Aquatic Ballista (3.5e Equipment)

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Aquatic ballistas were developed by the Children of Green in times past when they needed a weapon that worked well against Aboleths. They are often used in battle lines, and fired opportunely

The Aquatic Ballista is essentially a variant on the conventional Ballista, either Huge or Gargantuan in size. It is made of rust-proof metal, uses waterproof sinew for the ropes, and fires teardrop-shaped bolts to minimize drag. The bolts are made out of metal, stone or other appropriately heavy material but are internally porous, filled with air to be perfectly buoyant, but do not leak this air out. They do Piercing and Bludgeoning damage. The bolts have faint grooves cut in the outside so they will spin, increasing their accuracy. The devices are primarily underwater weapons but can be used on land at a significant penalty.

Table: Aquatic Ballista[edit]

Item Cost Size Damage (UW)1 Damage (L)2 Critical (UW) Critical (L) Range Increment (UW) Range Increment (L) Typical Crew Hardness HP
Aquatic Ballista, Light 1,500 gp Huge 3d8 3d6 19–20/×3 20/×2 100 ft. 75 ft. 1 5 15
Aquatic Ballista, Heavy 2,000 gp Gargantuan 4d8 4d6 19-20/×3 20/×2 150 ft. 100 ft. 2 5 25
  1. Underwater.
  2. Land.

Light[edit]

The Light Aquatic Ballista is a Huge unit. Each bolt costs 20 GP. The operator must be no smaller than Small size. When using one on land, it takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls and its size and weight make it harder to aim; for every size category smaller than it the operator is, the operator takes an additional cumulative -2 penalty on their attack roll. (So a Large creature would take a -4 penalty, and a Medium creature would take a -6 penalty.) Underwater, it is easier to aim, and does not have these penalties. Instead, a Small operator (only) takes a -2 penalty on their attack rolls. Up to 4 creatures may cooperatively aim the unit: count 2 Small creatures as 1 Medium creature, 2 Medium creatures as 1 Large creature, and so on, (so a group of 4 Small creatures operating a Light Aquatic Ballista on land would take a -4 penalty on their attack roll,) with the one making the attack roll being the one with the highest Dex score.

Heavy[edit]

The Heavy Aquatic Ballista is a Gargantuan unit. Each bolt costs 40 GP. The operator must be no smaller than Medium size. When using one on land, it takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls and its size and weight make it harder to aim; for every size category smaller than it the operator is, the operator takes an additional cumulative -2 penalty on their attack roll. (So a Huge creature would take a -4 penalty, and a Large creature would take a -6 penalty.) Underwater, it is easier to aim, and does not have these penalties. Instead, a Medium operator (only) takes a -2 penalty on their attack rolls. Up to 4 creatures may cooperatively aim the unit: count 2 Medium creatures as 1 Large creature, 2 Large creatures as 1 Huge creature, and so on, (so a group of 4 Medium creatures operating a Light Aquatic Ballista on land would take a -4 penalty on their attack roll,) with the one making the attack roll being the one with the highest Dex score.

Aboleths[edit]

The Aquatic Ballista (both models) was developed for fighting Aboleths. If an Aquatic Ballista in water succeeds on a critical hit against an Aboleth that is facing toward it, the bolt goes through the Aboleth's eye and pierces its brain, instantly killing it. In addition the Critical threat range for an Aquatic Ballista in water attacking an Aboleth facing towards it is increased to 18-20.


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