Monday, 9 January 2012

Using Warband rules for Sieges

Siege Warfare
In Redwald’s Dark Ages setting siege warfare is a very basic affair. Hillforts are the only defensive structure, and ladders and basic battering rams are the only offensive siege weapons. 

There are three main ways to take a hillfort: starvation, treachery, assault. Starving out the defenders, or gaining access by treachery can be resolved by roleplaying, but assaulting a hillfort can be played out using this additions to the Warband rules for abstract skirmishing.

For each defensive element they have to overcome attackers suffer -1 to morale. The defence elements are . . .

Hill – The hill itself, whether natural or manmade, is a defensive element and depending on how large and steep it is the attackers will suffer a penalty of -1 to -3 to their move score.

Ditch & Dyke – Getting past a ditch and dyke takes 2 rounds to negotiate during which time the attackers suffer a +1 [-1] penalty to their AC from missile attacks.

Spiked Ditch & Dyke – As well as the normal penalties for crossing a ditch and dyke, if it has also been set with sharpened wooden stakes the warband takes 1d6 dam (half dam if they make their Saving Throw).

Wooden Palisade – Without ladders, or a battering ram, the hillfort’s palisade walls are impassable. Any attackers milling around the walls are at a +1 [-1] pen to their AC from missile attackers manning the wall. Palisade Walls have 24 HP and an AC: 8. A battering ram is required to attack them, or ladders to scale them. Missile attacks at the defenders are at -2 to hit.

Gates -  The weakest point of the defences. HP 12 AC: 9. A battering ram is required to smash them open. If the defenders are expecting an attack gates are normally soaked to avoid being burnt. If the attack takes them by surprise and the doors are dry they can be burnt. After 10 rounds of burning they will be weakened (HP 6).

Gate Towers – Crude  stone or wooden towers either side of the gate, don’t add directly to the strength of the gates, but make it much more dangerous for those attacking or storming the gates. Defenders in towers are attacked at -3 to hit and gain +1 to hit and damage with missile weapons.

Ladders – Crudely made assault ladders. Each ladder requires four men to carry. If unopposed the ladders can easily be put against the palisade and used to scale it. Unopposed  4 men around can scramble over the walls. If opposed the ladders can be pushed off the wall if there are enough defenders (four to push each ladder off). If the ladder isn’t pushed off before four warriors have started scaling it, it can’t be pushed off.  The first warrior on the ladder will have to fight his way off the ladder and over the wall. Fighting from the ladders incurs a -3 pen to-hit, -1 to dam, and +2[-2] to AC. Carrying the ladders incurs a -2 move penalty, and a +1[-1] AC penalty.

Ram – A plain tree trunk requires twenty men to use it who will suffer penalties of -5 to move, +4 [-4] to AC. A ram on cart wheels with a frame to swing it from is -3 move +2[-2] AC. The same ram with a hide canopy is -3 move +1[-1] AC.  A trunk does d3 damage to gates and walls per round, a ram swung on a frame 1d6 dam per round, a ram fitted with an iron tip, or spike 2d6 dam.


  1. Along with the rules found in Sword and Magic, this is one of the rule sets with which I would try to run mass combat, and with this update, sieges.