View Full Version : 4E - Defending a town

2010-03-14, 02:30 PM
So, our party has managed to acquire a town for ourselves. The settlement is located on top of a hill surrounded by a grassy plain with a forest nearby. A single road passes through it. Our total population is 2250 (1000 humans, 1000 elves and 250 goblins). We currently have 16,950gp in the town’s coffers, and the total revenue annually is 67,000gp, although there is a bit of a grey area on how much of this needs to be reinvested into the town. However, sufficient to say we have funds available to improve defences.

As far our military capabilities go, we have the following:
500 town guard (all human, don’t ask why)
750 combat able but untrained elves and humans
125 combat able goblins. They were formally from a rather war like clan so they probably have some basic combat training.
Note: We also have 750 human soldiers from the neighbouring kingdom, but they are not under our control. Also, we can turn one of the town guards into a 1st level NPC with a PC class for 5,000gp.

The town’s defences are as follows: the hill itself naturally, a moat filled with water, a wooden wall (the goblins live outside of this) and a keep in the north edge of the village (where we live).

So, what is the threat? The necromancers. Whilst the majority are simply interested in surviving as a nation and perfecting the art of raising humanoid corpses, a splinter group with far more military goals has broken free and is attempting to make its way towards the home of the dragons to resurrect their bodies as the ultimate war machine. Whilst we doubt we could train the town to hold its own against the dragolich, it would be nice to make sure they can cope with a small undead army of zombies, or anyone else we piss off during the game like the elves.

So far we have had the following ideas:
1. Turn the grassy plain around us into a mass of trenches and piles of compact earth and turn the straight road into an S shape to slow down approaching armies, especially siege gear.
2. Get siege gear of our own, ranging from catapults that fire a cluster of stones to defeat infantry, to hollow balls of iron and sealed ceramic pots filled with alchemist’s fire to counter enemy siege units.
3. Build supply centres within the keep for food and a well to be able to survive a siege. Also, experiment with growing crops in the dungeon area that do not require light, such as mushrooms.
4. Find a bush that is small above ground but with long deep reaching wooded roots and plant them all over the hill to slow down enemies who try tunnelling. The more difficult, but amusing, defence against such a tactic would be to dig out a series of tunnels and fill them with some sort of vermin like stormclaw scorpions, then seal all entrances and allow a digging enemies to open them up.
5. Equip all untrained but combat able members of the population with a crude bow (-2 on attacks) and instructs them on volley attacks. The DM has said this will cost 4,000gp.
6. Relocate the goblins within the town limits and train them as scouts. Possible a few elites as wolf cavalry.
7. Train a division of the town guard as Avengers to deal with lowly undead.
8. Experiment with raising zombies ourselves. The capital punishment in the town is slow death hanging ) i.e. not the neck breaking kind). The corpses are then used for experimentation. We also planned to offer members of the guards pensions for their families in return for their consent to be raised as undead when they die. These would then form a cannon fodder division of soldiers referred to as the nameless. They would wear leather masks and be assigned numbers (so no one actually has to look at one of them and know it is their loved one).

So, does anyone have any other ideas we could try to defend the town? Or any ways to actually achieve any of the above mechanically, either official or homebred?

2010-03-14, 03:03 PM
Well, I'm not extremely well versed in the stat rolls that would have to be made, but I suppose I can give my humble opinion.

The first thing you'll need is something more than a basic, 500 man guard to defend the town. You might not need much at first, and the 500 is probably enough to keep the public under control (in fact, given that you've got 2250 members, a little under a quarter of them are already armed). Asking the Goblins if they wouldn't mind acting as guards, either in emergency situations or around the clock, might not be a bad idea. Assuming they get training equivalent to guardsmanship, this gives you 625 guards to call on right off the bat, assuming all of them like the idea. Giving your citizenry some annual, basic combat training and basic combat gear just in case isn't a terrible idea either; I like the idea of volleying with the crude bows, at least.

The whole zombies idea isn't terrible, if you can get Necromancers to help out. But the problem there lies with how many combat-able bodies you'll be able to produce. Assuming that the elderly aren't suitable, you need to be able to kill off a surprising number of your population to pull it off, and this doesn't even take moral quandaries into possibility. Changing the surrounding landscape, buying siege weapons, so on and so forth, isn't a terrible idea either, but it'll be costly and time consuming. Creating a backup of food is a wonderful idea in my book.

Have you tried diplomacy? Perhaps making alliances with other towns wouldn't be a bad idea, although it would require boosting your forces for a just-in-case scenario.

The Glyphstone
2010-03-14, 03:12 PM
Status Effect: Town Under Siege (save ends)?:smallcool:

Could you tell us a bit more about what you're threatened by? You mention 'the necromancers' and 'the dracolich', but that's it. With an idea of what you will have to fight, we can get a better estimate of what you need.

2010-03-14, 03:20 PM
First off, that sounds awesome.

Second off, Adventurer's Vault has a bunch of whetstones that let your weapons do ongoing (damage type) damage, the cheapest being a lvl 7 one for 100 gp. There isn't a radiant one in the book, but the format is pretty obvious, so you might considering asking your DM to let you buy or craft Holy Whetstones.

Give a few of them to the better archers in the village, and you have a pretty quick way to decimate the first couple ranks of zombies. I'm not sure how cost-effective this would be on a large scale, but it's the one of the cheapest ways I can think of to have a whole lot of radiant damage going on.

Glowstones (AV as well) cost only 200 gp and create a burst 2 of radiant damage that lasts until the end of the encounter. Another good cheap way, and it might even be possible to create a minefield of them, depending on your DM's flexibility. Combine that with difficult terrain or some kind of entangling effect for added damage. Keep some Brightleaf (125 gp) around so you can give anyone Vulnerable 5 radiant. At the very least, put the glowstones in the crenelations of your town's wall.

2010-03-14, 04:23 PM
Here's a few suggestions:

Arm those who aren't trained in combat with slings and clubs. It costs next to nothing and is fairly effective.
Hold a contest to find out who is good at melee (higher Str than Dex) and who is good at ranged (higher Dex than Str) combat. The best melee types are given leather armor and have the job of guarding the gates, while the best ranged types are given longbows.
The Goblins are probably best used in melee. Build walls for their non-combat population (to protect them and motivate the others), while the combat capable ones get to protect the gates. You will probably find a few are already trained as Rogues, if you can get them to admit to it. Keep a very close eye on them, but the Rogues should be some of your best combat troops.
Train as many Elves as you can to become combat capable (proficient in one military weapon - preferably ranged weapons). If you can get them to the Elf Archer level (from the MM1) you're golden. The best of the best should be given flameburst longbows (or even Greatbows, if they have the Feat for it).
Upgrade those walls. The best defence against any kind of attack is to keep the enemy from being able to hit you. Most undead don't have ranged attacks (at least, not the low level types you're likely to face in bulk), and the few who do will be much less effective against foes in cover.
Obtaining Siege Weapons and a reserve of food and water is a good idea, but you shouldn't rely on it. If the undead are willing to wait you out, they can wait a lot longer than you can.
Establish a Temple to Pelor in your town. That should eventually give you a few Clerics, which you can speed up through generous donations and enthusiastic support of the temple. Being Clerics of Pelor, you can really bump up the power of Astral Seal, and they already have Turn Undead. Your Elves would be perfect for this. You might also get a couple of Invokers, which would be a nice bonus. The cost can be offset slightly by attracting pilgrims and offering clerical healing services to nearby areas.
Likewise, establish an Academy for Wizards in the town for your smarter Humans. Make sure they all know Scorching Burst and Thunderwave, at least.

2010-03-14, 07:18 PM
If your asking how I would handle this as a DM I might recommend a skill challenge. Each round would be a day or a week of work and this skills would probably be cha and int ones that represent the leadership the PCs give the townsfolk.

2010-03-14, 09:02 PM
It sounds like you've got some unpleasant racial divisions in the town. Be careful of your enemies using these divisions to start trouble. Having your goblins strike for equal rights, or your elves start arming themselves against the "dangerously militant" humans would be a great way for an enemy to mess with your defences. Get most of the elves and goblins on your side, without pissing off most of the humans. Keep on eye on the fringe groups that remain, but remember that pre-emptive action may strength their positions with the moderates.

Don't neglect your external intelligence networks either. Set up sentry towers with signal fires or similar so you get early warning of attacks. Elves will make the best lookouts. Maybe get some magic items that boost perception as well.

Enemy raiding parties could be troublesome. You can defend the town with walls and guards, but defending the farms and outlying homesteads will be harder. A few mutilated farmers daughters and your population goes from stable to scared and angry really damn fast. This may be where your job (as the big damn heroes) comes in to launch reprisal raids to take back the initiative, but that requires knowing where you need to strike. Look for rituals such as Speak With Dead to find out where raiders are coming from perhaps.

Also, watch The 13th Warrior (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120657/).

Demon 997
2010-03-14, 11:38 PM
How big is the plain? If its big enough you could train so mounted archers to patrol (which would help with the homesteads possibly being raided) to simply wear down approaching zombie hordes. Fast mobile archers should be able to engage low level undead fairly safely.

2010-03-20, 07:14 PM
Sorry I took so long to respond, I wanted to do so earlier but I kept getting distracted. I have the attention span of...Oooh, a shiny...
So, additional ideas:

9. Turn goblins into town guard. They can police themselves, and be called upon in a military situation. I really like this idea and have already moved the goblins within our walls, whilst making a speech about the importance of racial equality.
10. Give the untrained but combat able citizens annual (or even monthly) combat training and arm them with clubs as well as bows for melee. Additionally, hold a contest to find any naturally gifted ones.
11. Upgrade walls. Stone may take too long, but defiantly reinforce the wood with metal and possibly add spikes. Additionally, the town itself could be divided with wooden falls. Make sure each wall has turrets to give archers cover.
12. Set up towards with signal fires around our hill to receive advanced warning of approaching troops.

As far as diplomacy goes, we are kind of at a dead end. Anyone who will talk to us is already an ally, so we just need to keep those we already have. The AV stuff looks good and each item should certainly be stock piled, if for nothing else than us and the NPCs we train. We have acquired a ritual to summon badgers, and one to raise dead as skeletons, zombies or ghouls. We will use the badgers to perfect this art, then move on to executed humans and others who die in a manner that leaves their corpse relatively unharmed. Also, having raided the temple of light, we now have 304,000gp to spend (not on ourselves), so shopping spree.