So You're a PC building a castle


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  1. #1
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

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    So You're a PC building a castle

    Lets face it, in D&D you amass wealth and power. the idea of having a permanent home, and it being AWESOME, is likely to have some appeal.

    So, assuming you have A LOT of money, and plenty of time, and access to relevant materials, What would you build? I'm looking for specific room ideas, layout concepts, traps, accessories, etc. What would your mansion/fortress/castle/manor whatever be used for?

    This is actually a spin off of my other thread here where I've designed the method of creating a fortress, but now I'm having a tough time figuring out WHAT to actually build in it.

 

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    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    It depends on where my PC has his base of operations, and what his purpose is. For example, if he has a manor house in the city, it will likely be nicely appointed, but will have relatively little in the way of defenses. After all, it is simply his dwelling.

    If he has a keep or castle protecting a strategic area...a river ford, a mountain pass, etc...then there would be a much different plan in mind when it comes to building it.
    - Rhun

    For every one hundred men you send us, Ten should not even be here. Eighty are nothing but targets. Nine of them are real fighters; We are lucky to have them, they the battle make. Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior. And he will bring the others back. - Heraclitus of Ephesus, 500 BC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhun View Post
    It depends on where my PC has his base of operations, and what his purpose is. For example, if he has a manor house in the city, it will likely be nicely appointed, but will have relatively little in the way of defenses. After all, it is simply his dwelling.

    If he has a keep or castle protecting a strategic area...a river ford, a mountain pass, etc...then there would be a much different plan in mind when it comes to building it.
    Alright, but what rooms would compose your place or residence? Aside from someplace to eat, sleep and poo, how would you deck your halls? Grand Library? Ballroom? Garden? Observatory? Trapped hallway that shoots poison needles of you step on any but the black tiles?

    Would it be menacing looking? Inviting? Would you use it to host great parties, or would giant iron doors bar out all but your dungeon prisoners?

    How might you design your residence?

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    My PC would build a castle flying on a cloud. The castle would be equipped with a giant disintegrate ray. The main throne room would include a wall built of glassteel where the throne would face. When encountering other flying fortresses he'd just give the order "You may fire when ready..."

    Aside from kidding, at the moment I'm quite into dark fantasy, so the servants would be inbred sickly pale who would seem to be wandering aimlessly along unending corridors and dead ends between a maze of rooms only until an enemy would dare to enter the castle when they would attack the trespassers with animalistic ferocity.
    Since I'm already into it, it would surely have to include a library with bound demons and half-demons who would be shackled to their stools while writing undecipherable prophecies into great tomes.
    To be able to fly? To be smoke? Or wolf? To know the night and livin' it forever? That's not so bad...You call us monsters...but when you dream you dream of flying...and changing...and living without the death. You envy us...and what you envy...you destroy.

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    Okay, let's look at the flying/floating castle theme. You could do that with Wall of Force or Force Cage spells made permanent, and used as the anchor or foundation points.

    Wall of Force could provide a longer, and hence more stable, base line, but then it's kind of hard to build solidly on a vertical wall of indeterminate thickness.

    Place it over a lake, so you have an automatic moat all around and underneath. Also helps dispose of the waste material that gets dropped.

    In any case, a proper castle needs to balance two competing factors.

    1) It needs to be defensible, which actually means keeping the length of wall that needs to be manned to a minimum.
    2) It needs to be able to shelter citizens from the surrounding town and farms during time of war, which means that you need to maximize "surplus" living space and supply storage.

    You need a ready way to supply the place, not only to support yourself in pallacial style, but to feed the staff and troops and their families. That makes the flying/mountaintop/island fortress problematic.

    Defensively, the hilltop fortress is the best compromise. Keep the approaching faces steep, and lay the main access road as a series of switchbacks that scale a steep face. Easily manageable by wagon or cart, but extremely exposed to defensive fire. The local populace seeking shelter can gain access, but it's a nightmare for an invading or besieging force.

    In D&D terms, the outer walls have to be craftsman finished, not just Wall of Stone. So do the exposed cliff faces, for that matter. Transmute Rock to Mud won't affect worked stone, but rough natural stone has no defense against it. And Wall of Stone is described/defined as "rough stone".

    Depending on my budget, I'd try to cast Forbiddance along, just *outside* the castle walls, everywhere except at the various gates. That will flat out kill any enemy soldiers of the wrong alignment as soon as they try to attack the walls. (Most soldiers can't take the damage that spell dishes out.)

    I'd reenforce outer walls at key places with Wall of Force made permanent, not necessarily on the walls themselves, but above them, leaving enough room for my archers to fire underneath them, but acting as a shield against any other incoming missile fire. Anything aimed over the wall and into the castle grounds would be blocked.

    As far as actual rooms are concerned: Lots of residential apartments, both in the main building and in surrounding areas. Like I said, we need to be able to shelter the town and local farm population. Probably several communal kitchens in the various apartment sections.

    Emergency supplies would be housed in the main building, for security reasons.

    A few large chambers in the main building that could be used for formal dining, dances, etc. One of these could serve as a large audience hall, but I'd need a smaller one as well.

    Tower apartments would be reserved for spellcasters and Alchemists, and would be particularly reenforced to contain the occasional explosion and/or tear in the fabric of reality. Yes, these are occupational hazards, but there's no reason not to maintain a safety zone for the rest of us.

    Library and scriptorium, where books can be collected and copied.

    A working smithy, perhaps two depending on the size of the place, both for the shoeing of horses and for armor and weapons.

    An aerie, where winged mounts are kept, maintained and raised. Giant Owls for night patrols and Giant Eagles for daytime. Probably two separate hatcheries at different ends of the grounds.

    You need ordinary riding stables as well, of course.

    There would have to be a chapel, of course, as well as small shrines to a number of deities scattered about. (I've long believed that essentially every bar is a working shrine to Olymidara (sp?). He's the god of gamblers, wine, tricksters and mischief makers, so any bar or tavern where a dice game springs up is sure to have men praying for luck. )

    Oh, I almost forgot: I'd need some chambers for myself as well. Can't forget that...

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    I won't go into defenses as this doesn't seem the OP's point.

    I like having a pyramid.

    My "throne room" (no actual throne, too ostentatious) is somewhere randomly in the middle with a "window" view.

    I recruit followers who live there, support the economy (farming, trades, etc.), and provide company (living in a fortress by yourself isn't much fun IMHO). A small but well trained group of guardsmen who also patrol the surrounding area. These guards are less for defense and more for keeping the peace locally and helping to enforce the law.

    Great stores of non-perishable and magically protected food & a deep underground spring. Multiple (magical and non-magical) modes of egress.

    A library, as you mentioned, as this draws interesting travelers & traders.

    A large dungeon with a "fabled" (I had the rumors spread) treasure hoard - the hoard is fake and the dungeon well trapped and inhabitted by underground nasties. My actual treasure hoard is deep within the above ground sections of the pyramid and hidden (again, magically and non-magically).

    That's what I'm thinking...

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    Lets be honest, we blew our treasure hoard building these places. That's why the place is unoccupied so much of the year, since we're off adventuring to replace what we keep spending.

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    Thanks, these are the kinds of responses I'm looking for. Wither your bias is to build a defense for the peasants of the surrounding countryside, lure in seekers of fortune, or be an orbital death ray is the kinds of starting points that determine what your details end up being. I'm looking for those kids of imagination to help me kick start my own ideas.

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  • #10
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    I have had a number of characters over the years build manors, mountain strongholds, keeps, wizard towers, temples, etc. I typically lean toward a classic medieval-style structure with a moat, curtain walls, and a central keep. I usually draw something out on graph paper so I have an idea of the layout. For the most part, I do not put much thought into how the castle is decorated; I just assume that it has tables, chairs, beds, tapestries and other needleworks.

    When it comes to defense I assume a number of guards with swords and bows are stationed throughout the compound. Areas such as my bed chamber and vault will receive magical protections. There is a feat from the Stronghold Builder's Guide that helps cover the costs of building and maintaining a castle.

    I would also recommend A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe for ideas for adminstering the lands surrounding your keep.
    "Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail." ~ Charles Dickens

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