City of Greyhawk Prison Workhouse
The Workhouse was grim. It was a prison converted from its original use as a guard barracks, back when the city was smaller. It was centuries old, damp and must permeated the place, as did the stink of unwashed bodies. Lice and vermin thrived inside its walls, but prisoners did not. Sunlight scarcely entered so foul a structure...
...if the prisoners were the dregs of Greyhawk, then the guards, to judge by their demeanor, were worse still...
The inmates were sorted by size and strength so as to assign suitable work to each group...
Roused every morning at first light, given dirty water and a mold crust of bread, then put to some back-breaking or painful task such as clearing narrow sewer drains or scrubbing acid vats...
...brief march to the work area, which provides a short dose of sunlight and fresh air. The crew was worked for six hours, then given a half-hour to consume their main meal of the day - porridge or gruel...
At dusk all outside labor ended. Groups from various parts of the city were quick marched back to the Workhouse and redeposited in their respective common cells. If they cleaned these places up properly, they would then receive watery broth and a bit of weevil-ridden bread for supper. If even one member of a group of cellmates made any trouble, all went hungry. A troublemaker didn't live long unless he was the biggest and strongest in the lot. Even then, the guards soon saw to it that his work and discipline wore him down, and the inmates themselves did the rest, until the malcontent was eventually carried out one morning with the night-soil bucket.
Nights were the worst time of all. There was little light in the small, damp cells even when the sun was high. As darkness fell, the place became a lightless hell. Shrieks and cries echoed through the corridors, mingled with insane laughter and the groans of the sick and dying.
Each new prisoner quickly learned to make himself a small weapon to employ against rats and centipedes.
Others confined... old women, children, even an ancient gnome seemingly near death.
... weaker group, the one composed of the nearly feeble and the maimed.
...line of shuffling, hopping, crutch-supported workers from the floor beneath... being led to and from a workroom within the prison itself.
He had heard that self-inflicted disability brought a whipping and consignment to a dungeon cell for the condemned, where neither food nor water were to be had.
... in the Workhouse there was no care for the ill - no cleric, no physician, no medicine, nothing. Prisoners either got better or died. Those unable to work were not fed.
The turnkey came at dawn as usual, heralded by the sound of his huge iron key grating in the massive lock, while the waiting guard... thumped his truncheon against the oaken door. Everyone would be awake when the portal swung open and food was doled out. A large man carried the water butt, while a crone parceled out the bread from a sack she toted.
...he gave his attention to getting the miserable lot of prisoners lined up and ready for coffling into the morning work party. In a minute or two a pair of guards carrying a set of chain and leg irons appeared from around the corner. They snapped the restraints in place on the prisoners...