Under Review Moat Cailin Application



The test I made for the towers is what I plan to use for the towers, the surrounding layout of the castle isn't official, I plan on doing what Stoop said and not limiting the layout to a square, this means adding more remains around the area, but due to limited space on my plot its difficult to do that, but the current ruins can be used as a the general idea of what the ruined towers look like. I plan to space it out more and add those 20 ruined towers, but again space on my plot is limited. I also plan to add more water, the tests terra isn't the complete terra of the area, so it will adjusted onto pasting. Im sure there will be some questions before anythings official, let me know if theres any
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Staff member
An idea: if it doesn't defy canon, maybe you could have multiple "layers" for the castle? Like an outer wall (now gone) with the remains of only a few towers here and there and then another inner wall (also gone of course) with the 3 remaining towers in this area


Donkey Lord
Staff member
Okay so my suggestion is to make a model or plan out what moat Caitlin would have looked like before it's sinking. Think about concentric layers of earthworks like Maiden Castle or other large ringforts outside or augmenting the stone walls.

Another idea is to have a strong core of the castle where the remaining castles stand that has helped keep the remaining towers standing. By this, I mean what if there's a rocky plug of some kind that is the reason moat Caitlin was chosen as a site to build the castle and to use as a cursing point from. Something similar to the development of soontagana fortress in Estonia. Using the rocky core to build artificial island extensions from that eventually sunk into the soft soil over time.
I'd be hidden beneath the soil and not necessarily have any obvious sign it's there, but it's something that could provide cool insp for the plotting and layout.


Knight of Fairmarket
Hey Sapper,

I've posted this feedback in the original thread but figured to post it again.
I'll start with two excerpts describing the Moat in the books:

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VIII
The ground under their horses' hooves was soft and wet. It fell away slowly beneath them as they rode past smoky peat fires, lines of horses, and wagons heavy-laden with hardbread and salt beef. On a stony outcrop of land higher than the surrounding country, they passed a lord's pavilion with walls of heavy sailcloth. Catelyn recognized the banner, the bull moose of the Hornwoods, brown on its dark orange field.

Just beyond, through the mists, she glimpsed the walls and towers of Moat Cailin … or what remained of them. Immense blocks of black basalt, each as large as a crofter's cottage, lay scattered and tumbled like a child's wooden blocks, half-sunk in the soft boggy soil. Nothing else remained of a curtain wall that had once stood as high as Winterfell's. The wooden keep was gone entirely, rotted away a thousand years past, with not so much as a timber to mark where it had stood. All that was left of the great stronghold of the First Men were three towers … three where there had once been twenty, if the taletellers could be believed.

The Gatehouse Tower looked sound enough, and even boasted a few feet of standing wall to either side of it. The Drunkard's Tower, off in the bog where the south and west walls had once met, leaned like a man about to spew a bellyful of wine into the gutter. And the tall, slender Children's Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called upon their nameless gods to send the hammer of the waters, had lost half its crown. It looked as if some great beast had taken a bite out of the crenellations along the tower top, and spit the rubble across the bog. All three towers were green with moss. A tree was growing out between the stones on the north side of the Gatehouse Tower, its gnarled limbs festooned with ropy white blankets of ghostskin.

"Gods have mercy," Ser Brynden exclaimed when he saw what lay before them. "This is Moat Cailin? It's no more than a—"

"—death trap," Catelyn finished. "I know how it looks, Uncle. I thought the same the first time I saw it, but Ned assured me that this ruin is more formidable than it seems. The three surviving towers command the causeway from all sides, and any enemy must pass between them. The bogs here are impenetrable, full of quicksands and suckholes and teeming with snakes. To assault any of the towers, an army would need to wade through waist-deep black muck, cross a moat full of lizard-lions, and scale walls slimy with moss, all the while exposing themselves to fire from archers in the other towers." She gave her uncle a grim smile. "And when night falls, there are said to be ghosts, cold vengeful spirits of the north who hunger for southron blood."

Ser Brynden chuckled. "Remind me not to linger here. Last I looked, I was southron myself."

A Dance with Dragons - Reek II
The Drunkard's Tower leaned as if it were about to collapse, just as it had for half a thousand years. The Children's Tower thrust into the sky as straight as a spear, but its shattered top was open to the wind and rain. The Gatehouse Tower, squat and wide, was the largest of the three, slimy with moss, a gnarled tree growing sideways from the stones of its north side, fragments of broken wall still standing to the east and west. The Karstarks took the Drunkard's Tower and the Umbers the Children's Tower, he recalled. Robb claimed the Gatehouse Tower for his own.

If he closed his eyes, he could see the banners in his mind's eye, snapping bravely in a brisk north wind. All gone now, all fallen. The wind on his cheeks was blowing from the south, and the only banners flying above the remains of Moat Cailin displayed a golden kraken on a field of black.

He was being watched. He could feel the eyes. When he looked up, he caught a glimpse of pale faces peering from behind the battlements of the Gatehouse Tower and through the broken masonry that crowned the Children's Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called down the hammer of the waters to break the lands of Westeros in two.

The only dry road through the Neck was the causeway, and the towers of Moat Cailin plugged its northern end like a cork in a bottle. The road was narrow, the ruins so positioned that any enemy coming up from the south must pass beneath and between them. To assault any of the three towers, an attacker must expose his back to arrows from the other two, whilst climbing damp stone walls festooned with streamers of slimy white ghostskin. The swampy ground beyond the causeway was impassable, an endless morass of suckholes, quicksands, and glistening green swards that looked solid to the unwary eye but turned to water the instant you trod upon them, the whole of it infested with venomous serpents and poisonous flowers and monstrous lizard lions with teeth like daggers. Just as dangerous were its people, seldom seen but always lurking, the swamp-dwellers, the frog-eaters, the mud-men. Fenn and Reed, Peat and Boggs, Cray and Quagg, Greengood and Blackmyre, those were the sorts of names they gave themselves. The ironborn called them all bog devils.

Catelyn describes the Moat as once having been a great stronghold, with walls as high as Winterfells build with massive basalt blocks, with 20 towers and a wooden keep. Much of it has fallen to ruin, with 3 out of 20 towers remaining and the rest being ruined or completely sunken into the swamp. The tests in the application do not, in my opinion, represent this description for the following reasons:
  • Massive basalt blocks | The curtain walls were made from massive basalt blocks, but are now scattered around the site. While we are limited in our ways to depict stones as large as that, the tests mostly feature small stone blocks that fail to depict the desription given.
  • The layout | Three out of twenty towers still remain; the Drunkards tower, the Children's Tower and the Gatehouse tower. The tests in the app represent a square floorplan with a total of 12 towers, which is almost half of what is described to have once been. Granted, parts of the castle would have likely sunken and overgrown beyond recognition, but the floorplan clearly marks the outline of a small square castle. This layout neither adheres to the 20 towers described nor to the description of a great stronghold. Cat also describes a moat filled with lizard lions.
  • The towers | The Gatehouse tower likely has a gate going through it, rather than beside it. Theon/Reek says that in order to assault any of the three towers you'd have to pass beneath and between the towers. Beneath could both mean literally under a tower (going through it) or below a tower (going around it). I think the name of the tower implies it's a tower gate in this instance though, since if it would have been one of two towers flanking a gate there would have been more than one gate towers and thus it wouldn't be named the Gatehouse tower. It's also an easy solution of applying the canon in both the literal and the figurative sense. The Drunkard's tower is described to be where the south and the west wall meet, but it's not located there in the test.
I advise to reconsider the layout of the castle and try and figure out how it would have functioned when it was still in it's heyday. It's unlikely the Moat has been raised in order to keep people out of the North, as it was there long before there was a unified North to speak of. Was the area around Moat Cailin always swampy or did it become that way during it's lifetime? Was it always a bottleneck to get north/south or did it only become so when the causeway was made? Was it a castle or a fortified settlement? Try to apply a layout consistent with early medieval fortifications, such as ringworks or oppida. The Moat is one of the oldest structures in Westeros, it would be a missed opportunity if the ruin would not represent that in the layout.

For reference for the stone blocks, check out the cyclopean walls of Mycenae.

Kind regards,



Was the area around Moat Cailin always swampy or did it become that way during it's lifetime? Was it always a bottleneck to get north/south or did it only become so when the causeway was made? Was it a castle or a fortified settlement? Try to apply a layout consistent with early medieval fortifications, such as ringworks or oppida.
For this bit here to be answered I feel that I must add an article with research from Historians and History Buffs alike over at the History Stack Exchange. The link here may provide some useful information in regards to the construction and fortification of certain areas in swamps and wetlands.

I especially love the description of a castle or fortification that no longer exists, except for the hilly foundations, called Soontagana in the former wetlands of Estonia. Here are some takeaways:
  • The Soontagana settlement was an inhabited fortification in Western Estonia between the 10th and 13th centuries (but perhaps as early as the 7th century), and conquered in 1215 by German crusaders (though in use for some more decades). The settlement was built in the middle of a bog on a natural limestone-base island. This was a strong and central settlement of the surrounding areas.
  • The inhabitants had to expand the limestone high on which the settlement was built, incl. raising the edges and making the slopes steeper. Around the castle, an earthen wall was built from the same material that was dug out of the foot of the castle. The resultant moat helped increase the relative height of the castle. This earthen wall was supported by a wooden framework.
  • Local and Regional medieval roads ran through the area that was once swamps and wetlands with a main connection point at Soontagana. It was a very large fortified settlement and castle that acted as an important checkpoint for many passages leading through the wetlands there.
Here are some GIS maps of the area around Soontagana from the link:


My thinking on the issue of Moat Cailin's structure after consulting the various links given on this article in the History Stack Exchange is that there may have been an inner ward and outer ward of towers. The old inner ward itself sits on a hard rock island jutting out of the wetland, with the outer ward of towers sitting on what was the terraformed land added to the island over several centuries. The outer ward of towers has sunken completely beneath the wetland and the inner ward of towers still stands on the original rock island though ruined to a great degree with only the three towers left standing. The towers being the Gate House Tower (Gatehouse Keep) in the North, the Drunkard's Tower in the Southwest, and the Children's Tower in the East are arranged like a triangle:


Hope this is helpful with your application.



I took yalls advice- Here is some mini castles for how it looked before and ruined, I also changed the gatehouse tower
/warp sapper for more


Id advice against using, 12th Century english castles in Wales, as inspo for Moat Cailin.

Moat Cailin is an ancient fortress, its inspiration should be made accordingly. We see castles of the period beeing ancient Motte and Bailey castles/Ringforts. Your castle should reflect that.

Like, look at the old section of Winterfell as we have it, or even High Garden's layout. These are ancient fortresses, and knowing how much the First Men, build ringforts their shapes make sense, beeing circular with and more additions beeing added to their central ring, afterwards. That would be smth i'd like to see.

Im not proposing an absolutely circular layout ofc, but rather smth more ancient looking for sure. Basicaly, smth along the lines of stoops proposal.
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my current design had the outer walls in a ring like shape, i can tweak it if needed but it’s going to be very ruined anyways, thanks for this suggestion I will look at it


Staff member
Hey Sapper!

We have talked about this for a while and we came to the conclusion that Moat Cailin is special enough to be done differently to an average project. Given that terra on The Neck is finished (making the ancient castle the sole focus of the project), we think that you could work on Testeros and build a mostly finished castle before us giving the approval, so it can be then ported to the main map. This would allow you to play and refine the style further towards the right path without restrictions in terms of redoings, restarts and such. It would also help us, the mod team, assist you when needed towards the end goal, as well as all the builders that could be interested on helping.

Hopefully you find this a good deal! Your current mini seems like a good starting point, feel free to begin doing a full-sized test and plans whenever you want! Also, try to incorporate the feedback that you've been given here, some of it I think was well thought out and appropiate. Make sure the castle, via its architecture and planning, gives the ancient feeling it should.​