View Full Version : Need help with dnd 3.5 siege adventure

2010-06-14, 09:59 AM
I have a campaign going which will involve a siege adventure, and I need some help resolving logical snags. If you are a player in my campaign(you know who you are) please do not read this thread.
The story so far is that the characters have discovered an alliance of various evil factions that are planning to attack theit home city. I am planning to run the next adventure as the siege of that city, but I need some ideas and some help resolving logical snags.
The bad guys attacking the city consist of:
The Kobold Empire: The kobolds form the Empire are more disciplined than other kobolds. They favor the binder class, and the average soldier is a 1st level binder who has bound Amon, gaining a breath weapon. They employ many Ogre mercenaries.
The Darkmages: The Darkamges are a mysterious cult of Drow Shadowcasters. They are the main spellcasters in the Alliance.
The Soulmage Cult: This is the demon-worshipping cult at the ceter of the alliance.
The Runecarvers: This is a group of cultists who expereiment on poeple with weird magic. They can bring some weird abberrations or other things to the battle.
I need some ideas for their attack on the city. My players have 11th level characters; a warlock, a psycic warrior, and a warmage.

I also need help with logical snags inherent in trying to run a siege in a dnd world. Things such as "Why dosen't just a 18th level caster from the capital port in and blast the enemy army into oblivion?" I was planning to have a scarcity of mid to high level casters in the city itself, preventing excessive blasting by the group's warmage, since he would need to preserve his spells. However, as my players gleefully pointed out, there has to be a high level spellcaster inclined to help somewhere in the kingdom, and with teleport spells, he could just as well be in the city. I need some help to create a satisfying explanation(better than 'all casters are busy') for the absence of teleporting high level casters, as well as resolving other issues with dnd warfare.

2010-06-14, 10:37 AM
I think the easy explanation is that the enemy also has one or more 18th level casters who could teleport anywhere. Thus, the PCs' nation keeps their highest level casters at strategic locations in case an enemy caster pops in. The enemy does likewise.

If both sides have high-level wizards, then it's similar to having nukes. They can hit anywhere on earth, probably can't be stopped, and unleash untold damage - but revenge is guaranteed. MAD is the answer to your question.


2010-06-14, 11:12 AM
If the invaded country has at least some high level magic users, then the invaders would be suiciders without some serious magic backup of their own, so warn your players about a possibly nasty surprise. The most powerful wizards are not moving away from capital for a very good reason: if they can port in to your city, someone can take the opportuninty to port into the capital and mess around there.
Even if there would be someone willing to port in, then consider it just enough to counter high level hijinks on the invaders' part. So yes, there is a high-level guy to help you out, but he can't counter their wizards and decimate the army at the same time, so be ready to take down the mooks on your own.

Such a high-level caster (or casters) might come with a handful of followers though, which is still helpful (some buffers, healers and utility casters).

As for the tactics: terrain-changing spells like Control Wind, Earthquake or Stone Shape are a good way to soften up the defences. Summons with burrowing speed can be formed into a nasty and stealthy shock troops (such a night attack might cause a lot of damage). If there are any necromancers in the army, then sending in incorporeal undead with level draining abilities would be a very efficient tactic (Wights come to mind). Apart from that, regular siege engines and catapults (those can deliver varied payloads - burning things, exploading things, diseased things) can go a long way.
It would be easier, if there would be some information about tech-level of the world and some details on the besieged city.

2010-06-14, 01:41 PM
Assuming a high-magic world, (as is evident by the enemy army make-up) consider that there are sieges happening all over. Allied spell casters are busy shoring up defenses elsewhere, using Wall of Force to make patchwork walls, enlarging laborers to lift heavy goods. Telekinesis for clearing downed areas. Likewise, clerics are busy tending to the wounded, plant growth spells for distant but supply-train linked farmsteads and the like. No garrison commander is willing to part with their high-level or even mid-level casters. Also, feel free to make use of the Anticipate Teleportation spells, possibly linked to a wondrous object of sorts. For instance, an expanded version that is linked to a bell-tower in the city. Whenever it detects an incoming teleport, the bell rings. If the teleporting person is carrying a specific item (a badge of sorts) that is linked to the bell, it will ring a safe teleport sound instead of your standard teleport alarm and not interrupt the teleportation. You could make a side mission where it's the PCs job to procure one of these badges, infiltrate the city and use a Disjunction scroll on the wondrous bell (or destroy it by other means) This will weaken their defense and allow reinforcements to enter the city.

2010-06-14, 02:04 PM
However, as my players gleefully pointed out, there has to be a high level spellcaster inclined to help somewhere in the kingdom, and with teleport spells, he could just as well be in the city.

Why does there have to be a high level spellcaster inclined to help? It sounds like your players are assuming a lot.

Heck it might be a pretty niffty adventure twist and/or hook as to find out why none of the allied high level casters can come help out...Maybe they're fighting another "siege", but instead of city walls they're defending the walls of the material plane more directly from the master of the unholy coalition, and can't be bothered.

2010-06-14, 02:23 PM
Make the absence of the high level casters something important to the story. Either that or have the high level caster appear, being some true neutral ass, and have him counterspell all the nukes dropping down from the other high level caster on the other side. Make it the mission of the heroes to not only defend the city, but to keep the super squishy high level caster alive and free of arrows.

2010-06-15, 02:09 PM
Also, does anyone know what penalty an enemy would get for fighting from the top of a ladder with a person on the wall?

2010-06-15, 02:16 PM
Also, does anyone know what penalty an enemy would get for fighting from the top of a ladder with a person on the wall?

Hm, I'd say higher ground for the wall person. That'd be a +1 to attack for the wall, and maybe put the ladder person as a climber, denying their dex to ac.

As the others said... Why should there "must" be a high level wizard?
And if there is, why would they help? Why wouldn't the enemy also have some?

Politics can be an extremely powerful tool here. As said before, the Cold War risks and the costs of such magi are just too high to waste them on something as mundane as nuking an army or city.