In the story I'm working, there is a city by the lake, build upon a river delta. It has full fortifications and the landscape advantage to withstand a long siege by its enemies.

The world could be described as medieval with light magic.

The enemy is technologically advanced, but the defender has magic by its side, making the walls invulnerable. (they have expert engineers, the have invented cannon like war-machines(the don't work with gunning powder), but the walls cant break so the aim inside the city).

The attackers are trying to starve out the population of the city, poison them, invoke plagues etc. But it seems the city can overcome all the difficulties and make it through the difficult winter in which no supplies can reach from allies to help them.

So there is our traitor, what can he do to help the attackers win the siege? I'm looking for ideas.


Some more info, about the situation.

The magic the defenders use, needs the wizards to be besides the wall, touching with their palms, some big sacred symbols in the walls. They are protected under a structure.

The city could sustain itself during summer, cause reinforcements with supplies where able to pass through the enemies forces, from the lake. But the winter up here is too cold, and the lake freezes for some months.(An attack form the frozen lake has been attempted but the wizards achieved to sink many of the enemy forces into the lake).

Now the city has approximately 250.000 population(70.000 soldiers, 100 wizards, 50.000 healthy non trained armed civilians). The populations drops its number dramatically through the first months of the winter. The moral of the defenders is really hight, even after the starvation and the deaths.

After the battle in the lake, number of the attacker are approximately 250.000 soldiers with many war machines, that cannot be used successfully in most of the terrain(the delta of the river creates swamps, half of the walls of the city are behind the river).

So, we are in a situation where the attacker has also problem with the extreme cold and the lost battle. The defender is starving out but it seems as he can make it, even if that means loosing half ore more of his population. If the winter passes and the defender stands still, the attacker would retrait. The attackers want to end it now, they are afraid for more casualties during the cold winter.

The traitor is the key on swinging the game, and he is a medium-ranked official of the defenders army.

What I'm asking you is if you can think of some way the traitor, could give an extreme advantage to the attackers to break the siege, but if the defenders know the exact plan of the attackers could easily win again the battle.(let's assume the traitor is double agent)


closed as too broad by Tim B Jan 18 '17 at 15:54

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not sure if you are in the right place to ask questions that can't have a definite answer (as you stated). $\endgroup$ – r41n Jan 18 '17 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ ok, if the question is improper, i can delete it... $\endgroup$ – teorf Jan 18 '17 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ my comment was just that, a comment. I didn't mean to be rude or tell you to delete your question. I just wanted to let you know that this is not a forum where you discuss something. The things posted here should be clearly understandable questions that, hopefully, receive a satisfying answer which then should be accepted as such. $\endgroup$ – r41n Jan 18 '17 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @teorf rather than deleting try to reword it. Your first question is fine, it has mostly one definite answer: yes or no. Try a similar approach on this one. $\endgroup$ – rschpdr Jan 18 '17 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ The subject of this question is great, unfortunately at the moment it's far too broad though. We need to narrow down the number of possible answers (for example what resources does the traitor have access to?) and provide some way to rate the answers against each other. By what criteria is one answer better than another? Once that is done the question can be re-opened. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Jan 18 '17 at 15:54

The magic makes your job easier, you decide how the magic works after all. Perhaps these walls need wards to be held constantly, a task that isn't particularly draining maybe and the defenders can be expected to hold out indefinitely. Your traitor, however, could put a drug in the refreshments sent out for the ward-holders which dampens their magical ability or just sends them to sleep. If the attackers are warned which section of the wall will go down then they can have a focused attack ready and blow a hole in the wall.

This is, of course, just one option. It depends how you want your magic to work.

The traditional traitors:

  • Poison the water supply.
  • Set fire to the granary.
  • Open the gate from the inside.
  • Kill the king
  • Scare the citizens into a riot (easier with a food shortage) so the defense is weakened by the need to keep the peace inside the city too.

Really it depends on how your magic works though. I can think of many ways to bring down the walls but if they conflict with an idea you already have for your magic I would be wasting my time writing them.

Also what position does your traitor hold in the city? Is he a guard, a civilian, a mage, a high up mage?

  • $\begingroup$ I really like the "open the gate" scenario... gates are made to open and let people in, and will always be a weak spot for keeping people out - especially at night or when people aren't normally around. They would want opening the gate to be easy for daily use (peacetime) so there's a fair chance one person could physically open the gate if they can avoid the war-time guards. And if the traitor is a double agent, knowing when/where the attack happens could let the gate/courtyard become a choke-point (only a few get through at once) to funnel the attackers into traps. $\endgroup$ – Megha Jan 19 '17 at 4:52

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