Siege Tower

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Issu du Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, par Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, 1856.Dessin représentant l'assaut d'une courtine à l'aide d'un beffroi.

Issu du Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, par Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, 1856.Dessin représentant l'assaut d'une courtine à l'aide d'un beffroi.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A siege tower is a specialized siege engine, constructed to protect assailants and ladders while approaching the defensive walls of a fortification. The tower was often rectangular with four wheels and a height roughly equal to that of the wall or sometimes higher to allow archers to stand on top of the tower and shoot into the fortification. Because the towers were wooden and thus flammable, they had to have some non-flammable covering of iron or fresh animal skins. The siege tower was mainly made from wood but sometimes they had metal parts.

Siege towers were of unwieldy dimensions and, like trebuchets, were therefore mostly constructed on site of the siege. Taking considerable time to construct, siege towers were mainly built if the defense of the opposing fortification could not be overcome by ladder assault, by mining or by breaking walls or gates.

The siege tower sometimes housed pikemen, swordsmen, or crossbowmen who shot quarrels at the defenders. Because of the size of the tower it would often be the first target of large stone catapults but it had its own projectiles with which to retaliate.

Siege towers were used to get troops over an enemy wall. When a siege tower was near a wall, it would drop a gangplank between it and the wall. Troops could then rush onto the walls and into the castle or city.

Medieval and later use

With collapse of the Roman Empire in the West into independent states, and the Eastern Roman Empire on the defensive, the use of siege towers reached its height during the medieval period.

Siege towers became more elaborate during the medieval period; at the Siege of Kenilworth Castle in 1266, for example, 200 archers and 11 catapults operated from a single tower. Even then, the siege lasted almost a year, making it the longest siege in English history. They were not invulnerable either, as during the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman siege towers were sprayed by the defenders with Greek fire.

Siege towers became vulnerable and obsolete with the development of large cannon. They had only ever existed to get assaulting troops over high walls and large cannon also made high walls obsolete as fortification took a new direction. However, later constructions known as battery-towers took on a similar role in the gunpowder age; like siege-towers, these were built out of wood on site for mounting siege artillery. One of these was built by the Russian military engineer Ivan Vyrodkov during the siege of Kazan in 1552 (as part of the Russo-Kazan Wars), and could hold ten large-calibre cannon and 50 lighter cannons.


Siege Tower: A wooden gallery of stout construction, a siege tower consists of a tall protective shell with a roof section. The lower story of the tower contains the crew members who propel the tower, and provides total cover to those within. A siege tower with the broken condition moves at half speed. If a siege tower is destroyed, the entire tower collapses. Treat this as a cave-in.

The upper section of a siege tower provides improved cover for a number of soldiers (see Crew) and may have pierced walls allowing creatures to fire ranged weapons out the sides. The roof section may have a battlement and may mount a siege engine of the siege tower’s size or smaller and a corvus. Siege towers have a base speed of 15 (or 10 feet if protected with medium or heavy armor).

Siege towers have a hardness of 5, and hit points based on their size. A Large siege tower has 60 hit points, a Huge one has 240 hit points, a Gargantuan one has 640 hit points, and a Colossal one has 1,250 hit points.

Siege Tower Complement
Size Soldiers
Large 5
Huge 20
Gargantuan 50
Colossal 200

Section 15: Copyright Notice - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Combat

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Combat. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Tim Hitchcock, Colin McComb, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.

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