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    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:39 am  
    City of Greyhawk - City of Hawks



    Sorry for the rough map, but I'm terrible at drawing.

    This seems to match the City of Greyhawk outer wall description from the City of Hawks novel.

    "A double wall encircled the city. All of Greyhawk - Old City, the larger area called New Town and the Citadel too were within it. The outer curtain was some twenty-five feet high. This wall splayed out at the base where it met a ditch, or moat, or some other watercourse, and was topped with serried merlons and crenels to protect defenders in time of war.

    Between the outer and inner walls was a relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad. The outside edge of this strip of grass was level with the battlements that topped the outer wall. The crowning stone of the inner wall was much higher. The city had been built on a large hill - not especially high, but large in area. Those on the sward between the walls could look upward forty feet to where machicolated battlements stood topping the massively thick curtains of the inner wall. At intervals there were bastions on the outer wall, and matching them on the inside were tall towers.

    Wherevere the walls were pierced by gates, the sward was broken. Every way that led into the city resembled a road at the bottom of a canyon. Travelers from the outside would pass through a gatehouse first, then a long passage, open above, but flanked by walls on either hand; then a tunnel that bored through another, bigger tower."

    I've seen the fan drawn map of the City of Hawks and the map published in LGJ#2. Both are excellent and well beyond my own cartographic skills, but while the first is much more faithful to the map from City of Hawks I dislike the squareness of the streets and districts. I also haven't compared the scale of this map with the scale from the book. The Greyhawk of City of Hawks is vast. About six miles wide by nine mile long within the walls.

    The latter, Maldin's map is about one third of this size. It is also not faithful to the City of Hawks maps in a number of ways. The exterior rivers are missing, the Bastion outside the walls is missing, the Citadel and many districts have been moved. The interior wall seperating the Old City and smaller wall seperating the Foreign Quarter, etc...

    One of the things I want in a Gygaxian City of Greyhawk is the ability to connect the streets and place various inns, taverns and other buildings as described in the novels. While this may be possible in the fan created version I just don't feel that the shape or size of the city is captured to my liking.

    This is a very crude depiction of the outer wall. I intend to crudely draw out the various streets and buildings as well as add detail of interiors while trying to keep them faithful to the available information provided for the city.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:05 pm  

    That description lends a bit more majesty to the city in terms of how massive a walled city it really is. The city is roughly five miles in length north to south, and three miles in length east to west, and so there is around 13 miles of this massive structural wall around the irregular shaped city.

    Your top-view map doesn't match the description though. The part which is labeled <------------25ft. slope--------->, which goes up and down on the left side of the drawing, should read <---"relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad"--->. There should also be 100 ft. of space between the battlements of the outer wall and the outer edge of the taller inner wall (i.e. the sward space). Something like this:


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    Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:34 pm  

    I appreciate both drawings, but I would like to offer a third interpretation.

    Accepting Cebrion's drawing as a base, I believe the 'canyon' entryway should begin at a 25 foot depth as one passes through the outer curtain, but rise to ground level as it travels the 100 feet to the inner curtain. At that point, the entry to the inner ward is at the same level as the top of the outer curtain's catwalk. (The 25 foot height should be to the top of the outer curtain's catwalk, not the top of the crenelations/battlements. The merlons should add six feet to the height while the crenels between them add only about three feet.) Smile

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    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:39 am  

    There is no slope. "Relatively level sward" sward could mean a *slight* slope, but not a slope rising 25 feet over 100 feet. That would be a very steep incline (14 degrees); the kind that would have the city creating a job, the sole function of which would be tallying yearly run-a-way wagon/cart maimings/deaths. And of course Zagig would have done so. Laughing

    By the description, the wall around the City of Greyhawk is simply "fantasy setting massive."
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:42 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    That description lends a bit more majesty to the city in terms of how massive a walled city it really is. The city is roughly five miles in length north to south, and three miles in length east to west, and so there is around 13 miles of this massive structural wall around the irregular shaped city.

    Your top-view map doesn't match the description though. The part which is labeled <------------25ft. slope--------->, which goes up and down on the left side of the drawing, should read <---"relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad"--->. There should also be 100 ft. of space between the battlements of the outer wall and the outer edge of the taller inner wall (i.e. the sward space). Something like this:



    I had the yard 120ft between the walls. The 25ft slope is the rise described

    "The outside edge of this strip of grass was level with the battlements that topped the outer wall. "

    So we know that the ground at the base of the inner wall is 25feet higher than the ground at the base of the outer wall.

    The road itself would be level but the sward would definitely have a slope.

    NOTE: I think Gygax meant that the sward was mostly smooth without any depresions or cliff-like drops rather than "level" without any rises. If the sward was flat how can the base of the inner wall be level with the battlements of the outer wall? I believe there has to 'be a slope of 25feet declination between the base of the inner wall and base of the outer wall as described.


    Last edited by JasonZavoda on Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:46 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    There is no slope. "Relatively level sward" sward could mean a *slight* slope, but not a slope rising 25 feet over 100 feet. That would be a very steep incline (14 degrees); the kind that would have the city creating a job, the sole function of which would be tallying yearly run-a-way wagon/cart maimings/deaths. And of course Zagig would have done so. Laughing

    By the description, the wall around the City of Greyhawk is simply "fantasy setting massive."


    Your own illustrations shows a rise of 25feet. If you put your 25feet to the top of the outer wall on the same side as the distance of 100feet you are showing a right angle with the length of sides a & b (100ft, 25ft).
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:08 am  



    The scale says 1 inch equals 3 miles so I think the city is at least 6 miles by 9 miles. That would make the walls at least 30 miles in length, each, since there are double walls.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:04 am  

    Ah, the Gord map. Yes, that is even bigger. There is no slope though, and my drawing shows no slope (though that may not be apparent enough in my rough 3/4 view drawing). The sward is a flat shelf. If a guard is on the battlement of the outer wall, and steps back off of the battlement (i.e. the walkway atop the outer wall), he will not plunge 25 feet to a likely death, but will be very much stepping right onto the sward, which is relatively flat, and extends from the back edge of the battlement to the base of the inner wall. The sward does not slope upwards between the outer wall and the inner, and neither does the road, insofar as either could be referred to as being mostly level. That is what the description means; like so:



    As a side note, the sward serves three purposes:

    1. It serves as a staging ground for troops, supplies, and aid for the outer wall defenses.

    2. It serves as a space to set up siege engines to attack a besieging force's troops/siege engines.

    3. It serves as a killing ground in the event the outer wall is overrun.

    Not that any of that is remotely likely to happen, unless one plays in a campaign where the DM is likely to utter...

    "Off in the distance you see the dread cambion Iuz atop a small bluff, and in a booming voice which carries across the battlefield he says, "Unleash the tarrasques upon Greyhawk!"

    Tarrasques. Plural. Laughing
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:45 am; edited 2 times in total
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:23 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Ah, the Gord map. Yes, that is even bigger. Where are you getting the 25 ft. slope from though? Is that something you left out of the quote?


    No, its like a word problem. The base of the inner wall is level with the 25foot battlement of the outerwall. This means that the base of the outer wall is 25 feet lower than the base of the inner. So the sward is the hypotenuse of the right angle whose sides are 100ft (or 120ft with me tossing in a few) and 25ft. So the sward slopes down 25ft in height from the base of the inner wall to the outer.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:39 am  

    Read the edited post above. It is not like a word problem. It is perfectly clear. Gary probably got the idea from Krak des Chavaliers, which is what it reminded me of:


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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:53 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Ah, the Gord map. Yes, that is even bigger. There is no slope though, and my drawing shows no slope (though that may not be apparent enough). The sward is a flat shelf. If a guard is on the battlement of the outer wall, and steps back off of the battlement (i.e. the walkway atop the outer wall), he will not plunge 25 feet to a likely death, but will be very much stepping right onto the sward, which is relatively flat, and extends from the back edge of the battlement to the base of the inner wall. The sward does not slope upwards between the outer wall and the inner, and neither does the road, insofar as either could be referred to as being mostly level. That is what the description means; like so:



    As a side note, the sward serves three purposes:

    1. It serves as a staging ground for troops, supplies, and aid for the outer wall defenses.

    2. It serves as a space to set up siege engines to attack a besieging force's troops/siege engines.

    3. It serves as a killing ground in the event the outer wall is overrun.

    Not that any of that is remotely likely to happen, unless one plays in a campaign where the DM is likely to utter...

    "Off in the distance you see the dread cambion Iuz atop a small bluff, and in a booming voice which carries across the battlefield he says, "Unleash the tarrasques upon Greyhawk!"

    Tarrasques. Plural. Laughing


    I see you think he is saying that the sward is adjacent to the edge of the outer battlements? I think the inner wall is on the hill mentioned and this edge of grass is at the base of the inner wall and level with the 25ft top of the outer wall battlement. The slope is the side of the hill which runs down to the base of the outer wall and ditch or moat described.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:01 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Read the edited post above. It is not like a word problem. It is perfectly clear. Gary probably got the idea from Krak des Chavaliers, which is what it reminded me of:



    The sward between the inner and outer wall of krak de chaviliers ran from base of wall to base wall not base of inner wall to top of battlement of outer wall.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:09 am  

    Not in all places, but it rises similarly in the bottom left of the picture. I know there is much better example, but I cannot think of it at the moment.

    Gary was being very specific about the sward extending from the back edge of the *battlements* of the outer wall. Best to think of the top of the outer curtain wall as a sidewalk with a low wall on one side and a lawn on the other. The low wall is the parapet (over which is a 25 foot drop), the sidewalk the top walkway, and the lawn is the sward.

    The key clarifying phrase is here:

    "Between the outer and inner walls was a relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad. The outside edge of this strip of grass was level with the battlements that topped the outer wall. "

    Also, walking across the "relatively level" (not sloped! Happy) sward to the base of the inner wall, the inner wall rises to a height of 40 feet *from that point*, not 40 feet above the top of the parapet of the outer wall.

    And so it very much is a shelf.

    One last thing; the inner wall sets atop of "crown" of rock, which I didn't include in either drawing. The whole city is atop a massive mount of stone apparently, similar to where Nottingham Castle once stood (but much larger). You can still tour the tunnels cut into the stone, but be prepared for cramped quarters, and steps - lot of steps! Not for the claustrophobic, or those too much out of shape. On the upside, if you survive, you can then crawl around to the south-ish side the base of the mount until you get to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, much of the rooms of which are carved right into the bedrock, and have a pint or seven, and the muscle spasms will fade right away! Cool Laughing
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:53 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Not in all places, but it rises similarly in the bottom left of the picture.

    Gary was being very specific about the sward extending from the back edge of the *battlements* of the outer wall. Best to think of the top of the outer curtain wall as a sidewalk with a low wall on one side and a lawn on the other. The low wall is the parapet (over which is a 25 foot drop), the sidewalk the top walkway, and the lawn is the sward.

    The key phase is here:

    "Between the outer and inner walls was a relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad. The outside edge of this strip of grass was level with the battlements that topped the outer wall. "

    Also, walking across the "relatively level" (not sloped! Happy) sward to the base of the inner wall, the inner wall rises to a height of 40 feet *from that point*, not 40 feet above the top of the parapet of the outer wall, per the description. One more thing; the inner wall sets atop of "crown" of rock. the whole city is atop a massive mount of stone apparently, similar to where Nottingham Castle once stood. You can still tour the tunnels cut into the stone, but be prepared for cramped quarters, and steps. Lot of steps! Not for the claustrophobic, or those too much out of shape. On the upside, if you survive, you can then crawl around the base of the mount until you get to The Trip to Jerusalem and have a pint! Been there; done that. Cool


    I disgree. The outside edge is against the base of the inner wall at the top of the hill.



    With the Krak de Chevalier I cant find a picture of the sward being level with the outer battlements. Could it just be the perspective of the aerial picture? The road on the bottom of your picture can look even with the battlements till you see the open gate in the wall. Or is it possible that on the left side of the modern remains of the castle the removed part of the wall and tower after the age of canon? Ive looked and can only find pictures of the krak de chevalier sward running from base of wall to base of wall.

    The City of Hawks is about 56 square miles inside the walls so that is more a plateau than hill, but I believe the swards are the sloping sides of a hill not running to the top of a battlement.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:07 am  

    Better example (though on a much smaller scale, and still not the image I have in my mind):





    Still not the right one I can picture in my mind, but it does have the feature I am talking about on the south side; on multiple levels even (just much smaller). I've been lucky enough to personally walk those grounds (at least the areas open to the public), and so can verify the structure. This is not an uncommon feature at all, though the "canyon" roadway would be, but then real life isn't over-the-top fantasy. Usually.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:46 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Better example (though on a much smaller scale, and still not the image I have in my mind):





    Still not the right one I can picture in my mind, but it does have the feature I am talking about on the south side; on multiple levels even (just much smaller). I've been lucky enough to personally walk those grounds (at least the areas open to the public), and so can verify the structure. This is not an uncommon feature at all, though the "canyon" roadway would be, but then real life isn't over-the-top fantasy. Usually.


    Palace built on the remains of a castle I thought.



    This seems more of what you are describing. Gunpowder era fortification. I don't see it for Greyhawk. I don't see Gygax having it that way.
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    Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:28 pm  

    Those who designed star forts got their ideas from what came before, but the innovation of star forts wasn't the level inner grounds they incorporated, but their shape. The description Gary gives is not of a star fort, but of a multi-tiered defensive system, like this...

    ...just on a much more massive scale. I think Gary would be very much into what is a feature on many mountain top castles. But then the City of Gryhawk is not a mountain top castle, so inspiration is one thing, but practical application is another.

    If a hybrid of the description and other things suits you better, then by all means go with that. I wouldn't have any road with a 14 degree slope though (1 ft. rise per 4 ft. length). Only a fortress not wanting people to be able to come and go quite so easily/safely would have that, and then there would also be stops built into the roadbed - essentially speed bumps, but smaller, sharper, and more numerous so as to make it safer for heavily loaded carts/wagons to travel up/down them. That would slow down traffic considerably, which isn't practical for a city that is the merchant hub of the Flanaess. There has to be some sort of upward slope to the road though, and that also has me thinking about the Selintan River side of things (with regard to moving goods from river trade into the city), and how the roads there would need to slope from the river level up to the city level. Another note: the irregular shape of the city would fill an ellipse about 6 mi. x 8 mi., which would give an overall area of 37.68 square miles. The city i live in encompasses 40 square miles, and has bigger homes, bigger yards, bigger roads, bigger everything really, and has a population of 180,000. The double walled City of Greyhawk is, quite simply, GINORMOUS!!! And this city is supposed to have packed humanity in it...somewhere? If that is so, the city walls must also necessarily encompass many large (100+ acre) "pastoral estates" to take up the rest of the space. This is not remotely...normal...in any sense of the word! Laughing

    Obviously this topic hits a sweet spot for me. I never thought of the City of Greyhawk as quite the massive fortress city that it is, well, at least not on this scale, but by this description that really is what it is (and the Gordhawk map scale has the city being even bigger). This very much makes me look at the City of Greyhawk in a new light, so thanks for posting a quote I have no doubt read multiple times, but passed over without contemplating it in any meaningful way. I look forward to seeing what you choose to do, and how you incorporate everything in this project.

    One last bit. I just re-read your first post, and you refer to a fan-made map of the city. Which map are you referring to?

    Edit: a link to a large image of the "Blue Box" City of Greyhawk map for those who don't have it:
    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/CastleGreyhawk_Maps/107031.jpg

    Also, for those not aware of what maps were included in the Living Greyhawk Journal #2, they can be found here:
    https://melkot.com/locations/cogh/cogh.html
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:49 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Those who designed star forts got their ideas from what came before, but the innovation of star forts wasn't the level inner grounds they incorporated, but their shape. The description Gary gives is not of a star fort, but of a multi-tiered defensive system, like this...

    ...just on a much more massive scale. I think Gary would be very much into what is a feature on many mountain top castles. But then the City of Gryhawk is not a mountain top castle, so inspiration is one thing, but practical application is another.

    If a hybrid of the description and other things suits you better, then by all means go with that. I wouldn't have any road with a 14 degree slope though (1 ft. rise per 4 ft. length). Only a fortress not wanting people to be able to come and go quite so easily/safely would have that, and then there would also be stops built into the roadbed - essentially speed bumps, but smaller, sharper, and more numerous so as to make it safer for heavily loaded carts/wagons to travel up/down them. That would slow down traffic considerably, which isn't practical for a city that is the merchant hub of the Flanaess. There has to be some sort of upward slope to the road though, and that also has me thinking about the Selintan River side of things (with regard to moving goods from river trade into the city), and how the roads there would need to slope from the river level up to the city level. Another note: the irregular shape of the city would fill an ellipse about 6 mi. x 8 mi., which would give an overall area of 37.68 square miles. The city i live in encompasses 40 square miles, and has bigger homes, bigger yards, bigger roads, bigger everything really, and has a population of 180,000. The double walled City of Greyhawk is, quite simply, GINORMOUS!!! And this city is supposed to have packed humanity in it...somewhere? If that is so, the city walls must also necessarily encompass many large (100+ acre) "pastoral estates" to take up the rest of the space. This is not remotely...normal...in any sense of the word! Laughing

    Obviously this topic hits a sweet spot for me. I never thought of the City of Greyhawk as quite the massive fortress city that it is, well, at least not on this scale, but by this description that really is what it is (and the Gordhawk map scale has the city being even bigger). This very much makes me look at the City of Greyhawk in a new light, so thanks for posting a quote I have no doubt read multiple times, but passed over without contemplating it in any meaningful way. I look forward to seeing what you choose to do, and how you incorporate everything in this project.

    One last bit. I just re-read your first post, and you refer to a fan-made map of the city. Which map are you referring to?

    Edit: a link to a large image of the "Blue Box" City of Greyhawk map for those who don't have it:
    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/CastleGreyhawk_Maps/107031.jpg

    Also, for those not aware of what maps were included in the Living Greyhawk Journal #2, they can be found here:
    https://melkot.com/locations/cogh/cogh.html


    The roads are flat and cut through the slope which is why they are like a canyon . A 14 degree slope is highly desirable to make it more difficult for attackers and siege equipment. A flat sward meeting the battlements of an outer fortification would mean that a single point of breach by ladders or siege tower would mean that attackers could flow out and attack the entire line of battlements from the flank and rear. A flat sward meeting battlements would also allow attackers a blind spot beneath the outer wall once the battlements were cleared to begin tunneling and undermining.

    Joe Bloch created a detailed map of the City of Hawks version of the city.
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:00 am  

    JasonZavoda wrote:
    The roads are flat and cut through the slope which is why they are like a canyon . A 14 degree slope is highly desirable to make it more difficult for attackers and siege equipment. A flat sward meeting the battlements of an outer fortification would mean that a single point of breach by ladders or siege tower would mean that attackers could flow out and attack the entire line of battlements from the flank and rear. A flat sward meeting battlements would also allow attackers a blind spot beneath the outer wall once the battlements were cleared to begin tunneling and undermining.


    So much wrong with that regarding the flat sward.

    With the flat sward, and assuming the sward is undefended for some reason, invaders surmounting it at any point will still run into choke points the width of the battlement/walkway formed by the entry "canyons" which border each section of the sward, all while under fire from the inner wall (which would probably have multiple levels of arrow silts in its face and not just at the parapet), as well as from both sides at ground level from the sward sections to either side. And of course the choke points could be fortified simply enough if the enemy overrunning any section of the outer wall seemed imminent.

    But that isn't much of a concern at all, because it would be negligent of me to fail to mention that, unlike the walkway of a normal castle wall, the outer edge of which would normally drop off into a courtyard, the sward allows any attackers clambering over the parapet the joyous opportunity of having to face not just a rank or two of defenders on the walkway, as they normally would when attacking a standard castle wall, but the especial glee of facing serried ranks of pikes or heavy infantry arrayed on the sward( and all the way up to the parapet. And so the fortunate few who are lucky enough to surmount the parapet are simply going to pinned up against it and cut down, or shoved back over it by the sheer weight and force of such massed infantry to plunge to their deaths, or each take a dozen pikes to the face as they even attempt to scramble over the parapet in the first place - any of that likely after having taken a point-blank volley of bow/crossbow fire behind those kneeling massed infantry just before they engage. The sward is a massive benefit, not an Achilles' Heel. It is literally a force multiplier - one rank of hindered attackers clambering over the parapet versus many ranks of perfectly prepared defenders. Good luck with that.

    The outer wall is 25 feet tall, but it is doubtful that the ground outside of it is nice and flat. Likely that outer 25 foot wall rises up from the top of a bedrock slope itself, with gradually sloping long roads winding along the base of the massive mount the city rests upon to even get to any outer gate. And there surely wouldn't be a nice long straight processional leading up to any outer gate, as that would be idiotic. Any ladders would most likely need to be 40 feet tall or more to reach most places on even the outer wall. And of course those roads would all be overseen by the outer walls/bastions, so a deluge of point blank range fire would rain down upon anything progressing on the roads to the outer gates to begin with (assuming the layout is even remotely sensible). Many approaches of attack are likely unfeasible due to the outermost slope plus 25 foot outer wall being too high to do much of anything reasonable.

    And then, of course, there is a moat.

    And there are no blind spots at the base of the walls or towers, as parapets overhang and arrow slits on these sorts of walls/towers are constructed such that they allow crossbows (and often bows even) to shoot straight down at the base of the wall, not to mention there will be channels for boiling oil, water, and so forth. And we needn't forget the many bastions spaced along the wall, which allow enfilade from both sides at anything attacking the the walls - that is what bastions are for. Blind spots indeed. Any lengthy ladder climb isn't looking so healthy.

    Assuming the needed equipment somehow found its way atop the sward (which assumes any massed infantry there had somehow been cleared away), any tunneling/undermining need be done through the crown of *solid rock* the inner wall is built into/upon. All the while, miners/sappers would be under fire from above, and likely from both sides at ground level from the swards to either side. It should be noted that anything on the sward targeted by missile fire will be within a range of about 35 yards or closer. At that range, arrows/bolts will hit anything on the sward less than half a second after they are fired- the sward is essentially a sniper kill zone. The sward section will also be threatened by attack from the choke points on either side of it.

    But, considering the size of the place, nobody is going to attack City of Greyhawk. It is stupidly large. I mentioned "pastoral states," but there might as well be small bits of woodland, vineyards, and perhaps some farmland as well. Considering the population (58,000 city; 75,000 including surrounding population), it would take multiple nations...yes, nations...to attack the city of Greyhawk. Iuz has 40,000, the Horned Society 45,000 or more, the Bandit Kingdoms 95,000+ (WoG boxed set numbers). Those three combined couldn't take the city if they emptied those land of inhabitant and threw them at it. If we gutted Dyvers and surrounds, and threw them into the mix (another 53,000), then we might have an actual threat (assuming all of the surrounding nations that are enemies of those lands would beg off and stay out of it, and an army of adventurers doesn't show up).

    Also looked up a city similar in size to my own. If we slice a mere three square miles off of the area of the city of Buffalo, New York, that is how big the City of Greyhawk is. Now, imagine roughly 22 miles of two layered defensive wall, as we have been discussing, surrounding Buffalo, New York. That is what we are looking at.
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:07 am  

    The adventurers much more so than the general population.

    You might - MIGHT - be able to get 25% of the general population under arms, if you've got 20,000 sets of arms and armor laying around. Otherwise they're effectively peasant levies, not hugely useful in a fight with giants and dragons and fireballs and what-not.

    On the other hand, you can probably expect five percent or so to be either active or retired adventurers who will aid the defense. Three thousand low-to-mid level adventurers, especially ones in well-organized and well-polished parties, will go through most armies like a chainsaw through butter.

    Yes, there will likely be some trouble from the high-level leadership of those armies, but there will almost certainly be a handful of high-level characters in Greyhawk as well, Mordenkainen among them.
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:56 am  

    All of the fantasy stuff sort of gets cinematicly treated like measures/counter-measures. You have charmed umber hulk sappers? We have summoned earth elementals/charmed xorns to kill them. You have fireballs? We have dispel magic. You have anti-heroes? We have heroes. You have clerics creating undead? We have clerics turning/destroying undead. You have dragons? We have dragons. You have lower planar nasties? We have upper planar champions. Etc.

    And so it still comes down to mostly conventional warfare in the end.

    But enough of that. I see what Jason means about the Joe Bloch map, and the Maldin map is based on the 2e Blue Box City of Greyhawk map, and so not Gygaxian at all. I do recall that many areas of the city are described in the Gord books, particularly the streets in that one story containing the street name game. Some landmarks are probably mentioned there too. I do not recall any of that well enough to know if the Joe Bloch map follows those informational clues. We might as well move onto that and leave off talking about the walls any more. Hopefully a few folks who have the books are willing to dig them out and help hunt for info.
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:50 pm  

    Here are some pictures I found interesting and pertinent to the conversation.

    Caerphilly Castle is an example of what Cebrion is describing - the 'relatively level sward' running from the base of the inner wall to the top of the outer wall. The parapet rises above that. Of course, Caerphilly has a moat at the base of the outer curtain wall and there is no tunnel entrance, as Cebrion describes, but the sward is accurate.


    It was easy for me to imagine that Carcassone had been a major influence on EGG when describing the defenses of the City of Greyhawk, but once I saw an actual map of Carcassone, it seems kind of obvious. Smile


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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    JasonZavoda wrote:
    The roads are flat and cut through the slope which is why they are like a canyon . A 14 degree slope is highly desirable to make it more difficult for attackers and siege equipment. A flat sward meeting the battlements of an outer fortification would mean that a single point of breach by ladders or siege tower would mean that attackers could flow out and attack the entire line of battlements from the flank and rear. A flat sward meeting battlements would also allow attackers a blind spot beneath the outer wall once the battlements were cleared to begin tunneling and undermining.


    So much wrong with that regarding the flat sward.

    With the flat sward, and assuming the sward is undefended for some reason, invaders surmounting it at any point will still run into choke points the width of the battlement/walkway formed by the entry "canyons" which border each section of the sward, all while under fire from the inner wall (which would probably have multiple levels of arrow silts in its face and not just at the parapet), as well as from both sides at ground level from the sward sections to either side. And of course the choke points could be fortified simply enough if the enemy overrunning any section of the outer wall seemed imminent.

    But that isn't much of a concern at all, because it would be negligent of me to fail to mention that, unlike the walkway of a normal castle wall, the outer edge of which would normally drop off into a courtyard, the sward allows any attackers clambering over the parapet the joyous opportunity of having to face not just a rank or two of defenders on the walkway, as they normally would when attacking a standard castle wall, but the especial glee of facing serried ranks of pikes or heavy infantry arrayed on the sward( and all the way up to the parapet. And so the fortunate few who are lucky enough to surmount the parapet are simply going to pinned up against it and cut down, or shoved back over it by the sheer weight and force of such massed infantry to plunge to their deaths, or each take a dozen pikes to the face as they even attempt to scramble over the parapet in the first place - any of that likely after having taken a point-blank volley of bow/crossbow fire behind those kneeling massed infantry just before they engage. The sward is a massive benefit, not an Achilles' Heel. It is literally a force multiplier - one rank of hindered attackers clambering over the parapet versus many ranks of perfectly prepared defenders. Good luck with that.

    The outer wall is 25 feet tall, but it is doubtful that the ground outside of it is nice and flat. Likely that outer 25 foot wall rises up from the top of a bedrock slope itself, with gradually sloping long roads winding along the base of the massive mount the city rests upon to even get to any outer gate. And there surely wouldn't be a nice long straight processional leading up to any outer gate, as that would be idiotic. Any ladders would most likely need to be 40 feet tall or more to reach most places on even the outer wall. And of course those roads would all be overseen by the outer walls/bastions, so a deluge of point blank range fire would rain down upon anything progressing on the roads to the outer gates to begin with (assuming the layout is even remotely sensible). Many approaches of attack are likely unfeasible due to the outermost slope plus 25 foot outer wall being too high to do much of anything reasonable.

    And then, of course, there is a moat.

    And there are no blind spots at the base of the walls or towers, as parapets overhang and arrow slits on these sorts of walls/towers are constructed such that they allow crossbows (and often bows even) to shoot straight down at the base of the wall, not to mention there will be channels for boiling oil, water, and so forth. And we needn't forget the many bastions spaced along the wall, which allow enfilade from both sides at anything attacking the the walls - that is what bastions are for. Blind spots indeed. Any lengthy ladder climb isn't looking so healthy.

    Assuming the needed equipment somehow found its way atop the sward (which assumes any massed infantry there had somehow been cleared away), any tunneling/undermining need be done through the crown of *solid rock* the inner wall is built into/upon. All the while, miners/sappers would be under fire from above, and likely from both sides at ground level from the swards to either side. It should be noted that anything on the sward targeted by missile fire will be within a range of about 35 yards or closer. At that range, arrows/bolts will hit anything on the sward less than half a second after they are fired- the sward is essentially a sniper kill zone. The sward section will also be threatened by attack from the choke points on either side of it.

    But, considering the size of the place, nobody is going to attack City of Greyhawk. It is stupidly large. I mentioned "pastoral states," but there might as well be small bits of woodland, vineyards, and perhaps some farmland as well. Considering the population (58,000 city; 75,000 including surrounding population), it would take multiple nations...yes, nations...to attack the city of Greyhawk. Iuz has 40,000, the Horned Society 45,000 or more, the Bandit Kingdoms 95,000+ (WoG boxed set numbers). Those three combined couldn't take the city if they emptied those land of inhabitant and threw them at it. If we gutted Dyvers and surrounds, and threw them into the mix (another 53,000), then we might have an actual threat (assuming all of the surrounding nations that are enemies of those lands would beg off and stay out of it, and an army of adventurers doesn't show up).

    Also looked up a city similar in size to my own. If we slice a mere three square miles off of the area of the city of Buffalo, New York, that is how big the City of Greyhawk is. Now, imagine roughly 22 miles of two layered defensive wall, as we have been discussing, surrounding Buffalo, New York. That is what we are looking at.


    There are only 12 or 16 gates in the 30 miles of wall so these sections between the walled canyons would be vast. No way for the amount of defenders to provide serried ranks of defenders along all 30 miles. An enemy would make feints at several places at once and only need to breach the weakest held.

    Im sorry but Im just no feeling well enough to go through each point of your reasoning which I find misguided. Take a look at sieges of fortified cities (pre-gunpowder. I dont believe any had this fortification design.
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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:40 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Here are some pictures I found interesting and pertinent to the conversation.

    Caerphilly Castle is an example of what Cebrion is describing - the 'relatively level sward' running from the base of the inner wall to the top of the outer wall. The parapet rises above that. Of course, Caerphilly has a moat at the base of the outer curtain wall and there is no tunnel entrance, as Cebrion describes, but the sward is accurate.


    It was easy for me to imagine that Carcassone had been a major influence on EGG when describing the defenses of the City of Greyhawk, but once I saw an actual map of Carcassone, it seems kind of obvious. Smile


    SirXaris


    The picture is of the remains of the post-gunpowder era castle. A quick look at google says...

    in the medieval period, the walls of the middle ward would have been much higher than today, forming a more substantial defence.

    If I were feeling better Id do more research. Personally I believe that post-gunpowder era design in modern castle remains is being confused with castle design from the pre-gunpowder eras and I dont think Gygax would make that mistake.
    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:20 pm  

    JasonZavoda wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:

    Caerphilly Castle is an example of what Cebrion is describing - the 'relatively level sward' running from the base of the inner wall to the top of the outer wall. The parapet rises above that. Of course, Caerphilly has a moat at the base of the outer curtain wall and there is no tunnel entrance, as Cebrion describes, but the sward is accurate.


    ...

    SirXaris


    The picture is of the remains of the post-gunpowder era castle. A quick look at google says...

    in the medieval period, the walls of the middle ward would have been much higher than today, forming a more substantial defence.

    If I were feeling better Id do more research. Personally I believe that post-gunpowder era design in modern castle remains is being confused with castle design from the pre-gunpowder eras and I dont think Gygax would make that mistake.


    That is a very interesting piece of information, Jason. It makes sense that castles would have their swards filled in with earth in order for the curtain walls to be able to absorb the impact of cannon balls more efficiently once cannons were available to attacking armies.

    However, Caerphilly was built by King Edward I before gun powder was being used in warfare - certainly before there were cannons. I'm looking at the picture and I can't see how that ward between the out curtain and the inner gatehouse could have been lower, originally. Either the inner bailey would have had to be lower as well (doesn't appear likely), or the road between gatehouses would have been dangerously steep - which problem Cebrion has previously addressed.

    I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm just asking for explanation. Happy

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