FR Scales of War
Fortress Graystone was built into the side of a low peak of the South Gnollwatch Mountains. The structure is well hidden from the eyes of the inhabitants of the Rethild Vale, as was the intention of its builders. A massive stone staircase which led into the side of the mountain was the only entrance. Since the Spellplague the peak that the fortress was part of was ripped out and now floats about 100 feet above the mountains as an Earth Mote.
Fortress Graystone was constructed by a band of githzerai monastics whose reasons for dwelling in the mortal realm have been lost to history. Later explorers found evidence that the citadel was built as a place of training and meditation for the githzerai, and assumed that its remote location had been chosen for its defensive value. However, what no one realized is that Fortress Graystone was built to defend what lies hidden within it.
In their home in the Elemental Chaos, the githzerai discovered a thinning in the barrier between
that plane and the world. Making their way to the world, they searched for and found this planar
breach in the South Gnollwatch Mountains. There, they built a fortress around the point of planar instability, attempting to prevent the damage that might occur to both planes should the breach be fully opened.
Decades ago, the githzerai inhabiting Fortress Graystone vanished without a trace.
Fortress Graystone reflects the aesthetic nature of the githzerai who built it, demonstrating balance between the chaos of their birthplace and the order they sought to impose upon their own lives.
The fortress takes its name from the distinctive gray stone found in this area of the South Gnollwatch Mountains, colored that way by prevalent veins of platinum ore. The stone walls of the fortress are decorated with bas reliefs and carvings that have withstood the passage of years with little deterioration. However, the arrival of the Wicked Fang gnolls has changed that. The Outsiders liberated the fortress and have now made it their own. They paid Kalaban to clean and renovate it.
1. The Entrance
The wide stairs rising up the mountainside climb toward a set of double doors flanked by four statues. The stairs end in a crater, where the moutain top was ripped out. A waterfall cascades from the mote above, splashing down at the top of the stairs and running down, forming a small river.
2.–4. Githzerai Mind Trap
The mind trap is a special chamber designed by the githzerai to guard the fortress against incursion. This trap consists of a series of linked teleportation portals that shift destinations rapidly, making it impossible to quickly move a large strike force into the fortress. Called a mind trap due to the mental discipline required to pass through it to the interior of the fortress.
“As the stone doors open, you see a wide octagonal chamber before you. On five of the walls, portals glow and pulse with arcane energy. The far side of the room appears to be made of extremely thick glass, revealing a second chamber beyond with four portals on the wall. A massive circle of carved runes dominates the floor of the first chamber, while a smaller circle adorns the floor of the room beyond.”
5. The Cells
This oddly shaped chamber was part of the living quarters of the githzerai. It recently served as a makeshift prison within which the Wicked Fang pack kept a handful of prisoners. Kalaban has reinforced it to serve the purpose of a prison, should it be needed. These rooms can also double as meditation cells, where all outside sounds can be blocked out
6. Training Chamber
A waterfall flows into this room from a portal to the Elemental Plane above, driving a system of shallow aqueducts that allowed the githzerai of the fortress to simulate the chaos of battle in their combat training.
“The ceiling of this huge chamber rises some 60 feet overhead. The sound of rushing water sounds out faintly, a meager reflection of its source—a waterfall descending from an opening in the ceiling to a pool set within a raised platform. Two stone gutters carry water down from the pool into channels in the floor, creating small rivers that flow through circuitous paths in the ground with great speed. Every few seconds, the noise of stone on stone sounds out as these aqueducts in the floor shift to follow a new path.”
7. Meditation Chamber
The doors leading into this area are covered with scrawled warnings in Common and Abyssal to stay
out. This room is divided into two distinct chambers. The smooth walls of the southern portion are designed to represent the peace of law, while the rough stone of the northern chamber represents the tumult of chaos. Githzerai warriors would meditate here at the boundary between chaos and order. Spiritual echoes of the githzerai and manifestations of their inner chaos plague this chamber. The gnolls considered it a haunted place, and they will not enter.
“This huge chamber is divided into two zones. To the south is a wide hall with sweeping, curved walls. To the north is a rough-edged cavern full of odd angles and irregular ridges across the floor. The walls of this second chamber have been painted in chaotic and clashing colors, three pits along its edge falling off into darkness. A wide wall separates these two areas, cut by a circular platform that rises 15 feet high.”
Kalaban cleaned up this room, excised the spiritual echoes and brought peace to the room again. He has ideas to make this into a work room for the group where bookshelves can be brought to store research materials, a place where the Artificer can work in peace, where Damaia can commune with her Patron, where the other three can study.
8. Marshaling Point
Once a gathering place for the githzerai, this area has been transformed into a training ground and living space for the gnolls. Debris and refuse litter the floor, while recruits trained here under the watchful eye of their pack’s warmaster and a shadar-kai agent sent from Sarshan.
“This massive chamber was once decorated with bas-reliefs, now crumbled and defaced by the marks of weapons. Crude practice dummies scattered across the chamber are under attack by a pack of armed gnolls under the direction of a shadar-kai. The east and west walls of the chamber are lined with dark arrow slits. Two trapdoors in the southern part of the chamber are open, ladders visible and leading down.”
8.5. Living Quarters
The secret passageway that runs West of the Githzerai Mind Trap goes down a double set of stairs to a basement area. Here there are further sleep quarters, a kitchen and dining room, as well as toiletries in the East. The Githzerai took advantage of the water running through the Training Room. They used this running water to create small walled off showering rooms, toilets, and washing sinks, before this water runs down more drains and off the side of the Earth Mote.
This balcony resides under the side of the Earth Mote. Before the top of the mountain was ripped off, this would have been a promontory overlooking the Staircase.
10. Ritual Chamber
The ritual chamber was built around the planar rift discovered within the mountain by the githzerai. Using dark rituals stolen from his ruin-touched allies, Fangren had corrupted the energy of this place, creating a conduit to the Elemental Chaos and the power of the demon lord Yeenoghu.
“A deep thrumming noise echoes throughout this high-domed ritual chamber, the air crackling with energy. Three large cauldrons burn furiously along walls that rise 10 feet to a wide balcony fronted by crimson curtains. An altar sits atop a stepped dais in the center of the room. A short distance away, the air ripples in a shifting haze of energy where a portal takes form.”
The Portal has been sealed, but Kalaban thought it appropriate to keep this a room of worship for all of your gods (Ioun-Oghma, Kelemvor, Silvanus, and Tempus). He will leave all of you to consecrate the temple as you all see fit, doing tribute to all four.