Monday, May 23, 2016

Repost - City of Greyhawk Southgate - Southgate Bridge (South Bridge)

NOTE: Map from City of Hawks by Gygax

City of Greyhawk Southgate - Southgate Bridge (South Bridge)

City of Greyhawk Southgate - Southgate Bridge (South Bridge)

NOTE: So far I have not found a reference to the name of the river that flows around the east of the city and connects with the Selintan nor a name for the bridge directly south of Southgate. I have used the information in Gygax's Yggsburgh's campaign as an inspiration and guideline for detailing the bridge and its guards.

Southgate is perhaps the busiest of Greyhawk's many gateways. Some may argue for Rivergate with its constant flow of goods into the city from the docks outside the walls, but the road south of the great city matches each cart, pack and wagonload through the Rivergate and surpasses such numbers with travellers on foot, horse, carriage and fantastic beast.

As the traffic flows into the city so do the coins from the tolls of South Bridge and the gates. While South Bridge is not part of the Southgate complex of walls and towers, as the bridge is nearly 250 feet from the city gate and the tollhouse at the south end of the bridge, the small detachment of guards (1 serjeant and 4 troopers as well as 2 recruits during the daywatch) are part of the gatehouse commander's garrison. The toll collector is a minor functionary of the city bureaucracy.


Southgate Bridge or South Bridge as it is now more commonly called is a massively impressive structure. It was constructed at the same time as the gates and outer double-wall which surrounds modern Greyhawk. Cyclopedian blocks of stone were used to form its supporting pillars, (12 sets which span the swift moving Eastbend River as it curves around the city to merge with the Selintan). The surface of the bridge is formed of 8x8 foot stone slabs which can be replaced if broken or worn, but beneath them is a cradle of wooden timbers and a cunningly interlocked stonework that allows the bridge a great deal of flexibility.

The bridge is 80 feet wide and rises in a shallow arc to a high point at its center. It is nearly 250 feet long. At the south end of the bridge are two short pillars. A thick, iron chain is anchored about 3 feet above the ground to the eastern pillar. A groove is cut into the roadway so that when the chain is slack it fits flush with the road causing only a small bump to passing vehicles. The chain runs across the 80 foot width of the bridge and passes through a hole in the western pillar then runs another 10 feet into the east wall of the tollhouse. Inside there is a drum crank which is used to wind in the chain, taking up the slack so that it will run across the southern end of the bridge at a height of 3 feet. There are 3 wooden supports for the chain, used as the legs of a table for the toll collector during the day, that are used to keep the chain from sagging between the pillars. (The top of the table is a simple rectangle of wood kept in the tollhouse at night).

Along the sides of the bridge 15 foot high poles are set at intervals of 30 feet. At the top are open lanterns containing a round stone enchanted to give off continual light. At night the light from these lanterns illuminates the entire bridge except for a band of darkness about twenty feet wide at the center. The stones are a gift from the clerics of Fharlanghn who help to protect the Southgate entrance to the city.

Beneath the paving stones near the northern edge of the bridge is an enchanted brazier. The commander of the Southgate garrison possesses a torch made from crystal; (it hangs on the wall of his meeting chamber in the round Southgate tower). By touching the crystal torch to any source of fire and speaking a command word, (the name of a fire elemental, Xyphnryx) he summons the 16HD elemental to perform a single task. The creature will appear in the enchanted brazier beneath the bridge and consume the center of the wooden beams supporting the roadway. The elemental can burn through enough of the wooden supports to collapse a 1 foot section of bridge surface every 2 combat rounds. It's geas is for it to burn through the entire 250 foot length of the bridge supports. It will continue to do so unless attacked, then attempt to destroy or force its attacker from the bridge. It will then continue to burn through bridge supports unless halted by the crystal torch being plunged into water and the command word Xyrnhpyx pronounced. At that point the elemental will return to the elemental plane of fire and will not return. The crystal torch and brazier must be re-enchanted and another elemental bound to the summoning brazier. Once fired the wooden beams and stone slabs of the bridge surface will fall into the river. The pillars and stone skeleton of the bridge will be unharmed needing only new beams and stone slabs to be completely repaired.


The tollhouse is situated at the south side of the bridge and set 10 feet west of the west stone pillar. The building is 20 feet wide and runs 30 feet south. The walls are foot-thick stone fitted together with the same craft as the bridge and the walls of the city. At the south edge of the east wall there is a stout oaken doorway that can be barred from the inside (the doorway can withstand 150 HP worth of damage before splintering). Piercing weapons cause no-damage unless magic and then only any magical bonus damage, blunt and slashing weapons cause half damage, but chopping weapons cause full. The door requires no to hit roll but if critical hit charts are used a d20 should be rolled, where a 1 is a normal fumble and a 20 double damage.

The walls are pierced with loopholes at a height of 7 feet above the ground. The ceiling is very high, 12 feet above the floor. There are 4 loopholes in the east wall, 6 on the west, 3 on the south and just 2 on the north (a fireplace is built into the center of the north wall and the loopholes are on either side). There are six wooden chests that are used by the guards to stand on to fire their heavy crossbows through the loopholes. Their vision is limited so to hit rolls are made at -3, but they receive almost complete cover inside the tollhouse and their armor class for return missile fire receives a+10 bonus.

The interior of the tollhouse is lit by two lanterns each with a small continual light stone inside and suspended from the roof by a chain which can be raised and lowered, (another gift from the clerics of Fharlanghn). Near the fireplace is a table and five chairs, and a chest containing foodstuffs; iron rations at the bottom (3 day's worth for 7 men) and whatever fresh food the guards bring along when they begin their duty shift. There is a large water barrel (hidden inside is a large skin-sack of ale) and several cups are on the top lid of the barrel in the north-east corner. Above the fireplace there is an old dented shield and across the mantel is a rusted mace. If the mace is struck against the shield it causes a loud gong to sound on an identical shield kept in the main hall of the circular gate tower. This item is used only in the direst emergencies to signal that city. Each use causes the shield to become more frail and dented and the mace to be eaten more deeply by rust. There is a 30% chance that the next use will destroy both shield and mace, though the gong will still sound within the tower hall. Every use will increase this chance of dissolution by a further 5%.

Along the west wall there is a weapon rack that can hold 6 halberds. There is another rack that can hold 8 heavy crossbows, though no more than 5 are usually found among the guards; (they carry both halberds and crossbows with them from the gatehouse and return with them, while the nightwatch does the same). Beneath the rack for the heavy crossbows is a chest containing 10 cases of 20 crossbow bolts. One of the cases of bolts is dyed red (the others are black). Inside the red case are bolts whose ends are covered in pitch and wrapped with waxed paper to be used as a signal to the gatehouse in an emergency. A second chest contains sharpening stones, weapon oil, rags, bowstrings and small tools that can be used to make adjustments to the crossbow and larger tools that can be used on the ballista on the roof.

At the center of the west wall metal rungs are bolted that lead to a trapdoor in the roof. The trapdoor can be bolted from either side but is normally left open for ease of access, air and light during the day. It is normally shut only when it rains. A rain barrel is set near the ladder and is pushed beneath it to catch leaking water when it does rain.

Near the rain barrel there is a small pile of wood for the fire and a chest filed with coal, (for use with the brazier kept in the roof). A coal scoop and a bucket sit on top of the coal chest.

The roof of the tollhouse has a 4 foot high wall around its edges with merlons set with 3 foot gaps. Archers firing from the roof receive 50% cover providing a bonus of +4 to armor class. At the south edge of the roof there is a ballista mounted on a circular platform. Two levers are set into the platform. One can unlock the platform so it can be spun and the ballista turned to face any direction. The second can be used to raise or lower the platform so that it can fire above the merlons or dropped so that the crew can take cover behind them. When the ballista is raised for firing the crew receives no cover and no armor class bonus. There are two large chests near the ballista. Each contains 10 bolts for the siege engine. A much smaller chest is near the center of the east edge. It contains 20 glass bottles filled with lantern oil. They are capped but beneath the cap a rag has been stuffed into the neck of the bottle. It takes 1 combat round to prepare the oil bottle and light the rag if a flame source is available. A small metal brazier with coal is kept smoldering day and night.

Requires a crew of 2
Maximum range is 320 feet
Targets within 30 feet are at point blank (+2 to hit, Double Damage)
Short Range = 30 to 90 feet
Medium Range = 90 to 180 feet (-1 to hit)
Long Range = 180 to 329 feet (-3 to hit for 1/2 damage)
Damage size S-M = 2d10 Large = 3d10

Oil Flask
Short = 0-10 feet
Medium = 10-20 feet (-2 to hit)
Long = 20-30 feet (-5 to hit)
A shattered flask of oil will form into a 10 foot diameter pool and splash oil in a 10 foot radius. Anyone in the pool of oil will suffer 2d6 damage on the first combat round (save versus breath weapon for half damage) and 1d6 damage on the 2nd round (or half damage rounded down if the initial save was passed). Anyone between 5 and 10 feet of the initial impact will be splashed with burning oil which will burn for 1-3 segments causing 1 hp of damage per segment, (save versus breath weapon for no damage). Any items caught within the pool of fire must save versus normal fire or be destroyed.

NOTE: A thrown flask of oil must go somewhere even if it misses its target.


The small squad of guards at the tollhouse is broken into two duty shifts. A different group is assigned to these shifts every 6 days drawn from the garrison of the gatehouses. This duty is regarded as onerous and tends to make the guards a trifle more surly than their brethren at the gates.

The duties of the daywatch are:
1) Escort the toll collector from Southgate to the bridge.
2) Relieve the nightwatch guards.
3) Place a guard to walk the bridge and make sure the lightstones are not stolen.
4) Guard the toll collector while he performs his duties and more importantly, the money box. A dead toll collector can be replaced, stolen coin cannot.
5) Every 2nd hour escort the toll collector inside the tollhouse where he empties the money from the coinbox into an iron strongbox.
6) Keep order among the line of travellers as they approach the toll collector.
7) Crank the bridge chain into place at dusk and place the wooden supports beneath the links every 20 feet.
8) Send a runner to the fort at midday or at any time something unusual or dangerous occurs.
9) Clean up the tollhouse for the next duty shift.

The daywatch consists of;

1 Serjeant Ftr Lv4 HP24 AC3
Chainmail +1, Helm, Bronze Badge of Fharlaghn ( an enchanted pin in the symbol of Fharlaghn that gives +1 on saving throws and +1 on armor class). He is armed with a longsword +1 to hit. Heavy Crossbow. Dark red tabard with the device of Greyhawk on the front (his bronze pin is on his right shoulder)

4 Guardsmen Ftr Lv1 HP6 AC4
Chainmail, Helm, Copper badge of Fharlaghn +1 bonus to armor class), Halberd or Heavy Crossbow, Longsword. Dark Red Tabard with the device of Greyhawk on the front. Their copper pins are on their left shoulders.

2 Recruits LV0 HP3 AC8
Leather armor, short sword (-4 to hit)

2 of the guardsmen are assigned to stand by the toll collector while the other two man the ballista on the roof. The serjeant acts as their relief so they can take breaks during their duty shift. The 2 recruits patrol the bridge and act as runners to take messages to the gatetower. The recruits also perform all the scut work such as cleaning the tollhouse, emptying the slop bucket. setting the wooden blocks up as the table for the collector, setting them up at dusk under the chain and operating the crank to wind in the chain.

The toll collector is a 2hp AC10 functionary. He has on his person the keys to the iron chest and the coin box, but is not allowed to carry any coins himself (and is searched when he returns to the citadel at dusk.

At dusk a wagon with a serjeant and 4 men-at-arms (FTR LV2 HP12 AC5) Chainmail, Longsword, Light Crossbow, 20 quarrels , comes to collect the coin box and the toll collector and return both to the Citadel. Soon afterwards the squad of nightwatch guards appears.

The nightwatch at the toll house is identical to the daywatch with the following exceptions. There are no recruits and 2 of the guardsmen are either half-elves or dwarves. The 2 possessing infravision are posted to the roof and man the ballista. The other 2 guardsmen guard the chain and keep anyone from crossing the bridge. One of these guardsmen will act as a runner if it is necessary to send a message to the gatetower. If anyone approaches the bridge after dark the guards direct them to the Bastion to the east of the city, or back along the road to one of the several inns or taverns, (the nearest is an inn called 'South-of-the-Bridge' just a half-mile down the road ).

The duties of the nightwatch are:
1) Relieve the daywatch
2) Man the ballista
3) Guard the bridge and make sure no one steals the chain or the lightstones
4) Lower the chain when the daywatch and toll collector arrive in the morning.


The toll for crossing the bridge is:
1cp per traveller of size S-M.
10cp per mount of normal size or large travellers.
50cp per wheel of a wagon or cart with a small to medium load
1sp for large to giant-sized mounts or giant sized creatures or heavily loaded vehicles
Extremely heavy or large creatures or vehicles require the permission of the city oligarchs in order to make use of the bridge.

NOTE: I have used the bridge toll costs from Gygax's Yggsburgh campaign setting as a basis for the South Bridge toll.

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