Castle Wars activity.

Castle Wars is a members-only Activity released by Jagex in December of 2004, but was added to the world map in the month previous to its release as a spoiler, with text explaining it was "Coming in December 2004". It is similar to Capture the Flag, but with a RuneScape twist. Please note that this is a "Safe" activity. If you die, you will not lose your items. Currently the official worlds for this activity are worlds 15, 24 and 82.


Castle Wars is found in the southwest corner of Kandarin and may be accessed via a number of ways

  • Using a Ring of duelling to teleport directly there. (Highly recommended.)
  • Travelling west from Yanille or Gu'Tanoth
  • The Balloon Transport System has an end point just northeast of the entrance.
  • By walking south-west from Ardougne.
  • Fairy ring code BKP teleports players south of the building.
  • Cross white wolf mountain and keep walking southwest. (Not recommended.)

The aim of the game is to take the enemy's standard (flag) from their castle and return it to the standard in your own castle, gaining 1 point each time. You must prevent the opposing team from taking your flag by blocking them from your castle (place barricades, lock doors or collapse tunnels underground), or by killing them. Slain players will respawn in the Starting area within the game, so both sides are constantly fighting with a near (if not totally) equal numbered team. Each game lasts for 20 minutes, and the team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. You will gain two castle wars tickets if your team wins, and one ticket if the score is tied. You will not gain more tickets if you kill another player or score a point. Castle Wars tickets are redeemable for a number of decorative armours and other rewards. For having more success in Castle Wars it is better to have a higher combat level, but lower level players can focus on the defensive measures mentioned below.

Also, be warned that there are "veterans" at this game that will take it more seriously than others. They often know all of the tricks of the game. If your team has a few of them, you're most likely going to win.

The Lobby

The castle wars lobby.

The lobby is the area where players first enter when arriving at the castle wars mini-game. With in the lobby there is a bank, and three portals colored green, blue, and red. Enter the portals will place a player into the waiting area for the next available game. Additionally within the lobby is Lanthus, who will trade Castle_Wars tickets for prizes.


The only items allowed inside the Castle Wars area are potions, runes, and combat-related items such as armour - with the exception of helmets, hats, scarves and capes. Food cannot be brought in, but bandages can be obtained within the arena - which are used to heal players, cure poison and give approximately 30% run energy. Alchemy spells cannot be used during the game. Lunar spells such as Heal Other and Cure Other can not be used during the game. Also Dwarf Multicannons cannot be brought into Castle Wars, as they are a non-combat item when unassembled. Originally, players were allowed to bring their pet cats into the arena, but after many players complained, Jagex removed this ability. Some players have noted that it is difficult to get the enemy flag when it is in possession of the enemy, for example, a level 123 Saradomin player will hold the Saradomin flag whilst being defended by other level 100's for the entire game; this can be very irritating to other players.

Unlike the Duel Arena, arrows will not be returned after each match. It is the player's responsibility to pick up any projectiles fired if they choose to do so.

Also, if players are wearing armours or prayer symbols/books of the three gods (Saradomin, Guthix, Zamorak), they will have strange effects on the wearer if they enter the wrong portal. Saradomin will turn a player into a rabbit if they are wearing a Zamorak or Guthix symbol or armour when entering his portal; Guthix will turn them into a sheep if they are wearing a Saradomin or Zamorak symbol or armour upon entering its portal; and Zamorak will turn them into an imp if they are wearing a Saradomin or Guthix symbol or armour when entering his portal. Players transformed into a rabbit, sheep or imp cannot perform any tasks. They also cannot view menu screens other than private and public chat, music and settings. However, when the waiting period elapses and the game starts the player will be turned back to normal.

The Castles

The large square formation covering most of the map is the actual arena. Inside the arena there are 2 smaller castles, one for each team. There are 4 levels to a castle. The ground floor has two outer walls facing into the arena, one with a large door that can be attacked and broken down (or barricaded by the defending team) and another with a smaller door that can be pick-locked (or locked by the defending team). The battlements on the ground floor are accessible via a staircase near the small door, and there is a catapult on top of the outer wall. Within the walls there is a staircase leading to the battlements, a staircase leading to the second level, a ladder leading to the second level, and a ladder leading to the underground passages. There are tables where climbing ropes, rocks, barricades, pickaxes, toolboxes, and explosive potions are attainable. There is a tap, 2 bucket respawns, and a tinderbox respawn. When players die, they are returned to a respawn room in the appropriate castle.

The second floor contains a passage bent at a right angle, enveloping that team's spawn room, which is only accessible to the castle's team. There is a staircase leading to the next level. Inside the spawn room there is a bandage table, a tinderbox respawn, a ladder leading to the next level, and a portal to leave the current game. If any player does so, players on the same team in the waiting room will be asked if they wish to join the current game. The first to accept takes the previous player's space.

The third floor has a small inside wall enveloping a trapdoor that leads down to that castle's spawn room. The trapdoor is only usable by that castle's team. There is a one-square-wide passage around this wall. A staircase leading to the highest level is located against one of the walls.

The highest floor contains only a standard stand, which may or may not hold that castle's team's standard, depending on whether the enemy team has taken the standard or not.

The underground passage level can be accessed by two ladders in the middle of the arena or by a ladder from either team's castle. Either castle's ladder is located at opposite ends of the underground area, each with two passages towards the central cavern. At the mouth (facing the centre area) of each passage there is a deposit of rocks which may be removed or replaced with explosive potions or pickaxes. The central area is a small castle that has two ladders leading up to the centre of the arena's ground level. This area can be used for ranging and maging.

Features of the Arena

The Catapult

One catapult is located in each team's castle's wall. Players may use the catapult if they have ammo, which they can obtain from tables on the first floor. After players have ammo, they can operate the catapult by clicking on it. A display will open up and players must then choose the X and Y coordinates of where they wish to fire; however, often the shot will not go exactly where you aim. The highest X and Y coordinates are (30,30). All players near the area of impact, regardless of which team they are on, will take damage. Catapults can be destroyed by the enemy team using a tinderbox or an explosive potion. A toolkit can fix a broken catapult. A catapult that is on fire may be put out with a bucket of water. Be careful when using the catapult, because it is possible to harm and even kill your own team-mates with it if you haven't finished the Catapult Construction quest. So be on the look out for renegade flying rocks!

Stepping Stones

These are located in the northeast and southwest points of the river. Players can jump from stepping stone to stepping stone to cross the river in the middle of the arena. The stepping stones have many uses, one main use is to escape the enemy team while capturing the flag. If the flag is dropped while standing on stepping stones it returns to the base. Players were once able to evade Ancient Magicks ice spells by crossing these stepping stones but this was recently changed so that bind spells now prevent you from crossing the stones.

Collapsible Rocks

The collapsible rocks are located in the caves below the arena. Using a pickaxe or an explosive potion, players may collapse the walls and fill the cave passageway with rocks, so that players may not pass. To get past the collapsed rocks, players must use either 2 explosive potions or a pickaxe or both. If rocks are collapsed on top of a player, he or she will die immediately. This is an excellent trick if you are running through the tunnels with the flag, as it gets rid of many chasers and blocks the rest, but they could also kill you. The best trick to use is when it's clear, put a barricade on one side of you and put one under you. Therefore, the player doesn't see it under you, and when they go to attack you they actually attack the barricade, then you can use an explosive potion on the wall, killing them.

Some useful tactics are: A player brings a Dragon Spear, another player has an explosive potion. The player with a dragon spear uses its special to push someone into the rock slide area and another player then collapses the area. Placing a barricade beneath you negates any dragon spear effect on you from another player from the opposing team. If there is a barricade beneath you, while a player tries to cross, the player will be trapped in the rock slide area, which you can either immediately collapse or slowly mine. In the caves, the most popular cave tunnel is the one on the right when coming down the ladder in a castle. The least popular is the one on the left.

Collapsible stones are also subjects to many minor bugs. For example, a player may appear to be collapsing the tunnel from inside of it, and when it collapses the player walks out unharmed. If someone dies directly when a tunnel is collapsed over them, you might see a zero over a red background.

Useful Battle Tactics

The battle tactics in Castle Wars vary.

One useful tactic is to block off the corridor going around the teams room (the one you start in). Most of the time, each team will have at least one Ancient Mage. The Ancient Mage often tries to defend the castle from potential flag stealers by freezing them with ice spells. Once frozen this gives the melee attackers a chance to finish off the helpless thieves. Sometimes the ancient mages will also have a bow to use, so they can range after freezing someone.

A strategy to counter the use of Ancient Mages lies in the reduction of the magic stat. By lowering an opponents mage level, a player is often likely to prevent them from using their higher level spells. Due to the innate high mage levels required to utilize the Ancient Magicks, almost any reduction in magic level will render an Ancient Mage useless. The most readily available magic reducing effect comes as a result of the magic attack Flames of Zamorak. However, this attack is somewhat flawed in this scenario since an Ancient Mage will in all likelihood be wearing armor that provides good magic defense. However, it may take just one hit to disable an Ancient Mage so it is well worth the slightly reduced accuracy.

Ancients are also useful underground for stopping flag capturers as they try to infiltrate the castle from the underground passages. Most of the time however people choose to use melee because it is inexpensive rather than spending money on buying runes or arrows. This is typical because most Rangers or Ancient Mages in the game consume runes very quickly, and this proves to be an issue because of how expensive most ancient or high level spells are.

Mages and rangers tend to hang on the top of the castle near the catapult where they can see enemies storming the castle. They then strike down potential threats at the safety of the wall. This however may not last long if a powerful melee shows up on the wall. Then they will attack the mages and rangers taking them down quickly because of their low defence due to robes and dragon hide armour. This has however been compromised if there are enough mages or rangers to quickly take the melee player down.

Lower level players tend to stay in the underground with a pick and collapse the tunnels with explosive potions and picks. Normally they will wait for the person to walk under the tunnel when trying to attack them, then collapse the tunnel instantly killing the other player. Other methods such as ranging them in order to lure them under the tunnel or using an ancient spell to trap them under the tunnel have been used, although not as often due to expenses.

As for flag defending, most people barricade the flag and the exit so that when a flag capturer comes they are trapped and quickly killed. Sometimes if players are quick enough in the beginning they may be able to capture the opposing teams flag room and defend it for the whole game taking the flag when it shows back up from a score. This may sometimes backfire if a low level player takes the flag. When this happens the other team will allow the player to leave the castle then take him down and take their flag and hold it. This may cause the defeat of the flag room raiding team.

Also, if nearing the end of a close game, it may be wise to attempt to stall the enemy rather than outright killing them. For example, ancient magicks or the spells bind, snare, and entangle may buy valuable time. Time for your team to either set up defenses or catch up with the enemy. Barricading the enemy castle becomes a viable tactic to prevent the enemy runner from scoring, as well as hitting them with the dragon spear's special ability, "Shove", which stuns them for five seconds. This is because they have most likely used up their resources trying to steal the flag in the first place.

Some players who perform this tactic correctly can easily win tickets. They gather a group of friends or random people, atleast 15-20. They decide which team will 'lay down' and give up there flag by letting the other team run in and grab the flag. They then go into the castle wars arena with 10 on each side. After the 20 minutes, swap roles so the winner will lose on purpose. You can easily get 8+ castle war tickets because of this.

Getting past the underground collapsible rocks are quite hard. So when entering the game bring your pickaxe. Preferably the best you can hold. Make sure you are wearing the pick and bring your weapon in your inventory. This makes it much quicker getting past the rocks if you cant be bothered to take some explosive potions.

To get into the castle without going through the doors as they are somtimes locked and barricaded. It is best to get some ropes and throw them over the battlements. This method is also used to kill the mages quickly.

The teams

To join a team, either enter the red portal (for Zamorak, God of Chaos) or the blue portal (for Saradomin, God of Wisdom). There is a possibility that the team you are trying to enter has too many people, so to keep the teams balanced you may not join it at that time. However, if you enter the green (for Guthix, God of Balance) portal, you are included in the team with the fewest number of people or is doing the worst in the game.

When you enter, you will given a Hooded cloak depending on your team, either red for Zamorak or blue for Saradomin. This cloak cannot be removed in game, and serves as an indication of which team you're on.

Waiting area

Once you join a team, you have to wait in an underground cavern until the next game starts. The Time remaining till the next game begins is displayed near the top of the screen in white print. The time to wait is always 5 minutes longer than the current game lasts, so if a game have 12 minutes left, the time to wait in the waiting area is 17 minutes. When a game has just finished, the next game will start in 5 minutes. If you need to leave, you can do so through the portal of the god's colour located inside the waiting area. Also, if you wear an item associated with a particular god in the opposite god's room you will be turned into either a sheep (if entering Guthix), rabbit (if entering Saradomin) or imp (if entering Zamorak) for the duration of your stay in the waiting room (you will be transformed back to your regular form for the game itself).


There are a number of special items that players can pick up while playing Castle Wars. These items are free and respawn immediately; however, they disappear once the game you are playing is over. (Also, if you choose to teleport back to the waiting area during a current game with these items in your inventory, you used to be able to keep them until you either entered the game and used them, or left the waiting room. However, Jagex recently changed this so the only item you keep when you exit the game is a tinderbox.)


These can be picked up on one of the tables on the 1st floor of the castles. Barricades can be placed anywhere in the arena, and they are used to "block" the opposing team, hindering their ability to capture your flag. When somebody tries to walk around the barricade, the player must manually click to walk around it, otherwise he will be stuck. If barricades are set up at the ends of the stairs, it will only allow one way direction transport; for example, if a player is going up the stairs and the other end is being blocked by barricades, the player can still go back up/down without leaving the stair's end or go through the barricade without destroying the barricade for the first time. However he/she cannot go back up/down to the stairs after leaving the stair's end, unless the barricade has been destroyed. Barricades can be destroyed by setting them on fire, by manually attacking them, or by using an explosive potion. One of the downsides to setting up barricades is that a team can only set up 10 at a time and it also blocks the way of friendly forces.

Other Useful Tools

Other tools which can be outside Castle Wars or can be obtained in Castle Wars are:

  • Bandages - Heal 10% of your total HP level (for example if your hitpoint level is 74, you get healed 7 points for every bandage), cure poison, and increase energy by 30%. Can be used on other players of the same team. Players may stock up on these greatly and become Medics for their team, breaking off and hiding near where they might be needed.
  • Climbing Ropes - Used to scale the battlements on the other team's castle. These ropes are one way (in other words you can't climb down them, only up.) and can not be cut off. Some people will sabotage the other team's wall by getting a full inventory of ropes and running to the other team's wall. They will try and set up as many ropes as they can on the wall before being attacked and killed. Some attack the catapult by setting up rope next to the enemy, climbing up and blowing the catapult up.
  • Pickaxes - For collapsing the underground cave walls to block the enemy. They are also used to clear the way through the collapsed walls. Players typically wait at the rocks and try to time their collapse perfectly as to hit a player trying to run through, although this is easier with explosive potions. Barricades may be used in combination with the walls to guarantee the player will have difficulty getting though. Some people bring their own pickaxe, like rune, to clear rocks/collapse tunnels faster.
  • Tinderboxes - For setting fire to barricades and catapults. The fires can be put out by buckets of water. It is typically good practice to have a tinderbox in your inventory regardless of your choice of "profession" in your game, whether you're a cleric, warrior, or anything else.
  • Buckets- Fill them with water at the tap and the bucket of water is usable to put out anything on fire. These are almost never used though due to the fact that they must be refilled every time they are used and the person that set the fire can easily relight it.
  • Toolkits - Used to repair broken catapults or doors.
  • Explosive potion - Used to blow up barricades, unlike tinderboxes they can only be used once. Also used to collapse the cave walls instantly, killing any person running under. If dropped, this potion explodes and deals 15 damage to the player who dropped it (not anyone else). When damaged by this potion, the player also says "Ow!". Many players commit suicide with these to regain health, or prayer.
  • Rocks - Used to fire the catapult.
  • Castlewars bracelet - Made by enchanting an emerald bracelet. The wielder will do an extra 20% of damage against a bearer of their side's flag. Castlewars bandage also heal 50% more to wielders of the bracelet (15% of health instead of 10%)


These are not official positions, they are positions given by players to their team.

  • Attackers: Players who go and get the enemy's flag and bring it back
  • Defenders: Players who defend the flag on the third floor, keeping the enemies from scoring points
  • Archers: Players that are located on the outer wall near the catapult that attack incoming enemies players using ranged/magic
  • Medics: Players who heal defenders on the third floor
  • Catapult Artillerymen: Players who attack incoming enemies using the catapult
  • Door men: Players who keep on closing the door on incoming enemies stopping them from coming in and leaving
  • Engineers: Players who set up barricades slowing enemy players down from taking the flag
  • Miners: Players who go down in the dungeon and clear the way for their team and setting up collapsible rocks on the enemies
  • Saboteurs/Sappers: Players who use Explosive potions/tinderboxes on the enemies catapult
  • Flag holder: A player who grabs their own flag after an enemy player has dropped it outside their castle and then retains it to prevent enemy possession

Flag Holding

Flag holding is a tactic used by teams to ensure that the opposing team is unable to score points. This consists of a player grabbing their own team's flag after an enemy player has dropped it outside their castle, and then holding on to it, rendering the opposing team unable to pick it up. To retrieve the flag the opposing team needs to defeat the player holding the flag and pick it up.

When the opposing team has taken a team's flag, the team waits until their enemy is outside the castle and kills them, taking their own team flag in the process (if the flag is dropped inside the castle, attempting to pick it up will result in it being moved back to the standard stand).

A player cannot go into the base when holding their team's standard (flag). This includes climbing up from the ladder underneath the supply room. Attempting to do this will result in the flag going back to the stand.

Flag-holding tactics

The flag is often taken to a corner of the field, near the stepping stones, with some players protecting the person holding the flag, as a player can be easily protected using two barricades, using the walls as defence from the other two sides.

Another tactic is to hide underground, next to the collapsible walls. The flag holder can then use an explosive potion or a pickaxe to collapse the walls when their enemies try to reach them, thus killing them. One way of using this method is by placing barricades on the spaces where a player can collapse the walls. The flag holder stands in one of the barricades, they put it down, then doesn't move. This way, if a player tries to attack the flag holder, the flag holder can simply collapse the tunnel. The attacker, having no way to move out of the way, dies. The only way they can reach the flagholder is by going around the other tunnel.

The player that holds the flag will often be someone with a high defence level and bonus, or a high level Magic or Ancient Magicks user. Defence and armour help protect the flagholder from attacks, and players with high leveled Magic or Ancient Magicks can use spells such as Entangle, Ice Burst, or[Ice Barrage to immobilize the enemy team without the need to hold a weapon. This is advantageous as they can protect themselves using Magic, whereas a player using Ranged will be unable to attack as they will be holding the flag, and a player using Melee will have their attack power compromised by holding the flag, as they will have to use the flag as their weapon (the flag gives no bonuses to Attack, Defence, Strength or Prayer, and has the same attack styles as a spear).

The player will attempt to stay alive for as long as possible, often with a group of players acting as bodyguards. Donating bandages and other supplies to the flag holder may also prove useful.

Another good tactic of holding the flag is to go to the enemy's castle, go behind the table with the barricades, and get a full stock of them. Set up two barricades on both sides of the table, and there will be no way to get attacked unless the other team destroys the barricades.

Flag Stats

Red=Taken, which means someone on either team has the flag,
Yellow=Dropped (on the ground),
Green=Safe, in proper area.


Some players have argued that flagholding stops the fun of castle wars, as it stops the game from being "Capture the Flag" and turns it into a "Hunt and Kill" game. They argue that flag-holding is basically unfair as if a high-level player gets the flag, they consider the game to be essentially over, especially if their team does not have a player of matching combat ability. However, some players consider flagholding another method of strategy used to outplay the other team, even if perceived as unfair.

Jagex has made an update to balance out the effects of flagholding by making 1 of the enchanted bracelets to a Castlewars bracelet. A castlewars bracelet works for 3 games and is then destroyed. While wearing this bracelet, players will deal 20% more damage to the holder of their flag, and bandages heal 50% more health to them.

Lag Issues

Many players have lag issues when playing Castle Wars. Immediately after getting out of the waiting room, if there are high amounts of players, there's a off chance of a auto log out for server lag-related issues.

  • To prevent this players may have 2 options.
    • 1: wait after a while until the people that log out come back in
    • 2: climb up the ladder that leads to the second floor then go back down using the staircase

Clan World

In the Clan World, Castle Wars, has lost its former glory. This is mainly due to the amount of updates that have been made, since the release of Castle Wars. At the moment, many clans still use Castle Wars, but pulls continue to decline in many clans (for Castle Wars). Unions also try to hold events here, but events generally only gather around 30-150 people, lower than TzHaar Fight Pits pulls. Although there is a decline in Castle Wars, Castle Wars does have its division in the RSB Variety Ladder, thus it still survives in the clan world.


  • Castle Wars has/had bugs in which some aspects of the game remained active once players had left the game. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Players remaining as imps, sheep or bunnies after leaving the waiting area.
    • Players still holding their team standard after a game.
    • Players having an "attack" option on other players outside of Castle Wars, despite not being able to attack anyone.
    • Players appearing as if still in the 'dead' position.
    • Players remaining poisoned after leaving the game.
  • A significant bug at the release of Castle Wars allowed players who correctly exploited it to keep bandages from the Castle Wars area. These were not considered food at the Duel Arena and could be used to beat stronger players even with "No Food" set, resulting in many players being scammed out of items. Jagex never took action against the players responsible.
  • Castle Wars games do not have random events. Players used to use Castle Wars as a random-free area in which to cast High Level Alchemy on large numbers of items without being attacked. Because of this, Jagex banned non-combat items from the game and made it impossible to cast alchemy spells on items in the battlefield. Jagex also made it impossible to bring any non-combat items into the waiting rooms. Now players may only bring potions, weapons, and armour into Castle Wars.
  • The bandage table was once located on the ground floor alongside the other tool tables. This was moved to the team's spawn room due to the fact that opposing players could effectively camp the enemy's castle with an unlimited health source.
  • For a short time, male players that entered Castle Wars would appear to be missing their head. This was soon fixed.
  • At one time, it was possible to leave the game with equipment for the next game. Players were also able to log out with materials and have them in the waiting room. Both of these have been fixed.
  • When you are logged out in the game, if you remained logged out for more than two minutes, you would appear in the waiting room once you logged in. If you log out in the waiting room, no matter the time, you will be moved to the lobby.
  • At one time the red and blue decorative armour was equivalent to Mithril. This degraded Mithril before the update, which made decorative armour equivalent to steel.
  • Because of the player having to sacrifice the helmet and cape slot to wear their team colours, the set effects of the Barrows equipment is not active during games of Castle Wars.
  • Previously, if you had HP level 99, drank a Saradomin Brew, and had the wall in the tunnels collapsed on you, you could be hit for more than 100 damage.
  • A while back, team members would appear as green dots on the minimap. It was later changed to blue to avoid confusion with friends.
  • Castle Wars can be seen using the Gnomecopters, but you only see NPC's fighting instead of a real war. The battle being played is very repetitive, and the same events repeat themselves.
  • When explosive potions were allowed to be taken to the waiting room players can drop them and take damage, however they will not die and stay in the waiting room.
  • When barricades were allowed to be taken out of the game to the waiting room players were allowed to drop them and attack them but gain no exp.
  • If you Examine the table that supplies health packs, a message will appear saying: "A table in which i can get pickaxes."
  • The messenger will appear in castle wars to give you the letter needed to start Regicide.
  • Friends can be attacked if they're on the opposing team.
  • Since the graphics update, on low detail, the bridge leading to the lobby is transparent. It can still be traversed, though.

The RuneScape Wikia has an article about Castle Wars
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