When it comes to realistic long range siege units to counter buildings and artillery, the options for the natives are quite limited. However, the natives of North America do have a tradition of using something very similar to a staff sling from the old world. The Lacrosse stick, while primarily used in sport, has some surprisingly strong connections to warfare.
First of all, Lacrosse was a fierce sport. There were few rules other than needing to use the stick to move the ball to the goalpost. The game could involve hundreds of players and the scrimmage could get violent, sometimes with players dying. The strenuous activity of Lacrosse was also good for training warriors and keeping them in shape. This connection was so strong that the Mowhawk name for the sport, Tewaaraton, translates to “little brother of war”.
Lacrosse was usually used as a proxy for war to defuse tensions without further escalation. However, sometimes it became the catalyst for war such as in a conflict between the Erie and Seneca. It was also sometimes actually used directly in war. Lacrosse was used to great effect in Pontiac’s War when it was played as a diversion that led to the conquest of Fort Michilimackinac. In the more distant past, Lacrosse may have been even more closely intertwined with war. The sticks may have originated as war clubs before they developed into a sport. The Norse accounts in the Greenlanders’ Saga also describe the Skrealings having pole weapons used to hurl objects which may have been the precursor to later Lacrosse sticks. Much later in WW2, Lacrosse sticks were used to lob grenades at enemies.
The aforementioned features could be represented in a unit that is essentially cross between a Hand Mortar and Eagle Runner Knight. Its ranged attack could be similar to that of a Hand Mortar, with huge multipliers against buildings and artillery, and pitiful damage against everything else. Lacrosse was a game of agility and endurance, so this unit should be speedy and could be classed as a ranged shock infantry like Eagle Runner Knights. This would also help them to face off against artillery since they wouldn’t be as vulnerable as infantry units. They carry a big stick so a moderately strong melee attack would be reasonable. The sport was also a method of training for warriors and this could be represented by having this unit use the promotion mechanic.
The name Tewaaraton Runner would be a good way to represent it. “Tewaaraton”is one name of the sport and translates to “little brother of war”, and “runner” is often used in shock infantry names.
An example of what the stats could look like is below:
Tags: Siege Unit, Shock Infantry, Ranged Shock Infantry
Resist: 30% Ranged
Ranged Attack: 4 (siege) - 3.5 ROF - 24 Range - x14 vs buildings - x6 vs artillery - x12 vs ships
Melee Attack: 9 (melee) - 1.5 ROF - x3 vs artillery - x2 vs heavy cavalry - x1.67 vs hand shock infantry
Promotions: Each promotion gives +1 ranged attack and +1 range (up to 3 promotions)
With the above stats and tags, this unit would counter artillery and buildings while getting hard countered by light infantry at range and heavy infantry in melee. Some small multipliers for their melee attack would boost their strength slightly and let them be able to gain a few promotions in melee fights. After picking up a few promotions, they would have the strength and range to possess a serious threat to artillery and buildings.
Tewaaraton Runners are pushing the boundaries of what is a historical unit, but they are at least much more plausible than the entirely made up Captured Mortars. Giving the North American natives Tewaaraton Runners and giving Light Cannons to the other natives could entire eliminate the need for Captured Mortars.
They would also give earlier (Age III) siege and anti-artillery options for Lakota and Haudenosaunee. Lakota wouldn’t have to rely on the Territorial Claims card to give their archaic infantry special siege attacks, and Haudenosaunee wouldn’t have to wait until Age IV to get Light Cannons