One of the strongest fortresses in all the Dales, Swordpoint is the main barracks of Archendale's widely respected army. A onetime robber baron's stronghold, it crowns a knoll of solid rock - akin to the Old Skull in Shadowdale - high above Arkhen Ford. From this height, it frowns down on the town of Archenbridge. Swordpoint houses the Dale's main armory and war forge, and also contains the Shrine of Swords. Of all outlanders, only pilgrims seeking to worship Tempus at the shrine are normally allowed through the fortress gates. - Volothamp Geddarm, Volo's Guide to the DalelandsSwordpoint is a massive and ancient fortress that guards the city of Archenbridge, houses its army, and serves as the drill grounds for the militia. In the 14th century the swords of Archendale began a decades long program to rebuild the crumbled ruins and turn it into the eventual seat for the entire government of the dale. Here you will find not only the a military garrison but a working capitol complex with a court of law, treasure vault, hall of records, and so on.
Purpose / Function
Swordpoint serves as the garrison for all of Archendale's soldiers in the Archenriders and the primary seat of government for Archendale. It's also the largest fortress in all of the Dalelands.
In the 14th Century Dale Reckoning the abandoned keep of Swordpoint was rebuilt as a full sized castle with stone walls and towers; a second wall consisting of earth and a wooden palisade were built to form another layer of protection. In 1491 the main castle is still undergoing repairs and renovations after a siege, a pair of cannons and some gun ports are part of this renovation.
The tall square keep was built by a robber baron in the 9th century and still stands with little alteration today; the walls and their rounded towers are built to the best specifications of the era in the 14th century, but are now being renovated once again by Cormyran stonemasons in the most modern style so that they may withstand bombardment from cannons.
Swordpoint's inner bailey has a heavily fortified keep 100 feet tall and 30 foot tall stone walls that are 10 feet thick. Three towers and a fortified gatehouse provide space for up to 1,000 defenders to man its walls which also house three catapults and half a dozen ballistae. The hill the castle lies on is only approachable from one direction which is protected further by an unfilled ditch which sits before an earthen rampart that is further enhanced with a palisade of wood.
The original castle was constructed by a robber baron named Sandalor the Crag in the 9th century DR. It was reconstructed starting in the 14th century DR when The Swords of Archendale decided that a strong fortress would be key to protecting their land in the future. It's one and only true test was during a month's long siege by 3,000 Sembian soldiers and mercenaries from the Month of Marpenoth 1483 until nearly Greengrass in 1484. Soldiers dispatched from Cormyr were able to join Archendale's militia to break the siege and work with the Ridesmen to push the Sembians out of the Dalelands for the remainder of the war against Sembia and Netheril.
Only those with a pass from the Swords of Archenbridge may enter the castle's inner bailey. Petitioners attempting to worship Tempus at the The Shrine of Swords are allowed to enter if they pay a tithe to the ride captains on watch.