Matt Colville’s Strongholds and Followers

hawkeyefan

Legend
Matt Colville’s Strongholds and Followers

So the PDF for the record breaking Kickstarter project is available now to backers and preorders. I’ve downloaded my copy and begun to peruse it. I haven’t read a lot of it on detail yet, just skimmed a good amount and read a few sections that caught my eye.

I like what I’ve seen so far. What does everyone else think?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
Could you tell us what is exactly included in the pdf, and what you like about it? For those who don't have it.
Are there sections or bits of it which you don't like?
 

Devilbass

First Post
I also just downloaded it in the last couple of hours. Haven't read it in detail, but so far I like the content.

There is often an explanation as to the thinking behind a rule or mechanic in the same paragraph as said rule/mechanic. Most mechanics seem to have both function and theme in mind - there's is plenty of crunch and plenty of flavour in this book.

A new mechanic of note is the Extended Rest. An extended rest requires you to spend a week in your stronghold/domain. Doing so will grant or enhance class benefits. A Cleric, for example, gains access to an enhanced Channel Divinity after an extended rest called Manifest Divinity. This allows you to grant 3d8 of healing to allies within 30 ft when you use your Channel Divinity in addition to its normal benefits. This is a powerful ability no doubt, but it has limited uses (starting with one) between extended rests. Also, the book does address the fact that its mechanics will change the balance and power level in your game. The easiest solution the book offers, is to grant your villains strongholds, with all the benefits they entail. There is a section dedicated to villain strongholds.

Now, my only real beef, is that I don't enjoy the very casual writing style. If I focus hard enough, I can hear Matt Colville speaking the words in his signature style, but I don't enjoy this style for the written word. It's relatively minor complaint for me, as I think the book will stand on the merits of the content regardless. And to be fair, there are probably people who will love that it reads the way Matt orates.

More later.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I just downloaded my copy and am looking it over. Way too much content for me to go over before bed and I have a long day of work tomorrow and my monthly 8-hour game on Saturday to prep for. I am considering using this in my current campaign. I would be interested in any opinions on whether any of the mechanics are overpowered or otherwise problematic. I know it was pretty heavily play tested, but I would love to hear from people using or planning to use it in their game--or those who won't--and their reasons why.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I do like his design philosophy that strongholds must cost a lot, but not take too long to build.

The cost (in gold) and time to build (in days) for each of the four strongholds are listed below. These are not based on any historical numbers mostly because humans were building castles for about 600 years until the invention of gunpowder made them obsolete and there’s no reasonable way to translate those costs into
a fantasy game. But even were we to pick a historical period as our baseline, there was no time in history that had bands of wizards and warlocks roaming the countryside pillaging dragon hordes and coming back to civilization with tens of thousands of gold pieces. Therefore any costs we derive must first be based in the economies of a fantasy RPG. And that means they must cost a lot, but not take too long. If it takes 10 years to build your stronghold, no PC would ever do it. Keeps and towers, temples and establishments each have wildly different purposes with different costs and different times to build.

Keeps are larger and more fortified for defensive purposes and therefore take longer to build: 150 days. Temples and towers are less fortified but still usually made of stone and take 120 days to complete at 1st level.

An establishment serves no defensive purpose, typically existing within a town or city with its own fortifications. But your establishment is still well-constructed with basements, multiple floors, and probably secret passages for you and your allies to escape out of…or in to! They take 90 days to complete.

[Emphasis in the original.]

Base costs are keep=10,000 GB; tower = 8,000 GP; temple=8,000 Gp; establishment= 6,000 Gp
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
The maps and artworks are gorgeous. Well designed graphically. I find the maps of the different stages of a stronghold to be very helpful.
 

Devilbass

First Post
I do like his design philosophy that strongholds must cost a lot, but not take too long to build.


Base costs are keep=10,000 GB; tower = 8,000 GP; temple=8,000 Gp; establishment= 6,000 Gp

I agree.

Worth mentioning though, that he does his due diligence (like everywhere else in the book) and makes it clear that this is meant as a baseline - obviously your game may make different assumptions and be thematically different enough to require radically different time/monetary investment.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Could you tell us what is exactly included in the pdf, and what you like about it? For those who don't have it.
Are there sections or bits of it which you don't like?

I'll have more to say once I've had more time with the book, but to give you a quick and incomplete synopsis....

There are 4 primary stronghold types, with some slight variations on a few.....Keep, Tower, Temple, and Establishment. Each corresponds to a type of character class; Keep for martial types, Tower for arcane types, Temple for devout types, and Establishment for skilled types. Each one grants benefits to the founder in the form of enhanced class features that are usable a certain number of times until you spend an Extended Rest (a week) at your stronghold. These features are pretty cool and pretty effective, but not so effective as to break the game or anything. They definitely make characters more powerful.

The Stronghold also grants Demesne Effects; these seem to be mostly flavor style effects for the realm in which your Stronghold is found. Then there are Stronghold Actions. These are combat related abilities that can take effect on initiative count 20 when the character is in the same hex as the Stronghold. These vary in strength, but tend to be potent. A couple seem very potent. Each Stronghold also attracts different types of followers.

I need to read more to really get a better sense of it all. I like the general approach, though.

Overall, the writing seems casual, which I like, and he explains a lot of the design in sidebars and footnotes. The art is top notch and the overall production quality is high. It's about 265 pages. I'm looking forward to seeing the print copy.

Again, more to come as I spend more time with the book.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
The bestiary appendix has some cool monsters. Not a fan of gem dragons, but I like additional fey, aberrations, elementals, fiends, and celestials.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'm having trouble focusing on the crunch... I'm enjoying reading the side stories. The included adventure, which can be used to earn a party a stronghold, looks fun.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I like the warfare rules. The warefare rules are completely open content, so I could past them here, but I don't want to clutter the thread. I'm wondering if there is a PDF out there of just the warfare rules? I can only find the earlier simplified rules he posted, which are not the same as those in the book.
 

Devilbass

First Post
I had no idea there would be a bestiary. About how many pages/monsters are there?

If you include the dozen or so pages in the bestiary section that are strictly art and/or lore, it's 80 pages - very respectable.


I've read some more of the Stronghold Actions and Class Feature Improvements. I feel some need clarification, and some I will definitely tweak for my own game.

The Fighter's Class Feature Improvement is neat, but unclear.

Class Feature Improvement: Fighting Surge
Whenever you attack by using your Action Surge, you automatically score a critical hit. You can do this for a number of surges equal to your stronghold level, after which you must take an extended rest to refresh this ability.

So, I like that it keys off of Action Surge, but is it supposed to turn every attack you make when you action surge into a crit? One attack per surge? When you specifically take the Attack action when you action surge? I mean, you don't technically attack with your Action Surge. Anyway, I don't expect the wording to be just like WotC's, but slightly stricter wording would be better.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I like the retainer rules. Especially the extra abstract Health Levels instead of HP and the interchangeable Special Actions and/or Spells. I'm a proponent of the idea that NPC's don't have to be built using PC rules, because it's tedious and a bit of a kludge to build or run them that way.

Though my first order of business is to give Prestidigitation and the like out like candy (because those cantrips are the building blocks of magical power), and tweak all of the spell lists because there are some real wtf spell selections there. Seriously, why doesn't the Enchanter have some kind of Charm spell before 7th level? And the Evoker doesn't know Fireball?! I had to double check that one, because wow, Fireball is the basically entire point of having an Evoker.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I had no idea there would be a bestiary. About how many pages/monsters are there?

Pages 149-230, so 81 pages.

39 monsters (quick count, may be off by one or a couple)

2 demons
1 devil
A section on the celestial court with 6 celestials (2 page treatment for each, 1 full-page art and one with stats and fluff)
A section on "The Court of All Flesh": 7 abberations. Art for each one, some near full-page pieces.
A section on "The Court of Arcadia": six fey. I really like these fey!
A section on "The Court of the Elements": six elementals
A section on gemstone dragons: Includes a section on psionic powers. Each dragon has 4 stats: wyrmling, young, adult, and ancient. There are 5 new dragon types: emerald, ruby, sapphire, topaz, and amethyst. Also includes rules for PC race variant "Gemstone Dragonborn" - while not a fan of the concept of gemstone dragons, I have to say that the art is great! Esp. the ancient sapphire dragon.
Finally, the section on the inexorable: 6 inexerables: space, death, change, fate, time, and nature. I really dig the inexerables, both the art, fluff, and crunch.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I do like his design philosophy that strongholds must cost a lot, but not take too long to build.

Base costs are keep=10,000 GB; tower = 8,000 GP; temple=8,000 Gp; establishment= 6,000 Gp

Are there different subtypes? Like, are there sizes of strongholds, or is that purely part of the stronghold level system?

I'll have more to say once I've had more time with the book, but to give you a quick and incomplete synopsis....

There are 4 primary stronghold types, with some slight variations on a few.....Keep, Tower, Temple, and Establishment. Each corresponds to a type of character class; Keep for martial types, Tower for arcane types, Temple for devout types, and Establishment for skilled types. Each one grants benefits to the founder in the form of enhanced class features that are usable a certain number of times until you spend an Extended Rest (a week) at your stronghold. These features are pretty cool and pretty effective, but not so effective as to break the game or anything. They definitely make characters more powerful.

The Stronghold also grants Demesne Effects; these seem to be mostly flavor style effects for the realm in which your Stronghold is found. Then there are Stronghold Actions. These are combat related abilities that can take effect on initiative count 20 when the character is in the same hex as the Stronghold. These vary in strength, but tend to be potent. A couple seem very potent. Each Stronghold also attracts different types of followers.

I need to read more to really get a better sense of it all. I like the general approach, though.

Overall, the writing seems casual, which I like, and he explains a lot of the design in sidebars and footnotes. The art is top notch and the overall production quality is high. It's about 265 pages. I'm looking forward to seeing the print copy.

Again, more to come as I spend more time with the book.

That's very interesting. Are the strongholds restricted to those class types, or are they just suggested? Are there benefits that aren't class specific for a devout Fighter who funds a temple to their god, or a warlock who wants to own a bar?

If Collvile tends to be annoying to a person in his youtube videos, will this book be annoying to that person?

Lastly, do we know if this will be available to people that didn't want to put money on it before seeing any reviews from people who got to see a finished product (ie, who didn't back), and if so do we know how much it will cost?

The bestiary appendix has some cool monsters. Not a fan of gem dragons, but I like additional fey, aberrations, elementals, fiends, and celestials.

Oh man, new fey! What sorts of critters does he introduce?
 

5ekyu

Hero
I have to continue to read it in detail but so far i am getting more than I expected and more than what it cost in terms of usable and intriguing material that *can easily adapt* into my game.

I would suggest that the balance of "functional gains" and "roleplaying or investment in setting" factors seems well thought out.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Are there different subtypes? Like, are there sizes of strongholds, or is that purely part of the stronghold level system?
That's very interesting. Are the strongholds restricted to those class types, or are they just suggested? Are there benefits that aren't class specific for a devout Fighter who funds a temple to their god, or a warlock who wants to own a bar?

I'll let Matt answer that from the book:

The stronghold for each class has a dramatic name—a “bard’s theater,” a “monk’s monastery.” But these names are merely examples chosen for flavor, you are free to imagine and name your stronghold in whatever manner seems best to you. Maybe your bard owns a library! Fantastic excuse to get folks coming in and out each dropping off useful nuggets of information. Maybe your barbarian prefers calling it their Horde rather than a camp! It’s entirely up to you. Furthermore, many of the following abilities reference alignment, but that’s purely because I’m old-fashioned and prefer the era when paladins fought for good, and I always assume warlocks are sinister. Feel free to reinterpret the abilities so they benefit you and your allies and harm your enemies, however they’re defined.

I think most people who use the book will keep to type, as the system makes it easiest to do so, but you could re-purpose with very little work to customize.

If Collvile tends to be annoying to a person in his youtube videos, will this book be annoying to that person?

Nope. What makes Matt annoying to most people, including me the first time I tried to watch his videos, is his motor-mouth delivery. I find as I started listening to more podcasts, I appreciated his style. You get through a lot of content quickly. For me he was an acquired taste but he's gone from "gah! turn it off" to becoming one of my favorite and must-listed to streamers. Keep in mind, I only listen to his DM game tip videos. I've never watched any of his streamed games.

I found the style very readable and engaging. Actually, I'm enjoying this enough that I've put his novels on my Amazon buy list. If this book is any indication, Matt is a good writer.

Lastly, do we know if this will be available to people that didn't want to put money on it before seeing any reviews from people who got to see a finished product (ie, who didn't back), and if so do we know how much it will cost?

You can buy the PDF now for $20. The hardback will also be available for anyone to buy. You can buy the PDF now from his online store:

https://shop.mcdmproductions.com/

Oh man, new fey! What sorts of critters does he introduce?

Mantis Knight. A medium CR5 fey. The art is of a humanoid praying mantis dual weilding two foils.
Monarchon. CR 7 medium fey. Full page photo of an eladrin moth person. She is fascinated with death. "The embodiment of youth and death, spring and fall....When not withering or hypnotizing her enemies, she is pleasant to be around. She is fascinated by mortals.Loves watching the artfully slow decay of their flesh into inevitable death. If she had her way, she’d stick around for the final myocardial infarction and then celebrate your death, possibly by baking your corpse into bread."

Orchid Count. CR 6 medium fey, "the dashing archer-sorcerer of the Court"

Oleander Dragon, a/k/a the Petal Dragon. Looks like something from The Never Ending Story or The Dark Crystal. Like Lucas and Spielberg dropped acid together and came up with a new muppet-based movie. CR 8, large dragon. "Unlike any other dragon…and most creatures, the Oleander Dragon has no physical attack. It has no teeth or claws and considers such things crude. She prefers to be beautiful and would rather awe enemies so overmuch with its perfect glamour as to force them to reconsider the terrible decisions they made in their lives and abandon all violence."

Ash Marshal: CR 9 medium fey: planar escort and strongman of the Court.

Sidereal Vizier: CR 10 medium fey, the Court mage.
 

5ekyu

Hero
Hmmmm... that tingly feeling started when my mind went *ding* and i connected "hey, i wonder how much of these extended rest stronghold features i can re-purpose (or multi-purpose) into my campaign "scars" (think "regio" from Ars Magica or "area where magic has warped the reality well away from normal" if you are unfamiliar with that term) and realized the answer was "holy crap!"
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'll let Matt answer that from the book:



I think most people who use the book will keep to type, as the system makes it easiest to do so, but you could re-purpose with very little work to customize.



Nope. What makes Matt annoying to most people, including me the first time I tried to watch his videos, is his motor-mouth delivery. I find as I started listening to more podcasts, I appreciated his style. You get through a lot of content quickly. For me he was an acquired taste but he's gone from "gah! turn it off" to becoming one of my favorite and must-listed to streamers. Keep in mind, I only listen to his DM game tip videos. I've never watched any of his streamed games.

I found the style very readable and engaging. Actually, I'm enjoying this enough that I've put his novels on my Amazon buy list. If this book is any indication, Matt is a good writer.



You can buy the PDF now for $20. The hardback will also be available for anyone to buy. You can buy the PDF now from his online store:

https://shop.mcdmproductions.com/



Mantis Knight. A medium CR5 fey. The art is of a humanoid praying mantis dual weilding two foils.
Monarchon. CR 7 medium fey. Full page photo of an eladrin moth person. She is fascinated with death. "The embodiment of youth and death, spring and fall....When not withering or hypnotizing her enemies, she is pleasant to be around. She is fascinated by mortals.Loves watching the artfully slow decay of their flesh into inevitable death. If she had her way, she’d stick around for the final myocardial infarction and then celebrate your death, possibly by baking your corpse into bread."

Orchid Count. CR 6 medium fey, "the dashing archer-sorcerer of the Court"

Oleander Dragon, a/k/a the Petal Dragon. Looks like something from The Never Ending Story or The Dark Crystal. Like Lucas and Spielberg dropped acid together and came up with a new muppet-based movie. CR 8, large dragon. "Unlike any other dragon…and most creatures, the Oleander Dragon has no physical attack. It has no teeth or claws and considers such things crude. She prefers to be beautiful and would rather awe enemies so overmuch with its perfect glamour as to force them to reconsider the terrible decisions they made in their lives and abandon all violence."

Ash Marshal: CR 9 medium fey: planar escort and strongman of the Court.

Sidereal Vizier: CR 10 medium fey, the Court mage.

Followed the link, yeah I get the motor mouth comments now. Its good he is updating and letting people know whats up.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top