Riding (To Travel, Joust, and Fight)

So, I’ve been running a game where the PCs are members of a Noble family, with one a Bastard son who was knighted by a neighbouring Count for their promise (Grey Lance and Riding) in battle (participating as a cavalryman, lead there by groom for the court) and the other two legitimate inheritors. The Nobles tend to meet every 3 months for a few games watched over by their Duke, with a prize for the victor, and then there’s a Feast and a Dance. And then come back in 3 months for the next meet.

I have gotten it to feel like the best parts of a Knight’s Tale, but with more varied challenges; constantly having the siblings making deals or arguing in order to gain honour (for themselves, the family, or their liege-lord) getting themselves in scene after scene in order to pursue beliefs, then blowing all that artha in the tourneys (mostly because winning/doing well in those is more important than any single belief anyway, and tends to tie in two if they’re lucky)

Which leads me to my questions:

  1. Why are warhorses harder to push to run fast for a journey (+ Ob Riding to Travel)?

  2. If I’ve awarded the winner of the Joust a steed of Legendary stock (they’re something the Horse-wise brother introduced as such, but left vague the actual nature of why they’re so prized; it was a different sibling who won, and waaay after this was stated), is the Mount Burner an okay place to look for the traits which make it so?

  3. (And this may be answered by 1+2 together) Should this steed, if trained for war, have the +1Ob or +1D penalty/bonus to Riding To Travel?

Bonus, less important, question: Should those riding tests be used if a PC is riding a fellow PC for a journey?

  1. A good rouncey might be like a racing horse, or even like a truck. Fast, tough, and exactly what you’d want to ride as fast and as far as possible. A heavy destrier is more like a tank. They’re not built for going long distances, they’re built for carrying big guys in armor into battle, fighting other guys and their horses, and kicking ass. This is actually a point of medieval warfare, and the right horse (and kind of cavalry) for the job was very important.

  2. The Mount Burner is way out of date but actually still pretty usable, particularly if you’re just mining for traits. You can probably go ahead. Or just steel the Elven Steed; it’s a pretty sweet mount.

  3. No, not at all! Big, powerful, murderous horses who are weapons in their own right probably should have the increased Ob. But lighter, faster horses could be and were used in battle by light cavalry, by knights who couldn’t afford the ruinous price of a destrier, or by squires and other mounted war retinue. But think about what kind of horse is given out as the prize. If it’s meant to be a jousting horse or a knight’s war mount, it probably deserves the penalty. Or maybe its Legendary trait is that it’s swift as the wind and just as unflagging, and it has no penalties to riding and has a Call-On for endurance.

Thanks a lot for the speedy advice!
I decided to message them giving them the choice between an Elven Steed or a Legendary Warhorse. I sketched the main differences, and explained them a little.
(so far we’ve been fairly dismissive of horses, the main distinction being “Can I ride it? Can I ride it in Battle?” because the Bastard ended up having to train their own horse, but they’re all coursers (because that’s what I had stats for to hand).

So now the winner has been granted an Elven Steed!

You never ride your warhorse except when you’re going into battle. A destrier or charger is much too valuable to ride. It would be led by your squire(s), who probably needs to be careful not to let it too near other horses, because it is likely to kick or bite.

You’d have at least two rouncys for riding horses so you can switch when they get tired. You’d probably have more, because your squires need to be mounted too, unless you’re impoverished.

And then, of course, you’d need one or more sumpters (pack horses) to carry your wardrobe and armor and other essentials.

Note also that that jousting didn’t really develop into its own thing until late in the period. There were many types of hastiludes (martial games), the preeminent of which was the tournament or tourney, which centered on the bouhourd (grand melee) in which knights broke into two armies and endeavored to violently capture knights on the other side for ransom. Deaths were uncommon but not unheard of.

During the High Middle Ages jousting was a preliminary to a tournament, often held the night before, in which young knights without reputation could try to distinguish themselves. That’s not to say it wasn’t popular. William Marshal, greatest of all knights, laments that noblemen of his day were more interested in jousting than the actual tourney.

Perhaps that’s due to the example of Count Phillip of Flanders in the 1160s, who was famous for showing up to the preliminary jousts on the day of the tourney with his retinue and then refuse to enter the melee until knights on the other side were exhausted. Then he’d enter the melee and easily get the ransoms.

The first mention of a joust-only event comes from the 1220s. They grow more popular from there and eventually eclipse tournaments.



Thanks for the links. I mostly decided what I wanted to accomplish (a general sense of pervasive competitiveness, ways of gaining recognition both for yourself and your bloodline, ways to make enemies) and realised that Knight’s Tale had it really good for that (even with a Circles roll for a Prince at the end). And decided that Historical Accuracy could be damned, I wanted one on ones for most finals because that made Fight! easier and the PCs more in direct control of the outcome.

That said, the melee sounds like a good thing to add…