Skip to main content


Building a Stronghold

Your character works hard to earn gold—plundering tombs, killing things and taking their stuff, accomplishing dangerous feats of derring-do. So why would you spend that money on a building rather than on a shiny new suit of armor or a magical sword?

A stronghold offers benefits that are designed to be equal or superior to the equivalent expenditure in arms and equipment. These benefits grant stronghold builders (and their parties) resources, bonuses, powers, and abilities which directly affect them, and which make their tomb raiding easier.

Haven. Unless the Narrator deems otherwise, you are always able to use your stronghold as a haven .

Stronghold Types

Choose your stronghold’s type from the list of stronghold types: castle, encampment, farm, guildhouse, house, laboratory, library, menagerie, sacred grove, shop, tavern, temple, training hall, or workshop. The type of stronghold you choose defines the nature of the benefits it grants you.


Choose a size for your stronghold. A stronghold’s basic cost is 1 gold piece per square foot for a building, or 500 gold pieces per acre for a rural stronghold. Strongholds of grade 7 and higher are usually out of the reach of most adventurers.

The size is the overall “footprint” or total space occupied by your stronghold. You can choose how much of it is physical structures and how much is external grounds such as gardens and courtyards.

Typical Examples. Of course a luxurious house that’s tens of thousands of square feet in size is likely called something else (like a manor, mansion, or palace), larger castles include keeps, fortresses, and citadels, great temples include cathedrals and basilicas, and after acquiring students a library that has expanded from a humble room into a sprawling structure might be called a school. A stronghold’s size (no matter what it is called) does not change its stronghold type.

Buildings. These strongholds are primarily structures, although they may include land. You decide how much of the space you’ve paid for is part of the building and how much is external grounds and gardens. When purchasing a building use the Building Area column of Table: Stronghold Size.

Rural. Some strongholds, such as farms, encampments, and groves, are not primarily based upon a structure. These strongholds tend to be larger than those based upon buildings, with expanses of open land.

When purchasing a rural stronghold, use the Rural Area column of Table: Stronghold Size.

Rural strongholds may include frugal structures such as barns or tents, and a single dwelling such as a farmhouse. These structures do not cost extra and are not considered sub-strongholds.

If a stronghold is a rural stronghold, this is noted in its description.

Table: Stronghold Size

Grade Building Area Rural Area Typical Examples

100–1,000 square feet
(about 25 feet × 25 feet)

 1 - 5 acres Cave Goblin Lair , City Bolthole , General Store

1,001–5,000 square feet
(about 50 feet × 50 feet)

 5 - 10 acres Archives of Elucidation , Halfling Shire Home , Horse
King’s Meadhall
  3 5,001–10,000 square feet
(about 85 feet × 85 feet)
 11 - 20 acres

Broken Bottle Tavern , Elven Noble’s Refuge, Floating
Wonder Isles
, Healer’s Temple


10,001–25,000 square feet
(about 130 feet × 130 feet)

 21 - 60 acres

Gray Mage’s Tower, Village Farm


25,001–50,000 square feet
(about 195 feet × 195 feet)

 61 - 120 acres

Monastery of the Two Winds, Thief King’s Guildhouse


50,001–100,000 square feet
(about 275 feet × 275 feet)

 121 - 250 acres

Dwarven Gold Foundry, Wilverley Castle


100,001–250,000 square feet
(about 420 feet × 420 feet)

 251 - 600 acres

Minas Curath


 250,001+ square feet
(more than 500 feet × 500 feet)

 601+ acres

Forest Queen’s Sanctuary

When purchasing a rural stronghold, use the Rural Area column of Table: Stronghold Size.

Rural strongholds may include frugal structures such as barns or tents, and a single dwelling such as a farmhouse. These structures do not cost extra and are not considered sub-strongholds.

If a stronghold is a rural stronghold, this is noted in its description.

Unusual Strongholds

Now that you have the basics of your stronghold, you can apply large multipliers to your stronghold cost in order to give it unusual traits—your stronghold can be completely underwater, or you can have it flying in the air. This modifier applies to the base cost of the stronghold, before you apply furnishings.

Minimum Cost. Note that there is a minimum cost for certain features. If your stronghold total cost is less than this minimum cost, its price is increased to the minimum cost. The minimum cost is applied before multipliers for furnishings and staff.

Income. Shops, taverns, and other businesses are assumed to break even, and neither generate income nor lose money. However, you may choose to have your stronghold generate an income. This is generally a long-term option, and the stronghold generates one-tenth its value every year. You may choose how frequently you collect this income. For example, a 50,000 gold shop generates 5,000 gold per year. The owner might choose to receive that monthly at a rate of 417 gold per month.

Table: Unusual Strongholds

Feature   Cost Multiplier Minimum Cost
Disguised/hidden (like a thieves’ guild disguised as a legitimate business) x2 --
Garrison x2 --


x2 --


x3 1,000 gp


x3 1,500 gp


x3 2,000 gp


x5 4,000 gp

Floating in the air

x10 20,000 gp

Wondrous materials (such as adamantine)

x10 30,000 gp

Pocket dimension

x50 35,000 gp

Furnishings and Staff

Features include furnishings, staff, security elements (such as enchantments and traps), and so on. Furnishings are easy to do—you simply decide how much you wish to spend from the Stronghold Furnishings and Staff table and multiply the cost of your stronghold by the amount shown for its total cost. This multiplier applies to the entire stronghold (you can’t just create a single decadent room to stand in when talking to visitors).

Legendary strongholds are truly unique and renowned the world over, and people travel long distances to see them.

Selling Items. You cannot proceed to simply sell off individual items—it’s all part of a general cost—but if you are in desperate need of money you can downgrade your stronghold’s furnishings and recover half the money you spent.

Staff. Staff come with the stronghold and include all household workers and laborers, but not soldiers or special hirelings. The number of staff you have is determined by the quality of the stronghold you’ve chosen and its size (as per the Stronghold Furnishings and Staff table), rounding down (minimum 0). If you change the quality or size of your stronghold, your staff levels increase or decrease accordingly.

There is no expectation that all of your staff will be on duty or on the property at a given time.

Garrison. Choosing the garrison feature gives your stronghold a number of soldiers equal to half the stronghold’s staff level. For every 30 soldiers you also gain one veteran, and for every 200 soldiers you gain one knight. At the Narrator’s discretion, other NPCs (or monsters) may be part of your garrison. A garrison is used to defend a stronghold and cannot be taken adventuring.

Table: Stronghold Furnishings and Staff

Quality   Cost Multiplier Staff by Strongold Size (Structure) Rural
Frugal x1/2 1 per 1,000 square feet 1 per 5 acres
Average - 1 per 500 square feet 1 per 2 acres
Luxurious x2 1 per 100 square feet

1 per acre

Legendary x5 1 per 100 square feet

1 per acre

Combining Strongholds

You can combine multiple strongholds; for example, you might choose to put a library or a temple in your castle, or place a sacred grove on your house’s grounds. You must pay the cost for both. A sub-stronghold must be half the size or smaller in square feet than the stronghold in which it is placed, and must be of the same quality.

Prestige and Increasing a Stronghold

The final value of your stronghold (including any sub-strongholds) determines the amount of additional Prestige you gain. The prestige bonus granted by your stronghold is shown in Table: Stronghold Prestige. The cost to increase your stronghold’s size later is modified by its furnishings and any other cost multipliers.

Table: Stronghold Prestige

Cost   Prestige Bonus
101-1,000 gp +0
1,001-25,000 gp +1
25,001-50,000 gp


50,001-100,000 gp


100,001-250,000 gp


250,001+ gp


Stronghold Types

There are many different types of strongholds, from small townhouses to mighty castles and mysterious wizard’s towers.

Free Followers. Each type of stronghold grants its owner a stronghold feat, as well as additional followers. For every 100 staff you have, you gain 1 free follower (see page 371 later in this chapter). You may choose the type of free follower from the list associated with your stronghold type. Followers granted by your stronghold start at inexperienced, increasing to seasoned when you reach 9th level, and expert at 17th level.

Stronghold Ability Score Increase. When you acquire a stronghold of Grade 3 or higher or upgrade a stronghold to Grade 3, one of your ability scores increases by 1, determined by the type of stronghold (see Table: Stronghold Ability Score Increase).

When you acquire a stronghold of Grade 6 or higher or upgrade a stronghold to Grade 6, your ability score increases by 2, and the maximum for that ability score increases by 2.

If you have a choice between ability scores, you choose which ability score to increase each time you gain this benefit.

Other Stronghold Benefits. Most benefits from a stronghold only affect its owner—every member of an adventuring party might chip in for a castle, but there’s only one name on the deed. For example, anyone with permission can learn to use a new weapon faster by training in a Grade 2 training hall, but only the owner of a Grade 1 tavern gains advantage on ability checks and attack rolls made against creatures poisoned by alcohol, and adventurers can’t craft items faster in a workshop stronghold unless they own it.

Table: Stronghold Ability Score Increases

Stronghold  Ability Score
 Castle, workshop Strength
  Menagerie , sacred grove, temple Wisdom
  Encampment , farm, training hall


 Guildhouse, shop

Wisdom or Charisma

 House, tavern


  Laboratory , library