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Thread: Castles

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Castles

    I've been reading Castles, Battles, and Bombs by Jurgen Brauer and Hubert van Tuyll, and economic approach to military history.

    Based on this, the most basic castle, a solid stone keep with a curtain wall would cost 2 GB for a minimum of 8 seasons with a possibility of one or two extra seasons of construction. It would have no maintenance (in fact it should increase tax incomes) basically functioning as a level of law holding.



    To build a modern castle, with all of the things that make a medieval castle a highly defensible place, multiple walls, numerous round towers, water barriers or other difficult locations, with multiple gatehouses, would take closer to a decade to build at the cost of hundreds of GB.

    Builth was a castle centered atop a motte which supported a great round keep and was enclosed by a masonry wall defended by 6 towers. Two earlier Norman baileys remained as part of the complex and so don't figure into the cost. The whole thing is encompassed by another curtain wall and accessed through a twin-towered gatehouse. Other structures included a kitchen block and the great hall, a chapel, and residential quarters. Apparently, construction was stopped at Builth in 1282 although the work on the gatehouse may not have been complete. It took five years of construction and about 85 GB. That's about 4.25 GB per season.

    Aberysteyth cost 195 GB, Rhuddlan 475 GB, Harlech 500 GB, Caernarfon, which included a walled town as much as 1000 GB or more.

    Aberysteyth took 12 years to build costing 4GB per season
    Rhuddlan took 8 years costing almost 15 GB per season
    Caernarfon took 12 years costing almost 21 GB per season

    So the fort action must involve substantially smaller fortifications.

    One wonders what kid of fort level Caernarfon would be.

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    How are you converting to a GB? I believe that, if some correlation is attempted between sums of money in the basic form of currency in any given realm and a gold piece, then most of our figures would be much too small (i.e., it would take much, much more money to outfit and maintain troops, create or rule holdings, etc). Instead, the sums of money might be better converted to gold pieces or GBs if looked at as a proportion of the Crown's income spent and also a proportion of the higher nobles' income spent. Then we'd be looking at millions of francs, crowns, marks, etc. of income annually and trying to convert that back into a managable sum of GBs. Either we then have incomes of thousands of GBs, or we keep GBs large and each effectively represents something on the order of 20,000 or 100,000 units of common currency in the realm (that's my gut impression, anyway).

    I think it's easier explained that those francs and so forth would translate as copper pieces or silver pieces, allowing our GBs to represent much larger sums of money. Note that if you decrease your estimates by an order of magnitude, they seem to fit rather well. Builth, a motte and bailey, would be a level 1 fortification at 8GB. Caernarfon more like level 10. Works nicely if Silver Pieces are the common currency, I think (which I've actually always assumed in my games).

    I agree that maintenance for castles shouldn't really be an issue (works well as far as gameplay, as well).

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that comparing the kinds of things that a king of England would do, all of these castles were built by Edward I, are more appropriate to the Emperor of Anuire or a united Brecht League, so we are in fact talking about thousands of GB annually.

    The book, Castles, Battles and Bombs points out that nobles did very little castle building of their own. Nearly all noble castles were built by kings or very large magnates. Since realms in BR are more like historical counties and duchies than kingdoms, it is perfectly appropriate that one cannot imagine a realm building proper castles.

    If we look for a Caernarfon type of fortress, a great castle, in a strong defensible place attached to a walled city as one planned defenisive point, I would expect Shieldhaven to be that place, and clearly the expense reveals that the Mohr could never have afforded it. Something like that was built during the Empire and is probabaly only maintained with effort by Mhoried.

    The smaller castles, like the one I pictured, a shell keep, that could be a Fortress 2 based on time and cost. I expect little keeps like this are pretty common. Also pretty common, more like a fortress 1, would be a simple keep like the one here.


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    So, exactly, how did you convert that money into GBs?

    And does the book say, for example, how much did the aristocracy or just kings earn from a taxation?

    Of course, you have take into account that the game is designed so you can accomplish something during your (mostly human) lifetime. Also, there is a use of magic. In small amounts, but it can make a difference.
    Rey M. - court wizard of Tuarhievel

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Keep in mind that comparing the kinds of things that a king of England would do, all of these castles were built by Edward I, are more appropriate to the Emperor of Anuire or a united Brecht League, so we are in fact talking about thousands of GB annually.

    The book, Castles, Battles and Bombs points out that nobles did very little castle building of their own. Nearly all noble castles were built by kings or very large magnates. Since realms in BR are more like historical counties and duchies than kingdoms, it is perfectly appropriate that one cannot imagine a realm building proper castles.

    If we look for a Caernarfon type of fortress, a great castle, in a strong defensible place attached to a walled city as one planned defenisive point, I would expect Shieldhaven to be that place, and clearly the expense reveals that the Mohr could never have afforded it. Something like that was built during the Empire and is probabaly only maintained with effort by Mhoried.

    The smaller castles, like the one I pictured, a shell keep, that could be a Fortress 2 based on time and cost. I expect little keeps like this are pretty common. Also pretty common, more like a fortress 1, would be a simple keep like the one here.

    I respict your words my friend but must point out that this is Fantasy. I relly dont care about what it x amount of gold to have my fab Castile. It the feel of the game I'm more interested in this is why I've never got hung up on how much our how long just I would like it what it going to cost and how long to build. So I can have my nice defence castile that one of the resions I like birthright.
    ]Blood is power; there is no way of changing that truth, in any way, shape or form.

Life is and always will be about survival of the fittest - what does not kill you, makes you stronger.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rey View Post
    So, exactly, how did you convert that money into GBs?
    Look at the distribution of historical magnates and the distribution of birthright magnates and as best as possible, make the curves overlap.

    This ignores the fact that England has a king owning about a third of the kingdom, and Anuire has no Emperor, but that would just mean adjusting the GB from £20, which I used, to £30 to account for the king's holdings. That would make the shell keep more 1.5 GB for eight seasons, but it doesn't makes the proper castles much more accessible.

    And does the book say, for example, how much did the aristocracy or just kings earn from a taxation?
    The average Earl made £200, only seven made more than £400, and at least twenty made less than £20. The crown never made less than £10,000, but it didn't just make money off land and law but off the wool monopoly and contributions from the church as well.

    Of course, you have take into account that the game is designed so you can accomplish something during your (mostly human) lifetime. Also, there is a use of magic. In small amounts, but it can make a difference.
    But "something" doesn't unnecessarily include everything. Figuring out what is possible by normal realms under normal circumstances, and what requires some other explanation (like magic, or it was done during the Empire, or it comes from the Shadow World) is probably worth a little bit of consideration, don't you agree?

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    The problem is much the same as with province growth - nothing "realistically" can be accomplished within the span of an average game. I mean, building a high level castle that protects and entire province in just a few years??? That really doesn't add up...no suspension of disbelief for me there. So some middle ground should be found...where castles CAN be built, but takes WAY more time that they do under current rules.
    Cheers
    Bjørn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    ...I am currently using 20 GBs/lvl for castles (building speed same as before); I used to have it higher, but I always push the players pretty hard in all areas, so finding money to pay even this amount is tough enough...
    Cheers
    Bjørn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Knight View Post
    ...I am currently using 20 GBs/lvl for castles (building speed same as before); I used to have it higher, but I always push the players pretty hard in all areas, so finding money to pay even this amount is tough enough...
    One question, given that high cost, is even a reasonable choice to build a castle? If you make it too expensive, maybe it's not worthwhile so you just killed one option of the game.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    That depends on what benefits you get from having castles.

    The book I'm reading confronts this question of cost and asks the same question.

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