Charging on Your Hands and Knees

Last night my son’s Orc got knocked down. Rather than getting up immediately he decided to charge the dwarf he was fighting on his hands and knees. I ruled that he had to drop his ax as he did so, to which he agreed, but we had a minor disagreement regarding adding in his stride advantage. Reading the rules as written, the downed character still seems to receive a stride advantage, but I thought it shouldn’t be applied. I did end up letting him add it in because I couldn’t see any other interpretation in the rules, but I’m still wondering about it. (He was at +1Ob because he was on the ground, so that might be enough, I suppose.) Any thoughts?

You already gave him a disadvantage (+1 Ob) for being on the ground, no need to pile on. I think you made the right call.

agreed. stride advantage wouldn’t go away. his limbs are still… longer

Thanks guys. I’m still getting used to the idea that +1Ob is more significant that it seems. But if I look at it relative to the scale (1-10), it comes into better focus.

Yes. And you switch to Hands when charging, ceding the advantage (unless you already had the advantage at Hands distance), which means you’ll likely have additional obstacle penalties on top of that.

Oh yeah. Remember that +1 Ob is roughly equivalent to -2D by the law of averages. You need about twice as many dice as Ob to have a near-guaranteed success. That’s not straight math, more a rule of thumb. And it’s definitely more significant than, say, D&D. In D&D, a +1 DC means a -5% chance of success, flat.

Things in Burning Wheel vary by how many dice you’re tossing, and the Ob, but…

With 3D, your odds of overcoming Ob 1 are 88%, overcoming Ob 2 is 50% odds, and you might overcome Ob 3 at 13%. So the first Ob bump means a whopping -38% chance of success, the second Ob bump means an additional -37% chance of success. So +2 Ob takes that initial (pretty good) odds and whacks it down by 75%.

Let’s be more generous, and give them 5D instead. Beating Ob 1 is now 97% guaranteed, and Ob 2 is 81% odds (an initial drop of 15% percent or so). When you get to Ob 3, it drops to 50% (a 30% decrease from Ob 2), and tacking a +1 Ob on that is 19% odds (again, over 30% decrease for just +1 Ob!). Tacking +1 Ob onto an Ob 4 test drops it 15% more, to a meagre 3% odds; proportionally, you’ve cut the odds by 5/6ths at that point.

So…yeah. +1 Ob makes a big difference, especially when the Ob is closer to the rank you have in the skill. (This is ignoring the effects of persona and fate, but it’s a good baseline.)

OK, so my understanding:
When Charging, you switch to Hands unless you have a Shield, but you cede the advantage to your opponent, unless you already had it at Shortest.

A couple of questions:
Does it matter if you’re on your hands and knees? Can you still use a shield to charge?
What skill do you roll for attacking with a shield? (sorry to go off-topic, but it’s something else I needed to ask)

You’ve got it. Brawling would be appropriate for attacking with a shield.