ardoughter said:The problem with this is; once you clear the castle then what?
A humungeous castle is not holdable by the pcs, it at the very least needs a garrison, who have to; a) come from somewhere, b) need to be fed, clothed and equiped, c) need to be paid.
So now you need support staff, farmers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. They need to be persuaded to come, protected when they arrive and some one has to do the estate management. Taxes, rents and so forth.
One minute you are playing D&D, next the Sims fantasy, then Civ.
First let me say that this is a perfectly valid statement. It brings up signifigant obstacles, and notes that yes, this can change how your game is played completely. Mind you, the challenges brought up are far from insurmountable.
That said, this is when you (The OP, but also, a very general "you") need to take stock of where your group falls on the GSN scale. I'm of the mind that most groups have elements of all three, but tend to favor one.
In a group I'm currently running, one of my PCs is lord of a town with a small keep, with the deed to a nearby mine, all left to him by his father. Of course, the countryside has become infested by goblinoid tribes and raiders, and there might be something quite nasty slumbering within the mine, but all in a day's work, right?
I should first point out that I consider our group fairly Narrativist, with a moderate sense of Gamist and a fairly weak Simulationist aspect. As such, I assume that as long as he makes an effort to support his town in an economic fashion, appoints compitent officers, treats his subjects well, and so on, the town takes care of itself, and I can thusly use it as a springboard for adventures, as needed.
What I'm saying is, it only needs to be as much a simulation as the DM and the players wish it to be.