Well, see the straight roads more of a way to quickly dispatch troops somewhere. This might be to outside the fortress or one of the gatehouses under attack for example. Meerzicht was meant to protect Westdiep and Concetron, but it's also a troop headquarters, meaning if there is trouble anywhere, soldiers would be dispatched from Meerzicht. Also, I am thinking in times of siege that they would be able to throw up barricades by for example using carts and rubble. The straight roads are the most obvious way into the city, but really, you don't want to use them in times of siege. They are meant to draw the enemy in. But as the city has several strong points (two keeps and a castle) where mayor troop concentrations are, it also means that the attacking force can suddenly find defending soldiers at his back.
And I think straight roads are really better for artillery as they need to be able to see their targets from far away. Artillery being archers, ballistas, wizards(they need to see the enemy to kill), etc.
I am not sure if I am going to move the gatehouse of the castle to the south. I think the north is more safe. There it has at least two walls before it. To the south there is only one wall in the harbor! And I want that square in front of the castle to be a bottleneck where defenders can come from all sides if the attackers didn't take their time to really lockdown the city. And locking down this city will be difficult. It can be surrounded of course, but the city of Concetron is to the southeast and if that city still stands the enemy would suddenly find a large army behind itself.
And because the castle hosts the city officials, I also wanted them to have easy access to the road system. Now they can make their grand entry over the larger roads and the big square :)
Thanks for the feedback, you are still making me think about stuff. And as you noticed I can be influenced ;)
But right now I am leaving the layout as it is, otherwise I will never finish this map. Realism is good and I think I can defend most of my choices, but this is still a fantasy map :)
It's no problem, I am like Hoel in that I like to inject a bit of real world into fantasy discussions such as this. It's easier to suspend disbelief when the stuff is grounded in realism. The only other thing I have to say is a minor nitpick. Artillery actually doesn't need to see the enemy (it's better that it doesn't because if it can, then the enemies artillery can see it too). Artillery is better with a spotter on a tower or rooftop who can direct fire without the 'big guns' becoming targets themselves.
Originally Posted by Gandwarf
Regardless though, it is a very good map. The layout is clean and easy to understand. It is also realistic enough that I seriously doubt your players will notice the discrepancies (well unless they are like us :P ). Good job.
You can't expect artillery to hit enemies on winding roads between buildings. Even archers will have a very hard time to hit enemies, unless they are basically on top of them. As soon as you get in narrow streets and between buildings your artillery is useless.
Originally Posted by Nomadic
So a straight line in the city is really better for artillery! One of the reasons why Paris got such large avenues. It would be easier for cannons and muskets to mow down the enemy.
The Parisian boulevards are meant for direct line of sight fire from short range muskets and field artillery. In a siege we're talking archers who fire indirect most of the time (for range) or direct from walls into oncoming attackers. We're also talking siege engines, from the catapult and onager to the huge trebuchets, and they fire indirectly, hurling stones and fire in arcs over the walls (one of the reasons to build high walls). The siege engines are a part of the process of besieging a fortress, trying to kill and demoralise the defenders. They are also used to breach the wall. After the wall has been breached and the attackers storm the fort, they will become less useful since the extrem inaccuracy of those weapons make them prone to hit friends and foes alike.
Defenders can use siege engines too. They were sometimes mounted on top of towers, an sometimes in courtyards. They would do much the same as the attackers weapons, trying to kill and demoralise the enemy. When the enemy forces assault the fortress, you can't very well fire into your own fortress with siege weapons, since their targets would right next to them. The defending forces would rely on infantry and archers, and sometimes cavalry (if they had long, broad and straight passages), but cavalry in confined spaces are very ineffective, the cavalry would more likely to be used for sallies and raids against the siege lines.
If you're going for a late medieval world with gunpowder weapons, the prospect becomes somewhat different.
Dispatching troops through a city is more effective on straight roads, but a fortress is not a city. A fortress is confined and can use alternate routes that the enemy can't use.For example; walls can have galleries inside them for just that purpose and reserves would be deployed and redirected for quick reinforcements in critical areas.
And Paris is a bad example since it's not a fortress or fortified city in that regard.
Take a look at some fortified city or fortress and you'll se winding, spiraling streets with lots of small courtyards forming killing grounds.
Civlian buildings in a fortress would be counter productive, but they can exist outside the fortress itself and be protected by a city wall. Military buildings would mostly be built up against the wall for protection and often very small to fit in the cramped spaces needed for defence, or they would be built into the walls, towers or other parts of the fortress itself.
But since it's your map, you should do as you please and as I said before, there can be consessions to the civilian population that wants straight roads for trade to move on.
Well, this city does have trebuchets and onagers on the walls and towers. And I agree with you those are really ineffectice once the enemy is in the city.
I was thinking more like ballistas. Even ballista-like machines that can fire hundreds of darts at once. They need to be fired into a straight line, but once fired into a troop of enemies confined in a small space they will wreak havoc. Think machinegun! Ballistas can be more easily moved as well, so they can be pulled out once the enemy gets too near. This world also has crossbows, which are very deadly even against heavily armored targets, and take almost no skill to fire (although reloading can get tricky). Although crossbows can be fired almost everywhere, ballistas certainly can't. If the enemy is too close the machine will be overrun and it can be used against you.
And Meerzicht is a fortress, but also a large city. It houses thousands of people. So yeah, they would want to be able to move about and trade as well. Being a troop headquarters it also needs to be able to very quickly dispatch troops. Either by road or by ship.
It's a fantasy world, so there's medieval technology, but also some better technology. And there are wizards. The fact even is that while most of my cities are fortified to some extent, most have never been sieged, as the wizards inside deterred many. So fortification technology might even be a bit behind, because a lot of designs have never really been tested and are more there to deter. Most of the larger cities got so big they couldn't be well defended once sieges starting happening and I used that on numerous occassions in my books. Otherwise the wizards would never have been defeated :P
Something I think we can all agree on:
Yes, the city has it flaws. But I am designing a fantasy city that should also look good. And I think it looks good this way :)
(And I think I will use some of your ideas for another fortress I am going to create, the city of Tweeberg to the south. That city has seen a lof of sieging and warfare).
I think you should go ahead, it doesn't look too unreal to break the suspension of disbelief, and there is a history to the city and the world that explains it.
Imposing harsh real-world judgement on a fantasy world is never good, but it should be in the back of ones head to weed out the more laboured justifications.
Agreed, but I am learning a lot of these discussions and they are fun. They are a way for me to try some ideas and have an audience :)
Originally Posted by Hoel
Yea, all I am trying to drill into you is that if you want to use real world rationale then you should always do your research so that you know your rationale works like you think it does. You don't have to of course, a wizard did it is perfectly valid. Just remember to separate the wizards from the researchers (they don't get along well).
That's the reason I am doing a fantasy novel. I can do bad research and blame it all on magic :P
Originally Posted by Nomadic