Siege weaponry?


General Discussion


Is it me, or does it feel weird that we don't have siege weaponry yet?

I could see starship weapons being used for ground, air, sea and underwater vehicles, as well as attached to giant aliens.

Then again, is the lack of an actual war/conflict an explanation for no siege weaponry right now?


You mean artillery, as in actual artillery, not some man-portable cutting laser. That'd be military equipment, rather than equipment used by the usual small team of troubleshooters. I guess they're saving that for expansions like 'Starfinder Armory'.


Siege weaponry takes a lot of work, because you start having to write rules for sieges. Thats a challenge to balance.

Unless the PCs are going to be sieging things, it can be narratively.


I meant "artillery", like having a tank or a tortoise-like alien with a huge cannon attached to its shell ^^;


When I saw the weapon named "artillary Laser" or whatever it is called, I pictured a vesk ripping a vehicle mounted weapon off of a tank and weilding it in his hands.


FirstChAoS wrote:
When I saw the weapon named "artillary Laser" or whatever it is called, I pictured a vesk ripping a vehicle mounted weapon off of a tank and weilding it in his hands.

I mean, this is probably not wrong. An artillery laser is probably a good example of the kind of weapon you'd see attached to a light vehicle, analogous to a jeep with a machine gun.


Seige weapons would just be larger versions of Heavy Weapons wieldable by larger monsters and vehicles. The size of a weapon isn't relevant to its damage potential, as weapon damage is purely dependant on the level of the weapon.

Starship weapons mounted on vehicles is probably not going to be a thing. They already have difficulty interacting with most things that aren't starship scale.


Well, technically speaking, the biggest vehicle weapon mounts probably would be starship weapons. They just wouldn't use starship weapon stats, as such. A Laser Tank might have a main gun that is explicitly described as "its a starship Light Laser on a ground vehicle", but its damage stats would be 10d4.


Metaphysician wrote:
Well, technically speaking, the biggest vehicle weapon mounts probably would be starship weapons. They just wouldn't use starship weapon stats, as such. A Laser Tank might have a main gun that is explicitly described as "its a starship Light Laser on a ground vehicle", but its damage stats would be 10d4.

What I meant was starship weapon mechanics applied to vehicles wouldn't be a thing.

Fluffing a creature scale weapon as a starship weapon is perfectly fine.


JiCi wrote:
I meant "artillery", like having a tank or a tortoise-like alien with a huge cannon attached to its shell ^^;

everyone wants a Blastoise ^▪^


ghostunderasheet wrote:
JiCi wrote:
I meant "artillery", like having a tank or a tortoise-like alien with a huge cannon attached to its shell ^^;
everyone wants a Blastoise ^▪^

I personally use Clawitzer when I need to out-Aura Sphere that stupid poser. Saves the Key Stone for Metagross.


I am of the mind that most military forces in Starfinder have replaced planet bound forces with Fleet based marines and air forces with those same fleets, what that would mean is that instead of sieging normally, with a large numbers of artillery pieces a navy would resort to blockading a planet with large scale Starships of at least Dreadnought class or larger having large scale weapons which could probably target fortified positions on the surface.

The alternative is they just have a ship the size of a Transport or even a light Freighter drop a large pure adamantine rod of roughly 100 tones from orbit, such an object would more than destroy a large area of land while being able to withstand re entry.


Eh, there are plenty of reasons to want surface forces. Sometimes you are dealing with smaller scale problems where you need some armored vehicles, but don't need them to be able to fly to another planet, in which cases, simply being armored vehicles would make them cheaper and more plentiful. Maybe you want them to have hover-drives for convenient travel over terrain, but still.

In other cases, you'd want surface vehicles as a comparatively cheap way to provide defense against space attack. You build a tank out of what is effectively a starship weapons mount, enough power core to run it, and enough targeting electronics to shoot at stuff in orbit. You now have something that can shoot at enemy ships hanging in orbit, but is small and mobile. Its cheaper than an equivalent firepower worth of actual starships ( because its basically a gun mount on treads or hover-pads or whatnot ), and more survivable than an equivalent cost of fixed anti-space batteries ( because its small and mobile, and thus can't be targeted as easily from space ).

I do admit that conventional aircraft are probably obsolete as vehicles of war.


Metaphysician wrote:

Eh, there are plenty of reasons to want surface forces. Sometimes you are dealing with smaller scale problems where you need some armored vehicles, but don't need them to be able to fly to another planet, in which cases, simply being armored vehicles would make them cheaper and more plentiful. Maybe you want them to have hover-drives for convenient travel over terrain, but still.

In other cases, you'd want surface vehicles as a comparatively cheap way to provide defense against space attack. You build a tank out of what is effectively a starship weapons mount, enough power core to run it, and enough targeting electronics to shoot at stuff in orbit. You now have something that can shoot at enemy ships hanging in orbit, but is small and mobile. Its cheaper than an equivalent firepower worth of actual starships ( because its basically a gun mount on treads or hover-pads or whatnot ), and more survivable than an equivalent cost of fixed anti-space batteries ( because its small and mobile, and thus can't be targeted as easily from space ).

I do admit that conventional aircraft are probably obsolete as vehicles of war.

Fair enough, the use of a Planetary Defense Force would be valid as a strictly defensive force. However I don't think they'd be strictly planet bound, but would operate more like the United Stats National Guard, which is a reserve Militia force that makes use of a combination of Air and ground systems.

Functionally such a PDF would be able to hold off minor assaults, but full on blockades might be a different. In this case I think a PDF as we have described would probably make use of, a) a small fleet of starships capable of long to mid range engagement, with only minor transport and carrier capacity as most of their fighters are probably deployed on patrol missions or else be ground based. B) a ring of orbital weapon batteries, this would be especially true on smaller planets or stations such as Absalom, then c) ground based missile batteries of both the mobile and immobile types.

For sieges the attacking side would probably employ a vanguard of light frigate style warships in tandem with carrier born or drift capable fighters to try and clear away any opposing fleet and orbiting defense systems. Following that would be the main fleet which would either launch into a full scale planetary invasion (hereafter called a planetstrike for cool factor) or a blockade, depending on their intentions. From that point it becomes a stare down between the two forces. The worst case would be the use of potential planet killer weapons, the simplest of which is just a large spike of material that gets shot down onto the planet from a significant distance.

Darn I just text walled a totally theoretical style of war, but now I want to incorporate that style of warfare into a campaign.


For orbital and beyond combat:

You don't send light warships against a fortified planet. You send large warships that have weaponry with higher ranges. Orbital defenses and planet based facilities can't dodge. So ideally you just paste them without letting them shoot at you.

The defense against this is the planet's mobile forces coming after you. This is why you have lighter units and fighters, you use those as a screen while you adjust your formations from 'planetary bombardment' mode to 'fleet engagement.'

For planetary combat:
You only invade with ground troops if you need the planet itself, need a good deal of not destroyed stuff from the planet, you're on a religious crusade that demands extermination, or maybe you want to eat the populace. Otherwise, kinetic bombardment until the planet isn't a threat is the way to go, as the cheapest and easiest solution. Go find a couple asteroids, do some math, and put them on the correct vector.

Now, if you're going to invade? Then you'll absolutely have something with a heavier weapon than what is squad/man portable. Much like Starfinder PC weaponry, I'd expect a mix of energy/ballistic weapons. They're too good at their respective jobs to go without.

In terms of aircraft, it really depends on what your troop delivery method is. If you're using some kind of space/atmospheric troop transport that gets disgorged in the hundreds by bigger ships (like Normandy Beach but in the future. And space.) then you'll have some kind of aircraft to act as fighter support. If you're just landing a ship the size of a Wal-Mart and your troops walk out, then no, probably no other kinds of aircraft.


One thing people see, to be forgetting in terms of reasons for ground warfare vehicles: Not all enemies come from space.

After-all, until recently, Castrovel was stuck in a generations long war between the Lashuntas and Formians. Other planets have more than one nation and have their history of wars (Triaxus, I'm looking at you). And well, there are the Kyokor. Given the choice, I'd rather face them Pacific Rim style than Attack on Titan style.

Another sources for enemies can be planar. Imagine a hell-gate opens in the middle of a major city. Nuking it from orbit might be the best way to be sure, but perhaps the locals would rather the army send a tank battalion with gunship support to fight those pesky devils.

The third consideration is that I imagine the Pact Worlds have a sort of space Geneva Conventions. Blasting the surface of a world from orbit with WMD might carry the same connotations there than using nukes on our world does.

And maybe I just want to pit the party in a boss fight against a Metal Gear...


Midboss57 wrote:
And maybe I just want to pit the party in a boss fight against a Metal Gear...

The AHAV makes for a good stand in for a Metal Gear.


Sauce987654321 wrote:
Midboss57 wrote:
And maybe I just want to pit the party in a boss fight against a Metal Gear...
The AHAV makes for a good stand in for a Metal Gear.

Always saw the AHAV more as the Geckoes rather than a full sized Metal Gear.

Liberty's Edge

Look at a setting like BattleTech where conventional aircraft and tanks have a place even among the BattleMechs. They are super cheap and work 95% of the time.


Noven wrote:
Look at a setting like BattleTech where conventional aircraft and tanks have a place even among the BattleMechs. They are super cheap and work 95% of the time.

Without a technological bias towards a humanoid frame, Tanks have a pretty big advantage when it comes to pure, well, doing tank things. It's basically a mech that can move at full speed while prone and can carry a bigger gun because it doesn't have to lift it.

Mechs are best at generalist tasks, since that's what the humanoid frame evolved for.


Noven wrote:
Look at a setting like BattleTech where conventional aircraft and tanks have a place even among the BattleMechs. They are super cheap and work 95% of the time.

As a person who recently had a very bad BattleTech game when the opposition surprised us with some AeroTech fighters, I can confirm this to be straight gospel.


Midboss57 wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Midboss57 wrote:
And maybe I just want to pit the party in a boss fight against a Metal Gear...
The AHAV makes for a good stand in for a Metal Gear.
Always saw the AHAV more as the Geckoes rather than a full sized Metal Gear.

The AHAV is huge sized, which ranges from 16-32 feet high, where as the Gekko is roughly 13 feet high. Plus the Giant template pushes it to 32-64 feet high.

That's not an attempt to change your mind, though, as everyone has their preferences. I suggested it because, personally, I don't really see the "average" Metal Gear being really anything beyond the statblock I suggested.


On the matter of "Geneva Convention", note that there is a difference between orbital bombardment, and "blow up the planet". Most forms of orbital bombardment are probably closer to heavy artillery fire than "this city no longer exists". I mean, sure, you *can* nuke cities off the map, but its hardly your only option when you hold the high ground.


Pantshandshake wrote:

For orbital and beyond combat:

You don't send light warships against a fortified planet. You send large warships that have weaponry with higher ranges. Orbital defenses and planet based facilities can't dodge. So ideally you just paste them without letting them shoot at you.

The defense against this is the planet's mobile forces coming after you. This is why you have lighter units and fighters, you use those as a screen while you adjust your formations from 'planetary bombardment' mode to 'fleet engagement.'

For planetary combat:
You only invade with ground troops if you need the planet itself, need a good deal of not destroyed stuff from the planet, you're on a religious crusade that demands extermination, or maybe you want to eat the populace. Otherwise, kinetic bombardment until the planet isn't a threat is the way to go, as the cheapest and easiest solution. Go find a couple asteroids, do some math, and put them on the correct vector.

Now, if you're going to invade? Then you'll absolutely have something with a heavier weapon than what is squad/man portable. Much like Starfinder PC weaponry, I'd expect a mix of energy/ballistic weapons. They're too good at their respective jobs to go without.

In terms of aircraft, it really depends on what your troop delivery method is. If you're using some kind of space/atmospheric troop transport that gets disgorged in the hundreds by bigger ships (like Normandy Beach but in the future. And space.) then you'll have some kind of aircraft to act as fighter support. If you're just landing a ship the size of a Wal-Mart and your troops walk out, then no, probably no other kinds of aircraft.

Bombarding a planet from orbit is going to be very uninteresting for an adventure. If Paizo ever does release information on this, I will be disappointed if they make it easy to bombard a planet from orbit.

In Star Wars, for instance, people can set up powerful planetary shields that stop projectiles but don't stop small ships or people. So you send in ground forces to disable the shield generate for your big guns.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
johnlocke90 wrote:
Bombarding a planet from orbit is going to be very uninteresting for an adventure. If Paizo ever does release information on this, I will be disappointed if they make it easy to bombard a planet from orbit.

Conceptually, bombarding a planet is actually pretty easy. All you need are some really strong bonding clamps and some powerful thrusters. Attach the thrusters to a large celestial object with the clamps, program in a course, and off the planetoid goes to ruin someone's day.

Kind of hard to stop such a simply designed device. Even if you had shields powerful enough to stop a planetoid from smashing into you, that's not going to stop someone from ramming two planetoids into your local star from opposite directions at near light speeds to cause a system-destroying super nova.


Star Wars is pretty unique in that they seem to be able to make force fields with no failure point. It always seemed too hand-wavey to me.

In any case, spaceship-themed fleet battle or a squad-based infiltration/demolition both seem equally fun to me. If you and/or the players prefer one over the other, I guess you do what needs to be done to ensure the most fun is had.

RD makes a good point, too. If extermination is your game, it's hard to beat a stellar reaction for maximum thoroughness.


Ravingdork wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Bombarding a planet from orbit is going to be very uninteresting for an adventure. If Paizo ever does release information on this, I will be disappointed if they make it easy to bombard a planet from orbit.

Conceptually, bombarding a planet is actually pretty easy. All you need are some really strong bonding clamps and some powerful thrusters. Attach the thrusters to a large celestial object with the clamps, program in a course, and off the planetoid goes to ruin someone's day.

Kind of hard to stop such a simply designed device. Even if you had shields powerful enough to stop a planetoid from smashing into you, that's not going to stop someone from ramming two planetoids into your local star from opposite directions at near light speeds to cause a system-destroying super nova.

The rules for space combat make it clear physics in Starfinder doesn't work the same way as it does in our universe though.

For one, there is a max speed things can travel that isn't based on fuel reserves.

And based on the falling object damage rules, I doubt E=1/2mv^2 is true either.


Pantshandshake wrote:

Star Wars is pretty unique in that they seem to be able to make force fields with no failure point. It always seemed too hand-wavey to me.

In any case, spaceship-themed fleet battle or a squad-based infiltration/demolition both seem equally fun to me. If you and/or the players prefer one over the other, I guess you do what needs to be done to ensure the most fun is had.

RD makes a good point, too. If extermination is your game, it's hard to beat a stellar reaction for maximum thoroughness.

Most people like the idea of fleet combat, but I don't see how anyone who understands the rules for spaceship combat would think running a battle with dozens of ships would be fun.


If I may pitch an idea, AHAVs with various MODELs can serve as heavy artillery for armies. Furthermore, feel free to add the Giant template Graft two times to get a Colossal AHAV. Finally, feel free to upgrade its weapons around the same final CR.


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Eh, the issue with simple asteroid bombardment is, its slow. Sure, its not *that* hard to send an asteroid or ten at a planet, but if the planet sees them coming, they have a lot of time to send their own ships out and either redirect them or blow them up. It only works as part of an existing successful planetary siege. Which is why I imagine people don't spend a ton of time flinging asteroids at each other.

As for setting off a supernova via relativistic planetoids? I'll believe its a major issue when there's any evidence that anyone has that level of tech. Being able to move an asteroid slowly does not mean you can take planet-sized masses and accelerate them to a larger percentage of C.


Metaphysician wrote:

Eh, the issue with simple asteroid bombardment is, its slow. Sure, its not *that* hard to send an asteroid or ten at a planet, but if the planet sees them coming, they have a lot of time to send their own ships out and either redirect them or blow them up. It only works as part of an existing successful planetary siege. Which is why I imagine people don't spend a ton of time flinging asteroids at each other.

As for setting off a supernova via relativistic planetoids? I'll believe its a major issue when there's any evidence that anyone has that level of tech. Being able to move an asteroid slowly does not mean you can take planet-sized masses and accelerate them to a larger percentage of C.

Isaac Arthur does a great video on planetary assaults invasions.

And I agree with the relativistic planetiods thing, moving an object of that mass to near relativistic speeds with any kind of ease is grossly underestimating the energies involved here. Especially with conventional thrusters.

If we are talking doomsday weapons, I'm surprised we haven't brought up the Nicoll Dyson Beam. Take several large asteroids worth of metals and harvest them to build a cloud of wafer-thin mirrors around the local star in a dyson swarm, and suddenly you can focus the light from those mirrors and you got a literal death-star. Alternatively, you can cover the back of your projectile of choice with solar sails and you got relativistic projectiles for days anyways. Much easier than moving a whole planet. So much easier in fact, it can be done with technology that we pretty much have now. No new physics or technologies like fusion. Our bottleneck is the sheer scope of the project with our current (lack) of space infrastructure. Such a project would be trivial for a setting where we got cities in space, magic, and FTL.

Also, if you want to overlook the fact this would involve a time frame of millions of years, you can use those mirrors to channel a supergiant star's light in one direction, and thanks to newton's third law, your supergiant star will go supernova a few hundred light years in the desired direction.

You can also use a shell of mirrors around a black hole to make a pretty spectacular bomb.

Man, you can kill a lot of people with mirrors...

Exo-Guardians

The irony of this is if you have a civilization thousands of years dead they could have had enough spite to have done such things. Hey there's a new adventure for anemone.


I mean, practically the highest end space opera setting that exists, the Lensmen Saga. . . *did* do the "relativistic planet" trick. But they had to basically first find planets that were *already* traveling at relativistic speed first. They couldn't just arbitrarily push them up to that speed.

( Technically, it was actually "FTL planet", but that was because of abuse of different dimensions with different speeds of light. Also, they technically can easily *move* planets, but thats by cancelling out their inertia, and an inertialess planet is basically useless as a weapon. . . until its own actual inertia and momentum is allowed to return. . . )

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