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Creating Strongholds for Your DND Character: Castle to Kingdom Strategies

Updated: Apr 19

Introduction: Creating Strongholds for Your DND Character: Castle to Kingdom Strategies

Creating strongholds in the world of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) offers players a unique opportunity to establish a base of operations and expand their influence within the game's setting. Strongholds come in various forms, such as castles, towers, or even entire kingdoms, and can serve many purposes, including a home for the characters, a place to gather resources and followers, or a focal point for the narrative.

Building a stronghold can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for both players and Dungeon Masters (DMs), as it allows characters to invest their wealth and resources into a tangible and lasting asset. In addition, constructing and maintaining a stronghold provides numerous roleplaying opportunities, as players manage their lands, forge alliances, and defend their territories from external threats. With the right balance of strategic planning and creativity, a stronghold can become the centrepiece of a memorable D&D campaign.

When a PC establishes their own castle, it can influence the style of play and this might not be a development that suits everyone. When building a stronghold we inevitably take a step away from traditional dungeon dive type games and have to consider concepts such as mass combat rules and the fact that building a stronghold takes a long time and requires much work and development. It might be something that players whose characters have reached high levels wish to consider, and can be part of the process of retiring a character gradually.

Some D&D players might be familiar with strategy games and enjoy bringing this level of play into the game, but it can also be an moment to create new narrative opportunities; building a stronghold shouldn't be a dull and lifeless experience, it should be full of opportunities for adventure and story telling, there are huge new story opportunities.

In this guide we will look at the various buildings that players can create, explore some ideas around followers rules, political conflict, ruling the local area around the new stronghold and some ideas about what stronghold level you are building at. Players can start small and build up, nobody needs to achieve emperor status straight away. This article is about what to do with your fantasy real estate so that when your character reaches a higher level they can enjoy a different type of d&d campaign and even create a d&d stronghold that can be part of the next campaign the DM creates for new level one PCs. Now let's explore Creating Strongholds for Your DND Character: Castle to Kingdom Strategies.

Characteristics of a Stronghold

When creating a stronghold for your DnD character, it's important to consider various characteristics that can contribute to its functionality and impact on your campaign. In this section, we will discuss defence and security, location and terrain, and size and population.

Defense and Security

A stronghold's defensive capabilities are of paramount importance, as they ensure the protection of the player characters, their valuable resources, and their allies. To create a formidable and well-defended stronghold, consider incorporating the following security features and strategies:

  1. Impenetrable Walls: Construct high, sturdy walls made from durable materials to withstand enemy attacks. Consider incorporating architectural elements such as parapets, arrow slits, and battlements to provide cover for your defenders and hinder enemy advances.

  2. Secure Entrances and Exits: Design entrances and exits that can be easily defended or barricaded in case of an attack. Utilize features such as drawbridges, portcullises, and fortified gates to restrict unauthorized access and facilitate the rapid deployment of defensive forces when needed.

  3. Ingenious Traps and Security Measures: Integrate a variety of traps and security measures throughout your stronghold to deter and foil potential breaches. Options include pitfalls, pressure plates, magical wards, or even summoned guardians that activate when intruders are detected.

  4. A Well-Trained and Equipped Garrison: Ensure that your stronghold is defended by a sufficient number of guards or soldiers who are well-trained and equipped to handle various threats. Consider incorporating specialized units such as archers, cavalry, or mages to bolster your stronghold's defences and adapt to different combat scenarios.

  5. Siege Warfare Capabilities: Equip your stronghold with a range of siege weapons, such as ballistae, trebuchets, and catapults, to repel large-scale assaults and maintain a tactical advantage during battles. These powerful weapons can be strategically positioned on your stronghold's walls or towers to maximize their effectiveness and range.

  6. Fortified Outposts and Watchtowers: Establish a network of outposts and watchtowers around your stronghold to extend your vision and provide early warning of approaching enemies. These outposts can also serve as staging points for counterattacks or as fall-back positions in case the main stronghold comes under siege.

By incorporating these essential security features and strategies, you can create a stronghold with formidable defences that will serve as a reliable and secure home base for your player characters, their resources, and their allies. This will not only enhance your campaign's immersion but also provide numerous opportunities for exciting and challenging encounters.

Matt Colville suggests utilizing a stronghold's defence and security measures to emphasize its importance within the campaign and discourage outside threats.

Location and Terrain

Location and Terrain The geographical location and terrain of your stronghold play a significant role in its overall effectiveness and influence in your campaign. When choosing a location for your stronghold, consider the following aspects:

  1. Strategic importance: A stronghold should ideally be situated at a location that offers strategic advantages, such as a major trade route, a vital resource, or proximity to important political factions. This will not only make your stronghold valuable to the surrounding region but also make it more challenging for enemies to ignore or bypass.

  2. Natural defences: Utilize the terrain to enhance your stronghold's defences. Mountains, rivers, forests, and cliffs can all serve as natural barriers, making it difficult for invading forces to approach. Additionally, these features can provide cover and resources for your defenders, giving them an edge in battle.

  3. Climate and environment: The climate and environment surrounding your stronghold can significantly impact its sustainability and the morale of its inhabitants. Harsh climates may make it difficult for your stronghold to maintain a steady food supply or attract new settlers, while more temperate climates can lead to thriving communities and a higher quality of life.

Size and Population A stronghold's size and population directly influence its capacity to withstand attacks and maintain its influence in the campaign. Here are some factors to consider when determining the size and population of your stronghold:

  1. Scale: The scale of your stronghold should match the importance and goals of your character or party. A smaller stronghold might be suitable for a single character or a small group, while a larger one may be necessary to accommodate a more influential faction or support a larger population.

  2. Logistics: Consider the resources required to maintain your stronghold, including food, water, and building materials. A larger stronghold may have access to more resources, but it will also require more maintenance and upkeep, potentially stretching your party's resources thin.

  3. Hierarchy and organization: The size and population of your stronghold will also impact its internal structure and hierarchy. Larger strongholds may require more complex governance systems, with various roles and responsibilities distributed among the inhabitants. This can create opportunities for intrigue, conflict, and alliances within the stronghold itself.

By carefully considering defence and security, location and terrain, and size and population, you can create a unique and dynamic stronghold that adds depth and excitement to your D&D campaign. Remember that a stronghold's characteristics should be tailored to the specific needs and goals of your party, ensuring that it serves as a valuable and engaging centrepiece for your adventures.

According to Black Citadel RPG, varying terrain types and surroundings can provide unique challenges and opportunities for player characters as they establish and expand their domain.

Size and Population

The size of a stronghold affects both its defensive capabilities and the number of occupants it can support. Likewise, the population impact the stronghold's influence, productivity, and reputation. Some considerations for size and population include:

  • Establishing facilities for food production and skilled hirelings

  • Considering the size and strength of the party as well as any additional NPCs that may inhabit the stronghold

  • Evaluating the stronghold's financial and logistical capabilities for expansion and upgrades

As discussed in Forbes, having a stronghold that reflects the scale and complexity of the character's gold resources and influence can help players feel like their accomplishments directly affect the game world.

Types of Strongholds

There are several types of strongholds that a player can create for their character in Dungeons & Dragons. These come in various shapes and sizes, and each offers unique advantages and challenges. This section will explore three different subcategories of strongholds: Castles and Fortresses, Small Towns and Villages, and Cities and Kingdoms.

Castles and Fortresses

As the most common and traditional type of stronghold, castles and fortresses are martial hubs designed for protection and local authority. These structures generally house barracks, training grounds, and an assortment of defences to repel enemies. In a D&D campaign, a castle might be built by a character interested in raising armies and defending the local townsfolk. Owning a castle brings its ruler a sense of status and power, but also the responsibility to maintain and protect it.

Small Towns and Villages

Not every stronghold has to resemble a medieval fortress. A character might prefer to establish their base in a small town or village. This type of stronghold focuses more on creating a thriving community and a network of allies. A rural settlement provides a range of services, such as food production, trade, and skilled hirelings. Acquiring and developing a village can be a more diplomatic and resource-focused approach to establishing a stronghold, requiring savvy negotiation abilities and strong connections with nearby settlements.

Cities and Kingdoms

Cities and Kingdoms For players who seek an even grander stronghold, cities and kingdoms offer the opportunity to wield extensive power and influence over a vast territory. Ruling over a city or kingdom demands strategic thinking, political maneuvering, and a deep understanding of governance. Here are some key aspects to consider when creating a city or kingdom as your stronghold:

  1. Urban Infrastructure: A thriving city requires a well-planned infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public buildings. As the ruler, you will need to ensure that these essential elements are constructed and maintained, providing your citizens with essential services and facilities.

  2. Economy and Trade: The prosperity of a city or kingdom depends on its economy. Establishing trade routes, promoting commerce, and attracting merchants and artisans to your city will be crucial to its success. You may also need to collect taxes or implement other forms of revenue generation to fund your stronghold's growth and development.

  3. Law and Order: As the ruler of a city or kingdom, you must establish and enforce laws to maintain peace and stability within your realm. This may involve creating a judicial system, organizing a city guard or military force, and combating crime and corruption.

  4. Diplomacy and Alliances: Establishing diplomatic relationships with neighboring kingdoms, factions, and powerful individuals is essential to maintain your stronghold's security and influence. Forge alliances, negotiate treaties, and navigate the complex web of political intrigue to ensure your city or kingdom's longevity and prosperity.

  5. Expansion and Conquest: Ambitious rulers may seek to expand their territories through conquest or colonization. This will require raising and maintaining armies, developing strategic plans, and engaging in warfare to achieve your goals.

  6. Cultural and Magical Development: A city or kingdom can also be a hub for culture and magical advancements. Encourage the growth of art, music, and learning to create a vibrant and diverse society. Establish academies, libraries, and research centers to foster magical and technological innovations that can bolster your stronghold's power and prestige.

Whether you choose a castle, a small town, or a vast city as your stronghold, each option offers unique advantages and challenges that can add depth and intrigue to your D&D campaign. Carefully consider your character's goals, abilities, and the overall context of your campaign when selecting the type of stronghold that best suits your needs.

Building Your Stronghold

Resources and Funding

Creating a stronghold for your Dungeons and Dragons character can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and investment. First and foremost, you'll need to acquire the necessary resources and funding to construct a stronghold. This usually involves gathering wealth through adventuring or other in-game means such as trade and exploration. It is not uncommon for players to accumulate a sizable amount of gold pieces to fund their ambitious projects.

Construction and Timeframe

Once the resources are in place, the construction of a stronghold can begin. Building a stronghold is no small feat and can take a significant amount of in-game time. The Stronghold Builder's Guidebook is a helpful resource that details various aspects of stronghold construction, including the time required to complete each stage. Keeping in mind factors such as the availability of skilled hirelings, material transportation, and even the nature of the campaign, the construction and its timeframe should be carefully strategized.

Building Modifications and Upgrades

Once your stronghold is built, there are countless modifications and upgrades that can be made to enhance its functionality and tailor it to your character's needs. These can range from adding defense measures, such as siege weapons and fortified walls, to expanding food production or housing capacity for followers and citizens. It is essential to consider the needs of your stronghold's inhabitants and plan for future growth.

Additionally, you may want to incorporate features that reflect your character's class and interests. For example, a wizard might build a library to study and store new spells, while a warrior could establish a training ground for new troops or a blacksmith's forge for weapon and armor repairs. Tailoring your stronghold to your character's strengths and preferences is a key aspect of making it truly your own.

Managing Your Stronghold

Creating a stronghold for your Dungeons & Dragons character is more than just about building grand castles and fortresses. It involves the management and maintenance of your fortress's three core areas: Economy and Trade, Politics and Diplomacy, and Security and Military.

Economy and Trade

A thriving economy is the foundation of a successful stronghold. To ensure your stronghold's growth and prosperity, you must establish reliable sources of income, manage resources effectively, and foster strong trade relationships. Here are some essential strategies for building a robust economy:

  1. Diversifying Income Sources: Cultivate multiple sources of income to create a stable and resilient economy. This can include taxing your subjects, collecting tolls from travelers, establishing trade agreements, or investing in ventures such as mines, farms, or artisan workshops.

  2. Managing Resources: Efficient resource management is crucial for the sustainability of your stronghold. Ensure that food production meets the needs of your population by investing in agriculture, fishing, or livestock. Attract skilled laborers and professionals, such as blacksmiths, healers, and mages, to provide essential services and bolster your stronghold's capabilities.

  3. Investing in Infrastructure: A well-developed infrastructure is vital for facilitating trade and commerce. Construct and maintain roads, bridges, ports, and other transportation networks to ensure the smooth flow of goods and people throughout your realm. Develop public buildings, such as marketplaces and warehouses, to support the growth of your local economy.

  4. Establishing Trade Routes: Forge trade relationships with neighboring cities, towns, or realms to expand your stronghold's economic influence. Trade routes can provide access to valuable resources, exotic goods, and new markets, fostering mutual prosperity and strengthening diplomatic ties.

  5. Encouraging Innovation: Support the development of new technologies, magical advancements, or innovative techniques that can enhance your stronghold's economic output. Establish academies, research centers, or guilds to attract talented individuals and encourage collaboration and discovery.

  6. Managing Currency and Finance: Establish a stable currency system and financial institutions to facilitate trade and investment within your stronghold. This may involve minting coins, setting exchange rates, or creating a banking system to manage loans, deposits, and other financial transactions.

By focusing on these key aspects of economy and trade, you can build a prosperous and sustainable stronghold that serves as a secure base for your D&D adventures. Additionally, managing your stronghold's economy offers numerous opportunities for engaging encounters and challenges, such as negotiating trade agreements, thwarting sabotage, or solving resource crises.

Politics and Diplomacy

Navigating the political landscape and maintaining diplomatic relationships is crucial for the success and stability of your stronghold. As the ruler, you will need to make strategic decisions, forge alliances, and address the needs of your subjects. To manage politics and diplomacy effectively, consider the following:

  1. Establishing a governance structure: Create a clear hierarchy and assign roles and responsibilities to your subordinates or advisors, ensuring efficient administration and decision-making.

  2. Addressing your subjects' needs: Listen to the concerns and demands of your subjects, and work to improve their quality of life. This can involve providing essential services, such as healthcare, education, and sanitation, or addressing social issues like crime and inequality.

  3. Engaging in diplomacy: Maintain open lines of communication with neighboring realms, factions, and important individuals. Foster goodwill through diplomacy, trade, and cultural exchange to strengthen your stronghold's alliances and influence.

  4. Navigating political intrigue: Be prepared to manage intrigue, betrayal, and power struggles within your stronghold and among your allies. Utilize negotiation, intelligence-gathering, and strategic decision-making to stay ahead of your adversaries and protect your interests.

Security and Military

Ensuring the safety and security of your stronghold is vital for its survival and continued prosperity. This involves maintaining a strong military force, as well as implementing measures to protect against internal and external threats. Here are some key aspects of managing security and military:

  1. Training and equipping your forces: Invest in the training and equipment of your military or city guard, ensuring they are well-prepared to defend your stronghold against enemy attacks or maintain law and order within your realm.

  2. Establishing a chain of command: Create a clear chain of command within your military, appointing experienced and capable leaders to oversee the defense of your stronghold.

  3. Developing defensive strategies: Plan and implement strategies to protect your stronghold from potential threats, such as constructing fortifications, setting up traps, or devising contingency plans in case of emergencies.

  4. Gathering intelligence: Maintain a network of spies or scouts to gather information about potential threats, allowing you to stay informed about enemy movements, plots, or intrigues that may endanger your stronghold.

  5. Responding to crises: Be prepared to react swiftly and decisively to crises or threats, such as natural disasters, uprisings, or enemy invasions. Develop a crisis response plan and ensure your subjects and military are ready to execute it when needed.

By effectively managing your stronghold's economy and trade, politics and diplomacy, and security and military, you can ensure its continued growth, prosperity, and stability. This will not only provide a solid base for your D&D adventures but also create engaging and dynamic challenges for you and your fellow players to overcome.

Section 6: Roleplaying Opportunities

Creating a stronghold for your DnD character opens up a plethora of roleplaying opportunities, ranging from challenges and conflicts to forming alliances and building a lasting legacy.

Challenges and Conflicts

Establishing a stronghold, be it a castle or an entire kingdom, invites various challenges and conflicts that can enrich your DnD gameplay experience. Owning a stronghold can lead to confrontations with monsters, rival factions, and political intrigue. For instance, your stronghold might be overrun by monsters or inhabited by cultists and bandits while you're away adventuring, offering the chance to tackle new quests to secure and maintain your stronghold.

Strongholds can also become the focus of resource management and economic disputes. You may need to manage food production, negotiate trade agreements, and maintain the morale of your populace to ensure your stronghold thrives.

Alliances and Relationships

Your stronghold offers a central hub for developing alliances and relationships with NPCs, other player characters, and even entire factions. By establishing your stronghold as a place for diplomacy and cooperation, you can engage in complex negotiations, forge partnerships, or form long-lasting bonds that influence the course of your campaign.

Additionally, you can recruit skilled hirelings or sidekicks to assist your adventuring party, bringing new personalities and plot threads into your gameplay experience. Through the growth and development of your stronghold, you will have opportunities to interact with unique NPCs who can provide valuable assistance or lead to exhilarating new story arcs.

Legacy Building

Developing a stronghold empowers your character to create a lasting legacy within the DnD world. As your stronghold grows in size, influence, and power, your character will be remembered for the impact they've left on the world. The decisions you make in strengthening your stronghold's defenses or expanding its reach will contribute to your character's story and immortalize their deeds among the denizens of the realm.

From a small castle to an entire kingdom, the opportunities and challenges that come with creating a stronghold for your DnD character can bring new dimensions to your roleplaying experience. In managing conflicts, forging alliances, and building a lasting legacy, you and your fellow adventurers will discover the joys of stronghold ownership and the exciting narrative paths it can unveil.

Ten Stronghold Types

  1. The Keep: "Hillcrest Bastion"

Hillcrest Bastion is a formidable keep strategically built atop a steep hill, providing an ideal vantage point to survey the surrounding landscape. This impressive stronghold consists of high stone walls, a central keep, and multiple watchtowers. The outer walls are enhanced with a drawbridge, a deep moat filled with water or other deterrents, and well-placed arrow slits for ranged defense.

The interior of Hillcrest Bastion houses barracks for the stationed soldiers, armories stocked with weapons and armor, and storerooms filled with provisions and supplies. The central keep serves as the living quarters for the noble family and their retainers, featuring opulent rooms, a grand dining hall, and a war room for strategic planning.

Hillcrest Bastion plays a crucial role in the defense of the surrounding region, acting as a base of operations for military campaigns and housing a local militia. The stronghold's garrison is trained in various combat tactics and siege warfare, ensuring a swift and effective response to any threats. The keep's reputation as an impenetrable fortress not only deters would-be attackers but also provides a sense of security and stability to the local populace.

  1. The Tower: "Mage's Spire"

Mage's Spire is an awe-inspiring tower that pierces the sky, serving as both a home and a place of study for a powerful archmage. Constructed from magically reinforced materials, the tower features an array of magical wards, glyph traps, and illusion spells, ensuring its security against both mundane and magical threats.

The interior of Mage's Spire is organized into several levels, each dedicated to a specific purpose. The lower levels house the mage's living quarters, a well-stocked library filled with arcane tomes and scrolls, and a secure vault for storing valuable magical artifacts. The upper levels consist of laboratories, enchanting workshops, and summoning chambers, where the mage conducts magical research and experiments.

Mage's Spire is renowned for its extensive collection of magical knowledge and resources, attracting scholars and adventurers seeking the mage's expertise. The mage offers their services in exchange for rare materials, esoteric knowledge, or favors that may aid in their pursuits. The tower's presence has a significant impact on the local community, with the mage often intervening to protect the area from supernatural threats or lending their magical abilities to resolve local crises.

  1. The Castle: "Dragonstone Citadel"

Carved from a mountain's heart, Dragonstone Citadel is an imposing castle that serves as the seat of power for a royal family with ancient draconic lineage. The stronghold's architecture features intricate stonework and statues that celebrate the family's heritage, with dragon motifs adorning its walls and towers.

Dragonstone Citadel is designed to accommodate a bustling community of noble retainers, soldiers, servants, and artisans. The castle includes barracks, training grounds, and stables for the military force; kitchens, workshops, and storerooms for everyday necessities; and throne rooms, diplomatic quarters, and lavish living spaces for the royal family.

The royal family is responsible for governing the surrounding lands, upholding the law, and defending the realm from external threats. Dragonstone Citadel serves as a hub for diplomacy and political intrigue, regularly hosting feasts, tournaments, and negotiations with neighboring kingdoms. The castle's formidable defenses, combined with the royal family's draconic might, make Dragonstone Citadel a symbol of power and authority that few would dare challenge.

  1. The Mansion: "Silveroak Manor"

Silveroak Manor is a grand estate nestled within lush gardens and sprawling grounds, belonging to a successful merchant who has amassed significant wealth and influence. The mansion's architecture showcases the owner's refined tastes, featuring elegant facades, sweeping staircases, and opulent chandeliers. The interior of Silveroak Manor is designed to impress, with luxuriously appointed living spaces, a vast dining hall, and numerous guest rooms for hosting esteemed visitors. The estate also boasts a private art gallery displaying the merchant's collection of paintings, sculptures, and other valuable artifacts, as well as a well-stocked wine cellar for entertaining guests. Silveroak Manor frequently hosts extravagant parties, balls, and social events that attract the region's elite. These gatherings not only allow the merchant to flaunt their wealth and power but also provide opportunities to forge alliances, negotiate deals, and expand their influence. The estate's reputation as a hub of high society makes it a coveted destination for nobles, merchants, and adventurers seeking to network and advance their standing.

  1. The Temple: "Temple of the Guiding Light"

The Temple of the Guiding Light is an awe-inspiring structure dedicated to a deity of knowledge and wisdom. With its soaring spires and intricate stained glass windows, the temple serves as both a place of worship and a beacon of hope for the surrounding community. Inside the temple, a vast central chamber houses a magnificent altar and shrine adorned with holy relics, offering a space for prayer, meditation, and spiritual reflection. The temple's many wings contain living quarters for the clergy, libraries filled with sacred texts and scrolls, and private chambers for spiritual counseling and healing. The Temple of the Guiding Light is home to a community of devoted clerics, paladins, and lay worshippers, who provide essential services to the local populace. They offer spiritual guidance, education, and healing to all who seek it, and actively engage in charitable works to improve the lives of the less fortunate. By fostering a sense of unity and compassion, the temple plays a vital role in the spiritual and social fabric of the region.

  1. The Guildhall: "Ironhand Guildhall"

Ironhand Guildhall serves as the headquarters of a renowned blacksmiths' guild, a sturdy and imposing building that stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of its members. The guildhall's exterior features elaborate metalwork, while its interior is filled with the sounds of hammers striking anvils and the glow of roaring furnaces. The guildhall is divided into multiple sections, each dedicated to a specific aspect of the blacksmithing craft. There are workshops for forging weapons and armor, as well as areas for refining raw materials, engraving intricate designs, and applying magical enchantments. The guildhall also houses a showroom for displaying the guild's finest creations, a marketplace for selling wares to customers, and living quarters for the guild's members. Ironhand Guildhall plays a significant role in the local economy, as the blacksmiths' guild negotiates contracts with local governments, merchants, and adventurers for the production of high-quality weapons and armor. The guildhall's apprenticeship program attracts aspiring blacksmiths from far and wide, ensuring that the legacy of the Ironhand Guild's craftsmanship endures for generations.

  1. The Hideout: "Shadow's Refuge"

Hidden beneath the city's bustling streets lies Shadow's Refuge, a secret lair that serves as the headquarters of a notorious thieves' guild. Accessible only through a series of secret entrances and concealed tunnels, the hideout is a labyrinthine network of dimly lit chambers and passages. Shadow's Refuge is designed to accommodate a diverse array of criminal activities. The hideout houses a vault for storing stolen goods, planning rooms for coordinating heists and other illicit operations, and training areas for honing the members' thieving skills. There are also living quarters for the guild's members, as well as a black market where stolen goods are fenced and illicit deals are brokered. The thieves' guild operates in the shadows, manipulating the city's criminal underworld and evading the grasp of law enforcement. Through a combination of stealth, cunning, and well-timed bribes, the guild maintains a delicate balance of power with the city's other factions. Shadow's Refuge serves as a sanctuary for its members, offering them a place to regroup, plan their next move, and bask in the spoils of their illicit endeavors.

  1. The Cave System: "The Crystal Caverns"

Deep within a remote mountain range lies the entrance to the Crystal Caverns, a vast and intricate network of tunnels and chambers formed by millennia of geological processes. Home to various subterranean creatures and adorned with dazzling crystal formations, the cave system offers a secluded and defensible stronghold for those willing to brave its depths.

The Crystal Caverns provide a wealth of resources for those who inhabit them, including mineral-rich deposits, abundant fresh water, and unique flora and fauna. The stronghold's inhabitants have established living quarters, storage areas, and workshops within the caverns, adapting to the challenges of their underground environment.

The Crystal Caverns' remote location and natural defenses make it an ideal base for those seeking solitude or refuge from the surface world. Inhabitants must be vigilant against potential threats from both within and without, such as rival factions seeking to claim the cave system's resources or dangerous subterranean creatures that roam its depths.

  1. The Ship: "The Sea Serpent"

The Sea Serpent is a majestic and powerful ship that has earned a fearsome reputation across the high seas. Custom-built to withstand the harshest of storms and the fiercest of battles, the ship's hull is reinforced with enchanted wood and adorned with intricate carvings of fearsome sea creatures.

The Sea Serpent is equipped with formidable weaponry, including an array of cannons, ballistae, and other siege equipment. Its crew is composed of experienced sailors, skilled fighters, and cunning strategists who have honed their skills through countless naval engagements.

As a mobile stronghold, the Sea Serpent offers its captain and crew the freedom to explore uncharted waters, engage in piracy or privateering, and establish a presence in distant ports. The ship's reputation for speed, power, and tenacity precedes it, instilling fear in the hearts of rival sailors and earning respect from the denizens of the sea.

  1. The Planar Fortress: "Astral Bastion"

Perched on the edge of the Astral Plane, the Astral Bastion is a stronghold unlike any other. Constructed using a combination of exotic materials and powerful magic, the fortress appears to float weightlessly in the endless expanse of the Astral Plane.

The Astral Bastion is designed to accommodate a wide range of inhabitants, from powerful mages and otherworldly beings to seasoned warriors and cunning diplomats. The stronghold features living quarters, arcane laboratories, and a grand hall for hosting interplanar negotiations and gatherings.

The fortress's unique location provides its inhabitants with unparalleled access to the multiverse, offering opportunities for exploration, diplomacy, and even conquest. The Astral Bastion serves as both a symbol of power and a gateway to infinite possibilities, attracting a diverse array of allies and enemies from across the planes.


In conclusion, adding strongholds to your D&D campaign not only provides your characters with a home base but also opens up numerous narrative opportunities and strategic gameplay elements. The options for creating a stronghold are vast, with various types of strongholds catering to different character classes and playstyles.

Player characters can invest their gold pieces in property development, becoming more deeply rooted in the campaign world and working together to create a remarkable kingdom. Utilizing resources such as Matt Colville's Strongholds & Followers and the upcoming Kingdoms & Warfare supplement can provide valuable guidance and inspiration for both dungeon masters and players.

When properly integrated into your campaign, strongholds offer exciting new gameplay elements such as mass combat, diplomacy, and resource management. Additionally, introducing elements like new magic items, skilled hirelings, and powerful units can further enrich the experience for players.

Overall, incorporating strongholds in your D&D campaign can be a rewarding decision, adding depth to the story, presenting various challenges, and providing a distinct sense of ownership and accomplishment for your adventuring party. So, seize the opportunity, and may your characters' castles and kingdoms stand strong and prosperous!

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