Thursday, October 18, 2018

Castle Garrison Troops

Old School D&D assumed a hex map of the surrounding wilderness that often contained Castles or Keeps controlled by local warlords. When the PCs came upon the Keep they might be challenged to a joust or attacked on site. Perhaps, if there was a good reaction roll, the PCs would have a friendly safehouse to use while they traveled the area.

I find this a very cool mechanic that adds a great deal of emergent gameplay. During the games I've judged, however, I see a flaw. The PCs will invariably ponder the possibility of killing the local authority and taking over the Keep.

Considering building a Stronghold on Old School D&D takes tens of thousands of gold, can you really blame them?

So what do you do when your murder-hobos turn into murder-revolutionaries? Well, you need to know how powerful the Castle's standing militia is.

I looked everywhere for numbers about this. When I asked around the community, I was often told "just make it up!" But, if I just make it up I will include my own bias about whether I want the party to take over the Stronghold or not. Maybe in the back of my mind I'll think "if the garrison is really weak they'll own this Stronghold and become too powerful for their level; I'll make it strong!" 

Not cool, supposedly neutral judge!!

So, inspired by the d30 Sandbox Companion, I made a d30 chart instead. 

How Do I Use This?

First, you determine if the Stronghold is in the Wilderness, the Borderlands, or Civilized. This can mean whatever you like for your campaign world, but in mine, a Wilderness is about 100 miles from the nearest major city, a Borderland about 50, and Civilized is nearby. Use the column that is applicable.

Second, you determine how much territory the ruler is defending with his Stronghold, by hex. I assume each hex a 6 miles across. Then you roll the d30 once on the chart for each hex the ruler controls (or multiply a single roll by X hexes); adding up the troops.

For the lower entries there are numbers in parentheses like "(50 PP)" on entry 1 of the Wilderness column. There is a 50% chance that the Ruler has that number of Peasants armed only with spears and little to no training.

HI = Heavy Infantry
LB = Longbowmen
LC = Light Calvary
LI = Light Infantry
P = Peasant
X = Crossbowmen


There is the possibility of a heavily garrisoned Stronghold, a barely garrisoned Stronghold, and everything in between. This can also be a valuable chart if your PCs have reached "endgame" where they have their own Strongholds and Armies. 

Are they marching their troops around looking for someone to kill? Just roll up an enemy army.

Game on!

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