Killing fools from the back of a horse presents a few advantages and disadvantages. Mostly advantages, or who'd put up with the cost of maintaining a mount?

Summary

While fighting from horseback, a character receives the following benefits/penalties:

  • CP penalty from leg armor cancelled.
  • CP penalty from other armor halved.
  • +2CP per round height bonus (against ground-based opponents only). This bonus varies with the quality of the horse ridden (check the horse breeds section, below).
  • AG/Ride checks may be made instead of spending CP on terrain rolls.
  • The mount's barding CP penalty applies to the characters
  • CP while he is fighting mounted.
  • All attacks come from the characters CP, not the mount's CP. (The mounts CP is only used if it is fighting by itself, without a rider).

Movement

When facing ground based opponents from horseback, the trick is to use the horses speed as a form of defense. It’s possible to make attacks from horseback while the horse is at a canter or even a full charge. This requires a terrain roll (as noted above, this roll is made with AG/Ride rather than by spending CP). A successful roll limits a combat round to a single exchange, usually one where the rider attacks and the opponent merely defends (of course, the opponent may declare a simultaneous attack). If the roll is failed, the round lasts two exchanges as usual (potentially allowing an opponent who has successfully blocked or parried an attack to retaliate) before the horses momentum carries the rider past. A botch on this roll means the rider has lost his concentration and toppled from the horse.

When two horsemen battle, rounds last two exchanges unless one or both are moving at speed (and not in the same direction), in which case those moving must make AG/Ride rolls as outlined above, and the round lasts only one exchange (red/red probably). This is essentially what happens in jousting (see the Mounted Combat: Jousting section below).

Hit Locations

Rather then providing an entirely new set of hit location charts for mounted combat, the player(s) and Seneschal are encouraged to use common sense when assigning or determining hit locations. The following points should be kept in mind:

A mounted figure may not attack a foe directly in front of his mount, unless he is using a weapon with a very long (8’ or greater) reach. Attacks must be made at opponents to the side or rear of the mount. Swiveling around to attack an opponent to the rear is tricky, and carries an additional +4CP activation cost per attack.

When attacking a ground-based opponent from a mount, lower bodily targets are inaccessible. As a general rule, swinging zones 3,4,5 and 7 are available, as is any thrust target above the belly. Consideration as to available attack zones must be made by the Seneschal if the target is not a humanoid.

Defending from horseback is very difficult, and nearly impossible if the target of the attack is the horse itself. A mounted character may use a partial evasion to have the horse dance back from an attack, but may generally not duck & weave or use any form of block, parry or counter versus attacks to his mount. Full evasion is only useful when leaping from a mount to avoid an attack against the rider. Essentially, the best horseback defense is a strong offense or good barding.

Attacking a mounted opponent from the ground is tricky. If attacking from the front or rear of the mount, the rider may not be attacked unless a weapon with a very long (8’ or more) reach is used. From the side, either mount or rider is a fair target. The Seneschal must decide which parts of the target are accessible based on the range and the reach of the weapon (it’s just not possible to thrust a dagger at the head of a mounted opponent). Swing attacks must be adjudicated on a case by case basis, remembering that many swing attacks (particularly zone 4 or 5 type swings) will probably still hit the mount even if they miss the rider.

Jousting

Jousting is an extremely popular sport in many regions, and is the main entertainment and source of gambling revenue for the nobility. There are three parts to each pass in a joust, handled as follows:

The Charge – First, the combatants must make an opposed ride skill check (each rolling Agility versus his own Ride Skill) to make a good, fast and straight charge. This check is made at +2 dice if the knight is riding a Destrier, or -2 dice if his mount is a Palfrey (see the section on Horse Breeds, below). The two results are compared, and the combatant with the larger number of successes receives the difference as a CP bonus for stage two, the Clash.

The Clash – When the two jousting knights meet, each splits his full CP (less penalties for armor and barding, as usual) into attack and defense portions (very like a Simultaneous Block/Strike maneuver). Each combatant then makes a contested roll of his attack versus the others block, attempting to get a successful strike which might unseat his opponent, while remaining seated himself.

The Check – If either Knight has been struck, he must make an AG/Ride check with a penalty of 1 die for every point in his opponents attack margin of success. Failure indicates that he has been knocked from his horse. Tourney lances are designed to splinter on impact, therefore no actual puncturing damage is taken, however damage must be calculated for a 10’ fall and applied as per the falling rules in chapter 5. Note that it is not unlikely that both Knights may be knocked from their steeds. This usually requires another pass, until there is a clear winner who has unhorsed his opponent but remained seated himself. Depending on the local rules, a double knockdown may instead be settled through melee combat, usually using blunted weapons.

Rearing

Although it’s hard to verify historically, the image of a horse rearing up in combat to strike an opponent is a popular one. This maneuver may only be attempted versus a ground-based opponent directly in front of the mount. It uses the attackers CP, not the horses CP, and counts as an attack. On command, the horse rears up and attempts to strike the opponent with its front hooves. This attack may be evaded or blocked, but cannot be countered or parried. The ATN is the attackers ride skill. If the attacker wins, the Seneschal should determine the actual location of the strike randomly (any target from the chest upwards is possible, including the arms) and damage is double the attack success margin plus the horses strength, less toughness and armor. This is applied as bashing damage.

If the defender wishes, another option to counter a rearing attack is to declare an attack and attempt to steal initiative. If successful, the stomach is a valid target, and if attacked there the horse receives only half its toughness score for defense because of the extreme vulnerability of its stomach. If the horse is injured in this way, the mounted combatant must make an AG/Ride check with a penalty of 1 per level of damage taken, or fall from his horse (incurring damage as from a 10’ fall).

Rearing attacks are considered to have Long range. They may not be made during a “ride-by attack ” (i.e. when the horse rider is attempting to limit the combat round to a single exchange by keeping his horse at speed). This limitation applies to the Kicking and Pivoting maneuvers described below as well.

Kicking

Kicking on horseback is very similar to rearing, but the attack is made at an opponent to the rear of the horse. The rider declares the kick attack; the defender may evade or block, but cannot parry or counter. Bashing damage is the Horses Strength + 3 + margin of success. The actual hit location should be determined randomly by the Seneschal, any target above the waist (including the arms) is valid.

Kicking attacks are considered to have Medium range.

Pivoting

Pivoting consists of the rider causing his mount to swivel on its front legs, swinging its rump around and striking an opponent standing at the side of the horse. This maneuver is paid out of the rider's CP rather than the mounts, and counts as an attack.

The attack is declared, and the defender must evade, he may not block, parry or otherwise redirect the attack. The ATN is the attackers Ride skill. If the defender is successful, he steals initiative as normal. If the attacker is successful, the DR is the Horse's strength + 3 + success margin, and is distributed to the defender as falling damage. Additionally, the defender must make a knockdown roll with a penalty equal to the attack success margin or be thrown to the ground.

Pivot attacks may be made at any range from Short to Very long, and only suffer a range penalty of +1 attack activation cost if the current range is Hand or Extra Long.

rules/mounted_combat.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/03 23:30 (external edit)
 
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