How to run a siege ?

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How to run a siege ?

Postby Lilor[FR] » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:14 pm

Hi everybody,
I know, I'm asking again for your help about basic stuff, but for a future adventure, I have to run a siege.
So I'm searching some rule on how to treat invasive armies and defensive armies, I think that the walls and doors are already in the core book, I've found some siege weapons in Hawkmoon by Mongoose but not so much.
I'm taking all that you have to help me with this if you wanna help me.

Thanks in advance guys !
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Re: How to run a siege ?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:48 pm

Humm, I have always just run it very openly.

First, decide how you want the siege to go before it begins, then allow the PC's actions to affect it. Unless they are AWESOME, it is unlikely that they can dramatically change the course of a siege involving hundreds or thousands of soldiers. The PCs can affect a local area/action, but rarely change the course of the war.

Sieges take a long time historically - most sieges were more like "surround them and starve them out" rather than actual "batter down the walls and storm the castle" although there were those too. Thinks weeks, not days...

Another important point is that the enemy is not stupid. If the PCs are using powerful magic, odds are the enemy has powerful magic too. Don't be afraid to overwhelm the PCs with a stronger enemy.

I read up on several historical sieges to get an idea of what is involved - Wikipedia helped there.
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Re: How to run a siege ?

Postby soltakss » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:25 pm

Work out how much food and water the beseiged have and how many days this will last.

See if the beseiged have a way of replenishing food and water, if so stopping them would be a scenario. If they have deep wells/ large cisterns then water might be OK, but food might be an issue. Find a way to get spies in to poison the wells. Catapult diseased corpses into the wells/cisterns.

Work out how many APs the walls have and what damage catapults do to the walls. Breaking a wall alows an attack to quickly break the siege.

How good are the beseigers at climbing? Using seige ladders and climbing the walls would give PC Adventurers a chance to be heroes, or to fall gloriously to their deaths. Work out how many climbing rolls are needed and who will be attacking them on the way up. Combat would then ensue on the walls as you try to protect the area to let others climb the ladders. Beware of boiling oil, I am not sure what the damage is but it is bound to hurt.

What about tunnels? tunneling below the walls and setting fire to pitch and straw is a good way of undermining the walls, or use oil or gunpowder. Miners from the beseiged place might send out countermines, to intercept you and collapse the mines. Someone with a Gnome would be very handy here.

Are there any weak points? Getting insiders to open little doors/gates is a tried and tested way of breaking a seige. Worming through a sewer or up a garderobe are smelly ways of getting inside. Having an expert climber climb a wall under cover of darkness or away from an attack is nother way of getting inside. If you have magic, then Teleport or Flight allows you to get quickly inside.

If you can't break the defences, then surrounding and starving them out works. However, both the beseiging and defending armies are liable to catch diseases. More than one beseiging army has been broken by dysentery or poor supply lines.

Unless the PC Adventurers are important, they won;t know what is going on. They will be told to build this, dig that, attack here and so on, It can be very frustrating being a soldier in a seige.
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