All towns in the Hanse have a Weapon Smith, who makes and sells weapons that can be used to arm ships and soldiers.
Since the Weapon Smith's production is tied to the experience level of the Shipyard, not all weapons are available at the beginning of the game. As the shipyard gains experience, the Weapon Smith becomes able to make more advanced weapons, such as cannons.
The Weapon Smith needs these specific raw materials to work with: Leather Hemp Timber Iron Goods
If any of the goods is unavailable in town, weapon production will stop (there will be a notification to this effect at the bottom of the Weapon Smith's window).
To purchase ship's weapons at a Weapon Smith, a trader must have a trading office in that town. Once bought, weapons are automatically transferred to the office.
Cutlasses are used in hand-to-hand combat with other sailors - which only occurs when one ship boards another during Naval Combat. They significantly improve the combat performance of the crew.
To load cutlasses between a trading office to a ship, select the ship, press the 'Weapons' tab and adjust the numbers of cutlasses accordingly. To move cutlasses from one ship to another, select one ship and right-click on the other. This can only be done when both ships are docked in a harbour.
The four types of artillery are catapults, ballistas, bombards and cannons. They can only be loaded onto ships with weapon slots (that is, not on Level 1 Snaikkas or Crayers) and require one or two slots each. Weapon slots can be added to a ship by improving the ship at the Shipyard.
Artillery do more damage to their target the closer they are to it. Different weapon types tend to be slightly more effective at longer or shorter ranges. Ballistas, for example, are noticeably more potent at extremely close range than cheaper weapons. Still, their average damage is higher than that of less common weapons. This essentially means that more expensive weapons are generally worth the investment.
During the history of the game there has been much speculation about certain weapons' ability to be more effective against the crew or the hull of the ship. As a result, many players were convinced that using catapults would make it possible to capture ships while inflicting less hull damage. However, it has been shown that such mechanics are not implemented in Patrician 3, where it's impossible to kill the crew without damaging the hull.
The following diagrams show the short and long range damage capabilities of available weapons. Note: these numbers are not actual values used by the game. What does this mean?
All weapons appear to have the same range. The actual range of weapon fire depends on the direction the ship is facing.
When ship is sailing directly up or down, the cannonballs travel much farther. When the ship is facing left or right, the weapon range is greatly reduced.
Wind direction also has an impact, though there seems to be some randomness involved. Shooting against the wind will often result in shorter range.
The rank of Lord Mayor allows traders to buy weapons in their home town, while an Alderman can purchase them in any city.
A Lord Mayor can assign a priority to one of the hand weapons. The Weapon Smith will stop producing all ship's and hand weapons to make that particular weapon. It appears that the computer-controlled Lord Mayors are not capable of disabling this feature, so it is possible to force the production of a specific Hand Weapon in Hanseatic Towns by getting elected and then moving to another city.
Ties to the Underworld
You can meet Weapon Smith in the tavern as well, under the guise of the Weapons Dealer. Talking to him, however, will result in a fine (unless you are Alderman).