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.