My name is Austin

I am a writer trying to design the concept of a "perfect fortress" that can viably defend against all kinds of adversaries. However, I am in need of suggestions to improve the concept design. Before I go in to the details, I want to note that the time period is during the very early development of firearms and cannons, so they are utilized, but aren't common yet. This period is also set in a fantasy setting, where magic (like pyromancy)and fantasy creatures (like dragons) exist. However, the magic factor should be ignored, because it is a topic all on its own.

Stronghold name: The Morning Star

Brief description: Standing between the intersectional borders of four Neutral Nations, the Morning star it an 8 pointed Star Fort, which is a center of international trade, political discourse and a temporary sanctuary for asylum seekers.

This Fortress is built around a Bountiful Spring that outflows into the four rivers that run into the nations it stands between. listed below are the potential dangers it may face, along with possible solutions:

1.Land Assaults. Solution: Moats, Good Engineering, Loopholes, Machiculations, ect.

2.Air Assaults (Dragons, arial deployment, Bombardments). Solutions: Not sure, (need help)

3.Prolonged Siege. Solutions: Limited defenders, Large food stores, Secure Freshwater.

4.Natural Disasters (like earthquakes, fires or hurricanes) Solution: Good Foundational engeineering, including fireproof designs.

5.Biological Warfare Solution: Not sure, (need help)

6.Internal threats (traitors or Coercion) Solution: also, sot sure (need help)

While it is true that there is no such thing as a "Perfect Fortress", I am trying to learn about the qualities that make other fortresses strong so I may implement them into one of my own.

I gratefully welcome input on all of these Threats that this Fort may face, not just the Threats that I have no solutions for.

Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. SE's Q&A model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. SE is not a discussion forum. And you should remember the words of General Patton, "Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man." The best defense truly is a good offense. Cut off supplies and wait = fort dies. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2018 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Star forts were a new innovation in the days of firearms, but they were never designed to withstand aerial assault. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Oct 25, 2018 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ No such thing as a 'perfect' fortress. Open spaces for catapults and arbalests mean more manpower (who must be fed) needed to defend longer walls...and are also perfect landing zones for the enemy's avian dragoons. Everything is a tradeoff. The best defense saps the enemy's strengths (whatever they are) and protects the friendly's weaknesses (whatever they are). Example: All of Saurons armies and mighty fortifications availed him nothing. Minas Tirith was a vast fortress city for thousands of years...yet nearly fell in a couple days. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Oct 25, 2018 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close as this question is too broad. Attempting to even enumerate 'any other threats in a fantasy setting' would take too long. Defending against just the psychological threats is a question all its own. Defending against all threats is just too broad to be answered. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Oct 25, 2018 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


It's basically impossible to design a perfect fortress. There's always going to be some way to breach the walls or starve out the defenders. So, with that in mind, we'll see how close we can get to what you have in mind.

  1. Land assaults should be pretty easy to defend against. The star shaped dirt you're talking about is apready designed to repel cannon fire and infantry assaults, so you're already prepared for that. To make it a little harder, dig a mote and other earthworks around it, and put it in a hard to reach area, like a dense forest, or a swamp. Aerial assaults are something a bit harder to defend against, and it really depends what kind of aerial vehicles or creatures will be attacking. If dragons are the main problem, simply cover all your buildings with thick stone. Expensive, but it should protect against fire. Alternatively, you could just keep your courtyard bare, and have all the barracks and such inside the already stone walls.

  2. There's really only one solution to a siege. Make sure you have access to food and water. For the water, make sure you have a deep well inside your fortress. As far as food is concerned, you either have to store it up, or grow it. So, either invent really efficient farming techniques, or have really big storehouses.

  3. The danger of earthquakes can be mitigated by implementing construction similar to those used in Japanese castles. Basically, by using a slanted base and careful construction of layered stones, they managed to absorb the shock of earthquakes. For windstorms, I would make sure that all your buildings are of sturdy construction, or built into the sturdy walls of the fort.

  4. Treachery can only be prevented by using loyal troops and officers, and practicing good leadership. If you have the respect and loyalty of your men, then treachery isn't an issue. Mind control can only be prevented by some other fantasy element like magic or charms.

  5. Biological warfare is tricky. One thing is to prevent water contamination by ensuring your well is clean and impossible to poison by your enemy. You could also institute mandatory hand washing, or have everyone wear scarves over their mouths and noses to prevent the spread of disease. Basically, this comes down to practicing sanitary behavior, like separating the sick and the healthy, and providing healthy food to your defenders.

  6. Sorry, but there's nothing I can do here.

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    $\begingroup$ The star castle won't last too long against heavy cannon bombardment. For that, you'd need lots and lots of dirt, like a Vauban-era star fort. It also looks wide open to air attack. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2018 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ I appreciate the feedback. I'm going to remodel the post to follow the appropiate guidelines along with taking into consideration the suggestions i've already recieved. Thank you. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 17:15

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