The logistics (and logic) of Castle Wittgenstein (

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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:53 am

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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Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:55 am

Perhaps Ulfhednar and Crakatz go raiding?
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Orin J.
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Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:30 am

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.
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