Gates and Portals – Freestanding Gate of Atwulf

Another month begins and we have another fantastic topic to explore from the RPG Blog Carnival… Gates and Portals from Tales of a GM. Such a simple concept – a doorway into or out of a place. But doors can be amazing vehicles for story to creep in.

In this post, I’m going to use the Moebius Adventures product Brick by Brick: Doors to explore one of those vehicles.

Gate Stone 3 - River Ridge Mansion
River Ridge Farm

In my head, I have an image of two brick columns with collapsed walls on either side, overgrown with greenery. And between those columns? A gate. Let’s see what other clues we can come up with to get a more complete picture…

  • Purpose: Keep it out
  • Purpose Descriptor: Security
  • Location: Ground level
  • Doorway Shape: Keyhole
  • Maker: Soldier
  • Reason made: Rage
  • Materials: Elm
  • Construction type: Double-Door
  • Method of Opening: Swing
  • Automation: Manual
  • Lock/Closure Type: Barred
  • Door Condition: Perfect condition
  • Door State: Locked
  • Age: Decades old

That’s quite a collection of properties for this thing, but it gives me a bit clearer picture I think. The image doesn’t do it justice, but let’s see if I can come up with a story based on what we know so far…

“The freestanding gate of Atwulf stands alone on a bluff overlooking the Gulf of Cyne. Stone stairs cut into the stone from the base of the bluff at water level still lead directly to the distinct double doors made of dark elm and cut into the shape of a keyhole. Though you can walk around it on either side through the remainders of the stone wall it once provided entry through, it is still securely barred on the inside of the wall. It’s been there for decades and only a handful of elders in the area can tell its story…

Colin Atwulf was a ranking officer in the army of the King for many years, serving with distinction. When the King passed away unexpectedly, the idealistic young prince who took over decided to disband the standing army and invite the kingdom’s enemies to discuss how to move past their disagreements and start fresh. Though he won a few of them over, Atwulf knew it would lead to ruin and used his resources to build a fortress for him and his young wife to weather the storm. Over the course of the next year, the fortress began to take shape on the bluff overlooking the Gulf.

Sigils of Protection (Supernatural)
Protection Symbols from Supernatural

When it was completed, he asked a local holy man to bless the door. Then he asked a local mystic to add runes of protection. Within a couple of weeks, he had artisans transform those blessings and runes into a work of art. He felt that his family was as safe.

Unfortunately, when the young King perished due to his naivete, the barbarians swept through valleys, fields, and hills taking whatever they wished and slaughtering or burning the rest. They eventually arrived at Atwulf’s door.

The story goes that several barbarians decided to charge straight through the gate, thinking it would simply fall to their strength and will. But those riders crashed into the gate and it didn’t budge. Axes were brought and no weapon was found to penetrate the wood. Finally, their leader simply sent swarms of warriors to climb the walls and burn the place to the ground, effectively going around the obstacle. Atwulf and his family didn’t survive the night.

It is said that if someone is ever in need of a bit of shelter, they can hide in the shadow of the gate and know they are safe from harm even without additional walls to protect them…”

So there you go. An interesting place to include in your next campaign perhaps!

Thanks Phil for another fun topic to explore in this month’s blog carnival! I look forward to writing more on the topic. 🙂

If you’re interested in learning more about the RPG Blog Carnival or want to participate, come join us! The archive of previous topics (and upcoming ones) is now hosted by Johnn Four of Roleplaying Tips fame.

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