"D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

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Grandpa
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"D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Grandpa »

Since the first one of these I read from 1st ed AD&D, Titled "Castles" I think, it has been done wrong. Castles and fortresses have been presented as they actually existed in medieval times. This is NOT what would exist in a D&D type world. They would have evolved not only to protect against mundane attack methods but also magical threats (spells and monsters). The result would be much different than a real world castle. The curtain walls to protect against humans trying to scale them would be useless. Magic and magical monsters would enable aerial attacks and depositing soldiers inside.

Minimally the top of the walls would be enclosed on top and the soldiers would be able to shoot outwards and inside to the area the wall is enclosing. Climbing the walls would not enable one to attack those defending the walls but only allow you to drop into a kill zone.

What other mods do you see happening in response to magic?

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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Go0gleplex »

Simple means to prevent walls being scaled; build an sloped overhang with murder holes and oil spouts so archers can shoot down etc while having a roof overhead to protect vs aerial spell fire and such. Mages and heavy missile weapons would be in the tops of towers to provide additional covering fire and power projection vs aerial foes or masses of ground-based enemies. ALL of these defenses though are going to be limited by the fiscal and manpower resources available within the settlement or region. The more magical, the more expensive it gets. With enough time and money, massive wards around the area can be established that might create magic dead zones outside of the walls or impeded flight; sanctify the ground so that undead cannot cross to attack. But it all boils down to cost and practicality of maintenance.

In all honesty, the concept of open settlements in a fantasy world is inane. Wandering monsters in even the so-called safest areas would still require at least a series of dense hedgerows, wood pallisades, and dry moats with stakes for some sort of security or at least restricting the avenues of approach to something that an attempt at defense can be made.
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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Grandpa »

Go0gleplex wrote:
Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:28 pm
Simple means to prevent walls being scaled; build an sloped overhang with murder holes and oil spouts so archers can shoot down etc while having a roof overhead to protect
That was done historically but didn't stop scaling and then taking men on the wall out of action.

Go0gleplex wrote:
Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:28 pm
In all honesty, the concept of open settlements in a fantasy world is inane. Wandering monsters in even the so-called safest areas would still require at least a series of dense hedgerows, wood pallisades, and dry moats with stakes for some sort of security or at least restricting the avenues of approach to something that an attempt at defense can be made.
Not sure, much of early EU history is filled with small settlements, open, and lots of armed bandit groups raiding. While some had walls of wood most didn't and relied on militia and mercs. Small groups of wandering monsters are like groups of wandering unemployed mercs turned bandit. When one includes MU

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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Go0gleplex »

AAAAAand there's the common error made in almost every instance settlement defense discussion comes up. ;) Everyone compares the settlements to European history while disregarding the fact that the fantasy world IS NOT EUROPE! It's a world that is far far more dangerous with things that crawl from the darkest shadows that make bandits look like choir boys on a picnic. Even so, in many cases the hedgerows and stone walls surrounding the village were formed in a manner to slow down those attacking openly while the townsfolk fled.

The top of the wall construction was typically done with wooden structures susceptible to flame and only projected out around 2-3 feet which can be circumvented by a good climber or hacked thru by an axeman. You can design and build from stone it in such a manner that no...without a siege tower you are NOT going to be scaling the walls without taking major losses. You angle up and outwards a good 8-10 feet so it makes it impossible to climb out from under...and far easier to push ladders away. If one were really really enterprising, they could construct a pipe system around the base of their curtain wall with small risers and flood it with oil...or if enough high level mages...cloud kill and wind spells from inside the walls. Us engineer types can be right buggers when it comes to creating defenses. *evil grin* :D

I come from an unpleasant background and one of the first things I do instinctively is defense and escape assessment when I enter a room, building, or such. As well as go thru likely attack scenarios in my head (I was told to shut up and quit freaking people out by my boss, the Public Works Director, when I started talking out how vulnerable the city water supply and City Hall was and listing off the ways a terrorist group could kill off a good percentage of the town and/or destroy the buildings as a result. I'm a bit OCD that way.)
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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

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Fantasy by its nature is not going to be historically accurate or likely well thought out. Check out Steven Erikson for some pretty well worked out stuff. But I fear any world with undead, demons, and dragons cannot exist, it would devolve or depopulate to a few on top eating or raising those below... like the 6th mass extinction event we are entering into... we are the dragons of our world. Our over population and magic (aka technology) has allowed us "bum shuffling niche thieves" to run amuck.
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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

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Captain_K wrote:
Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:30 pm
Fantasy by its nature is not going to be historically accurate
Correct but that isn't the point of this post. Fantasy is fantasy not history. Obviously. The point is that the writers, designers and/or editors messed up by creating a work for a NON magical world while writing it for use in a MAGICAL setting. Get what I'm saying?

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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

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I get that, my point is that life is super complex and human history is messy and complex and always changing and being interrupted. Thus asking one author to lay out a fully functioning world with different, highly different, variables than our world is likely going to NOT get it right... we can always poke holes in this mythical world with ease as we can poke holes in any real world society also..
get it?
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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Fizz »

I recall an interview where George R. R. Martin was discussing this- the notion of just how well a castle would hold up to a dragon- the melting point of stone vs the heat of the dragon's breath.

But I think it depends on the extent of the fantastical components. If the fantasy world is one where dragons etc and magic are rare, and the primary threats are from other humans or less potent foes (dwarves, goblins, etc), then medieval castles and warfare may still be the norm.

How would one defend against massive flying monsters such as dragons? Building a defensible roof over an entire castle or town would not be feasible with medieval technology. A keep, sure, but a whole castle? So perhaps they build the castle in the usual way to defend against the more common foes, while dragons and other fantastical beasts would require an entirely different tact. Maybe castles would need to have extensive complexes built underground.

As for magic, teleporting or levitating troops over a wall works both ways. I don't recall the limitations of such spells, but if one side puts troops on one side of the wall, the defenders teleport them back out. Or perhaps an anti-magic spell on the castle prevents such breaches. Basically, magic counters magic, and you're left with a standard medieval castle siege.

Magic / monsters certainly can change the requirements and designs of castle defence. But it might not mean that medieval castle design would be completely wrong either. Regardless, it's interesting stuff to think about.


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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Lurker »

I would argue that the historic type defenses would be useful.

How many average monsters or foe have access to BIG magic, and enough of it to overwhelm realistic historic defenses. How many dragons breathing hell fire are flying around, how many mages casting invisibility and fly and fire ball (which drops the invisibility) are willing to march around with an army, how many giants (which btb are only 10' - 20' tall, so an average castle wall would be tall enough to defend the men behind them or on the top behind the crenellations ) are stomping around ???

Even if you have a good number of them running around, the defenders will (or should) have just as strong magic support ( just think what a mage with fly cast on himself tossing fire balls will face when the defender's own mage hits them with a dispel magic (that fall will suck, and if you use feather fall, that ranger with a magic bow is going to have A LOT of fun at target practice on the mage drifting down) a giant stomping around heading to smash the castle wall still have to reach the wall across the moat (and getting hit with a shower of arrows and a charge of knights on horse back with a magic lance) and a smart defender will have pit traps out ahead of the moat to slow the giant and any mundane siege engine being pushed to the wall (and with magic monsters etc, put some black pudding or the like in said pit traps)

Go0, there with you. Years in the military taught me that lesson
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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Grandpa »

Lurker wrote:
Mon Aug 23, 2021 2:17 am
I would argue that the historic type defenses would be useful.
I never said they wouldn't useful. Indeed they would be as useful against mundane forces as they were in our world. They just would not be useful enough in a fantasy world like D&D and THUS, would have been altered to better resist against those threats. It is axiomatic. Even if the defenders also have 16" inch guns they will NOT build castles walls as we know them. It would quickly be pointless. ;)

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Re: "D&D" Castle/Fortress Guide books

Post by Captain_K »

I like to think of all of it, each spell, each creature being an arms race. You build the castle stop the horde of undead zombies and skeletons... then the bastard gets a flying undead dragon, so you counter that with powerful clerics you hire in and give a way a piece of their land to their cleric and paladin sect in exchange for saving your kingdom..... then the giant's arrive.... you start a ranger and dwarf college in the woods and mountains...
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