Stronghold is a 1993 Dungeons & Dragons licensed game from SSI. As the game’s subtitle indicates, it is a “kingdom simulator” in concept and has more in common with the Sim and Civilization games, and the later Majesty series, than with the Gold Box D&D role-playing games of old.
In Stronghold, the player must manage the resources of a kingdom, building structures to attract heroes and produce various effects. Heroes (including Mages, Clerics, Thieves, Fighters, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings) were not controlled directly by the player but rather were influenced by the player’s actions and focus.
Heroes in the game gain experience, equip upgraded armor and weapons, learn spells and assist in construction, farming, mining and combat. As new structures are built, new upgrades are unlocked and additional resources can be utilized or harvested more efficiently.
The map in Stronghold is a semi-3D triangular wireframe landscape populated with sprite-based characters and buildings. The map is divided into a large number of sections on a grid, and each section can house up to four small structures. Some sections will contain natural resources or obstacles (trees, rocks, water, unusably steep slopes).
The list of monsters included in Stronghold is expansive, with more than 30 different creatures from the Monster Manual, ranging from Giant Ants to Red Dragons. Monsters have strongholds of their own, varying in size and strength by type. The monster strongholds do not grow or improve, but they will spawn additional monsters.
The player must construct and upgrade the kingdom, while fighting off occasional incursions from wandering monsters while balancing food, shelter and wealth resources. The ultimate goal of the game can be to gain a certain level of popularity with the subjects of the kingdom, to defeat all of the monsters on the map, or both.