Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Search of Strongholds, Part 2: In Which Froth Creates a Lot of Work for Himself

Hello all. Recently I started a new blog series on my attempts to develop a "Stronghold" system for 4e. In the first installment, I basically laid out the challenges one faces when trying to do this. First, 4e PCs have never been as reliant on Retainers as they were in old editions. Second, high-level play assumptions have changed, and castle-building is not the one-size-fits-all endgame it used to be. Lastly, the 4e economy is wonky.

We made a little progress with some of this. I have the framework of a usable Henchman and Hireling system in place, and, as noted in the first installment, we can completely revamp the 4e economy with the help of Inherent Bonuses. Still, we need a game plan in order to go about the design in a coherent way. So here it is:

1. Revamping the economy means looking at how PCs acquire wealth. Since we are taking PCs off of the ever-increasing wealth-by-level treadmill, we need a new model. It seems obvious to me that new Treasure Tables are the way to go, including new Treasure Type Tables for monsters to ensure an old-school vibe.

2. The creation of a Stronghold needs to be a viable goal in 4th edition play. It needs to make sense regardless of the campaign setting or PC level. We will look at different ways to approach the idea, whether you are in an ultra-low-magic desert wasteland, or are plane-hopping on the Spelljammer.

3. We need mechanics. Lots and lots of mechanics. In keeping with established precedent, the bare bones of a Stronghold system will involve the following: rules for the identification and employment of the necessary Hirelings, the selection and clearing of a site, the construction and maintenance of the structure itself, details on how potential populations might then be attracted to the area, and finally, the regulation and management of the newly established "barony".

So, I have created a lot of work for myself. But at least I know what needs to be done, which puts me in better shape than I am half the time. I also have a working title for my system: Baronies and Barbicans. Yes, I am an uber-nerd.


  1. I'm starting a new campaign in January, I hope your rules are ready by the time my guys will need them!

  2. I can't wait to see what you work out! I'm looking to implement some stronghold mechanics in my game once my players hit paragon tier.

  3. I really appreciate the enthusiasm ya'll! I am seemingly always covered up, and I never have enough time to work on stuff as I would like, but I promise I will go as fast as I can on everything. Thank you both SO MUCH for checking out my blog!