A Path to Steam
Default: IQ -5.
This is the ability to use a heavy weapon, such as a trebuchet or a howitzer, for indirect fire – that is, to put fire onto a target area via a high ballistic arc or similar path. For direct fire, use Gunner skill (p. 198). Roll against Artillery skill to bombard the target.
Loaders can make ST-based Artillery rolls to improve the rate of fire of certain crew-served heavy weapons. See the appropriate weapon description for details.
You must specialize by weapon type. The available specialties vary by TL, but include one or more of:
Beams: Any kind of heavy energy weapon that is fired from orbit, bounced off a mirror, or otherwise used against targets you cannot see.
Bombs: All kinds of unpowered, free-falling munitions.
Cannon: Any kind of heavy projectile weapon – bombard, howitzer, naval gun, etc.
Catapult: Any kind of indirect-fire mechanical siege engine, such as a trebuchet.
Guided Missile: Any kind of seeking or remotely piloted missile.
Torpedoes: Any kind of powered underwater projectile. There is no default between
specialties, some of which (e.g., Torpedoes) cover weapons that bear little or no resemblance to true artillery. Artillery is a single skill only because all the weapons it covers use the same rules.
The weapons covered by each specialty will vary by TL. For instance, Artillery (Cannon) would cover primitive bombards at TL3, brass cannon at TL4, breech-loading howitzers at TL6, and orbital railguns at TL9+.
Familiarity is crucial here! Artillery (Cannon) covers both 81mm infantry mortars and 406mm naval guns, but going from one to the other will give -2 for weapon type (81mm vs. 406mm), -2 for fire-control (visual spotting vs. fire-direction center), and -2 for
mount (bipod vs. naval turret), for a total of -6 to skill until you familiarize
yourself with all the differences.
Note that Forward Observer skill (p. 196) is generally required to designate targets for Artillery skill.
Modifiers: All relevant combat modifiers; -2 for an unfamiliar fire control system (e.g., map coordinates when you’re used to satellite imagery) or mount (e.g., a naval turret when you’re used to emplaced guns), or for an unfamiliar weapon of a known type
(e.g., 155mm when you are used to 203mm); -4 or more for a weapon in bad repair.