Keep Layout

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The Layout of Metamor Keep
Click the map for the full sized version

Both the map and the text description are provided graciously by Christian Okane. Original Sketch was done by Bryan Derksen.

Note: That there are discrepancies with this map and some of the stories already written. The problem was that there are discrepancies between the various stories. The location of the Mule is the worst; some place it in the keep, others place it in a separate building near the keep (mostly the latter). So this is an attempt to reconcile all sources into something cohesive.


Most of the actual layout (excluding the keep itself) is based on my knowledge of castle architecture, especially the castles built in the Holy Land during the Crusades. A lot information came from stories already written and feedback that I've received. A lot of common sense was also used.

A note of words and definitions: most of the names were assigned by me for convenience, so if a better one comes up I'll use it.

Metamor Keep, and The Keep

These 2 names describe different things. Metamor Keep refers to the whole castle (basically everything within the curtain wall). The Keep refers to the structure with the "Variable geometry" whose interior won't be mapped, areas 6 and 7 (described below).

The Pass itself

The keep is located in a pass between 2 impassable mountain ranges. At its widest it is about 10 miles across. At it's narrowest its less than a 1 mile wide. The valley is filled with various farms, towns, villages, and forests. North of the keep the valley gets more and more desolate and wild, until at it's northern end its totally wild and uninhabited. The keep is located at the narrowest part of the valley, roughly at the mid-point, where it narrows to less than a mile wide. The pass is kept closed to the lutins by patrols sent from the keep. The entire valley is heavily patrolled, by foot, cavalry, and flying. Nasoj could besiege the keep and then just bypass it and march south, but that is too dangerous. If the defenders managed to break the siege his army would then be cut off from it's northern supply base, and be trapped in the south. With no place to retreat to and no supplies they would be wiped out in short order. To successfully invade the south, he has to take Metamor K eep. It's just too dangerous to bypass it.

Associated Buildings

Metamor Keep Outposts

Metamor Keep's primary defense against a northern assault is in extensive patrols of the mountain pass and the surrounding lands. In order to assist with the patrols, a series of fortified positions and watchposts have been built within the Keep's valley. These buildings act as lookouts, signal towers, and provide forward positions from which to combat an invading army. As well, they also provide support to the roving patrols in the form of rations, horses, and updated intelligence.

Most of the outposts were constructed after Nasoj's invasion in 699CR (The year of the Battle of the Three Gates). Duke Thomas ordered the construction and refurbishment of many of these outposts to provide a better defense against the Lutin hordes.


Surrounding the lands around Metamor Keep are approximately a dozen fortified buildings that act as a vanguard to combat any force trying to take the Keep. Most of these outposts are located to the north, watching activity in the Giantdowns. Some forts do exist to the south, looking after incoming caravans and protecting the Keep's flanks.

For the most part, a fort is garrisoned by one of the Keep's regular companies, with companies rotating between duty at a fort and duty at the Keep. These forts consist of stone towers that are left over relics of the Suileman Empire, and after centuries of abandonment have been refurbished. These are small castles that usually consist of only a single tower surrounded by a small wall and a ditch.

Defenses at the towers are fairly simple, mostly consisting of trenches and walls. Only the very largest towers are large enough to support large weapons such as catapults, ballistas or trebuchets.

Other Castles

Many of the larger castles in the valley are the manor-houses for the various nobles. Castles that are owned by nobles are not manned by members of the Metamor army without the permission of both the Lord of the Castle and Duke Thomas. Instead, each lord maintains a small private guard. These lords are under the protection of Metamor and can call on the Duke for help when needed. In return, they must assist Metamor in patrol duties on their land, and stand with Duke Thomas in the event of an invasion from the Giantdowns.

Signal Towers

In order to allow for quick communications between outforts, patrols and Metamor Keep, a series of signal towers were built surrounding the keep. Between the outforts and Metamor run lines of these towers, each within visual range of at least two towers or forts.

Each tower is manned by a small crew of between 2 and 5 people, usually on a weekly rotation. This duty is often given to those who do not wish to serve Metamor by going on patrol, or to members of the Keep's military that have lost a limb or who are otherwise unfit for combat due to an injury. Duties at the towers include relaying messages from other towers, watching for large troop movements, collecting reports from passing patrols, and to deliver new orders and updated intelligence to the patrols.

All of the larger outforts have a signaling tower. As well, there is a signal station located atop the central tower of the Duke's Castle. This allows for quick communications between field forces and the Commanders and the Duke back at Metamor.

Built on high ground such as a hill or ridge line, the signal towers have very little in the way of defenses and rely mostly on natural protection provided by the topography. If an invading army has moved close to a signal tower, the crew evacuates to the nearest outfort or to Metamor. The towers are made of wood, consisting of an elevated platform above the forest canopy. On the platform is a small building that acts as the crews living area and work station. The shack has large windows and offers a uninterrupted view of the surrounding landscape. A smaller platform on the roof of the building holds the signaling lantern mounted on a swivel and tripod.

The tower's defenses consist of a small palisade around the base, metal sheaths around the tower's leg to prevent burning or cutting of the support legs. In order to offer some additional security to the crew of the tower, the ladder can be brought up to prevent people from sneaking up.

The signaling lantern is a large shuttered lantern that is used to send messages with a flash code. A lever on the side operates the shutter, letting the light shine when open. For convenience and safety the lanterns are fueled with a special oil that burns brightly, but is relatively cool. During the day, when the lantern may be hard to see, other signaling methods maybe used, including smoke signals, bells and semaphore flags.

Major signal towers, such as the ones at the larger forts, may also have Carrier Pigeons. These birds are only useful for sending messages to and from Metamor Keep since that is where the birds are bred, but can usually get a message through quicker and more securely then the signals.

The Castle

Metamor Keep is located on a south to north running ridge. The ridge rises higher on the north end. The highest point is the Dukes palace. The outer curtain wall surrounds the entire ridge about 50 yards up the slope. The slope below the walls is very sharp and impossible to climb without a rope. Nothing is allowed to grow there higher than ankle height. Anything higher could conceal an attacker.

Metamor keep is divided into several different courtyards, or wards by cross walls that run completely across from east to west. The layout of these courtyards is as follows running from south to north (going uphill).

  1. Outer Gate - There is only one gate in the outer curtain wall. It's located on the southern tip. This gate is heavily fortified and faces south.
  2. After passing through the outer gate, travelers finds themselves in a small courtyard. This courtyard is bare stone. There is nothing located here, no buildings, trees or anything. This is deliberate; the courtyard is a killing zone meant to get rid of any invader that gets past the gates.
  3. Middle Gate - A curtain wall with a gate runs from the west to the east.
  4. In the next ward is the town. This courtyard is the biggest. Located here are The Bakery run by Gregor, a mill and many other workshops and homes. Most of this area was destroyed in Nasoj's siege and since rebuilt.
  5. Inner Gate - A curtain wall with a gate runs from the west to the east.
  6. The Lower Keep - This place holds such things as the Armory tower, barracks, the mess-hall. It is a collection of towers, halls and buildings, all connected in one great rambling mass. The 3 gates of the final transformation battle are located here. There are numerous smaller doors in the lower keep. All can be barred against assault.
  7. Located about 20' higher than the lower keep (site 6) is the Duke's Castle. This is made up of a number of spires surrounding a central spire (the Dukes own spire). The towers are connected by bridges and promenades (both covered and open) some high in the air. The image that comes to mind is of the castles built by Mad Ludwig of Bavaria. The castle at Disney World was inspired by it.
  8. Surrounding the Dukes castle are gardens, lawns and trees.
  9. The Dungeons - No self-respecting castle would be complete without dungeons, and tunnels. Running under the castle are uncounted miles of cellars, dungeons, tunnels, and caves. There is even talk of tunnels that exit outside the curtain wall miles away.
  10. Market TownSurrounding the ridge on which the keep stands are many villages, towns, and farms that take advantage of the keep's closeness for protection. In particular at the base of the ridge below the gate is a town (No name yet). This town has a large marketplace and several inns. This is the place where most visitors and traders wind up who won't or can't get into the castle. The Keep marketplace is here, wandering merchants aren't usually trusted enough to be allowed into the keep, so they trade here.

Note to the Confused: sites 6 and 7 both make up The Keep. I have described them separately but they are less than 20'feet apart and are interconnected by countless walls, bridges, promenades and rooms. They are one structure and both have the variable geometry. A person can pass from one to the other and not realize it until they find a door or window and look out. They are two parts of one building.

Why the two parts of The Keep? The main cause was the already published stories describe two different types of Keep, one massive and brooding, and one light and airy. Another reason was feedback, after talking to several people the layout seemed to just evolve. Another (personal) reason is the contrast between the two different elements sounds great.

What's the difference between the town in the castle (area 4) and the town outside the keep (area 10). Area 4 is involved with the castles upkeep. The keep bakery, the Dukes Jeweler, the Mill, the blacksmith. Area 10 is an independent town (with a mayor) that grew up around the marketplace. Most of the people who guard the caravans stay here, too frightened of the curse to get closer. Life here is a lot less controlled than in the castle, but at a cost; protection. This town was almost completely leveled during the siege.

Castle defenses

Defending the keep from attack and infiltration is a difficult task. The walls and towers are constantly patrolled. In each tower are archers and infantry.


At the base of the ridge running all the way around is a ditch. This ditch is 50' deep and 30' wide. It has been cut into the rock of the ridge itself. Both walls have been polished smooth to make climbing difficult.


Catapults, ballistas and trebuchets - These siege weapons are scattered throughout the castle. Some of the outer wall towers have a ballista or a small catapult. These are meant to help the tower beat off a ground attack. They're also used to kill flyers or at least keep them at a distance.

Trebuchets- These are the keep's heavy artillery. Slow to load and shoot they are large, powerful, and have a astounding range. One shot from a trebuchet will kill or wound a giant at 1000'. These are too big and heavy to fit in most buildings, although some of the larger buildings hold them. In a siege several would be set up in the various courtyards. These are kept disassembled in the Lower keep storerooms and taken out in an emergency. Each individual trebuchet has a name: Ravager, Answerer, War wolf, etc...

The Lower keep - holds several catapults, and ballistas. It even has 2 trebuchets on the roof.

The Duke's Palace - In each spire on or near the roof are several catapults or ballistas. In the Central spire is also a trebuchet. These weapons help the keep's flying defenders dominate the air over the keep.

Communication and time keeping

The great bell is used to mark the changing of the guard, breakfast lunch and dinner being served, and important events. It's also used to sound the alarm in times of emergency. Its tolling can be heard almost everywhere in the castle. The emergency alarm (continuous ringing) is guaranteed to bring everybody running.

Places of Interest

This section describes individual rooms and areas of Metamor Keep.

The town (area 4)

The Bakery - Run by Gregor. Pretty much self explanatory.
Will Hardy Jeweler - A 2-story post and timber building. A sign over The door reads "Will Hardy Jeweler to the Duke"
The Mill - A large wooden building used to grind corn and grain.
A Granary - Used for the storage of grain.
Town Well - At least 1 - located in the town square.
Greenhouses - Used to grow plants (well what did you expect?). Located near the mill.

The Lower Keep (area 6)

The 3 Gates - The final battle of Nasoj's last siege was here. The now famous transformations took place here. There is one gate in each of the north, east, and south walls.
The Mule - The only pub in the castle. A large wooden building attached to the lower keep.
The Mess Hall - Kitchen and dining room. This area is always open.
The Arsenal Tower - This tower is where the weapons and armor are stored when not in use. Just about any type of armor or weapon is available here. Also home to the keep armorer.
Misha Brightleaf's Apartment - 2 rooms (workshop/bedroom) sharing a fireplace and both having outside windows.
The Baths - Large public bath used by all. It is similar to the great roman baths. A hall with the big bath, and several smaller rooms with a steam bath, sauna and a gymnasium. All are done in marble. There is 1 smaller bath for private use by nobles.
Well & Spring - A natural spring is present in the lower keep. It's cool water is used all over the castle, and feeds many cisterns.
Barracks - The home of unmarried soldiers.
Stables & Blacksmith - Wooden buildings attached to the curtain wall.

The Duke's Castle

The Central Spire -
Duke's Apartments - Contains a bedroom, study/office, private bath, solarium/den.
Duke's audience chamber - A small "conference room" used for private meetings.
Duke's Throne room - Used for all official state business.
Stewart Thalbergs Apartment - No details.
Phil's Apartments - He lives in 2 small rooms close to the Duke's apartments.
One of the Outer Spires -
Charles Matthias' Apartment - 2 rooms: A modestly-sized fireplace, and outside window in the main room. A small entrance door. The second room has a large bed, deska dn tall dresser, all suited for a musteline.
Lady Kimberly's Apartment - 1 room: a fireplace, an outside window, an oaken entrance door, and closet and dresser for clothes.
A large hall (no name yet) - Used for large indoor meetings. During Easter and Christmas it's used as a church.

No Set Location

The following locations haven't been set in place yet

Archery Range - Self explanatory.
Gardens - Scattered throughout the lower keep, Dukes Palace, and the town are numerous small gardens and parks.
Library - Contains lots of books, scrolls and other writings(surprised?). Home of Fox Cutter.
Lightbringer's temple - Entry hall with storage chambers adjoining. Main Temple with chambers for Raven and acolytes of the Lightbringer order on either side. Location: 3rd or 4th story of The Keep. Window facing north.
Pascal's Apartments - 2 rooms. Small bedroom with a window. Laboratory - No details.
Postern Gate - Located in one of the curtain wall towers, on the north end is a postern. This door is very well hidden and heavily guarded. The door is very small, barely large enough for a human to pass through. It's location is known to only a few people.
Toilets - Scattered through the castle are numerous toilets, equipped with running water.
Cisterns - Used to store water in case of a siege. Countless cisterns are present throughout the whole castle.
Parade Ground - Used for marching, and training. There are several in the castle. The killing zone (area 2) and the courtyard of the lower keep are used the most.