I remember in the original AD&D books there was something on the prices of building a castle. Cost for a tower, a length of wall, a drawbridge etc. Does anyone recall this, or know where I can find it (or a better version)? I want to bring in castle building for my team of players.


4 Answers 4


There was a 3.0 version, the Stronghold Builder's Guide, that is probably more relevant to 3.5. Given the nature of the material, I don't think it would require much of an update. (Unless the wealth guidelines changed dramatically between editions?)

The AD&D book you're remembering is 2nd edition's Castle Guide. I think I actually have a copy of that stashed somewhere in my parent's place, though I haven't seen it in years. :)

Some of the reviews on Amazon indicate that it used to be available for free from TSR's homepage. (One of the reviews is from 1997!) I doubt WotC has it up, though.

There were also prices and DMing guidelines for castle-building by players in the 1st edition DMG, pp. 106–108.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To my knowledge, the wealth guidelines didn't change but just individual items pricing/effectiveness. Not the whole setup. \$\endgroup\$
    – LitheOhm
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ The AD&D 1e DMG did indeed have itemised castle-building prices on pages 106–108, so Paul isn't necessarily remembering the Castle Guide from 2e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 23:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, you're right. Somehow got it in my head he was looking for a specific book, but that isn't actually implied by the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ For 3e, Stronghold is probably the best bet and easiest to find, so that does answer the question admirably. Just wanted to note that there are three possible books to keep an eye out for, for someone wanting this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CatLord I quoted the DMG page numbers up there. It's actually buried in the campaign development sections. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 16:52

For a more old-school approach, you might try the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS). One of the primary goals of the system is to make good on D&D's promise of barony-building and rulership for powerful PCs.

All classes gain access to strongholds, usually at level 9. Those strongholds have different costs and functions within the game world, with a reasonable explanation attached too. For instance: why do the strongholds of powerful mages include monster-filled dungeons? Because those mages build tunnel complexes to attract monsters in need of lairs. Why? Because the mages need those monsters for exotic organs and other magical ingredients and reagents.

ACKS is a strong OSR game with a rational and self-consistent set of rules and assumptions. It also has what looks like the bones of a workable economy.

EDIT: In response to SevenSidedDie's comment about no per-piece pricing:

There is a table of costs for constructing strongholds (pp. 126-127) that has a good selection of:

  • buildings
    • hut
    • longhouse
    • townhouse
    • etc
  • accessories
    • various types of doors
    • various types of stairs
    • windows
    • etc.
  • structural elements
    • moats
    • keeps
    • walls
    • etc.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, those are rules that can be adapted to any system. The con is that it doesn't give piece-wise costs—no "wall, curtain, per 15 feet" price lists—but the pro is that it bases costs on the amount of territory the castle can control, as well as the various trade, garrisoning, religion, and even roleplaying choices about rulership style that influence your costs and income as your rule continues beyond the mere construction of the castle. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - I had to go back and look at my ACKS book after you said it didn't have piece-wise costs. Turns out, it does! \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 22:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does? Cool! I have to review... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Military apparatus should effectively cost a %GDP (or equivalent total social product/mobilisable labour pool). Militaries are about the man keeping you down (tell it like you mean it). Any technology change is going to complexify the apparatus in use, but it'll still cost an equivalent proportion of social effort. So basically drain player's treasure reserves, and then add 40% to the budget. Also attack the castle while they're setting it up. Hooks galore plus financial motivation and probably a need to infeudate poor peasants. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamuelRussell - I would say instead that militaries are about maintaining concentration gradients of wealth and resources. They can maintain multiple gradients simultaneously. That is, the same soldiers that keep the peasants from taking the king's gold also keep the soldiers next door from killing the peasants and taking their wives and livestock. ACKS also has rules for many other aspects of realm management, including taxation and expenses, vassalage and loyalty, favors and duties. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 22:50

Pathfinder Adventure Path #32: Rivers Run Red (Kingmaker 2 of 6) is largely compatible with 3.5 and contains:

Expansive new rules for running your own cities and nations, by James Jacobs.

These are going to be expanded upon in Ultimate Campaign, a recently announced 2013 source book which will contain rules for:

building strongholds, attracting followers, and conquering kingdoms through warfare or guile…

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there anything that limits these to being used with Pathfinder? I can't imagine there being too much work to convert, say, skills used. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie from my experience the rules for nation management in Kingmaker were generic enough to be used in 3.5 and Pathfinder. Even other non d20 systems could run it with minor modifications \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 20:02

The DMG v3.5 (p.101, table 3-27) lists costs of a few buildings.

For example: Castle for 500,000gp; Huge castle for 1,000,000gp; Moat with bridge for 50,000gp; etc.

From there, you should be able to figure a decent approximation for whatever specifics you have in mind.

Late edit: this answer correctly points out that the crafters can actually pay 1/3 of the final price.


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