The logistics (and logic) of Castle Wittgenstein (

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Theo
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Some thoughts I’ve had while studying Death on the Reik in preparation for running my remix. Sorry for the wall of text.

I do appreciate the fact that the final act of DotR, around Castle Wittgenstein, is meant to be surreal and run on a sort of nightmare logic rather than being realistic, but I find this occasionally clashes oddly with nods to the more naturalistic style of writing and explaining things. While I suspect my players may never notice, I’ve come up against quite a few headscratchers I’d like to at least handwave semi-plausibly. Such as:

Food: The most glaring bit. There’s quite a lot of people living in Castle Wittgenstein, trade has dried up, they don’t even bother to take tolls, and it’s implied that its domain is just the former town of Wittgendorf and that revenue from there has dwindled to practically nothing. So what do the Wittgensteins and their household actually live on? Is the kitchen garden in the castle supposed to be feeding everyone? Apart from the beggars in the courtyard, they don’t appear to be starving – in fact, the storerooms are apparently fairly well stocked.

Also, apparently the dining room hasn’t been used for months. So where do Ingrid, Margritte, Kurt and their guests Ulfhednar and Crakatz actually eat? In their respective bedrooms? (We are in fact told that Kurt used to, until he murdered the servant who brought him his meals - which just raises more questions.)

Again, whether this needs to be “fixed” is a matter of taste. I hope I can tread the balance and handwave something that makes things a little less blatantly illogical while still keeping the surreal feel to the castle and its surroundings.

The easiest “fix”, it seems, would be to make sure the Wittgensteins actually have some decent income. First, I’d make their barony quite a bit larger (it’s never stated exactly how much land they rule, but it’s implied to be not much more than just the castle and Wittgendorf) and assume they have some more villages of tenants further away from the castle, which haven’t suffered nearly as bad from the downturn of the last century and still produce decent revenue. Apart from the Wittgenstein bailiffs squeezing them for rents, tolls and other payments the “breadbasket” villages are basically left to themselves.

Apart from farmland, they might even own some more profitable things like mines. Perhaps their Imperial charter even included mining rights (Bergregal) and a silver mine or two happened to be on their land? This, of course, would require that they still do some trading, and both this and the breadbasket villages require at least a few trusted intermediaries.

All this shouldn’t mean needing to change too much in the adventure, just adding references to occasional wagon trains delivering goods to the castle and having a toll station along the Reik near the castle (the latter I’ve already added in). It does have some implications for the outlaws, but this post is long enough as it is. :)
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totsuzenheni
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Perhaps Ulfhednar and Crakatz go raiding?
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Orin J.
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i'd say the easiest answer is that part of their servants are doing some smuggling in their part time- it's both lucrative and makes them not taking tolls a plausable alibi for them "we simply couldn't handle these crimes alone, we can only let them pass so they do not lash out at the peasants in response!" or something like that. it doesn't need to come up, but it could be useful as a plot device if you have a need for them to escape in an unusual fashion- them finding some hidden tunnel to a small wharf they can get away from the castle with...

as for the food- well, they're crazy nobles. do whatever fits the character at the time, i doubt it will come off as unusual given the place it's set in.
Willmark
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Or its not really all that important in the grand scheme of things?
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Gideon
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1. I think it's easy to assume the Wittgensteins have other income or assets. I don't think Death on the Reik pretends to be a full account of their wealth.

2. The kitchen garden should probably be much larger. Its current size is not nearly enough to support the castle.

3. The Inner Bailey is lacking the sitting rooms and parlours I would expect. They would be the natural place for the Wittgensteins to eat, if not using the dining hall.
Theo
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Gideon wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:29 am
1. I think it's easy to assume the Wittgensteins have other income or assets. I don't think Death on the Reik pretends to be a full account of their wealth.

2. The kitchen garden should probably be much larger. Its current size is not nearly enough to support the castle.

3. The Inner Bailey is lacking the sitting rooms and parlours I would expect. They would be the natural place for the Wittgensteins to eat, if not using the dining hall.
Thanks. I'm redrawing the Inner Bailey map for my game now (and will post my suggested revision when it's finished). So far I've kept the smallish kitchen garden (or, well, it'll be about twice the size shown on the original map like everything else, since the scale on that was obviously off), but added a large two-story granary. I didn't think about adding sitting rooms and parlours, and I'm leaning to just having the dining room actually being in use. There's no lack of other weird gross-out stuff. :) (I will also add a third floor, which might be mostly just an attic, to the great hall.)
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Gideon
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Theo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:16 pm
So far I've kept the smallish kitchen garden (or, well, it'll be about twice the size shown on the original map like everything else, since the scale on that was obviously off).
Judging by some European stately homes and chateaux, I think the garden should have an area at least as large as the Great Hall.
Theo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:16 pm
I've ... added a large two-story granary.
I would question the logic of that given that there are no nearby grain fields. Is it not more likely that finished products, like flour, would be delivered to the castle?
Theo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:16 pm
I didn't think about adding sitting rooms and parlours, and I'm leaning to just having the dining room actually being in use.
That would deal with the issue of eating locations. I suppose places like the chiming room and taxidermist's room are essentially drawing rooms, but I still feel the castle should have a few more drawing and dressing rooms.

(I should be clear that the layout of Renaissance castles is not a subject I know very much about.)
Theo
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Gideon wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:19 am
Theo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:16 pm
I've ... added a large two-story granary.
I would question the logic of that given that there are no nearby grain fields. Is it not more likely that finished products, like flour, would be delivered to the castle?
Here's what writing in a second language without constant double-checking will do to you. :) I just meant a storehouse for foodstuffs, not necessarily unfinished grain.

But perhaps I should swap places and sizes for the garden and the storehouse.
Gideon wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:19 am
Theo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:16 pm
I didn't think about adding sitting rooms and parlours, and I'm leaning to just having the dining room actually being in use.
That would deal with the issue of eating locations. I suppose places like the chiming room and taxidermist's room are essentially drawing rooms, but I still feel the castle should have a few more drawing and dressing rooms.

(I should be clear that the layout of Renaissance castles is not a subject I know very much about.)
It's good enough for my, admittedly somewhat arbitrary, standards here. :) I'll have to decide fairly quickly anyway, since we're playing next time in a week and my PCs will likely get to the Inner Bailey by then.
Robin
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With regard to food...

It's magic.

Or, to put it another way, the castle has become an inherently abnormal place. It's Chaotic. It behaves oddly... but in some ways normally.

The thing about larders is that they're meant to contain food. So, the castle's larders contain food. Just enough to keep the family and staff ticking over according to their usual needs. They never really need restocking. The staff have become used to this: perhaps they choose not to think about it too much or they've developed a magical blind-spot with regard to the never-empty milk churn. You go into the larder hoping to find a pork pie... and you find a pork pie. If the family decide they want to hold a grand party, the staff find all the ingredients for a magnificent cake all ready in stock.

You can do the same with rooms and layout. If you map the place, you'll get one picture of the place. If you find yourself wondering why there isn't a granary, then you'll suddenly find it hidden behind the stables. If you want to dress for that grand party, suddenly there's a thin door to long narrow room stuffed to the rafters with dusty old clothes and masks ready for a masquerade ball.

Regards,

Robin
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