll, and it commanded the length and breadth of the river valley. Gradually, of course, the New City has moved upward to embrace these old stone walls, and now the Citadel stands as a part of the city itself.
Also changed by history has been the fortress’s role as a shelter for the city population. Now, of course, the Citadel’s looming walls, dark gray almost to black, could offer shelter to but a tiny fraction of the populace. In actual use, its purposes are several.
In the mundane life of the city, the Citadel serves as the prison in which the most hardened criminals-barbarians, dwarven thieves, half-ores and the like-are incarcerated. The walls, originally designed to prevent intruders from entering the castle. serve quite adequately as a means of preventing escape as well. Now escapes are rare, and the prisoners tend to be generally well behaved. The brutal guards hired to enforce the imprisonment are none too bright, but manage their tasks effectively.
The huge blockhouse of the prison occupies the northern portion of the Citadel courtyard. The most notable of these structures is a building called, simply, “the Redoubt,” a sprawling fortress meant to be the city’s last line of defense in the face of catastrophe.
The architectural marvel appears upon first glance to be windowless, but its portals are hidden within its grandiose design. Within the walls of the Redoubt are found the quarters of the City Watch and the offices of its commander, as well as those of the People’s Constables, Derider Fanshen. The Redoubt also serves as a barracks for its largest garrison.
There also is the City Arsenal, containing a large store of armaments for use by the masses that would be levied into the militia in the event of an emergency.
Below ground, underneath the steadfast protection of the Redoubt, can be found the last bastion of Greyhawk ’s elite in the event of disaster. The cavernous entry hall, with floors of polished black marble and a brace of patrolmen and attack dogs on constant alert, leads directly to the city’s formidable treasury. The vaults of the Greyhawk Treasury have never been penetrated, keeping safe the city’s considerable coinage and treasures less easy to quantify. Rumor suggests that the vault protects numerous priceless relics liberated from the Cairn Hills over the centuries including—it is said—a fragment of the legendary Rod of Seven Parts.
All is bounded by those high walls and sealed by the Battle Gate and its solid gate house.
The stately walls of the Citadel overlook the Processional to the far end of that avenue’s length. The castle is set well above the roadway itself; indeed, the wide avenue is raised upon an even wider ramp simply to reach the Citadel gates.
Nowhere is the Great Citadel approached by neighboring buildings. Instead. rolling meadows descend steeply away from the fortress for several hundred feet on all sides. Clear, deep ponds cove r some of the ground, filling in the dips in the convoluted terrain.
Although their placement appears random to all but the most careful observer with experience with engineering, these ponds actually create a layer of defense for the fortress.
By use of a few well-placed dig spells, the ponds can be connected into an eight-foot-deep, mud-bottomed moat. If the dig spell is augmented by a raise water casting, the damage that could be inflicted upon an attacking force is quite astounding.
During times of peace-such times as Greyhawk has known for all of current human memory – these grassy meadows are used by the people of the city as a vast commons. Thieves are actively discouraged from visiting the area, and rigid codes of proper dress insure that the commons is primarily used by the families of nobles and the wealthier merchants or adventurers.
To the west and south, beyond the ponds and meadows, some of the elegant mansions of the High Quarter are visible. Beyond the city walls, the land falls away even more steeply, prohibiting all but the most tenacious from approaching by that route.
The Citadel, in tum, is visible from most parts of the city, as long as the viewer is high enough to see past obstacles in his immediate vicinity. Its commanding presence can be seen from the entire length of the Processional.
Specific Locations in the Grand Citadel:
- Battle Wall
- Battle Gate and Gatehouse
- Citadel Towers
- The Great Blockhouse
- Half Circle Wall
- Prison Blockhouse
- The Redoubt