Jousting Rules

Generally speaking, the Huntington Campaign uses the jousting rules exactly as presented in the 4th edition Pendragon rulebook which, incidentally, are spread out over four different sections of that book: pgs. 120-122 (for glory awards); 163-164 (game mechanics of combat with jousting lances); 177-178 (weapon skill description of jousting lance); and 250-251 (description of the jousting venue at a tournament). Below is a collection of the pertinent rules from all these sections:

Jousting is a popular knightly sport within tournaments and elsewhere. Jousting lances are available in Phase 2 of the campaign, being hollow spears with blunted tips. The goal of a joust is to simply knock ones opponent off his horse, and the somewhat fragile design of the jousting lance helps to greatly minimalize actual damage. Keep in mind that many of the knights who participate in a tournament’s jousting venue will also want to fight in the Grand Melee that follows, so one naturally wants to avoid serious injury while jousting. Of course, it can be argued that it is prudent to avoid serious injury as a rule of life, but knights are the sort of people who enjoy beating the hell out of one another.

A joust is conducted between only two combatants and the rules for resolving the contest are quick and simple. Both knights roll an opposed Lance skill with the outcome determined by the result of the rolls, as follows:

Both Knights Miss their Rolls:
Neither jouster is struck; the contest is not yet resolved. The knights ready themselves and make another pass.

Normal Success When One Knight Beats the Other Knight’s Roll:
The loser is automatically knocked off his horse and takes d6 damage from the fall (also see “Being Unhorsed in a Joust” below). It does not matter what his Size is, nor is he permitted a Dexterity roll to avoid being unhorsed (pg. 163). Do not roll weapon damage. The unhorsed knight loses the joust. He is not permitted to extend the contest by challenging the victor to fight on foot (although this may happen outside a tournament between knights errant; see below).

Critical Success when One Knight Beats the Other Knight’s Roll:
Not only is the loser unhorsed, but the jousting lance causes actual damage (pg. 163). In this case, the victor rolls his horse’s normal damage rather than critical success damage (for example, roll 6d6 for a charger, not 9d6). Moreover, the loser takes d6 damage from falling off the horse (see “Being Unhorsed in a Joust” below). The unhorsed knight loses the joust. He is not permitted to extend the contest by challenging the victor to fight on foot. Note that injuring an opponent via a critically successful roll is not considered an unchivalrous action because it was unintended. “Such an accident is seen as unavoidable in the sport, and sometimes good knights are killed this way” (pg. 163 ff.).

Tied Result (Via Normal Success or Critical Success:
Neither jouster wins; the contest is not yet resolved. The knights ready themselves and make another pass. Note that in the Pendragon rules, it is not possible for two knights to simultaneously unhorse each other, unless the GM decides to rule it as such in the case of both knights fumbling.

Not only does the jousting lance break, but the knight also “…did something terribly wrong, like striking his foe’s horse, falling without being struck, or having his saddle girths break…” (pg. 164).

Being Unhorsed in a Joust:
The loser takes d6 damage from falling, which is considered actual damage (although the GM permits a Horsemanship roll to land on ones feet and avoid possible injury). As is the usual case, armor does not protect against this falling damage, but such supernatural protection as Armor of Honor (i.e., stemming from ones chivalry bonus) and magical Pictish tattoos do. Note that Damascene armor and magical armor do not protect against falling damage.

Breaking a Jousting Lance:
During a joust, if a knight happens to roll an odd number or a fumble, his jousting lance breaks (pg. 163). This occurs even if he missed his Lance skill roll. Note that a broken lance does not affect the outcome of the contest. For example, if a knight beats his opponent’s Lance roll with a “9”, the lance simply shatters against the opponent who is, consequently, unhorsed.

Continuing the Contest on Foot:
A tournament usually has plenty of jousting lances available to replace broken ones. Nevertheless, if a particular joust results in the breaking of a total of five jousting lances (regardless of who broke them) without either knight being eliminated, then they dismount and continue fighting on foot with rebated weapons (see the Grand Melee rules for handling damage caused by such weapons). In this case, “The winner is the first man to knock the other to the ground” (pg. 251). Incidentally, Stafford’s rule has the combatants fighting on foot after the breaking of only three jousting lances (pg. 251), but the GM’s house rule increases it to five. This way, a joust has to involve at least three passes (unless one of the combatants is eliminated earlier).

In a tournament, the jousting contest is a process of elimination. Knights initially pair off, and the winners advance to the next round, and so on until there is a single undefeated knight. He is declared the Jousting Champion and usually receives some sort of prize. He does not, however, get to ransom his defeated opponents for cash, as is the case with the Grand Melee.

A Jousting Champion receives glory points based upon the type of tournament (see pg. 122). All other participants in a joust receive glory points as well (regardless of how well they did), usually a tenth of what the champion got. Note that all this is in addition to the glory one gets for defeating an individual opponent based upon the loser’s glory ranking (see pg. 120, using the “for love” rule).

A.D. 514 is a key year in the history of jousting in Britain. Not only did the creation of the jousting lance increase people’s desire to joust (and/or attend jousts as spectators), but also the Royal Wedding Tournament greatly enhanced its popularity while providing universal rules to govern it. In light of this, starting in A.D. 514, knights keep track of their Joust Scores, being a simple tally of their wins and losses. Accordingly, a player records his PC’s Joust Score on his character sheet. “This will allow you to figure your character’s average, like keeping hitting averages in baseball” (pg. 251). The outcome of all jousts (i.e., at tournaments or while engaged in knight errantry [see below], with jousting lances or with actual spears, etc.) contributes towards a knight’s Joust Score.

Knights jousting outside a tournament will use real spears if jousting lances are unavailable (although still trying not to cause actual injury, otherwise it is lance combat, not jousting). In this case, use the same rules as presented above with jousting lances, although with the following exceptions:
A spear only breaks if a fumble is rolled (i.e., not if one simply rolls an odd number).
A Damascene or magic spear adds to the wielder’s Lance skill, as normal.
If a knight is struck by a critical success, roll the horse’s critical success damage dice, not its standard damage (i.e., roll 9d6 for a charger, not 6d6).

An unhorsed knight may concede that he lost the joust or he may elect to extend the combat by challenging his opponent to continue the fight on foot (because he “lost his honor to fight on horseback”). Seeing as how the unhorsed knight is unwilling to concede that he lost the contest (which would have definitely been the case in a tournament), rules of chivalry and sportsmanship do not necessarily require the other knight to actually dismount. In other words, he can continue attacking his opponent from horseback (“Fie! Thou mayest have lost thine honor to fight upon horse, but I havest not! Have at you, bee-acth!!!”). Nevertheless, he may decide to even the odds by accepting the challenge to dismount and continue the fight on foot. Appropriate Personality Trait and/or Passion rolls may be used to determine the course of action of the knights in such circumstances.

If the mounted knight decides to accept the fallen knight’s challenge, he is customarily allowed to set the parameters of the fight. For example, they fight on foot until one of them is knocked down, until “first blood” or even “to the death!” If serious damage is to be avoided, they may use rebated weapons (if they have them) or strike with the flat of their sword blades (which uses the rules for rebated weapons). In light of this, it is prudent for a knight who prefers fighting with an axe, mace, or flail to pack a rebated version of it when traveling. A knight wielding a hammer simply holds back some of the force of the blow.

If two knights desire to fight to the death, it is not a joust but rather a duel. If that is the desire from the onset then obviously they will use real spears and the rules for lance combat, not jousting. Naturally, the victor gains the combat glory value of his opponent (i.e., because it was not a contest “for love”), even if the loser yields in order to avoid death. Note that there may be a case when the emotions of the jousters escalate, and what began as a simple joust turns into a fight to the death (for example, the joust between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot depicted in the movie “Excalibur”). Once that happens, do not calculate the glory awards using the “for love” rule, but rather in accordance with real combat (even if the loser is not actually killed, as is the case with yielding or being knocked unconscious).

Naturally, in the context of tournaments, the tournament marshals will usually prevent knights from escalating a joust into a duel to the death.

Jousting Rules

The Huntington Campaign Celtic_Cleric