Love Poems of Lower Lompoc

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Photo by Sindre Aalberg on Unsplash

Granville Sombers opened his leather backpack and spilled the contents out onto the dusty stone floor. The dried rations and iron spikes weren’t needed any longer. His eyes were on a much bigger prize. The shelf in front of him was filled with cubbyholes and bins. All of which held some moldy looking scrolls and bound parchments.

It didn’t cross Granville’s mind that actually knowing how to read may help him at this moment. He just scooped up as many musty old scrolls as he could fit into his backpack. His partner, Gervais lay propped against the door. His bloody hands holding a heavy crossbow, aiming it down the darkened hallway.

They had killed three giant rats while making their way down into this lower room of the monastery. The ruins were not much more than a jumble of stone, but Granville had found a covered entrance. It was little more than a chimney, but he knew that a great reward could be waiting.

Granville grabs a few more scrolls with colorful red tassels and puts them hurriedly in his bag. This was all they had found. He hoped that the wizard who had hired them would get what he wanted.

Somethings coming! croaks Gervais as he tries to stand. Granville rushes to help him up and they make for the chimney. He pushes the warrior towards the hole. The rope waiting there is the best thing he has seen all day.

Granville climbs the rope like a squirrel and steadies it for the warrior. Gervais drops his crossbow and pulls himself upward, his wound still bleeding freely. Together they struggle get him up the hole. If I tested my blade on that rope, I’d bet that oaf would fall and break both legs, the thought flickers through Granville’s mind. He decides not to pursue that line of reasoning any longer for the large man grabs hold of the edge and pulls himself up and out.

The warrior cuts off a bit of his tunic and pushes it against his side muttering, Let’s get out of these accursed ruins and back to Bree. That drunken wizard will be light in the purse after looking at our newfound library!

Later that night in the cramped and swaying chicken hut of Cornwall the Odd, the two dungeon rats stand before the old wizard. Granville looks about the room, wondering what treasures might be stuffed away in the myriad of cupboards and crannies. Gervais just stands there growing nauseous at the swaying of the bird legged hut.

The wizard cocks an eye at each scroll, holding them up to better see. A glowing orb of green light floats over his head, summoned up by him moments before.

Hmmm…well, well…looks like most of this is rubbish…see how the writing has been stained…’damp dungeons destroy delicate documents’…my master taught that to me when I was a boy…I can’t remember his name, but I do recall he had extremely small eyes and not a tooth in his head. Oh, well…too bad…but wait, there’s one more here...The Love Poems of Lower Lompoc…

Granville’s heart sunk. No treasure here, not one copper piece in the whole pile, he thought sullenly. That drunken wizard might even turn us into goats for wasting his time.

The wizard looks up at the two men, beaming…Excellent work! I haven’t seen a copy of the Lompoc poems in a decade! You’ve done a fine job, boys! Here’s your payment…he throws them a small sack of coins.

As the two men hurry to leave, Granville can’t help but say to the wizard, I thought you’d be wanting some spells or such?

Cornwall the Odd, already deep into reading the scroll scoffs, Why would I need more spell scrolls? I’m a wizard!

At that Granville exits the hut, actually is more like ejected from the doorway as the chicken hut shifts abruptly to scratch one leg against the other.

Notes on miscellaneous books and scrolls

The wise adventurer should never judge a book by its cover, that is…if he can read it at all. Here are a few titles that may be valuable to the discerning collector.

Migratory Routes of the Green-backed Stirge
Garden Gnomes–Friend or Foe?
Weather Patterns of Lower Lompoc
Customs of the Common Orc
Bridge Building for Fun and Profit or Why Witches Don’t Make Good Bridges
The Crotian Hierarchy
101 Ways to Cook Hedgehog
Secrets of the Dwarven Forge
A Treatise on Bottled Lightning
Three Years Underground
The Sights and Smells of Lower Lompoc
How to Marry a Maiden with Huge Tracts of Land
Stranded in the Fingerlakes
Three Days in Lumpoc~a Tale of Woe

 

Kingdoms as Characters [Using Pits & Perils]

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Photo by Marc Marchal on Unsplash

Here is an idea I am playing with. It is nothing new, but I want to use the Pits & Perils rules to focus it for my campaign.

Each kingdom has two abilities as advantages and one as a disadvantage. These characterize the nation.

Strength–military might, fighting prowess, well funded armies and/or navies
Intelligence–higher learning, libraries, better technology
Wisdom–strategic thinking, planning, good decision-making
Dexterity–ability to mobilize quickly, nomadic people, quick to organize
Constitution–hard to kill, quickly rebound from adversity, toughness
Charisma–diplomatic, leadership roles in groups

Example…the dwarven kingdom of Irendall is led by a conservative king. They are a tough people but sometimes allow the lure of gold to take precedence over other matters. The kingdom is small in size but has strong defenses and are quick to respond to threats within its borders.

I will give the kingdom the advantages of constitution (tough people) and dexterity (quick to respond within their borders). They will have the disadvantage to wisdom (gold and nationalism get in the way of seeing the big picture at times).

So…The Dwarven Kingdom of Irendall will have these stats.

The Dwarven Kingdom of Irendall
Dexterity and Constitution (+1 each), Wisdom (-1)

These stats will be useful in determining how each nation responds to events that will occur during the year…such as floods, famines, political unrest.

Saving throws and/or combat rolls can be made for events. The result will help me as DM to determine what will occur and how well the nation has responded to an event.

Perhaps each nation can be given hit points or even character classes and levels to reflect their strengths.

Needs quite a bit of work yet, but I wanted to see if anyone out there has some thoughts on the matter and how they might use something similar to this in their game.

What do you think?

I would love to get some comments on this!

The Templar

 

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Photo by Lennart Tange

Jules D’armond paced the grounds of St. George. The Reverend Mother had retreated to her room for prayer and truth be known, to seek solace from the young templar-in-training. Some young men and women take holy orders to become leaders in the church. Others take up arms to protect it. Jules was a D’armond. His family had a tradition of taking up the mace for Eos. He was also a cousin to the Reverend Mother.

Jules wanted to do more than his current assigned duties. Transporting elderly townsfolk to church, carting the orphans to the river to fish, and occasionally shooing away Cornwall’s chicken hut was not quite the adventure Jules had wanted. He knew that he was only a novice, but he still pressed Mother Patience for more important duties.

Jules wanted to travel the north road, protecting pilgrims as they made their way to St. Alban’s monastery. Trouble is, no one seemed to want to go north. The road was wild now and pilgrims were staying home. Recently, goblins have been roaming the area and Sheriff Briarfoot had made a call for adventurers to help. Jules was chomping at the bit to travel with a group to explore Fort Halberd, but his obedience to Mother Patience was part of his training and kept him in check. He had heard tell of a shrine to a long dead saint and was begging the Reverend Mother to tell him more about this site. She had balked at Jules’ insistence to travel the north road and find the shrine. All things in their own time, Jules. she would tell him until it became almost a mantra.

Jules thought about what she’d said. When his temper cooled and he cleared his mind, he knew it made sense. He hardly had the equipment to begin his training…a used set of chain mail, a battered but carefully repaired shield with the symbol of Eos painted on it, and a worn mace. No horse, no pilgrims–just a strong-willed reverend mother and a plow horse and cart for giving rides to parishioners on muddy days.

Mother Patience sat at her desk, thinking about her young cousin. She had no doubt that he would grow into a stalwart defender of the church, but he was too headstrong. She smiled at that notion. He is too much like me, the D’armond blood runs strong. She knew that one day soon, he would be traveling into the wild.

Some game notes on Jules D’armond

  1. He is a templar-in-training. In Pits & Perils terms, he is a 1st level cleric. Jules has strong faith in Eos and was granted powers per the cleric rules.
  2. As a cleric of Eos, Jules has taken holy orders. The vows require him to live a life of simplicity, a vow of poverty (having no material goods beyond what is needed to perform his duty), and to remain chaste. Templars are not forbidden to wed, but his vow of chastity prevented him from intimacy until wed. Jules, like other templars, must shed no blood. Sharp weapons of any kind are not permitted. Also, violence must be measured in proportion to the situation. The path of Eos is always paramount.
  3. As a templar-in-training he is under the direct orders of the Knight-Commander of the Templars. This unfortunately this was his uncle, Corin D’armond. Jules was chosen to serve Mother Patience as the D’armond family tradition continues.

 

St. George’s Church, a Temple of Eos

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Photo by Paweł Wojciechowski on Unsplash

 

St. George’s Church sits close by the Dead Pony Inn in the small town of Bree. Its whitewashed stone exterior and cedar shingled roof project a sense of calm and stability in the frontier town. The doors are never locked except in dire circumstances. Stained glass windows fill the church with a spectrum of color in the daylight and votive candles provide a warm glow to the interior during the night.

The interior of the church has a round central room with dark hardwood floors, whitewashed walls, and a lofty ceiling. The central altar is adorned with white linen and a single chalice sits in the middle. Near the door is a small wooden poor box. There’s no lock on it, yet thefts from the church are very rare. Mother Patience welcomes all people that come through the church doors. The sick, hungry, and even the lost can find some comfort within this sanctuary. The Reverend Mother is less a preacher of words and more a practitioner of her faith. She follows the holy path of Eos.

St. George’s Church is a place of worship for many in the town of Bree. The church was destroyed by fire over thirty years ago, but the townsfolk came together to rebuild the church stronger than before. Mother Patience was just a young novitiate at that time. She left her abbey to return to Bree, for Bree had been savagely attacked by gnolls from the north. Heroes gathered repelled the forces of chaos once again. The light was near extinguished in the town of Bree, but Mother Patience brought her light back to the town, inspiring others to stay and rebuild. She let others take up lance and sword.

Mother Patience devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor. Her god, Eos, saw the path this young woman was travelling and shone a holy light upon it. Mother Patience was blessed with powers of healing. She took charge of building the new church of St. George. Being on the borderlands did little for her career in the church hierarchy, but she was never desirous of that. Hers was a life of contemplative prayer and serving her flock.

Mother Patience is very wise and knowledgeable about the people in and around Bree. Almost every person under the age of thirty was midwifed by her. Many others, soldiers, farmers, knights, and knaves, were tended by her healing arts. She never asked for anything but a small offering to the church in coin or service.

Three things about Mother Patience

  1. Her father was a commoner, a simple farmer of Bree and her mother was from a nobleman’s family to the south.
  2. Her mother sent her away to a convent when she was a small girl.
  3. Her grandfather, a nobleman, once hard hearted towards her daughter’s illegitimate child, grew to love her.

[Ok, I lied…I need to add more to this character]

4. Her grandfather, so moved by his grand daughter’s devotion to Eos, made a vow to protect her. Because of this, it has been a tradition for one of the family’s sons or daughters to take up the mantle of Templar of Eos, a holy knight with vows to protect the church…and in this particular case, the Reverend Mother.

[This would be an excellent way for the players to start their player character as a relative for Mother Patience. They could use St. George’s church as their base.]

Other NPCs at St. George’s…

Bennett Hastings is a middle aged man who is devoted to working for the church. He is the gardener and handyman.

Gertrude Hastings, Bennett’s wife, runs the household operations. She cooks and cleans and helps with the orphans.

St. George’s has hospital beds for about a dozen people and a residence for Mother Patience, her staff, and currently three orphaned children.

A young Templar-in-training resides here. He is a noble from Mother Patience’s family. His name is Jules D’armond, young, naive, and reckless. The Reverend Mother has her hands full keeping him out of harm.

Healing herbs are in abundance here. They can be purchased for 5 silver pieces per bunch (dose). The Reverend Mother will advise users of the herbs to brew a tea with it to curb the possible adverse affects. Failing to do so will still heal the user (1 point) but they will need to make a saving throw to avoid sickness.

Healing oils (usable by clerics) can be purchased here for 7 silver pieces and are available 3-in-6 chance.

Healing potions (usable by all) are available in limited quantities 2-in-6 chance and will cost 250 silver pieces per dose. The potions are time consuming and expensive to brew, but effective. One dose heals 1d6+1 hit points. Mother Patience may have one or two potions to give PCs if she feels they are doing a great service to the church.

[Note–my Bree campaign uses the silver standard.]

Witchblade

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By Dana Williams – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22034585

 

Broggna stared at the goblin, squinting her left eye fiercely. The goblin laughed, holding up his crossed fingers in warding, “Your evil eye does no harm to me, witch!”

But he swallowed hard when he saw the old woman casually pull a witchblade from her sleeve and gingerly test the sharp edge against her bony thumb. He decided to reconsider breaking his deal with Broggna the Witch.

Notes on Witchblades

Some blades take on aspects of their users. The witchblade is one.

Witchblades are spiteful weapons for spiteful people. They are small but wickedly sharp and carry a hex forged into the very metal. A person cut by this blade will suffer the effects of a Jinx spell (as per Pits & Perils rules) causing them to suffer a -1 to all actions and saves but for the next round only. Due to their small size, witchblades can only cause one point of damage maximum regardless of attack roll.

Brewing Potions (a Pits & Perils Recipe)

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Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

On the edge of Bree, past the stream and through a tangled copse of birch trees, you will find a small hut. No woodcutter lives here. That is evident by the surrounding trees with their branches draped in all manner of witch charms and wards.

The smell coming from this hut will vary according to the wind direction and the day. All residents of Bree know that this place belongs to Brannog the Witch. Immediately on entering the small clearing, one hears cackling. Not the kind you are thinking of! A flock of hens strut about the clearing, catching bugs and an occasional worm.

Be warned! Brannog is not the most welcoming of hosts. People who seek her help yet show disrespect, will often leave filled with regret. It is rumored that the hens in her yard were once very rude people.

Brannog is a wise woman, a healer, and a brewer of potions. She will easily take offense but is a hard bargainer. Her remedies can often come at a dear price. Bring plenty of silver or the willingness enter into a pact.

Notes on brewing of potions

Some spells can be distilled into potion form. It requires a recipe that must either be created or found. Creating a recipe can take 1d6 months, 1d6 x 100 silver pieces, AND one special ingredient (i.e. the hairs from a giant spider). [note-in my Bree campaign, silver replaces gold as the standard currency]

After this research is complete (money spent, time used) a saving throw is made adding a +1 for Wisdom ability. If successful, a working recipe is crafted and the brewer has made one dose of the potion.

Additional potions may be brewed using this recipe at the cost of one week’s time, 100 silver pieces, and a pinch of whatever special ingredient was originally used. At the end of the brewing, the brewer must make a saving throw (Wis adds +1). A 7 or better means the potion is good. If the caster fails, she has made a bad brew with possible ill effects. This bad potion may still be usable, but with a risk. For each point the caster missed her brewing roll, the potion will have a -1 save. For example, if Brannog needs a 7 to succeed on her brewing roll, but rolls a 4, the potion is bad and will have a -3 modifier to the imbiber’s save. (7-4=3)

The imbiber of a bad potion must make a saving throw when drinking it. A 7+ means the potion works as intended. A 6 or less means some temporary side effect will occur (DM’s choice, but the side effect should be minor and somehow relate to the potion. I.e. if the potion is flying, the imbiber grows bee antennae or buzzes instead of talking.) The side effects should only last for a short while (perhaps 1d6 hours). A score of 2 or less means something bad and permanent should happen. If a natural 12 is rolled, something unexpectedly good and permanent might occur.

Some typical potions (and ingredients) that may be brewed…

Flight of the Bumblebee (giant bumblebee hairs or fairy dust)

Spectral Brew (invisibility, hair from a leprechaun)

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (change appearance to that of a specific person, hair of the person)

Wolf’s Brew (animal form, hair or feather of specific animal wolf, owl, possum, etc.)

Lover’s Brew (victim must drink the potion, effect will be +2 to reaction of first person the target sees)

Warrior’s Brew (add 2d6 hit points for one hour)

Fortune’s Brew (add 1d6 Luck Points for the day)

Fool’s Brew (ventriloquism, hobbit or leprechaun hair)

 

Cornwall the Odd

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Photo by Pro Image Photography on Unsplash

Sheriff John lit his pipe and pulled out his watch. The heavy gold pocket watch showed half past four. It always showed half past four because it was broken. With a sigh, he held the watch up to his ear and shook it, wound the stem, which was also busted, and put it back in his vest pocket. Citizens of Bree would regularly inquire why the sheriff carried a broken watch and he would reply that a dragon trod on it.

Cornwall was late again. The sheriff wouldn’t admit it to his face, but he liked the old wizard, even though he was annoying, unreliable, and extremely odd. Sheriff John passed the time by setting up the carved stone pieces on the game board. Ents and dragons was his favorite game. He always played ents, never dragons. He remembered his mother’s advice not to play with dragons.

The door burst open and in swept Cornwall the Odd accompanied by a gust of wind and a small pile of leaves.

“If you don’t close that door, I’ll be using this broom on your head instead of the leaves you’ve dragged in!”, Mya Stormcrow yelled at the old man.

Cornwall only shrugged and pushed the door closed gently. He danced a little gig across the floor of the Dead Pony Inn, blew Mya a kiss, and pulled his chair out from the table. With an elaborate flourish of his cap, he dusted the chair off and sat down lightly.

“Don’t you dare insinuate that my chairs are dirty!”, Mya remarked.

Sheriff John chuckled at the banter between the two. Mya had a sharp tongue but a soft spot in her heart for the old man.

He looked at Cornwall and was relieved. The old man stared back with a twinkle in his eyes. Good, thought Sheriff John. His eyes look clear and he’s not as shabby as he was yesterday. This is a good day for the old wizard. The sheriff had known the wizard for over twenty years, ever since he wandered into the town of Bree, a stranger to these parts and lost in his own mind.

Cornwall began his usual ritual by pulling out a long clay pipe and then patting his pockets. The sheriff counted to twenty, chuckling to himself, and then pulled out a pouch of tobacco for his friend.

The wizard smiled, nodding his head, and loaded the pipe. With a quick flick of his fingers, he summoned a small flame from the air. The sheriff watched as it landed in the pipe bowl, amazed at the ease the wizard called forth fire from the ether. Sometimes it was not so easy. On occasions, the old man was either too drunk or cloudy minded that the flame would miss his pipe bowl and land in the wizard’s sagebrush beard.

To say Cornwall the Odd was unkempt would be kind, filthy to be more accurate. On his bad days, he was unpleasant to be near. Food stained robes and stinking of onions and ale, were often his trademark. On days he was clear headed, the old man made some obligatory passes with a washcloth and dragged a comb across his tangle of wild, gray hair.

Mya came round with a tankard of ale for Cornwall and a mug of hard cider for the sheriff.

“Your hut’s been scratching around Agnes Gum’s flower bed again…”

“Really? How do you know it was my hut?”, the wizard replied.

“Well, unless someone else in Bree owns a two story chicken legged hut with a blue door…:

“Ha! It couldn’t have been my hut! My door’s indigo!”

Sheriff John nearly fell off his chair.

The wizard looked at the board with a twinkle in his eye, “Ents and dragons! I think I’ll be the dragons…let’s play.”

It was going to be a good day.


Notes about Cornwall the Odd

Besides his disheveled appearance, Cornwall is quite an interesting and powerful character. But something’s gone wrong with the old wizard. Long ago in addition to acquiring his chicken legged hut from a nasty old witch, he gained a curse.

Cornwall’s ability ebbs and flows in an unpredictable fashion on a daily basis. In game terms, his ability level on any given day is 2d6 levels of magician. On days his level is 7+ he has ‘good’ days. His mind is clear and wits are sharp. On days he is less than 7th level, he becomes progressively more feeble minded and unreliable. His spell points will change according to his current level. The spells he can cast are always quite expansive. He knows all known spells, but on his ‘bad’ days he will need to rummage through the chicken hut searching for his spell books.

The witch’s curse has taken quite a toll on the poor wizard. He tries to remedy his fog shrouded mind with liberal doses of ale or any other liquor available. Cornwall, on a good day, can be a great resource of arcane knowledge and may even offer bits of knowledge to those who ask. Woe to anyone who leaves magic items for him to research. They are often misplaced or cast aside during one of his episodes.

Besides living in a chicken legged hut that has a penchant to scratching around Agnes Gum’s flowerbed, Cornwall has a pet pig. Portus is a 300 lb black and white boar that regularly trots into the Dead Pony Inn to fetch a bucket of ale for his master.

The wizard has few real friends other than the sheriff and Mya Stormcrow. Most townsfolk just think he’s an odd duck and give him space, but they have a fondness for the old magician for he has earned his keep in Bree in the past. Rumors are rampant in the countryside of a powerful magician that protects the small town. The townsfolk only pray that if trouble comes again to Bree, Cornwall the Odd will be having a good day.

Sheriff John Briarfoot

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Sheriff John Briarfoot is a hobbit. A very wise hobbit indeed, for he turned his back on the adventuring path long ago. Now, the sheriff enjoys a life of semi-retirement in the comfortable little town of Bree. There’s just enough action to give the sheriff something to do and plenty of down time to relax. When not chasing scoundrels and locking up drunks, he can be found in the Dead Pony Inn, sipping hard cider, and playing Ents and Dragons with Cornwall the Odd (more about him later).

Three things about Sheriff John

  1. He has a quite a large voice for such a small hobbit.
  2. Dresses in farmer’s clothes, but carries a silver medallion around his neck as symbol of his authority.
  3. Is never seen without his black walnut walking stick, which he gladly use to raise a knot on any deserving prospect’s noggin.

In game terms, the sheriff is a mid level (5 or thereabouts) hill dwarf with a tendency to use non-lethal combat if possible. The sheriff if need be, can fetch some enchanted chain mail and the spell bound rune blade (short sword) from his adventuring days.

The sheriff has two part-time deputies, Mutt Wilton and Geoff Flowers. They are competent enough, but need the sheriff’s leadership to do their best. If any real trouble were to occur in Bree, the sheriff would ask for help from the King’s men (about 6 or so garrisoned in town).

The sheriff’s office is also his dwelling. He lives on the second floor. The office has two jail cells. One of which is littered with bits of lettuce and carrot for his pet tortoise Sir Montague de Flors, “Monty”. A small lamp illuminates the office in a blue green light. Curious thing is that it never needs fuel nor gives off any heat.

 

Simplified Religion

Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken

In a minimalist campaign, it serves me well to keep the pantheon of gods simple. Here are three gods that I will use in my new campaign. I can’t recall how many hours I’ve spent trying to come up with a pantheon of gods to represent various aspects of the world. Those days are over! Three is plenty and I’m done! Well, not completely…I do want to add a few saints and servants of chaos here and there to spice things up. But that is for later. For reference, I will consult Pits & Perils author James and Robyn George’s manuscript.

Three deities and their tenets for my Bree Campaign.

Eos, the One Light

 

Tenets of Eos (lawful)

  1. One Spirit. All are connected to Eos.
  2. One Path. One cannot follow two paths (nor serve two masters).
  3. One Journey. The beginning, the path, the return. All make the Journey but take different paths and complete at different times.

Silvanus, the Green Man

Tenets of Silvanus, the Green Man (harmony, balance, and nature personified)

  1. In nature there is harmony and balance. [I will need more here, perhaps. Any suggestions?]

 

Orcus, God of Death

Tenets of Orcus (chaos and death personified)

  1. All light will someday be extinguished.
  2. Send your enemies to set your table. [The more enemies you defeat, the better your position in the Halls of the Dead.
  3. I am the shadow on the path. [Orcus is the monkey wrench in the machine of Eos.]

eos

 

Jousting Rules for P&P

Medieval-Jousting-Tournaments

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.

  1. 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.