Probably the most disappointing part of any medieval-period film is the part where a castle is besieged and the attackers have no problem getting in. This is always made worse by the fact that enormous castle walls get brought down by fucking catapults of all things, despite this pretty much never happening before gunpowder artillery.
On the other hand, I feel like a fantasy setting could handle a siege in ways that are far less predictable and additionally provide more leeway for ridiculously powerful siege engineering. It could also lead to some immensely stupid oversights, like that bit in Lord of the Rings where the Uruks bring pikes to take Helm's Deep and never fucking use them.
What would be some interesting ways of getting into a castle in a fantasy setting where sorcery is possible?
Also what kind of defenses would arise in said castles as a way of combating these tactics?
Are there interesting alternatives that don't simply mimic gunpowder artillery (which could collapse castle walls)?
An extremely competent pyromancer could melt the wall, causing it to flow away. This would also give the defenders time to put up a second line of defence while the molten rock cools down (to speed this up, the attackers could throw water over the rock).
Spider cavalry charging over the wall.
Or infantry with spiderclimb.
This would be countered by embedding spikes with a downward angle into the walls and to a lesser degree by embedding glass shards into the mortar between stones.
To be fair to the Uruk-hai, they might well have brought the pikes in case they were attacked on the way. The Rohirrim under Eomer were still an issue and those pikes would have been very useful in an open battle against a majority-cavalry force.
As for my suggestion, ethereal'd troops could do it. Slip right through the walls and open the gates. Or plague spells and the like. More low-fantasy or low-magic settings could just make things hard for the defenders in subtle ways. Endless hot sun for instance, draining their water stocks too fast.
Far more likely that the fire would be paired with water or a cryomancer to crack the stones through rapid heating and cooling. Do you have any idea how hot stone has to be for how long to make the damn stuff melt?! Not even an atomic bomb outright liquefies the stuff! I'm not saying magical artillery wouldn't be super effective, but it'd take a bit more than just a pyromancer.
A druid could grow vines and trees over the walls to provide handholds (helpful if your ladders or siegetowers get wrecked) or to break apart the mortar, possibly.
And summoning swarms of mosquitos and rats could distract and/or cause disease among the defenders.
Almost every castle in games that I run will have multiple layers of different materials in its foundation. Stone of course being one of them, then with more added based on availability and cost, they'll have things like wood, ceramic, glass, metal mesh or whatever so that the enemy can't just waltz people on in with Meld Into Stone.
I don't have many details because it's not system specific, but in my setting, the empire conquered the small kingdoms and fiefdoms because while each lord couldn't afford more than the average castle, it ressurected magic as a form of siegecraft.
That ended the feudal era just like cannons did in real life.
Now, a proper imperial fief has a mage and/or an augur on the court to warn of or counter magic tactics.
Kinda unrelated, fear of magic and dragons had the old not!roman empire build thousands of underground vaults, catacombs and so on. And stored their riches there. Cue lots of dungeons with gold and ancient weapons nowadays. Even corinthian siege golems the not!romans used
And bartizans with scorpios or wall guns is a must to prevent aerial attack for most fortresses.
How about the good old Murus Galicus? Wood, stone and dirt.
>Implying fantasy have sieges.
>Implying it isn't always that the BBEG has some impenetrable fortress that can only breached by a small party of heroes.
Sorcery would make anything possible. Battles would pretty much be one big wizard battle with maybe a few people trying to kill the wizard. If a side didn't have wizards they were fucked. The wizard would just direct a river to castle/invader's camp.
Hooked variable siege ladder
Agreed. It is one of many medieval ideas that, while present at manuals, were likely never built.
It is one of several engines I got from a 16th century engineery manual.
Anyway, I still have some more unusual stuff to post.
>The wizard would just direct a river to castle/invader's camp.
>like that bit in Lord of the Rings where the Uruks bring pikes to take Helm's Deep and never fucking use them.
>We need to attack a force known for its' use of cavalry
>Should we bring pikes?
>Nah fuck that, I'm sure they won't have horses
Leaving aside the fact that in the novel they fight against mounted Rohirrim just near Helms Deep, it makes perfect sense to bring such weapons along. It's not like pikes can't just be discarded either, since they're damn cheap to produce.
I've run out of unusual preindustrial siege engines.
Yeah, that was it.
And now, for something completely different: