Nimbyism in HOMM (portal placement woes)

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 8 2011, 12:31

ThunderTitan wrote: PoW prisons also needed to make sure the guy inside didn't get out easily...

And seeing how the romans used to build walls around enemy fortresses to keep them in there's no reason why someone couldn't build 2 sets of walls and live in between them...

And there's also the fact that once the enemy was there on the outside they didn't really need to guard the portal anymore anyway...


1. POW prisons only had to worry about the prisoners escaping and the prisoners aren't armed. They didn't have to worry about being attacked from the outside and the inside simotaneously.

2. They didn't actually attempt to defend those walls from attack from without because the walls would be so long they wouldn't be able to garrison them effectively, so the attacking enemy would soon be on the walls peppering them with arrows while most of their army would be right down below.

3. Not if they attack simotaneously from within and without. Not hard really, both armies agree that we will attack on day 6 week of the lizard at 9.00 am.

In addition you have to remember that it's not like the inhabitants of the Heroes world mantain large standing armies. To garrison both the town, the outside side of the portal fortress and the inside would probably spread them so thin they would simply lose the town to someone attacking from another direction.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 8 2011, 14:58

Why would they attack a simple garrison from both sides, when the whole point of the garrison was to delay any army trying to do a sneak attack using the Portal until the actual town had it's army ready...

...

Actually why are we even talking about dual walls when all they need is to protect against armies coming through the portal, seeing how the army coming by land would be spotted beforehand and they could just retreat to the town (and if they wanted reinforcement through the portal for themselves they could just wreck the gates of the fort).
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Postby Mlai » Jun 8 2011, 15:52

Militarily, Slayer is correct here. A double-wall fort built all around a portal is a vulnerable fort built at greater expense, while also impeding the portal-commerce that is the entire reason you established the town/city next to the portal.

I think the best way to guard a portal is to simply erect a guarded gatehouse right in front of the portal, like so...

=====
||xxxxx0
||xxx<<0
||xxxxx0
=====

The 0's denote the portal. The arrow points to the direction something enters and exits.

A small gatehouse like this allows no space for a large army to exit and mount a siege. Only a few units can exit and fit into the small enclosure area, and with no room to maneuver.

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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 8 2011, 16:15

More then half those reasons are economic, not military...


And the fort itself impeding trade depends a lot on the size of the portal itself... (and the silk road had forts and as i recall also the great wall on it).



But you're right, as a gatehouse at the exit would be the most efficient solution (assuming only one part being the exit on the portal, but then you could just build another gatehouse on the other side).

Of course i was thinking along the lines of this, with the towers acting as living quarters for the soldiers:

Image


Or something like the great wall and it's towers:

Image
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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 8 2011, 19:31

Mlai wrote:Militarily, Slayer is correct here. A double-wall fort built all around a portal is a vulnerable fort built at greater expense, while also impeding the portal-commerce that is the entire reason you established the town/city next to the portal.

I think the best way to guard a portal is to simply erect a guarded gatehouse right in front of the portal, like so...

=====
||xxxxx0
||xxx<<0
||xxxxx0
=====

The 0's denote the portal. The arrow points to the direction something enters and exits.

A small gatehouse like this allows no space for a large army to exit and mount a siege. Only a few units can exit and fit into the small enclosure area, and with no room to maneuver.


And what happens when someone decides to deploy catapults on the other side of the portal? They know that if they fire their stones through the portal they will definately end up hitting the gatehouse, while there is nothing the people in the gatehouse can do about it because the trajectory of their own catepults means they not only are they unlikely to hit the portal but if they do it will only end up on the ground on the other side ready to be fired back at them.

Essentially it's like placing a fort in a valley when the enemy have the nearby hill, just a lot worse.

Not to mention the short distance which battering rams or giant bombs would have to travel to get to your gatehouse.
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Postby Mlai » Jun 9 2011, 2:14

You're assuming, in the battering ram/ catapult scenario, that there isn't an exact-same gatehouse built on the other side of the portal (either by the same town, or by the trade-partner town).

Look. The portal is a door. You lock doors. Yes, someone can bash or pick the lock, but given how cheap a lock is, it is just better to lock a door than have none. Same principle behind the Great Wall and Hadrian's Wall. They're low walls that are easy to scale and overcome by dedicated siege equipment, but they're built anyways because it stops an army from rampaging back and forth across open territory completely unimpeded.

You are espousing to have no lock, because just leaving the door unlocked but barricading your living room is more reliable.

As for giant bombs... if you bring giant bombs into this, then castle walls are on the whole completely useless. Why don't we just bring air force firebombing into this equation? The HOMM world is capable of it.

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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 9 2011, 6:16

Slayer of Cliffracers wrote:And what happens when someone decides to deploy catapults on the other side of the portal? They know that if they fire their stones through the portal they will definately end up hitting the gatehouse, while there is nothing the people in the gatehouse can do about it because the trajectory of their own catepults means they not only are they unlikely to hit the portal but if they do it will only end up on the ground on the other side ready to be fired back at them.

Not to mention the short distance which battering rams or giant bombs would have to travel to get to your gatehouse.



What makes you think that they could get the catapult angle to hit the walls without getting so close that a counter attack by troops would be very easy?

Or that the wall opposite the portal would be close enough for a catapult forced to fire at an angle restricted by a portal which only needs to be large enough for a few caravans to hit? That pic of the Ishtar Gate i posted doesn't show it, but the wall (if there even is one, and not just the portal with wall around it) on the other side of the opening is very far: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... 007109.jpg


And that's even ignoring the fact that the whole point of the guardhouse is to make sure the invading army doesn't have the advantage of a surprise attack on the main castle in the area... so them using catapults to destroy the one wall would give a defending force plenty of time to prepare, plus the side walls would still work so the troops on them could still kill plenty of enemies while they try to get to the other side...
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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 9 2011, 22:04

ThunderTitan wrote:What makes you think that they could get the catapult angle to hit the walls without getting so close that a counter attack by troops would be very easy?

Or that the wall opposite the portal would be close enough for a catapult forced to fire at an angle restricted by a portal which only needs to be large enough for a few caravans to hit? That pic of the Ishtar Gate i posted doesn't show it, but the wall (if there even is one, and not just the portal with wall around it) on the other side of the opening is very far: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... 007109.jpg

And that's even ignoring the fact that the whole point of the guardhouse is to make sure the invading army doesn't have the advantage of a surprise attack on the main castle in the area... so them using catapults to destroy the one wall would give a defending force plenty of time to prepare, plus the side walls would still work so the troops on them could still kill plenty of enemies while they try to get to the other side...


The catapult is on the other side of the portal, as in however many 100 miles away. It is firing it's rocks THROUGH the portal so that travelling in a trajectory they can hit an extremely close target and thus hit it with extremely great force.

The defenders have no need to march an army through the portals at all, the fact the catapults are installed doesn't indicate in any sense that they are about to be attacked, it's just a constant drain on their resources because catapults fired at such a close range will cause extremely serious damage to the enemy army and their fort.

It gets worse when you consider that because of the way that firing arcs work all the attackers have to do is place fixed defenses in front of their catapults and because of the fact that they are forced to fire on a downwards trajectory so that their rock goes through the portal at the attacking catapults are now effectively invulnrable to any return fire from the defenders (but not the reverse).
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Postby Mlai » Jun 10 2011, 1:38

Either you think all portals are as big as L'Arc de Triomphe, or you skipped junior high school physics. :|

If we account for size scaling of objects in HoMM, a portal is either the size of an average fountain, or a low-lying peasant hovel.

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 11 2011, 21:27

Mlai wrote:Either you think all portals are as big as L'Arc de Triomphe, or you skipped junior high school physics. :|

If we account for size scaling of objects in HoMM, a portal is either the size of an average fountain, or a low-lying peasant hovel.


Well obviously the portal is big enough to move catapults and dragons through.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 11 2011, 22:24

Slayer of Cliffracers wrote:Well obviously the portal is big enough to move catapults and dragons through.


But even if it's a high as L'Arc de Triomphe, the guys with the catapults would have to make sure the rocks go through the portal while still gaining altitude, because if they where already losing it whoever was on the other side could easily calculate where to put a wall to be out of reach of any missile coming out of the portal, it's pretty simple geometry... and in order to do that they'd have to place them within a range of the portal that's easy to figure out with math too... then it's just a question of firing back...


And there's still the fact that such an attack would give up any element of surprise, and thus the gatehouse would have served it's purpose to prevent a sneak attack on the castle.


And lastly even with major damage to walls the invading army would still have to deal with the killing zone between the portal and the destroyed wall... or even any arrow towers that are on the two sides of the portal, and thus can't be hit by catapults at any angle...

And that's not even mentioning all the time the defenders have to cast Fire Walls at the portal's exit.
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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 12 2011, 21:19

ThunderTitan wrote: But even if it's a high as L'Arc de Triomphe, the guys with the catapults would have to make sure the rocks go through the portal while still gaining altitude, because if they where already losing it whoever was on the other side could easily calculate where to put a wall to be out of reach of any missile coming out of the portal, it's pretty simple geometry... and in order to do that they'd have to place them within a range of the portal that's easy to figure out with math too... then it's just a question of firing back...


No because the portal is horizontal and the catapults have to fire at something called a 'firing arc' which means they go up in the air and the down. The defenders rocks have to enter at the bottom end of the portal, meaning they end up on the floor just on the other end of the portal, while the attackers rocks enter at the top end of it.

ThunderTitan wrote:And there's still the fact that such an attack would give up any element of surprise, and thus the gatehouse would have served it's purpose to prevent a sneak attack on the castle.


Not really, there is no need at all to syncronise your bombardment of the gatehouse with your attack. That people have to continually repair the damage you do and station their troops in a death-trap waiting for you to attack is more than enough reason not to place a gatehouse in front of the portal.

ThunderTitan wrote:And lastly even with major damage to walls the invading army would still have to deal with the killing zone between the portal and the destroyed wall... or even any arrow towers that are on the two sides of the portal, and thus can't be hit by catapults at any angle...


Arrow towers which can be stormed and taken over in like 1 minute just by turning around.

And what killing zone? The walls and towers and whatever else you were stupid enough to build so close to the portal don't exist.

Because you just were idiotic enough to place your fortifications within range of catapults designed to destroy fortifications at like 100 times the range.

And once again, there is no need to syncronise your bombardment of the fortification with an attack.

ThunderTitan wrote:And that's not even mentioning all the time the defenders have to cast Fire Walls at the portal's exit.


Thus depleting their mana so that patiently waiting you can see to it that when you emerge from the portal they have neither firewalls or the ability to cast any spells at all.
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Postby Mlai » Jun 13 2011, 3:10

@ Slayer:

1. You are assuming that there is no identical gatehouse on the other side of the portal, impeding the attacking catapult just as it theoretically is impeding the defending catapult. It's like saying your door only has a keyhole on 1 side.
Any political entity which uses a 2-way portal, most likely claims ownership of the entire portal, not just 1 side of it. This is the same with canals, walls, bridges, etc.

2. So... you initiate an attack on an enemy's portal gatehouse, thus alerting the enemy to your act of war... then you do nothing for weeks/months while the enemy mobilizes his entire country against your country's eventual offensive...
Yeah...

3. Arrow towers can be stormed in 1 minute... Right, because y'know, there's nothing except arrow towers to deal with on the other side of an enemy portal.
And Thunder already said the towers are not directly in front of the portal allowing you to conduct long-range catapult attacks.

4. If you know anything about RL military movements, you'd deduce as we have that any Fire Wall would be cast after a small portion of the enemy army has emerged from the portal.

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Postby MattII » Jun 13 2011, 21:58

So what happens if the defender sits catapults in a pit below ground level? They're still rising when they go through the portal, that's what.

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 19 2011, 12:45

Mlai wrote:1. You are assuming that there is no identical gatehouse on the other side of the portal, impeding the attacking catapult just as it theoretically is impeding the defending catapult. It's like saying your door only has a keyhole on 1 side.
Any political entity which uses a 2-way portal, most likely claims ownership of the entire portal, not just 1 side of it. This is the same with canals, walls, bridges, etc.


If the same entity controls both sides of the portal and is confident in it's control then why would it need to bother with this extensive set of fortifications.

Mlai wrote:2. So... you initiate an attack on an enemy's portal gatehouse, thus alerting the enemy to your act of war... then you do nothing for weeks/months while the enemy mobilizes his entire country against your country's eventual offensive...
Yeah...


You get the enemy to rush to the portal to defend it (as you level their fortifications and bombard their troops endlessly) and then you attack from another direction and take the town.

Mlai wrote:3. Arrow towers can be stormed in 1 minute... Right, because y'know, there's nothing except arrow towers to deal with on the other side of an enemy portal.
And Thunder already said the towers are not directly in front of the portal allowing you to conduct long-range catapult attacks.


They are to the side of the portal at a side angle. But they have to be close enough that they cannot simply be bypassed.

Everytying in a front arc from the portal has been reduced to rubble by your catapults.

Mlai wrote:4. If you know anything about RL military movements, you'd deduce as we have that any Fire Wall would be cast after a small portion of the enemy army has emerged from the portal.


In which case I will run troops back and forward all day until the enemy wizard is out of mana.
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Postby MattII » Jun 20 2011, 1:08

So why not just bury the portal if it's going to be that much of a danger, or build a stone-fronted rampart around it (or a double rampart even with offset gates)?

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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 20 2011, 22:37

MattII wrote:So why not just bury the portal if it's going to be that much of a danger, or build a stone-fronted rampart around it (or a double rampart even with offset gates)?


Because you want to keep the portal open so that traders can use it. It's like the solution of blowing up all your bridge.

What's worse they were left behind by the Ancients and they really have no idea how to make new portals at all.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 25 2011, 14:40

Ah Slayer...



You seem to keep forgetting that even if everything you say would actually be totally not only possible, but 100% loss free for the other side, the gatehouse would still have done it's main job, which is to delay the enemy forces while you prepare your army to either meet them on an open field or for a siege (if they outnumber you or want to minimise losses because you have enough resources to last etc.)

So building one when you can afford it helps anyway.


Slayer of Cliffracers wrote:No because the portal is horizontal and the catapults have to fire at something called a 'firing arc' which means they go up in the air and the down. The defenders rocks have to enter at the bottom end of the portal, meaning they end up on the floor just on the other end of the portal, while the attackers rocks enter at the top end of it.



Unless physics work different one each side of the portal then there's nothing to stop the defenders from firing at the same angle as the attackers, and they'd even have the advantage of being already set up... (and one would assume they'd at least have scouts on the other side of the portal to see any incoming enemy).



Not really, there is no need at all to syncronise your bombardment of the gatehouse with your attack. That people have to continually repair the damage you do and station their troops in a death-trap waiting for you to attack is more than enough reason not to place a gatehouse in front of the portal.


Why would they have to repair the damage?

You might as well say that walls of any kind are useless because they can be destroyed...

Maybe you're talking about one way portals, but then the simple answer is to place the gatehouse at the other side, being able to retreat through the portal being a great advantage.



Arrow towers which can be stormed and taken over in like 1 minute just by turning around.

And what killing zone? The walls and towers and whatever else you were stupid enough to build so close to the portal don't exist.

Because you just were idiotic enough to place your fortifications within range of catapults designed to destroy fortifications at like 100 times the range.

And once again, there is no need to syncronise your bombardment of the fortification with an attack.


Fun fact about rubble, it doesn't magically disappear. So there would still be hard to cross terrain.

As for arrow towers being taken easily... what, no one invented fortified doors and the technology to close them yet?



Thus depleting their mana so that patiently waiting you can see to it that when you emerge from the portal they have neither firewalls or the ability to cast any spells at all.


If the portal is see through then why would the mages cast firewall until they run out of mana when it's clear the enemy isnt coming?



If the same entity controls both sides of the portal and is confident in it's control then why would it need to bother with this extensive set of fortifications.


Because one of the entities could fall, and then the enemy could attempt to invade through the portal.


You get the enemy to rush to the portal to defend it (as you level their fortifications and bombard their troops endlessly) and then you attack from another direction and take the town.


So your entire strategy is to assume the enemy is stupid as hell and that the gatehouse is their main defence instead of what most small fortifications where historically, a way to delay the enemy force for you to get ready.


In which case I will run troops back and forward all day until the enemy wizard is out of mana.


So you just let your troops get killed until the other side is out of mana... yeah, i see how that's totally advantageous for you... unless you know, you don;'t outnumber them 10-1 and then you actually have to fight a whole army instead of just a bunch of mana-less mages.
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Postby Slayer of Cliffracers » Jun 29 2011, 18:17

ThunderTitan wrote:Ah Slayer...

You seem to keep forgetting that even if everything you say would actually be totally not only possible, but 100% loss free for the other side, the gatehouse would still have done it's main job, which is to delay the enemy forces while you prepare your army to either meet them on an open field or for a siege (if they outnumber you or want to minimise losses because you have enough resources to last etc.)

So building one when you can afford it helps anyway.


Dividing your forces and your resources is not exactly strategically helpful.

ThunderTitan wrote:Unless physics work different one each side of the portal then there's nothing to stop the defenders from firing at the same angle as the attackers, and they'd even have the advantage of being already set up... (and one would assume they'd at least have scouts on the other side of the portal to see any incoming enemy).


If you have a horizontal portal rather than a diagonal one then that is in no way the case. Firing at an ascending fire arc through the top of a door is a lot different from trying to fire through the door at a descending fire-arc.

And if it is a 1 way portal then there is no way to retaliate at all. They can bombard you for all eternity and there's nothing you can do about it.

ThunderTitan wrote:Why would they have to repair the damage?

You might as well say that walls of any kind are useless because they can be destroyed...

Maybe you're talking about one way portals, but then the simple answer is to place the gatehouse at the other side, being able to retreat through the portal being a great advantage.


Because otherwise the whole wall will collapse burying the entire army defending it. Why spend all that money on building walls when you could instead build a bigger army or better fortifications for your towns.

ThunderTitan wrote:Fun fact about rubble, it doesn't magically disappear. So there would still be hard to cross terrain.

As for arrow towers being taken easily... what, no one invented fortified doors and the technology to close them yet?


There is obviously no need to cross the rubble at all. One you've buried the defenders beneath the rubble you can just go around it.

ThunderTitan wrote:If the portal is see through then why would the mages cast firewall until they run out of mana when it's clear the enemy isnt coming?


The portal is obviously not see-through.

And nobody's yet considered the possibility of carrying buckets of water through the portal so that the moment that the mages cast their firewall spell then those who have already got through the portals all (several hundred perhaps) throw said water buckets at the firewall.

ThunderTitan wrote:So you just let your troops get killed until the other side is out of mana... yeah, i see how that's totally advantageous for you... unless you know, you don;'t outnumber them 10-1 and then you actually have to fight a whole army instead of just a bunch of mana-less mages.


You outnumber them a lot because they have had to divide their forces in order to defend both their town and the portal to the town.

And nothing keeps one of your mages from casting protection from fire on himself and then casting the earthquake spell on the annoying gatehouse thing. No more mages, no more firewalls.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jun 29 2011, 19:34

So basically you're arguing that there's no need to build any walls at all, because they can be countered by using all sorts of convoluted strategies or magic...

And that there's no advantage in using delay tactics against any enemies, because they'll just magically invade from all sides anyway, and then carry enough water on them to counter any fire spells...

Why not just say that the enemy can fart lightning and is immune to any damage.

Dividing your forces and your resources is not exactly strategically helpful.


Because obviously all armies are always gathered in your castle all the time and there's no such thing as a surprise attack and buying time...

If you have a horizontal portal rather than a diagonal one then that is in no way the case. Firing at an ascending fire arc through the top of a door is a lot different from trying to fire through the door at a descending fire-arc.


Why again would catapults on one side be forced to fire at a different angle then the ones on the other side?


And if it is a 1 way portal then there is no way to retaliate at all. They can bombard you for all eternity and there's nothing you can do about it.


Yesh, except know that an enemy force is going to attack soon... forts have been build for exactly that, and that's in places where there's no magical portal to bring enemy armies to your doorstep from miles away...



Because otherwise the whole wall will collapse burying the entire army defending it. Why spend all that money on building walls when you could instead build a bigger army or better fortifications for your towns.


Because it's cheaper then having to feed and house thousands of soldiers every day while they're all in the same place too, when you could allow them to go about other business while you're not under attack, and then when an enemy army tried to invade you'd have time to gather your forces...


There is obviously no need to cross the rubble at all. One you've buried the defenders beneath the rubble you can just go around it.


How do you go around rubble from a wall that pretty much covers the whole area where your army is coming out of (the portal)?



And nobody's yet considered the possibility of carrying buckets of water through the portal so that the moment that the mages cast their firewall spell then those who have already got through the portals all (several hundred perhaps) throw said water buckets at the firewall.


Not any more then you considered the possibility that one might cast the firewall spell in the middle of the enemy, or that if having a bucket of water negated the spell it would be a rather useless spell in the first place...



You outnumber them a lot because they have had to divide their forces in order to defend both their town and the portal to the town.


Fun fact about narrow corridors, they can be defended by a very small force... That's why Thermopile was such a problem for the Persians.

And once again you're assuming the enemy has 2 forces attacking at the same time, which is a big waste of effort on their part, as they would be better off just attacking with the army that's not using the portal, and not have any of their forces at a choke point, as all the things you said they could do at the portal would work just fine against fortifications without one... especially the earthquake spell.

And BTW, the earthquake spell doesn't actually hurt creatures in HoMM, never has...

And nothing keeps one of your mages from casting protection from fire on himself and then casting the earthquake spell on the annoying gatehouse thing. No more mages, no more firewalls.


Yeah, except stuff like arrows, any non-fire spells or a boot to the head...
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