Siege Warfare & Buildings

A classic trope of fantasy warfare is the storming of a castle. Whether the PCs are leading brave and desperate defense of a lonely bastion against an overwhelming army of darkness, or leading the fight to overthrow the Evil Overlord and cast down his mighty fortress, a fight along the battlements can fire the imagination of a jaded player growing bored of one-on-one hacking. While historical sieges often depended more on disease and starvation for victory than anything else, the thrill for players is likely to come more in the way of bombardment and assault with an array of siege weapons, countering the massive engines of their enemies with their own.

Structures and Building Materials

It is hardly possible to talk about siege warfare and siege weapons in detail without talking about the buildings they were built to destroy. The structural strength of buildings and the damage inflicted by siege weapons is expressed in terms of structural points (SP), and the same rules apply for attacks against vehicles and even other siege weapons.

Siege weapons may instead inflict ordinary hit point damage if desired (and some are intended primarily as antipersonnel weapons), and normal attacks can damage structures and fortifications, depending on precisely what part of the structure is being attacked.

For resolving siege weapon attacks against structures and vehicles, however, structural points provide a quick and convenient method for tracking damage. Structural points and hit points should be tracked separately; the effects of damage to hp and SP to the same section overlap and do not stack.

Size: Buildings are typically comprised of sections, made up of 10- foot cubic spaces for most buildings. The AC of a structure is determined by its size, regardless of its composition: Large 4, Huge 3, Gargantuan 1, Colossal -3.

Condition: An intact building offers total cover to any creature within, though they cannot attack. Those within a building may open doors or windows to attack those outside; they still gain cover, but those outside may attack them. One successful check against the building’s break DC leaves it damaged, a second breached, and a third destroyed. Otherwise, it gains the listed condition when it suffers the appropriate amount of hp or SP damage (see Table 2-1).

Damaged: This section has numerous small cracks and holes. The AC, hardness, and break DC of this section are reduced by 2.

Breached: This section no longer provides total cover, though those within still gain cover from outside attacks. The interior of this section is treated as light rubble. All adjacent sections of this building are treated as damaged.

Destroyed: This section collapses on those within, all saving throws and ability checks gain a +2 bonus if the collapsed section is of typical construction, +5 for flimsy construction. A wooden building inflicts 1/2 damage and a hide or cloth building 1/4 damage when it collapses. The interior of this section is treated as dense rubble. All adjacent sections of this building are treated as breached.

Catching on Fire: Structures of wood, hide, or thatch may catch on fire when they suffer fire damage.

Repairs: Damaged, breached, or destroyed building sections or siege engines can be repaired as vehicle sections can (see Vehicles), though Craft (stonemasonry) or Craft (siege weapons) may replace Craft (carpentry) when appropriate. Knowledge (engineering) may also be used to aid someone using a Craft skill for repairs. Stone shape functions as wood shape to help repair stone constructions.

Table 2-1: Wall Defensive Statistics
Material Thickness (in feet)* Hardness HP (HP per inch) SP Break DC Climb DC
Paper 0.0025 0 1 (12) 0/0/1 5 30
Glass 0.04 1 1 (2) 0/0/1 10 30
Viridium$ 0.04 7 7 (15) 0/0/1 10 20
Viridium (magically strengthened) 0.04 7 7 (15) 0/0/1 10 20
Cloth 0.02 1 3 (15) 0/0/1 25 15
Darkleaf Cloth 0.02 10 5 (20) 0/0/1 30 15
Griffon Mane 0.02 1 6 (30) 0/0/1 25 15
Hide 0.04 2 7 (15) 0/0/1 23 15
Angelskin 0.04 5 3 (5) 0/0/1 13 15
Dragonhide 0.04 10 5 (10) 0/0/1 18 15
Eelhide 0.04 2 3 (5) 0/0/1 13 15
Sod 1 7 60 (5) 2/5/9 20 10
ThatchH 1 3 96 (8) 3/6/11 20 10
Wood 0.5 5 60 (10) 2/4/8 20 21
Darkwood 0.5 5 60 (10) 2/4/8 20 21
Greenwood 0.5 5 60 (10) 2/4/8 20 21
Whipwood 0.5 5 90 (15) 3/6/12 20 21
Wyroot 0.08 5 10 (10) 0/0/1 10 21
Unworked Stone 5 8 900 (15) 38/75/150 65 15
Hewn Stone 3 8 540 (15) 23/45/90 50 15
Drystone wall 1 8 90 (8) 4/8/15 15 10
Thin Masonry 0.5 8 45 (8) 2/4/8 25 20
Masonry 1 8 90 (8) 4/8/15 35 20
Superior Masonry 1 8 90 (8) 4/8/15 35 20
Reinforced Masonry 1 8 180 (15) 5/10/20 45 20
Blood Crystal 0.08 10 10 (10) 0/1/2 30 30
Iron 0.25 10 90 (30) 5/9/18 30 25
Lead 0.02 3 7 (30) 0/0/1 20 25
Adamantine 0.08 20 40 (40) 20/40/80 40 25
Alchemical Silver 0.08 8 10 (10) 0/1/2 30 25
Elysian Bronze 0.08 10 30 (30) 2/3/6 30 25
Fire-forged Steel 0.08 10 30 (30) 2/3/6 30 25
Frost-forged Steel 0.08 10 30 (30) 2/3/6 30 25
Living Steel 0.08 15 35 (35) 4/7/14 30 25
Mithral 0.08 15 30 (30) 3/6/12 30 25
Force Field 30 20 11/22/44
Magically Treated** X2 X2‡ X2 +20

*: 0.25 feet is 3 inches, 0.08 feet is 1 inch, 0.04 feet is 1/2 inch, 0.02 feet is 1/4 inch, 0.0025 is 1/32 inch

**: This may be applied to any of the other wall types.

$: Viridium is an extremely dangerous building material. Anyone climbing or touching a viridium wall (crewing a close assault siege weapon counts as touching the wall) receives an attack roll at +10 from the wall as if struck by a viridium weapon.

H: At the GM’s discretion, wolves and dire wolves may make a breath attack as a full-round action against thatch walls, automatically destroying them.

: Or an additional 50 hit points, whichever is greater

Material: The material the walls of the building are constructed from.

Thickness: A wall constructed of this material is typically this many feet thick.

Hardness: The hardness of the material.

HP (HP per inch): The number of hit points a wall of typical thickness has, as well as the hit points per inch of thickness for the material, if a wall of differing thickness is used. This is the number of hit points for a wall to be breached. To calculate the number of hit points to damage the wall, divide the hit points by 2, and to calculate the number of hit points to destroy the wall, multiply the hit points by 2.

SP: The number of Structure Points (see Siege Weapons) for a wall of typical thickness to be damaged, breached, and destroyed.

Break DC: The DC for a Strength check to break through the wall. Each doubling of the standard wall thickness increases this by +5.

Climb DC: The typical DC for a climb check on a wall of this material. This may be modified by environmental conditions or other factors at the GM’s discretion.

Ranged Siege Weapons

Siege weapons hurl massive projectiles in one of two ways: direct fire or indirect fire. Direct fire weapons launch their projectiles on a relatively flat trajectory, allowing them to more easily target moving creatures or pummel barriers directly in front of them. Indirect fire weapons launch projectiles in a high parabolic arc, typically much heavier missiles than direct fire weapons.

They may batter fortifications or bypass them entirely, their missiles arcing over intervening walls to deliver solid shot, bursts of scatter shot, or even unconventional payloads, such as incendiaries or disease-ridden offal.

Direct-fire missiles use a normal attack roll, with the normal penalty for nonproficient use. In addition, direct fire weapons suffer a -2 attack roll penalty per size category a weapon is larger than the creature aiming it.

Indirect-fire weapons use the targeting mechanic described for catapults, hereafter referred to as a targeting roll. Direct fire weapons that are stationary can be used for indirect fire, but the base DC is increased to 25.

Indirect Criticals: If the crew chief of a siege weapon rolls a natural 20 on his targeting check with an indirect fire weapon, or if a target of an indirect fire weapon rolls a natural 1 on its Reflex, the target suffers double damage and is knocked prone (a flying or swimming creature is instead treated as if bull rushed 1d6 x 10 feet, reduced by 5 feet per size category larger than Medium). In addition, if the target is smaller than the siege weapon, it is effectively entangled for 1d4 rounds as it is buried in rubble or pinned to the ground or adjacent objects. A creature can free itself from this condition with a DC 20 Strength check or Escape Artist check.

Assembling Siege Weapons: Siege weapons broken down for transport and can be reassembled on the battlefield, requiring the time and number of workers noted below. Each assembly worker must make a DC 10 Craft (siege weapons) check; if untrained, they may not take 10. Assembly can be performed with at least half the required number of workers by doubling the time required. If fewer than half are available, the weapon cannot be assembled.

Cost: The price in gp to purchase the siege weapon.

Weight: The weight of the siege weapon in pounds (or tons).

Damage: Hit point damage is indicated before the slash, structural point damage after it.

Burst: When using ammunition that affects a burst, it affects the target square and all squares within the listed radius; e.g., a trebuchet using scatter shot would affect the target square and 2 squares surrounding it in all directions.

Range: This is the weapon’s range increment. Beyond this range, attacks are made with a -2 attack roll penalty for each full range increment between the weapon and the target, up to a maximum range of 10 range increments. When using indirect fire, the weapon has a minimum range equal to 1/2 its range increment; the weapon cannot be used against targets within this range.

Aim: This is the number of full-round actions required to aim a siege weapon. A weapon with no aim number (-) does not need to be aimed.

Load: This is the number of full-round actions required to load the siege weapon.

Size: This is the size of the siege weapon.

AC: This is the weapon’s AC if attacked. A siege weapon can also be armored. The listed cost and weight should be modified as a nonhumanoid creature of the siege weapon’s size.

Hides: Stitched hides and padded leather; AC Bonus +3; hp +15; Cost 20 gp; Weight 20 lbs.

Partial Plating: Metal plating over main structure.; AC Bonus +6; hp +30; Cost 200 gp; Weight 40 lbs.

Full Plating: Metal plating over entire weapon.; AC Bonus +9; hp +45; Cost 1000 gp; Weight 60 lbs.

HP: This is the number of hit points the siege weapon possesses. Unless otherwise noted, siege weapons are primarily constructed of wood and have hardness 5. If reduced to less than half its hit points, a siege weapon gains the broken condition.

SP: This is the number of structural points the siege weapon possesses. If reduced to less than half its structural points, a siege weapon gains the broken condition.

Table 2-2: Siege Weapon Assembly
Size Time Required Workers Required
Small 1 minute 1
Medium 10 minutes 2
Large 1 hour 4
Huge 2 hours 6
Gargantuan 4 hours 8
Colossal 8 hours 12

Constructing Siege Weapons: Siege weapons are complex devices requiring a DC 20 Craft (siege weapons) skill check to build or repair. Gunpowder weapons increase the DC by 5.

Disabling Siege Weapons: Siege weapons are considered difficult devices to disarm, requiring 2d4 rounds of effort and a DC 20 Disable Device check.

Magical and Masterwork Siege Weapons: Siege weapons can be made with exceptional quality, increasing their Craft DC by 5 and costing an additional 300 gp. A masterwork siege weapon can be enchanted at twice the cost for a normal magical weapon. The enhancement bonus of a siege weapon applies to targeting rolls and SP damage, but other weapon enhancements apply only to attacks to inflict hit point damage.

Proficiency with Siege Weapons: Siege weapons are exotic weapons.

Repairs: Siege weapons can be repaired as if they were vehicles (see Vehicles) using Craft (siege weapons), including the use of magic to assist repairs.

Wheeled Weapons: Cannon and catapults usually have wheeled caissons or gun carriages to help move them into position. These wheels allow a team of draft animals to pull them at 20 feet if the weapon’s weight is less than their combined heavy load, 10 feet if less than their combined drag weight.

Ballista: Resembling a massive crossbow, a ballista’s power is provided by twisted skeins of animal sinew used as torsion springs driving a pair of adjustable arms. A string attached to both arms is winched back and a projectile loaded into a grooved slider for release. Ballistae are direct fire weapons.

Heavy: These massive engines are commonplace in castle defenses and those attacking such places and on large warships.

Light: The most common type of ballista, also called an arcuballista, is fairly maneuverable and often mounted atop towers.

Wheeled: A mobile light ballista, also called a carroballista, is mounted on a metal-plated medium wagon (see Land Vehicles). The weapon can be mounted forwards, facing over the draft team, or towed behind them facing rearward. Firing a carroballista while its team is attached requires a DC 20 Handle Animal check unless the draft animals are war-trained to prevent them from bolting in a random direction for 1d4 rounds. The carroballista’s hp and SP are separate from the wagon’s vehicle sections.

Cannon: Crafted of metal, some cast in one piece, others welded with iron bands, and either mounted in the ground or on wooden frames, cannons use gunpowder or its alchemical equivalent to propel their projectiles with great force. Cannons are direct fire weapon and have a critical modifier of x3.

Bouncing Shot: Solid shot can be fired from a cannon at a depressed angle, so as to bounce along the ground, affecting a 5-ft. wide line 20 feet long for a Small cannon, plus 20 feet per size category above Small. A DC 15 Reflex save halves damage. If a solid barrier in the area path is destroyed, it does not provide cover to creatures behind it. If not destroyed, the bouncing shot is stopped by the barrier. A bouncing shot requires the gunner to be proficient in the cannon’s use and to make a DC 10 Profession (siege engineer) check; the DC increases by 2 for every square in the line that does not have a solid surface under it.

Misfires: Cannons are somewhat unreliable, and a natural 1 on an attack roll (direct fire) or targeting roll (indirect fire) results in a misfire, expending the powder charge but not the ammunition for that shot.

Table 2-3: Cannon Misfire Result
d20 Result Effect
1-8 Misfire Cannon fails to fire and must be reloaded.
9-14 Backfire As misfire, and the crew chief is struck by alchemist’s fire; other creatures adjacent to the cannon suffer splash damage. The cannon and all adjacent squares are affected as a smokestick.
15-18 Cracked Cannon gains the broken condition. If fired, it now misfires on a natural 1 or 2, with a +5 modifier to future rolls to determine misfire results.
19-20 Explodes Cannon destroyed. Every square adjacent to the cannon is struck by a falling object of the cannon’s size and catches on fire (DC 15 Reflex save halves damage and negates catching on fire), and every square within 10 feet is affected as a smokestick and a thunderstone.

Mortars: A mortar is a short but very thick cannon designed for indirect fire. It may use solid or scatter shot but cannot perform a bouncing shot. Large or smaller mortars have a burst radius of 1; Huge or Gargantuan mortars have a burst radius of 2. Mortars have a minimum range of 100 feet. Mortars inflict triple damage on an indirect critical.

Noise and Smoke: Cannons are smoky and noisy. Any creature adjacent to a cannon becomes dazzled for 1 round after it is fired. If the cannon is larger than the creature, the duration is increased by 1 round per size category difference.

Sizes of Cannon: Cannons come in many sizes, as noted below:

Small: Also called a swivel gun, hand culverin, or pierrier, this small gun may be mounted or carried and fired from a tripod or brace but suffers a -2 penalty to hit if not braced for at least 1 full round prior to firing.

Medium: Also called a falconet, crapaudin, or demi-culverin, this light cannon is a staple.

Also called a culverin extraordinary or be mounted in naval gunports.

Gargantuan: Also called a bombard or true cannon, these heaviest of cannon can quickly reduce most fortifications to rubble.

Ribald: Also called an organ gun or weapon in the gunports of advanced warships.

Large: Also called a culverin or saker, this is the most common type of cannon.

Huge: siege cannon, these are the largest cannon that can ribaudkin, this large wooden frame mounts 12 small cannon, fused to fire in a single volley. Chiefly an antipersonnel weapon, a ribald has a maximum range of 100 feet and affects all creatures in a 100-foot cone (DC 15 Reflex half within 50 feet, no damage beyond 50 feet).

Catapult: Though the historical divide between ballista and catapult is ambiguous, catapults here are stone-throwers powered by winched arms run through torsion skeins, either single-armed like the onager or double-armed tension-torsion hybrids like the mangonel, holding their payload in a sling or cup that swings up and over the weapon when released. Catapults hurl solid or scatter shot, the latter affecting all squares within 1 square of the target. Catapults are indirect fire weapons and have a minimum range of 100 feet.

Heavy: These large onagers are the largest form of mobile artillery on most battlefields.

Light: Smaller onagers such as these are often used on the decks of ships or in smaller fortifications.

Lithobolos: A primitive sling-armed catapult, also called a lithobolos or stone-thrower. It must be dismantled to move it and reassembled in place. Its sling is only capable of firing solid projectiles, not loose shot.

Mangonel: While most catapults use a single arm through a horizontal skein, a mangonel uses two vertical skeins with a pair of torsion bow arms harnessed to the mangonel’s throwing arm for greater power.

Firedrake: This apparatus fires a gout of alchemist’s fire in either a 60-foot line or 30-foot cone. Targets in the area suffer 6d6 points of fire damage (DC 15 Reflex half); those failing their saves also catch on fire. A firedrake loaded with the broken condition has a 5% chance per round to explode, causing its normal damage in a 15-foot burst centered on itself. A firedrake that is destroyed automatically explodes if it is loaded.

Scorpion: This oversized crossbow incorporates both tension and torsion, often with pulleys to increase its power without increasing its size, and fire spear-like bolts. Scorpions are direct fire weapons.

Double: This specialized scorpion, called a zopyros, fires two missiles simultaneously.

Heavy: A larger scorpion mounted on ships or watchtowers.

Light: Also called an oxybeles, a light scorpion is usually mounted but can be carried and fired by a single warrior, though with a -2 penalty to hit if not first braced on a solid surface for 1 full round.

Repeating: This complex scorpion, called a polybolos, contains an automatic reloading mechanism holding 10 bolts. It can be reloaded as a move action. Once the case is empty, it requires a full-round action to remove the case, another to refill it, and another to replace it.

Springal: A springal uses a torsion-cranked composite paddle to strike a firing rack containing multiple bolts, which rain down in an arc over a burst area. A springal has a minimum range of 50 feet and can only use burst ammunition and cannot target specific creatures. Springals are indirect fire weapons.

Heavy: A heavy springal affects all squares within 2 squares of the target.

Light: A heavy springal affects all squares within 1 square of the target.

Trebuchet: Trebuchets are similar in form to catapults, with the payload placed into a basket, cup, or sling at the end of a long lever, with a counterweight (often with crew or animals pulling attached ropes) close to the fulcrum. The leverage imparted by a trebuchet allows it to hurl massive missiles.

Trebuchets are too bulky to move and must be assembled on the battlefield. Trebuchets have a minimum range of 150 feet. Trebuchets are indirect fire weapons.

Heavy: A heavy trebuchet using scatter shot affects all squares within 2 squares of the target.

Light: A heavy trebuchet using scatter shot affects all squares within 1 square of the target.

Table 2-4: Ranged Siege Weapons
Siege Weapon Cost Weight Dmg Range Aim Load Size AC HP SP
Heavy 1000 gp 1 ton 6d8/1d6 150 1 4 Huge 3 150 8
Light 500 gp 400 lbs. 3d8/1d3 120 1 2 Large 4 80 4
Wheeled 800 gp 400 lbs. 3d8/1d3 120 1 2 Large 8 80 4
Gargantuan 50,000 gp 15 tons 10d12/5d6 200 10 5 Gargantuan 5 500 30
Huge 30,000 gp 7.5 tons 8d12/4d6 250 3 3 Huge 7 300 15
Large 20,000 gp 2 tons 6d12/3d6 300 2 2 Large 8 150 8
Medium 10,000 gp 500 lbs. 4d12/2d6 200 1 1 Medium 9 80 4
Small 2500 gp 100 lbs. 2d12/1d6 100 1 Small 10 40 2
Ribald 20,000 gp 1000 lbs. 3d12/1d3 100 1 12 Large 4 80 4
Heavy 800 gp 1.5 tons 6d6/2d6 150 3 3 Huge 3 150 8
Light 550 gp 1 ton 4d6/1d8 100 2 2 Large 4 80 4
Lithobolos 200 gp 1 ton 4d6/1d8 100 2 2 Large 4 80 4
Mangonel 1100 gp 2 tons 8d6/2d8 200 4 4 Garg. 1 300 15
Firedrake 4000 gp 1500 lbs. 6d6 60 2 5 Large 4 80 4
Double 750 gp 250 lbs. 2d81/1d2 150 2 Medium 5 40 2
Heavy 350 gp 200 lbs. 2d8/1d2 150 1 Medium 5 40 2
Light 150 gp 100 lbs. 2d6/1 120 1 Small 6 20 1
Repeating 1250 gp 300 lbs. 2d8/1d2 150 – (10) Medium 5 40 2
Light 600 gp 750 lbs. 6d6/1 50 1 2 Large 4 80 4
Heavy 900 gp 1500 lbs. 6d6/1 50 1 4 Huge 3 150 8
Heavy 3000 gp 10 tons 16d6/5d6 300 30 5 Colossal -3 500 30
Light 1500 gp 4 tons 12d6/4d6 250 20 3 Gargantuan 1 300 15

1 A double scorpion fires two projectiles, using separate attack rolls for each.

2 Creatures with the rock throwing special ability or flying creatures dropping objects of their size may use indirect fire to inflict SP damage as a catapult of their size. Whether they can hurl ammunition other than solid shot is at the GM’s discretion.


Siege weapons typically fire blocks or balls of stone or spear-like bolts, but may use a variety of ammunition.

Bolt: A spear-like projectile for use with a ballista, scorpion, or springal, bolts inflicts half damage against objects or structures made of metal or stone.

Bolt, Burning: A burning bolt causes creatures or flammable objects (including wooden structures) to catch on fire (DC 15 Reflex save negates).

Bolt, Grappling: A grappling bolt is a metal-shod bolt with a multipronged hook attached. It inflicts only half damage, but a creature struck is entangled (DC 15 Reflex save negates). It can break free with a DC 20 Strength check or Escape Artist check. A stationary object or structure is automatically grappled; a vehicle struck by the bolt may avoid being grappled with an opposed steering check (see Vehicles) against the bolt’s attack roll. The grappling bolt can be cut (AC 5, hardness 10, hp 10, break DC 28), or if the target is able to reach the attached rope (which may require a reach weapon if the grappling bolt is attached to a ship, wall, or other structure) it may also be cut (AC 5, hardness 0, hp 2, break DC 23). A pulley system can be attached to a grappling bolt. This enables heavy objects to be hoisted and halves the time required to use raise ladders and bridges attached to the grapple.

Shot, Burning: A sack or basket of incendiaries soaked with oil or pitch and lit or coated in quicklime. Burning shot acts like scatter shot, but creatures or flammable objects failing their Reflex save also catch on fire.

Shot, Canister: A packed container of small-sized shot for use in cannons inflicting half damage but affecting a cone 20 feet long for a Small cannon, plus 20 feet per size category above Small. Damage is further halved with a DC 15 Reflex save.

Shot, Caustic: A barrel of acid inflicting half normal damage to all targets within the weapon’s burst radius (full damage vs. metal objects), and creatures or metal objects failing their Reflex save also take 1d6 continuous acid damage (ignoring hardness) for 1d3 rounds. Creatures damaged take 1 point of Constitution damage from noxious fumes (DC 13 Fortitude save negates).

Shot, Fetid: Manure, offal, or corpses (or parts thereof), inflicting one-quarter normal damage, all nonlethal, to all targets in the weapon’s burst radius. Creatures or taking damage contract filth fever (DC 12 Fortitude save negates).

Shot, Powder: The propellant charge required when firing a cannon; this must be loaded along with whatever other shot is being used and inflicts no damage by itself.

Shot, Scatter: A sack, basket, or canister of small, hard, heavy objects rain down, inflicting half damage to the target square and all squares within the weapon’s burst radius.

Shot, Smoke: A sack or basket of incendiaries stoked with green cuttings and alchemical residues designed to give off thick smoke. Smoke shot inflicts one-quarter damage and acts as a smokestick within the weapon’s burst radius.

Shot, Solid: A block of solid stone for use with a catapult or trebuchet. It inflicts the listed damage to all creatures and objects in the square struck. Creatures may attempt a DC 15 Reflex save for half damage.

Table 2-5: Ammunition
Cost1 Weight1 Critical
Bolt 1 gp 6 lbs. 19-20/x2
Bolt, Burning 15 gp 8 lbs. 19-20/x2
Bolt, Grappling 25 gp 10 lbs. 19-20/x2
Shot, Burning 25 gp 20 lbs. x2
Shot, Caustic 25 gp 20 lbs. x2
Shot, Canister 50 gp 10 lbs. x2
Shot, Fetid 1 sp 15 lbs. x2
Shot, Powder 50 gp 2.5 lbs.
Shot, Scatter 2 sp 20 lbs. x2
Shot, Smoke 25 gp 20 lbs. x2
Shot, Solid 1 gp 25 lbs. x2

1 For Small or Medium siege weapons; for larger siege weapons, use the adjustments to cost and weight for humanoid armor.

Close Assault Weapons

While most siege weapons attack at range, some are used up close to directly undermine or batter through defenses or otherwise bypass them. Some close assault weapons are not even weapons per se, but instead provide means for assault forces to protect themselves or to circumvent fortifications without destroying them.

Bridge, Assault: An assault bridge is used to span a ditch, moat, or other gap. Raising a bridge requires one full-round action per 5 feet of length; up to four creatures may cooperate to raise a bridge. The time required is doubled for each size category the bridge is larger than the creatures raising it.

Table 2-6: Close Assault Siege Weapons
Siege Weapon Cost Weight Crew Load Hardness HP SP Damage
Large 1 gp 50 lbs. see text 5 10 1
Huge 10 gp 100 lbs. see text 5 20 1
Gargantuan 50 gp 250 lbs. see text 5 30 2
Colossal 250 gp 500 lbs. see text 5 40 2
Corvus 500 gp 200 lbs. see text 10 20 2
Cauldron 10 gp 125 lbs. 1 2 10 60 3 2d6
Water Tower 50 gp 500 lbs. 5 100 5
Medium 100 gp 100 lbs. 1 as hide or wooden structure
Large 250 gp 400 lbs. 4 as hide or wooden structure
Huge 500 gp 1600 lbs. 8 as hide or wooden structure
Gargantuan 1000 gp 3 tons 16 as hide or wooden structure
Colossal 2000 gp 10 tons 32 as hide or wooden structure
Siege Tower x4 x2 x1 as hide or wooden structure
Hoist 200 gp2 500 lbs. 2 5 80 4
Ladder, Escalade
Large 1 gp 50 lbs. see text 10/5 20/10 1
Huge 10 gp 100 lbs. see text 10/5 20/20 1
Gargantuan 50 gp 250 lbs. see text 10/5 20/30 1
Colossal 250 gp 500 lbs. see text 10/5 20/40 1
Sambuca 500 gp 200 lbs. see text 10 30 1
Large 500 gp 150 lbs. see text 5 20 1 2d6
Huge 1000 gp 1000 lbs. see text 5 40 2 3d6
Gargantuan 2000 gp 2.5 tons see text 5 100 5 6d6
Colossal 5000 gp 10 tons see text 5 200 10 12d6

1 For wooden galleries; cost and weight are halved for hide galleries.

2 A hoist’s price increases by 100 gp per point of Strength over 10.

Corvus: A hinged counterweight system for mounting a bridge vertically on a vehicle, with a hooked end to grab onto a target vehicle or structure. Using a corvus requires a DC 10 Profession (siege engineer) check; if failed, the corvus fails to catch on the target and must be reset (requiring 1 minute). A corvus targeted at a 20 moving vehicle requires an opposed steering check to get it into correct position, though no steering check is required if the target vehicle is grappled.

Ramps: A bridge constructed of packed earth and stone, a ramp has hardness 0 but triple the hp and SP of a wooden bridge. It requires 8 hours to construct a 5-foot cubic section of a ramp; multiple creatures may cooperate. A ramp can be flat or up to a 45-degree angle; however, a vertical ramp must have a base at least half as wide as its height. Ramps cost nothing, but the time required to build them is doubled if proper digging tools are not available.

Cauldron: Mounted atop a structure, a cauldron is a Medium-sized device used to dump harmful substances through a sluice onto attackers below. A cauldron uses shot ammunition (see Table X-5) and is an indirect fire weapon. Its scatter shot affects all squares within 1 square of the target, as well as a 5-foot wide vertical line between the cauldron and the target.

Water Tower: A Large wooden container to hold water to help fight fires, a water tower serves as fire precautions for all structures within 30 feet and can supply water for up to 10 responses by fire crew (see Vehicles: Catching on Fire). A water tower can also be emptied upon creatures below, extinguishing non-magical fires in the area and bull rushing creatures with a +10 CMB.

Gallery: A mobile temporary defense, a gallery is similar to a building made of hide or wood. Most are of flimsy construction, but rare examples are more stoutly built. Galleries are almost always one building section plus one roof section (galleries made to house battering rams are an exception, and are typically two joined building sections and roof sections). Because a gallery is partially open, it does not provide the same cover as a normal building: A creature inside a gallery gains cover if he is the same size as the gallery, improved cover if he is one size smaller, and total cover if he is two or more sizes smaller. Wooden galleries can be moved up on rollers at a speed of 10 with their full crew, 5 feet with at least half the required crew. Hide galleries have a base speed of 15.

Siege Tower: A wooden gallery of stout construction, a siege tower is comprised of two building sections arranged vertically, in addition to a roof section. The lowest section is used to propel the tower and provides total cover to those within. If it is breached, the siege tower moves at half speed. If it is destroyed, the entire tower collapses. The upper section of a siege tower provides improved cover for a number of soldiers (see below) and may have pierced walls or gunports (see Vehicles). The roof section may have a battlement and may mount a siege weapon or corvus bridge up to one size smaller than the siege tower.

Table 2-8: Siege Tower Complement
Size Soldiers
Large 5
Huge 20
Gargantuan 50
Colossal 200
Table 2-7: Bridges and Ladders
Size Width Length/Height
Large 5 feet 20 feet
Huge 5 feet 30 feet
Gargantuan 10 feet 40 feet
Colossal 10 feet 60 feet

Hoist: Mounted atop a structure, a hoist is a Large winching mechanism for lifting cargo or passengers. A hoist has a base Strength of 10, but can have a Strength as high as 28. A hoist can raise or lower a light load at 15 feet per round, its heavy load at 10 feet per round, and its maximum lift at 5 feet per round. Operating a winch requires two full-round actions; if only a single operator is available, it can be operated at half speed.

Ram Catching: The operator of a hoist can attempt to catch and disarm a ram with a readied action, after the ram attacks. The operator makes a Profession (siege engineer) check plus the hoist’s Strength bonus and a +4 modifier for its size, opposed by the CMD of the ram’s wielder, modified by the ram’s size. If the check succeeds, the ram is caught by the hoist. The hoist can then attempt Strength check (with a +4 size bonus) to break the ram; the DC is 23 for a Large ram, 26 for a Huge ram, or 29 for a Gargantuan ram. Alternatively, the ram can be lifted out of reach. If the ram remains in reach of the attackers, they may attempt to reclaim it with an opposed Strength check or by destroying the hoist or the chains or ropes it is using for catching the ram. A hoist requires Strength of 22 to catch a Huge ram, 28 to catch a Gargantuan ram. Colossal rams cannot be caught.

Ladder, Escalade: Escalade ladders have spiked bases for stability, and the upper 5 feet are metal-shod, with hardness 10 and 20 hit points. The remainder of the ladder is wooden and has hardness 5 and hit points based on its size. Ladders otherwise follow the rules for assault bridges.

Sambuca: A sambuca is a counterweight and pulley system mounted at the base of a ladder that enables up to 20 creatures to cooperate in raising the ladder. Creatures may ride on the ladder as it is raised, provided there are two creatures of their size (or one larger creature) pulling the sambuca for each rider.

Rams: The most basic close assault weapons are iron-shod logs carried by one or more creatures to combine their strength. A ram can be used to inflict damage or to make a Strength check against the target’s break DC.

Crew: A ram can be wielded by a single creature of its size or larger, plus up to five additional creatures of the same size to assist. Smaller creatures can substitute for the ram’s crew, but the number required is doubled for each size category they are smaller than the ram; hence, 8 Small creatures could take the place of a single Huge creature.

Ramming Charge: Rams require momentum to be fully effective. All creatures using the ram must use the charge action to gain its full effect. Creatures not wishing to charge may make a ram attack as a full-round action, suffering a -4 penalty to attack and damage rolls and Strength checks with the ram.

Breaking: The wielder makes a Strength check with a +2 bonus, adding +2 for each crew member (or equivalent number of smaller creatures) assisting. The ram also provides a +4 bonus per size category above Medium.

Damage: The wielder makes an attack roll with a -4 nonproficiency penalty. A hit inflicts the listed damage, plus the Strength modifiers to damage of the wielder and all creatures assisting, regardless of their size. To determine SP damage, divide the hit point damage of the ram by 10.

Gallery Ram: A ram suspended from chains or ropes within a gallery. A gallery ram does not require a running start. In addition, by adding tethers to the back end of the ram, it allows four additional crew members to assist.

Improvised Ram: Any tree, log, or timber can be used as a ram with a -4 penalty to attack and damage rolls or to Strength checks.

Pick: A ram with a pick head adds a +2 circumstance bonus to Strength checks and attack and damage rolls against stone structures.

Screw: A ram with a screw head gains a +2 circumstance bonus to Strength checks and attack and damage rolls against earthen structures.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Ultimate Strongholds © 2018, Legendary Games; Authors Ben Walklate and Jason Nelson.

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