The Keep from "Keep On The Borderlands" in ACKS terms?

Hey everybody, sorry if this is a total re-run of an earlier topic post as I am sure it is, I can’t seem to get forum search function to talk nice to me.

My home campaign is reaching into session 19 and I have decided to stop putting off the ACKSification of my region map that we have been using. (The fabulous forthcoming Autrach Wilderness map.) By ACKSification I mean to come up with some semblance of domain/city/geography organization for the local adjacent principality that controls the legendary “Keep” from Gygax’s Module B2.

So my question is: How would you classify the keep? It has a secure market to buy certain things and a 6th level Fighter running the place as Castellan. I am not asking for ACKS rules and guidelines to hew by the word of “Gary who art in Celestia”. But I am wondering about your take on it.

I have established that it is a Class V marketplace for ease of purchasing things, but I also haven’t described it as surrounded by farmland and houses that you would expect an urban settlement (with a merket that size) to have by the book.

So, is the Keep a strongpoint of a larger settlement, perhaps a long series of farms and houses up the road, away from the caves of chaos? Or is it an isolated fortification with a kick-ass market and not beholden by the general urban settlement rules.

What is the level of the castelan, does he have a vassal domain elsewhere? Is he a Marquis of the larger prinipality. Once again, I am not looking for hard adherence to rules, just general opinions.

Also my other questions for the day with apologies to A. Macris:

Is there a page that more closely explains the difference in leader level between independant urban settlements and ones within larger domains?

When figuring the total division of population and hexes of land between vassals and subvassals, does each “leader” of those vassals get their own personal domain population and area taken out of the pool to be divided among their vassals? (As per personal domain listed on the charts on page 230?) I assume so.

If, in general, 10% of a realm’s population clusters in an urban settlement, including small hamlets. What form of living situation do the other 90% of the families have in a domain? Wouldn’t that mean that you couldn’t fling a fireball without hitting a random cottage in the countryside. Each 6 mile hex in a domain would be riddled with hovels. And wouldn’t that be easy pickings for any monsters whatsoever in a domain hex. (1 in 6 random wilderness encounter each day.)

Thanks folks.

So, I had the same question myself the other day, and I spent a little time trying to estimate how much it would cost to build the Keep using the prices in ACKS. For the sake of simplicity I figured that the “keep fortress” was roughly equivalent to an ACKS keep (though more complex in shape), and that the walls of the keep are 20 feet high (since Gary doesn’t seem to say, but they seem to be lower than the small towers flanking the gate). I also decided to treat most of the buildings in the keep as “civilian” structures", effectively stone townhouses, with the exception of the stable, warehouse, and armorer, which are specifically noted as being fortified.

Using those assumptions, I concluded that the keep would cost somewhere in the ballpark of 348,000 gp in total which, according to the table on page 230 of the ACKS core, makes it a castle nearly worthy of a prince!

Now, since the keep is in a particularly dangerous area, I could see it belonging to a Duke with a large domain on the borderlands of a kingdom or empire, but in any case if you stick with the default assumptions of ACKS, there’s probably at least a Class IV market (a small city or large town) somewhere nearby. The local lord would be between level 9 and level 11, but he might reside in a more comfortable abode in peacetime, leaving a henchman to manage the castle - the Castellan. So the Castellan might be one level lower than his leige, level 10 at the high end, but he could easily be lower level as well; after all, reinforcements probably aren’t too far off, and lower level henchmen demand lower wages. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry to double post, but while I was double-checking some of the tables it occurred to me that, if the Keep is a level V market in its own right, then it might be considered roughly equivalent to a large village or small town. In that case, again going by default ACKS assumptions, it would make sense for the person in charge to be about 5th level according to the chart on page 235.

To use the Keep from B1, I’d assume:

  1. The Keep is recently constructed (or an old ruin that was recently captured and refurbished).

  2. The keep is worth 360,000gp, enough to control 16 borderlands hexes.

  3. The Keep is a Class VI market, as normal for a stronghold (there’s housing for 20 families or so in the Keep, not the 250 families it takes to make a Class V market).

  4. The Castellan is a 6th Level Fighter (as described in B1) who has started the domain-building part of his career early.

  5. The Castellan has so far cleared and claimed as his domain only 1 of the borderlands hexes that the Keep can control. He plans to expand when he is able.

  6. The Keep is situated at the eastern corner of the Castellan’s hex. Most of his subjects live and farm in a fertile valley that is beyond the western edge of the “wilderness” map from B1. Most of the land on the “wilderness map” is in the 2 hexes east of the Castellan’s domain hex.

  7. The Castellan is the vassal of another ruler whose realm is a day’s march east of the Keep. There are larger markets available in that realm.

Great question, Greengoat. I encountered this problem myself, because the original Auran Empire Campaign began with Keep on the Borderlands!

My own calculations put the keep at 442,500gp. Whatever the exact amount, it's clearly a lot. In point of fact, the "keep" is anything but - it's a fairly large fortress, about a hectare in size. The huge Krak Des Chevalier, designed for 2,000 men, was  2.5 hectares in size, so the keep might be built for 700 men!. It's definitely larger than the famous Harlech Castle (excluding the wall around the base of the hill), which is about 250' x 200' to the keep's 350' x 250'.

Moreover, for a military fortress intended to secure the border, it doesn't seem to be designed correctly. It looks more like a castle designed to be the residence of a lord. The huge bailey looks designed for use as a marketplace or place of shelter.

What I would conclude is that the location where the Keep was built was once a large civilized realm ruled by the forces of Law. The keep used to have a flourishing town nearby. Nowadays, the land has been overrun by Chaos, and the surviving domain(s) near the Keep is much smaller than what such a large fortress would normally imply. The ruler of the Keep is much lower in level than one would expect, as well. The low revenues of his land-holdings probably make it hard to afford stronghold upkeep for the Keep. The ruler is either cash-poor or he is allowing the Keep to fall into disrepair. He certainly can't afford enough men to properly man the Keep, and as such is desperate for help from adventurers willing to work "for free" (e.g. plunder).