The following NPC uses material from the books Heroes of Battle and Player's Handbook II. She also uses the alternative class feature "Elusive Attack," again from the Player's Handbook II.
Human Fighter 6
N Medium humanoid
Init +2, Senses Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common, battle signals
AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 16
Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Ranged Light ballista +7 (3d8+2/19-20) or heavy ballista +7 (5d8+2/19-20) or heavy crossbow +10 (1d10/19-20). Remember to add +1 to attack and damage within 30 ft.
Melee Mwk short sword +7/+2 (1d6/19-20)
Base Atk +6
Atk Options Elusive attack
Combat Gear Light ballista OR heavy ballista, 20 ballista bolts, mwk heavy crossbow, 10 crossbow bolts, mwk short sword, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of protection from arrows
Abilities Str 11, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 10
Feats: Point blank shot, precise shot, ballista proficiency, weapon focus: light ballista, weapon focus: heavy ballista, weapon specialization: light ballista, weapon specialization: heavy ballista
Skills: Craft: siege engine +12, Concentration +6, Profession: siege engineer +4, Swim +7
Posessions: Combat gear, plus +2 chain shirt, red glasses, mwk artisan's tools
- The artisan's tools provide a +2 circumstance bonus to Craft: siege engine checks.
Personality and Notes Edit
"Rita Thatcher, former sergeant of the XXX army, trained in both light and heavy ballistae. There's not a lot that do what I do and I'm the best of them. And I'm not cheap."
The mercenary Rita Thatcher is known by the name "Red-Eye" not only for the spectacles of coloured glass she wears off duty, but also because red soon covers the target of her gaze. Thatcher has a prediliction towards the extreme in all her endeavors, whether it be attitude, damage output, or paycheck.
"I want at least four aides, well trained and equipped, the more the better. We use your ballista with your ammunition. And my pay is after that. Don't give me that look, I'm worth it. What are you after, a dragon or something? Point me in it's direction, and you can live off its corpse."
Thatcher demands she be crewed by at least four aides for ballista work, each of which with at least a +10 on profession: siege engineer checks (at minimum, this can be accomplished by 1st-level commoners with (Skill Focus: Profession: Siege engineer), 4 ranks in the skill, a 12 in wisdom, and masterwork tools for the appropriate skill) on top of her own salary, and her employer must provide the ballista. It can get costly, but Thatcher and prospective employers both know she is a terror when in her element.
"Wait, wait wait, I'm a ballista engineer. I'm not an archer, I'm not a fencer, and I'm not a dungeon delver! Come back when you know what the hell you're looking for, you friggin' dolt!"
Thatcher is uneasy to sign on for non-ballista work, even for mercenary work outside her level. By contrast, she will man any ballista in anything but clearly suicidal assignments (in fact, she dreams of one day spearing a dragon with a well-placed ballista bolt). She may be found on a castle wall, in a battlefield, or on the deck of a ship.
"Another round for the toughest, gutsiest, ballsiest quartet of bastards I ever had the pleasure of fighting alongside! In the last week or so, anyway...the only ones crazy enough to stay at my side to stare down a dive-bombing roc! Come on, drink up, it's what Jimmy and Oscar would've wanted."
Thatcher lives a dangerous life and maximizes every second. After combat, she likes to enjoy a hardy drink or ten with her crew, employers, and any other acquaintances interested in celebration. These binges frequently find her waking up in either a cell or a stranger's bed.
"Oh, hell. Okay, three questions: where am I, do I have to sneak out, and should I pay a visit to the cleric. Don't lie to me because I can put a half-ton of metal through your wall."
Due to the intrinsically one-shot-per-round nature of ballistae and heavy crossbows, Thatcher almost always spends a full-round action on the Elusive Attack fighter class feature. Since this is her overwhelmingly usual form of attack, the AC bonus is included in the statistics above.
Light ballistas are loaded using two full-round actions, while heavy ballistas are loaded with four. Thatcher's aides are responsible for each performing these full-round actions so that the ballista can be fired every round. This leaves at least two aides when using a light ballista, which use aid another actions to give Thatcher additional bonuses to her attack roll (for clarifications, see pages 66-67 of Heroes of Battle). Of course, more aides mean higher bonuses.
The statistics above are given for off-the-rack ballistae. Because the employer provides her equipment, Thatcher may be equipped with a masterwork or magical ballista; adjust the statistics accordingly.
Thatcher puts her high damage to good use and targets the most dangerous-looking combatants or equipment on the battlefield. She is also capable of no small finesse at range; she is able to use her precise shot feat to pick off attackers within melee range of friendlies that need protecting.
Thatcher's bonuses to craft: siege engine may also come into play, especially if an enemy rogue has disabled her ballista. Thatcher is able to do repair work in the field and has the concentration to pull it off if distracted by the rocking of a ship's deck or, possibly more likely, being sniped while performing repairs.