As I said in my last post, there was more than one way in which my setting surprised me with special ramifications and forced me to give more thought to the world I have created. Today is the second part of this small series: fortifications.
First, though, a disclaimer. I am not well-versed in the art of medieval warfare. I have basic knowledge, gathered from years of fantasy reading and from talking with those who do know what they are talking about. It has always been enough to get by in the past, because I have not been writing war-centric novels. So, if I say something stupid, please forgive me (and correct me. I live to learn!)
Now, I don't need to be a pro to figure out why thick and high stone walls are useful against an army. The problem with fortifications is when you decide to factor in magic. In my case, stone-shaping magic.
Suddenly, the castle's impressive walls don't mean so much. Any mage can make a hole in it and let his troops in. Or he could dig a tunnel and send a small team to strike at the enemy army's head.
In such a world, tacticians would've elaborated defenses to counter the magic and make forts effective. There's no way around it: it doesn't make sense to keep your fortifications exactly the same as during the Middle Ages.
I am still going through my options to counter this. Since I have two fighting faction, one which can shape wood while the other has power over stone, I may build fortifications with a thick layer of wood behind the stone walls. Small frontier villages might be up in the trees, with the cultivated fields below. The details aren't clear yet.
What I do know, however, is that magic changes the art of war, and that if I want my world to be credible, I cannot ignore the new possibilities.