Found a great reference book called Compact Castles
This excerpt summarizes the author's goal for this book, and Mr. Dan Howard succeeds in not only achieving his goal, but in exceeding my expectations.
"After spending weeks looking for a roleplaying supplement with a selection of small historical castles to use in a campaign, I discovered that there weren't any ... The solution was to wade through dozens of books and hundreds of websites ... It is hoped that this book fills a niche that has been left unoccupied in the past."
“SO, WHAT IS IN THIS FOR YOU?”
In case you were wondering what this has to do with Cartography, let me start out that I bought this PDF book specifically for use in drawing plans. I already knew HOW to draw, this book is a gold mine of data on WHAT to draw. So what is in this that you might find useful:
Actual scaled plans of 15 real world castles … every room on every floor. What I like best is that these are not plans of the giant Royal Castles with thousands of soldiers. I seldom need a giant castle. These are plans for small castles ... outposts for a dozen men or the keep of a local Baron. That is the scale that I tend to need and have trouble finding data on.
I was delighted with the breath of the examples included. Castles for urban areas, castles for rural areas, castles for cliffs, castles for the woods, castles for swamps, castles for deserts, castles for the orient. A castle for almost any encounter and enough inspiration to last me forever.
In addition to real plans to draw inspiration from (which I might have eventually found with enough searching), Dan identifies the actual historic function of each room. The 'Architecture' text deals with the names and function of rooms, number of occupants, weaknesses and wall strengths. It is useful for anyone who loves historic accuracy by painting a verbal image of why each room exists and provides a solid base for understanding why the historic castles are the way they are.
The first thing that catches your eye for each castle is the half-page width sketch of the castle that allows me to flip through the pages and, at a glance, see what this castle is like. This allows me to instantly decide "no, that's not what I am looking for" or "yeah, that one might fit". I cannot overstate the benefit of being able to flip through and instantly know when to keep flipping and when to spend a little time digging deeper into the actual plans.
WHO SHOULD BUY THIS:
If you like a little reality in your fantasy …
If you think that the castle by the village and the castle near the oasis and the castle in the forest and the castle in the mountains should look different from each other …
If you are more likely to need a castle for a knight or a baron or a frontier outpost than the royal court …
… then this book is exactly what you have been waiting for.
At less than $8 for an 87 page PDF of mostly plans, it is a bargain.
Get the free sample PDF from e23 and check it out for yourself.