Author Topic: Artillery units  (Read 1859 times)

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Offline X-Boeruine/Ulric (Robert)

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Artillery units
« on: September 23, 2011, 09:45:59 PM »
In a typical medieval siege, the invaders would build trebuchets, siege towers etc. and the defenders would use catapults or sorties to counter or destroy such threats. In the movie Kingdom of Heaven (awful script, but nice visuals and the technical side of a siege is superb).

My question is.. if a trebuchet is listed as having a movement rating of - i.e. unmovable even by means of a military unit (which can be used to move other similar units like catapults), how is an attacker ever going to apply a trebuchet in battle?

And yes, a trebuchet is built, but the description says :province 6, which is ridiculous since, if you look at a trebuchet you'll notice that it doesn't require any fancy materials except wood and a little iron nor is it very high tech. In fact, a team of carpenters built one in a documentary I watched, and skilled trebuchet makers would be able to churn them out almost everywhere, except maybe in Khinasi (though Kingdom of Heaven disproves that a bit).

Me thinks there's a need for an update of artillery units rules... :)

Offline X-Tuornen/LF (Geir)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 11:55:40 AM »
My suggestion,
As I understand it medieval siege equipment could crudely be divided into a lighter moveable type and a heavy build_to_use_on_site type. Heavy stuff can’t be moved on the roads available, so it is much quicker to move labor and materials.
The trebuchet falls into the heavy type. Also tunnels and ramparts are stuff that one builds on site naturally.

So on to my suggestion on the province level question,
I would think that it’s the skill of labor and the availability of materials that decides if a trebuchet can be built. But to train and field a unit capable of building a trebuchet indicates a level of technology as there are great forces involved in its mechanism. Not being an engineer I would still argue that it is more complex technology then say a catapult. The ratio of the machines mass to its ability to direct force is much higher than a catapult. So the forces involved must be handled with more skill so not to destroy the mechanism.
All in all to field a catapult unit could well require a higher province level then say a catapult.
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Offline X-Brosengae [Cloene] (Linde)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 02:22:11 PM »
..... so what you need is to train trebuchet builders? Or should it just be covered by engineers?

They in turn can build trebuchets for you on site... It will take much longer than just bringing balistae, but it would be more effective.

When you look at the minimum province level to build units, the unit generally needs a higher province level the better the unit is.. So I fail to see the reason to make an exception for artillery units, unless you want to make conquest easier than defense.

Offline X-Boeruine/Ulric (Robert)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 04:31:20 PM »
You were on the right track with the beginning of your post. What one needs is a team of trebuchet builders, mostly carpenters, plus a siege engineer/architect and these skilled personell would construct a trebuchet on the battlefield. So, a province 6 is required to find qualified engineers who know how to build and operate them (calculatr weight/distance for throws), but then thy could be built wherever there's lumber available while taking the metal parts with them.

So, it might take a few weeks or months of construction during siege, but they'd be devastating once completed.

Edward I used them in his conquest of Scotland. Once the "war wolf," the largest trebuchet ever, was built and rocks started flying, the castle would surrender pretty fast. It took 3 months and a team of 50+ carpenters and the parts required 30 wagons. A veritable monster :)

 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warwolf

 www.knight-medieval.com/siege-weapons.htm
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 04:40:20 PM by Boeruine/??? (Robert) »

Offline X-Avanil/Aubrae Avan (Thorsten)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 07:02:06 PM »
I think they've been "left behind" on account of the fluid nature of warfare in Anuire. We have very few lasting sieges - in most cases the more direct (and bloody) assault has been chosen. Even Ilien, which is possibly the only siege I've seen last more than a few months, was subject to an all out assault.

That said, I wouldn't be against some kind of arbitrary rule that allowed for a besieger to build trebuchets, as long as he had a working supply-line to a lvl 6 province under his control.
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Offline X-Boeruine/Ulric (Robert)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 06:10:13 AM »
Or, you muster a trebuchet unit in a province 6, basically, the engineers, carpenters, crew and parts, then move the unit around normally, but when you get ti the castle you want to besiege, you "assemble" a trebuchet within 4-8 weeks. After the siege you can disassemble it and move again.

Offline X-Haelyn's Aegis/RK (Andy)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 09:35:21 AM »
I'm an agreement with high province to muster as you need some engineering skill, or some recruitment action to get the learned engineer who could then recruit/train the unit for lower level provinces, the regents guide has Artillerists and Engineers to reflect these 'specialists', so the various siege units themselves should just be the grunts.

I would say however that even without the grunts lobbing rocks, engineers should have some benefit in a siege from them saying things like 'that part of the castle is weaker sir, it is less accessible for the defenders to send reinforcements to / has poor visibility/coverage for archers / could be more easily undermined, etc, etc.'

The siege units themselves should only require a supply of manpower and engineering skill, so a few 'active but not besieging' units provide the muscle and the engineers then start building the wall breakers.  That approach doesn't work well in a system showing onagers, trebuchets, etc as separate units though - instead you would simply allow each engineer (once they'd stopped in place) to generate 1 or 2 artillery points per war move until they topped out (dependent on skill level, resources) and not have artillery units themselves.

I would, incidentally, suggest that an intrigue/adventure action to sabotage the equipment should be able to delay the inevitable - I don't know about historical parallels but its a staple of fiction.  Also of course if the unit moved then its heavy equipment would be left behind.

So you could eliminate the existing units for artillery, and instead say that engineers are deemed to have light siege equipment and parts with them but, so long as they have at least 1 non-elite unite that they can then build whatever else they need on site - I'd suggest a higher than normal maintenance cost to reflect these war machines and attendant costs.  I say non-elite as frankly when work involves spades, hammers, etc you need peasants - knights are above such things and lack the basic skills.

I admit to being confused about the difference between artillerists and engineers - I'd suggest rolling these units into 1.

I wonder however if a unit of engineers couldn't improve the odds on a construction action, or 'contribute' 1 GB per season of building power towards it - the latter is slightly fiddly so possibly not worthwhile, but a bonus to the success roll based on unit experience would be fairly easy to track and make it more worthwhile for the larger realms to keep them around.
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Offline DM B

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 11:01:41 AM »
You're supposed to be able to move it by attaching it to another unit that then carries the important bits to the destination, whereupon the specialists reassemble the beast.
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Offline X-Roesone/ARR (Robert)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 01:47:09 PM »
This from the Regent Guide.

Artillery generally has very low mobility (both strategic and tactical). It is possible, however, to increase the strategic speed of some artillery units by having infantry or cavalry units aid with the movement. A single cavalry or infantry unit can improve the Speed of one artillery unit; while doing this, that unit cannot do anything else (no foraging, pillaging, sieging etc.). Note that artillery without a Speed (‘-‘) cannot be moved at all (example: trebuchets) and artillery can’t move faster than the unit to which it is attached.
Light artillery: Gains a strategic Speed of 3 (infantry) or 4 (cavalry).
Medium artillery: Gains a strategic Speed of 2 (infantry) or 3 (cavalry).
Heavy artillery: Gains a strategic Speed of 1 (infantry) or 2 (cavalry).

That's what got me confused regarding trebuchets. Historically, they were invented because they were easier to use than catapults since they required less complex parts and less metal.

How long would it take to construct a trebuchet during a siege after you have a mustered unit (i.e. specialists and parts)
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Offline DM B

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 02:30:04 PM »
Clearly this needs some tweaking. It should still be possible to move trebuchets.
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Offline X-Avanil/Aubrae Avan (Thorsten)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2011, 07:42:51 PM »
If its supposed to be even bigger than Heavy Artillery, then give it a strategic speed of - (infantry) or 1 (cavalry), and it fits right in there.

If not, then just keep it to the Heavy Artillery movement-thingy.
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Offline X-Boeruine/Ulric (Robert)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2011, 10:36:54 PM »
Actually, it should be easier to move than a catapult since its composed of parts easily packed on wagons. A catapult has to move "as is". The trebuchet should have a bigger movement but also require 4+ war moves to (dis)assemble. I guess, leaving a working trebuchet in a hurry (lifting a siege due to enemy activity) would bring it down to B until parts are remade.

Offline X-Haelyn's Aegis/RK (Andy)

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Re: Artillery units
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2011, 11:19:33 PM »
You only need to move the metalwork really to move the cats - you can get tree trunks just about anywhere in Anuire and whack them into shape - I'm ignoring seasoning and wood type issues obviously but we aren't talking precision equipment here for the main part.  I'm taking it as a given that the ammo would be sourced locally I note.

In practice the assembly / build up rules make sense to me but are a book-keeping problem making distinct units of siege engines more dm-friendly, however there aren't units for sapping tunnels, battering rams, towers, etc so I'm not sure why the funky bunch should be singled out as the engines to keep track of.

I think that overall it might be easier to say 1 siege point per army unit directed by an engineer, engineers can direct 'x' units dependent on level and leave the rest to DM interpretation on whether 'the full whammy' can be applied if the siege has only just started.  That means that the engineers are irrelevant without troops to build/man the engines but I'm not sure if that's unreasonable - you could always allow very skilled engineers to give 2 or 3 pts per unit subject to a cap if you wanted to allow small armies to be more effective.
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