battle wagons

I tried posting this in the ask forumn but am not getting any replies so I was wondering if the community at large had any suggestions on our rules questions for this project.
So our adventuring party wants to create some battle wagons. However we cant seem to find the price/weight of some of the things we want. First we want to cover our wagons in armour. How much would it cost/weigh to cover a wagon in a wooden top with some murder holes to fire through and a reinforced door. Same question but with metal(iron?).We also wanted to have a balista trailing each weapon. How much would it cost/weigh to set it up on a rotating fire platform? What proficiencies would we need to design this? Also do you need the siege engineering proficiency to man a balista? And how much would a mercenary with this proficiency cost per month to hire?

Your best bet is to use the dwarven machinist construct rules. it contains everything for handling AC, passengers, attacks, etc.

Here’s a more robust example:

Assume you are designing a battle wagon with the intent that it carries 4 people, is armored with the passengers having access to murder holes, and has a ballista that it can fire on a rotating platform.

Ok, so first you must decide on HD. since carrying capacity is (HD^2)*5, 4HD is probably a good starting point, allowing it to carry 80 stone, probably just enough to hold all the people and their gear. This means this automaton has an AC of 2, and has an attack that may deal up to 12 damage per round

Next determine special abilities. By default, it has construct/undead immunities (+1*), requires an operator (-1*), can carry a passanger (+1*), double passenger capacity twice (+2*), default movespeed of 60’ (0*), cannot move under it’s own power since wagons are usually pulled by horses (-1*), cover for passengers (either +4 AC or use the automaton’s AC) (+1*), ballista has a range of up to 10’ per max point of damage, so 120’, (+1*)

ok, so in total this thing is 4HD with 4 special abilities. This would require a dwarven machinist (or similar class you design with these class features) of at least level 2, it would cost 28,000gp to design and another 28,000gp to build, as well as access to a workshop worth at least what the automaton costs to create. in addition, the rolls to design/build the automatons would be increased by +5 (+1 for every 5,000gp in cost).

Now, if that sounds like quite a lot, keep in mind that (according to the rules) finding the blueprints or the broken remains of such a device can serve as a treasure from raiding a dwarven vault, negating half of the cost of creating such a thing. Also, this is effectively granting 4 passengers +4 AC, and one of them an attack for 1d12 (or 2d6 or 3d4, etc.) damage at a range of 120’, quite a powerful addition.

An ACKS wagon can haul 640 stone, should weigh about 100 stone itself, and costs 200 gp.

Almost all of that weight and cost is going to be in the wheels, axles, and support: most wagons were just open-air crates, cheap as dirt, tacked onto the support and axles.

A wooden hut (ACKS, p. 127) is about 4x larger than you need to cover a wagon, so call it 10 gp before doors are added. Double cost and weight for a more solid, reinforced structure.

For doors and murder holes, use the (also on p. 127) reinforced door (10 gp) and window shutters (5 gp per window).

Approximate weight for all of that will be around 40-50 stone.

A metallic casing will cost about 100x as much, and weigh 200-250 stone. I can’t imagine it would provide enough benefit to be worth it.

The ballista would be best served by the machinist rules, since historically, rotating turrets are a very recent invention, and also historically, ballista don’t work unless they are very tightly secured.

I’ll admit my by-the-book method is a bit expensive, but I feel like at that cheap (and depending on how hard it was to destroy the object), you run the risk of a situation where EVERYONE should be building battle wagons.

By the book, everyone should have wagons :-). I don’t know that a battle-wagon adds that much, though. Certainly, a portable archer’s cover might be good for an AC boost, but sabotaged wheels, dead horses/bulls, enemies who set fire to the wagon (and maybe bar the door), and limited visibility would all be major disadvantages.

Speed would also be a factor, and one good hit with a siege weapon while everyone’s stuck inside . . .

Plus you can’t take it into the dungeon or through most wilderness, it might raise eyebrows at even the most liberal outposts of civilization, etc.

Hmmmm, some interesting points. Honestly we just want something that gives us a little bit more cover from random potshots and make us look a little more threatening to potentially scare off some random encounters. (A few lucky shots from some bandits killed my mage last game.) Also a couple questions.

First Jard, under your automaton discussion do you think that since its now a construct it could ignore the only traveling on a road rule wagons have?
Second Thomas Weigel, you mention the machinist rules for the balista, are you talking about the automaton creation rules?

SaruSama, I would say in order for this not to effectively work like a wagon, it should be able to move under it’s own power, since anything that can’t is either stationary or on wheels. that would mean an extra 5,000gp for a 5th special ability. Of course, that is also in the realm where I would say the difference is minor enough that you should make a decision that works best for your campaign since “Every campaign is a law unto itself” and all that good stuff. If you think shelling out 28,000gp 1 or 2 times is expensive enough that it should be able to ignore wagon restrictions, I don’t think you’d break your campaign for doing so (there are much sillier things you can do when you have 28k gp to blow).

How about a Heavy Chariot from Domains at War?

Chariot, Heavy: A heavy chariot is an open, two- or four-wheeled vehicle used in warfare. The cab is constructed from slates of hardwood and reinforced with bronze. The axle is set beneath the center of the cab, adding to strength of construction. The chariot’s wheels are about 5’ in diameter. Its wheel track is about 7’ wide, while its total length is 15’. The cab measures 4’6” wide, 3’3” deep, and 3’9” high, with room for four man-sized creatures, one of whom must be the driver. The cab includes three built in weapon-cases, with room for a composite bow, 3 javelins, and 20 arrows. The armored cab provides its occupants with a +2 AC bonus against attacks to the front and flank. A heavy chariot has AC 2 and 2 shp.
A heavy chariot may be pulled by two, three, or four creatures whose normal loads add up to at least 80 stone. When used in war, heavy chariots are typically pulled by three medium horses or four light horses. The chariot can transport up to the harnessed creatures’ combined normal load at 1/2 the harnessed creatures’ movement rate, or up to the harnessed creature’s combined maximum load at 1/4 the harnessed creatures’ movement rate. The chariot may not exceed 90’ per turn in any case. Heavy chariots can only move through deserts, forests, mountains, or swamps if a road is available. Historical examples include the Neo-Assyrian chariot, Chinese Anyang-type chariot, and Classical Indian chariot.
Cost: 240gp

Jard/Thomas, the problem with the Dwarven Machinist is that if you use the rules to make relatively innocuous items, they will end up being overly expensive. (Try making a shortbow as a Dwarven Machinist). This is partly aesthetic (playing off the trope of the needlessly-complex inventor) and partly a side-effect of mechanics designed to make sure that flying invulnerable self-propelled guns aren’t too cheap.

I think if you took your current battle-wagon concept and then made it self-propelled, you’d have something that would certainly justify the egregious cost. It’d be a tank!

Imperial Steam Tank here I come!

Thanks for the reply Alex. I really like the heavy chariot, and it’ll give us a great solution. We can run 2 or three of these around and just have them guard our regular wagon/offer places for the mage to hide :P.
I still have a couple questions on the balista side though. Mainly is the siege engineering proficiency required to fire a balista/what proficiency is required to run a balista. Also How much would it cost to hire a mercenary with the siege engineering proficiency. I’m just bringing this up because my group got into a big argument over these particular questions.

  1. In D@W we introduce the Artillerist military specialist. He costs 25gp per month.
  2. You can fire a ballista without an artillerist, but you suffer a -4 penalty to hit.
  3. One rank of Siege Engineering proficiency qualifies you as an artillerist.

Thanks so much.