1. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    How would dragons fortify a city from attack?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by rktho, Jun 6, 2017.

    Background first-- you can probably skip it if you want.

    In my story's history (which will, eventually, at some point, become a book of its own) there was a war between the Khrizans (the protagonist species) and the Kadreshians (a race of another species) and the Ganadarians (another race of the same species) were the Khrizans' allies. The Khrizans had magic on their side-- an order called the Shazarians who were the protectors of the Elder Swords. They only had one, though, because they had given the other four to different dragon nations to protect. The Idrakagar, their other ally, brought another, and both swords helped in the war, but I digress. The Kadreshians (and the other dragon species) had wizards, but there were more Khrizan wizards than those of any other race, so the Khrizans had the magical advantage because they were and are the Rishnaran's chosen species. (The Kadreshians don't believe in the Rishnaran.) So you have two sides, one who can use magic, one who can use less magic, and the more powerful side has the Ganadarians on their side, giving them another boost of magic. And of course, there's the sheer power of the combined armies-- the Kadreshians are physically smaller but match the Khrizans' numbers, while the Gandarians-- same species as the Kadreshians, remember-- have a smaller army assisting the Khrizans. What really gives the Kadreshians the advantage is that Fiandarsh, the Khrizan emperor's brother and a traitor Shazarian, is secretly aiding them and pulling strings. Fiandarsh has created a dark order of wizards called the Kenshi, and once he has enough, he executes a coup that decimates the Shazarians on the battlefield, while leading an attack on the Shazarian monastery, in which he kills everyone in it who will not join him, then betrays the Kadreshian wizards who helped him take over and kills them too, leaving only him and the Kenshi. Later, when he was gathering the Elder Swords, he slaughtered all the wizards of non-Khrizan species, which is why only Khrizans are wizards in the modern age, but that's not relevant right now.

    What I'm getting at is that Fiandarsh's brother, Khriza, has a direct line to the Rishnaran, and the Rishnaran instructed him to fortify the weakest cities from attack. Now, since humans can't fly or breathe fire, they'd just build walls and dig pits and things. But dragons could easily bypass those. So, using magic and mudane methods, how would a dragon city defend itself, and would any remnants of those defenses survive some four thousand years later? (In which wizards have gone into hiding and people don't know they exist or that magic is anything but fictional.) I also need mundane explanations to cover up the magic 4000 years in the future. i.e, they did x but because nobody remembers magic the history books say they did y.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  2. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Well, first off I'd point out that they can fortify their cities however you want them to, because magic and you are the god of their world.

    But here are a few suggestions. Typically, dragons are portrayed as living in caves. I'd imagine that this is because, like many creatures in a world where problems are solved through the appropriate application of violence, they want to have a certain amount of security, and it's vastly easier to defend the few entrances to a cave-city than it would to fortify a town in the middle of rolling plains from your own species when they can fly.

    However, if you want those outside towns... maybe some flying stone forts or islands suspended above the town? Domes of arcane energy? Cloaking fields to render them invisible from the air? Flying magical spears that impale anything that flies above the town that doesn't have the correct magical gem?
     
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  3. dragonflare137

    dragonflare137 Member

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    You could create some form of anti-air defense. This can be in both a normal or magical form. Some magic could prevent things that fly in from making it there easily, or you could use some weapons to shoot dragons from the sky.

    It is possible for magic to persist after many many years, it would just depend on its form. Is it created specifically for long term protection? Is it housed within an object/relic that emits the magic in an undetectable form? There are a lot of different possibilities.

    To prevent things like fire, you could have the walls fortified with a material that is either reflective of fire, or just fire resistant. Same goes with magic. You could have a magical barrier that prevents the entrance of fire from the outside. This could prevent sieges, but it wouldn't be as effective once the attacker is inside the city.

    I hope these suggestions helped! Good luck! :)
     
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  4. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I like to make comparisons to things that I already know about. So you have a complex society of flying creatures and you need some sort of garrison? Are there any creatures on Earth that behave this way?

    Bees come to mind. They defend themselves by launching first strikes if anyone gets too close. They also tend to just use overwhelming force and coordinate as a swarm. Your dragons would obviously be intelligent enough to have complex areal battle tactics.
     
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  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Well, evacuating the civilians to a set of catacombs would be a good idea. Their houses are mostly underground anyway if they're working class. What I'd have them do is build floors in the actual buildings that sit over the so that if and when their houses get destroyed, they're still protected-- and they only lose their doormat unless the enemy comes down and destroys their safe door.

    Domes would work, but they'd need half an army of wizards using all their energy to maintain it, which would make for an intense battle, so that works for story purposes and drama and whatnot. Floating islands would not work, though, because once the wizards energy gave out, they'd basically bomb the city. (At least they wouldn't explode!) A cloaking field sounds like a good idea, but once they found it from the ground, they could pretty much estimate where it is, land, and it'd be visible again unless they took off. From there they could use landmarks and things to tell where it is from the ground and...
    Flying spears... hmm... I kind of like that idea... sort of like primitive missiles. I've always thought it an interesting concept, using magic and medieval technology to recreate modern or sci-fi technology. Maybe I should write a book about that, too, maybe even have it take place in my dragon universe in the distant future, when magic comes out of hiding.

    These are some good suggestions. I can work with them.
     
  6. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Well, there wouldn't really be magic that would survive for that long. Anything created for long-term defense would need to be replenished periodically or it'd drain like a battery. But the walls would eliminate the limitations of a dome-- all you have to do is build a regular topless box, then put a magical sheet over the hole thing to seal it. Now, it would take way too much manpower-- um, dragonpower-- to construct a wall around a city, but they have two Elder Swords with them, and those things are the most powerful artifacts in existence, so they would be able to help. I could also create a "pool" of energy they could draw from to give them a boost-- a giant magical reservoir that appears whenever a group of wizards gather in one place and summon it. (When the dark age of magic comes, the reservoir would dry up or become impossible to move from one place.)

    Wow, I'm glad I came up with that reservoir idea. You get full credit for it since you got me thinking and inspired it.
     
  7. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Actually, I did picture dragon battles taking the form of swarms. I do need to find out, though-- how do bees not bump into each other when flying? It wouldn't do very well to have the dragons wings', tails, horns, weapons and things getting tangled with each other. That'd be hazardous.
     
  8. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I imagine they can sense vibrations in the air along their bodies, similar to fish. They also have fairly sophisticated eyesight for insects. I would think that a creature that evolved in the air would not have an issue with bumping into each other. Some types of birds can fly in swarms of thousands without bumping into each other.
     
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  9. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Seems legit.
     
  10. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Gives me an idea-- walls built for the defense of one city, aided by a magic ceiling. In the modern age, nobody knows why there are walls around Khriza since they can just fly over them, but there's a saying-- the walls of Khriza weren't built in a day. Ironically, since it was constructed with the help of magic, they actually were.
     
  11. FlyingFishPhilosophy

    FlyingFishPhilosophy New Member

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    When I read your question 'Harpoons!' was the first which came to mind.
    Easily relatable. Could also be connected by metal rings to the surface to reel the shot dragons back in or shock them with magic
     
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  12. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    If a civilization was constantly under attack from the ground and the skies, I think it would simply dig down. Buildings would look very diffierent for a creature that can move in three dimensions.

    Besides bees, humans have had this type of warfare since WWII. Your dragons would probably be as destructive and resilient as early fighters. Learn the tactics of Blitzkeit, and how the RAF beat back the Luftwaffe in The Battle of Britain.

    Modern superfortresses like NORAD is literally built in the middle of a mountain. It was the only way to defend against nuclear bombs from the sky. I don't know if your world has magic as powerful as that.
     
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  13. Minty Talons

    Minty Talons Member

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    Fortifications huh, you came to the right place. There's a reason my avatar is a map of a castle.

    Practically
    • Everything built with thick smooth stone and smooth rounded walls.
    • Heavy slate rooves strong and smooth to stop dragon claws getting a grip.
    • Everyone would build a basement.
    • Use stone pillars and arches since wooden beams would burn
    • Ballista/siege weapons posted on the walls.
    • Well trained archers (aim for the wings)
    • Water towers and firemen.

    Magically
    • Control of the wind to limit a dragons ability to fly and land. Good for putting out fires too.
    • Lightning is always a classic.
    • Water magic to fight fires maybe summoning rain.
    • Generic force-field.

    Personally I'd have a grand tower in the middle of the city that all the magic defenses depend on. Good for suspense.
     
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  14. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Ooh, a tower. That does sound suspenseful.
     
  15. Charles Gull

    Charles Gull Active Member

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    What about if they were suspended from hot air ballons? You have plenty of dragons to keep them hot enough!
     
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  16. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Genius!
     
  17. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    The only issue is that they'd be super easy to pop. Claws could slice and fire could burn, not to mention that it would require someone to be manning them constantly. The truth is that defence, in this case, is borderline impossible. The reason that walls worked is that they kept people out, and allowed them to be funnelled into small spaces. The best option is to either build upwards and form a hive-like structure, or build down and do the same.
     
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  18. Charles Gull

    Charles Gull Active Member

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    If only I had a squad of tactical dragons at my disposal. I could run a battle field simulation that, I am sure, would prove you wrong!
     
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  19. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Ooh, describe how this simulation would go, since you don't have any. Diagrams would be nice.
     
  20. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    They could be magically protected from arrows, swords and claws and covered in fireproof liquid/paste.
     
  21. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Are you looking for dragons defending versus humanoids or other dragons?

    A flying creature defending against non-fliers is going to want to go up high, places you can only access by flying. I'm thinking clifftops, mountains, etc. Depending on technology, they could have walls with no gates (gates are a structural weakness), towers with no doors, etc.

    All of that fails if their opponent can also fly. The basic tactic for anyone dealing with flying opponents, whether or not you can fly yourself, tends to be to hide underneath things, or go into small spaces where flight is impossible. (Especially if your opponent is bigger than you.) Valleys, forests, caves, etc. Technological solutions would be sturdy roofs, weapons that shoot upwards, and so forth.

    In actual battles, fliers vs fliers will probably get into dogfights (think swallows fighting over territory), but you can't really set up terrain for that. Your technological options in that situation are going to be weapons and armor that you can fly with. Guardians of Ga'Hoole had sentient owls wearing metal claws over their talons, dragons could probably use something like that too.

    If you're going for a siege type option, fliers defending against fliers really will act a lot like non-fliers defending against fliers.

    If you need to defend against both, you'll see a mix of tactics. Maybe halfway up the cliff in a valley, strong walls and roof with a well-defended entrance halfway up the wall, caves that can only be entered while flying, etc.
     
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  22. Alistair Black

    Alistair Black Member

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    Some sort of giant dome, maybe inside of a mountain. It would be difficult to assail from the air and it would have numerous choke-points for attackers to break through. And there would be countless areas to set up traps or obstacles, such as boulders, spikes, boiling oil, angry wasps, or just cause controlled cave-ins.
     
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