The High Clerist's Tower isn't really just a single tower, but a massive fortress built by humans. When Vinas Solamnus ordered the construction of this tower in 1772 PC, the name given to it was Dragondeath. The tower was constructed after some Solamnic clerics ordered the tower built according to their prophecies. The clerics never stated why they wanted the tower built in the first place, but the Knights of Solamnia used the tower as a means to protect Westgate Pass, which was the only pass through the Vingaard Mountains to Palanthas.
The fortress has a one hundred foot tall, eight-sided wall around it with towers at each of the meeting points of these walls. There is one gate on each one of these walls that are made of ironwood, banded with steel, and strengthened by magic, and from those gates it leads you into the courtyard surrounding the actual tower. The five gates that face the Plains of Solamnia were part of the old dragontraps, but are no longer operational.
Some of the levels are as follows: Level two is the temples and sleeping quarters, level three is the dining halls and guard rooms, level four are the kitchens, level six are the gardens, levels eight, nine, and ten are the abbeys and cleric offices, level thirteen is the maze, level fourteen is the living and learning areas, and level fifteen is the high lookout.
Following the Kingpriest's demands to be mad a god, and the fiery mountain was hurled down upon Krynn, the Knights of Solamnia abandoned the fortress following the death of their High Clerist Yarus. Over the course of the next three hundred and fifty-one years, the knights never again used the tower as a means to defend Solamnia.
War of the Lance
At the begining of the War of the Lance, the fortress was manned by only a few troops. The Knighthood was in turmoil over recent defeats, and with no Grand Master, no decisions pertaining to troop movements could be made. When the Dragonarmies invaded Solamnia, Gunthar Uth Wistan ordered the immediate defense of the High Clerist's Tower. The Solamnic Knights moved in occupying the fortress and other buildings.
While the defenders were under siege by the Blue Wing, a dwarf by the name of Flint Fireforge commented that builder of this tower was either drunk or insane due to the many gates leading into the tower. No one had ever actually entered the tower itself until a kender by the name of Tasslehoff Burrfoot got bored and started exploring during a lull in the Battle of the High Clerist's Tower. There he found a dragon orb that was set in a hall in the middle of the tower.
Together, Laurana Kanan, Tas, and the other Crown Knights set the trap to spring upon the Blue Wing. While they were doing this, Sturm Brightblade delayed Kitiara Uth Matar from launching her full-scale attack on the tower. He fell in the process, but it gave Laurana enough time to command the dragon orb which lured two Blue Dragons into the traps and the Solamnic Knights killed them with the dragonlance. This also scattered her forces and the battle was won. Never again during this war would war come to the front gates of the fortress.
Post War of the Lance
Following the War, Lord Ariakan was held here as an honored prisoner for a time. The tower then went under a serious amount of modernization, including the sealing of the dragontrap gates with white granite plugs since no dragon orbs were in existence. Where Sturm fell during the battle is a splotch of crimson on the battlements that knights circle with respect.
Blue Lady's War
During the Blue Lady's War, Kitiara got a lot smarter than during the War of the Lance. While the Solamnic Knights put many soldiers at the tower to defend it, Kitiara took her flying citadels completely around the fortress to attack Palanthas head on.
The tower was under the command of Knight of the Rose Thomas of Thalgaard. Together with Tanis Half-Elven, Crysania, and Dalamar the Dark they made a plan as to how to defend the tower. Even though they gave their best effort to defend the tower even without Paladine's assistance, the tower still fell and with it one of the greatest heroes of the times, Tanis.
Ariakan quickly set up the tower as his base of operations on Ansalon, and the Thorn Knights moved into the old dragontraps as their headquarters. Ariakan would not hold it long when the forces of Chaos attacked the tower and destroyed all within except for the Solamnics held prisoner below and the Dark Knights who had been hidden away. Together they joined together to wage war in the Abyss in the Battle of the Rift.
Following the Dark Knight's defeat at the Tower, the Dark Knights left the Tower vacant and in ruins from the battles it had endured. The tower would not again be inhabited until the Solamnic Knights overthrew the Dark Knight rule of Solamnia following the War of Souls.
The Tower is known by many other names, including High Clerist's Keep, Dragondeath, and the Tower of the High Clerist.
During the War of the Lance, when Kitiara made a direct assault on the tower against Sturm and the defenders, Sturm was overcome with dragonfear and ran for his life. The defenders held for another two days before they again tried to use the dragon orb there. Laurana attempted to gain control of the orb, and failed. The orb possessed her, and with it she was able to drive the Blue Dragonarmy into insanity with her dragon spirits called dragonmourn. Even though it was a win for the Solamnics, Sturm and the defenders had to retreat leaving Laurana at the tower. The tower's name was changed back to Dragondeath with many Chromatic Dragon spirits flying around the tower. Those going near the tower would walk in shadow, feel intense dragonfear, and hear Laurana's sad mourning song.
Areas of the High Clerist's Tower
- Chamber of Paladine
- The Eternal Halls
- High Council Hall
- The Khas Room
- Kingfisher's Nest
- Knights' Spur
- The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles, Winter Night, p. 848, 856
- The Dragons of Krynn, p. 107
- Dragons of Summer Flame (HC), p. 54, 166-167, 277, 288-289, 297, 316, 443, 446, 499
- Dragons of the Highlord Skies (PB) p. 36, 306, 575
- Legends of the Twins (Sourcebook), p. 115-116
- Palanthas (Sourcebook), p. 82-93
- The Second Generation, 'Kitiara's Son', p. 58
- War of the Lance (Sourcebook), p. 184-185