“I’m rather offended that they think we’d fall for such an obvious trap. Of course they’ve hidden archers behind that wall. They pretend to offer parlay, then shoot our delegation down before we can retreat back out of range. Signal Captain Kellor’s crossbows. Let’s show these bastards just how long our reach has gotten. Aim for their leaders.”
—Queen Viarra, excerpted from First Empress
Crossbow designs for First Empress. Based on the Ancient Greek gastraphetes design. Feedback is always welcome!
Still in the prototype phase, these ‘belly-shooter’ crossbows were invented by her majesty’s archer captain Kellor, an engineer named Oppen, and a bowyer named Arrin. Queen Vi’s campaign into the Vedrian Highlands is their first field test in combat, playing a key role in several battles. Their range and accuracy is superior to any other Tollesian ranged weapons. Though being used on largely unarmored barbarians, these crossbows have excellent armor penetration, even against the heaviest bronze cuirasses.
Unlike later designs that have to be pulled back for loading, this design features a sliding ‘loading chamber’ where the archer presses the end of the chamber into the ground and pushes the crossbow’s butt against their belly to slide and lock the chamber into place. At this stage, the crossbows are only being entrusted to her majesty’s most loyal soldiers, for fear of this technology falling into enemy hands. Naturally, Queen Viarra is foresightful enough to invest heavily into further developing this technology. These designs will eventually lead to larger, sinew-powered artillery.