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Matt Colville's supplement Strongholds & Followers details, among other things, rules for building optional strongholds and castles, with castles being complexes of multiple strongholds.

The strongholds are divided into four broad types: keeps, towers, temples, and establishments. A stronghold (of any variety) can be controlled by only one PC at a time, and can only offer its most direct benefits to that character. On page 11 of Strongholds & Followers the rules state that castles cannot contain more than one of each stronghold type.

A castle cannot contain multiple of the same type of stronghold. If you build a castle with two towers, for instance, only one of them grants the benefits of spell research. Also, a stronghold’s benefit only applies to one character at a time. (Strongholds & Followers, page 11)

I am running a game using these rules in which two PCs (a Wizard and a Sorcerer) will almost certainly want to build a tower each. Even if they don't, the party has no use for a temple (or variant on a temple, like a Druid's Grove). With four players that means that unless there is at least one duplicate stronghold type, at least one player will be left out. This is easy enough to just overrule (I plan on allowing two towers), but I'm curious about why the restriction on duplicates exists. I have not found anything in the book itself.

Is there a mechanical implication to duplicating stronghold types within a single castle?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov There is a mechanical component to it as well, but asking about documented designer statements is not off-topic (as I remember, I could be mistaken). Trying to deduce what a designer wanted from indirect material is what I recall being problematic here.[ \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Feb 8 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given that Matt is alive and well, and very active on social media, have you considered sending him a tweet or an email to get an answer to his intent there? You may also want to check out his youtube channel and see which of his episodes address this volume. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 8 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov That item has been removed, as it's not necessary to my question. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Feb 8 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Indeed I could, though that wouldn't contribute anything to the stack ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Feb 8 at 18:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Because the basic idea is that 2 separate strongholds cannot be too close together, so you have to defend them separately. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Feb 8 at 18:51
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Mechanical implications are definitely there, but are fairly limited...

Stack rather than Upgrade

There is a niche use-case building the Keep where it may be more cost-effective to Castle multiple Keeps than to build a single high-level Keep.

If you want to build a Level 5 Keep, it's going to cost you a total of 60Kgp. Or, you could build a Level 2 Keep Castled with a Level 3 Keep for 48Kgp. By doing this, you get 2 extra Units and 1 extra 'Size' (Health level, basically), at the cost of your 'Class Perk' being usable less frequently and a bit less toughness. Otherwise, you get the same +10 Morale, -50% Recruiting and Upkeep costs (note: assuming your DM lets those stack, and doesn't just rule that you only get the 'best benefit.' See below.)

This is not the case with the other 3 types. The price scaling on upgrading an Establishment negates this "exploit," and the Tower and Temple don't produce the same sort of passive bonuses that aren't tied to "whomever is gaining that Stronghold's benefits."

Infinite Morale Stacking

If all you do is remove the restriction on duped Fortifications, that means you're no longer restricted to 4 Strongholds in one Castle.

By the normal rules, a Castle with Level 5 Everything would grant a +20 Morale Bonus to its defenders. Unless you put some sort of cap on how many Strongholds can go in a Castle or otherwise limit the Morale Bonus--the Morale Bonus has no ceiling. Your players can get it however high they can afford to purchase.

But they could just build separately...

Yes, your players can just build separate strongholds...but each separate stronghold is in a different place, and thus must be defended separately. By making it a single Mega-Castle, you've made it easier to defend because you can mass your entire army in one place.

Additionally, if everyone has their Stronghold in the same Castle, that means everybody is within the 'Province' of their Stronghold, and can thus use their Demense Powers in defense of the Stronghold.

Finally, it lets you pool your Artisans. If you have 2 separate Strongholds and 1 Carpenter--only the Stronghold that has the Carpenter gets the benefits. By having a Castle instead, everybody gets to share each other's Artisans.

So, there are significant mechanical benefits to having a Castle that balance well against the +10% cumulative cost increase.

How big of a deal is this

Here we lapse into opinion from having messed with these rules for a while and run a game using them. In short--the balance problems that this would produce would be pretty trivial to solve. In a game I ran using this system, I permitted multiple copies of the same Stronghold type in a Castle, along with the following changes.

  • Upkeep/Hiring discounts do not stack
  • Morale boosts from multiple copies of the same thing do not stack

Other than those, the natural +10% per Stronghold cost for a Castle worked just fine to balance the rest.

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