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Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds $4.99 $3.74
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
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Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by john f. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/23/2012 23:58:53
There are many preceeding five-star reviews for this product, all well-earned by an excellent company that is providing important research and background material to GM's who want to create real atmosphere for their players. I bought this entire series (Castles and Communities both) and am quite happy with it. Definitely read my fellow gamers' reviews to get more dirt on the details. I'll just say briefly:

This particular supplement is one of the finest I've seen; kudos for the excellent treatment of different kinds of structures, their placement and purpose as well as historic and cultural connotations connected with these structures. Furthermore, everything is presented so that the GM can digest it and implement it in her or his game without reading for hours. These folks are quite good at distilling what they're bringing to you without watering it down.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Singh K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/14/2012 19:17:44
This is probably a seminal RPG work. It's that good. This is not going to give you floorplans, but it's going to teach you all about the basic thought processes and considerations that went into real castle-building. This is a book that should sit next to ICE's 'Castles and Strongholds' as the perfect companion, and by the time you're done, you'll likely know more than you ever wanted to about building a castle. But the pay off begins when you look at your game map and decided where to site that castle, and you'll know why it sits on 'this' hill and not 'that' hill, and you'll understand why a castle has the elements it has and how they're used. It will make a world of difference to the game play.

Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by korrin s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2012 21:53:59
This book is good for giving the reader ideas on how to use the the structures in the book for the advancement of their game. It will not give you step by step instructions because it is about helping the reader use more care with something that may not get much attention in game. The author gives you examples on how to customize the strongholds to the setting of your game, as well as the different kinds of strongholds that could be used in game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Roberto d. M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2012 22:03:33
A good read for GMs and Players, and not just for gaming purposes it's a good historical reference on it's own, and very well written so as not to get dry or boring, even through the minutiae. As a player since 1st edition I always liked making my character's stronghold once they were high enough level, but never had any good source to help design them realistically, defensible and serviceable. This book really helps take the stress of realistic build for the GM and helps the Players learn about strongholds, of various types, to help with their attacks, and escapes, from them. If you are looking for non-castle type living quarters I would suggest checking out volume 2: Manor Houses, and future volumes. One thing to note is that because this is mainly used for gaming purposes where a 5'-square is the standard unit of measure, some of the scale of the buildings may seem a bit large by real standards, but a 20' x 20' room is only 16 tiles and rather cozy. A good addition to any campaign setting, it will really help bring it to life!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Kieran B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2012 13:56:45
A great product that works for any fantasy system, although the art is lacking. Thankfully I did not acquire this for the art. Instead I found a well written, and extremely useful product and I look forward to the rest of this product line

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Caleb W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2012 17:20:59
From the d20 system to burning wheel's d6 system, this book can be applied to any gamer's needs, or wants about strongholds. This took my game to the nth level and allowed me to immerse my players in a fantastic, magical realm.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Eric S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2012 21:06:03
I have been waiting on this book for a long time, and now that it is here I am happy to say that it delivers just what I was looking for! Using the information presented in this series of PDFs my Players were amazed at how strongholds suddenly came to life in our campaign and at my grasp of the subject matter!

This is not just another useless book of floor diagrams with discussions on scale and how to draw straight lines on graph papers that we have all seen before. (And what gamemaster worth their salt does not know how to do that anyway; and what software does not do that automatically?)

What Mr. Balsley does with Castle Builder goes far beyond a mere dissertation on designs and delves into the psychology behind and reasons why buildings are built as and where they are. Want to know where to build your stronghold and why? This book tells you. Want to know what kind of stronghold is likely to be bypassed by a large enemy army and still keep out the local riffraff and why? This book tells you. Want to know what outsiders or nearby settlements might think about your stronghold and why? This book tells you. In this fashion Mr. Balsley goes into detail on Location, Structure, and Accommodations VS a stronghold’s Personality, Purpose, Perception, Advantages & Disadvantages.

And there is more beyond the psychological and strategic insight on strongholds of which Mr. Balsley writes; also given is a complete, multi-game compatible system for determining all salient issues concerning the construction, construction time, waste removal, and maintenance of all types of strongholds. (i.e. Foundations, Materials Transportation of Materials, Labor, Furnishing levels, Excavations, Ventilation, etc.) And I will say here that Mr. Balsley also treats Fantastical Materials such as Elemental Fire & Ice and will say no more of leaving the rest to your imagination… Until you read the book!

If you are a novelist, world designer, or gamemaster and want to take you work to a new serious and realistic level, then buy this Castel Builder series and gain the knowledge and tools you need to get you there. You will be glad you did.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2012 19:10:36
What I liked: There's some good details here for anyone who wants to use castles in an RPG.

What I didn't like: The artwork is public domain and/or picked up off the internet. There are no diagrams of castles or fortified towers or anything. These were not promised in the sales text, but diagrams would seem to be standard in any how-to work on castles.

Overall: I gave the product a rating of three stars because it delivers some good ideas on the topic. At $4.99, it is somewhat overpriced for what you get.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2011 08:38:49
Intended to be the first in a series of books about fortifications in fantasy games, this volume focuses on the purpose and basic design of such buildings. It begins with a thorough analysis of the role that castles, towers, and other strongholds play, and discusses considerations such as placement, shape, use of the local geography, and so on. Taken together, this section of the book helps ensure that strongholds have a feel of living, breathing, places that could really exist, even in a fantastic realm.

What follows is a detailed design system that works, not just for strongholds, but for just about any building imaginable. Although written with d20 in mind, aside from the prices, this system could be used for any game where you want a detailed description of building construction. It's most likely to be useful if PCs want to build a castle or wizard's tower for themselves, explaining how long it takes, how much it costs, what materials it needs, and various other factors that need to be considered.

However, even if all a GM wants is a checklist for drawing floorplans of his own buildings, and some discussion as to how such things actually work, this book would be very valuable. The amount of detail and thought put into the book is remarkable, and, while focussing on what could really be achieved with medieval European technology, it does not forget more exotic building materials for magical otherworldly palaces of pure crystal, or the like.

For less than $4, this book is highly recommended. It's around 50 pages long, ignoring contents pages, etc. and well illustrated with appropriate copyright-free work, and writing and layout are both of high quality. I recommend this to anyone looking for a bit of detail and realism in their building design.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 1: Strongholds
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Diana L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2011 00:22:03
Your gaming will never be the same after reading Richard T. Balsley’s book Castle Builder Volume I: Strongholds. The first of a ten-part series, Strongholds will give both the seasoned gamer and the novice an original perspective in exploring and understanding the how-tos and whys of creating buildings, the importance of their locale, and the essential roles that they play.

Balsley’s work is inventive, well-written, and clear. He goes to great lengths to reveal the stronghold not just as edifice but as a living, dynamic, and significant part of any game. Readers will be struck by the amazing detail with which Balsley has written this book. He will take you brick by brick (or possibly flesh or solid air, fire, or elemental water as building materials if you are so inclined) into implementing a well laid out edifice that fulfills its mission and complements any game. His coverage of the various types of strongholds and their attributes is comprehensive--such that everything from size and cost and quality of construction to staffing, accommodations, maintenance and more are included. Such detail, however, does not exclude readers from adapting this work to their particular game or need. Balsely is careful to assure that his book and its application in his readers’ games are accessible and easily incorporated.

Balsley has previous authored other RPG books, including Gary Gygax's Cosmos Builder, and his passion for gaming and creating original and fantastic realms is evident. Not only does he offer his own creativity but he encourages it in his readers as well and challenges them to truly utilize their imagination and enhance their games in new ways. Balsley illustrates that he is a master at his craft and takes his gaming very seriously. There is much to be discovered in the pages of Castle Builder Volume I: Strongholds, and after reading this volume, not only will you be a fan of Balsley’s work, but you, too, will be looking forward to the books to follow in what promises to be an excellent series.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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