The general backstory for the world I'm building is that the entire dwarven homeland in Ireland has to be quarantined after a S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-style disaster in the mid-19th Century. All 3000-3500 square km of it. Here's a quick map of the area from Google Earth; you can find it in Google Maps here.
The minimum area that has to be closed off are the hills inside the red inner circle, where reality has gone completely out to lunch. However, I think the actual quarantine line would be along the outer blue line, for a couple of reasons:
- Most of the terrain surrounding the hills inside the red circle is either peat bogs, fields or pine forests - not great terrain to hold or fight in. There are a few places on the outskirts of the bogs that would make good outposts (Roundstone in particular).
- The dwarven cities under the hills are heavily fortified, but are not completely self-sufficient. Why risk getting blown up by commandeered artillery when you can sit back and strangle the main supply lines into Killary Harbour?
- On the landward side, there's nowhere to cross the southern lake (Lough Corrib) between Galway and Cong. That and Lough Mask (the lake north of Cong) are large enough physical barriers in their own right.
That's a lot of ground to watch. So, how would the dwarves (attempt to) seal off this entire area?
- You can assume that the dwarves are humans, with similar needs to ours.
- The technology, science and engineering at their disposal is roughly on a par with ours in the 1850s.
- The main trading ports lie along Killary Harbour. However, there are smaller ones at Roundstone, Carraroe and Westport.
- I haven't fleshed out all of the monsters that the dwarves are trying to keep in this area. However, the most prominent ones are:
- Orcs. These are also functionally human, but have mutated to develop larger muscles (and therefore have larger appetites than normal humans).
- Cephaloids (humanoid squid). Basically, a sentient, pesceterian expy of the bloodsuckers from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.
- Terror birds. Because nobody wants to be eaten by a giant, carnivorous bird that should have been extinct for about 2 million years.