This month, I am doing castles as the theme of my Inktober sketches. I've always been amused by the bit in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish where Wonko the Sane builds the Asylum, an inside out building to contain the world gone mad.
This is probably my first contact with this concept of an inside out structure.
However, real life shows that Wonko the Sane's Asylum isn't nuts. Apparently Julius Caesar did this in his siege craft. In a particularly interesting conflict, Caesar attacked fortification of Alesia.
|Muriel Gottrop in December 2004 from Wikipedia|
When the Gallic relief force showed up, Caesar built a second wall around his own forces and the Roman's world collapsed into a one half mile strip of land between his walls.
Most of this account was written by Caesar himself, so many of the numbers are probably inflated. It is fairly reasonable to assume that Caesar reported accurate numbers for his own forces but magnified the Gallic forces to look better. He said that there were 80,000 following Vercingetorix and the Gallic relief force numbered 250,000. This is pretty unlikely.
But what we can take from this is, Caesar only took half of the people involved captive as slaves and he literally built 2 walls at least 10 miles long.
From the prospective of gaming, we can see that a lot of historical figures do incredible things while not resorting to a scorched earth policy or glassing event. Caesar really played himself as a benevolent leader and ran a policy of forgiving his enemies. This probably explains why Vercingetorix surrendered himself. Either he though that was the best option for his followers to survive and there was a slight chance he, himself, would survive. Many of Caesar opponents killed themselves to spite him when they lost.
These sorts of examples highlight why people surrender in battles and I would totally make that concept a thing in my games if it ever came to the party surrendering. I posted about that almost a year ago. If more games incorporated an honor mechanic, it would probably happen more often.
I'll be posting maps and drawings of my ideas soon. Stay tuned.