D&D: Five Ways to Storm the Castle
Castles are big and fortified and hard to get into. So use these helpful tricks the next time you need to storm a castle!
Castles loom large in Dungeons & Dragons, where they can be anything from opulent displays of wealth and civilization to towering fortresses that brood ominously on the horizon.
They are often at the heart of adventures, for what is a Castle if not an above-ground addition to your extant dungeon? But the trick can be getting inside. Castles are meant to be defensible and are famously hard to get into. Unless you try a little something like this.
Perhaps the easiest way to get into a castle is to just be able to fly above the high walls and fortified crenellations littered with archers and soldiers ready to hurl boulders or hot oil down on would-be attackers. Of course, you’ll still have to watch out for archers, as they might pepper you with arrows, but even so, flight solves many of the logistical problems—if you need a lot of people to get in, often a small team flying in can open the gates to let everyone else storm the castle.
If flight seems like it carries with it the risk of being shot by arrows too much, well, first of all, you do know you’re playing D&D right? You’re gonna get shot by arrows. It’s like a rite of passage, every adventurer gets hit by a goblin with a short bow at some point. Some die because they don’t have very many hit points when it happens! But even so, if you are arrow-averse…
Then there’s always the time-honored tradition of deception and subterfuge. You can lie and claim to be castle inspectors, you might build a giant wooden horse, or use illusion magic like Mirage Arcane to make it look like the castle has moved 6 inches in the middle of the night and to try and lure everyone outside.
Treachery is different from trickery in a very important way. Trickery involves lying to get yourself inside, whereas treachery relies on turning someone inside the castle to be your ally instead. Money talks, as they say, and if you offer a guard even a half-share of treasure they might be willing to just open the gates some quiet evening. The same goes for anyone with enough authority to let you inside so you can go about the business of having your adventure.
Of course, it’s D&D, and unless those castle walls are more than 30 feet thick, you can pretty handily teleport yourself inside. You might have a little trouble getting close enough in the first place, but that’s where trickery and/or flight comes in. But there’s not just teleportation magic—we can look at fantastic magical beasts if you know where to find them.
And we close out with the one that’s a classic for a reason—and that reason is, it worked in the real world. Get yourself a trebuchet or a ballista or any of the siege weapons located in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (starting around page 255), and use them to start chipping away at those castle walls until you’ve Minecrafted your way through to the other side.