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Archmage_Bael
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PostSubject: Castle Design   Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:38 pm

Because why not? This is for curiosity/education purposes. I also got it from facebook. Also, in hindsight it could go in either off topic or here, depending on if anybody wants to apply this to Felaryan structures.


The Moat – A moat, which is a body of water that surrounds a castle, is often thought of as a water obstacle that had to be crossed; but this wasn’t the primary function of a moat. One of the biggest concerns of the inhabitants of a medieval castle or fortress was the fear that an invading army would dig tunnels under the fortification. This tunneling could either provide access to the castle or cause a collapse of the castle walls. A moat prevented this because any tunnel under the moat would collapse and fill with water. It was a very effective deterrent against tunneling. Often times the moat wasn’t even on the outside of the castle. It was on the inside between the outer wall and the inner wall.

Concentric Circles of Defense
– This was an extremely effective method of defense for the inhabitants of a Medieval Castle. It was a series of obstacles that started on the outside of the castle and worked their way in. It was usually a progression like a cleared field, an outer wall, a moat, an inner wall, a keep and then a strong hold tower. An attacking army would have to overcome each of these obstacles one at a time. And this took a lot of time and effort to do.

The Main Gate as a Death Trap – The main gate of a castle was often the most dangerous place in the castle because it was also a deadly trap. It often opened into a small courtyard that had another main gate at the far end. The forward main gate often had an iron portcullis that was held in the open position and if the main gate was broken through and attackers made it into the small courtyard the portcullis was brought down and the attackers were trapped in the small courtyard. The walls of the courtyard had small holes called death holes where the defenders could fire arrows and other projectiles at the trapped attackers.

The hidden secrets of Stairwells
– Stairwells were often very carefully designed in Medieval Castles. Stairwells that curved up to towers often curved very narrowly and in a clockwise direction. This meant that any attackers coming up the stairs had their sword hands (right hand) against the interior curve of the wall and this made it very difficult for them to swing their swords. Defenders had their sword hands on the outside wall, which meant they had more room to swing. Another ingenious design of stairs was that they were designed with very uneven steps. Some steps were tall and other steps were short. The inhabitants, being familiar with the uneven pattern of the stair heights could move quickly up and down the stairs but attackers, in a dimly lit stairwell, would easily fall and get bogged down in the stairwells. This made them vulnerable to attacks and slowed their attacks down significantly.

Secret Passages – What Medieval Castle would be complete without secret passages? Many castles had secret passages and they served a variety of purposes. Some passages were designed to open up a distance from the castle so inhabitants could escape during an attack or get supplies in and out during a siege. Secret passages also led to secret chambers where people could hide, supplies could be kept or a well for water was dug.
A medieval castle was more than just a large glamorous palace with massive stone walls around it. A medieval castle was a structure that was totally designed right down to the last detail with the protection of its inhabitants in mind. If you ever visit a medieval castle and you notice that the stairs are very uneven you will know that it wasn’t because the builders couldn’t measure out steps evenly. It was just that this is a little secret of the builders of the castle.
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:20 pm

I'm not sure if this goes here or at offtopic, but I'll just shut up and enjoy this topic on... one of my favourite topics XD I always loved castles, ever since I was a kid, and I've given much thought to a lot of things about them, their structure, functions, efficiency and defence. I came up with lots of ways to take advantage of the constructions, divide and trap the enemy in a crossfire, along with the classic hidden doors and passages. I also fancied the idea of making part of the castle like a labyrinth, kind of in the way Japanese castles were designed.

Blackwater as hidden moat: One of the things you had to take into consideration when under siege was where to store wastes safely to put off disease and avoid contaminating any available drinking water. I thought a good way of doing so was redirecting all that waste to stone-paved cavities dug up just outside of the outer walls, surrounding the whole castle. It would be a very unpleasant surprise for any attempts at mining under the castle, while helping survive more safely under a siege.

Multinucleus castle: As Bael said, castles are traditionally built around a single building, the keep, that would be the absolute safest point in the whole construction. Sadly, that also meant the enemy knew exactly where their efforts should be focused into, and should the slightest defence mistake happen, they would probably be ready to take advantage of it. I figured that having not one, but multiple centres of defence, all of which appearing to be as safe as the rest, would mean they would have to focus on all of them at once unless they wanted to leave their backs exposed. Sure, the defenders would also be divided, but if placed smartly, the enemy would suffer greatly from the crossfire.

Divide and succeed: Developing the previous advantages a bit more, dividing an army and making the resulting groups unable or finding it very hard to support each other is a sure way to weaken a stronger enemy. So from then on, my castle designs always featured a strong nucleus in the middle that just from the very start divided the access to the castle in two once you pass the front gate. The enemy army is forced to take both ways at the same time in order to prevent the defenders from using the free way as an escape or rear attack route.

Watch your step: The outer gates are always a target ripe for the taking with a very practical method: the ram. Be it just a few men carrying a pointed log or a full-blown siege weapon with antiarrow structure and resistant to fire, the enemy army is bound to have one. Little could be done to help it in the past, since most of the times castles were built with ramps leading up to the door so carriages and heavy transportation could quickly go inside. If an alternative to that could be used, like cranes on the walls to pick up the wares without the vehicle going into the city, the ramp could be exchanged with a stairway, with uneven steps like the stairwell, and also a lack of protections on the sides against falling. All of it would make it very difficult for a ram to function properly, the people manning them having trouble to make a consistent charge with it.

The main gate, even deadlier: One of the main disadvantages of the gate was that the defenders could only attack the invaders from up front, or maybe from the sides if the towers were well placed. I'm aware some castle designs actually did take that into consideration and built the gate deeper into a passage between two towers, but it was uncommon, and normally quite narrow. I took that a step further, having the walls actually protrude and envelop the gate from the sides, so the defenders could easily target the back of any attackers attempting to take the gate. However, since it would be a relatively small portion of wall placed more forward than the rest of the wall itself, it would also make it the weakest part of the wall. That's why a few precautions would be taken. First of all, it would be an area disconnected from the main wall; few, easily blockable passages, just small storages of materials, and the tallest area would also be lower than the main wall. In fact, a both offensive and defensive design would make the wall facing the enemy taller, and the one facing the gate shorter, so the area would descend towards the defenders and therefore be a clear shot from the wall in case it is taken, with hardly any cover for the enemies, while at the same time providing excellent cover from enemy arrows when it is still in allied hands. [I know it's hard to picture, and looking at the image below isn't much help since it's older than the most recent revision of the idea, so feel free to ask me for a more detailed sketch and I'll draw it for you guys.]

Towerbane: Siege towers were one of the most effective ways to assault a castle's walls. The most basic way of making their task more difficult was making the clear terrain surrounding the castle uneven. That gives the enemy footsoldiers some cover, but it makes the cavalry much less effective, and the siege towers far more difficult to move. Taking the game up a notch, hidden pools or lines of teal could be added throughout the field, in order to be shot with a fire arrow and make it burn with the tower on top of it. An even more crafty way to go about it would be to add camouflaged holes around the fields as well, keeping a layer of earth and having a strong enough structure so the soldiers can't notice, but giving in when the tower steps on it, making it fall forward and crash against the ground.

Fake traps: There's nothing more effective than adding about a half and half amount of fake traps versus real traps. When the enemy spots them, they will always at least slow down and proceed carefully, just in case the trap is a real one, making you gain time and save resources at the same time!

Experimental defences: I designed and toyed with lots of crazy defence mechanisms when I was small. Some are lost to time, others are impressive and probably implausible at the same time, but they are so cool they are worth a mention. Like for example, think of a wrecking ball. If you thought of an all metal one, change the actual ball for a catapult ball, made of stone. Now, attach the ball'n'chain to someplace firm above the gate, probably making it roll down and fall from a nearby tower so it moves laterally. If you even make it just long enough to hang a couple of feet from the ground, you have a lethal gate defence that can crush any ram or assaulting party. You can even pour hot oil down the chain and set it on fire for some extra deadlyness!

Last resort mechanisms: I also thought about some things that may be used as a last resort, when it's clear you're about to lose a nucleus or an important piece of construction that could be very useful to the enemy. Having structural weaknesses made out of wood that could be set on fire before abandoning the building is one of my ideas, and it could have many applications provided you can protect them well from sabotage...

That covers a good part of my musings on the matter. I don't know how practical some of them would have actually been in the middle of a real siege, but they don't look too bad to me in general. I also made a 3D castle design for one of my subjects in University, so I'll attach it here in case someone finds it interesting and wants to visually see some of the tricks I mentioned.




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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:26 am

Ohh you made this ? impressive !  Razz

I happens to love castles as well XD
When I was small I would literally daydream in the middle of a visit to one and just imagine myself in the middle of a siege or something ^^

Archmage_Bael wrote:

The Moat – A moat, which is a body of water that surrounds a castle, is often thought of as a water obstacle that had to be crossed; but this wasn’t the primary function of a moat. One of the biggest concerns of the inhabitants of a medieval castle or fortress was the fear that an invading army would dig tunnels under the fortification. This tunneling could either provide access to the castle or cause a collapse of the castle walls. A moat prevented this because any tunnel under the moat would collapse and fill with water. It was a very effective deterrent against tunneling. Often times the moat wasn’t even on the outside of the castle. It was on the inside between the outer wall and the inner wall.

Very true ! A few years ago I visited one ( if there is a thing we don't lack of in France it's castles ! ) with exactly that type of inside moat. It certainly didn't look any easier to cross than an outside moat Razz

The principle of the gate death trap with side fortifications enveloping the attacker is interesting. I imagine in Negav they could have something a bit like that with the gate itself being far into the structure :3
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:05 pm

How elaborate do Negav's defenses have to be though? Even pre-eye, Predators aren't the type to buckle down and siege to take the city at any cost. A few potshots with a cheap rifle would probably drive the vast majority off (case in point: bees). And nothing's going to invade them from the outside, due to those same predators. The only considerable avenue for invasion would be the portal already within Negav, no?
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:49 am

XionGaTaosenai wrote:
How elaborate do Negav's defenses have to be though? Even pre-eye, Predators aren't the type to buckle down and siege to take the city at any cost. A few potshots with a cheap rifle would probably drive the vast majority off (case in point: bees). And nothing's going to invade them from the outside, due to those same predators. The only considerable avenue for invasion would be the portal already within Negav, no?

Ha ha ha ha! I can not believe you said that! The Great Disaster ring any bells? ^^; IE the whole reason why the Eye was constructed? Actually though it does make me wonder how Neko Negav managed to fend off predators and invading armies.

As for a portal attack it's sound till you consider how paranoid Lesona and her fellows are and think that probably the higest level Battlemages keep watch in those gates incognito.
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:38 am

King Kerume started building up what would become Negav in 746, and the GD didn't happen until 1837. That's almost 1100 years of Negav doing just fine without the eye, not counting the ~2000 before that since the area was established as a trading hub between Ur-Sagol and the Dridders.

When the GD happened, Negav was basically in a state of civil war between the humans and nekos. Predators taking advantage of the city already tearing itself in half by freak happenstance does not invalidate my point.
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:45 am

jedi-explorer wrote:


As for a portal attack it's sound till you consider how paranoid Lesona and her fellows are and think that probably the higest level Battlemages keep watch in those gates incognito.

A Gate Marshal. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Dover Castle has always been my fave, been there loads of times

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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:42 am

How elaborate do Negav's defenses have to be?


If we assume those massive walls of Negav predate the Great Disaster, then that's part of the answer; Negav is basically a conventional castle town, as far as defenses go, except at predator scale.  As this is pre-Vishmital, the wall's armaments were probably a mix of heavy conventional cannons and ballista or catapults (depending on the era), most likely with magical enhancements (which would be one major way that the Psi'ol would be able to get a fair amount of leverage).  The above picture is what I'm guessing is a good example of an enchanted cannon, roughly technologically on par with dreadnaught-era guns.  Smaller predators might be driven off with potshots, but larger predators, more determined predators, and organized packs are all going to be harder to drive off; hence, cannons.  I'd expect those to be lethal to most anything that makes the mistake of getting too close; even predators with powerful magic would face the threat of spell-loaded shells capable of piercing magical shields.  This would be helped by one defensive feature we haven't mentioned yet.

Killing Field - Large areas around the castle would be cleared of trees, rocks, and anything else that might provide cover to enemies.  In peacetime, these fields could be used as farmland.  In wartime, these large open areas gave defenders on the walls command of anything within (height-boosted) bowshot, stopped attackers from sneaking up on the castle, and generally made taking the walls a dire proposition.

I'd image, looking at the maps, that Negav has a rather large cleared area to the south.  Interestingly enough, while Negav uses a large river instead of a sea, its location otherwise looks similar to that in David Macaulay's Castle.


That's Negav, though.  I'd imagine anyone trying to build a smaller castle or fort on Felarya would build something significantly different than Earth castles to hold off predators.  I'm envisioning thick-walled, squat, bunker-like structures capable of surviving being run over by an angry naga with very few holes, forcing predators to smash their way in while gunmen or archers drown them in a hail of fire through arrow slits.
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PostSubject: Re: Castle Design   Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:39 pm

This guy reminds me of taking an awesome idea you have to Anime-Junkie, and he'd tell you the real truth of how it looks :p

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