Castles are settlements that can be found all over Europe and the Mediterranean region. A castle usually represents a fortified building (the keep), built in a strategic spot (usually at high places) and surrounded by walls and other defensive structures. A castle's main function is usually to grant the owner control and vigilance over a certain amount of land, allowing the nearby populations to seek protection inside its walls during an enemy raid and also serving as a base point where a feudal army can gather.
Each castle belongs to a certain culture. Unlike villages and towns, castles can change their culture over the course of the game, always adopting their new owners' when they're conquered by another faction. All castles are owned by a certain lord, who will sometimes rest inside his keep or hold a feast in its hall.
Over the course of the game, the player may come to possess castles as his/her own fiefs. To enter a castle, you must always ask permission from the on-duty guards, and they will allow you in if you have a neutral or friendly relationship with their lord; don't expect to be allowed inside your personal enemies' castles, even if they are vassals of the same faction as you. If the castle belongs to a hostile faction, the player will have to sneak into its walls first.
Once the player gets access to a castle, and whether he/she is the lord/lady of a castle or not, the following interactions can be performed:
- Recruit sergeants: recruit low-tier professional troops of the faction who currently owns the castle. You can do this only when you're a noble AND vassal of a certain faction (or ruler of your own).
- Recruit nobles: recruit low-tier noble troops of the faction who currently owns the castle. Same conditions as above.
- Go to the lord's hall: