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Kindgom Building: Castle Improvement


Kingmaker

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Sczarni

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am a lover of castles. They are amazing, magical, and mysterious. You are not a king without one to live in, you are not a knight without one to protect, and you are not a true bad guy if you don't have one to siege. They come in all shapes and sizes, with some being simple towers and others being whole complexes of walls and buildings.

And yet in the kingdom building rules there is just one castle. I want to change this and create a system that allows for a wider variety of castles, as well as provide a more realistic system of building one. This would be a system that builds upon what is there already and could be used to also improve the city walls.

The concept is simple: Keep the cost and benefits of the castle but change what you are initially buying. Then, as the players desire, improvements and additions can be purchased.

The castle that is initially purchased is a motte-and-bailey. This would consist of a large but simple stone keep (called a donjon,) a wooden palisade wall, a fortified barracks (called a bailey,) and a simple wood curtain wall.

As desired, the castle can be improved. Each improvement adds +1 to the defense modifier and/or other benefits.

Improved Donjon (10 BP)
A larger central tower with improved battlements and more luxurious accommodations for the residing lord.

Greater Donjon (25 BP)
A larger and taller tower, with better defenses and accommodations.

Royal Donjon (40 BP)
A truly grand and luxurious place for royalty to live safely.

Improved Wooden Palisade (5 BP)
It is taller and given a walkway that defenders can use.

Stone Palisade Wall (15 BP)
Made of stone and built strong.

Improved Stone Palisade Wall (20 BP)
Slightly taller, with improved battlements to protect defenders.

Greater Stone Palisade Wall (30 BP)
Taller, with small towers, advanced battlements, and an internal walkway that can be used by additional defenders.

Improved Wooden Curtain Wall (5 BP)
A taller wall with a walkway the defenders can use.

Stone Curtain Wall (15 BP)
Made of stone with a walkway defenders can use.

Improved Stone Curtain Wall (25 BP)
Improved battlements that better protect defenders.

Greater Stone Curtain Wall (35 BP)
Built taller with advanced battlements and small towers.

Improved Bailey (10 BP)
Able to house more defenders and built stronger to protect those defenders.

Greater Bailey (20 BP)
Built larger and given stronger defenses. It also has much more luxurious accommodations for those who live in it.

Additional Bailey (10 BP)
This starts out as a simple Bailey.

Gatehouse (5 BP)
A highly defensible entrance to the castle. This would have a portcullis of wood and heavy, strong doors.

Improved Gatehouse (10 BP)
The gatehouse is built taller, with the two towers protecting the gate improved upon and an additional portcullis added.

Greater Gatehouse (20 BP)
The ultimate gatehouse, with a third portcullis, fortified doors, and a space above the gateway with kill holes.

Moat and Drawbridge (5 BP)
This can be a wet or dry moat. If it is dry it is filled with spikes.

Improved Moat and Drawbridge (10 BP)
The moat is deeper and harder to climb out of, while the drawbridge has its own mini tower protecting it.

Corner Towers (15 BP)
Built on the corners of the curtain walls, these are practically keeps themselves.

Improved Corner Towers (25 BP)
Built taller and given better battlements. Additionally, the interior is improved and made to allow for some defenders to stay in the tower.

Greater Corner Towers (30 BP)
Formidable keeps all on their own, these have the best tower defenses and battlements as well as spaces within that can be used for storage and living space.

More additions could be included but I wanted to put this here to see what people thought of the costs and system. Any ideas on where to take this idea next?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Try to get a vesion of the "Stronghold Builders Guide" back from the 3.5 days. This small book is only about castle/stronghold building and have a lot of great ideas/options. (and you can easily calculate the BP (4000 gp = 1 BP; the funny thing is the BP cost of a castle are roughly a quater of the gp cost of the SBG standard castle^^).

I allowed this book in my KM campaign and I don't regret it.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have that book and I might look into implementing some of it. I wanted something that was simple though. The problem with the SBG is that it has too much, especially for a game like Kingmaker where you don't need to know every room of the castles you build. It would be better used to figure out special and unique rooms or buildings, not a whole castle.

Silver Crusade

The River Kingdoms Guide also had additions to the castle that were balanced with the game, more in line with the rooms that you're envisioning. Note: with too much "+" to defense, you can make a city impregnable to any assault, no matter how absurd the scenario.

There's not much gain in fleshing out the castle unless you plan on mapping it and running an adventure, or if you run a more complex battle system like 2nd edition's Battlesystem.

It's enough in my group that the party has a place to stay and can live a pretty decent lifestyle (waiving the cost of living, that most anything 10gp and under can be retrieved from the Castle without figuring actual costs). (My group doesn't abuse game mechanics, so this works).

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In real life castles there was a point where they would become impossible to siege, so the super high defense score isn't something I am really worried about.

The River Kingdoms Guide's castle additions don't make much sense to me, and a few of them would be things I feel most castles would have anyway. In all, I feel it falls short.

Adding onto and updating castles was something that was done with the major ones, so I feel the idea of an update and expansion system is historically backed.

I don't like the mass combat system at all, and don't plan on using it. When it comes time to do mass combat I have some ideas on how to adapt the defense stat and other aspects of it to what I want in a mass combat system.

As for the defense rating of a castle, how about something that takes the number of defenders into account. If you don't have enough defenders your castle is pretty useless. Because of that, what about having most of the expansions require their own monthly army upkeep cost for the additional defense. If the upkeep can't be paid, the extra defense can't be used.

I only presented a skeleton above, all I am looking for is ideas on how to flesh it out.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Touc wrote:


There's not much gain in fleshing out the castle unless you plan on mapping it and running an adventure, or if you run a more complex battle system like 2nd edition's Battlesystem.

Except that I am not really fleshing out the castle, but presenting an idea that a full on royal castle doesn't make sense for all kingdoms and cities and that building small and expanding out was something that was done.

Look at the history of the Tower of London. It was expanded and updated several times because of the changing needs. It started out much like I suggested above, a donjon (the white tower itself) on a hill with wooden palisade and a ditch. The other buildings and wards were built later as needs changed and the resources were available.

What I am looking to do is allow for the PCs to do a similar thing, start with a tower on a hill and end with a royal castle.


Love your idea Caleb, and I'm actively modding it to fit into my own system and adding a ton of non-combat stuff as well (improving the kitchens to give a circumstance bonus to diplomacy for anyone dining in the castle as an example.) Probably wouldn't have thought of it without this thread so I thank you. Also PM me if you want me to add my mods to this thread or email them t you, won't threadjack you- that's just rude...

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am working on expanding the idea and refining it. When I am finished I am going to put it into a PDF Google Doc. I would like to get it officially published in something like Wayfinder or Pathways but currently the whole thing is looking to be 4000 words and may grow to 5000-6000 words by the time I am finished.

So far, I have learned a great deal about castles and fortifications. There is as much of an art as there is a science to castle design and construction.

As a bit of a preview:
How Much Space?
Castles took up less space than what is given to them in the kingdom building rules. The largest and oldest lived in castle, Windsor Castle, takes up 13 acres, while possibly the largest one, Malbrok Castle in Poland, is on 35 acres. One square on the district grid is just less than 13 acres, with the space the castle takes up being 52 acres. This gives the castle plenty of room for expansion in the given space, allowing for a wide variety of castle types, configurations, and sizes. This means that you wont need to expand outside of that initial area to have a large and impressive castle, as there is going to be plenty of space available. It is doubtful that any space not used by the castle is going to be unused, as defenders, servants, and courtesans would often live within and around the castle, building their homes around the walls. As the castle expanded, their homes could be moved into the walls to keep them protected during a siege.


Sent you my current work on this, hopefully you can make use of it, I admire your ambition on the project!

I would make some humble suggestions for your system.

1) limit how much you can spend on castle improvements vs overall city building without causing unrest. First and foremost a castle is your rulers house if he's spending all the kingdoms BP on it it should have consequences!

2) some improvements should have prerequisites

3) would like more scalable tangible benefits from your improvements aside from just DV. see below for examples.

Corner Towers: Description- Built on the corners of the curtain walls, these are practically keeps themselves. Each step of improvement allows for more living space for patrols and better defenses overall.
Benefit- +2 DV and morale for every step of improvement
Costs- 10BP, 25BP* Improved, 40BP* Greater

Improved Kitchens: Description- Every lord with a castle hires the best cook available; you hire the best 10, and give them improved access to the best foodstuff of the kingdom and equipment with witch to cook. A staff of servants trained to make a dining experience in the castle extremely memorable.
Benefit- +5 Circumstantial bonus to Diplomacy for the ruler and his small council on any who dine in the castle with this improvement. This benefit also adds x1.5 to the benefit of festival edicts.
Cost- 15BP start recurring +2 to consumption


Further elaboration on the thought process behind my Improved kitchens, its hard not to like someone who takes special care to feed you excellent food. The diplomacy bonus represents them not being hungry and treated basically like a sultan for their meal. The bonus is not insurmountable and to say someone who actively dislikes both good food and service it might not work, but generally it will.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
GM_Solspiral wrote:

Sent you my current work on this, hopefully you can make use of it, I admire your ambition on the project!

I would make some humble suggestions for your system.

1) limit how much you can spend on castle improvements vs overall city building without causing unrest. First and foremost a castle is your rulers house if he's spending all the kingdoms BP on it it should have consequences!

2) some improvements should have prerequisites

3) would like more scalable tangible benefits from your improvements aside from just DV. see below for examples.

Corner Towers: Description- Built on the corners of the curtain walls, these are practically keeps themselves. Each step of improvement allows for more living space for patrols and better defenses overall.
Benefit- +2 DV and morale for every step of improvement
Costs- 10BP, 25BP* Improved, 40BP* Greater

Improved Kitchens: Description- Every lord with a castle hires the best cook available; you hire the best 10, and give them improved access to the best foodstuff of the kingdom and equipment with witch to cook. A staff of servants trained to make a dining experience in the castle extremely memorable.
Benefit- +5 Circumstantial bonus to Diplomacy for the ruler and his small council on any who dine in the castle with this improvement. This benefit also adds x1.5 to the benefit of festival edicts.
Cost- 15BP start recurring +2 to consumption

Thank you, the stuff you sent is really useful.

I am looking into more ways for the castle to be useful, like providing scaling bonuses to more than just defense. Also, having requirements for the different parts is a good idea, and one that I have started to frame out. I also am looking to have requirements on the defense bonuses. If the castle doesn't have enough soldiers, or the upkeep isn't paid the extra bonus can't be applied.

I hadn't thought of adding unrest, but I did consider adding to consumption.


Glad you like it! I was a little worried about stepping on your toes, as I see it this is your baby. When I showed my players this thread they were very enthused about having more castle options though they thought you system was a little too simple they wanted a little more meat to it.

I lightly modded some of your stuff to make the cost benefit ratio slightly more favorable (like morale bonuses and OM bonuses) and I also rejiggered the format to match my mods, but know you have at least 1 gaming group that's enthusiastic for your pet project!

Feel free to PM me if you want any more help/suggestions, I love collaborating with other writers/DMs.

***Side note- This is my first time running an AP I'm more of a homebrew style DM. I LOVE these forums, they are akin to a writers workshop- are all the APs as well supported as Kingmaker by the community or is this AP special in that regard?

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

All the APs have similar support but Kingmaker is special in that it is a super sandbox game.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hey guys, Update:

GM Solspiral and I have done a little back and forth and things have improved considerably. I was wondering if other people wanted to look at the rules and even play test them for me. I am looking for as much feedback as I can get before I finalize everything and put it up as a Google doc.

Grand Lodge

I would like to help playtest them, going to start running Kingmaker with my group here soonish and I can see my PCs liking this.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Awesome. I sent you a PM.


Caleb I think you should post'em

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Soon...


Caleb and GM Solspiral, I'd be happy to give them a whirl as well. My info is below:

Spoiler:
jabberwonky23 (at) gmail (dot) com


my version is posted see GM Solspirals Homebrew rules thread


Just checked it our GM Solspiral, some great stuff in there! Thanks!


Please comment on that thread, those rules work great for my group but ultimately I'm using them as practice to get better at writting/editing rules.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am doing jury duty right now (on break) but I will send them off to you when I get home. I have a bit more work on it before I post them publicly.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Okay, here are my castle expansion rules.


Your final product looks great Celeb! One last side note for those that haven't yet run Blood For Blood, The Castle rules make a great spend and sink for Baron Drelev and can explain his stunted growth quite well. Fixes a "why don't we just take an army in that" problem too as the Castle defenses could be extradinarily expensive to breach in both resources and live.

Sidenote: I see my influence and where your broke from it, would love to work with you on other projects, the difference in our approaches I think helps cover areas of opportunity the other might miss. I'm starting a big multi-author project in Feburary in the very least I'd love to see you as a play-test/editor once I have a product ready to roll. PM me if you're interested.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Should people give feedback and ideas I will probably add to it. I wanted to do a section on magic items and spells, and thought about writing up a section on making the castle different materials. As I have time I will come back to this and add to it.


I just skimmed over it. For me as a player it seems less useful that it would be for a gm. But one can see the work put into it.

I noticed a few things:
the blacksmith upgrade seems much too strong in my opinion.

blacksmith wrote:

Blacksmith (5 BP)

A resident blacksmith is on hand to repair soldier's armor and weapons, shoe the royal horses, and provide needed metal work for the castle. This smithy provides them with a forge, tools, anvils, and storage spaces as well as a home for a single family.

Equipment repairs are free for the residing lord. Mundane arms, armor, and metal equipment are free for the residing lord.

You should exclude special materials. Else every party would gladly collect party ressources to buy this upgrade to get adamantit and mithral gear for free. Just one suit of adamantit full plate and one adamantit weapon together cost about the same as the blacksmith upgrade when build with player money. After that everything is free. I guess that is not intended but as worded it reads as if it would work like that.

Second is just a typo: The heading for the barbican description is misspelled as brabican


Good point need maybe improved blacksmith for special materials representing a better smith and specialized forge


Quote:
Mundane arms, armor, and metal equipment are free for the residing lord.

I don't believe that mithril and adamantine count as "mundane". Maybe a mixup with non-magical?

Normal steel full-plate, not a problem I think. Heck, even with cohorts and followers :)

I like it, but I don't believe I will be using it just yet.
Maybe if it actually comes to a "we stay behind the walls", yes. Consider it stolen =)


@Umbranus & Rickmeister

I think you guys are having the same instincts I did. Caleb's work is superbly written, well thought out and completely unsuitable to the playstyle of my group. Even the rules I wrote up seem to be a bit much on the castle end and I'm thinking of making a trim, that said Caleb's work might fit better in a HB campaign where the players don't also have a city and what not.

Delev in my world will be Castle obsessed which will be part of the problem.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Umbranus wrote:


You should exclude special materials. Else every party would gladly collect party ressources to buy this upgrade to get adamantit and mithral gear for free. Just one suit of adamantit full plate and one adamantit weapon together cost about the same as the blacksmith upgrade when build with player money. After that everything is free. I guess that is not intended but as worded it reads as if it would work like that.

Second is just a typo: The heading for the barbican description is misspelled as brabican

Thanks for the feedback. I will jump on those.

I can see what you are saying about being mostly for GMs and not having much use for players, but I don't really agree with it. I think there are plenty of benefits presented that it is more useful for players. If you are just in the beginning stages of kingdom building I can see these rules rarely being used. Once you start moving into 50-70 hex kingdoms though, castle expansion is more attractive. It is also very attractive if you have a mass combat heavy game.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
GM_Solspiral wrote:

@Umbranus & Rickmeister

I think you guys are having the same instincts I did. Caleb's work is superbly written, well thought out and completely unsuitable to the playstyle of my group. Even the rules I wrote up seem to be a bit much on the castle end and I'm thinking of making a trim, that said Caleb's work might fit better in a HB campaign where the players don't also have a city and what not.

Delev in my world will be Castle obsessed which will be part of the problem.

I totally understand the difference in playstyles. I think I have two things working against me here though. The size of the document and the fact that there wasn't really a need for these rules.

As for the size, I think that hides the simplicity of the concept. You start with a small castle, upgrade it over time, and as you do so the castle requires a larger army and is more expensive to maintain.

You can pick and choose with these rules. If you want to just upgrade the buildings in the bailey or rooms in the main keep, you can do that. They offer some really good benefits. You don't have to upgrade the walls or main keep. The mass combat rules, as they are now, don't really do castle siege well enough for a larger castle to be effective.

However, I do plan on writing castle siege rules that do. But that is a project for another day.


We try to keep the game mechanics in the background - so I made Barracks, Watchtower, Garrison and Castle into a standard upgrade path. When my PCs upgrade I surprise them with what ever cool bits I want to write into the keep/castle.

(although I do take requests)


The cities are their castles, and they are having enough fun with them already :)
Now a castle would be over the top, i know my players :)

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Man, I am starting to think I wasted my time. At least my group wants to use the rules.


Caleb, if you enjoyed working the rules out and your group are enjoying it - then it isn't a waste of time :)


Don't feel that way, you did fine work- and I think we will make a good team on projects.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Sorry, sarcasm doesn't translate well online. I am pretty proud of what I did, and look forward to doing many, many more projects.

I probably shouldn't post immediately after waking up too.


In My Kingmaker Campaign, I used the Stronghold builders guide, to completely design my groups Castle, spending GP equal to our build points.

Our GM did not allow us to spend BP on Goods or services inside the castle, just for the structure of the building itself.

So we had a Library with only basic Books, an Alchemy lab with no reagents, A Wizard's Lab with no active magic effects... ect.

So we Had the structures and everything, but we each had to spend our own gold on Whatever room we wanted to enhance, which we all agreed was completely acceptable.

I also used a Program i have for drafting to actually draw out the castle in 5 ft squares, then I copy/pasted the images from stronghold builders guide and fit them into the base map to match up with the grid pattern, so we ended up with a very detailed map of our castle as well.

It was quite a bit of work, but i enjoyed doing it, so it wasent a big deal.


Caleb, I really am glad you are pleased with what you have done. My comments weren't meant to belittle your achievements. As a fellow castle enthusiast I would hate to do that.

Wolfpack - The Stronghold Builders guide is nice isn't it? I am fortunate, I also have the Castle Guide from the 2nd ed rule, the 1st ed DMG (which has a section on military buildings) and a resource from a early version of C&S that talks about castle and manorial development. And I dig bits and pieces out of all of them occasionally :)

If you enjoy the process (and it sounds like you enjoyed building your castle) then it isn't work, it is fun :) and that is what we are all here for.

Cheliax

This looks pretty good! I'm always looking forward for new rules to the exsisting ones on Kingmaker (i'm currently trying to create something to reflect bonuses & penalties for founding cities in different terrains).

I doubt we could use your castle rules on our current KM campaign (it's pretty much advanced to add something else), but in a couple of months i will start running a new one...i'll give it a shot and let you know about the results. Great work indeed!


What would it take to make the castle fly? I kind of like the idea of a mobile capital.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A flying city? Honestly, I haven't thought about that. 250 BP? 500 BP?

Flying fortresses would be expensive and very costly to maintain.


fictionfan wrote:
What would it take to make the castle fly? I kind of like the idea of a mobile capital.

Good lord I hope my players never come up with this idea. Whereas it would be hella cool, Gods help them when they realize Pitax is using Clockwork Flying Fortresses to wage an air war on the countryside.

On the other hand... Man this is a genius idea!

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I think the idea of a flying castle is more in line with artifacts and would be outside the rules that I created.


I guess It would be easier to build a Zeppelin and cast it your castle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Caleb, many thanks for creating and posting this. I love it! To be sure, it has it's wart, but overall the document is easy to understand, fulfills it's purpose, and makes me excited to use it in my existing games. Well done.

I like you've made it possible to turn a castle into it's own town.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Your welcome, and yes this does make it possible to make castles into mini towns. There were a few of those in real life.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

True. Please don't hesitate to post more of your thoughts and work. If nothing else, I'll enjoy it.


fictionfan wrote:
I guess It would be easier to build a Zeppelin and cast it your castle.

Anyone remember Air Whales?

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