Castles in a D&D/Fantasy setting - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    As far as I know trebuchets were not really used to knock down walls, but to shoot over them to damage whatever they protected. They still had a rather low velocity and damage to the wall was rather low so it took a long time to destroy them.
    While it certainly took a trebuchet a long time to reduce a wall, it took less time to reduce a wall with a steady barrage of stones than it took to starve out a castle and in the long run success was basically inevitable unlike other risky approaches like sapping. Trebuchet were used on many occasions to reduce the walls of a city or castle between their introduction in the 11th century and the ascendency of cannon in the 15th century. The most famous example I can think of is Edward the Longshanks used a large Trebuchet to destroy the gatehouse of Sterling Castle in 1304, an incident that basically marked the end the high walled castle as an effective deterrent as it proved that with a big enough engine, it was only a matter of time before you could reduce basically any castle.

    The Mongols also used Trebuchet to knock down the walls of Bagdad.

    I thought I had mentioned star forts at some point, but maybe that was a different thread.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    While it certainly took a trebuchet a long time to reduce a wall, it took less time to reduce a wall with a steady barrage of stones than it took to starve out a castle and in the long run success was basically inevitable unlike other risky approaches like sapping. Trebuchet were used on many occasions to reduce the walls of a city or castle between their introduction in the 11th century and the ascendency of cannon in the 15th century. The most famous example I can think of is Edward the Longshanks used a large Trebuchet to destroy the gatehouse of Sterling Castle in 1304, an incident that basically marked the end the high walled castle as an effective deterrent as it proved that with a big enough engine, it was only a matter of time before you could reduce basically any castle.

    The Mongols also used Trebuchet to knock down the walls of Bagdad.

    I thought I had mentioned star forts at some point, but maybe that was a different thread.
    If you had enough stones then yes.
    Don't forget that in Stirling Castle 30 men held out 4 months of regular bombardment and it took the "largest trebuchet ever made" to finally force the exhausted and outmatched defenders to surrender.

    Anyway, the giant has the advantage of being much more mobile, not being bothered by hills as much as a trebuchet is (requires a flat surface to function well) and can vary between lobbing stones over a wall or throwing a "fastball" on the wall, mimicking both trebuchets and cannons. Still they are the least problematic as they only mimick abilities which eventually were also available to normal humans through technology.

    Fliers and diggers are much more problematic (while sapping existed, monsterous diggers vastly outperform what humans are able to do) to the existence of traditional castles. Dungeons as castle replacements as it was mentioned protects against fliers, but sacrifices much of the protection against normal enemies that castle provides as you are unable to fire on an attacker like from a castle and instead have to engage in close quarter tunnel fighting. Or just collapse the entrance, trapping the defenders within the dungeon and move on as there is no real need to take a dungeon.
    Last edited by Derren; Tuesday, 15th May, 2018 at 08:30 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    Fliers and diggers are much more problematic...
    Totally agree with this.

    Diggers tend to be less problematic as the majority of really good diggers have not traditionally been tamable or even trainable in D&D. They are also by their nature almost impossible to cage and control, and expensive to feed. Charmed diggers represent fairly high level magic and as such are on the level of 'defenses against teleport'. So the only time you really have to worry about diggers in most D&D settings is when wild diggers invade your basement, which is a serious threat, but that's what 'adventurers' are for.

    Fliers on the other hand have been since the earliest days of D&D called out as tamable or trainable. The costs of acquiring and training fliers are traditionally high, but not so high as to be out of reach of national entities. There are a great many designed to be steeds and pets. They have the advantage over trebuchet's in that it's an easy proposition to arrange that nothing on the ground has the range to reply to your attacks. Even 500' up is sufficiently high altitude that little or nothing is going to bother you, and you can always go higher if need be. It's easy to imagine 50 lb payloads in addition to a rider, which would be equivalent to period bombardment. While beasts couldn't keep up a continuous pace, they probably could at least match the pace of engines and bombards over an equivalent time span. Accuracy wouldn't be great, but it would be comparable to engines, especially if you could employ 'dive bombing'.

    I've honestly never figured out what the counter measure is short of having an air force of your own.

    Dungeons as castle replacements as it was mentioned protects against fliers, but sacrifices much of the protection against normal enemies that castle provides as you are unable to fire on an attacker like from a castle and instead have to engage in close quarter tunnel fighting. Or just collapse the entrance, trapping the defenders within the dungeon and move on as there is no real need to take a dungeon.
    Yes and there are a lot of problems with livability with a dungeon if you are talking about housing humans on a long term basis. Ventilation, light, and flooding are potential problems that most proponents of dungeons tend to ignore. Plus, with a dungeon you have limited options in opposing sappers. The dwarves may have all these problems solved, but not necessarily in ways that humans can equal.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Tuesday, 15th May, 2018 at 11:46 PM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Diggers tend to be less problematic as the majority of really good diggers have not traditionally been tamable or even trainable in D&D.
    Fliers on the other hand have been since the earliest days of D&D called out as tamable or trainable. ..I've honestly never figured out what the counter measure is short of having an air force of your own.

    Yes and there are a lot of problems with livability with a dungeon if you are talking about housing humans on a long term basis. Ventilation, light, and flooding are potential problems that most proponents of dungeons tend to ignore. Plus, with a dungeon you have limited options in opposing sappers. The dwarves may have all these problems solved, but not necessarily in ways that humans can equal.
    Livability of a dungeon is probably even worse than a castle under siege - but maybe not a whole lot worse, and we are assuming the adoption of a castle alternative is driven by magic, so magic could presumably help out there.
    But dungeons also just don't command the countryside the way castles do. You don't have a place for your banners, you don't have towers to watch the surrounding countryside from, and it doesn't project any kind of sense of security to your vassals - it's like having a bomb shelter, pretty depressing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    Dungeons as castle replacements as it was mentioned protects against fliers, but sacrifices much of the protection against normal enemies that castle provides as you are unable to fire on an attacker like from a castle and instead have to engage in close quarter tunnel fighting. Or just collapse the entrance, trapping the defenders within the dungeon and move on as there is no real need to take a dungeon.
    Nod. I never found it wonderfully compelling, but it is an old idea worth mentioning, since the setting is pocked with the darn things.
    The role of a dungeon in defense would be different from a castle, like a castle it could be a (even less pleasant) refuge, but it couldn't just command a high point and be a factor that way, able to survey and threaten the land around. Dungeon defenders' only option would be to sally, and, sure, they might have a lot of secret exits for that purpose. OTOH, a dungeon doesn't have towers & pennants, so where it is might be something the attackers have to figure out... or where /all/ the entrances are, I guess.
    So it'd end up very-not-knights-and-castles fantasy.


    At that point you're back to major magical solutions. Forbiddance over the whole castle to hedge out anything that flies. Teleport wards. Wizards on one side knocking down walls and their opposite numbers conjuring them back up.
    ::shrug::

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by solamon77 View Post
    Ritual magic. It's a fantasy world, embellish from there.
    I imagine that the defenders would simply use ritual magic to dispel the dome.
    Laugh Jhaelen laughed with this post

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren
    Dungeons as castle replacements as it was mentioned protects against fliers, but sacrifices much of the protection against normal enemies that castle provides as you are unable to fire on an attacker like from a castle and instead have to engage in close quarter tunnel fighting.
    Well, you can still have murder holes and it's a lot easier to defend a tunnel from an invading army because they can only come at you in teams of two at best.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren
    Or just collapse the entrance, trapping the defenders within the dungeon and move on as there is no real need to take a dungeon.
    That's pretty much exactly what happened to castles, as well, if the attackers felt it was too hard trying to break down the walls or fight the defenders. Besiege it until the defenders give up because they've run out of food or water.
    Also, if there's 'no real need' to take a dungeon, then there's also no real need to take a castle. In fact, I'd argue, if the attackers decide to move on, the dungeon as a defensive structure has perfectly fulfilled its purpose.

    (Don't ask me why I'm bothering to reply, though... Nothing good can possibly come of it.)

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    I've honestly never figured out what the counter measure is short of having an air force of your own.
    I don't think there is. You would need a readily available weapon which range can match the flight high of the common flight monsters/animals. And the existence of such weapon would change the warfare completely.
    Or you are back to high level magic everywhere to summon storms

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Nod. I never found it wonderfully compelling, but it is an old idea worth mentioning, since the setting is pocked with the darn things.
    The role of a dungeon in defense would be different from a castle, like a castle it could be a (even less pleasant) refuge, but it couldn't just command a high point and be a factor that way, able to survey and threaten the land around. Dungeon defenders' only option would be to sally, and, sure, they might have a lot of secret exits for that purpose. OTOH, a dungeon doesn't have towers & pennants, so where it is might be something the attackers have to figure out... or where /all/ the entrances are, I guess.
    So it'd end up very-not-knights-and-castles fantasy.
    Finding all the entrances beforehand would be the new challenge for the attacker. Once he has that he has won unless the defender can match him on the open field in which case there was no need for the dungeon anyway.
    The dungeon can also easily turn into a liability. Not only is there the constant danger of cave-ins, if the attacker knows the entrances he can simply entrench himself around them and pick you off one by one if you come out and otherwise take his time and shovel several tons of earth and rock onto the entrances or divert a river into the dungeon or just seal all air holes. Sure there are ways to make this harder by having pre digged caves rigged to collapse (and hope that the enemy steps onto them) or have not quite digged out entrances which can be completed in an emergency. But that only allows you to escape a trap instead of giving you an advantage.
    What kills dungeons is the high costs and the ability to affect the outside world from the inside.

    A compromise would be instead of digging down you dig sideways inside a mountain and then up. You would still have a ceiling to protect you from fliers, but you could also open arrow holes higher up to shoot down like you could from a castle. But the sites were this would be possible (and useful) would be limited.
    If you have really a lot of money or labourers you could create an artificial mountain, a fortress pyramid so to speak. For liveability you could create a regular castle for living on the side of the pyramid and only retreat into it when the need arises.
    It would be very expensive, but combine the advantages of a castle with the security against fliers you would have in a dungeon.

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