When taking a castle, firstly make sure that
it has a garrison. If it has one, this next section will tell
you how to take it. Later on we will deal with how to take a
castle without a garrison.
Now, when dealing with your castle, look for
ways in. Most castles have a couple of towers which are clearly
indefensible, a spot where you can hide and no-one can hit you,
and a couple of tunnels leading in. These items are most likely
to be there if the architect died or was executed after the castle
was completed. Search the castle carefully around the perimeter
and you'll probably find some without too much difficulty.
Then try to get into the castle. This isn't
so hard as it could be, but worth doing yourself so that you
know how well it got done. Dress up as someone fairly normal
who would be allowed onto the walls. You can then examine towers,
garrisons, troop rotas, when the next tournament, joust, cock-fight
or the like is going to call troops away from the walls (one
town was captured by one Earl and three soldiers in such circumstances).
You can also look at exits from ways in and see if you can use
them. You can also chat up the kitchen girls and ask if you can
bring a few friends round for a little house-party - if you get
in this way you won't need a large army.
In the event of your coming in by this route
and finding that the girls told about you and that an armed guard
is present the best course of action is to run. If you do get
in easily, take over the castle with minimum bloodshed if you
want to be kind and maximum bloodshed if you want to be heroic,
ransom anyone important for the profit and because it looks better
than stringing them up, block up the entrances which you saw,
and dispose of the kitchen girls, as they are evidently treacherous
and cannot be trusted.
If you get in but are beaten back, you should
die fighting. The second option is to be taken prisoner, and
cowards leg it. If you take the castle, you have been successful,
although trickery isn't the fairest way of doing it. But if you
get in easily and then your army of 200 is killed by the lord
and a few guards you should be ashamed of yourself. In the event
of your demise, make sure your weight is in proportion to the
wealth of your family, to ensure that your mummy can afford to
pay your weight in gold to regain your body rather than risk
it ending up at the bottom of a moat.
When attacking, try to do it in twilight.
You should be just about able to see what's happening, but the
defenders won't be able to see you too well. In broad daylight
a large army is just too obvious, and at night no one has any
idea what the bananas is going on, where the rest of the army
is, or where they are going, and the biggest joke for soldiers
is the idea of the army which, in a midnight confrontation, wipes
itself out with no losses to the other side. Alternatively you
could reverse this, pretend to attack in the middle of the night,
and let the defenders wipe themselves out in the dark, allowing
you to walk into an empty castle the following morning.
If you can become a regular at taking castles
and killing everyone inside left right and centre, you will not
be noted for your chivalry or the God-fearing decency of men
who hold the former occupants of their new castles to ransom,
but you will find it easy to take castles. Warn a castle's garrison
that in twelve hours you will be at their gates. They will leave
so fast that they may even forget to put the cat out, cancel
the milk, or wreck the castle to make things difficult for the
newcomers because they have to start by rebuilding the place.
Within a day you will be in charge of a castle with (hopefully)
a full granary, armoury, treasury and stockpile, and lots of
lovely land. The best bit is that it'll all be free, and that's
a good way to feel happy.
You can also besiege the castle, but this
can be a long job. You have to sit outside until the garrison
surrenders, and this can take a long time if the castle has good
stocks of food. Besieging a castle is a long and boring job,
best done by generals with nothing to do or youths who are just
learning how to handle an army.