How would you defend your town?


Advice

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Our group has a home base that is situated in a no man's land of sorts. Orc and goblin raids are a pretty common thing.

One my characters has retired to the town and is Captain of the Guard. There is not a whole lot of manpower available for defense so I'm trying to come up with some creative and relatively cheap ways to aid in defense from raids. The first thing I thought of was a company of war oxen. Slap some barding on them and they would be formidable opponents. We will have a wall around the town.

There is a mine underneath the town that will provide a steady source of income so we should be able to afford anything not completely depending on magic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Level? Class? Group composition?


  • Walls, watchtowers, moats, scouts, sentries, regular drilling, arms stashes, food, water and supply stashes, siege engines...
  • Poisons, diseases, scorched earth, find enemies of your enemy, foster war between the enemies...
  • Healers, priests, mercenaries, war beasts...
  • Swearing fealty to a powerful overlord, making your plight a crusade, calling in old favours...


My characters are a 3rd level fighter and a 3rd level druid. Others are all 5th level with 2 fighters, a ranger, rogue, and cleric. We won't be able to craft any magic items.

Right now I believe there are 50 town guards.


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Low Templar solution:

Hire the orcs to raid the goblins.

Then lead the orcs on raids until another party of adventurers is hired to stop you.

Let the adventurers slaughter the orcs and your party leaves before the other party shows up.


@VRMH: What kind of war beasts other than oxen did you have in mind?

@darkwarrior: We have made friends with a goblin who has recently formed his own tribe made up of former goblin slaves of orcs and is on crusade to kill all orcs. Right now he is based hundreds of miles away though and I don't think we could convince him to settle in our area.


Traps.

When fighting a superior military force, use guile, deception, and traps.

Basically, invent fantasy IEDs.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is there a quarry nearby? If there is, build good thick walls around your town. Then you can do one of two things.

1.0 Against orcs, who are fairly intelligent, you can have guardsmen pelt them with arrows. The orcs will probably try and charge through the main gate. Lock it tight. Put a small battalion of shield-carriers behind sharp wooden stakes (preferably poisoned), but make sure each of your shield carriers haves chugged a vial of antivenom so you're own tactics can't be reversed in a melee.

Caltrops are good. They're always good. Poison is nice as well here. Use fire arrows to distract the goblins so that they run into the poisoned caltrops if they're not taking the bait.

Finally, if you've got at least one or two low level magic-users, have them set up a Silent Image of a large pit trap in front of the city gate. But make sure that when the spell activates, it looks less like a pit trap has been formed, but more like a pit trap has been revealed . That will slow them down wile they try to figure out how to cross the non-existant hole. They'll try jumping or vaulting over it, but until someone falls in or throws something into it, they don't get a check to disbelieve. While they're figuring out what to do, arrows, arrows, arrows. Preferably, again, poisoned arrows, since orcs are very tough, and it'll give you're defenders an advantage. And in case people are worried about the moral repercussions, make sure to use strength draining poison, or sleep poison. Make them nonlethal, but give your defenders a combat advantage nevertheless. It might even dissuade more raiders if you choose to use the kind of poison that leaves them puking for days afterward.

If the goblins breech your defenses, set war hounds on them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Scouts, and well placed fires.

Moats with greek fire.

Sovereign Court

Walls are pretty nice, especially if the town guards are trained archers. The wall could be used to gain Higher Ground and Cover advantage against approaching enemies even if the enemy also uses ranged attacks.

A moat around the wall prevents enemies from easily storming the wall. You can put piranhas in there if you like. Don't put in the Leech swarm, you don't want that creeping into town, it has land-based movement. I think the Jellyfish swarm is oceanic-only. But in general swarms in the water are hard to fight.

Make sure that directly around the wall, within ranged distance (several increments), there's nothing enemies could use as cover. This is good for shooting down approaching enemies, and for preventing them sneaking up on you.

Post guards at night.

Drill the town guard and population on how to respond to alarms.

Study what kind of creatures live in your area, and make sure you have the weapons to hurt them.

Drill the population on how to put out fires.

Stock food and have a clean water supply.

Consider building a secret escape tunnel, so you can slip out behind enemy lines. Handy if you need to send out a call for reinforcements. Don't tell the local population, because then it won't be a secret anymore. Put in a guardian critter that can frighten off kids without a bloodbath, but also kill lone orc scouts. Make sure you can collapse the tunnel if it becomes a liability.

Drill the population on how to best take advantage of channelled healing bursts, and how to stand farther apart to avoid fireballs. If the population doesn't survive the village is pointless.

Try to build houses in stone, not easily combustible materials.

Store medical supplies.

Whine at religious leaders until they come by to cast a Hallow at your temple. This is your shelter in case undead attack (boost to channeled energy) or outsiders.

Train the population to report suspicious events; orc scouts but also people acting odd (perhaps Charmed). Take them seriously but avoid panics.

Have a big bell you can ring to sound the alarm, so that people in the fields can be warned too. Drill people that when the alarm sounds, they stay inside the walls, no going out to fetch people; that's a military decision.

Patrol the wider area around the village. Mounted patrols cover a lot of ground and are fast enough to report back in case they spot something. Animal companions, familiars etc. that can fly are also good.

Have really big lanters/braziers ready to light up the town in case of an attack at night. Don't allow orcs to use their Darkvision to make the people fight blindly.

Clear the bushes around roads leading back to the civilized world, to make it harder to ambush traders. You might need goods from the civilized world, or news; you want to make sure travel isn't too dangerous.


so you have no arcane caster ...

anyhow, alter self your warrior as an orc, let him challenge the orc boss to a duel, (win), be master of orcs, (enslave/employ them to work in the mines)..


lalallaalal wrote:
What kind of war beasts other than oxen did you have in mind?

Dogs spring to mind, they're easily trained. And a commoner with a crossbow on horseback may be ineffective as an actual damage dealer, but it makes for a decent harrier.

Alternatively: flee. Pack up everything of value, and evacuate the whole town. Being a refugee sucks, but being dead sucks worse.


Good stuff so far. Pirahna moats might be my favorite idea so far, that is just awesome.

If I were to use an Awaken spell on a war animal, could that animal serve as a squad leader of sorts? I was thinking we could use the Awaken spell on some trees as early warning, but I don't know if that would work based on the spell's wording.

We have an escape tunnel of sorts. The well in the town actually leads to an cavern complex that houses the town's quartz mine. At the moment only the dwarves and the party know about the other entrance.

In these tunnels there is a giant ant colony, would there be a way to form an alliance or domesticate them?


VRMH wrote:
lalallaalal wrote:
What kind of war beasts other than oxen did you have in mind?

Dogs spring to mind, they're easily trained. And a commoner with a crossbow on horseback may be ineffective as an actual damage dealer, but it makes for a decent harrier.

Alternatively: flee. Pack up everything of value, and evacuate the whole town. Being a refugee sucks, but being dead sucks worse.

I thought it would be cool to give every guard a dog as their own personal flanking buddy. They would be good for guard duty as well.

The Exchange

Dig a somewhat shallow moat, line the wall side with sharpened stakes(fire-harden the tips). Randomly place dug and cover spiked pits in the moat. Horde alchemist's fire near the obvious breach points of the wall like gates, to repel invaders and to help light any seige equipment. Also if you have lots of lumber why not go with a tall outer wall and a shorter inner wall to fall back to. 50 guards is alot of manpower and moving earth is a fairly fast thing to do....and you could use the removed earth as an outer wall to the moat, build a picket/wicker fence, mix the earth with straw and water, cover the fence, viola! Tough lil' wall.
For the gates, a rigged collapsible wooden bridge over a deepened section of moat is probably a good idea.


Richard Leonhart wrote:

so you have no arcane caster ...

anyhow, alter self your warrior as an orc, let him challenge the orc boss to a duel, (win), be master of orcs, (enslave/employ them to work in the mines)..

We've been doing ok without one. We have made friends with several NPC wizards though and one will be living in the town.

The Exchange

lalallaalal wrote:


In these tunnels there is a giant ant colony, would there be a way to form an alliance or domesticate them?

You could awaken the queen of the colony, then negotiate an alliance that would benefit them and help in the defense of the town (and ultimately the ants, if evil takes the town the ants will probably be destroyed). Perhaps start providing the ants with a steady supply of sugar or food as a means of barter for services. Just make sure you only awaken the queen, she can control the rest of the hive.

Also ants would be a HUGE help with any digging, tunneling defenses....


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Step One: Never watch/read 'The Walking Dead' those guys can't fortify anything.


lalallaalal wrote:
In these tunnels there is a giant ant colony, would there be a way to form an alliance or domesticate them?

Nope, they're mindless vermin. But if you could "kidnap" the queen, all workers would follow and attack anyone and anything near her.

Fake Healer wrote:
You could awaken the queen of the colony

Alas, no. Giant Ants are vermin, not animals.

Sovereign Court

Dogs are particularly fine because they make good guards. As a druid you could try training owls, too.

Orcs have Light Sensitivity and Darkvision, so expect attacks to take place at night. Make sure the gates are shut before dark.

Orcs do a lot of damage but have unimpressive AC. Keeping them at a distance with walls and pikes while you pepper them with arrows would be ideal.

Train groups of archers to concentrate fire on the chieftains; it says in the monster description that if the leaders are killed the rest is likely to flee. Make sure you can recognize the chieftains, although that shouldn't be hard, probably the orc with the most bling-bling.

Orc will saves are just plain bad. You have a good chance of throwing them into disarray with well-placed Hold, Sleep and Charm spells.

If you've got walls and a moat, there'll remain a narrow strip of land leading up to the gate. Have vats of burning/boiling oil ready to pour in on that causeway, to deny them the opportunity to charge your gates. If you make it sufficiently narrow (maximum one cart wide), then they won't be able to easily use a battering ram.

Did I mention using extremely solid gates? If they're not too big, they can be quickly repaired with Make Whole/Mending in between engagements.

Orcs are mostly dangerous in melee. So you could create two gates in succession, framed by walls; if the orcs breach the first gate, they're now in a bow with archers above it, shooting down. The Killing Alley.

If the orcs bring an ogre or troll as heavy gatecrashing weapon, kill it with extreme prejudice. Once again, those creatures are weak to Will saves. If you've got a large creature in the Killing Alley, use Hold Person and then coup de grace it from atop the walls (make sure that you can reach that far with a Reach weapon when constructing the gate). Same story if it's still on the causeway, just in front of the door. Make sure this is okay with the DM first.

I don't think you can domesticate ants; you need to be pretty high level to talk to them with Speak to Animals. But you might be able to lure them with a sugar trail; if you study their behavior, you could take advantage of it.

I like the idea of Awakened trees, although by the time you can afford to do that, you might want to just take the offensive and exterminate the orc menace.


haha. Awakening the queen seems like a big risk, unless you have some leverage to keep her in check. Consider building in a contingency (as in the actual spell) to kill her off in an emergency, should it become necassary to clear out the ant infestation...


People have discovered the outer defenses fairly well.

If the walls fall have a rally point, possibly an escape route, for one final stand. A nice choke point where the PCs need to hold for some time. This gets interesting when the bodies start piling up and the bodies start becoming used as walls.

The Exchange

VRMH wrote:


Fake Healer wrote:
You could awaken the queen of the colony
Alas, no. Giant Ants are vermin, not animals.

Hmmm....you are right. Isn't there a vermin-associated druid though with vermin companions? I wonder if that has the ability to awaken her....


Decoy (scarecrows) on walls so they always look manned.

Dogs. Little terrier type rat dogs raise a lot of noise when anything comes near. A few bigger mastif type attack dogs to bite the ones the smaller dogs find.

Alchemical weapons like acid and fire should be effective against orcs and goblins with the splash damage.

Moats, ballistae, and catapults scare the carp out of people even when not effective at hitting anything. A barrelful of flaming oil will make people pause even if it doesn't hit.

Push back the forest so they don't have cover to sneak in close.

Noise traps to alert the sentries.

Disinformation (go kill a couple of orc patrols with goblin weapons and leave a couple of goblin bodies behind).


Longspears are cheap, simple, and easily distributed to the guards and a militia composed of miners (read level 1 experts with a str bonus)

A commoner with a 12 str, a (dirt cheap) longspear, and the highground advantage obtained from standing on a wall has a 50% to hit a normal orc each round for an average of 6 damage. As in all of that orc's hit points. Being high up on a wall can also provide partial cover against archers, meaning bowman or thrown javelins won't be as big of a threat.

Split the miners into shifts as militiamen and have them support your guardsmen after drilling with longspears.

If you have 50 guardsmen with good equipment (say basic chainmail armor, longspears, and crossbows) they can run the walls in shifts of 15 (with 5 floaters to cover illness/etc) and repel any number of invaders. Chain + high ground on its own puts your guards to the point where orcs need absurdly good rolls to make hits count. Issue each a heavy woooden shield. In the event of a raid/breach the frontrunners form up and go total defense with shields and short spears (AC 21 without a dex bonus) while the rear line (militia) spears everything to death.

The cleric can (with some expense) maintain a glyph of warding on the main gates. This has enough AOE damage to obliterate a squad approaching the gates themselves.

Considering you have a mine and (potentially) ample time to fortify, have the cleric use stoneshape to bolster wooden walls with stone. As the walls are magically shaped they'll be absurdly difficult to climb.

Depending on the terrain and how kind your DM is the ranger and druid might be able to pair up to bring in some domesticated animals. Bears are pretty good at wreaking havoc on an enemy. The big prize would be getting a Gray Render to consider the village its protected "pet."

I think with a wall and spearmen/archers alone you'll prove to be too annoyingly difficult for an average band of raiders to take. Even warmongers won't attack a fortification if it means losing 50% or more of their troops with only a small chance of success.


Start rumors that would attract adventurers. Lots of adventurers. Reap the profits as they lay waste to the surrounding landscape.


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Low magic = low resources = what historically worked against barbarian raiders. That's all covered above and on the History Channel better than I could do, and most of my "defend the stronghold" work-ups involve being a high-level caster and making constructs.

Still, let me see what I can do with 2k gold and no spell above 3rd level.

Beast Lure works on Giant Bees (therefore presumably other vermin types) and can be used in conjunction with "harvested" Giant Ants to create expendable shock troops. Let fly with the stink, let the ants out of their cages, and stay way the heck back. Price not listed in the SRD but it is unlikely to be more than 50 gold a pop.

Likewise vermin repellant can be used to keep the ants herded in a particular corridor.

Lamp Oil is cheaper than alchemist's fire. Likewise regular torches are cheaper than magical lighting.

Finally, Handle Animal works on non-animals. You are a fighter-type, yes? Retired warriors are practically expected to go on big-game hunts, and any creature with an intelligence score of 1 or 2 can be trained by Handle Animal with only a +5 to the DC. It is true that the DCs are high (25 to control, 20+hit dice to domesticate), so you would need max ranks and a team of trainers working together ("aid another" action) but you could train monsters from the (hills?) surrounding the countryside.

Presuming your terrain type is hills, the Bulette is DC 28 to domesticate (hard, but doable), and provides you with a creature that can burrow out a network of pit traps. Also, since it has tremorsense you can pop a few smokesticks, wait 1 round, and signal it to ambush a blind and terrified squad of orcs before diving back under the earth with a full belly and a pile of dead baddies.

There are others, but work's picking up so I gotta call this one quits.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

1.) Get rid of the ants: The accursed things are likely to eventually screw up your defenses with their tunneling, digging a passage enemies can use to invade your mines.

2.) Make a peace treaty with the orcs. Offer them a bounty on goblin heads. Be ready for them to betray you as soon as that seems profitable.

3.) Build the standard defenses: Walls, a moat, traps. Layer the town's defenses so invaders are forced into killing fields, trapped, then slaughtered.

4.) Give regular offerings to local nature spirits, dryads, and the like. They may warn you if enemies approach.

5.) Savagely retaliate against anyone or thing that troubles your townsfolk. Dip their heads in tar, then plant them on spikes over the town gates.

6.) Teach your people to fight. Demand they train regularly with weapons.

7.) Clear any potential cover or concealment away from your town. Leave a few obvious spots for enemies attempting surveillance. Carefully measure the area's distance from the walls and maintain seige weapons with pre-aimed target spots in the "ambush zone". If enemies are suspected in the area, unleash Hell on them.

8.) Be alert to "counter mines", tunnels meant to access your mines. Place troops where they can respond to such. If worst comes to worst, use burning oil to kill everything in the mines by eliminating the oxygen.


Hippogriff-husbandry is the kind of thing noble houses get founded on. It's DC 18 to raise one from a hatchling and a team of elite mounted flyers arenot only good defenders but the kind of thing other kingdoms and communities will pay big bucks for. They are also VERY fast (good for scouting, counter-raiding, and evacuating outlying farms)

In the vein of air-forces, Shrink Item is a 3rd level spell that gives you oil-bombs and rock-bombardments. Admittedly if you want the full effect you need the original caster doing the bombing or you have to figure out a means of causing a solid impact on the shrunk object while airborne without getting crushed by it.

There is also a 2nd level spell that boosts the quality and speed of siege weapons, some of which have options for doing damage to troop formations. I imagine a grapeshot or its more primitive catapult equivalent with the ricochet spell on it. A scroll of both, together, is 300 gold.

If you do manage to get reliable tunneling systems you can also start smuggling routes for when sieges shut down trade and troop movements.

Edit: and of course NOW I see your party make-up. Still not sure what the level of the guard captain is, but ignoring that your 5th level cleric can cast Stone Shape, or "How all my buildings were slowly replaced with sturdy stone construction." Any part of the mines not being used should be turned into trap-infested hellholes. And your party itself is pretty well-geared to stalk and murder or spy on your enemies.


Scorched Earth Tactics:

1. Destroy all the crops around the town.

2. Poison all the drinkable water outside of the town wells.

3. Eject from the town every person not capable of fighting to defend it, to marshal your own food and water supply.

It worked in the Middle Ages...


It can all be summed up with one question: WWKD? (What would Kobolds do?)

Since they are pretty much the Viet Cong of the Fantasy RPG worlds, look up VC tactics as this is what the kobolds would do. IED's, punji sticks, etc.

Booby trap the almighty f$&@ out of the area. And learn to fight when orcs and goblins sleep. Hunt them while they sleep and rest.

Research their superstitions and engage in Psyops warfare. Make them afraid to sleep, afraid to leave their camps.

Take the fight to them, don't waste so many resources defending.


Watch 13 assassins. It has more town defending ideas than any movie I've ever seen.

My favorite: Angry Oxen covered in lamp oil. Start the stampede then light them on fire. It's win-win. Enemy defeated and ready to eat BBQ!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Stingchucks, by the thousands. Eventually, all enemies will be nauseated.


Let's try and bring this back (at least a little) to reality.

Orcs and Goblins will not be attacking your town, at least not at first. They'll be raiding your traders that bring trade to and from your town. If you can put a stop to that, they shouldn't attack your town.

...so, I'd suggest -
(1) Good scouts. Know where possible raiders would be and set up.

(2) Fast and tough skirmishers. Hit those raiders where and when they pop up.

(3) A decent town guard that isn't too costly.

(4) You might be able to make a 'treaty' with the Orcs. As long as you can 'prove' to them that you're town is too tough to take. Be prepared to 'bloody' any 'unauthorized' orc raiding parties.

Forget the traps. Traps are a double edged sword and are more pain then they are worth unless you know you'll be attacked in the near future.

Tamed "wild" animals. What are you going to do with these during 'Peace time'? They have a high upkeep cost.

You have to remember, you have to keep your town people happy, which means reasonable taxes. While still providing services. This means your town folks aren't going to want to pay for all the above suggestions till they actually see those orcs and goblins attacking the town. So you'll have to compromise, which I'm hoping my suggestions do.

PS. Watch the 'traders' in your town. There will always be at least one 'selling' to the orcs and goblins and using them for their own ends.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Establish a central keep as a rally point and stronghold from which you can raid. Ensure that it has enough supplies to withstand a lengthy seige while sheltering most of your town's population. Build the keep where it commands a view of the town's main streets, fill it with heavy crossbows and bolts, then give it a pair of postern gates so your troops can sally forth against any foes in the town.

Structure the town's defenses so invaders must penetrate multiple layers. If they get over the walls, they find themselves trapped between the wall and stone buildings inside. If they take over the mine from below, they find that the mine entrances had removable wooden walkways over 30 ft. wide, 20 ft. deep pits.

Put murder holes over every doorway. Put a firing step on each side of each doorway, with arrow slits on either side. Eliminate thatched roofs: Use slate or tile.

Historically, moats were filthy, basically filled with sewage. Put pungi stakes in the water to maximize the nasty effects.

Train the villagers to improve their quality as militia. Historically, Flemish peasants armed with godentags (two-handed morningstars with spear points so they could be set against cavalry) tore the hell out of French knights. I'd train half your force as crossbowmen and half as close-order infantry. Punish any who refuse to train or interfere with the training of others.

Sovereign Court

Sir_Wulf wrote:


Train the villagers to improve their quality as militia. Historically, Flemish peasants armed with godentags (two-handed morningstars with spear points so they could be set against cavalry) tore the hell out of French knights. I'd train half your force as crossbowmen and half as close-order infantry. Punish any who refuse to train or interfere with the training of others.

It should be noted that in that famous battle (the Battle of Golden Stirrups, 1302), the French knights fought the Flemish infantry in a swamp.

So if the orcs start using mounted tactics, invest in Difficult Terrain. Conversely, if you prefer mounted tactics against the orcs, pick your battlegrounds wisely.


Matt2VK wrote:
Tamed "wild" animals. What are you going to do with these during 'Peace time'? They have a high upkeep cost.

You sell them in peace time. A trained hippogriff warmount goes for 5k gold and can be an industry unto itself. Any other monsters just need to have a "peacetime use" like improving the rate of mining with their burrowing abilities and/or be affordable. You only need one of a lot of critters to make a good defender/raider, and just one critter can be fed. And if that critter can go on raids/patrols? Or play caravan guard? Or Caravan cargo carrier?

Another consideration that crossed my mind, Green Slime is dangerous as heck but as long as you keep it contained and burn off any excess it makes a decent garbage disposal and a great bio-weapon.

Ultimately though, the goal is Animated Objects, which can be made out of stone, modified for nearly any civilian use you can need, and are tough enough a standard orc raider will barely scratch it.

Sovereign Court

I would shy away from oozes and traps, I imagine too many children getting hurt. Remember that agriculture still needs to take place in the vicinity of the village.


A ring of goblin/orc heads on spikes surrounding the moat filled with something flamable.

1) Restrict access points. Only have a few ways in or out of town with the rest defended by preferrably natural landscape. High walls with guards and an exterior moat will will work if the landscape doesnt. A big moat alone will do in a pinch.

2) A sturdy door on all the access points. Gotta be able to close it off in case of attack.

3) Crap ton of archers on the walls. Or wizards. Bonus points for having wands of fireball, or other area damage. There was one that caused damage, but also made the ground difficult terrain. Stone spikes or something.

4) Emergency supplies in case of prolonged siege.


Trayce wrote:
haha. Awakening the queen seems like a big risk, unless you have some leverage to keep her in check. Consider building in a contingency (as in the actual spell) to kill her off in an emergency, should it become necassary to clear out the ant infestation...

Exploding collar comes to mind.


Another common tactic in fortifications was an obvious weak point that allowed entry past the outer wall. But it was really to funnel the attackers into 'kill box' where they could be eliminated by concentrated fire.

For example:
The east gate tower area never quite got finished. The draw bridge doesn't raise because the winch mechanism hasn't been installed. The rather weak gate is in place but the portcullis is not. The gate is sufficient to stop a small squad, but a serious attack can make it through.
When they make it through the gate they learn there are movable barricades blocking off the streets and the wooden buildings actually have tone walls with wood on the outside. Guards are already dropping barrels of burning pitch into the kill box. Then the drawbridge explodes behind them.


summon natures ally to get a mite, see if he can manipulate the vermin

you have lots 'siege/town' spells from druid 3 and cleric 5

0th: create water, detect poison, light, spark,

1st: call animal, detect lots, Expeditious Excavation, goodberry,

2nd: augury, consecrate, endure elements, masterwork transformation, forest friend, campfire wall, animal messenger, soften earth and stone, woodshape,

3rd: animate dead, continual light, create food and water, stone shape, glyph warding symbol healing


Either hunt down and slay a ton of Orcs or go with your very best in diplomats and parlay with them.. if you have something they can benefit from, offer to start trade. If all you have is coin, pay them off OR hire them to be your scouts.

Pay the Orcs to hunt Goblins with a bounty paid per ear or similar...

Hire a party of adventurers to hunt Orcs/Gobbos for you...


I'm gathering more information from my group and DM about the exact layout of the town, population, and that stuff. Then I'll bring up some of these suggestions for defense.

I don't think we'll be training the townspeople as militia or be posting heads on pikes. The other players tend towards the good side of things and view dislaying enemy remains as leaning towards evil and wouldn't want to put the towns people on the front lines like that. Making sure they are trained in firefighting is possible though.

Providing for animals like dogs and oxen shouldn't be too difficult. The oxen could double as farm help I suppose and dogs don't require much feed.

There is a neighboring Elven nation that breeds Hippogriffs. They are isolationist at the moment but campaign events will (hopefully) change that and we can see about getting a few for scouting.

I like the trap idea but that's not going to work with the surrounding farmland. Investing in some sort of early warning system will be preferable.


As for the raiders, I should've specified that they're not just roving bandits. The orcs tend to be a part of a neighboring nation that fights over the region. The region our town is in is a wild land that has not been claimed by any nation. There are a few towns that function as colonies for a nation, but the region as a whole has no ruler.

Seeking and destroying raiders could spark a large war that nobody is prepared for quite yet.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

For those with concerns about the giant ants: The Vermin Heart feat allows the druid to treat them like Animals with respect to all his nifty druid abilities, including animal-only spells. Y'know, like charm animal. . . muwahahaha . . .


The earliest serious fortifications were castles called "Motte and Bailey's". They were very easy to defend and cheap and easy to build. The Duke of Normandy literally built one on the coast of France, disassembled it, loaded it onto boats, sailed across the English Channel, and reassembled it on the other side in less than 48 hours.

In short: You dig a giant trench/ditch. Use the dirt you dug up to build a big hill (or motte). Put a wooden tower (or bailey) on top of the hill. Then build a wooden wall on the inside of the ditch.

Attackers have to negotiate the ditch before they can assault the wall, the wall before they can assault the motte, and the motte before they can take the bailey.

After it is constructed, you can pretty safely begin improving it with towers, outliers, stakes, moats, replacing wood with stone, ballistae and catapults, making it higher/deeper/steeper, etc., etc.


A lot of townsfolk won't actually live in the town, because they will live on their farm and their farm will be quite a ways away. Digging a (collapsible) tunnel all the way to town is probably unfeasible but digging out a large root cellar and a tunnel 500 yards away from the main house, in the woods, and with a straight-shot to town can be done for every farming family with a bit of labor and a druid using the Burrow spell.

Sovereign Court

In this case I would instruct townsfolk that no farms are to be built beyond the range of the town's warning bells. In case of an attack everyone should be able to flee back behind the town walls.

Training the population should focus on survival; how to evacuate, how to put out fires, how to respond to orc terror tactics.

I intentionally didn't mention putting heads on pikes because that runs the risk of actually increasing orc aggression. It might work on goblins though, but it might also be a breeding ground for disease/necromancy. You really don't want any orc ghosts looking for vengeance, those could decimate your population.

I wouldn't want the town to look too grim; defenses should be serious, but I don't know if having really sadistic things will really make the population feel better.

It's important that your defenses will not lead to grizzly accidents with your own population; playing children getting gutted by traps is not good for morale. Remember that people have to live here.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Using bodies of water such as moats and artificial ponds can force your enemies into certain areas and reduce the viability of siege engines, should those become a problem. Plus, the ponds and moats can double as a food source for your population by stocking them with fish. Heck, depending on the environment, systems of rice paddies with causeways can funnel traffic and provide fish, rice, and waterfowl for your population. There're some good reasons Southeast Asia is hell to invade.

Throw in a few easy-to-destroy bridges in key locations, and you make it even more work for an invading force to bring anything other than footsoldiers in quickly.

Make sure the community has adequate stores of essential goods such as granaries and cisterns well within the defensible area. Those tunnels underneath the town make for a truly great defense feature; underground storage is climate-controlled, making it easier to store perishable goods. You can also make gravity work in your favor by creating the cisterns underground, too. In a hot environment, underground water storage is even better, because it reduces the threat of evaporation.

Check out some of the underground cities in Turkey [should be easy to Google] for inspiration. Dragon Magazine even did an article [issue #201, I think] on such sites.

More ideas as they trickle in to my brain . . . love seeing the thoughts from other posters!

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