[ Disclaimer, --- , ]
High Keep is the seat of a former empire that used to spread its power over central Antonica in years past. Now, their reign has diminished to Highpass Hold due to constant attacks by the orcs and gnolls. However, the inhabitants of High Keep thrive on trade (both legal and illegal) passing through the center of the continent with Highpass Hold being one of the few "safe" regions to pass through.
Main Level and Basement
(Lettered Stairs lead to each other)
There are three specific dangers in High Keep. The first are the pickclaw goblins, who exist in the basement of the Keep, apparently unbeknownst to the guards walking above their heads. These spawn in a series of rooms, and become more dangerous the lower down in the basement one goes. They are uniformly very heavily camped.
The other two are in the basement as well. There are prisoners that appear to be safely tucked away inside of their prison cells. These prisoners are highly aggressive and will come out of their cell in order to attack you, regardless of how beneath you they are in level. If you get more than one or two on you, they can be more than a nuisance, and the guards will not attack them. Also, nearby is a Princess Lenia, not to be confused with the Princess Lenya that is part of a quest. This particular princess is a necromancer and around 20th level, so be careful around her (although she is not aggressive).
This is a small, tight zone to hunt in. You can make your wealth downstairs with the goblins and walk a very short distance and sell or put it into the bank, you can be bound right here, etc. It's a one-stop hunting place. Probably for this reason, the poor Pickclaw Goblins have an estimated lifespan far less than a mayfly, and the area has actually developed lists for getting to attack specific pickclaws. Hmm, now I'm not so sure this is a benefit...
The area also provides a good place for adventurers in the center of the continent in general. You can be bound either in High Keep or in Highpass Hold, and with the nearby merchants and bank, this area acts as much as a town as either Qeynos or Freeport do, although I believe it is underutilized.
Guard Placement and Leveling Guide
The guards patrolling the Keep are a popular leveling option for evil-aligned races, but several good-aligned races are willing to take the faction hit in exchange for respectable money and great experience. Each guard drops a sword which sells for 5pp on top of the standard loot table for mobs this level range. Any race/class can sell to the vendor marked #13 on the map. Listed below are suggestions on which guards to kill when soloing.
Coming to High Keep at 24 is only suggested if you're well-geared and comfortable playing your class. There are only two guards which con blue at this level which are surrounded by higher level guards. On the main floor, Guard Blayle, level 20, is just inside the main entrance next to Guard Lorton who is level 29. Guard Folton is level 21 who is at the base of the stairs to the second floor. While not within the immediate vicinity of higher level guards, you will need invisibly to reach him.
If you are well-geared, there is a good who cons yellow/red right in the middle of the second floor. He has an extremely fast respawn time, does not patrol, and does not aggro anything else ONLY IF you are NOT inherently kill on sight to the Knights of Truth. Isabelle Cellus is a level 40 warrior who patrols through this room who does not aggro you if you are fighting a guard. Several players will park right at his spawn point, fight him, heal up, and repeat.
Once you start feeling more comfortable with the zone and creep closer to level 30, you can try your luck at other white and yellow cons until you hit 30.
At #11 on the map there's a bard that spawns which hits slightly harder than the guards in this level range. She seems to have a longer repsawn than everything else in the zone. She can work well into this rotation.
Guard Blayle spawns just on the other side of the wall from the bard heading in towards the keep. He's the lowest level guard in the zone and respawns very quickly, roughly three minutes, faster than the others. Right next to him spawns Guard Lancel making this a double pull. You can either tank Bayle and burn down Lancel or split them. Lancel is your standard guard for this level range in terms of hp and damage output.
Outside the door to #13 spawns a guard who's difficulty is in between Blayle and Lancel.
There's a room on the bottom of stairs leading up to level two. Guard Folton spawns in this room and is the same difficulty as Blayle, but has a standard respawn rate.
On top of the stairs, there's a pair of guards facing each other with the same difficulty as Lancel. I would always split these two at the bottom of the steps and around the corner a bit.
After you hit 33 or 34, a couple guards will start to green out, but still give a mild amount of exp. I would generally stay away from them unless they happened to aggro me or be on the way to something. You can stick with the rotation I described above and add the following to it. Once you're on the second floor you need to start being mindful of the high level bards, nobles, and Isabella. They will steamroll you.
In between #15 and #16 on the map on the first floor spawns a guard who will not aggro any of the merchants around him.
Opposite the room in the corner of #16 spawns a guard who is lower level than the one you probably just killed to get to this one.
On top of the stairs from level one, your first doorway on your right will have a guard posting up in the corner. You can pull him with a ranged weapon and he will not aggro the two bards in the room.
Opposite that doorway, there's a short hallway with a guard hanging out in the middle there. He will not aggro anything else nearby except for the guard I just mentioned above. Pull him and the other guard to the bottom of the stairs or to the landing above it.
In the middle room on this level spawns a guard who started to green out at about 35 and respawns every 3 minutes. Some people just camp him and nothing else. Isabella patrols through here so if you're an Iksar she will ruin your day, if you're human you'll be good though. Not on the same faction table as the guards.
At the bottom of the stairs leading up to level three, there's four guards. Depending on your level, you'll either aggro all four or just three with a ranged attack. It's very possible to split pull here, either to the stairs to the first floor or towards the bottom left room of level two.
There's a guard that spawns right outside the bottom left room of level two. Isabella patrols close enough to aggro here so I usually pull him into that room.
On top of the stairs to level three spawns a one guard and another guard with the same name that patrols around level three.
Number 3 on the map on level three houses a skeleton for some obscure quest. Don't go around the corner towards the door to that room or he will aggro you through the wall.
At the bottom of the stairs to level four spawns two guards. One is lower level and can be single pulled and the other is the standard level for this range.
Fourth floor! Heavy hitters up here, can double hit for 75ish.
Outside the landing on top of the stairs to the fourth floor is the main hallway. There's a guard who patrols this hallway.
Looking left down main hallway, the first doorway on your left houses two guards that need to be split pulled into main hallway.
Continuing through where the two guards spawn, there's a room with four doors and a lone guard chilling.
First door on your left and around the corner to your left when you go through it is where another lone guard spawns.
Back out into main hallway, there's a bunch of fake walls and secret passageways and shit. If you go left all the way down main hallway and keep following it, it ends with a painting. Right on the other side of that painting is a room with a guard in it.
Back out in main hallway, there's a painting right across from the landing from the stairs. Go through it, follow it around until you see a room. On your right there's a guard that spawns there. Watch out for Tyrana Slil, she's a necromancer who lifetaps and should be avoided.
Back out in main hallway again, from the stairs look right and you'll see it end in another painting. Go through that and there's a guard in the room there.
Once you go through to the room I just mentioned above, hug the left wall and that path will lead to two guards in front of a door. Split pull them into the room where the single guard spawns.
Finally, all the way down at the very entrance to the zone there are two guards flanking the zone-in. These guys are in the higher level bracket. Don't mess with them until you're at least 35. I would never run all the way down from level four just to kill these two, not worth the trouble, really.
In the basement right by the bank there's Captain Bosec who will wreck you unless you're closer to 38 or 39, and a guard that's standard for the 33-35 level range.
Work your way towards the prison area (wiki map gets confusing here), and there's a guard that patrols between the merchant and the main hallway of the prison area.
In the prison hallway, there's a guard that walks up and down (not the same as the one I just mentioned), and a guard at each end.
I would only come to the basement if the top floor was camped. There's not many spawns and the low level prisoners (maybe level 12) sometimes aggro you and are generally a pain in the ass.
And that's it! Some people stay until 40 but I left at 38 when a couple of the guards on fourth floor started to green out. You can sell all your swords to vendors in the zone with sneak then go around the corner and bank all your plat.
Traveling To and From
High Keep's entrance is located in the middle of Highpass Hold, on it's eastern edge. From there the Keep can be reached through either Eastern Plains of Karana (through a long gorge) or from Kithicor Forest.