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Thread: Lance Charge modifiers?

  1. #1
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    Lance Charge modifiers?

    Combat modifiers seem to be dotted all over the place in Pendragon. Am I correct in thinking a lance charge by a knight has the following modifiers.

    +10 vs footmen (lance charge stacks with height advantage)
    +5 vs footman with great spear or halberd (cancels height advantage).
    +0 vs another knight with a lance (no charge or height advantage).
    +5 vs a giant (or creatures with reach)

    I think the confusion come because you have statements like this...

    Page 215 - Reach: All giants may ignore the usual +5/–5 reflexive penalties for fighting against a knight making a lance charge, due to their great reach.

    But that +5/-5 isn't from a lance charge, it's from the height advantage. A lance charge just gives a +5 to the knight, and no modifier to the defender. A knight would get the same +5/-5 if he were using his sword against a footman, but not against a giant.

    page 145 - If a lance charge is made against any opponent other than another charging lancer, the lancer gets a +5 modifier to his Lance Skill.

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    You are correct that there are two modifiers here:
    +5/-5 height advantage
    +5/0 lance advantage vs. non-lances (EXCEPT for the Great Spear)

    Note that Great Spear and Halberd only cancel the -5 the footman gets, it doesn't negate the height advantage completely.

    For the (standard) giant, I would say that it has both the height and the reach to counter both modifiers completely.

    So the modifiers become:

    +10/-5 vs footmen (lance charge stacks with height advantage)
    +10/0 vs footman with halberd (cancels height -5, but not the +5 for the knight).
    +5/0 vs footman with great spear (like above, but cancels +5 for the lance, too) or a shortish creature with a very long reach (i.e. a human with a great spear!)
    +5/0 vs another knight with a non-lance (no height advantage).
    +0/0 vs another knight with a lance (no lance or height advantage).
    +0/0 vs a giant (tall enough and reach enough)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morien View Post
    Note that Great Spear and Halberd only cancel the -5 the footman gets, it doesn't negate the height advantage completely.
    Or so I thought, based on what it said in the weapon descriptions.

    However...

    p. 141, speaking of Higher Ground +5/-5 modifier:
    "This modifier is negated if an unmounted combatant
    wields a great spear or halberd against a mounted opponent."

    p. 146, speaking of Mounted Combat:
    "Height Advantage
    As noted in “Combat Modifiers,” a mounted char-
    acter fighting an enemy who is afoot gains a +5
    modifier to his Combat Skill unless the footman is
    armed with a great spear or halberd. This modifier
    stacks with that gained from a lance charge (for a to-
    tal of +10), if applicable."

    So, looks like the whole advantage SHOULD cancel, and hence:

    +10/-5 vs footmen (lance charge stacks with height advantage)
    +5/0 vs footman with halberd (cancels height +5/-5, but not the +5 for the lance).
    +0/0 vs footman with great spear (like above, but cancels +5 for the lance, too)
    +5/0 vs another knight with a non-lance (no height advantage).
    +0/0 vs another knight with a lance (no lance or height advantage).
    +0/0 vs a giant (tall enough and reach enough)
    Last edited by Morien; 09-13-2018 at 11:58 AM.

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    Think I will be going with (since it isn't entirely clear)

    +10/-5 vs footmen (lance charge stacks with height advantage) - +5/-5 on subsequent rounds
    +5/0 vs footman with halberd (cancels height -5, but not the +5 for the knight) - +0/+0 on subsequent rounds
    +0/0 vs footman with great spear (like above, but cancels +5 for the lance, too), the great spear being able to be set to counter a charge.
    +5/0 vs another knight with a non-lance (no height advantage). - +0/+0 on subsequent rounds
    +0/0 vs another knight with a lance (no lance or height advantage).
    +5/0 vs a giant (tall enough and reach enough) - +0/+0 on subsequent rounds

    For me the +5 bonus for the lance charge is as much to do with the speed and impact, as opposed to just the reach, hence it would be effective against giant still, but if you have something long and pointy (great spear or lance) to point at the charging knight, then they aren't so bold in the charge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryTroll View Post
    Think I will be going with (since it isn't entirely clear)
    It wasn't? I though the quotes on p. 141 and p. 146 which actually have the rules for those modifiers were pretty conclusive. Absent Greg speaking up and changing the ruling, I am going with those from now on.

    Lance without charging is just a spear from horseback.

    For me the +5 bonus for the lance charge is as much to do with the speed and impact, as opposed to just the reach, hence it would be effective against giant still, but if you have something long and pointy (great spear or lance) to point at the charging knight, then they aren't so bold in the charge.
    The problems with that argument:
    Speed: Arrow is a much faster than a horse. Does it get +5 too?
    Impact: Already accounted for by the damage. Also, Giant's hit has much more impact. Does it get +5 too?

    Also, if the reach is not the main thing, why does Great Spear negate it but a halberd does not? If the only argument is that the knight hesitates, would a Famously Reckless knight get that +5 charge modifier even against other lances?

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    If reach is the only thing why does a lances reach not count when you are not charging? If reach were the only factor isn't that already covered by the difference in higher ground against long weapons and giants?

    Reach is definately a factor, but personally I don't consider it the only factor, the only difference is against giants, nothing in the giants discription says it would offset the charge bonus.
    Last edited by TerryTroll; 09-13-2018 at 12:25 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryTroll View Post
    If reach is the only thing why does a lances reach not count when you are not charging?
    Because you grip it differently. When you charge, you couch the lance at the end. This gives you reach. The speed of the horse in a charge allows the tip of the lance to move fast enough to make it an actual weapon.

    When you are fighting with a spear one-handed, you grip it closer to the middle. This reduces your reach, but it is also one of those simplification things: Everything else being equal, the Great Spear should also get +5 for being able to poke people beyond their reach. But this way madness lies, as then you would have to start thinking how big a disadvantage that reach is, when the enemy gets inside it? While realistic, this would make things more complicated in normal melee. So in a melee, this reach is ignored (which is another reason Lance wouldn't get the +5 reach bonus, no matter how you'd grip it). It is just that on a charge, it is that first strike that counts, where the reach definitely plays an advantageous role.

    It literally SAYS that the reach is the major determinant in cancelling the Lance's +5 bonus against non-lances:
    KAP 5.2, p. 110: "The great spear is long enough that it also negates the +5 lance modifier versus non-lance weapons."
    (Emphasis mine.)

    If reach were the only factor isn't that already covered by the difference in higher ground against long weapons and giants?
    No, because you are mixing the two.

    You clearly don't have higher ground advantage to a giant who is even twice your size, even if you are sitting on a horse. It doesn't matter what weapon he has at this point.

    Whether you get the lance bonus depends on the giant's reach. I'd say that the standard giant using a small tree as a club is able to cancel your lance bonus. The giant's arm (as long as a man is tall) + tree = sure, that sounds like at least as much reach as a great spear.

    But hey, you GM it the way you like. I am just offering my own take on it.

  8. #8
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    Just to complicate matter more... I just got the Book of Battle and reading about the First Charge

    Page 22 - Review of the Charge
    Horsemen armed with a lance get a +5 to Lance skill when charging. If the lance charge is successful, use the horse’s Damage. Knights with other melee weapons can participate in the charge, and they do get the Charge bonus to their weapon skill (granted by the hurtling ton of horse and man), but do not use their horse’s Damage, or benefit from the other advantages of the lance. Charge does not grant a bonus to the rider’s Damage.
    If Defenders bear great spears, halberds or similarly long-reaching weapon the Charge Bonus still applies, and so does the normal combat bonus of +5 for mounted versus foot troops. However, the spearmen do not suffer the normal -5 disadvantage of foot versus mounted.


    Which does imply the the +5 for charging comes from the weight of the hurtling horse, and even applied to none lance weapons.

    Also that great spears don't remove the bonus for being mounted, but only the penalty for fighting on foot against a mounted opponent.

    Which all seems a bit odd, of course it was written for 5.1 and is dealing with a mass of troops charging.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, Book of Battle has its own charge rules, as you note. They are not compatible with KAP 5.2 rules which are one on one.

    Personally, I dislike them because they don't give Lance & Great Spear any advantage. As for the cancelling the -5 for the footman but not +5 for the horseman, that is how I thought it was in the main book, too, until I checked. So one of the books is in error on that score. Then again, BoB was very much trying to make charging on horseback as powerful as possible.

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