I think most people are familiar with the idea of upgrading fantasy warfare to take advantage of fantasty elements. Scenes with dragons as plane substitutes and wizards spells as fantastic artillery are borderline commonplace. Even more unusual elements like tank substitutes (with Umber Hulk-type creatures as the tank) have become increasingly more common (I first came across the concept in Harry Turtledoves fantasy re-telling of WWII Darkness series). But this week I came across a tweet by someone (I’ve searched and can’t seem to find it) talking about a slime catapult.
To be clear, I think they were talking about a toy (why someone would buy a slime catapult for children is beyond me; I say this as a parent). But it got me to thinking – what if you loaded a gelatinous cube into a specailly prepped catapult? The idea was just so awesome for me that I decided to throw together a few ideas around other unexpected fantasy warfare tactics!
- Balistas firing bolts lit with small fire elementals
- Animated Armor shock troops (a little more of a problem for forces than the traditional undead shock troops); pair ’em with Helmed Horror commanders for extra intimidation!
- A keep surrounded by awakened trees and shrubs (or the blight versions) bound to defend the inhabitants (I’m totally in love with this idea…)
- Catapults of Flameskulls or better yet, bombs from flying units of groups of Flameskulls; you can use this idea for Gas Spores as well
- Froghemoths as mounted armor (the visual of this is so terrifying that I may be giggling…)
- This one might violate my rules for trying to keep things within balance, but I love the idea of using Mindwitnesses as radio stations in an army, mounted on a plinth so that they can relay orders to subcommanders (might be more balanced to use lower level psionic NPCs, but I’m trying to keep to monster manual creatures)
- A keep/castle that maintains a series of rust monsters or stench kows to be sent out to invading armies just to create chaos
- Forests that are booby-trapped with Shrekers who act as early warning systems for any invading armies (also useful in any tunnels leading in to a castle!)
- An invading army with trained xorn that burrow underneath defenses to create havoc
There are a ton of ideas in this vein! You can obviously scale these ideas down to challenge PCs working through a dungeon as well!