Ballista, Lord Artificer


“Ballista? Like most of the rest of them, he’d happily spend all of his days in the workshop if he could, just tinkering away with whatever latest mechanical marvel he’s come up with. But he’s got a strange sense of tradition for an Engineer. Everything has to be done to the right measurement, carefully adjusted and precise. I know that the rest of them can get a bit that way, but he’s on another level.

It’s probably because he’s old school, used to giving the orders for long years past. He made his fortune for himself and the guild back during the Century Wars, creating weaponry and siege engines. Some of them were a marvel to behold if you weren’t on the receiving side. Massive trebuchets, bigger than you’ve ever seen before, bolt throwers that fired four or five darts at once, immense towers with steel plating for armour so they couldn’t be set alight.

But the worst were the fire breathers. Each one had great big tanks full of this thick, black oil, with a furnace under them to heat it up and a huge bellows at one end. The other was a long funnel with a blackened mouth. I shudder to remember when it fired, belching flames forward out of its maw and incinerating the soldiers unlucky enough to get in the way. One moment, a regiment standing proud; the next, all of them just ashes floating in the wind.

Thing is, he tried to bring something like that to Guild Ball once upon a time. It was much smaller, looked like a crossbow, but with a long barrel instead of arms. First couple of games it fair decimated everyone. He’d just sit in the back field with that girl apprentice of his as a reloader and pick his shots.

Then they played the Alchemist’s Guild. Always been close those two, in on it together. They supplied Ballista the powder that the weapon needed. I don’t know rightly how, but all I can tell you is that right there in front of the stands, first time he tried to fire it, the thing exploded. Threw him backwards, put him out of the game for a while from the burns. The apprentice wasn’t so lucky, took a huge lump of shrapnel right through the eye and out the back of her skull. Killed her dead where she stood.

That was the last time anyone in the Empire of the Free Cities saw anything like it. Ever since then, Ballista took to the field with a huge crossbow instead. Less effective, but good, old fashioned and reliable.

The saddest part in all of it is that I know he’s a sentimental soul really. He’s not the vicious type you see in some teams. Has a strict code of honour and pride, a rigid idea of right and wrong. For all that over the years he’s brought misery with his inventions, all he ever considers them is tools. It’s the people around him that he cares about, trying to keep them all safe and remembering the past ones with due respect.

They might not win as much with him at the helm as they could, but he’s a good captain, and the game could do with more like that by my estimation.” - Honour, Mason’s Guild Team Captain

Ballista is available to pre-order as part of The Instruments of War