- "In capable hands, mortars are very effective at blasting great holes open in enemy formations. The effect a successful strike can have on an enemy is marked; there is nothing like having to march over the bloody, twisted remains of former comrades to put the wind up a foe."
- —Excerpt from Machineries of Destruction – The Manifold Methods of Maiming the Mass and the Mob on the Field of Battle, by Master Engineer Hallar Hansleben of Wissenland.[2a]
Empire Mortars are one of the artillery pieces created by the Imperial Gunnery School. Compared to the Great Cannons, mortars are much shorter and about equally heavy, but both can have devastating effect.
Mortars are designed to fire in an arch and instead of solid iron balls, they fire hollow shells filled with black-powder, with a fuse attached. The shell then explodes, many a time landing in the heart of the enemy formation, blasting red hot, razor sharp shrapnel in all directions, scything through whole ranks of enemy warriors.[1a]
Firing a Mortar is always a tense moment, for the quality of fuses is highly variable and it is not unknown for one to burn through before the crew has finished loading the shell. The best case scenario is that the crew will have to waste time removing the dud shell. The worst case scenario the mortar explodes, killing the crew. As a result, Mortar crews tend to be superstitious and carry a large number of good luck charms, hoping they will not meet an unlucky fate.[1a]
Mortars are commonly used in sieges. Their high arc of fire and explosive shells are ideal for firing on or past castle walls.[2a]