Once an important coastal castle, the old Castle Branding long ago ceased having any military importance. The last warfare seen here was over eighty years ago during the war of succession between House Barca and House Darius.
There was a time not so long ago when escaping from Branderscar would have been impossible for novice adventurers. The warden before Mathias was Captain Callidan, a veteran cavalier, who ran this prison like a well oiled machine. But Branderscar is much diminished these days. It is plagued by two problems. The first problem is the warden himself, Mathias Richter. The well connected patriarch of the Richter family maneuvered Mathias into this prestigious post to better the family name. Mathias accepted the appointment with a shrug and has since evidenced no real interest or aptitude for running a prison. He mostly spends his time amusing himself with his library.
Instead, he has largely delegated his responsibilities to a man he trusts implicitly and undeservedly – Sergeant Tomas Blackerly. Tomas is Branderscar’s second problem. Utterly corrupt, he is skimming the payroll mercilessly. A prison usually garrisoned by forty to fifty guards now routinely employees half that number. But Blackerly didn’t stop there. He has taken to running a rotating card game in the old gate house diverting allegedly on duty guards from their posts. He sells the men cheap whiskey, pocketing the profits. Though these recreations have made Tomas wealthy and popular with the men, prison security is a shambles.