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Castle Sites (2e)
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Castle Sites (2e)

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One's castle is one's home!
 
Castle Sites offers a fascinating and detailed look into the workings of seven fantastic fortresses, inlcuding the following:
  • Kaurak Kholzil, a dwarven bastion built into the face of a cliff to protect a rich adamantium mine
  • Cloud Keep, the flying fortress of a storm giant clan
  • Dragon's Coffin, built to keep an ancient black dragon trapped inside its subterranean lair
Each entry includes a description of the site's appearance, history, and layout, a detailed floorplan, complete data on the NPCs who live (or died) there, and adventure hooks to draw player characters into the setting.
 
Castle Sites is easily adaptable to any AD&D campaign and is suitable for all levels of play. Also in this series of accessories are City Sites and Country Sites.
 
*****
 
Product History
 
Castle Sites (1995) by Kevin Melka and Sam Witt is a follow-up of the extremely well designed City Sites by Skip Williams. There's a real need for this sort of project, especially for DMs who have ideas for adventures but lack the resources or experience to create living, breathing castles. Well, not literally living and breathing castles - that would be one very huge mimic. But you know what I mean.
 
I digress.
 
Castle Sites presents seven different castles:
  • Kaurak Kholzil, a dwarvish stronghold 6,000 feet up the side of a sheer mountain;
  • Cloud Keep, the ancestral home to cloud giants, which looks magnificent but requires constant upkeep;
  • Sentinel's Stand, an isolated riverside castle that keeps civilization safe from a feral warband of gnolls;
  • Dragon's Coffin, a sealed citadel that imprisons a very angry black dragon;
  • The Guardian, an understaffed but essential fort that's rife with racial tension;
  • Shadow Tor, an ancient and crumbling necromancer's castle overlooking a lonely, cold ocean; and
  • Watch Tower, a standard, useful watch tower that's easily transported to any campaign for quick and easy use.
 
Each entry lists major and minor NPCs, plot hooks, site history, ongoing tensions and concerns, and a thorough and comprehensive cartography treatment with rooms numbered, labeled, and described. The maps aren't beautiful aesthetically, but they're very utilitarian, laying out the locations in great detail.
 
The combination of good description, ready plot hooks, and no pre-written adventure makes this book highly useful to anyone who wants to run a sandbox campaign. They're also extremely useful for home-brewed adventures that are in search of a good location to be set in. 
 
System Agnostic - Mostly. Each of the seven locations contains full 2e AD&D game stats for all NPCs mentioned. That's useful for running 1st or 2nd edition games, but less so for later editions.

Castle Sites comes close to system-agnostic, however, because the most important thing about most of these NPCs is their personalities, not their stat blocks. With a few exceptions (such as the dragon and cultists in Dragon's Coffin), game stats for most NPCs will never be needed in a typical adventure, and if they are it's fairly easy to substitute or derive their stats from later edition rulebooks.
 
In short, the most impressive component of this product is its descriptions and concepts, not the stats for the inhabitants.
 
A Ready-Made Base. One of the things that makes this book so useful is that the majority of sites described make an excellent location for a player base at a campaign's start. Like the (in)famous "Keep on the Borderland," a castle that easily would have felt at home in Castle Sites, these locations make a solid home to return to and to help protect. Owning this book is worth it for that advantage alone.
 
About the Creators. Kevin Melka is the author of The Ruins of Zhentil Keep and Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves, along with Planescape books such as Planes of Conflict.
 
Sam Witt has authored over 30 supplements for different editions of D&D, including The Complete Sha'ir Handbook and many titles of the Quintessential line for Mongoose Publishing. 
 
About the Product Historian
 
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to kevin.kulp@gmail.com.
 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
98
Edition
1.0
ISBN
0786901454
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9479
File Size:
13.16 MB
Format
Scanned image
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File Last Updated:
August 20, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on August 20, 2013.