I’ve been tinkering with the Pits & Perils rules and wanted to add some house rules on jousting. This is my third go at this and hopefully I’m on the right track.
But first, some observations.
- Fighters all hit with the same relative frequency, but more experienced fighters can stay in the fight longer.
In Pits & Perils, a fighter’s skill and experience is largely represented by the increase in hit points. It makes sense that as a fighter grows more experienced, he should be able to stay in the fight longer. One thing P&P does not do is give bonuses to hit as characters advance. I’m okay with that, because there are other interesting things for fighters to specialize in, for example combat maneuvers.
2. Falling off horses need to be quicker and have an element of chance.
My problem with jousting is that I don’t want to have fighters whittle each other down to the last hit points before they are knocked off their horse. Somehow, I need to add some bonus for more experienced fighters.
At first, I tried just a straight up contest of two fighters, but it didn’t reflect the nature of a joust. I needed to have knights flying off horses, left and right, instead of falling out of their saddle from lack of hit points.
Saving throws to the rescue! If a fighter is hit during a round of jousting, I figured he’d need to make a save to stay in the saddle. Now this is where it gets interesting. Fighters all make saves at the same frequency regardless of level. I needed a way to add some advantage for the experienced fighters.
Using a Braunstein concept. In the P&P Complete rulebook, the Braunstein game is mentioned and the use of Luck as hit points. I really didn’t want to just replace hit points with luck points because I’d be back in the same boat. Instead, I opted to give each PC one luck point per character level. The luck points would be used to modify the dice result on any given saving throw. But once the luck points are spent, his fate is up to the dice.
If the fighter is hit during the joust, he will take damage and then need to roll a save to stay in the saddle. It makes for an unpredictable contest but gives the experienced fighter a slight advantage. Not much for fighters of approximately the same level, but a large advantage for fighters of widely differing levels.
Anyhow, here is my house rule on jousting, warts and all….
Jousting Rules for Pits & Perils
Each opponent receives 1 Luck Point per character level.
- All jousts are considered simultaneous attacks.
- Charging gains a +1 bonus and fighters have a +1 bonus for class (+2 total modifier).
- Attackers roll to hit. 9 to 11 = 2 points damage, 12+ = 3 points damage (due to lance being a large weapon).
- Any target that is hit must make a saving throw (7+ succeeds) or be unhorsed.
- If the saving throw is failed, Luck Points may be used to improve the roll with each Luck Point adding +1 to the score.
- Critical hits (natural 12) on any attack results in the target being unhorsed. No saving throw!
- Critical miss (natural 2) means that the attacker slips in the saddle and falls from his horse. No saving throw!
- Optional modifiers–characters with either the Strength or Dexterity modifier gain a +1 to all saves vs unhorsing.
And that’s it. I think it is fairly simple but gets the results I was hoping for. The Luck Point rule is something that I want to incorporate for characters at all times. Luck points can always be used to modifier any roll affecting the character, regardless of it coming from the character or an opponent. Luck Points will recharge completely after a night’s rest.