Siege Weapons

Remember that battle scene at the beginning of Gladiator?  When the Romans let loose with their catapults, rock throws, ballistae and scorpions and absolutely shredded the forest the Germanic Army was hanging out in?  Yeah, that was pretty awesome.


So where are my rules for siege weapons in 3.xx?  There aren’t really any that I’ve seen.  So I’m throwing out some of my thoughts on how to run them in my quest to solidify a set of rules, so that my PCs can stop harraugning me about getting weapons mounted on their ship….but I digress.

Weapon Proficiencies 

I was thinking of divided siege weapons into two general categories, ballistae and other direct LOS weapons, and arching weapons that can go over obstacles.  Call them Catapults and Ballistae, I suppose.  I think they would fit best as Martial Weapons; any soldier worth his salt should have at least as much familiarity with these as pretty much any other common medieval weapon.

I had an idea, that the RoF for these weapons, since they are generally manned by a crew, is to make the RoF dependent on Passing Profession(Artillerist) or Profession(Siege Engineer)checks.  More complicated weapons would require more checks.  So, for instance, a scorpion might only require two checks, whereas a trebuchet might require more like ten.  Each crewman can only do one check per turn, and each weapon would have a maximum number of crew, since above a certain number they would just get in each others’ way.  I think this would work well to cover the whole “you can still fire with less people, you just fire slower”.

Once the crew has made the needed number of skill checks, then whoever in the crew is assigned as the aimer makes an attack roll as if it were a normal missile attack. Ballistae and other LoS weapons, being basically larger versions of crossbows, would be targeted against single targets and do a massive amount of damage on a hit.

I can see the arching weapons basically using the thrown weapons table; they can target a specific piece of terrain at AC 10, normal penalties apply.  I don’t really see catapults and the like being accurate enough to target a single person; you chunk at a large group of people and hope the wide area of effect of your attack gets them.

Example Weapons

Weapon                                 Damage                  Type            Range             Skill Checks            Maximum Crew

Scorpion                                2d8                            P                200 ft                     2                                2

Rock Thrower                        1d8/10 ft radius        B               250 ft                     4                                4


Debating whether allowing more crew than is needed to fire the weapon in a round, to allow some weapons to have multiple shots in a round?

Anywhoo, just some initial thoughts.


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