30 June 2018

Fantastic Fortress: Dangers of the World

Before considering how a fortress may optimize its defense in a fantasy kingdom, it's necessary to first look at all the possible threats present in the fantasy setting. I'm dividing threats based on Air, Overland, and Underground origins. I posted a thread on Dragonsfoot and ENworld for ideas on what other possible threats might be present in a fantasy setting.

We already looked at airborne threats in the last post. It occurred to me that the auditory detection system might not be effective against most fantasy flyers. I doubt even dragons make the kind of noise small prop aircraft do, so maybe a detection system based on sight alone might be better. I'll have to think on that one. One thing I didn't consider was breath weapon or area effect attacks, particularly form dragons. These could include fire, gas, poison, etc. So the aerial defense would have to also take into account a way to mitigate damage from breath attacks and not just the flyers themselves.

There are only a few possible underground threats and they all have a similar effect. These threats would include Humanoid diggers, whether they are other human armies,goblins, orcs, etc; they could all be countered according to traditional methods from historical warfare. Other Underground threats would involve unintelligent burrowers such as purple worms, and creatures or magic that cause earthquakes or otherwise threaten the integrity of the foundation of a fortress such as stone to mud spells. All these underground threats have a similar effect, the undermining of the foundation of castle walls or the bypass of them by digging under. The best defense would not be a strategy made for each individual threat, but some way of shoring up the foundation so such threats will rarely be effective.

There are number of land based threats. These include Giants and other Huge monsters which could destroy walls due their sheer size. Also creatures which can climb sheer walls such as aranea, footpad lizards and such make traditional castle walls obsolete. And finally there are the tiny creatures, such as brownies, that could slip past normal castle defenses with impunity.

There are a few other threats which I won't be taking an in depth look at because I think the best defense against them would be magical and not structural in nature. There are creatures a spells which may ignore the physical entirely by becoming ethereal or teleporting. There are creatures with gaze attacks, which might be feasibly defended against without magic, but I don't see such creatures as being so common as to threaten an entire fortress; they tend to be rare solitary creatures. Then there are creatures that have charm effects which negate whatever defenses you might have, the only reliable defense against a charm is another spell.