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5E Anti Frost Giant defences?

FreeTheSlaves

Explorer
Okay, so there's a small 10th level party fortifying a motte and bailey fortress against a winter attack of Frost Giants. They've got all Autumn to prepare, a local servant population of about 100, and collectively about 10k gold to spend. Not possible to preemptive attack for whole heap of reasons.

Frost Giant numbers are uncertain but could be 10-20, and they stand like 18' tall. Their leader is smart and also commands some Ogres and Ogrillons.

(Party is already negotiating with a neighbouring Orc tribe to dissuade them joining the giants, a young adult Silver Dragon backing this up.)

Back to the fort, what non-magical defences could they prepare?
 

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Eltab

Hero
Small passages (medium must squeeze, large cannot possibly fit through) to critical areas.
Heated ranged projectiles (just to tick 'em off)
Look up IRL fortifications from about 1600 - the star fort style - and especially the surrounding countryside.
Be prepared with catapults &c to get into a 'rock-throwing contest'.
Be willing to use your own smashed masonry as boulders to throw back.
Critical facilities underground to prevent damage due to flying boulders.
Cut down all the trees within a quarter-mile but let hedges &c grow - you have Cover but the giants do not.
Talk to some giant leader higher up in the Ordning to be your ally / advocate / protector.
Weather magic: it gets hot out when the frost giants arrive.
 


MarkB

Legend
Clear the approaches so that there's no cover, then crisscross them with pits, ditches and spikes to make them difficult terrain for Huge creatures. Filling a pit with water during autumn will turn it into a natural pit trap once winter sets in, as it will freeze over and then get concealed with snow.

Buy loads of longbows and arrows, hire some professional archers and/or train up the available servants to fire them. Longbows outrange hurled rocks by 360 feet, which will take the giants 18 rounds to cover at a dash if moving over difficult terrain, and even with disadvantage for long range, 100+ archers can get a lot of hits in during that time.
 

Eltab

Hero
Mount heavy crossbows on the walls. Build a couple huts at the maximum range, a couple huts at the boundary between Short and Long ranges. Tell the crossbowmen "If you feel lucky you can start firing when the giants pass the outer huts. When they get closer than the inner huts, everybody let 'em have it!

Have a plan to evacuate the civilians when danger arrives; somebody 18 feet tall should be easy to see coming through farm fields (but not via a forest or taking cover inside a substantial town).

Pickets and alarm-ringers (like the mountaintop fire posts in LotR) whose job is to set a warning signal then get out of the way. Untrained peasants can "yell for help" or "call for the cavalry" and it even comes naturally to them.
 



Eltab

Hero
BTW, for humor value, the giants' ogre followers have some goblin-chuckers from Storm King's Thunder. A few of the goblins might even be able to run around starting trouble after arrival. (Gives the monk and 2HW barbarian something to do.)
 

FreeTheSlaves

Explorer
Thanks all. Plenty of ideas and leads here. All things earth work (tunnels, ditches, moat and pits) and water obstacles are goers. Gold spent on extra workers (2sp each per day) from a nearby town seems efficient use.

Oh, first time the Frost Giants attacked (scouts-in-force during summer, briefly had Control of Weather, apparently one use power), they made use of Fog Cloud. So Frost Giant shamans...

The motte and Bailey stronghold is really just a fort made from earthwork and palisades, no stone work, it's the 15,000 gp basic stronghold erected during downtime. Local alliance with druids forbid upgrade to stone, but that's another story.

Crossbows, as simple proficiency weapons, are easier to train than longbows, so that's probably the doable option.

The party includes a 10th level cleric, who routinely prepares Commune, Divination, Sending and Augury. He could use the former two spells carefully to guesstimate where and when, and together with the mountain ranger scouting (conjure giant eagle), they're likely to early detect attackers.

There is a decently powerful NPC transmuter, but he's committed to crafting magic weapons for the party. They wouldn't want to disturb that, it's already generous and wasn't easy to set up.
 

Eltab

Hero
For RP value, some higher-ranking noble or a mercenary leader or other person with experience in the field of "sieges and fortifications" could show up and set off an argument about strategy.
The newcomer might think that a single-person challenge can settle the issue; that (like Aragorn at Hems Deep) letting the enemy get up to the walls is better than defense in depth; that stockpiling supplies and hiding underground is enough; or that 'my unit charging in to the rescue' is the proper way to frame the battle plan.
 

FreeTheSlaves

Explorer
That's a good idea - there is such a noble! The fort guards the west approach to his lands, so his family has interest.

Thing is, he's image bound, and would avoid flying his banner under a losing cause. On the other hand, taking credit for victory over a giant attack would enhance his court prestige.
 

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