Created By: TotemicHero on September 9, 2011 Last Edited By: Gatomon41 on January 21, 2013
Troped

Citadel City

A city that is always defensively prepared.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs More Examples. Rolling Updates.

Frequently in fiction, your typical city tends to take the view that when it comes to defense, Crazy-Prepared is good. Very good.

In fantasy or medieval settings, such a city will always have high and thick walls, which usually (and impractically) enclose the entire city. The walls will constantly be patrolled by a sizable force of guards, who are very well armed, armored, and trained. These guards will also frequently have ready access to heavy artillery for defensive use, including catapults, ballistae, and/or even (if the setting allows it) cannons.

More modern settings will feature naturally updated defenses, from electric fences to bomb shelters. Futuristic settings will have Force Fields, automated turrets, and even more strange and novel mechanisms.

Of course, the practicality and costs of creating and maintaining these defenses will never be brought up, as well as the original reasons for creating said defenses. This usually means that these defenses vaguely imply a Crapsack World; after all, there would have to be some justification for those preparations in the first place, even if it's never explicitly stated.

If these defenses are put to the test (and they usually will be), the results will vary, depending on the work. These can range from the city being destroyed to showcase how prepared/numerous/tough the armies of the villain(s) are, to pretty much holding up to whatever gets thrown at them with little effort.

This is a subtrope of Crazy-Prepared. See also The Siege. If the defenses fall, the after effects may include Watching Troy Burn.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Tokyo-3, which has a number of defensive systems surrounding the city (namely missile systems), the Evangelions, structures that hold EVA-scale weapons and buildings that can retract underground for safety. In fact, the city was built to fend off the coming Angels.
  • SDF-1 Macross in Super Dimension Fortress Macross houses a city within itself, after accidentally taking it with them during a space fold.
    • By extension, the SDF-1 in Robotech as well.

Comic Books
  • The Megacities of Judge Dredd, which have massive defenses against infiltration from the Cursed Earth, strategic and tactical air defense, and armed forces ranging from the Judges themselves to emergency Bloc militias. And entire megacities still get wiped out.

Literature:
  • Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings is one of the key codifying examples. Unlike some, there's a clear justification for it; after all, Sauron's forces are out there.
  • The Dragonlance novels enjoy deconstructing this trope. After all, defenses such as stone walls are little good against attacks from the air, like those of dragons and flying citadels...
  • The Forgotten Realms setting has most of the cities set up like this. Phlan is the most prominent example in the novels, falling under attack several times, but holding them off each time.
  • On Gor, most city-states are built like this, with walls to keep out outsiders and gates to let people in.
  • The CoDominium novels offer a couple of science fiction examples:
    • In Falkenberg's Legions, the capital city of Harmony-Garrison. Originally settled by Christian farmers, the planet Arrarat was supposed to be a peaceful venture, so the city was not walled in. Then the Bureau of Corrections got involved, and began dumping convicts on the planet. To protect its interests, the CoDominium sent a Marines who foritified the city of Harmony, and made a fortress of Garrison attached to it.
    • In King David's Spaceship, the city of Batav is a typical example of this, due to being on a low tech world. This is not without reason; due to local climate changes, barbarians migrated and besieged the city.
  • In the Legacy of the Aldenata, major U.S. cities located in territory that was deemed indefensible against the Posleen invasion were turned into fortresses that would be able to hold out on their own while surrounded by Posleen armies. New York City was one example.
  • The Wheel of Time has Tar Valon, which is doubly well defended due to both being surrounded by walls and being situated on an island in the middle of a river. It had fallen under siege several times.
  • David Eddings' Belgariad, being set in a classic 'High Fantasy' world, has no shortage of equally-classic Castle Towns. Several of them, however, goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to being stupidly defensive:
    • The Citadel of the Algars is the only permanent structure in the Algarian grasslands - the Algars are otherwise nomadic. It's practically a man-made mountain which the Algars have been constructing nonstop for centuries - they have annual drag-boulders-to-the-Citadel competitions. Its sole purpose is to be a huge target for any invading army - there's basically nothing inside except for a huge labyrinth that anyone breaching the gate can get lost in while Algarian bowmen take potshots at them from atop the walls.
    • The City of Riva is located on a desolate, rocky island in the middle of the western sea. It covers the ONLY sizable cove where an army could land, with a huge wall. Inside, the city is build in tiers, and every house is part of he fortification - all the walls that are turned 'outwards' are built extra-sturdy and windowless, so in case of a wall-breach, every tier can become a new wall as the defenders gradually fall back to the Rivan Castle itself - which, of course, has some pretty imposing walls and defenses. The entire reason the city was built, on a previously-uninhabited island, was to protect the the Orb of Aldur. No army has ever so much as breached the outer walls... but the defenses have, on many occasions, proved less than formidable against trickery and infiltration.
  • Armengar from the first Riftwar Saga, which is a highly fortified city occupied by human settlers north of The Kingdom, frequently attacked by goblins and moredhel (dark elves).
  • The X-Wing Series establishes that Coruscant, the galaxy's capital in Star Wars, is quite thoroughly defended, with a powerful defense fleet and a double-layered planetary deflector shield grid. A major part of Wedge's Gamble is the Rogues' effort to disable the shields long enough for the New Republic to invade.
  • The Sword of Shannara had Tyrsis, the capital of Callahorn. The city had a heavy wall and thick gate plus was built into a mountain. On top of that you had the Border Legion of Callahorn guarding the city. Ultimately, the defenses are not breached through strength but by treachery. Spies within Tyrsis jam the locking mechanism to the city gates, allowing easy breaching by the vast army of the Warlock Lord. Only Shea destroying the Warlock Lord stopped the obliteration of the Border Legion and the conquest of Tyrsis.
  • E. R. Eddison's classic The Worm Ouroboros has Carce, the heavily fortified capital of Witchland, wich is described both as a citadel and a city.
  • The Last Redoubt in The Night Land, which is a massive pyramid protecting humanity from unspeakable horrors that roam the darkened Earth. To ensure their safety, an electric circle that creates an invisible barrier prohibiting any monsters from entering the Redoubt.

Tabletop Games:
  • In Magic: The Gathering, specifically the Shadowmoor block, the insanely paranoid Kithkin build all of their settlements this way.
  • Warhammer40000 has a Citadel Planet: The world of Cadia, which is located near the only stable passage to the Eye of Terror from which the Legions of Hell regularly emerge. Nearly three quarters of the population serve in the military, Child Soldiers are taught to use a gun before they learn to read, and is protected by its own fleet of spaceships. This being 40K, it still wasn't enough to prevent the forces of Chaos from taking over.

Toys
  • BIONICLE: Ta-Koro is basically a walled city inside a volcano with a sea of lava protecting it.

Video Games
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion contains Imperial City as an example of this.
  • In Age of Empires II, the AI will eventually attempt to set something like this up in longer games. However, Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors means there are a number of tricks to break through. (Assuming the AI doesn't make a mistake while building the walls.)
  • World of Warcraft has both Stormwind and Orgrimmar, both of which are walled up and heavily fortified. (Not that it did much good for either one when it came to stopping Deathwing...)
  • The Stronghold series of games easily lets you build a somewhat realistic version of this. The AI is not so good at doing the same.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kaas City on Dromund Kaas. The houses the Sith Citadel, is surrounded by numerous fortified walls of its own, and has a highly militaristic "peacekeeping" force on the inside.
  • Savannah Citadel in Sonic Unleashed. There is a huge, thick wall around the place, but the doors in are usually open as the inhabitants are peaceful and friendly to Sonic. Just not Dr. Eggman.
  • The Citadel in Mass Effect is an ancient space station that serves as the galaxy's capital. In addition to an ever-present defense fleet it can close its arms when attacked and render itself inaccessible. And now the subversion: because it's so defensible, the Citadel makes perfect bait for advanced civilizations and allows the Reapers to decapitate the galaxy's leadership in one fell swoop during their 50,000 year harvesting cycle.

Web Comics:
  • The Order of the Stick has Azure City, heavily fortified by an order of paladins and an army of guards. Despite the aid of the Order, the city falls to Xykon and Redcloak's hobgoblin armies.
  • Mechanicsburg in Girl Genius has made repelling invasions into the town sport.

Western Animation:
  • Ba Sing Se from Avatar: The Last Airbender: it actually has two walls, an outer wall to protect the farmland, and an inner wall to protect the city itself.

Real Life:
  • Most medieval and ancient cities actually did have walls with a limited number of gates, and strict rules against building outside the walls. This served an economic interest: tolls on goods brought into or out of the city was a major revenue stream in medieval times. However, the city guards were more likely to be few in number and often part-timers. And siege preparation in supplies was probably only done when necessary. Most of these cities no longer have such fortifications; Caracassonne in France is one of the few still existent examples.
  • With the advent of improved gunpowder, new star fort fortifications, designed to limit the power of cannons and the effect of sappers, replaced the old style of walled fortification for many cities. Palmanova, a town in Italy, is regarded as one of the first examples of star fort walls being used, and the fortifications still exist there today.
  • Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. It boasted a triple wall as well as a chain boom that protected its harbor. Many tried and failed to capture the city, even Attilla the Hun. Yet, Sultan Mehmet II succeeded with a different approach in 1453...with a powerful cannon designed to destroy said walls.
  • Cities deep inside the Roman and Chinese empires were often unfortified during the height of their power, it being assumed that The Empire was protecting them so well that the only reason to fortify would be as part of a plan for rebellion.
  • Cities along the Low Countries tended to be some of the most fortified in history as that was one of the nastiest battlegrounds in Europe. Sometimes rather then a city fortifying itself, a city grew up around a fortification that was already there.
  • Soviet and modern era Moscow. It's the only city in the world with a dedicated Anti-missile defense system.


Community Feedback Replies: 73
  • September 9, 2011
    JackAlsworth
    Minas Tirith (I think that's what it was called, but it's been a while), Gondor's capital in Lord Of The Rings.
  • September 9, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Duh. Should've thought of that one from the beginning. Considering it's probably the Trope Codifier and all.
  • September 9, 2011
    troacctid
    • In Magic The Gathering's Shadowmoor block, the insanely paranoid Kithkin build all of their settlements this way.
  • September 9, 2011
    JackAlsworth
    I messed around with the grammar in the last line a bit.
  • September 10, 2011
    Teddroe
    How about Salamandastron from Red Wall?

    And are we sure we want to limit this to just medieval/fantasy examples? I'm sure there are plenty of sci-fi or modern tech examples that might fall under this. In one segment of the anime movie Memories, for example, there is a city that is constantly and eternally bombarding an unnamed enemy with cannon fire.
  • September 10, 2011
    kjnoren
    Most medieval and ancient cities had walls, and strict rules against building outside the walls. The limited number of gates also served an economic interest: tolls on goods brought into or out of the city was a major revenue stream in medieval times.

    The city guards were more likely to be few in number and often parttimers. And siege preparation in supplies was probably only done when necessary.
  • September 10, 2011
    TotemicHero
    I'm pretty sure there were no actual cities in Redwall, which kind of disqualifies them.

    As for expanding it, I'm a bit reluctant to. The trope as it is refers to a specific style of defensive preparation, one that doesn't show up much elsewhere. A modern version might be its own trope though.

    Edit: Regarding the Magic The Gathering example, would that be Tabletop Games, Literature, or some other form of media? I know the whole thing comes in different forms, but I'm not familiar with it.
  • September 10, 2011
    troacctid
    Tabletop Games.

    Salamandastron is a fortress built into the core of a hollowed-out mountain; it's the home and stronghold of the badger lords and the Long Patrol. It's been the target of The Siege in several Redwall books, although because of the long timeline of the series (spanning a whole bunch of generations), its defensive capabilities and stuff have changed over time across the many sequels and prequels. I would be surprised if it didn't qualify for this trope in at least one of its appearances.

    Also, Real Life section always goes at the bottom.
  • September 10, 2011
    TotemicHero
    "Salamandastron is a fortress..."

    ...so it's not a city? Kind of required for it to be a city for this trope (as is) to apply.
  • September 12, 2011
    Chabal2
    Real Life: The city of Carcassonne in southern France is such a fortified city. Unlike many other fortified locations which were abandoned or recycled as building material, the walls are still standing today.
  • September 12, 2011
    randomsurfer
    On Gor most city-states are built like this, with walls to keep out outsiders and gates to let people in.
  • September 12, 2011
    Irrisia
    You can make these yourself in the Stronghold series of games.
  • September 12, 2011
    Ekuran
  • September 14, 2011
    TotemicHero
    I originally considered that as the name, but decided I liked the Added Alliterative Appeal of Citadel City. Could easily work as a redirect, though.
  • September 15, 2011
    Gatomon41
    • Co Dominium: Despite being set in the future, the series has had several examples:
      • In Falkenberg's Legions, Harmony-Garrison. The captial of the planet Arrarat wasn't always walled in. Originally settled by Christian farmers, the planet was supposed to be a peaceful ventuyre. Then the Bureau of Corrections got involved, and began dumping convicts on the planet. Chaos ensues. To protect its interests, the CoDominium sent a Marines who foritifed the city of Harmony, and made a fortress of Garrison attached to it.
      • In King David's Spaceship, the city of Batav is your typical Citadel City on a low tech world. With local climate changes, Barbarians have migrated and have besieged the Batav.
      • Buy the Second Empire of Mankind, any city protected by a Langston Fieldcan be this.
  • September 16, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Tweaked the laconic and description to allow for a slightly wider range of examples.

    Incidentally, that third Co Dominium example doesn't really work for it, even with the tweaks. First two are fine.
  • September 16, 2011
    azmod
    In the Posleen War Series major US cities located in territory that was deemed indefensible against the Posleen invasion were turned into fortresses that would be able to hold out on their own while surrounded by Posleen armies. New York City was one example.
  • September 16, 2011
    Gatomon41
    The Co Dominium Langston Field cities is this trope, since the Field is analogous to a medieval city wall. The fields can withstand a seige as long as the field lasts, and the only way to take over a planet is to sterlize the surrounding croplands to starve a Field-protected city out. Insteadof a typical medievial battle, its a seige involoving starships that can glass entire worlds.
  • September 17, 2011
    TotemicHero
    You seem to be missing the point. It's about a specific type of preparation for the siege. It's not "the city has something analogous to a wall", it's "the city actually has a wall".
  • September 17, 2011
    Ronka87
    Ba Sing Se from Avatar The Last Airbender-- it actually has two walls, an outer wall to protect the farmland, and an inner wall to protect the city itself.
  • September 17, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Totemic Hero: It's a variation of a Citadel City, which isn't just about walls, but about a city withstanding a seige. Technology changes, and so do warfare, and the diffintion of Defense changes with periods and times.

    Another example would have to be the Last Redoubt in The Night Land, which is a massive pyramid protecting humanity from unspeakable horrors. To ensure their safetly, a electric ciricle that creates an invisible barrier prohibiting any monsters from entering the Redoubt.
  • September 17, 2011
    TotemicHero
    I don't know whether to be amused or irritated that you're presuming to tell me (the YKTTW creator) what the trope means.

    It's not about a city withstanding a siege. It's about a city taking certain specific preparations in regards to defense, usually aimed at withstanding sieges. The actual siege isn't required (but frequently happens anyway).

    I agree I probably need to tweak the laconic again, so does anyone have any ideas for what it should say? I'm getting a little tired of arguing this point.
  • September 17, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Totemic Hero: I'm not telling you what the trope means. But you need to be open minded about variations that exist. I'm not saying you have to use them, but you have to realize that there are subversions/inversions/deviations of a trope.
  • September 18, 2011
    TotemicHero
    No offense intended, but you apparently don't know what subversions and inversions actually are. Read up on them here and here, and please remember that your examples are neither of the two. As for deviations...

    This one is still fairly flexible, even within the current definition. But trying to ignore the key requirement (that the city has walls) is just Trope Decay...before this is even launched.

    I could see "a city protected by a Force Field" as being its own trope. You may want to try making your own YKTTW for it, as a sister trope to this one.
  • September 18, 2011
    LordGro
    E. R. Eddison's classic fantasy book The Worm Ouroboros has Carce, the heavily fortified capital of Witchland, wich is described both as a citadel and a city.

    Edit: Edited to provide more detail.
  • September 18, 2011
    TairaMai
    Real Life : many modern military bases. They have shops, movie theaters, day care centers, family housing, schools and are armed to the teeth.
  • September 18, 2011
    TotemicHero
    @ Lord Gro: Can you provide a little more detail? That sounds a little too much like X Just X.

    @ Taira Mai: Those aren't cities though. For the record, I'm simply going by the rule of thumb that if the work calls it a city, it's a city. If it doesn't, then it isn't a city.

    Since we don't normally call military bases cities in real life...

    Edit: I'll launch this in two days, barring no other weirdness.
  • September 18, 2011
    TairaMai
    Added NGE's Tokyo-3. Not sure if the SDF-1 counts since technically it becomes one.
  • September 18, 2011
    TotemicHero
    It's slightly bad etiquette to edit someone else's YKTTW when Rolling Updates are in effect.

    Also, I looked up Tokyo-3, since I'm not familiar with NGE. No walls, so it doesn't count.

    And I have seen Robotech, so I'm fairly certain SDF-1 doesn't count.
  • September 19, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Totemic Hero: I do know when one is Playing With A Trope. And you need to realize that the defintion of a "Defenisve Wall" changes with technology.

    For example: Curtain Walls may have well and dandy before the age of Gunpowder. But with the advent of better gunpowder cannons and iron cannonballs, theose were done for. The walls had to be replaced by lower earthen structures capable of absorbing cannon fire. Star Forts (such as the town of Palmanova) used bastions (said lower earthen structures, shaped in a arrowhead to prevent sapping}. By your diffination, these Star Fort Cities are not even Citadel Cities because they lack your defintion of a wall.

    Not to mention you don't even mention moats, or other passive defenses.
  • September 19, 2011
    AlexIDV
    Tar Valon in the book series The Wheel Of Time.
  • September 19, 2011
    TotemicHero
    @ Gatomon: Actually, star fort defenses certainly would qualify as a wall. I'm not that limited in my views.

    But when I say walls, I don't mean some nebulous concept of "defensive walls". I mean actual, physical walls. A Force Field (which is the basis for your two contentious examples) would not count.
  • September 19, 2011
    kjnoren
    Please, chill down a bit, everyone.

    I think we have slightly different interpretations of this trope.

    First, there is the city-fortress, withstanding a siege. The Posleen War Series is like this.

    Second, there are the actually existing fortress-cities, with walls, forts, and in the best case some basic preparations. To me, these are not really tropable - they were quite common in real life.

    Third, and what I think this trope is driving at, is the Crazy Prepared version of the historical examples. The city walls and gates, and keeps them in excellent repair (the latter tended to be lacking in real life). The guards are well-trained, well-equipped, and plentiful, and backed up by a large and reasonably trained militia (in reality, the guards were not too motivated, decently equipped, and not very many, and the militia might be large, but with abysmal equipment and hardly any training). There are always a large amount of supplies in preparation for a siege or war, and vermin are kept out of the stores.

    An example of a modern citadel city is Boden in Sweden.
  • September 19, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Basically what I was getting at was somewhat of a cross between the first and the third options (with emphasis on the third). After all, The Law Of Conservation Of Detail would indicate that if a city is specifically prepared for a siege...said siege is bound to happen.

    Tweaked the description slightly to reflect that.
  • September 19, 2011
    Gatomon41
    Well, The Night Land's Great Redoubt is a walled arcology miles tall and wide, made of a strong metal and doubly protected by a "invisible wall" to keep out the various unspeakable horrors that constantly threaten the last remeants of mankind. They have a watch tower constantly on the lookout and listening. The Redoubt is so large that it houses thousands of cities, and underground has vast farmlands.

    They are constantly beseiged, and should their power source goes (which it will eventually), the darkness and horrors will come. Saying this world is a crapsack is an understatment.
  • September 19, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Again, no offense, but that isn't what you said it was before. Assuming you meant acropolis, an acropolis and a pyramid are two very different things.

    At this point, I can't really add the example without someone else verifying it, because your description is just too inconsistent for me to tell if it fits or not.
  • September 19, 2011
    Gatomon41
    Sorry, I meant arcology.

    And if you want information, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Land#The_Redoubt and the primary source: http://fiction.eserver.org/novels/nightland/chap02.html
  • September 19, 2011
    TotemicHero
    The second link isn't working for me, but going by the first link...yeah, that isn't an example of this trope.

    See this page for the historic examples, and remember that only fictional examples patterned after these, with the intent to protect the city from external attack, qualify as straight examples.
  • September 19, 2011
    Gatomon41
    Here's another link: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10662/pg10662.html, see under Chapter 2.

  • September 19, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Read that, and I'm still not seeing it. I don't know any clearer way to phrase what this trope is and isn't. All I can do is keep stating that the two examples of yours that I haven't posted fall under the "isn't" category.

    As I said, there certainly is room for a supertrope for all styles of fortifications, as well as a subtrope thereof for what you're proposing. This trope is not either of those.
  • September 19, 2011
    AFP
    Mildly curious why an energy wall (the forcefield mentioned some many comments up) and a physical wall are considered to be all that different for purposes of this trope. Tropes Are Flexible, after all.
  • September 20, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Mainly because of the justification for the defense.

    With a stone wall, there's typically no reason given for why the defenses exist until the attack comes. It's justified after the fact. If no attack comes, no justification is ever given. That's why this is related to Crazy Prepared - it's that trope, on a city-wide scale in regards to defense.

    With a force field, at least in the examples listed, there's a clear justification that applies in advance of the force field's creation. The defenses don't just exist only to be tested...there's a clear reason given for why they exist.

    In retrospect, this may be a more narrow trope than I thought in some ways, and more broad in others. I'll try reworking it a little later, and see what everyone thinks.
  • September 20, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Alright, description and laconic are tweaked to be less about the type of defenses and to be more about the rationale behind them.

    Thoughts?
  • September 20, 2011
    Gatomon41
    Alright, the article and laconic much more clear, providing a clear diffintion.

    With this, I can determine that the general Co Dominium example of the Langston Field protected cities are not enough.

    As for Crazy Prepared, Tokyo-3 and the Last Redoubt got that covered.

    Yes, The Night Land makes for difficult reading (The main details are in Chapters 2 and 3), but having vast farmlands to survive, thick metal walls for protection, a watchtower, and an additional layer of defense (an electric wall that is always on) to fight against cosmic abominations, that covers the requirement of Crazy Prepared.

    Tokyo-3 not only has emergency shelters, the skyscrapers actually retract into the ground and then the entrances covered with multiple layers of armor. And protected by giant mecha, who can rapidly ascend to the surface through a tube system, their weapons readily available in buildings still on the surface, not to mention the military forces and senors surrounding the city for its defense.
  • September 20, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Alliteration is not enough to justify the name. While "citadel" does mean a fortified place, it doesn't automatically imply having walls around it. That and the word is archaic to begin with.

    The word "fortress" does imply walls around it, though. And if you want a clever name, there are still possibilities, like Fortressville being one.
  • September 20, 2011
    TotemicHero
    @Dragon Quest Z: I'm going to guess Thread Hop applies, since I've kind of backed off on the wall thing.

    @Gatomon: I'm still on the fence about some of the examples, including yours, because the defenses were erected with an advance reason. The other point of Crazy Prepared is that the event being prepared for is highly unlikely, which typically translates to "can't see it coming".

  • September 22, 2011
    TotemicHero
    Uh...hello?
  • September 22, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Dragon Quest Z:That's just arguing schematics. Citadel City not only sounds nice, but also invokes the image of the trope. It's a good title.

    @Totemic Hero: Well, Real Life Citadel Cities were erected with the reason that there were raids and wars going on before the foundation of a city. They weren't crazy prepared just for the sole reason to be crazy prepared.
  • September 22, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Raymond E Feist's second series involved one of these. It was a city designed for defense; its streets were meant to baffle invaders so that rooftop bowmen could kill the shit out of them, and a network of tunnels loaded with explosives could kill everyone inside at a moment's notice. It was led by, as I recall, Guy Black.
  • September 23, 2011
    Sen
    Would any Swiss cities count as real-life examples of this?
  • September 23, 2011
    TotemicHero
    @Gatomon: True, but this is about cities in fiction, which have these defenses because...cities are supposed to have these defenses.

    @surgoshan: Part of The Riftwar Cycle?

    @Sen: I doubt it, but I could be wrong. Details?
  • September 23, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Totemic Hero: What about the justified examples (like Minas Tirith)?
  • September 24, 2011
    TotemicHero
    While I don't remember The Silmarillion all that well, I'm pretty sure no specific justification is given for why the city has the defense to begin with.

    Justification after the fact is fine (it's the core of Crazy Prepared). But if an advance reason is given for why the defenses exist (before the defenses are built), it's not this trope.
  • September 24, 2011
    Gatomon41
    @Totemic Hero: They built the city after the War of the Last Alliance with Sauron, not to mention the threat of invaders (Orcs, Easterlings, the Cosairs of Umbar to name a few). The information is in the Lord Of The Rings Appendixes.

    You're taking the requirement of Crazy Prepared too far. Tropes Are Flexible.

  • March 4, 2012
    CrystalBlue
    Bump
  • March 4, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    The Megacities of 2000AD / Judge Dread, which have massive defenses against infiltration from the Cursed Earth, strategic and tactical air defense, and armed forces ranging from the Judges themselves to emergency Bloc militias. And entire megacities still get wiped out.

  • March 4, 2012
    chicagomel
    Camelot in Merlin-justified, given it's a medieval setting and everyone always seems to want to attack. (Note that although the kingdom is Camelot, it also appears it's the main city in the kingdom as well, the area where the castle is.)
  • March 5, 2012
    Treblain
    The example surgoshan mentioned above is Armengar from the first Riftwar Saga, which is a highly fortified city occupied by human settlers north of The Kingdom, frequently attacked by goblins and moredhel (dark elves).

    Looking at the discussion, I think the whole "is it justified?" criteria is going overboard for this trope. That would leave out a lot of examples.

    And if someone gets around to launching this, they should remember to work it into #49 of The Grand List of Console RPG Cliches.
  • March 5, 2012
    BlackDragon
    David Eddings' Belgariad, being set in a classic 'High Fantasy' world, has no shortage of equally-classic Castle Towns. Several of them, however, goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to being stupidly defensive.

    The Citadel of the Algars is the only permanent structure in the Algarian grasslands - the Algars are otherwise nomadic. It's practically a man-made mountain which the Algars have been constructing nonstop for centuries - they have anual drag-boulders-to-the-Citadel competitions. Its sole purpose is to be a huge target for any invading army - there's basically nothing inside except for a huge labyrinth that anyone breaching the gate can get lost in while Algarian bowmen take potshots at them from atop the walls.

    The City of Riva is located on a desolate, rocky island in the middle of the western sea. It covers the ONLY sizeable cove where an army could land, with a huge wall. Inside, the city is build in tiers, and every house is part of he fortification - all the walls that are turned 'outwards' are built extra-sturdy and windowless, so in case of a wall-breach, every tier can become a new wall as the defenders gradually fall back to the Rivan Castle itself - which, of course, has some pretty imposing walls and defenses. The entire reason the city was built, on a previously-uninhabitated island, was to protect the setting's main Mac Guffin, the Orb of Aldur. No army has ever so much as breached the outer walls... but the defenses have, on NUMEROUS occasion, proved less than formidable against trickery and infiltration.
  • March 5, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    Savannah Citadel in Sonic Unleashed. There is a huge, thick wall around the place, but the doors in are usually open as the inhabitants are peaceful and friendly to Sonic. Just not Dr. Eggman.
  • March 10, 2012
    TBeholder
    Dunno... A city built around a little fortress's walls, walled over again (possibly, repeated several times) - that sounds like... oh, wait, just about all of them were for long time unless they sat on an island or something.

    So, where's the trope? The Siege is a trope because there's plot significance and typical uses in a story. "Medieval Style City Has Walls, And Those Walls Has Gates" isn't even a setting trope any more than People Sit On Chairs.
  • September 19, 2012
    Gatomon41
    I think with a little help, this article could be ready.
  • September 19, 2012
    Tallens
    • Kaas City on Dromund Kaas has the Sith Citadel, is surrounded by numerous fortified walls of its own, and has a highly militaristic "peacekeeping" force on the inside.
  • October 24, 2012
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Ta-Koro is basically a walled city inside a volcano with a sea of lava protecting it.
  • October 24, 2012
    elwoz
    "Medieval Style City has Walls which are Much Taller and Tougher than is Justified by the Apparent Risk of Invasion, and a Militia ditto" is a trope, IMNSHO; those walls and militia are expensive to keep up, and if you run out of space inside the walls you have the three-way dilemma of building new walls farther out (expensive, more area to defend), building upward instead (expensive, and can only build so high with medieval stonemasonry) or not expanding (economy stagnates, tax base goes to hell). Real medieval cities tended to neglect their walls or even pull them down to use the stone for buildings, especially if no one had invaded in a while.

    Web Comics: Mechanicsburg in Girl Genius has made repelling invasions into the town sport.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump for hats.
  • January 19, 2013
    jatay3
    Cities deep inside the Roman and Chinese empires were often unfortified during the height of their power, it being assumed that The Empire was protecting them so well that the only reason to fortify would be as part of a plan for rebellion.

    Cities along the Low Countries tended to be some of the most fortified in history as that was one of the nastiest battlegrounds in Europe.

    Sometimes rather then a city fortifying itself, a city grew up around a fortification that was already there.
  • January 19, 2013
    jatay3
    Technically the term "citadel" means "fortress within a city" not necessarily "fortress protecting a city". Often it's chief purpose was as a police station but it could also be useful for making a Last Stand if the city was actually captured.
  • January 19, 2013
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K has a Citadel Planet: the world of Cadia, which is located near the only stable passage to the Eye of Terror from which the Legions Of Hell regularly emerge. Nearly three quarters of the population serve in the military, Child Soldiers are taught to use a gun before they learn to read, and is protected by its own fleet of spaceships. This being 40K, it still wasn't enough to prevent the forces of Chaos from taking over.
  • January 19, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • The X Wing Series establishes that Coruscant, the galaxy's capital in Star Wars, is quite thoroughly defended, with a powerful defense fleet and a double-layered planetary deflector shield grid. A major part of Wedge's Gamble is the Rogues' effort to disable the shields long enough for the New Republic to invade.

    Video Games:
    • The Citadel in Mass Effect is an ancient space station that serves as the galaxy's capital. In addition to an ever-present defense fleet it can close its arms when attacked and render itself inaccessible. And now the subversion: because it's so defensible, the Citadel makes perfect bait for advanced civilizations and allows the Reapers to decapitate the galaxy's leadership in one fell swoop during their 50,000 year harvesting cycle.
  • January 19, 2013
    MaxWest
    The Sword of Shannara had Tyrsis, the capital of Callahorn. The city had a heavy wall and thick gate plus was built into a mountain. On top of that you had the Border Legion of Callahorn guarding the city. Ultimately, the defenses are not breached through strength but by treachery. Spies within Tyrsis jam the locking mechanism to the city gates, allowing easy breaching by the vast army of the Warlock Lord. Only Shea destroying the Warlock Lord stopped the obliteration of the Border Legion and the conquest of Tyrsis.

    Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, was a real-life example of a citadel city. It boasted a triple wall as well as a chain boom that protected its harbor. Many tried and failed to capture the city, even Attilla the Hun. Yet, Sultan Mehmet II succeeded with a different approach in 1453...with a powerful cannon designed to destroy said walls.
  • January 19, 2013
    Gatomon41
    With five hats, we should be ready to go. I've updated the last entries, and will Launch soon.
  • January 20, 2013
    aurora369
    Real Life: Soviet and modern era Moscow. It's the only city in the world with a dedicated missile defence system.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0hxgof88db6fl2wmlou8f33w&trope=CitadelCity