Siege Engines and Devices of War

Hit Determination
Additional Attack Forms
Construction & Siege

Occasionally the need to handle various siege equipment && artillery will arise.
While the conduct of large scale battles is not a subject for this work,
the 1:1 use of such machines can be dealt with easily herein.

<resize table, keeping 8point for fractions>
<there should be UA 'minis', at the descriptions>
<also, have a portability note?>
<eg. cart6 might = if you have a cart, then you can move this piece at 6>
<remember, some of these were historically assembled on-site, by carpenters, overseen by engineers>

Q: How far can three bozak draconian
(which are described in the
by Skip Williams
DRAGONLANCE® Adventures book)
be hurled from a catapult if they
were bound together and had their
wings amputated? What would be
the range if they were launched
singly? Would the ranges for other
draconians be similar?

A, Catapulted draconians: Light catapults
hurl rocks that weigh 8-10 lbs. Heavy
catapults hurl rocks that weigh 20-25 lbs.
Even a single draconian of any species
placed on a catapult would overload the
machine so much that the catapult
wouldn't fire at all. Trebuchets, however,
have a much larger load capacity, hurling
rocks that weight about 500 lbs., which is
probably about right for three draconians.
Rocks, however, are a bit more aerodynamic
than any three wingless draconians tied together,
so a draconian-firing trebuchet's range should be
halved, for a max. range of 240 yards and a min.
range of 120 yards.

A single draconian fired from a trebuchet
is grossly underweight as well as
unaerodynamic, producing an effect akin
to trying to hurl a slightly underinflated
beach ball. Use-the scatter diagram on
page 63 of the 2nd Edition DMG. Treat the
point labeled ?intended target? as the
trebuchet; a roll of 1 indicates that the
draconian is hurled straight up into the air
and lands right on the trebuchet (or on top
of its operators, at the DM?s option). Any
other roll indicates that the draconian flies
wildly off in the given direction. Roll
8d4 × 10 for the total distance in yards
that the draconian ?flies.?

                                                                                                         Range        Damage         <Damage (HP.M)><link to main HP.M explanation>                         Crew
Engine or Device Cost in G.P. FOF Min. Max. S-M L Wood Earth Stone, Soft Rock, Hard Rate of Fire Min. Max. <MHP>
Ballista (or mangonel or scorpion) 75 45° 1/4" 32" 2-12 3-18 - - - - 1/4-1/2 2 4 2
Catapult, heavy 200 15° 18" 36" 2-24 4-16 6 - 4 2 1/4 6 10 6
Catapult, light (onager) 150 30° 15" 30" 2-20 3-12 4 - 2 1 1/4 4 6 4
Cauldron, suspended 50 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a 2
Gallery, covered (or tortoise) 350 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a 10
Hoist 150 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a 4
Mantlet, movable 15 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a 3
Ram* 500 n/a 0" 1/4" 9-16 7-12 1 @ - 1/4 @ - 1/2 10 20 12
Ram catcher 20 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a ?
Siege tower 800 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a - - - - n/a n/a n/a 16
Sow (pick or screw)* 500 n/a 0" 1/4" 9-16 13-24 1/2 @ 1/2 @@@ 1/2 @ 1/4 @ 1/2 10 20 12
Trebuchet 500 10° 24" 48" 3-30 5-20 8 - 5 3 1/4 8 12 8

<add MHP to the above table>


* Damage possible only if victim is directly in front of the boom device (ram, pick, or screw).

<theory: add the cost of a large wagon (150 gp) + 2 draft horses (60 gp for both) + 2 harnesses (24 sp) = total 211 gp & 4 sp, to some of the above>

<theory: a ballista doesn't need a cart (or wagon), although both will help. a ballista moves at 6 over normal terrain, and at 0 over rugged terrain>

<here are the movement rates for siege engines, from DMGR2.100:
ballista = 6"
catapult, light = 4"
catapult, heavy = 2"
trebuchet = nil

for all of the above, I would assume a move of 0" in Rugged terrain

Field Of {Fire}: The arc of fire of missile engines is as follows:

Intervening objects will not be likely to interfere with the flight of arched
missiles from catapults or trebuchets, unless they impose themselves near
the engine or the target. Thus, a trebuchet could arch its missile over o 40'
high wall which was more than 6" distant from it and less than 6" from the
target. As ballista missiles are on a flat trajectory, objects between the
engine and the target will interrupt the flight path of these missiles.

Use the tables [above] to determine "to hit" probabilities whenever siege engined war machines fire.

Range is the distance from engine to target creature. The trajectory of
ballista missiles is basically a flat one, while those from catapults and
trebuchets have a high arch. Minimum range basically reflects arching
trajectory. The range for rams and sows is only the maximum swing of the
boom and indicates the proximity of the engine housing to target
(normally a construction).

Damage variable is self-explanatory

Rate of fire can be achieved only with at least a minimum crew. If less
than the minimum number of crewmen are available, then rate of fire
drops to at best 50% of normol. The maximum number of crew enables o
ballista to double its normal rate of fire. All other engines gain nothing
(except less chance of dropping below minimum requirements for normal
rate of fire) by having crew above minimum numbers shown.

<Mega Hit Points : formerly, DPV : Defensive Point Values. This info was moved from Siege Engines and Devices of War Defensive Values.>
<link to main HP.M explanation>
<This is how many HP.M the siege engine or war device has.>
    <The numbers are in the brown color that represents wood.>
        <In other words, siege engines and devices of war all have HP.M.W>


Ballista (incl. Mangonel, Scorpion):

A war engine which fires a heavy, spear-like missile. <^Stats^>
The cost of missiles for a ballista is comparable to javelin cost. <(10 sp)>
    COST IN G.P. = 75
    FIELD OF FIRE = 45°
    RANGE.MIN = 1/4"
    RANGE.MAX = 32"
    DAMAGE.S-M = 2-12
    DAMAGE.L = 3-18
    RATE OF FIRE = 1/4-1/2
    CREW.MIN = 2
    CREW.MAX = 4
    MHP = 2

Catapult: An engine operating by tension or torsion which hurls heavy missiles. <^Stats^>
Combustibles, rocks, dead animals, barrels of sewage, etc. can be used as ammunition.

Cauldron, suspended:

A huge iron pot for boiling or flaming liquid. <^Stats^>
It is suspended in such a manner so as to allow it to be tipped easily in order to
spill its contents on attackers.

Gallery, covered: A sometimes movable construction, typically a heavy timber frame, with green hides protecting the wood. <^Stats^>
It has a double roof, one peaked to shed missiles and liquids. It is used to provide cover for attackers operating against a wall.
Width is 12', height 12', length 20'.

Hoist: A frame with fulcrum and lever, the lever equipped at one end with a basket which can hoist up to 4 attackers to a height of 30' to assault a construction. <^Stats^>

Mantlet, movable:

A wooden wall, with wheels for movability, and a slit for archery. <^Stats^>
It is typically 6' wide, 8' long, and several inches thick. The mantlet is slanted backward at a slight angle.
    COST IN GP = 15
    MHP: 3

<find an image with wheels and slit>
<assume 90% cover (+10 AC bonus) for those firing from behind the mantlet>


A movable gallery equipped with a heavy log suspended from two roof beams by chains. <^Stats^>
The log is shod in iron and used to batter through defenses.

    @ Damage shown <(in HP.M)> is per round of attack by this mode.

Ram catcher: A fork or hook of iron on a long pole. <^Stats^>
It is lowered by defenders to catch and hold a ram (or sow) at work on a wall. The defenders then raise the catcher to disable or break the ram.

Siege tower:

A mobile wooden tower, typically a beam frame with slats and green hides to protect it from fire. <^Stats^>
It is 16'square at the base, 40' high, with a 10' square parapet at the top. At 30' height there is a drawbridge 10'
square. The lower portion is for locomotion. A ladder leads up the back or
interior to drawbridge deck and the upper parapet, with two intermediate

COST IN G.P. = 800
DAMAGE.S-M = n/a
DAMAGE.L = n/a
CREW.MIN = n/a
CREW.MAX = n/a
MHP = 16


A pick/screw device, otherwise conforming to the ram, for use against stonework. <^Stats^>

COST IN G.P. = 500
RANGE.MAX = 1/4"
DAMAGE.S-M = 9-16
DAMAGE.L = 13-24
MHP = 12

    @ Damage shown <(in HP.M)> is per round of attack by this mode.
    @@@ Damage inflicted <in HP.M> only if sow is equipped with a screw device.

Trebuchet: A large siege engine which fires very heavy missile loads a great distance by means of lever and counterpoise. <^Stats^>

<note: moved FoF pp. 1 up, as you TARGET before ATTACK>

Field Of Fire: The arc of fire of missile engines is as follows:

Ballista                        45° left or right
Catapult, heavy         15° left or right
Catapult, light            30° left or right
Trebuchet                   10°    left or right

Intervening objects will not be likely to interfere with the flight of arched
missiles from catapults or trebuchets, unless they impose themselves near
the engine or the target. Thus, a trebuchet could arch its missile over a 40'
high wall which was more than 6" distant from it and less than 6" from the
target. As ballista missiles are on a flat trajectory, objects between the
engine and the target will interrupt the flight path of these missiles.

Hit Determination:

Artillerists must operate all missile engines in order to allow them a
chance to hit. (You may, at your option, allow fighters to opt to learn
various artillery engines in lieu of normal hand weapons.) The level of the
crew chief determines the chance "to hit", i.e. if a 0 level fighter, then the
first column, if a 1st or 2nd level then the second level, etc. ALL TARGETS,
direct hit is scored, determine damage according to target size.

    I. Direct Fire Machines:

    II. Indirect Fire Machines:

Adjust the base number "to hit" by using the following tables of modifiers.
<A> Roll d20,
and if the number equals or exceeds the adjusted base number <(A+B+C+D+E+F)>, a hit has been scored.

Target Movement: Bonuses and Penalties
Stationary +3
Movement rate less than 3" 0
Movement rate 3"-12" -3

Target Size: Bonuses and Penalties
Man size or smaller -2
Horse and rider size or small ship size 0
Giant size, small building or medium ship size +2
Medium building or large ship size +4
Large building, castle wall, etc. +6
Subsequent shots after initial target shot 
   (only if target is stationary)

Weather Conditions (Ships only) Bonuses and Penalties
Calm +1
Light to moderate breeze 0
Strong breeze to strong gale -2
Storm -4

Type of Fire Bonus
Direct Fire +4

If a catapult or trebuchet miss occurs, go to the GRENADE-LIKE MISSILES
section to find where the missile struck. Misses will always pass over, to
the left, to the right, or fall short of the closest appropriate part of the
target, even if this causes the missile to fall short or exceed the minimum
or maximum range restrictions.

As noted in the GRENADE-LIKE MISSILES section, missiles from small
catapults are considered to be of 1' diameter, those from trebuchets 2'.
Ballista missiles are akin to spears.

<F> <gap between E and F might be a little bit of a throw-off, at first><can color in capitals if they are retained>
Cover: target creatures which can be seen only partially or which are
totally unseen cannot be hit by catapult or trebuchet missiles in the normal
manner. A target area must be named and the GRENADE-LIKE MISSILES
determination is then used to find where the missile actually hits. Ballista
fire is not possible when target is unseen. If they are partially visible, use

Siege Damage: The damage caused to constructions by the various
engines, as well as that caused by various monsters and spells, is detailed

SIEGE ATTACK VALUES <HP.M <Mega Hit Points> By Weapon Type>
                                                                                                                                                         Points of <MegaDamage> Against
Means of Attack Wood Earth Soft Stone Hard Rock
Bigby's Clenched Fist 1* - 1/2* 1/4*
Catapult missile, heavy 6 - 4 2
Catapult missile, light 4 - 2 1
Dig - 10 - -
Disintegrate 2 2 2 2
Earth elemental 2* 10* 2* 1*
Earthquake 5-60 5-30 5-60 5-30
Fireball 1/2** - - -
Giant, cloud, stone, storm 3* - 1* 1/2*
Giant, fire or frost 2* - 1* 1/2*
Giant, hill 1* - 1/2* 1/4*
Giant-hurled boulder -- cloud, fire, or frost 4 - 2 1
Giant-hurled boulder -- stone or storm 6 - 4 2
Golem, iron 3* 1* 2* 1*
Golem, stone 3* 1* 1* 1/2*
Horn of blasting 18 6 8 4
Lightning bolt 1/2** - - -
Move earth - 20 - -
Ram 1* - 1/4* -
Sow (pick or screw) 1/2* 1/2*** 1/2* 1/4*
Treant 8* 2* 2* 1*
Trebuchet missile 8 - 5 3

<size table>
<note: for playability, it might be easier if the above numbers are multiplied by 4. If so, remem to adjust all HP.M values of structures, ships, etc.>
    <MEGADAMAGE/ATTACK : wX, eX, sX, hX>
        <megadamage would be an optional [indented] field, like psi should be>
        <cut-and-paste from a colored template>
        <?? if attack does not affect e(etc.), then drop the e(etc.)>
<spells: insert a damage row>

*Damage shown is per round of attack by this mode.

**Damage shown is per level of the spell caster employing the spell,
and assumes fire damage following if the wooden target is protected by green hides, is wet, etc., reduce damage by 50%.

***Damage inflicted only if sow is equipped with a screw device.

Soft stone includes fired brick, limestone, sandstone.
Hard rock is granite and similar material.

Additional Attack Forms:

Mining assumes that a tunnel will be driven under a construction, shored up, filled with combustibles, and then fired so as to burn out supports.
If successful, this will breach a 10' wide section of curtoin wall or cause 10
points of damage to other sorts of constructions.

Sapping assumes that workers, under protection of a gallery, for example,
ore able to dig away at earth or stone. This mode of attack is slow. To
represent it, give it the damage done by a sow, but on a per turn, rather
than per round, basis.

It is important that the reoder understond that all values are representative only.
The entire process of siege warfare would prove interminable in a campaign,
so it has been speeded up here to force sallies and counter attacking or the fall of the fortress.

There will be times in which the rules do not cover a specific action that a
player will attempt. In such situations, instead of being forced to make a
decision, take the option to allow the dice to control the situation. This can
be done by assigning reasonable probability to an event and then letting
the player dice to see if he or she can make that percentage. You can
weigh the dice in any way so as to give the advantage to either the player
or the non-player character, whichever seems more correct and logical to
you while being fair to both sides.

<most important: when everything is done, add the HP.M values to the '' (q.building?) page>
    <wait until all done, then multiply ALL HP.M values by 4>
<HP.M, ie. Megahitponts>
<left here, as a comparison reference, only>
<edit from final, after all the Dragon articles are done>
Construction HP.M <formerly: Defensive Point Value>
barbican 150*
Bartizan 25
Batter, plinth, or splay 20**
Battlement 12
Building, stone (per course) 10
Building, wood 8-16
Buttress 20**
Door, iron 10
Door, wooden 1
Door, wooden, reinforced 3
Drawbridge 10-15
Gate (double reinforced doors) 8-12
Gatehouse, stone 120
Hoarding, wooden 2
Merlon 10
Palisade, wooden 6-12
Parapet, stone 20
Pilaster 15**
Portcullis 12
Rampart 20***
Tower, round 40-80
Tower, square 30-50
Wall, bastion 40
Wall, curtain 20****
Window, shuttered 4
Window, shuttered & barred 12

* Excludes any values for gates or portcullis.

** All these defensive points must be destroyed before the construction
supports can be affected, i.e., a tower with a batter is valued at 20 additional

*** Unaffected by missiles from catapults or from battering or picking.

*** This indicates the strength of a curtain wall 1 0 ' thick in an area 1 0 '
wide by 10' high; if a breach, rather than a hole, is desired, the wall
must be destroyed from top to bottom.

<reminder (code) : there is no such thing as a d11, or a d21.
2d6 is used for an 11 number spread (ie. 30-40, if it was listed above)>
<reminder (game school) : if it makes things easier, move the numbers by 1 or 2>
    <remember, the way AD&D is meant to played : if there were 1,000 numbers in the game - change 10 of them, in favor of playability>
        <some would say, change 10 of them, within a margin of 10%>
            <the sum of all numbers, bent either way, within 1% : might b a better xpression of the above>
    <you should be able to get a close bell curve>

<most important: when everything is done, add the HP.M values to the 'q.siege' page>
    <wait until all done, then multiply ALL HP.M values by 4>
Device HP.M <formerly: Defensive Point Value>
Ballista 2
Cata pultt, heavy 6
Catapult, light 4
Cauldron, suspended 2
Gallery, covered 10
Hoist 4
Mantlet, movable 3
Ram 12
Siege Tower 16
Saw 12
Trebuchet 8