Stronghold and City Limit in Hexes (And Peasant Housing!)

Hi there. I just bought ACKS a couple of days ago and I've fallen in love with the Strongholds and Domains system in there. I had a question about strongholds and urban settlements. Is there a limit to how many strongholds/urban settlements I can build in a 6-hex or 24 hex area (money aside)?

I'm also curious about buying housing for peasants. On page 127 they have a listing of Civilian Structure Costs, but I didn't see how many peasant families they hold. Is there an area in the book I can find that?

Thanks for any help!


The rules assume it will be one stronghold and one settlement per domain. But there is no practical logistical limit to how many strongholds or urban settlements you can build in a hex. A 6-mile hex is a huge area - approximately the size of the island of Manhattan; a 24 mile hex is even huger. It is hard to imagine anything in a fantasy campaign being bigger than Manhattan's cityscape. 

I would recommend you treat all urban settlements within the same domain should be considered to be part of the same urban settlement. Add up their population size to determine the market class and investment needed. (If you imagine a domain consisting of one 24 mile hex, with settlements spread across different 6 mile hexes, it's similar to something like "Dallas-Fort Worth" or "Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill").

Likewise, I would treat all strongholds within the same domain as one stronghold for purposes of stronghold value, upkeep, etc.

A peasant family of 5 will need between 60 square feet to 100 square feet per family. An 8' x 8' pit hut or 10' x 10' mudbrick/wood hut will thus be a single family peasant residence. A 15' diameter roundhouse could hold one prosperous middle-class peasant family, perhaps a carl or village warrior, or it could hold 2-3 poor peasant families. 15' x 30' longhouse could hold 5 to 7 peasant families (25 to 35 people); historically a 15' x 60' longhouse would hold about 60. 




I love this, if only for the delicious anacronism of having peasants use sentences like "He's the richest man in the tri-city area!"

Awesome, that makes sense. I guess I was assuming smaller satelite hamlets surrounding the larger city.

For the peasant housing, is it necessary to buy them for your stronghold?


Is your recommendation to count all urban areas in a single 24-mile hex as one settlement based on practicality, or is there some key underlying math?

It's just simplicity. That said, if there is a unified government, the settlements ought to tend towards the growth/consolidation of one central settlement.

See for some theoretical underpinnings. 


Ooh, a new thing to argue with Alex about!

Where are you getting your numbers? What's your mental concept behind these peasant hovels? When you're talking pit huts and roundhouses and longhouses, how urban is this settlement, really? up until the ninth or tenth century you're getting 15'x25' single-story houses, later you're getting a basement and evolving towards the multi-floor medieval townhouse (and a population of up to 2000 families, making this a small city). I tend to assume that for most cultures in game, any settlement larger than 75 families - so large enough to be thought of as an urban settlement in your model - is going to be moving towards more sophisticated structures than a pit hut. The wattle-and-daub huts recently built at Stonehenge as a bit of experimental archaeology were something close to 15' roundhouses, but I'd question whether they were urban or what I'd be trying to model with most cultures' urban sites in ACKS.

A really superficial skim of archaeology online suggests that ancient Mesopotamian cities had multi-room houses for anything inside the urban perimiter, and that even Aztec/Maya peasant houses were typically two-roomed.


Spoiled modern tangent: have you ever *tried* to fit a family of five in a 8'x8' space? When we go tent camping for 2 weeks in the summer I can put my 3 boys in a 12'x12', but all five of us wouldn't leave much room for a medieval-style firepit in the center. Then again I suppose I should marry off the 14-year-old and let him build his own hut?


No, you don't buy peasant housing. I listed prices for it, but the peasants are assumed to be building their own. If you were to spend money on peasant housing it would likely be treated as Investment spending on settlements.

Where are you getting your numbers? 

The dimensions of the houses I gave are the ones listed in the ACKS rulebook. (8' x 8' pit hut, 10' x 10' mudbrick/wood hut, 15' roundhouse, 30' longhouse.) All of those were based on historical existent houses I've read about either in various books or online. That said, well-documented sources on how peasants lived in the countryside during Antiquity are not easy to find. It's much easier to find information on medieval houses, rich villas, and urban apartments.

What's your mental concept behind these peasant hovels?

I don't think I understand this conception.

When you're talking pit huts and roundhouses and longhouses, how urban is this settlement, really?

Not urban at all. I interpreted the OP's question about peasant houses as separate from the discussion of urban settlements. Peasant families are differentiated from urban families in ACKS.

Urban familes would tend to live in townhouses, flats, apartments, and so on. Rome had high-rise apartment buildings.

Spoiled modern tangent

Let's not even discuss latrine options of the pit hut dwellers.

I've just had a player in my game start to ask about multiple structures or strongholds in the same hex, so this has been very helpful!

Excellent, thank you. My players are very excited and want to found their Free City soon!