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One-Shot Builder: Siege mentality on the outside siege battle map

One-Shot Builder: Siege mentality on the outside siege battle map

The Campaign Builder: Castles & Crowns Map Folio (out in August!) is a mess of cool maps to inspire your next one shot. Awesome! Here’s a siege site for a battle scene.

Campaign Builder: Castles & Crowns releases next month! Monarchs and their realms get a zillion options make your worldbuilding deeper and more immersive!

Let’s examine this versatile location for key features, draft up a random table or two, and offer up some new game mastering options. Even if you don’t use this exact map (but really, who wouldn’t?) you can still apply this article’s structure towards designing your own battle map and one-shot adventure.

What is in an Outside Siege?

A battlefield in its purest form, the outside siege battle map is the backdrop for clashes of steel and steed, errant fireballs, and rousing calls of valor. Here are a few noteworthy terrain features you might notice at first glance:

  • Central Battlefield. The battlefield isn’t simply an open plain. Deep divots pock the grassland while lines of approach are broken up by sharp wooden palisades and smoke-blinding fires.

  • Sundered Siege Weapons. Siege towers, battering rams, and mangonels litter the battlefield on fire and useless, though their work is done as the ramparts have fallen.

  • Breached Ramparts. The walls are breached! Drive forth fell riders, drive forth noble footmen, drive forth and inside to victory and to war!

Terrible Reasons to be in a Siege

Nobody loves a siege. Attacking armies would rather end them quickly so as not to waste precious resources. Defending forces would rather everyone go in peace. But, the siege is here and for whatever reason, you are too. Say, what is that reason?

  • For Desire. Whether person, place, or thing, your “heart’s desire” has pulled you into this conflict. Is what you seek on the other side of beleaguered walls or found at the siege’s bloody end?

  • For Power. You’re here to make a statement to your opponents, your allies, and bystanders near and far. You won’t back down from the challenges before you.

  • For Justice. You stand against this siege because if you don’t, who will? Many lives hang the balance and they will be decided by how you act in the battles to come.

Armies at War

A siege needs at least two sides. Those trying to break through the defenses and those manning them. Roll 2d6 on the following table (one for each column) or take your pick to populate your outside siege with on-theme forces.

d6Attacking ArmyDefending Army
1Fire and Fangs. If a single dragon can lay waste to a city’s fortifications, imagine what a host of draconic beings can do. Bring the appropriate elemental defenses.Rabble Rousers. Underequipped and ill-trained but tenacious. These forces make use of anything and everything to repel attackers, including some surprises.
2Conquering Bannermen. Hardened soldiers led by career officers. Expert use of shielding techniques and precise application of siege weaponry will win the day.Natural Order. Sylvan beings, elven clans, beasts of the forest rise up. Even the trees come alive to defend the natural order from invading forests when this army defends its home.
3Heavenly Host. Angels and celestial beings from on high. Even if you could defend from such sky-bound radiance, is it morally justified to try?Demonic Defenders. Aggressive defenders that fight to the last! Never say that fiends fight uninvested. Expect plenty of spikes and overwhelming brutality.
4Feral Forces. This army is made of mythical monsters rather than men and mer. Beware the minotaur vanguard and the manticore artillery.Seasoned Siege Veterans. This army has seen siege warfare before and has emerged every time stronger than the last. Expect exceptionally fortified ramparts, concerted defensive efforts, and unbreakable wills.
5Goblinoid War Machine. Well-organized hobgoblins command forces of tenacious bugbear infantry and ferocious goblin worg-rider cavalry.Gnomeworks & Gearcraft. This army employs ingenious designs, automaton creatures, and creative devices to defend itself, approaching problems with sidelong but logical solutions.
6Army of Darkness. The dead march in unison, on boned feet or astride phantom steeds. Fear the incorporeal undead that move unfettered through the ranks.Deceitful Defenders. Oozes and mimics strike from every corner and object while doppelgangers and other shapeshifters endeavor to turn attackers on each other or sow chaos. There is no morale to weaken, only a hunger to be sated.

Siege “Lair” Actions

By definition, a siege is an assault on a defended location. Therefore, you can make an argument that the defenders in a siege are defending their lair. So don’t these defenders deserve lair actions?

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the defenders in the siege can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects:

  • Arrow Storm. Calls for “loose!” echo from the ramparts, ushering a hail of arrows on the battlefield. All creatures in a 10-foot-wide by 60-foot-long line parallel to the siege’s ramparts must make a DC 14 DEX, taking 6d6 piercing damage on a failure or half as much damage on a success. A creature wielding a shield takes half damage on a failure and no damage on a success, but the shield is destroyed afterward, unless it is magical.

  • Call for Reinforcements. Auxiliary units fall in to reinforce the forward ranks. 2d4 + 2 creatures with a challenge rating 2 or lower enter the battlefield from the breach in the ramparts or from one end of the road. The creatures remain until they are killed or this lair action is used again.

  • Raise the Banner. Someone props up a banner pennant, inspiring nearby defenders to fight with renewed vigor. All defending creatures within 20 feet of the banner gain 11 (2d10) temporary hit points and have advantage on their first attack each turn as long as they stay within range of the banner. The banner itself has AC 11, 7 HP, and a hardness of 3. The banner lasts until it is destroyed or this lair action is used again.

Tales of the Valiant Player’s Guide and Monster Vault BOOKS are now on sale at the Kobold Store!
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about Sebastian Rombach

We can neither confirm nor deny that Sebastian is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat. His freelance contributions can be found in Tome of Beasts 2, Tome of Heroes, and more. You can roll dice with him at https://startplaying.games/gm/dontbreakthedm or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @dontbreakthedm.

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