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Author Topic: Castle/Keep Building Systems  (Read 778 times)

Tyndale

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Castle/Keep Building Systems
« on: October 16, 2020, 08:37:01 pm »
Say, if one wanted to spend some time (and gold pieces) in building a defensible structure for a gaming party, what rules/system would you adopt or pillage from?  Bonus points for upkeep and sieges.

Who has the best construction rules in your opinion?

Not so much intersted in a specific game, more so in your positive experience with construction and defense.  And looking for a middle ground between crunch and easy of play - if there is such a space.

Currently reading ICE's Castles & Ruins ATM.

TIA

Mark
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 08:43:56 pm by Tyndale »
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Graewulf

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2020, 11:33:36 pm »
ACKS may have what you're looking for. I don't have the book with me right now, but I seem to remember there being stuff in there for exactly this.

S'mon

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 07:56:23 am »
1e DMG? But in a D&D world littered with ruined castles, new construction is very rare IME. Why build a new one when you can re-occupy an old one?
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Arkansan

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2020, 09:52:22 am »
1e DMG? But in a D&D world littered with ruined castles, new construction is very rare IME. Why build a new one when you can re-occupy an old one?

That would be my thoughts. Renovation is surely cheaper than construction right? As to a system I would second ACKS. Might also take a look at Chivalry and Sorcery, I seem to recall it having rules for that sort of thing.

Tyndale

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 10:49:24 am »
Why build a new one when you can re-occupy an old one?

 Because I like subsystems, but your point is spot on.  No need for construction from scratch when a remodel is available.
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Lurkndog

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2020, 11:37:11 am »
There are reasons not to re-occupy an old ruin.

The simplest is that the ruin is probably not structurally sound any more. To make it safe to live in, you would have to tear it down and rebuild it.

A second reason is that defensive architecture is a moving target, and a centuries-old ruin would be vulnerable to newer forms of attack. Indeed, those forms of attack are almost certainly how the place became a ruin in the first place. For instance, once people figure out that tower keeps are natural chimneys, you're not going to want to move back into one.

Thirdly, ancient cities were tiny, and an ancient fortress probably is tiny also.

It is quite likely, though, that the LOCATION of the ruin is every bit as strategically important as it ever was. There is ample historical precedent for building a new fortress on the site of an old one, using whatever materials from the old one that you can salvage.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 11:40:24 am by Lurkndog »

S'mon

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 12:24:54 pm »
There are reasons not to re-occupy an old ruin.

The simplest is that the ruin is probably not structurally sound any more. To make it safe to live in, you would have to tear it down and rebuild it.

Just considering what I see of PC behaviour in sandbox D&D campaigns. They certainly don't reoccupy *every* old ruin. They window shop for the best one, & take that. Or even better, they move in to a currently inhabited castle.

I always thought Gygax's 1e DMG construction example with a PC Lord building his wilderness stronghold *100 miles* from the nearest border town was very strange; and seemed more like the Old West than anything even vaguely medieval. I've run dozens of campaigns over the years, and IME the PCs look for a good abandoned or occupied fortress as close to civilisation as possible. The Moathouse from Village of Hommlet spurred a good deal of interest.
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Tyndale

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 06:56:43 pm »
Thanks for the ACKS suggestion, as this is essentially what I was looking for.  Apparently when I read the book awhile back, I didn't get to that part or skipped that section.   
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Shasarak

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 04:05:10 am »
Why build a new one when you can re-occupy an old one?

I always chuckle about that line of thought, especially re: Armour.

Why buy new Armour when you can just use the Armour of the guy you just killed?

After you patch up a few sword holes of course.
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S'mon

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2020, 05:12:44 am »
Why build a new one when you can re-occupy an old one?

I always chuckle about that line of thought, especially re: Armour.

Why buy new Armour when you can just use the Armour of the guy you just killed?

After you patch up a few sword holes of course.

Well IRL swords don't make holes in armour. And if you thinking stripping dead foes of their armour is odd, you must not have read The Iliad.

Edit: Shasarak's reaction does make me think there may be a cultural divide here, a "newer is better" assumption maybe stronger in the USA than Europe? So that Gygax thought it perfectly sensible that PCs would build brand new castles rather than patch up old ones.

But even with the kindly building rates & costs in the 1e DMG, IME my players don't want to wait two years for their fortress. The preference is always to take over a functioning castle; failing that to repair an old one.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 05:16:36 am by S'mon »
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Chris24601

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 09:21:56 am »
Edit: Shasarak's reaction does make me think there may be a cultural divide here, a "newer is better" assumption maybe stronger in the USA than Europe?
There certainly is a cultural divide, but it’s not so much “newer is better” as where American vs. European definitions of “old” come into play.

Specifically, even now the USA is a very young country. I live in Indiana and in my specific locale it was still wilderness in the 1840s when the first parish church in the diocese was built. That’s just about 175 years ago in the Eastern MidWest, and that’s not even what the people here remember as the OLD Church (that was built c. 1914 or just barely a century old). Further out west my grandfather grew up in a tar paper shack in Montana about the same time the old church was being built and there wasn’t even a real town until a rail line was put in when he was a teenager.

By contrast, when my parents visited Rome they recounted with amazement how the tour guide had referred to a 600 year old structure as “the NEW Church.” Columbus wouldn’t even discover the Americas until a century after the New Church in Rome was built.

America is like a child or teenager when it comes to judging “old” (i.e. if you’re 30 you’re ancient) in terms of culture. Even the oldest bits of Western culture in the Americas are barely five centuries old and the oldest settlements we link to the founding of the United States are only four centuries (and the country itself not truly founded until the close of the 18th Century, even if we declared our independence a couple decades sooner).

And because we got our start in the period well past when armor and castles decided battles and with largely Protestants lacking the context of one and a half millennia of history making structures built to last centuries sensible... our structures here just weren’t built to last as long so a hundred or even fifty year old structure here, unless meticulously maintained, is ruined beyond habitation vs. a medieval castle which could sit idle for five decades and just need a bit of maintenance to bring back to form.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 09:23:47 am by Chris24601 »

David Johansen

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 09:41:23 am »
Castles and Ruins is a great book but the pages and pages of charts for costs of wall by thickness are probably a bit much for most groups.  Great training packages and some fun new professions though.

Personally the problem isn't so much money as man-power and time.  Sure, money helps, but these things are usually built where there's already a labor force available.  Taking a few thousand people out into the wilderness and keeping them supplied is a huge undertaking.  Don't think the local lord's going to approve of someone siphoning off a couple percent of their skilled labor either.  Sure you might be able to convince said lord with money but there plenty of lords who'll look at the PCs and their money and then have them killed and keep the money.
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Shasarak

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2020, 06:28:52 am »
Well IRL swords don't make holes in armour. And if you thinking stripping dead foes of their armour is odd, you must not have read The Iliad.

IRL Dragons dont bite holes in armour either, so thats a relief I guess.
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S'mon

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2020, 08:31:47 am »
Well IRL swords don't make holes in armour. And if you thinking stripping dead foes of their armour is odd, you must not have read The Iliad.

IRL Dragons dont bite holes in armour either, so thats a relief I guess.

I guess you're playing Council of Wyrms, then. Otherwise your comments about dragon PCs stripping damaged armour from dead foes would make no sense.
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Shasarak

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Re: Castle/Keep Building Systems
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2020, 02:39:10 pm »
Well IRL swords don't make holes in armour. And if you thinking stripping dead foes of their armour is odd, you must not have read The Iliad.

IRL Dragons dont bite holes in armour either, so thats a relief I guess.

I guess you're playing Council of Wyrms, then. Otherwise your comments about dragon PCs stripping damaged armour from dead foes would make no sense.

IRL there are no Dragon PCs.
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