This is the final installment of this series, and perhaps the most difficult part of the keep to get to gel among the various iterations I'm smashing together. Largely, this is because of the story my game has developed, and how I've deviated greatly from where TSR went with the Return to the Keep. These last sections take us into the fortress, itself, and fleshes out a little more of the current political scene in my Wilderlands campaign as it stands.
As always, I welcome anyone to use my own additions to the setting if so inclined, and ask questions or comment on anything that you think I'm doing right (or wrong, for that matter).
17. The Stable of the Rider, the chapel housing the "state" religion of Bugbear Falls, is ministered by Macxis Sollas, Great Stabler of the Black Rider (The Horseman of Famine).
18. The Inner Gatehouse is now guarded by both Watchmen (outer bailey) and Guardsmen (inner bailey), since it was easily bypassed during the siege of the Unbreakable guild and their fae allies. Here, the Lum family, easily the largest (so much so that I'm not going to type out all the relations of them - suffice to say there are 47 of them) extended family in the keep, and descendents of one of the first families to settle. Roughly half of the family serve as the backbone of the Watch - with a few Guardsmen scattered - while the other half have been successful farmers for generations. It is this family that tends to the gardens and stock within the inner bailey, and as a token of the Vuzughar's appreciation, see a fair bit more of the crop than others. Though the Lums have displaced the Guard barracks and armory that were housed here, the Sergeant and Captain of the Guard, Lums themselves, have small offices within the Gatehouse.
19. This Small Tower has recently been turned into a cistern in order to grant relief in at least one fashion, while famine and blight continues to wrack the area. Though the soldiers that used to be stationed here have been moved, atop the tower sits a powerful heavy catapult that is always manned.
20. This Guard Tower has been converted into food stores, as well, serving as a granary and mill for the keep. Only one family, the Lums, are allowed to tend the grain, and are watched day and night by a member of the Guard, to ensure that no theft occurs.
21. The Parade Grounds have lost their former glory of being a staging for military drills and great contests of joust and other sport. Instead, the field here is dotted with plots growing this vegetable or that, tightly controlled and monitored for blight. These plots are almost all that stands between the residents of the keep and utter starvation, and through this, Dal Lago is able to control his populace more handily, offering hand outs at certain hours, and selling some of the other crop to the citizens at drastically marked up prices, due to shortage.
22. The Cavalry Stables have become cramped, with space usually reserved for the horses being given to the construction of a chicken coop, as well as the tools used to work the gardens that now litter the parade grounds. These conditions have been detrimental to the horses, and many are starting to look weak and bony, though Stabler Sollas would have all believe this is a true sign that the Rider will enact his mercy on the Keep soon.
23. The Great Tower has seen quickly-spurred construction of late, both to repair damage done to the structure here during the recent siege, and to expand and heighten the tower, adding another floor to house the misplaced troops from what has now become the cistern and granary. The troops tightly barracked here are part of the Guard, and though miserable, are well to keep their words to themselves, as those the Vuzughar's wife have brought in have the ear of their matron, and she and her husband brook no insolence.
24. This Former Parapet is now being built into an impregnable prison tower, and supposedly already has occupants, though as to who might dwell behind it's five feet thick curtain walls is anyone's guess, as is the identity of the Vuzughar's hand-picked gaoler.
25. The Keep Fortress, a many-tiered, solidly built bastion of the World-Emperor's might, houses Dal Lago and his wife, Dilana, as well as their personal retinue, the scribe Nashe, and a large contingent of Guardsmen (who maintain a lower level not included in any description or map). Here, the last stand of the siege took place, with the Vuzughar victorious over his foes.
The Fortress also plays home to the keep's (ever-growing) coffers as well as a once-public hall of records that has been sealed since the attack on the keep.
26. Guard-General Jadale's Quarters are housed within the keep, nominally for the personal protection of the Vuzughar, yet Jadale's diminishing role in the Guard has her suspicious of Dal Lago's motives, hoping he is simply trying to present a weakened front to draw out enemies, but fearing that she will suffer the same fate as River Wilds (former leader of the Watch - given an "errant" position which most acknowledge as being exiled), if she were to press the matter.
27. The Vuzughar's Chambers consist of sprawling apartments more luxurious than would be expected for a frontier ruler. Here, Dal Lago spends most of his time, having retreated due to "ill consitution at seeing his people fare so" and "sharing in their suffering, taking fast away from the court". Once a decisive and powerfully-spirited man, the famine, blight, and siege of the last couple of years has seemed to take their toll on Bugbear Falls' ruler. In his stead, his stunningly beautiful wife has stepped up, though her approach to rulership seems rather reserved and reclusive compared to her outgoing husband's.
28. The Hall of Justice, dedicated to Iomedae, was once a grand chapel within the fortress that mirrored to the last pew the look of the former chapel that the Stable of the Rider has become. Since being deconsecrated, this hall serves only as a sterile sentencing chamber for the martial law regime that is slowly taking over.
As I said, there were quite a few changes that had to be made to the final sections of the keep, like juxtaposing areas 23 and 24 and bumping down the rest, but I gained quite a few NPCs, as my group has rarely encountered the Guard. Some of the Guard and Watch that should be there, but are unaccounted for, are defectors and casualties from the siege.