West Hills Shire

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Shire Fort

In my expansion of the Keep on the Borderlands, I opted to have a small town adjacent to the Keep as well as some neighboring demi-human populations. In that vein I decided a waterfall elven stronghold upstream, a dwarven cavern stronghold in the foothills of the nearby northern mountain range, and a small shire in the rolling hills the west of the Keep.

Here is my halfling Shire Fort (you may recognize it being based on the Moat House from the AD&D Village of Hommlet module). It is a wooden structure 14' in height (not counting the towers, which are 18' up plus the 2' battlement for a total of 20'), tall enough to barricade unwanted critters yet small enough in scale to accomodate the inhabitants. It is a wooden structure, the curtain walls fabricated from hevy logs lashed together shaped with battlements for defense. Arrow slits pierce the outer wall at regular intervals, and heavy crossbows are mounted along the top in lieu of ballistae. A pair of light catapults rounds out the defensive artillery.

Note that the cielings are 5½' in height, considered "vaulted" by a halfling standards but cramped for humans. Only the courtyard, NE assembly chamber, and rooftops are suited for taller outside visitors. Any invaders over 4' tall can expect accrued penalties if fighting erupts within the enclosed areas due to restricted/limited movement (suggested -2 penalties for armor class and to hit rolls).

The retaining wall surrounds the shire in a semi-circle and has several perimeter towers along with a larger tower at each end. Heavy moss growth keeps the wood moist and as such it is not as prone to normal fire.

(click on any image to view a larger version)

Fort - Ground Level

Reinforced oaken doors, open courtyard readily defended by arrow slits in north and east walls as well as the protected catwalk and rooftop surrounding it, stairs leading up to assembly chamber. All interior rooms only accessible from upstairs (2nd level). Up to 100 halflings can be housed here, typically the fort is staffed with 75-90.

Main Level

Assembly chamber (NE) has open top to permit taller visitors access to the shire. Reinforced oak doors are set in the south-western and northern walls, each with stairwells to the ground level. Brracks and office space can be found in the western and southern wings, and more troops can be quartered within the towers.

Rooftop Level

Heavy crossbows line the battlements along the catwalk and overlooking the courtyard & assembly chamber. A pair of tents are erected for temporary command centers (typically used for rest and recreation during peacetime). Two light catapults occupy the southern towers, the catwalk extends east and west toward the perimeter towers.

Perimeter Towers

The perimiter towers are spaced evenly at 300 yard intervals. Boasting similar construction as the Fort, the Perimeter Towers are a two tiered "tower-on-a-tower" design. The base tower extends upwards to 12 feet in height, joining the catwalk and battlements for a total of 14' in height. Up to 40 halflings can be housed in each tower.

Perimeter Tower - upper levels

From there the secondary tower rises upwards to 24' in height, plus the 2' battlements. A trio of heavy crossbows flank the main tower, another pair resides on the top level along with a light catapult. Arrow slits pierce the ground level as well as the second and fourth floors. Typical occupants number 28-36 despite maximum occupancy, although neighboring towers may dispatch more as needed.

End Tower

These are stone structures and rather new, funded by a successful adventurer from the Shire that recently attained the title of sherrif. Intentions are to construct a main stone stronghold on the shire's central hill, afterwards the Fort and Perimieter towers/wall will eventually be replaced with stone structures as well. Similar to the perimeter towers, the end towers are a tiered design.

End Tower - 2nd level

The ground level of each end tower is pierced with arrow slits, as is the perimeter wall. A storage area is nestled under the stone staircase leading to the entry above. A spiral staircase is centered in the structure, connecting all levels. The second floor, 6 feet from the ground level, mimics the ground floor sans arrow slits in the perimeter wall.

End Tower - 3rd level

12 feet up is the third level, where iron reinforced doors permit access via a drawbridge that lowers to the staircase. Another door leads out to the catwalk, and more arrow slits pierce the stone wall. Maximum occupancy for an end tower is 50 halfings, although typical staffing runs 36-42.

Levels 4-6

The fourth floor (18 feet up) is complimented with 2' battlements along the outer wall and has five mounted heavy crossbows, along with winch controls for the drawbridge. A wooden door leads to the inner tower. Floor five is 24 feet up and is pierced with arrow slits. A ladder goes up through a trap door in the cieling to the roof level. The rooftop (30' up) has 2' battlements for a total height of 32'. A trio of mounted heavy crossbows compliments the light catapult.