So in the interests of seeing how the stronghold rules work, I rerolled Badaxe Jack as a craftpriest, used the rules in the back of the books for starting characters at level 9, and set about creating Badaxe Hold.
The first thing a character is supposed to do, is find an area to build the stronghold. Some classes have very specific rules about where they're allowed to build their strongholds. For example, Badaxe Jack, being a dwarven craftpriest, can only build his stronghold in dwarven civilized/borderlands or a wilderness area. I figured the hill that had the griffon nest on it in our old campaign would suffice for that. After deciding on the area, you have to 'secure' the area, which basically means destroying monster lairs or major wandering monsters in the area (for sake of clarity, I'm just going to say Jack was successful in doing this). When the area is first secured, you roll three D3 and add them together to determine the land revenue per family per month, which basically represents the how rich or poor a secured area is. The player is allowed to keep or abandon an area, as they choose. (I rolled an 8 for this area, and decided to go with it).
Next, you must design and build a stronghold (or seize one in the area). According to the rules in the back of the ACKS book, a character starting at 9th level gets 240,000gp to spend on a variety of things. After spending on a couple of other things, Jack ends up with 80,000gp to spend on his stronghold. Since Jack is securing his stronghold in the wilderness, it must be worth a minimum value of 30,000gp. Jack has plenty of money to build his stronghold, however, because he is a dwarf, he has to build it underground, and only a maximum 25% of the total value of the fortress can be aboveground, as well as everything must me built of stone or earth. So Jack opts to excavate most of the hill, and deeper underground, as part of the living quarters, various halls, library, labs, shops, etc, as well as offering housing for dwarven followers that will eventually show up
Now, the followers. Jack gets 120 dwarven followers (3D6x10) during the construction phase of his stronghold. Rolling on the tables he ends up with 40 dwarven crossbowmen and 80 dwarven heavy infantry of various armaments but, sadly, no mounted crossbowmen. These are no-pay 1HD dwarves, who will help maintain and run the stronghold. Jack can hire mercenaries, but demihumans can only hire soldiers of their own race, and there's not a lot left after building the stronghold. Next Jack gets his settlers, the people come to work under his command. Again, getting lucky, Jack gets 50 families (D4+1x10) of dwarves show up to work for him.
I have the economics of the stronghold worked out thanks to making a couple of connections between information in the player section and the 'judge' section in the back. As you might expect from a dwarven stronghold, there is a great deal of mineral wealth (metals and gems), as well as an incredible abundance of tools, weapons/armor, and beer/ale. They're short on lamp oil, most foods, and hides. All of this could change depending on any other strongholds or towns within trading distance.
Overall, I like the rules. But, again, the biggest thing is their insistance on using hexes in stead of squares for computation purposes, as well as a big need to streamline and reorganize some information.