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  1. #1

    Default A question of design...

    Ok, so I'm working on the design of a small keep for a character. Here's the problem - how many rooms does the keep need? How many buildings?

    I could easily just slap some buildings within the walls of a keep's enclosure and say 'they all fit in there somewhere' but has anyone ever put the time and mental power behind trying to figure out how many of 'x' would you need for a small keep?

    The scenario:

    A Wizard is retiring from adventuring and has some gold to burn to make himself a small place away from the chaos of the big city. Deciding to settle near a small town he contracts with local builders to construct a small keep for himself and a small staff to make his remaining years comfortable. Essentially he's retiring and aside from the occasional student or guest he's not planning on going anywhere for the rest of his life.


    He knows that he'll need an enclosed keep because the forests near the small town aren't clear of hazards. Goblin raids are still common and should anything come for him he'd like a physical barrier that will keep goblins or torch-wielding peasants at bay for a while.

    So however many buildings he ends up with he'll need to wrap them all together with a perimeter wall.

    Since he's a wizard - he'll need some sort of tower as the central keep. The tower can just be a really tall, narrow building for him to use as a look-out or observatory but it's iconic and he's a sucker for traditional architectural themes.

    Other than Tower and a perimeter wall the question is now - how many other buildings within the keep will he need?

    I decided that I would start a list to see if I could figure out how many rooms (and therefore how many buildings) I would need.

    Feel free to jump in and suggest rooms or where the rooms might go.

    1. Stables
    2. Pantry
    3. Kitchen
    4. Dining Hall
    5. Study
    6. Library
    7. Laboratory
    8. Master Bedroom
    9. Guest Bedroom (x2)
    10. Servant's rooms (x?)
    11. Laundry / Servant's Baths
    12. Guard Barracks
    13. Servant's Hall (for dining)
    14. Well

    Can anyone think of any other room you'd need for the Keep?

    As far as servants (for the number of bedrooms):

    Steward (day to day running of the place and in charge of footmen) Bedroom
    Head Maid (In charge of cook and maids) Bedroom
    Cook (Shares bedroom with another)
    Morning Maid X3 (cleaning) (Two to a bedroom)
    Footmen x3 (serving) (two to a bedroom)
    Groom (stables) (own bedroom in stables)
    Twig brats (kids for all of the running and fetching) (sleeps...somewhere)

    So that would be 6 bedrooms for staff.

    Am I missing anything before I start pairing rooms to buildings?

    Building 1: The Keep (tower)
    - Library
    - Master Bedroom
    - Study
    - Guest Bedroom X2
    - Steward's Bedroom
    - Head Maid's Bedroom
    - Laboratory

    Building 2: Hall
    - Kitchen
    - Pantry
    - Dining Hall
    - Cook's quarters (plus maid?)

    Building 3: Barracks
    - Guard's Room (one big one?)
    - Footmen's Quarters
    - Laundry / Servant's Bath

    Building 4: Stables
    - Stables
    - Groom's Quarters

    Am I missing anything?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So the rough idea of the 'small keep' looks something like what I have above (though I might cut the long building on the left into two smaller buildings.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2


    That's a pretty big list. If he's looking to retire, he might want to keep a small staff instead of a large one. You have quite the suite there. My inclination whenever I need a castle is to steal a floorplan from a real castle and see if anyone notices. I think the result of what your describing could fit a number of basic designs, including the one above. But when building a setting like this, the most important question (IMO) is - is it going to matter? If the place is going to become a ruined adventure site, then yes it's important to know where the walls & buildings are. If, on the other hand, it is the home of a questgiver or mentor, a simple description - "a small rectangular castle with a single tower three stories tall" for example - ought to suffice.

    My instinct, based on your original description, would be to use this:Restormel Castle. Convert the chapel into a wizard's tower, remember that the other buildings are 2-stories, and you're done. Bonus - you have images to show your players!

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Tomalak View Post
    My instinct, based on your original description, would be to use this:Restormel Castle. Convert the chapel into a wizard's tower, remember that the other buildings are 2-stories, and you're done. Bonus - you have images to show your players!
    Restormel is an awesome design. Thanks. I think I'll use that for another project!


  4. #4


    Your list is really big as it is being captured the thing is that you should first research on how you can fit your list in this area.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."-Confucius
    Old map and Historic map

  5. #5


    I think I'd favor keeping the steward and head maid's chambers in the hall, but set aside a small chamber adjacent to the lord's chamber, and perhaps one for each guestroom, for a valet. Also, perhaps there might be a joint office for steward and housekeeper, so the business of the keep does not interfere with the wizard's experiments and/or leisure. If it weren't a wizard, I'd suggest that sort of thing could be taken care of in the library.

    There are likely to be semi-permanent structures built along the inside of the perimeter wall for miscellaneous castle work: a farrier/blacksmith, candlemaker, cooper/carpenter, etc. How many such people might work in the castle is dependent on the distance to that town and how much of its services the castle can make use of. The crafters who work these jobs may have quarters in their shops, or they may be housed outside the walls.

    Don't forget a cistern or well, garderobes, and cesspool (and possibly a gong farmer to care for it).
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  6. #6


    Using the D&D book "Stronghold Builder's Guide" I found some interesting designs for some of the component rooms.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The basic barracks for the guards and footmen is a simple room with lots of single beds. I could use this for stashing any number of the 'help' so long as they're easily replaceable.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The kitchen design allows the combination of a kitchen and pantry all within the same space. All I would need to do is to connect it to the great hall somehow.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    With this as the great hall I could add in a door below the riser so that meals / feasts could be delivered from the kitchen more easily.

    I love pre-made rooms. It makes laying spaces out so much easier.

    Still putting things together.


  7. #7


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Something like this.

  8. #8


    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is a mockup of the great hall and kitchen/pantry concept. The other buildings are all 2 stories so this would be as well. The second story of the kitchen could easily be converted into living quarters for the Cook and a few scullery maids whereas the great hall has a large, cathedral ceiling to allow for hanging chandeliers, banners, etc.

    Still plugging along.


  9. #9


    I like the idea of a joint office for the Steward and the Head Maid. It's probably located on the ground floor of some building within the grounds so that people coming to the Keep to sell their wares (fresh eggs, milk, candles, etc.) can meet with either one or the other.

    I also like the idea of the rooms near the guest rooms and master bedroom for the valets. I figure that the keep is possibly an hour's walk (or less - perhaps a half-hours ride?) from the town and surrounded by cleared fields. Close enough that the two are associated with each other but far enough to have separate realities.

    As far as garderobes and cesspools - I know that there would have to be an 'out house' of sorts on the ground level for staff and such as well as a garderobe in the keep near the bedrooms.

    Gong farming is one of those things that always made me wonder. So we pay people to shovel out the cesspool...and do what with it? We can't really use it for fertilizer (because human poo isn't great for such things). Do you burn it? Bury it?

    Some of the oddest thoughts crawl through my head because of map design.



  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Green-Pilgrim View Post
    Gong farming is one of those things that always made me wonder. So we pay people to shovel out the cesspool...and do what with it? We can't really use it for fertilizer (because human poo isn't great for such things). Do you burn it? Bury it?
    I would imagine that as long as it was removed far enough away from human habitation, it didn't much matter what was done with it. Human feces will eventually decay into fertile soil, although the potential for disease in the interim is significant. Some societies have used it to grow crops, but most Western cultures find the entire notion disgusting, if not taboo. You mentioned that the surrounding area is still somewhat wild, so probably the gong farmer will cart the waste out into the wilderness and dump it. Hopefully not near a water source.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

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