Unfamiliar with the region’s topography, the first crusaders who ventured into the Middle East faced a critical disadvantage. Plagued with constant uncertainty, the Crusaders were forced to overcome this obstacle as well as other hardships like disease and famine. This savvy guide will teach even the most astute navigator useful tools to survive the adversities that overwhelmed many Crusaders.
Finding the right location to build your castle
As Lord Crusader your first duty is to lead your followers to a territory fit for their prosperity. Different landscapes alter the settlement’s daily routine, so you must consider the obstacles you might face before rushing to build. For instance, the harsh desert life will mean you will want to build close to the limited watering holes to enable you to farm precious food. However, the need to find a protective crag or mountain-top for your castle will often mean you have a difficult choice to make.
A good starting point for novice Crusaders would be a small oasis protected on at least one flank by mountainous terrain. As well as food, the oasis will provide you with a source of wood and if you’re lucky you may also uncover a supply of stone or iron nearby as well. After you have found a suitable location, the first building created will be your Keep or Manor House. Consumables such as different foods are monitored and distributed by the next structure to be built, the Granary. These two buildings are the foundations of your colony. Anything else built is out of choice or necessity depending on your settlement’s location.
Building a town from the ground up
Every person’s most basic needs are food, shelter and protection, but to attract people to your castle, you will need to make your settlement a popular one. This can be achieved by growing hops and brewing ale for your people, should conditions allow. If you have space, a church or chapel will also help here…. of course lowering taxes is a pretty good bet to! Another good way to make your town a popular and attractive one is to feed your people with a variety of food types, this depends to some degree on the terrain and land height but a varied diet will pay you dividends in the long term. Quite often it pays to think carefully about building placement. Whilst you need to place wheat farms on valuable oasis land for example, you can save space by building windmills and bakeries a little further out in to the scrubland. Looking carefully around the landscape is advisable as it may also reveal other options, for example a hunter’s lodge could be placed near any visible herds of deer. Other animals may offer you more of a problem; lion herds are dangerous to your people, whilst rabbits can decimate your crop production.
Safety and security are obviously also big considerations. In the scorching heat of the desert, fire is a constant threat. Build several wells at key points in your town to protect against this devastating threat.
Fortifying your town is just as important as food to your people’s happiness. Build high and thick walls and defend them well. If you keep their needs and wants met, your small colony will quickly flourish into a formidable threat to the opposing local forces.