Castle Defence - a classic gatehouse
Today, a lunchtime tip that's entirely software (and edition!) agnostic - a simple design for a castle gatehouse.
Castles are built for more than one reason - people live there, guards are stationed there and often they are political power centers for the region. But first and foremost they are built to keep people out. The weak point in any castle is it's front door, and a number of techniques were perfecte over the years to make sure that someone trying to attack a castle would have a hard time of it. Now attackers might not be as obvious as a massed army at the gates - unsavoury people sneak in too. This gatehouse design was used in many places - including Linlithgow Palace, the palace I grew up beside and spent a lot of time in.1.
Visitors approach from the south (in this diagram). The outer gate is large and heavy, and often opens onto a moat that's crossed on a drawbridge.2.
Once inside, the doors are closed behind (often from a mechanism operated from the guard room).3.
Progress forwards is barred by a portcullis, and a set of heavy doors. This allows the inner doors to be opened safely so someone can talk to the visitors, without allowing them access to the castle4.
Guards on either side can target visitors through arrow slits.5.
More guards are perched above and can target visitors with ranged weapons, or that classic defence of boiling oil.
This provides a robust defence mechanism against invaders, but it's far from full-proof. Linlithgow Palace was taken by a small group of determined soldiers using a simple ruse with a hay cart. The farmer drove his cart with fresh grain up to the palace. The guards opened the portcullis to let him in. He stopped the cart under the portcullis, and armed soldiers burst out from under the hay. The portcullis was dropped, but the cart jammed it open, and provided an open front door for the extra troops waiting in hiding outside. Soldiers poured in and the Palace was taken with relative ease.
For a game with fantasy elements, you'll want to station some form of caster at the front gate, with some easy divination magic. The murder holes make the perfect vantage point for a sorcerer, and the confined space is just built for flaming spheres.
#lunchtime #map #tip #rpg
You can find compilations of previous lunchtime tips here: http://fantasticmaps.wordpress.com/category/tips-and-tricks/