If you keep up with news (from America if you’re not), you may have heard something about a wall. I’m not talking about current events today. I don’t want that much hate mail. Instead, Let’s talk about adventures you can drop in your campaign when an NPC is building a wall. A massive wall. The biggest. It’s gonna be huge!
- Escort quests: To build a giant wall, the logistics involved are equally massive. Materials and workers have to be moved to the build site. Food, water and other necessities have to be shipped in to the workers (unless necromancy or other shenanigans are in play).
- Defense: Usually, a huge wall is built to keep out some kind of enemy – and often they won’t sit idly by while the wall gets built. Thus, workers building the wall need protection while they labor. Sections of the wall that are already built can be attacked or undermined while defenses are concentrated on the new construction, requiring fast moving teams to counter attacks or run for reinforcements.
- Rescue / recovery: When defense fails or doesn’t arrive in time, workers can be taken captive and resources stolen. Someone needs to strike into enemy territory to recover them.
- Rounding up a workforce: Depending on the attitudes of the NPCs building the wall and the PCs themselves, recruiting a workforce can take the form of aggressive recruiting and acting as paymasters, to press-ganging the locals, to raiding for slave labor.
- Clearing a building site: It’s not easy to route a massive wall around obstacles, so sometimes the path has to go through dangerous territory. Lairs, ruins, or hostile settlements all have to be cleared, and in some cases torn down or incorporated into the wall.
Real-world reflections aside. What if giant walls in the game started a tit-for-tat strategy, whereby the enemy blocked by the wall starts breeding/magicking/making bigger monsters/weapons to get over/smash the wall? In response, the NPC wants a bigger wall or other greater defensive capacities, and then the enemy responds in kind. Rinse & repeat. Dropping the PCs into the escalating situation (on either side of the wall) could also make for some interesting scenarios–especially if they are higher in level or want to have a more cinematic experience with YUGE walls, such as:
–Helmsdeep in LOTR – top of the wall defense v. monster horde
–1st & 2nd Battles in The Great Wall – top of the wall defense using wall mechanical technology v. monster horde & weather conditions (fog)
–The Battle of Thermopylae in 300 – defense in wall (mountain) gap v. massive horde
–Omaha Beach Landing in Saving Private Ryan – attack on extreme defense of a military (rather than physical) wall
For a mythic take, see the Norse tale in which a guy walks up to the Aesir and promises to build a giant wall in a year in return for a handsome payday and Freya’s hand in marriage. Loki convinces the Aesir that they should let the guy do it, because it’s impossible so they won’t have to pay. Shenanigans ensue. The end result is a massive wall and the eight-legged horse Sleipnr. I won’t say more to avoid spoilers. 😉
It’s a very interesting tale on how some of these issues would play out in a high-magic setting. Like one where the Wizard’s Guild could just cast wall of stone a dozen times a day.
“I wonâ€™t say more to avoid spoilers. ðŸ˜‰”
Also an NC-17 rating….