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Castle Sites (1995)

Since overall the sahuagin Monstrous Arcana series underwhelmed, it seemed fitting to pair it with the book from the Sites series that I find least satisfying: Castle Sites (1995).

It is really a matter of expectations. Like its predecessor, City Sites, I expected this to be a collection of locations that could be placed in any castle. A sort of collection of unique rooms with which to give homebrew castles a bit of flair and personality, the same way the fountain or the stables in City Sites can liven up any given city. I think a book like that would be endlessly useful. But that is not what this book is. Rather, Castle Sites is just a collection of castles. You get detailed floor plans, histories and an adventure hook for each.

None of this is bad, but it could be better. I find these fully fleshed out castles a bit ornery in terms of placement. They aren’t generic enough. Or they’re too generic — do we really need another dwarven mining fortress or a ruined castle of the undead? There’s a bulwark against orc incursions (yawn) and one that guards against gnolls (zzz). There is a suitably generic watch tower at the end I quite like. Dragon’s Coffin, on the other hand, is interesting but too specific, involving a kingdom, a cult, a dragon and a whole lot of powerful folks building a prison for said draconic menace (a fastness that is about to fail). Again, it isn’t bad. I just thought this was going to be a book of stuff like haunted garderobes and cursed cisterns and all manners of architectural oddities.

The best castle is the flying castle of the storm giants. You just can’t go wrong with a flying castle!

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