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40d Talk:Siege engine

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The fact that siege engines only hit things in their same z-level is probably going to change in a new version (or it may have already, I haven't checked the newest version that came out the 16th). Someone may want to make a note of it.

catapults don't always destroy ammo when shooting ([edit]

I have a couple of catapults to train my siege operators. After a while I noticed dwarves going far away from fortress to pick up stone. It turned out that the stones after being fired from catapult just fall on the ground. The ground is mostly sand - may be this is the reason.--BlackboX 22:56, 24 November 2007 (EST)

I've investigated this a bit further in my newest fortress, and apparently any shot that hits the edge of the map, from a ballista or catapult, falls to the ground undamaged and can be recovered. While this is particularly useful for ballistae as it means the three metal bars going into each arrowhead aren't consumed when the bolt is fired, it also means haulers will run out of the fortress all the way to the map edge to recover the used ammo. Catapult shots that hit a wall destroy their ammo as before, I am about to test wether the same is true for ballistae. --TangoThree 13:15, 28 November 2007 (EST)

Just tested it, ballista arrows impacting a wall are destroyed like catapult shot. Also, ballista arrows stay within the Z-level on which they were fired as far as I can tell, but catapult shot will drop as it reaches the end of its arc and I have seen it hit targets on lower z-levels. I am not sure if these shots were aimed at the slugmen who got splattered because I was simply firing stone out of my fortress to train siege operators, but they were a couple of z-levels down by the map edge the catapults were firing towards. --TangoThree 13:21, 28 November 2007 (EST)
I've seen catapult shots disappear at the edge of the map. I'm not sure what the maximum range is on a catapult. --Strangething 18:22, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Minimum Shooting Range[edit]

I had several shots (> 30) fired upon a group of goblins by a legendary siege operator, but all stones flew over them and hit an area behind them. The distance was 30 tiles (+- 4).

I am on 27.176.38b Drahflow 09:33, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Quality of parts that the catapult was made of? If it wasn't exceptional or masterful, it should have been expected. --Tomato 13:29, 15 March 2008 (EDT)

Fear Threshold[edit]

Does anyone know the distance needed to keep civilian dwarves from running away? It would make building fortifications much easier. --Strangething 18:22, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I've been experimenting a bit with different distances. According to the wiki the distance should be more than 5 spaces, and in some cases even 10 (for trolls). To begin with I dug a 7 spaces wide channel between the operators and the enemy, it was a failure. The operators ran away. I then proceeded to widen the channel to 13 spaces, which brought up the distance to 15 when you include the front of the ballista and the fortification. It also seemed to be slightly too close, they got off one shot but then ran away. While the enemy was at the minimum range on this distance the operators would at least come back to attempt a reload, but then promptly run again.
I think a distance of about 20 should be good, will continue my experiments and report the results! --Liqum 09:03, 26 January 2009 (EST)
I'm trying something similar, a ballista and fortification peering into an underground 1-tile-wide U-bend entry tunnel. The 9 squares between the fortification and the nearest staircase are channeled out; the staircase leads to the surface (ie greater minimum distance from ballista operator). I can verify a few lousy ballista shots can be recovered because they fell undamaged into the channel (glancing blow to side wall?). Also reduced the "cancelled due to goblin" messages. But I got at least one "cancelled" message from the ballista operator feeling too close to goblins, so not perfect yet (and no ballista kills - cheap ballista parts!) --Jellyfishgreen 10:27, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

ballista's not so deadly.[edit]

it seems that ballesta's arent an instant kill anymore. they do however stil blow away most of their targets body...

I can confirm this. I blew off a couple of wooden ballista arrows (no metal tip) into a horde of goblins. Each arrow may have pierced about 2-4 goblins each and then vanished. The goblins died almost instantly however. --Liqum 09:06, 26 January 2009 (EST)
Agreed. I fired a ballista at one of my nobles, and got what could be called a "glancing blow". All that he received was a moderately injured right hand. Either that or he's got some sort of magic shield, which I'd rather not consider. Mythsage

So, true its almost funny :/. Apparently cats can live through the ballista shots. (I don't think that cat with 3 legs likes me very much anymore :/)

"Omo Elanaidala, Engineer cancels Construct Adamantine Ballista Parts: Needs metal logs."[edit]


Okay, presumably I've broken something with my irresponsible modifications and I shouldn't be able to queue jobs making ballista parts out of adamantine from the job manager, particularly since the only options are wood and adamantine as opposed to, say, steel. Just to check, though, has anyone else managed to make siege engine components out of non-wooden materials? Should probably post things like this on the forum, come to think about it...--Quil 13:48, 17 December 2008 (EST)

Already mentioned, in fact. By yours truly, or rather I took a screenshot of the phenomenon. It seems you can make adamantine siege engine parts only if you have adamantine logs. This is a bug in the siege engine making system, and may already be in the buglist. Someone should check. Not there. --GreyMaria 13:54, 17 December 2008 (EST)
Presumably this is something to do with the fact that in the matgloss_metal file adamantine appears to have tags that make it a valid material for producing almost anything and everything; the job manager thinks it's a valid option and doesn't check if it's physically possible to have logs made of adamantine (which is probably possible with a bit of smelter-haxxing). Adamantine trees, anyone?--Quil 16:00, 17 December 2008 (EST)

Can catapults be used effectively from a tower?[edit]

I haven't had a chance to test this yet, but, could I build a tower safely overlooking my fotress entrance and then effectively hit invaders on a lower Z-level when they approach the entrance? If so, this seems a like a good way to resolve the problem of civilian siege operators fleeing from enemy soldiers... --Jpwrunyan 18:39, 27 January 2009 (EST)

No. Siege weapons fire in a straight horizontal line to the end of their range, and then fall to the ground (unless interrupted by a solid object). Thus raising their elevation means they'll fire over the enemy unless you happen to get really lucky and drop a stone on them at the end of the range, ie, not likely, and certainly not for sustained fire. --Squirrelloid 20:32, 27 January 2009 (EST)
Ok, thanks for clarifying that. The docuentation here indicates strongly what you said it but it's a bit counter-intuitive (especially since there is a *sort* of falling mechanic). I may go ahead and put them on towers anyway though just for practice and stone disposal. :-)--Jpwrunyan 18:23, 28 January 2009 (EST)
Actually I did that. I put them on towers.. recently during a siege they didn't do anything at all. The siege operators were just picking their noses.
It is a great way to train them though and hauling back the rocks from across the map keeps the peasants busy. Just that I noticed one of my catapults, for some strange reason (built on a 3x3 tile platform) has a very short range when shooting over the staircase leading up to it. I can't imagine why this is, just that catapults MAY malfunction and any dwarves below the practice towers might get it. It's not a huge risk but it's worth considering. --Aspgren 06:07, 7 Feb 2009 (CET)

Consolidation/Duplication - Siege Engine & Fortress Defense page[edit]

Much of the same info is on both pages, this one and Fortress defense. The FD page had ~much~ better graphics, so I copied that under "siege battery" sub-section on this page. What is policy re what goes where? Does "strategy & tactics" belong here, or there?

Does anyone know the max and effective ranges for ballistae and catapults? Anyone know ~exactly~ what the "frightened" range is for civilians? Numbers like that should be included, but they seem to be in some debate, and possibly have changed over versions (or with diff enemies, trolls vs wamblers, etc?)--Albedo 22:19, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Stone collection and z-levels[edit]

I'm using a catapult to destroy excess stone, for the sake of tidier floors. I have one set on repeat in my queen's bedroom. ("She slept uneasily due to noise recently.") But here's the interesting bit: the nearby stone is gathered and fired, as you would expect, but also the stone on nearby z-levels is considered nearby. For instance, stones 2 z-levels up are considered closer, and fired first, than stones lying 4 tiles away, even when it's a long walk out to the staircase and up to that z-level. And no, stone wasn't restricted or forbidden. --Jellyfishgreen 10:37, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, thats an interesting concept. Perhaps thats why my operators go to such lengths?--CrazyMcfobo 18:26, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
It's known that determining the "nearest object" doesn't use pathing logic, but a direct, 3-D cube. So if two adjacent z-levels have no easy access between them, a crafts-dwarf might travel the long way around to get the material immediately above/below their workshop - or, here, for the "nearest stone" for their catapult. Stupid and dwarfy.--Albedo 20:03, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Stone types preferred by catapults[edit]

Is there any info on which stone types ar eused by catapults? If I make a stone forbidden (red) from the stones menu, will it be ignored by catapult operators? Should I be worried when placing catapults near ore/important stone piles?--Ar-Pharazon 14:42, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I believe they use whatever is nearest - and that's in 3 dimensions, and as the crow flies (rather than actual path that the dwarf has to follow). 3-D grows as a cube, so often you'll find some far-away stones being dragged over. Best to create a dump and feed useless stone to your Siege Operator trainees.--Albedo 17:50, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Some range testing[edit]

I set up a catapult range to smack around some goblin captives. The article suggests catapults can fire 100 squares so I set up a firing range of 94 squares from the center of the catapult to the goblin spearman. Part quality was low (normal). Operator skill ranged from no-name to proficient. This was on OSX 40d16.

I noticed an odd behavior; originally there did not seem to be a maximum range for the catapult. One rock even sailed all the way down the range (but missed the gobbo). When Summer arrived, I happened to be looking at the catapult range; all the broken rock debris disappeared.

After that, however, I noticed that none of the shots were getting close to the end of the range, and the rock debris seemed to be centered in one area that strongly suggested the range of the catapults was now exactly 38-48 squares.

I decided to test the interrupt distance.. How close my civilian dwarves could get to the gobbo with getting scared. I built levers closer and closer to the goblin until I couldn't anymore, and the building (and mechanism retrieval) started failing at 22 square range. Cheepicus 20:48, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Now, in a siege, they are firing very far (>200 squares). They must be able to select range, I wonder if they do it in chunks.. Cheepicus 23:11, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Oh gawdz - I only now remember something I noticed, and never followed through on. Okay...
I had marked my game map out with lines at the area blocks, for exploratory mining, and I was firing a battery of cat's to do exactly what you were, determine range, firing from a raised platform. But I was seeing different cat's fire different distances, and they were only a little bit offset (not in a perfect row) - went through all the variations, and only later noticed that for one (only), the limit of stones had stopped exactly at the area block border, 48 tiles from the map edge. So, somewhere, that figures in as well, or can. --Albedo 10:00, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Quality vs. Accuracy?[edit]

Does quality really affect the accuracy of a ballista? I had a ballista made from pretty low quality parts, and during a siege, every single one of my arrows made it 58 squares without going more than one or two squares to the side. Fast-forward a few years, I'm testing out a ballista made from 3 masterwork parts. The ballista is in the same position as before, and the same operator (yet much more skilled) I test out the ballista, and every single shot has gone 3 squares to the left after 20 squares, which is about 4.5 to 9 times less accurate than before. What gives? 03:52, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Siege engine parts as a trade good?[edit]

Weirdly, it seems that siege engine parts are the most efficient means of making money while simultaneously pissing off the elves converting a large amount of spare lumber into cash, as they are worth three times as much as other wood products, and 20% more than a stack of 25 wooden bolts.

To compare:

  • one masterful Tower-cap ballista parts: 360☼
    • Training siege engineers tends to generate hundreds of crappy parts anyways, but that's sort of a moot point
    • Clutters workshops fast
  • one masterful Tower-cap idol: 120☼
    • Completely useless except as a trade good
  • one stack of 25 masterful Tower-cap bolts: 300☼
    • Tend to get eaten up by archery practice unless measures are taken

Is this worth mentioning? Has this already been discussed? -- Mr Frog 11:41, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

catapults hit everything, fun ensues[edit]

I couldn't find anything clear on actually hitting things with catapults, so I carved a 5-catapult pillbox facing my fortress' entrance in the nearby hill and set up a 12x12 meeting area on the spot where ammo landed. The spot was about 220 tiles away and firing the catapults with less than proficient operators for a month resulted in:

  • Two dead pet war dogs
  • One smashed puppy
  • Some unnamed dog deaths. I think one got insta-killed, the rest bled to death.
  • One insta-killed dyer.
  • Two civilians who mishappened to be on the same tile (first one bled to death shortly after impact, the other suffocated)
  • Two or three dwarves with broken and mangled hands
  • Absolutely no meat. Of any - not even slams-into-obstacle-and-blows-apart - kind.

Ammo seems to do nothing while flying or hitting walls. It will also happily fly right through, say, a flock of elephants. On ground impact, it seems to bounce forward 3-5 tiles, trampling the grass and furrowing the soil tile underneath. Whatever happens to be in trampled tiles (at least in the first one) will suffer. It is also unclear whether traveling down z-levels will strip the stone of its projectile status. And I didn't properly test catapult (invader) auto-targeting.