Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And speaking of knights...

Why don't we see more jousting in D&D?

Mentzer's set had the nice tournament jousting rules, which we used to good effect back in the day.  But I don't see much love going to the lance in most games. 

Sure, in a dungeon it's impractical to bring along a war horse.  But goblins mounted on dire wolves with lances would make for a tough and memorable encounter, I'd bet.

In the wilderness, though, I'd expect more players to equip their fighter types with lances, and use them.  But I rarely do.  Why?  In Classic (Mentzer/RC, or Moldvay with variable weapon damage in play) lances do 2d8 damage on a charge (if, like me, you embrace the 3E idea of 'double damage' doubling the dice rolled, not simply multiplying the single die's result).  That's a fair amount of damage, if that charge attack hits.

I have used jousting/lance combat in games before.  In the first 3E game I ran with the Toyama group, I was basing many events on Malory and the Mabinogion, so there were a few places where NPC knights would challenge the party to a joust.  The players seemed to like it, but they never initiated a joust of their own.

Is this just something about the people I've been playing with?  Or is it also common in other groups?  Where's the love for the lance?


  1. Well, at least in all the games I've been a part of, nobody is interested in the whole medieval knights and tournaments thing... at all. Basically, if it wasn't in Conan or Lord of the Rings, it doesn't seem appropriate for a D&D game. This seems like it would fit in a historical England campaign or some kind of King Arthur game, but not standard D&D. I certainly have no affection for that type of thing.

  2. Depends on your source material, I'd imagine.

    A lot of people play a homebrewed version of LoTR in their homegames (with short, hairy hobbits, gruff pseudo-scottish dwarves, the whole nine yards) and I can't recall any jousting in that.

    Not only that, but as far as I can tell, it was primarily a sporting event between horse-owning nobles in a time where if you owned a second pair of shoes you were richer than 50% of the people around yourself. Nobody tends to be much interested in the hobby-time affairs of some fruity noblemen.

  3. Yeah, but even in Conan and LotR, there are cavalry charges of mounted lancers (The Red Citadel, the Battle of the Pelenore Fields, etc.).

  4. Try to do the jousting a little different. I remember a chage from a barbarian riding a pegasus against some griffons. Was like a dogfight but with lances, trying to won the upper level to manage to dive down to the enemy.
    A chase between the forest against wolf goblin riders, would be similar to star war chase in endor.
    Jousting in a knightly way can be difficult, but the roules for it cant be valuable in other situations.

  5. Ok, then... we've never had cavalry charges in D&D either. ;) Just doesn't seem like the kind of things player characters do.