Vaelor / Thyl'ith / Lotharia Campaign
Stronghold Building Tips
The following is a description of my approach to making a new stronghold.
- The first step is to figure out what purpose the stronghold is going to serve.
- A personal residence?
- A military strong point?
- A place for entertaining guests?
- A waypoint for travelers?
- One or more of the above?
- The second step is to figure out how many people (and animals) the stronghold is going to support. I usually break this down into four sections: Resident Nobility, Noble Guests, Staff (Important & Regular), and Military.
- Resident Nobility – I figure out what stronghold components I need to serve the resident nobles, their family, and their wards.
- Noble Guests – A stronghold will eventually have visitors and they will need to be housed in a manner which befits their standing. How many lords will the stronghold support at once? Suites or just bedrooms? How many stables will I need to support their mounts?
- Staff – I generally leave this for last, but this should incorporate your staff needs for all of the components you’ve added to your stronghold. I always keep in mind rooming requirements for important members of the staff (craftsmen followers, castle seneschal, captain of the guard, head chef, etc). I almost always will need to add more minimum staff than indicated in the sum of the individual stronghold components (like adding more servants to clean, for example).
- Military – I start by figuring out how many soldiers I want the stronghold to support, and how many mounts I want them to have (also having extra stabling for noble mount overflow). I then assign Barracks and Stables as necessary.
- The third step is to figure out what other buildings I want to have in the stronghold (referring back to the first step for the purpose of the stronghold). I generally break this down into a few areas as well: Private Common Areas, Public Common Areas, Services, and Military.
- Private Common Areas – Anything needed by the lord of the stronghold and their family. Private courtyards or common areas? Private dining halls? Private chapel? etc.
- Public Common Areas – Anything needed by the lord of the stronghold to host guests or the basic requirements of a functioning stronghold. Public dining, kitchens, public common areas & courtyards, libraries, studies, etc.
- Services – This is again going back to point #1 – what is the stronghold’s purpose? In this area I usually figure out storage/vaults, smithies, workshops, etc.
- Military – This is the straightforward part – what components do I need to add to support the military I asked for in point #2. Adding Armories, Training Areas, military dining, military kitchens, etc as needed.
- I then begin laying out the stronghold. Figure out how many towers I need, how many gatehouses, how many barbicans, etc.
- Now that I have the components and the general tower/wall layout I figure out how many watch stations the stronghold has. A watch station is a point which should be guarded 24/7. I also, at this point, figure what the minimum soldier needs are by picking between shift schedules of 3×8 or 4×6 per watch station per day.
- Once I have a general overview of the stronghold I then start tweaking it – more/less guests, more services for the resident noble, more housing for special people (Steward/Marshal/Vizier/Hierophant), more/less military, etc.
- The last step is to figure out the component cost, size, interior vs. exterior wall %, the overall wall costs, and the overall stronghold cost.
- Do a final set of tweaks and revisit the purpose to see if what I’ve constructed matches up.
- Apply modifiers to reduce/increase cost and then figure out all of the totals, construction time, and labourer needs.