Best spells for destroying castles?


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What's the best way to destroy these? For reference, according to Castles of the Inner Sea a Pathfinder castle has walls 10 feet thick, with some more impressive ones having 20 feet thick walls (This seems about right for historical castles as well going by the internet.) and walls are about 40 feet tall (above average, but well within historical ranges). Obviously the Skarda technique of teleporting forces into the castle is the best way to get take a castle (and you can keep it pretty much intact for your own use), but I'm looking for destroying stuff, ideally as low a level as possible.

Transmute Rock to Mud explicitly doesn't work on worked stone so it's out. If Stone Shape will even work on part of a stone bigger than its area is contradictory (Target is "stone or stone object touched, up to 10 cu. ft. + 1 cu. ft./level", meaning the entire stone has to fit into that area, but the description says "piece of stone") but if it can a long, deep thin at a sharp angle would destroy any wall you had the volume for and as a bonus it's a touch spell so a familiar can deliver it. Wall of Stone can be used to make a ramp up a wall for sieges, but could also unbalance a stone structure (especially a tower).


I don't remember how the spell functions exactly but world wave might do this?

Earthquake might also? But I don't think it does work.

A more unusual method would be to cast summon elder worm and have it burrow around directly under the castle. Thus compromising its foundation. That's probably the most effective way. I can think of.


Do you have a particular list to pick from? Do you want the most effective spell? Do you want the lowest level spell that is still effective? Earthquake is pretty good. Planar binding series has several options available capable of doing so. Depending on the DM it might fall within the bounds of wish. And of course siege of trees

Edit: ninja


If we're talking as low a level as possible, and time isn't pressing, a large number of Unseen Servants could get to work undermining the foundations. As far as I can tell there is no clause saying you can't have multiple servants going at once.

Transmute Rock to Mud could work on the bedrock beneath the castle, if you had some way of exposing it (such as with Move Earth or simply digging the old-fashioned way).

Disintegrate could be very handy for deleting load-bearing 10' cubes. A successful Knowledge: Engineering check might be especially useful with this method.

If you could somehow find and control a Vemerak you could have it burrow under the castle and Earthquake it to rubble.


Expeditious excavation or lyre of building.

Lyre of building is surprisingly good at destroying things because you can use it to build tunnels, which then collapse.


Disintegrating a ten foot load bearing cube a few times might be a really good idea.


Get the expanded summon monster feat, cast Summon Monster III or higher and have a Thoqqua burrow in or beneath the walls. It might take a few tries but the holes should have an effect eventually.

Soften Earth and Stone can cause a little damage by causing earth to settle directly, but possibly more to a castle built at the top of a cliff. Aim at the cliff not the castle directly.

Control Water can flood out a castle protected by a moat or maybe on a river. Besides possibly damaging the castle if you do it right, supplies are sure to be ruined.

Control Winds on a reasonably windy day can make tornados.

Cloudkill is the neutron bomb way of taking castles.


Since the spell effect of create pit is a 10 x 10 hole you should be able to create pits on the sides of the castle by the foundation. The sloped edges of the pit are ancillary to the actual spell effect, so technically there should be no need for line of sight or effect to create sloped earth under various parts of the foundation of the castle.

The exposure of those slopes should allow you to target them with transmute rock to mud. That and grappling hooks or tk or other ways of pulling the castle foundation down into the extradimensional space of the pit should do some serious damage, and when the pit rises, some real foundation breaking.


I prefer clandestinely summoning/creating a shadow and just having it pick off sleeping soldiers before overwhelming the rest in a mini-shadow apocalypse.

Does it destroy the castle? Technically no, but it certainly is effective giving you a shiny new castle and an army of shadows. Win win!


Tarik Blackhands wrote:

I prefer clandestinely summoning/creating a shadow and just having it pick off sleeping soldiers before overwhelming the rest in a mini-shadow apocalypse.

Does it destroy the castle? Technically no, but it certainly is effective giving you a shiny new castle and an army of shadows. Win win!

Yes, but there are many ways to take a castle by magical infiltration, and the OP was specifically asking for ways to physically destroy them.


Castles are expensive man, why wreck it when you can take it and then occupy it with a host of the living dead?

That and the best options for actual demolition have been taken already.


Sign a contract with a devil?

That is pretty much the answer for everything.


Transmute Rock to Mud doesn't work on "worked stone" but would work on the bedrock beneath the foundation, causing whole sections of wall to collapse.


Didn't consider undermining. Either of the two proposed methods (Lyre of Building or summoning) should be good.

Considered Disintegrate, but it's relatively high level, and breaks only one section of wall at best.

Dastis wrote:

Do you have a particular list to pick from? Do you want the most effective spell? Do you want the lowest level spell that is still effective? Earthquake is pretty good. Planar binding series has several options available capable of doing so. Depending on the DM it might fall within the bounds of wish. And of course siege of trees

Edit: ninja

No preferences on spell list, though comboing two spells that aren't on the same list is less impressive than two on the same list. I prefer low level spells that do the job with minimal danger to the caster (If the spell isn't long range, not breaking invisibility helps in that department) simply because lower level casters are more common than higher level ones.


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Claxon wrote:

Expeditious excavation or lyre of building.

Lyre of building is surprisingly good at destroying things because you can use it to build tunnels, which then collapse.

Why not build new walls? For source material, use old walls. New walls are freestanding, or open up directly to the party.

/cevah


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Stone Shape works, except for any earthworks inside the stone or any kind of non-stone cladding. Wood Shape, OTOH, would not work, even against a palisade made by Fine-sized creatures, unless it was all one piece.

Fabricate can turn selected segments of wall or gate into something completely different.

Expeditious Construction can be used to make a sort of ramp with sufficient space outside of the wall and castings of the spell. To get over a 50' rampart, it's, oh, only 136 iterations of the spell to make a 10' wide "ramp" that extends out 48 feet from the wall and comes up 2 feet short of the edge. If you don't want them to have trivial DC 5 climb checks or they're Large-sized or whatever, then you can have less castings of the spell and have 6' gaps between steps. 91 for the same treatment on a 40' rampart, 45 for a 30' rampart, 21 for a 20' one.

Rampart can be used to get you 10' higher and closer to the top of a wall. Possibly can be combined with a lot of castings of Expeditious Construction to allow whatever mundane forces you're babysitting to have periodic breaks in terms of line of sight between them and the defenders as they approach.

Climbing Beanstalk should work to provide climbing ladders right on the surface of the wall that are made of living plant material. CL 16 will get you up a 50' wall, CL 12 a 40' wall, CL 8 a 30' wall, and so on.

Beanstalk can act as a cross between a siege tower and siege ladder, being easy to climb and easily able to be tall enough to scale any feasible walls, since the shortest one possible is 350 feet tall.

All of those should be Invisibility friendly, too.

Clashing Rocks can be used to produce enough rubble for people to be able to scale the walls. Or if targeted at someone ON the walls, breach them.

The spell Summon Accuser summons a Zebub, or Accuser Devil, for 10 minutes per CL. They have Greater Teleport and can take up to 50 pounds of stuff with them. Gunpowder kegs weigh 5 pounds and explode like a CL 5 Fireball. They also have at-will Invisibility. So they can take explosives like gunpowder to key places and wreck the defenders or, with powerful enough explosives, to key points in the structure so that a segment of wall collapses or the like. I suppose it is also possible to use their teleportation abilities to arrange to kill everyone in the gatehouse and then have them open the gates.


Why, Wish of course!

"I wish that castle had no walls."


Create Pit level 2 Wizard spell. Creates a 10X10X10 interdimensional pit. You could put it under the wall and see if it buckles. At CL4 its a 20X20X20 and that would most likely make problems. Not to mention since its interdimensional when it dismisses it expels its contents back out (look out for falling stone!).


There's a theory that dungeons exist in these worlds because there are so many magical options for knocking down, flying over, or making holes in walls. Anyone who's serious about security will go underground.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Well, it would take a lot of castings, but stone to flesh is the most satisfyingly horrible answer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

@Create Pit suggestions:
"You must create the pit on a horizontal surface of sufficient size." This precludes putting the pit underneath part of the castle wall, as there isn't enough horizontal surface.

Also, Alchemist 23, only the depth of the pit grows with higher CL, not the width/length.


A Druid, use Treants equipped with +1 adamantium earth breakers. They do double damage against buildings.

They also gain the siege of tree spells which turn trees into catapults


Animate objects: All the furniture begins to flail at the walls

Telekinesis: Throw big rocks at the walls or perhaps simply rip the walls down.

Adamantine greatclub + high strength


Sympathetic vibration is a weird way bards can sort of do it.


Transmute rock to mud on the foundations, repeatedly.

You have to go with the castle sinking into the swamp. And then the next castle. And then the one after that...


Of course there's always "bombs."

Either the Explosive runes /dispel magic trick or a series of small boxes with Greater glyphs of warding in them. For the latter use whatever energy type would be most effective against walls, or another spell that's effective against walls.


Be a Summoner, Summon a couple of medium to large Earth Elementals, have them take down the foundations.


Fabricate. Make a bunch of siege engines. Your army of commoners can take it from there.


Warp their gates/drawbridges, etc so they can't be opened. The castle becomes a prison. Now, add fire/disease/whatever blows your kilt up. A couple desecrations and you will get a few haunts developing. Lots of rotting former defenders will invite hungry things in.

As to why you destroy the castle. If you aren't able to hold it from your enemies, destroying it means that they can't just take it back and use it against you, again.


Or you're in the property development business in the market for some choice plots of land.


If you wait for a good, rainy day you can chisel through gates and weak points with call lightning. The rain will up your damage and help to shield you from return fire.


blahpers wrote:
Fabricate. Make a bunch of siege engines. Your army of undead commoners can take it from there.

FTFY

No more downtime for rest, food, etc.


Arcane Cannon: now you can just conjure up a cannon to blow holes in it without needing raw materials.

Unseen Engineers: Now you can turn their walls into deadfall traps that trigger and then turn them into rubble. Or dig a really deep/wide pit under the place. Also a lower level than Fabricate.

Telekinetic Assembly: Make Siege Engines at a lower level than Fabricate.

Create Armaments: Make a Colossal tower shield out of diamonds or your blood with Blood Money. Use it as a ramp or something.

Curse Terrain, et al.: Now you can give them basically every mundane disease as well as causing anyone who dies within the castle's walls to become a Juju Zombie who wants to kill people and have them become more Juju Zombies. I believe you can also cause skeletal warriors to spontaneously generate inside of the castle and attack the living.

Contagion, Plague Storm, Plague Bearer, etc.: Actively worsen the disease situation by trying to create an epidemic.

Crime Wave: Cause the defends to turn on one another in an area immediately before you start to try to scale the walls. Or do it periodically over a siege to destroy morale.

Sow Thought: Get them to choose to surrender. Eventually.


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Summon a bunch of dire badgers or buy several trained ones. They have a 10' burrow speed even in stone. A few castings of haste and just have them spending full movements putting very large holes in everything.

Dark Archive

Jatembe's Ire would work wonders.


Also known as Greater Black Tentacles for those using the PFSRD.


Stone to flesh on a load bearing pillar maybe.


Claxon wrote:

Expeditious excavation or lyre of building.

Lyre of building is surprisingly good at destroying things because you can use it to build tunnels, which then collapse.

how'bout a horn of blasting, or am I still 3 editions behind?


Jokey the Unfunny Comedian wrote:

Why, Wish of course!

"I wish that castle had no walls."

Sorry, no.

The castle's owner wished the castle and it's walls were immune to all wish spells save the one he was using.

Spoiler:
If you have access to a resource, it's a good bet that whoever had the economic might to build a castle also had access to similar or superior resources.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
If you have access to a resource, it's a good bet that whoever had the economic might to build a castle also had access to similar or superior resources.

Not with 9th level spells. Those are generally rare enough that it's not something that should be assumed as a given without a good reason to believe it is the case.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Also known as Greater Black Tentacles for those using the PFSRD.

I'm not quite sure how much damage it'll do to the structures, though, given it's between 11 and ~20 rounds of ~27 damage, ~19 after deducting the Hardness of Stone. So an expected range of about 209 damage to about 380.

Thinnest castle wall I'm getting is about 7 feet, which is 1260 HP to breach. So it'll clear out courtyards and battlements but anyone inside a tower or the walls or the keep would be safe.

It also only messes with Evil creatures.


The slopes, while seemingly part of the conjuration, aren't in the 10 x 10 effect or the extradimensional space so you can get those under the foundation.


Well, it is a bit trite, but you can wish an ancient dragon's hoard into the castle, then watch the fireworks from a distance when the dragon comes to get it back.


Coidzor wrote:


I'm not quite sure how much damage it'll do to the structures, though, given it's between 11 and ~20 rounds of ~27 damage, ~19 after deducting the Hardness of Stone. So an expected range of about 209 damage to about 380.

Thinnest castle wall I'm getting is about 7 feet, which is 1260 HP to breach. So it'll clear out courtyards and battlements but anyone inside a tower or the walls or the keep would be safe.

It also only messes with Evil creatures.

I'm not the one suggesting it. I'm just letting people know it can be found online under two names.


Decanter of endless water. Turn it on let it go preferably in some underground area where it will be hard to notice. Eventually it will wash out the foundation. You could do this with create water if you had to provided you have immense free time and no one gets curious and finds you.


Klorox wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Expeditious excavation or lyre of building.

Lyre of building is surprisingly good at destroying things because you can use it to build tunnels, which then collapse.

how'bout a horn of blasting, or am I still 3 editions behind?

It would only affect crystalline objects, which the building probably isn't.


If you're allowed to be a Spheres of Power caster with access to Advanced Talents, then you could grab the "Energy Cloud" blast shape, and the "Disintegrate" blast type. Those two combined give you a moveable cloud of death and destruction that bypasses hardness and deals damage to both creatures and objects continuously every round for 1 minute/caster level. I doubt there are many castles that could stand up to that kind of assault.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Decanter of endless water. Turn it on let it go preferably in some underground area where it will be hard to notice. Eventually it will wash out the foundation. You could do this with create water if you had to provided you have immense free time and no one gets curious and finds you.

Be sure to use geyser mode. Don't want to wait forever.

Create water won't work due to the water disappearing after 24 hours.

/cevah


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Jokey the Unfunny Comedian wrote:

Why, Wish of course!

"I wish that castle had no walls."

Sorry, no.

The castle's owner wished the castle and it's walls were immune to all wish spells save the one he was using.

** spoiler omitted **

"I wish the ground underneath the castle was quicksand."


Cevah wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Decanter of endless water. Turn it on let it go preferably in some underground area where it will be hard to notice. Eventually it will wash out the foundation. You could do this with create water if you had to provided you have immense free time and no one gets curious and finds you.

Be sure to use geyser mode. Don't want to wait forever.

Create water won't work due to the water disappearing after 24 hours.

/cevah

Flash floods don't last long either, but that is rather specious of me.

Now, assuming no drainage, which I will deal with later, the decanter will reach a steady state of a very heavy 432,000 gallons of water, with what is being created now being exactly offset by what "times out". (This is a 38 foot cube of water weighing app. 3.5 million pounds) Drainage will lower how much water remains in place, but won't help at all with slowing erosion, since the damage will mostly have been done well before each individual volume times out.

The decanter is one of the easiest to abuse items out there and has been since the LBB days.


Daw wrote:
Cevah wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Decanter of endless water. Turn it on let it go preferably in some underground area where it will be hard to notice. Eventually it will wash out the foundation. You could do this with create water if you had to provided you have immense free time and no one gets curious and finds you.

Be sure to use geyser mode. Don't want to wait forever.

Create water won't work due to the water disappearing after 24 hours.

/cevah

Flash floods don't last long either, but that is rather specious of me.

Now, assuming no drainage, which I will deal with later, the decanter will reach a steady state of a very heavy 432,000 gallons of water, with what is being created now being exactly offset by what "times out". (This is a 38 foot cube of water weighing app. 3.5 million pounds) Drainage will lower how much water remains in place, but won't help at all with slowing erosion, since the damage will mostly have been done well before each individual volume times out.

The decanter is one of the easiest to abuse items out there and has been since the LBB days.

The Decanter's water does not go away at 24 hours. It uses Control Water in its creation.

The Create Water spell specifically calls out: This water disappears after 1 day if not consumed.

/cevah

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