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kubera

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PostSubject: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:04 am


Ok it goes from one extreme to another,, the V1 dungeon masters book has prices so cheap for construction that we would could probably EACH build Harlick castle , In fact any adventurer who finds and sells a +1 sword could build at least one large tower module.

40 ft internal diameter , 2 levels and 30 ft tall.

That's just freaking nuts , I could build the Taj Mahal

So begrudgingly I have to agree the castle book is more rational,, whether its too expensive? I'm going to look for historical cost to compare but I know damn well the other is far too cheap.
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kubera

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:57 am


Harlech was built in 1280s for 8190 pounds, but what does that mean in greyhawk money??
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kubera

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:08 pm


I found a price for Harlech castle at 8190 pound which means absolutely sweet fuck all to me but another book or period wages looks like an agricultural worker about 2 2/3 of a pound per year
An artisan just under 4 pound and expert artisan closer to 5 pound

the workforce was 546 general labourers, 115 quarriers, 30 blacksmiths, 22 carpenters and 227 stonemasons at the peak,

this means it looks like it took on average (cheap guys out numbering experts by 5:3 and rounded out) the castle builders made something like 3 pound per year.

8190/3 2730 man years of labour to build the castle with manpower peaking at the height of construction at nearly 1000 people and no attribution of materials costs, as if somehow the materials magically appeared. I guess when you own the land and simply quarry your own stone and cut your own lumber that is pretty magical. Stone and wood were free so imports to the building site would likely just be iron works, (I know England had tin and silver in quantities but did they have iron mines?)

So Harlech supposedly = costs 2700-3000 man years with materials implied, so we multiply this by an average wage from the DM guide which x __________ =

We have to assume the daily greyhawk wage vs real medieval wages will correct any difference caused by inflation.

Personally I think the vast sums of money and magic loot Adventures routinely find is very inflationary and disruptive to the general economy, its damn hard to figure what the rational value of anything should be.
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Jonathan

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:47 pm

I'm pretty sure that the original DM's guide (or Player's Handbook)
mentions that the adventuring economies push prices up a la gold rush towns. I'm inclined to agree with this assessment. Still, it shouldn't be completely prohibitive to build even a smallish tower for someone who is reasonably well off. Maybe we should work out a price somewhere in between the two extremes. I'll think about this. Or course, it is a good way for me to get rid of extra wealth in the campaign! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:15 am

A simple tower/keep with a small enclosure or a fortified manor is within our means, the typical 4 tower castle with keep in historical scale is not.

Then again I'm still not sure that building up is the best solution with a fantasy campaign, earth quake, rock to mud, and magic attacks would be best defended by a combination of of more thicker squatter towers and a defense in depth to lessen the ability of one spell to cause catastrophic wall failure and to keep magic artillery at bay.

Since we probably should not have gotten this kind of cash anyway I have not problem blowing a lot of it on forts, more Cirda temples etc.. I will not be hoarding or blowing it all on additional personal firepower
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:50 pm

I would say that magic would have an effect on the design of fortifications that is similar to the effects that the introduction of gunpowder had on fortification design. As you said lower and squatter - berms instead of walls, bunkers instead of castles, trenches/foxholes instead of towers... Additionally, I would suggest that fortifications would need to be spread out to lessen the effects of area of effect attacks. Perhaps islands/pockets of defense interspersed/surrounding the town instead of a continuous wall.

I believe this type of design would be less expensive - you dig a trench and use the earth to build a berm - you're not importing 25 ton chunks of granite from who knows where and then stacking them.
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:37 pm

A 'defense in depth' style of fortification would certainly help mitigate the damage caused by spellcasters, but there is still the problem of large amounts of infantry. (i.e. humanoids used by bad guys) And remember, it's unlikely that most formations have a large amount of high level spellcasters. Earthquake is a 7th level spell, and you need to be 16th level and have 18 wisdom to even be capable of using it.
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:14 am

Trenches and berms can be used to stop infantry quite effectively (trench warfare of World War I is an obvious example but not relevant to medieval setting). In Elizabethan times, Berms were used to defend fortifications and were useful in waylaying infantry - they were very effective when paired with cannon.

In a more medieval setting the lack of rifles, machine guns and cannon wold reduce (but not eliminate) the effectiveness of a trench as bows and crossbows can't fire as fast or with the same area of effect impact. Add to a trench defense system a small number of, relatively common, low level druids and the effectiveness of the trench will increase with every entangle spell that is cast (especially if you can use your defenses to push the attackers into a smaller area).

Maybe the best defense in the Greyhawk setting is a combo of everything discussed here. A walled keep with a bunker surrounded by some kind of infantry stopping castle wall with a combination of trenches, berms and foxholes interspersed throughout the surrounding area. YIKES! The cost of the army to defend this kind of monstrosity is disturbing and the impact on the coutryside would be unsightly. Maybe Jonathan is right and we ignore the possibility of a high level wizard coming for tea and an invasion.
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:58 am


Cost of constuction would be less as berms are quite cheap compared to stone, our problem would be the manpower to defend them. As points out the defender needs higher firepower to emulate trench warfare the point was that a soldier would face socres of bullets crossing between lines, an enfield could shoot every couple seconds by a good soldier and the range was acurate and deadly over a mile.

in real life a archer (Long bow) would should shoot 10+ rounds a minute which is faster a musket but combined with accuracy and range could not emulate trench battles unless archers were in ranks of 4-5 deep.

We need denses that leverage a small manpower into an effective force and that is what walls do until effective cannons or magic enter the picture. There are many examples where 40 or 50 men held a fort against a small army mainly because such a small number was hard to starve and the attacking army had no means to defeat the walls.

Magic screws that up because you can't see a mage coming like you could a train of cannon. magic doesnt have the chance of damaging a wall if it hits enough times, 1 rock to mud is all that is needed.

denfense in depth is probably required but we would have to use obsticals only because we can't man outer works. Simply put we need to slow them down so they absorb more missle fire, and as doug said such obsticals would creates a virtual moonscape of our town.

possible answers

1. while not in the book someone would have propably created bonding spells to at least give stone walls a save vs melting, wish to make them immune, build castle on a natural or man made magic dead zone, (forgoten realms had these does Greyhawk)

2. Laminate walls with thin metal sheeting to stop rock to mud, glaze/enamaled walls -ceramic finishes are glass not stone, less practically- the wood panel castle. Is plaster considered stone?

3. early detection and elimination of potential dangers
- large area spells that identify mages so we can off them
- ensorcaled creates who can detect/attack mages.
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:32 pm

I think Carter and I are on the same page. In keeping with what Carter said, the devastating impact of a group of archers concentrating fire on a bottlenecked enemy has never been more clearly demonstrated than at the Battle of Agincourt. This would closely emulate the impact of a machine gun vs exposed infantry (perhaps even worse). At Agincourt Henry effectively destroyed an army that was 5 times the size of his using the terrain and his archers. The surrounding forest combined with recently plowed land eliminated the mobility of the French forces and arrows fell on them like rain. Ergo a crushing defeat for the French.

If we could emulate this kind of thing we'd have a viable defense against infantry without creating an easy target for a mage.

There were no fortifications involved in Agincourt, just a surrounding forest and terrain that slowed the enemy down. A combination of trenches, berms and entangle spells could be used to create the same kind of effect. The key problem in D&D land would be the rate of fire produced by the long bow and affording enough archers to create the same effect. As Carter indicated 10 arrows a minute is the expectation from a trained archer. If you have 6000 archers as Henry did at Agincourt that would represent 60,000 arrows a minute. A devastating hail of standoff death. In D&D land at 2 arrows a round you would need 30,000 archers to produce the same effect. It ain't gonna happen. Let's assume we can find 500 men at arms archers to be hired. 1000 arrows a minute fired at medium to long range doing 1-6 damage, fired by zero level guys is going to take some time to whittle down even a lightly armoured enemy.

As I've always stated, the bow is understated in the game (hence the development of the archer class).

Even with insipid bow stats, there could still be some affordable defensibility generated by some earthen defenses, a few low level druids and a handful of archers.

The hideous landscape problem would continue unfortunately.

Eliminating the impact of the mage in the ways as Carter had indicated in his post would be preferable if possible and effective but, if not, we may need to revisit the argument above

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:28 am

actually I don't have a problem with D&D firing rates as they reflect the fact that massed archers don't target people but an area, and that proper penetration realities have not been done justice in the D&D rules,

Test have shown that iron bodkins could rarely pierce armour, Agincourt mas mostly about mud, constrictive terrain, horses who shot and then tripped, crushed or kicked their knights or neighbours. On open terrain it would have been a british loss.

the rules also don't do shields justice against arrows, a shield that gives 30% coverage is worth a hell of lot more than +1 ac. a shield wall could bring 60+% coverage. at bare minimum buckler +1, Viking round +2, Spartan +3, wall shield +4. on a battlement behind crenelation +4 +shield

not only that but a shield protects most of l the squishy bits that lead to instant death.

I figure reduced fire rate compensates for this.
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:59 am

As the Brits were vastly outnumbered it is without doubt they would have lost in a big way on an open, dry field.

Agincourt was definitely about mud. The bow was extremely effective as well.

Cavalry: It is true that an arrow most likely won't pierce a mounted knights armour. It is however, capable of putting holes in horse armour. The horse's armour is not as strong as the knights (or absent in the flanks), which would result in horse's getting hit and throwing riders into the aforementioned mud.

Heavy infantry: Heavy infantry armour was ok against the arrows. Generally speaking this is not the elite armour the cavalry used, it was likely cheaper and not so well maintained. It would have vulnerabilities when exposed to a "terrifying hail of arrow shot" (french Monk of St. Denis). As armour was not head to toe there would be a large number of non-lethal wounds which would wear down the infantry. The infantry (carrying 50+pounds of armour) slogged through the mud with their visors down (making breathing difficult) while being weakened by the arrows. By the time these guys made it to the english lines they were easy prey (knock'em over, watch'em flounder in the mud).

In the Greyhawk setting, things like berms and trenches can be used to make constrictive terrain, while spells like entangle could emulate mud. Even without spells, berms and such could be used to eliminate flanking/surrounding maneuvers. As arrows are undeniably effective in Greyhawk archers could be extremely effective against a trapped foe.

When I was writing about how bows are understated I thought about shields as well but didn't want to go down that path. I couldn't agree more with the comments on shields (+1 to AC is crap)


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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:52 pm

So Harlech supposedly takes 2700-3000 man years with materials implied, so we multiply this by an average wage from the DM guide which x ____30gp______ =


(a mason would earn 4 gp per month so 48 gold /year
a labouer 12 gold a year
so if we say 1/2 skilled 1/2 unskilled average 30gp per year X 3000 many years
90,000gp )

Even if we paid the entire staff as skilled it would only be 144,000

just slightly above the cost of Harlechs 4 double height towers before the cost multiplier, with no walls, no gate keep, no ditches no floors etc.

So its probably about 2-2.5 more expensive than the base price but the terrain/worker/material mulipliers could make it up to 5X more than historical equivelant

a perfect example that shows a problem is a ditch.. a ditch is defined 10x10 5 ft deep, no stone finish to hold water as in a moat , a simple hole in the ground.

This ditch it takes 2 man weeks of work and 10 gold (500 cu ft 2 man weeks, 10 gold, or 50 cu ft per gold.)
5x the actual labour cost even when there is are materials to included in the cost.
as for speed, a fat out of shape old guy (like me) could probably do 10x10 x1 each day, a fit labourer could surely do this in less time but it would certainly NOT require 2 as per castle guild
a 200X200 motte with a 30ft elevation to put a keep on would cost 4800 man weeks of labour (85 man year) and 24000 gold.

VS old MDs 100 ft x 20 x10 or 20000 cu ft for 100 gold or 200 cu ft/gold a 4 times discrepency.

a 200X200 motte with a 30ft elevation to put a keep on would cost 4800 man weeks of labour (85 man year) and 24000 gold.

Knowing SFA about masonry, stone cutting etc I can't judge the work times on those catagories but I suspect its similary padded, but its obvious that the landscaping costs are way out of line.

Now I can't really complain too much because the money all came relatively easy yet there is no way a non adventuring small landlord night/baronet etc could every build even a modest 30 ft small tower in a lifetime,
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:43 am

Quote :
Now I can't really complain too much because the money all came relatively easy yet there is no way a non adventuring small landlord night/baronet etc could every build even a modest 30 ft small tower in a lifetime,


Perhaps if we animated some zombies to take care of the menial labour... Shocked Laughing Twisted Evil No Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:43 am


Actually as far as the rules go, special, pc labour, items and magic users ect speeds the work but it does not say they lower the cost of the labour, , therefore zombies don't lower your costs.
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:29 pm

Ok I found a great way to lower the castle costs with a small 10,000 gp investment. The V3 book is just too crazy dependent on lots of magic even allowing permanent flames and such being cast on walls for big bucks..

but rather than use these expensive tricks like casting permanent fire on a section of wall at 10,000 per wall section(who the hell could afford that) I would use one permanent fire spell in and enclosed area which we can then use for a kiln for ceramics or BRICKS,

One thing we did find out was that there were large clay deposits underfoot, if we made and fired the bricks locally we could lower the building cost multiple from 1.6 to 1.2 and pay for the kiln with the savings from the first tower we build. Now bricks would not be as strong as stone but would be considered ceramic not stone and therefore possibly immune to rock to mud. A more than reasonable trade off.


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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:33 pm

kubera wrote:
[...] proper penetration realities have not been done justice in the D&D rules,

[...]

the rules also don't do shields justice against arrows, a shield that gives 30% coverage is worth a hell of lot more than +1 ac. a shield wall could bring 60+% coverage. at bare minimum buckler +1, Viking round +2, Spartan +3, wall shield +4. on a battlement behind crenelation +4 +shield

not only that but a shield protects most of l the squishy bits that lead to instant death. [...]
All solved in Mailed Fist!

kubera wrote:
[...] I figure reduced fire rate compensates for this.
Missile weapon rate of fire (ROF) is the soft underbelly of Gygax's rationalizations. Whereas he claimed that each melee "to-hit" roll only represented the combatant's best strike opportunity in a given round among many swings, feints, etc., the fact that individual arrows are accounted for would indicate that an archer is in fact only loosing 2 arrows per minute.

As for Wilhelm's comment about unrealistic ROF, this needn't be a worry as long as we think in terms of rounds (and not minutes).
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PostSubject: Re: Cirdastan City of Castles   Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:17 pm

To keep this conversation from wandering off course, I created a thread with my thoughts on handling castle-building from a GM's POV.
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