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Thread: Artillery, Siege and War Machines

  1. #1
    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Artillery, Siege and War Machines

    Ok folks, time for another mini-update! This update regards field artillery and siege weapons.

    At the time of Conan, the Hyborians have held dominance over the west for thousands of years: they have built shining cities and mighty citadels across the land, artworks and poetry that could near rip the heart of a barbarian's soul, and war machines of incredible destructive power. Yet somehow, one innovation of the modern world is strangely absent in Hyborian Age technology: guns.

    The absence of guns in the Hyborian Age despite the culture's dominance and proclivity for warfare is one of the many mysteries of the age. Although explosive powders have been used in battles such as the Battle of Shamla Pass, the Hyborians have not adopted it. The most logical reason for this discrepancy is that the secret of gunpowder is protected fiercely by the esoteric societies of sorcerers and wizards: the mysterious powder used to devastating effect at Shamla was used by the 3,000 year dead sorcerer Thugra Khotan could have been a form of gunpowder.

    With the unavailability of gunpowder, traditional torsion and counterweight siege engines were refined and improved far beyond their medieval descendants, and some weapons which would be impractical or impossible in later times were employed. Since a lot of these would require new models, I'm posting some historical examples to give an idea of what they'd be like.


    Hand Ballistas
    Although the tension-based crossbow and arbalest are common and deadly weapons on the Hyborian battlefield, the Aquilonians have been advancing torsion-based weapons like the ballistae for use on the western front. One recent one is the hand ballista, a cumbersome but extremely powerful miniature variant of the field ballista.


    Field Ballistas
    Siege weapons are fearsome sights on the battlefield, but most are too inaccurate and slow to be practical. However, the Aquilonians have adapted the formidable ballista design into a smaller weapon to fight enemy soldiers. Two-man teams of engineers operate each engine, which are light enough to be mobilized and fired with speed. They can be used to devastating effect in a field battle, and are frequently mounted on fort walls in the Westermarck.


    Siege Ballistas
    The most common form of the ballista is the stone-throwing monster used to assault city and castle walls. Used by all Hyborian nations, they are the most frequently used artillery, being more accurate and with a faster rate of fire than mangonels or catapults.


    Mangonels
    Mangonels are small catapults, using a torsion mechanism to hurl projectiles. Not as accurate as the ballista or catapult, nor with the range of a trebuchet, mangonels were still versatile and useful engines. Mangonels throw their volley at a low trajectory and higher velocity, making it more suitable for outright destruction than the demoralizing tactics of the trebuchet.

    Ballistas
    The northern barbarians, Hyperboreans, Brythunians and Border Kingdomers will use the Medieval "tension" ballista already in the game: not quite as powerful, but much easier and cheaper to train and maintain.

    Catapults
    Catapults are large, powerful siege engines. Before the invention of the trebuchet they were the mightiest artillery on the battlefield, hurling huge stones further than any other siege weapons. They can also throw burning ammunition and dead cattle. I'm just using the vanilla siege engines, though I might beef them up to RTW Onager size to make them a bit more impressive.

    Trebuchets
    Trebuchets are a recent invention of the Hyborians, though are not quite widespread enough to supplant the catapult yet. Like the vanilla ones, I'll probably make them some 20% larger just for visual impact.

    Demonfire Weapons

    The secret of Greek Fire has long been lost to modern historians, but with the absence of gunpowder the Hyborians may well have unlocked the mystery. It is naturally a dangerous and volatile substance, as well as with limited ammunition and range, so it can be impractical in battles, but a terrifying weapon in sieges and defenses. Although "Demonfire" engineers and scientists can be recruited as mercenaries, Koth, Corinthia and Argos train new engineers at their war academies, their locally-produced demonfire being more manageable and less expensive.


    Small Fire Siphon
    These small fire siphons are used in settlement defense and occasional field battles.


    Fire Siphon
    Fire Siphons are used to devastate and demoralize invading infantry in settlement defense, and also as a nasty surprise against charging cavalry on the field.


    Large Fire Siphon
    These huge metal pipes project a great stream of searing flame. Normally found on Argos' juggernauts and Corinthia's river galleys, some generals use them as a nasty battlefield unit: a successful spray could be enough to rout a unit instantly, if not burn the soldiers to charred skeletons outright.


    Fire Siphon Infantry
    The ultimate evolution of the fire siphon, these soldiers are trained to use small metal pipes with a pump-action mechanism. With more mobility and the ability to be deployed on castle walls to deter ladder-climbers and siege towers, they are the most dangerous artillery units in the game. However, such devastating firepower comes at a price, and the danger of friendly fire is always present among concentrated infantry.

    And there you are. I'm trying to think of a cool greek name for the Fire Siphon Infantry (Pyrophorans? Something like that) and still no luck on giving the Helepolis firepower, but still going on it.

    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

  2. #2
    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: Artillery, Siege and War Machines

    The Demonfire weapons are awesome,Taranaich. I can't wait to put those to use on the battlefield.

    As for an ethnic name for the flamethrower troops,the actual terms would be Pyrophorus (singular) & Pyrophoroi (multiple).
    Here's a good resource site for putting together ethnic names for units. There are two lists,one Greek and one Roman (Latin). There are also some good Macedonian army articles,too,if they're at all useful.
    http://members.tripod.com/~S_van_Dor..._glossary.html

    I also can't wait to see the in-game models for the new siege engines.

    Keep it up!
    My Greek Cavalry submod for RS 1.6a: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=368881

    For Calvin and TosaInu, in a better place together, modding TW without the hassle of hardcoded limits. We miss you.

  3. #3
    Member Member Taranaich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Artillery, Siege and War Machines

    Ah, excellent, thanks! That's a great link btw.

    I'm hoping the Rome siege models and animations can be somehow converted to Medieval: I know units have been converted and animations are possible, so hopefully some of these weapons can be used.

    I'm also wanting to make rams different for each culture: hyborians, easterners and Stygians would have capped rams of varying designs, barbarians would just have a big pointy log carried by some stout warriors, and the Shemites would have one of those Assyrian Assault Towers. Don't know if it's possible to mount archers on the top I'm afraid, but I always wanted to have one of these in a game:


    "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world, like blue mantles beneath the stars...
    Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.

  4. #4
    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: Artillery, Siege and War Machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Taranaich
    Ah, excellent, thanks! That's a great link btw.

    I'm hoping the Rome siege models and animations can be somehow converted to Medieval: I know units have been converted and animations are possible, so hopefully some of these weapons can be used.

    I'm also wanting to make rams different for each culture: hyborians, easterners and Stygians would have capped rams of varying designs, barbarians would just have a big pointy log carried by some stout warriors, and the Shemites would have one of those Assyrian Assault Towers. Don't know if it's possible to mount archers on the top I'm afraid, but I always wanted to have one of these in a game:

    Cool pic. Is that some kind of model,or just a really good CGI creation?

    Hopefully you can make rams less prone to destruction.

    BTW,I believe that Hand Ballistae were called Gastraphetes or something,but I'm not 100%.
    Last edited by Spartan198; 03-18-2008 at 09:39.
    My Greek Cavalry submod for RS 1.6a: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=368881

    For Calvin and TosaInu, in a better place together, modding TW without the hassle of hardcoded limits. We miss you.

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