Mapmaking 101 – The many uses of stairs

Here’s another article submitted by one of our regulars (and now cherub). This time it’s Ztolk , who has listed some of the things you can do with staircases. Most of these were pioneered by himself, except for the latter two. The Palistone Walls will feature in another article submitted by Irish Stag while the last use, as batter, was dreamt up by yours truly.

In the actual game, stairs serve as only as a means of getting to the top of walls. In the scenario editor, however, they have many more uses. I will discuss all the uses known at this time in the following article.


Although the game is set in Europe, stairs can be used to make pyramids. First, place a single tile of elevation, either mid plain, high plain, or max plain.

Then, place a tile of wall on top of the elevation.

After the wall is placed, run a staircase in all four directions from the wall.

From each of those staircases, lay another staircase down to the ground until the entire area is staircase.

You should have what looks like a grey pyramid, like this picture.

This trick can also be used to create Mayan pyramids, by placing a square tower, surrounding it with walls, and running stairs from the walls to the ground.

It’s hard to see from this angle, but in those pyramids I have problems with stairs facing the wrong way.

Note that if you are using pyramids with max elevation on beach terrain, troops will not be able to climb them unless you place grass around them.


Many European castles have buildings built into the castle walls. Although the buildings in the game can not be placed inside walls, it is possible to give the outward effect. First, place a wall, either on the ground or on a row of cliffs. It must be diagonal, or else this will not work. After the wall has been placed, drag stairs down about 2 levels from each segment of wall, on each side of the wall. You will have what looks like a roof. This works better when the wall is placed on a row of cliff, because sometimes walls on the ground have problems with stairs facing the wrong way. Here is a picture:

Ladder Defence.

This is similar to roofed walls, but serves a tactical purpose. Have the stairs coming down on the outside of the wall. The closer to the ground, the better, as long as it’s not touching. When ladders scale the walls, it will be easier for archers to shoot them down. The soldier climbing up will take a slightly longer time getting up, and when he does get on the wall, the soldiers on top will have the elevation advantage. I have also seen a pikeman poking a unit on the ground while he is still on the stairs.

Wooden Walkways.

This trick was discovered by IrishStag, another member of the forums. Place a row of stairs. Damage the stairs so that they are slightly cracked. Place wooden walls over the damaged stairs. You will have wooden walls that soldiers can walk across. This makes wooden castles better looking and stronger, because wooden walls, which are stronger than stone walls, can now hold units. This can also be used as a bridge, if land is placed over water. Refer to the walls on the right.

Note there will be a separate article on creating ‘palistone’ walls.


Sloped Walls

Some medieval castles had a sloping bit at the foot of the wall, called a batter, making it both wider and harder to climb. It is possible to use stairs to create something similar in Stronghold. Here’s how

  1. place a wall
  2. place staircases coming down to one side
  3. remove first square
  4. remove all upper parts of the stair (so only tile #2 is left)
  5. add a wall on space next to it
  6. add crenelation.
  7. add moat on the other side

The problem with this method is that it’s not only quite cumbersome, it’s also dependent on the direction you view a map. In some directions it looks very silly, as it rotates the little bits of stairs 90° to the wall.

Here’s an example


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