Ragnar’s Keep – a working castle for 5e, BECMI and SNE

Ragnar’s Keep has stood on this rock outcrop on the outskirts of the town for well over a hundred years. Who Ragnar was is now lost in the mists of time, but it is a defensible location near a river and good farmland, and so it has been continuously occupied ever since and a town has grown up around it.

The lands around about may be rich farmland, but beyond the farmland, particularly to the north, it gets progressively wilder, with the river running down from high moorland and rugged mountains, and dark forests to the east only ventured into by the hardiest of loggers.

The keep itself is made of granite, grey stone walls rising out of the rock, with towers standing proud on three corners flying the flags of the local noble and his lord. The drawbridge from the main road into the town is normally left down, but it can still be raised, and regular drills ensure it is kept well maintained and the soldiers are practiced in both raising it and lowering the portcullis behind.

Ragnar was obviously a person who liked the finer things in life.  Although the lower floors are utilitarian and defensible, the upper floors are more luxurious, with windows all round looking down into the inner courtyard. The keep is particularly famous for the stained glass windows in the Grand Hall, in particular the spectacular circular rose window looking to the west.

The current noble, Baron Vesner, is less of a lover of luxury and sees such things as fripperies. He is diligent in keeping the keep garrisoned and ready to defend against raiders and invaders from the north, and organises regular training along with periodic expeditions “marching the bounds” and making sure the soldiers are trained and ready. He is a dour man whose troops laugh behind his back at his dourness, and things have been quiet enough that they think him paranoid, but they do their duty.

I’m working on a detailed mediaeval castle setting suitable for Dungeons and Dragons and similar role-playing systems, and I’m delighted that the wonderful folks at Heroic Maps will be turning it into a battlemap.

At this point I’m looking for reviewers and play-testers, so if you’d like an early view of it and the ability to shape it, please drop me a line to melestrua@melestrua.net .

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