Stories of knights off to slay a dragon to claim a castle are at the core of the literature that inspires modern TTRPGs, and Dungeons and Dragons specifically. At some point in your time at the table, I’m sure one of your players will try and make a place within the world to call their own, be that a castle, ship, tavern, or what have you. It can be baffling on where to start when you decide to build a base of operations, but hopefully these hints will help.
So, you have decided you want to have a place to call your own. This place will be the base of operations for your party, where they can come back to after long, far flung adventures. While this sort of base can take many shapes, I’ll be referring to it as a stronghold, and I highly recommend looking at my previous review of MCDM’s Strongholds and Followers before reading this. The first step is to pick a location for your stronghold, and that will change depending on your party and the purpose of the stronghold. The DM may also give a stronghold to the party as a reward for something suitably valiant, and then you can skip this step.
For our party, the location was a previously abandoned dwarven ruin, still standing, but in poor shape. We slayed the dragon trapped within, and after some persuasion from me, our party decided to make this our base of operations. Then we moved on the next step, figuring out what we wanted the purpose of our stronghold to be. In our case, we wanted to find a place to collect our forces, martialing them for the fight with the BBEG, and as a place of rest for the party after our adventures. To accomplish this, we have started to gather important NPCs and create infrastructure to accommodate them while refurbishing the ruin.
For the DMs out there, don’t be afraid to give your party the responsibility of a stronghold. It’ll mean more NPCs for them to interact with, both from within and without the stronghold. Maintaining, building, and expanding the stronghold will also open many new avenues for adventure, and give your players a stake in the world. Happy building!
What stories does your party have securing a stronghold?