Located in Solaris City's Silesia district, between Arnulf Street and Cosgrove Street, Thor's Shieldhall is arguably one of the most famous - or infamous - bars among fans of the Solaris Games and the Inner Sphere alike, thanks to the ultra exclusive Valhalla Club it houses.
Thor's Shieldhall - Midgard
Situated near the Silesia-Cathay border, externally there is little hint of what lies within the nondescript and unsigned exterior of the warehouse like building, and unless someone knows what they are looking for it can be easy to miss the single smoked glass door entrance. Inside, after the cloakroom a short corridor leads to a short flight of stairs to the left. Here the doorman Roger sits, rationing access to both the so-called Midgard of the main bar and the exclusive Valhalla club above.
Beyond this point, Thor's Shieldhall at first glance resembles any number of sports bars on Solaris, offering overpriced food and drink, be it rare and imported delicacies such as Kincha fruit or Timbiqui Dark to the infamous PPC that "real" MechWarriors supposedly favor, the latest dancing crazes and ever-present holovid players showing the games. Open to the general public, Thor's Shieldhall rapidly fills nightly with lower ranked nobles slumming it as well as wide-eyed tourists, groupies and thrill-seekers all hoping to catch a glimpse of a leading lights of the Solaris Games.
Aside from its garish neon ambiance, Thor's Shieldhall is dominated by the U-shaped bar and dance floor of the main bar, beyond this a doorway leads to a bowl shaped auditorium where terrace sections below and above feature booths with clear views of dueling 'Mechs fighting in the huge holovid in the center of room. On the right rear wall opposite the main bar is a section of booths and tables intentionally kept dark. Here patrons engage in less savory means of relaxation, the coolers and venting above ensuring the smell of opium and Turin Leaf rarely lingers.
Valhalla - The Hall of the Dead
Dedicated to the dueling elite - the top fifteen percent - Valhalla is intended to honor those few who keep the games running. Just who is allowed access is determined by the Thor's Shieldhall's doorman Roger, using a complex and arcane formula that only he reportedly understands, many patrons and visitors ensuring to tip him generously as a precaution. Nobles and the extremely wealthy, and even then only among the highest ranked nobility or wealthiest people in the entire Inner Sphere, can gain non-MechWarrior admittance to Valhalla, but never to the exclusion of the arena contestants and often will need extensive and heavy financial gratuities to Roger and the club to earn the right. Despite its exclusivity, Valhalla is often quite busy as patrons are allowed to bring a small number of guests with them, for lower ranked warriors such invites are often the only means they will be allowed entry.
Valhalla is located above Midgard. Patrons enter via the thick curtain in the darkened section to the rear of the club, walking up a pair of ramps that double back on themselves to a landing directly above the entrance of Midgard where Roger sits below. At what appears to be a smoked glass wall, the patron seeking admittance stands on a pressure plate which triggers an red identiscan laser to wash over them while the security guard behind bullet proof glass verifies their identity, welcoming them to Valhalla and opening the center section of the glass wall. Patrons already within Valhalla have full view of those about to enter or of the security guards forcibly ejecting undesirables back down to Midgard via the one-way glass of the wall.
In accord is its name, Valhalla is built as it was a Norse warrior's vision of paradise, giving it an anachronistic feel compared to high-tech glitz of Solaris City. Its hall long and wide, Valhalla was entirely constructed from genuine and rare woods, the floor planks having a rough unfinished feel, the pillars holding up the tall roof showing notches from the axes used to fell them and remove the branches. The wall are decorated with the hides from animals from two dozen worlds across the Inner Sphere. Lighting is primarily provided by a large holographic bonfire in the center of the hall, supplemented by smaller holographic torches set into wall sconces.
Valhalla is dominated by the long table and the matching benches, all built by hand from rough planks and running up the center of the room, breaking only for the bonfire. The seating positions at the long table are determined by the relative influence of current warriors in the games, the higher their standing and reputation, the closer to the head of the table they sit. Those nonwarriors able to secure access to Valhalla are relegated to the foot of the table. At the head of a long table is placed a dais with a number of high-backed chairs, including a throne in the place of honor in the middle where the reigning Champion sits with his party around him. During the Grand Tournament, the defending Champion will sit at the right hand of the empty throne until such time they are victorious or a new Champion crowned.
Hidden from view by handwoven woolen curtains, private alcoves line the walls of Valhalla, their ownership assigned like the long table based on the standings within the games - both currently and historically. Heraldic banners and shields tacked to the posts by each alcove feature the crest of the fighter or party that own it. The alcoves closest to the entryway are assigned to those nobles who've paid absolutely ridiculous sums to be allowed admittance, those closer to the dais were assigned to warriors of great repute - either the legends who've retired from the arena or current superstars of the arena which the club's owners deemed most likely to survive to retirement.
While some warriors see it as an escape from the tensions of the game, allowing them to relax and meet other warriors on equal footing, others are unable to let go of their rivalries, especially during the Grand Tournament.
- MechWarrior's Guide to Solaris VII, pp. 128–133: "Location Index"
- Warrior: En Garde, ch. 5
- Solaris VII: The Game World - Player Book, p. 43: "Silesia - Entertainment - Thor's Shieldhall (S-28)"
- Assumption of Risk, ch. 16
- MechWarrior's Guide to Solaris VII, p. 74: "A Brief History of Solaris VII - A Tour of Solaris City - Silesia -The Driveby"
- Illusions of Victory, ch. 7