The City-State – City Defences

This is part of the work on the City-State Organisation in Gor

In case of emergency, such as a natural disaster, an imminent attack or some other major danger, cities often have alarm bars. These are hollow metal tubes that are struck by hammers to warn the citizenry. It is unknown whether certain signals delineate certain types of emergencies.

For example, there could be one type of signal for an imminent attack while another signal concerned a city fire. Multiple alarm bars might be placed in different sections of the city to ensure that everyone hears the sounds. 

Fire within a city can be devastating but the cities have fire wagons that handle such matters. A fire wagon would be equivalent to an Earth fire truck though it is unknown how such a wagon handles fires.

Fire wagons, possibly pulled by tharlarion, race through the streets to a fire. To facilitate their movement, many buildings at intersections have rounded corners so the wagons can turn quicker. Fire wagons may bring their own supply of water to help combat the fire. It is unknown if they possess any chemical mixtures to fight fires. 

The worst disaster that can affect a city though is to be attacked and conquered by a foreign city. Thus, cities make preparations to enhance their chances of defending against such an invasion. The city walls are one important aspect of this defense.

Some cities also have moats surrounding their cities. The danger of aerial attacks is very real because of tarnsmen so tarn wire was invented to handle such a threat. Tarn wire consists of very thin wires that are stretched over a city. If a tarn strikes one of these wires, the wire will slice the bird, possibly amputating a wing or even its head.

Most cities will not place these wires in place unless there is a clear threat. A city’s Warriors are also a key component to the city’s defenses. They must be brave and skilled, able to repulse the efforts of the attackers. 

To effectively attack a city often requires siege weapons, created and manned by trained siege engineers. Siege engines are used to topple walls and gates, to attack the defenders and to place attackers into the city.

Catapults, onagers, springals and ballistae are used to launch stones, missiles, flaming oil and more at a city. A giant chain grapnel can be fired by one of these siege engines. Once it attaches to part of the city walls or gates, the engine can pull back the grapnel and destroy parts of the structure.

Siege towers, with battering rams, can be used against a city’s gates. Attackers may dig tunnels and try to bypass the city walls though the defenders are likely to dig their own tunnels to engage the attackers. Successfully attacking a city though is a difficult task, often requiring the attacker to outman the defenders by at least three to one. 

An attacker could attempt to besiege a city but that is rarely effective on Gor. Most cities contain adequate supplies of food and water to outlast a lengthy siege. Usually, the attackers will run of out supplies before the defenders. 

The most successful method to conquer a city include trickery or bribery. It is said that the legendary mercenary captain, Dietrich of Tarnburg, has captured more cities with gold than iron. 

“More gates are opened with gold than iron.”

Magicians of Gor, p.188

“It is sometimes said that any city can fall behind the walls of which can be placed a tharlarion laden with gold.”

Mercenaries of Gor, p.101

“I can take any city,” said Marlenus, “behind whose walls I can get a tarn of gold.”

Hunters of Gor, p.140

The city of Turia, a city that had never been conquered before, was captured by the Wagon Peoples in Nomads of Gor through trickery. The city of Ar was captured in Magicians of Gor by Cos through bribery and trickery, a number of citizens of Ar willing to betray the city to the Cosians. 

If you conquer a city, you often claim the spoils of war, the usual fees collected by a conqueror. The assessment of these fees is meant to remove any potential future threat the conquered city will ever be. The following is a typical set of such fees though it will vary depending on the desires of the conqueror.

The population is disarmed and possession of a weapon is made a capital offense. All of the officers in the Warrior Caste, and their families, are impaled. A thousand of the most beautiful free women are given to the conqueror’s highest officers as slaves. Thirty percent of the remaining free women will become slaves for the troops.

Seven thousand free men will become siege slaves. All of the children under twelve years old will be randomly distributed to the other free cities. This seems to support that adoption does exist on Gor. Any slaves in the city will belong to the first man to recollar them. As can be seen, such fees devastate a conquered city. 

For more information on war, see:

Back to the City-State Organisation in Gor

Written by Ubar Luther in

©2020 by Azrael Phoenix

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