Mounted combat in FORGED is brutal and effective, as being horsed grants large bonuses to mobility, striking power and shock value. Beware the vulnerabilities of a mounted warrior though – disciplined infantry and skilled spearmen can spell doom to both horse and rider. Below is an example of mounted melee combat against a footed skirmisher and another horseman.
Baeron, a corporal-of-horse in the Duke of Northbridge’s cavalry, spots a small detachment of Galadorns at the edge of the Old Mill Wall, the wall that rounded the eastern flank of what was to be a battlefield on the morrow. The Duke’s forces were camped barely a quarter mile behind him, while a host of Galadorns; a mixture of wild hill-clans and Malcolm the Red’s own feudal forces; were fast approaching from the northern marches. Baeron was tasked with harassing any Galadorn reconnaissance or foraging parties that attempted to approach the field before nightfall. He ordered his War-Lance to split up, two riders heading around to the north to cut off a retreat and the other three to flank westward, as he was mindful of Galadorn trickery or ambushes. Baeron himself would charge into the Galadorn detachment, hopefully driving them into the waiting horsemen to the north.
They scatter as soon as they see him crest the ridge. Three of the seven Galadorns head for the river gully to the west, while two others flee northward immediately. The last two, a hobilar mounted on a bay hill-pony and a footed skirmisher armed with javelins and a buckler remain near the stone wall. Baeron decides to press the charge, riding down towards them before they change their minds.
Mechanics: Baeron possesses a 14 skill in his cavalryman’s spear, and a 12 in his longsword. He wears light mail (9 AR) and carries a kite shield (+7 defensive, -3 offensive). His horse is a courser and possesses a 10 movement rate, conferring a +10 charge bonus to his Offensive skill. Couching his cavalry spear turns it into a lance, causing the spear to do his horse’s damage to an enemy rather than his own; in this case his horse confers 6d6 damage. Finally, against footed opponents, he has a +10 offensive bonus and a -5 defensive penalty. Since the skirmisher doesn’t have a spear, pike or halberd, he cannot negate Baeron’s skill bonus.
His foes are armored in light leathers (3 AR). The hobilar is armed with an axe (12 skill), while the skirmisher is armed with 2 javelins (10 skill) and a dagger (8 skill). The hill-pony has a 9 movement rate, and thus confers a +9 charge bonus to the hobilar’s attacks.
Baeron charges the horseman, who likewise charges, as he did not want to be charged while stationary (and thus have to face Baeron’s Charge bonus without one of his own). Baeron’s skill with his lance is a 19/4 (Offensive base 7, +10 Charge, +5 lance, -3 shield = 19 total; defensive base 7, -10 charge, +7 shield = 4 total). The hobilar’s skill with his axe is a 17/-6 (Offensive base 6, +9 charge, +2 axe = 17 total; defensive base 6, -9 charge, -3 axe = -6 total).
Baeron rolls a 14, a success by the die roll, and a critical success because his offensive roll is more than 20 higher than his opponent’s defensive roll (in this case, his 14 is 21 points higher than the hobilar’s -6). Since he possesses a lance, his longer melee reach means that he strikes first against the hobilar. Baeron rolls a 25 for damage (6, 6, 4, 3, 3, 2 and 1 for the crit), which is 22 points higher than the hobilar’s armor. 22 damage is enough to cause a knockdown (the hobilar’s Size is an 11, so he has to make a riding check at -11 for the damage taken), a Major Wound at -10 (over Prowess total), a Critical Wound at -10 (over Prowess in a single hit), and a Mortal Wound at -10 (brought to KO or lower level health; the hobilar only possesses 23 health total).
The hobilar fails his riding check, and is flung from his horse for an additional d6 damage (4). He fails all three Prowess rolls (he had major penalties to each from the sheer damage caused) and is brought below 0 Health. Due to his three wounds, he is bleeding heavily each round and would likely die regardless of healing attempts, even if any were forthcoming. Baeron decides against keeping hold of his lance, and lets it remain in the hobilar’s body (impaling mechanics and special damage will be covered later). The hobilar never gets the chance to strike back with his axe.
Drawing his sword, Baeron closes the distance on the skirmisher. Having seen his comrade laid low by his enemy, the skirmisher wisely decides to remain near the wall, which counts as a Difficult obstacle to a rider. Baeron sees this, but decides to press the attack nonetheless. As he closes within range, the Galadorn looses a javelin at him. Baeron is in point-blank range (the skirmisher’s Dexterity is a 14, granting him a 14-foot point blank range with thrown weapons) so the skirmisher’s 10 offensive skill increases. He uses Cunning Shot, decreasing his own defensive skill by 5 but likewise that of his foe. His skill with his javelin is a 9/3(Offensive base 5, +5 point blank range, -1 buckler = 9 total; defensive base 5, -5 Cunning Shot, +3 buckler = 3 total).
The skirmisher throws, rolling an 8, a success. Baeron's own skill this round with his sword is a 15/10 (Offensive base 6, +2 longsword, -3 shield, mounted +10 = 15 total; defensive base 6, +2 longsword, +7 shield, -5 mounted = 10 total). Baeron rolls a 5 for defense, a success but not high enough to defeat the skirmisher's 8. Baeron's shield provides 45% cover, and he rolls a 62, another failure. The skirmisher rolls 3d6 damage, coming up with a 12. Baeron's armor absorbs 9 of it, leaving him with 3 damage. The javelin falls from his wounded side, and the damage caused is not enough to knock him from his horse, impale him or cause a significant wound, however.
Baeron, closing in, now strikes with his 15. He rolls a 17, failing to hit the skirmisher with his blade. As his horse was carrying him at a gallop, it will now take him 2 full rounds to wheel about, and an additional round to close the distance once more. He begins his turn to his shield side (left) quickly, not wanting to offer the skirmisher his back for long - the Galadorn still has a javelin, after all.
The skirmisher decides to Charge forward now, taking advantage of Baeron's turn. The next round, he moves his full movement rate of 3, although his Size and Strength do not give him a bonus to his Charge. His skill with his javelin is a 17/-3 (Offensive base 5, +3 charge, +5 point blank, +5 Cunning shot, -1 shield = 17 total; defensive base 5, -6 charge, +3 shield, -5 Cunning shot = -3 total). He rolls a 14, a good hit.
Baeron does not possess Mastery in Riding, so he is not able to turn quickly enough in his saddle to give the skirmisher his shield-side. Baeron cannot benefit from his shield's defense this round, and only gains his passive cover bonus from it (as the shield covers a part of his body from the side as he turns to the left). He decides to go Defensive, trying to weave and duck as best he can. His skill this round is a -7/16 (Offensive base 6, no mounted bonus due to not being in direct melee, -3 shield, no sword bonus, -10 Defense Maneuver = -7 total; defensive base 6, no mounted penalty due to not being in direct melee, no sword or shield bonus, +10 Defense Maneuver = 16 total). He rolls a 12 for his defense, a success but not enough to beat the skirmisher's 14. His passive shield cover is 20%, and he rolls a 15; the kite shield takes the javelin! The javelin sticks into the shield's face, its head harmlessly stuck in the wood.
After finishing his turn, Baeron sees the skirmisher scrambling along the rocky stream-bed below the rock wall. Seeing the woods nearby, he pauses to consider whether he wants to follow the Galadorn into the thick, where hidden allies may well be waiting. Instead, he spurs his horse onward towards the north, intent upon catching up to the other Galadorns who fled at the onset. With luck, his War-Lance was already engaged,