Seven Gates of Greyhawk
Each gate has its own name, and no two are alike in the amount and types of traffic that uses them. However, they have certain similarities in design and function. Each gate comprises a pair of huge wooden portals, each at least 12 feet high, eight feet wide, and one foot thick. Made from tough roanwood, heavily reinforced with iron, the gates can endure a tremendous pounding before they fail.
Two gates – Highway and Cargo – are larger than the others, reaching 16 feet in height and a total entrance width of 24 feet. In all other respects mentioned here they resemble their smaller kin.
Each gate is backed by a massive portcullis of iron bars two inches thick in a closely intertwined pattern. A very small child might squeeze through, but not a youth, or even an adult halfling. The portcullis is usually left open even when the gates are closed. If some flaw with a gate’s door renders it temporarily inoperable (they require a significant amount of maintenance), the gate is propped open and the portcullis used to close the entryway when necessary.
Each gate is contained within a small gate house, consisting of a pair of towers flanking the gateway itself, and an enlarged, enclosed area over the gateway. The tower tops and connecting blockhouse are well equipped with arrow slits and ingenious methods for delivering boiling oil (straight down) or other liquid attack forms.
Each gate house tower connects to the city through a door in its base, and to the wall top by a door in its side. The towers contain three platforms, beginning at the top of the wall and extending upward. Each of these can shelter and provide a firing platform for a squad of 40 archers.
These towers serve in peacetime as shelters and resting places for the City Watch. Each gate house is normally garrisoned by a standard patrol of the watch. Most of the guards are stationed in the central passage of the gate house, but there is always a sentry somewhere in each tower. This guard complement is in addition to the guards on duty at the gate itself: the latter guards are outside. patrolling the actual gate passage.
All persons passing through these gates are subject to signing a written roster. Illiterate users sign their “X,” together with a brief description written by the guard. Those passing through these gates are not asked to explain their business, nor are they detained or turned back (unless, of course, one is a wanted fugitive who gets recognized).
The gates connecting the city to the outside world, however, are maintained a little more diligently. For one thing, all except two of these outside gates (the Highway and the Cargo Gate) are closed from dusk until dawn. They are opened during the hours of darkness only for a traveler who pleads the urgency of his case, and who can produce a written message from the Lord Mayor or Captain-General of Greyhawk. or the head of state of some other nation. In the latter case, the guards make sure that the traveler is harmless before they open the gates.
All of the gates. when they are open, keep a roster of those passing through. In addition, those arriving in the city are asked their business. If this business is recreation, or if the guard has any other reason for being suspicious, the guard notes the nature of the business beside his or her name. A long list of individuals. as well as citizens of states currently hostile to the Free City, are not welcomed at the gates. Should one such persona non gratis arrive, he or she is sent quickly away. If such a character is discovered trying to sneak into the city, the punishment is immediate arrest, sentence to a workhouse, and then banishment from the city.
The information contained on the gate rosters is stored in the Great Library of Greyhawk. Officially, only the directors of the city and the officers of the watch have access to this information. It is rumored that certain powerful guildmasters have also been able to make use of this roster information.
The Highway Gate: The southernmost, largest and most imposing gate in the city, most new arrivals pass though the Highway Gate when entering the city for the first time. The gate sees much trade and caravan traffic, much of it coming north along the River Road from Hardby or east along the Great Western Road. It is warded by a large detachment of Watchmen who meticulously search all incoming traffic.
Marsh Gate: This is another small gate, used mainly for local traffic to farmsteads along the riverbank, fishermen’s docks located at frequent intervals along the bank, and sometimes as an alternative to the busy Highway Gate.
Set just north of the junction between the city walls and the Black Wall, Marsh Gate gives access to the southern end of the Foreign Quarter. It is mainly used by wagons bringing piles of waste to the city’s refuse tip, which lies at Garbage Hill, outside the western walls. It is also common to see funeral processions bearing bodies to the city’s cemetery – also just outside the western wall. Those bound for Castle Greyhawk leave the city by Marsh Gate, heading along The Marsh Trail leading to Zagigs Bridge. The Marsh Gate is patrolled by a standard patrol of the City Watch, with a second patrol in the gate house.
Cargo Gate: This is the other large gate leading into and out of the city. In its dimensions, and the diligence of its guards, it resembles the Highway Gate.
Perhaps the busiest gate of the Free City’s portals, the Cargo Gate bustles night and day with freight wagons, pack trains, porters, and carts of goods from the wharf to the city and vice versa. Every manner of goods brought to Greyhawk by boat enters the city through the Cargo Gate. It stands at the north end of the River Quarter, close to the Nobles’ Wall. Like the Highway Gate, the Cargo Gate remains open both day and night, and is guarded by a double elite patrol of the City Watch, together with the standard gate house garrison.
St. Cuthbert’s Gate: This small gate stands just north of Cargo Gate, breaching the city walls on the opposite side of the Noble’s Wall. It is named for the nearby temple of St. Cuthbert and is mainly used by traffic bound for the High Market.
Wharfgate: The northernmost gate in the city, Wharfgate stands atop a bluff overlooking Shacktown and the bend of the river known as Barge End. It also offers fine views south across the city itself and down the Selintan Valley. Traffic here is light, as no wheeled vehicles, beasts of burden or livestock are allowed through Wharfgate to hunt or play in the parklands to the north.
Duke’s Gate: This gate leads the southern end of the High Quarter to the paved Highroad that runs north and east from Greyhawk, through the Cairn Hills to the Duchy Urnst. Produce from the farming and mining settlements of the hills pass into the city here, as does caravan traffic from Urnst and beyond.
Druid’s Gate: This small gate is designated by the ring of stones standing just outside of the city here. It is the least-used gate of the city. Most of its traffic consists of goods from the outlying farmsteads and manors destined for the Low Market and the occasional delegation of dwur from Greysmere.
Lying almost directly opposite Marsh Gate, Druid’s Gate affords entry to the Artisan’s Quarter. The Ery Trail, leading south east across the Plains of Greyhawk towards Erybend and the Mistmarsh begins here. Druid’s Gate is mainly used by farmers bringing produce to the Low Market. It is manned by a standard patrol of the City Watch, with a second patrol in the gate house.