Good replies all around. Thank you. Especially fond of this one.

Quote Originally Posted by wilphe View Post
Depends what you are building them for:

To control a town or city?

In the city, preferably on a site previously occupied by houses of your political opponents

To protect and levy tolls on trade?

By the river or road in question; in some cases you can make a bridge your castle

To project power?

In this case it's just a defensive site where your rangers, cavalry, whatever can rest and resupply before heading out into whatever area you are trying to control

Pick a decent defensive site on the borders of the area - will probably not be near an existing settlement

To protect a town or city?

Probably not necessary because a town worth defending should be walled anyway

As a place of refuge?

Needs to be big enough for population to flee to - and to hold their animals - and also to be close enough to get to.

As pure defence?

Chances are the best defensive site isn't near anything worth defending and an attacking enemy can just bottle you up and then ignore you.

As a showpiece residence?

Has to be somewhere you want to live and where people can get to

As an administrative centre?

Should be close to the population it serves


Most likely though you won't have a perfect site for "a" castle - so you might have several smaller fortifications and one or more main ones.

This is especially true with a heredity nobility who are going to pick up odd bits of land here and there
This is a good baseline because all of the duke characters I made have different primary objectives so they can have castles that reflect their needs and goals.


As pointed out, a city or town that has a reasonable expectation to be attacked should have walls. So I guess the king's castle is more of an administrative center than a defensive structure. The king's uncle (a Duke) has a castle nearby that is near the capital and is probably babysitting the land's mineral wealth which the king depends on.


The Duke of Lower Ankle, wants to become a merchant prince serving as a middle man in trades between wood elves and dwarves and he is trying to insert himself as a middleman between rival human nations.. His castle overseas the intersection of a major road and a navigable river.
To protect and levy tolls on trade?
As a showpiece residence?
To project power?
In that order

His vassals don't have much access to the trade routes and they are more exposed to the wilderness so they probably are more traditional.

To project power?
As a place of refuge? (limited extent)
As a showpiece residence?
In that order


The Duke of Upper Ankle has to deal with a lot of orc and goblin raids.

As a place of refuge?
To project power?


All of his vassals castles are probably built along the same lines.

The Duke of Heel has control over some trade routes, not as busy as lower ankle but nothing to sneeze at. The Duke of Heel and his vassals intermarried with a lot of exiled nobles from a conquered land about 150 years ago and the new noble blood injected a lot of paranoia into the local nobility (and to be fair the nation that conquered them is now on Heel's doorstep). The local lords have probably been pinching their pennies in order to boost their fortifications over the last 150 years.

As pure defence?
To project power?
To protect and levy tolls on trade?

The Duchy of Arch is the breadbasket for the whole nation. They don't have a lot of natural defenses. They don't have to deal with monsters or orc raids much but if the neighbors to the south invade, this is where they will probably do it.

As a place of refuge?
As an administrative centre?
To project power?
As pure defence?


Only recently have they begun trying to improve their fortification.

The Duchy of Toe is filled with a bunch of elf loving tree huggers. It's the least populous realm and has a lot of woodland and a lot of druids. Once in a while, but not often, some nasty monster sneaks past the druids requiring the duke and his vassals to step in and defend the populace.

To project power?
As a place of refuge?