Stephen is a former dinner theater actor, humilitarian, unemployed mascot and general home cuisine meth lab technician.
They rarely come when you're wishing for them.
Pillagers, marauders and all-around bad guys. Hopefully you at least got a new villager out of the deal.
These come at almost any time and are sometimes random.
The good news is, raids provide valuable resources and I don't even just mean for you cannibals out there.
They bring equipment, occcasionally very good equipment much earlier than you can craft it. Mostly melee weapons and armor, which is both a blessing and a curse, but that's one reason I tech toward bowyery sooner than melee.
Let's protect the town!
I start with a simple watchtower.
My Baby Watchtower
Slightly More Interesting Watchtower
This allows my archers height advantage as well as keeps the melee raiders off of them.
I make a simple one in a T-shape because it only allows one melee attacker to reach your archers at a time. Hopefully this saves lives.
Ranged raiders typically don't come until later. I usually dont fight them until after the first winter.
Later, I build a room around the staircase and expand the floor.
This keeps guys off of my archers provided I can keep them from breaking the door down.
Merlons add some protection against incoming projectiles, which may or may not save your guys from arrows.
I find the enemies that come with ranged weapons much more challenging. They spawn with ranged weapons and skill that takes your villagers quite some time to muster. It can seem unfair, but that's peasant life.
Guard Tower with Merlons
Guard Tower with Windows
They'll ruin your day.
I find keeping the melee attackers at bay while I ruin them with arrows much easier than trying to melee the enemy archers.
You'll want to be sure your walls are high enough to keep them from shooting in.
I typically remove natural stairs that allow them to get to high ground around my village. They really are the hardest thing to deal with because ranged is so powerful in Going Medieval.
Windows allow you to open/close depending on if you want to allow them to shoot in in order for you to shoot out.
Alternatively, wait until they break the door or leave it open and dare them to come inside and fight your melee villagers.
I open the interior-facing windows and let them come inside, then shoot them from behind while my sword and shield guys keep them busy.
Then there's trebuchets, but that's another matter entirely. I find those easy enough to live with. They're only going to break a few walls and mess your town up slightly.
I recommend training marksman any chance you get.
Make all marksmen hunters, even if they're bad. They'll accumulate skill eventually. Hunt everything, even wolves (carefully).
They'll go from unskilled to moderately skilled within a year or two. It's worth it.