Back at the beginning of The Taking, all people could manage to build on the shores of The Crotch were low trenches and barricades to ease the pressure of centaur and gnoll charges. The Blasted Forts were colossal in their time, some stretching for miles on end along the strands of the Red Bay. These for a long time were shored up with whatever stones could be found on the often-pebbly beaches of the bays, along with sand, waste, and lots of corpses. By tooth and nail the blasted forts were constructed and continually maintained by a constant inflow of willing new sacrifices, coming to die on the very sands where their fathers and grandfathers lay.
Purpose / Function
These early forts were designed to be thrown up fast and easily repaired. The main defense was afforded by a wide moat of emptied ground, with the removed earth piled up on the inside to create a tall levy or hill to impede charging enemies. The local trees were cleared, their wood brought back to build spiked barbicans across the ridges of the moats to further impede attack.
The moat could always be shored up with whatever junk was at hand, including fallen comrades, and the wooden fence could always be supplemented with the beams of the ship that brought the defenders here; they wouldn't need it again, as they well knew. An interesting feature was that the trenches could be arbitrarily extended parallel to the coast, or could curve inland, without much trouble, and so many peninsulae were taken by essentially barricading the whole isthmus with a wide dugout fort and the natives of the offcut cleared at leisure. These peninsulae hosted the earliest permanent land dwellings for the Southlanders, but they provided little in the way of gain or resources, and few occurred within harbors for oceanic ships.
The blasted forts are essentially a derivation of the motte-and-bailey plan, only with really long mottes and intermittent baileys for commanders and infirmaries.
The first forts were thrown up when it became apparent that the locals were not only hostile, but avidly watching the coastlines of the Crotch for invaders. For this reason, no force could sneak into port and establish anything resembling a strong hold before they would be opposed by every Immortal within several leagues. Instead, a fortress would be built of successive layers of mud and dead soldiers, the outermost wall formed of fighting men while engineers dug in behind them to create a more permanent shelter. The remains of the screening force would then retreat behind the moat and levy and spend the rest of their lives defending the crest from the ravening hoards which poured up its sloping outer side. The name Blasted Forts was slowly adopted over time as every fort began to take on the characteristic random inward bulges in their trenches which witnessed a dragon attack. A single scaly could descend on a battle line and level the barricades in an instant. The only way to repair such a breach was to commit enough forces to block it and then build a new trench in an arc around the breakage on the inside. This blasted appearance is still evident in the streets of very old cities, especially Sutyr and Fort Kypthehellaught.
The last were retired in 2050
The last were retired in 2050
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