Horses, types and rules on them

Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby Daeruin » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:51 pm

Which explains the monkey in one of those pictures.
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby TheVor » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:17 pm

The Bishop Giordanus Rufus breaks horses down into 4 types in his treatise on zoology. Before I do so I should point out a speciality of medieval breeding. 90% of medieval horses were range breed, that means the herd was left to forage and the stallion to mount the mares at will, the strong survived, the weak died, the foals were rounded up at a certain age and auctioned off according to feudal rights and suitability (a lords retainer or a yeoman who has bought himself the right might get second crack at the best ones after the lord), this is why you don't have breeds so much as job types, among the horses if there was a strong brave stallion that collected naturally he would have gotten pulled aside at the beginning and trained as a warhorse. Most Destriers were breed this way only the top 10% were castle breed. So most English knights could well have been riding Welsh ponies, as that was the main breeding ground, however the best of the best. In fact an English count made a killing by culling his welsh stallions and replacing them with fine Spanish ones, a huge investment that paid off majorly, he doubled the quota that he could sell as war horses.

Generally I think horses, at least warhorses should have access to a limited amount of MP dice with which to kick, increase speed or lend in animal handling (potentially also to calm other horses) or riding checks. This means a good warhorse will free up dice for the rider meaning he doesn't have to micromanage it so much. This is a real life thing, a good rider can make a green horse or panicking horse do difficult maneuvers with his seat and the bit, but it costs him concentration, a horse that you know, anticipates your orders, and knows when to take the initiative and who is competent is like a good NCO, a blessing from god.

1. Dextarii (which comes more likely from trained or dextrous than left handed) which are "trained to jump and to break through the enemy ranks with bights and kicks". From what I've seen in sources these are highly trained horses that are trained to collect and perform high school kicks and very sharp turns on the hind etc. very fast on the acceleration and deceleration but they don't "stretch out" the same way coursers do, just not so much in their nature. They should have access to high school dressage traits. They should have high dexterity and strength as well as wisdom. The price can range from the pitiful to the absurd.

2. Amblers (which comes from their gait the amble) These are the guys that makes sure an army gets where it needs to on time without the warhorses getting blown and that commerce runs smoothly. An amble is a gait about as fast as a trot but takes about as much energy as a walk to a fit horse. They are valuable and the most expensive ones can cost as much as the most expensive destriers, do not underestimate how valuable a good ambler is as you will spend most of your time riding him and may even fight on him in an ambush. They should come with the "amble" trait which allows them to cover ground fast without the horse or the rider taking fatigue, they should have a fairly open options on skills and traits. Important characteristics for amblers are endurance and wisdom, wisdom as in my experience the "ambler" archetypes I have encountered in modern life tend to have too much brains too be a warhorse who tend to either be loyal to a fault or adrenaline junkies. They will be smaller and more slight then warhorses, if the column is panicking in an ambush the amblers are the ones to keep their equine brethren calm.

3. Rouncies (no fucking clue and too lazy to look it up) The lifeblood of the medieval age, they are your pack horses and plow horses, calm, hopefully not too clever and hardy as shit a good rouncy should be able to live off your hat and a bit of lint and still pull a cannon 20 miles through mud. They get ridden too but don't do nothing fancy and you hope they don't dump you. No special skills really and they don't tend to have been to expensive.

4. Coursers (vrrrooooom motherfucker!!!) These guys run and they run good, Coursers were often used for hunting and warfare as well as racing, they can learn other maneuvers like Destriers but their hearts aren't in it... imagine them like an equine version of Forest Gump. There seems to be a huge variation as far as their size and training. The main difference between a courser and Destier seems to be in their training and inclination to collect, some horses who have the build to collect easily just don't like doing it as much and even with training it's harder to make them do it. Bonuses on speed and strength.

So it mainly seems a case of horses for courses...

You suggest a while back a chart of good traits and a list of vices to generate a horse that seems like a good idea.
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby TheVor » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:11 pm

Light cavalry often outruns hvy cavalry over distance for the same reason track and field guys outrun wrestlers, if the wrestlers can accelerate and catch them in the first 20 strides thing get ugly real fast but otherwise it's a lost cause, just different muscle groups that get emphasized. Armor also does play a role of course it's extra weight which always effects runners.

http://deremilitari.org/2014/01/history ... -henry-ii/
This has some very interesting information of when it was considered wise to go unarmored and when to don armour and why.

I would generate a horse using a points system, a point can either be used to re-roll a stat or choose a trait or skill, choosing a negative trait gives you plus one point.

Things like "Jennet" or "Castillian" or "Lombard" for horses are designations on where they come from and the accompanying idiosyncracy of the regional stock. I would just make them bonuses to certain traits I would count them as a flat bonus to a certain stat or as a sign of being better quality, + 1 point.

You determine the quality of the horse from terrible (0), Poor (+1) average (+2) good (+3) excellent, (+4), legendary, (+5)
either that or you just make it directly proportional to cash price, any unspent

Destrier
gets +3 strength and bravery, is allowed to choose high-school dressage

Ambler
Gets +3 endurance and automatically gets amble, may take quite a few skills even high-school (you need to impress your girlfriend on the ride of course... or show up your boyfriend in front of his boss)

Rouncy
gets a+3 on strength and endurance may not take any riding skills and being trained to ride is a bought skill.

Courser
+3 speeeed LOLZ!! otherwise the same as Destrier, may take other skills as well.
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:44 am

great stuff keep this coming, we'll try to synthesize some new official rules for the next core rules release.

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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:13 am

One question I have is that a lot of warhorse types seem to have the ambling gait, like Coursers. We were speculating somewhere (some forum, facebook I'm not sure) that maybe the ambling gait was useful in combat possibly? Anyway sometimes I guess you have to ride your warhorse too.

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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby TheVor » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:53 pm

Wrote a long reply but it got eaten

Ambling should be a bought trait for warhorses, it was a plus but not a requirement. It means the horse itself won't get as tired even when not being ridden, you can ride your warhorse and let your ambler rest sometimes, you can ride at the amble on your warhorse in dangerous areas.

As far as combat it's a gait that's more stable than a trot at equivalent speed, it takes effort to keep yourself stable at a trot (i.e. you need to divert riding dice that you could be using for other things). The downside is the horse isn't as "collected" meaning he isn't ready to explode into a gallop or do jumps and tight turns the way a horse at a collected canter is (which is about the same speed as a trot), but it is wayyyyy less tiring for the horse. It's another tactical tool whether it becomes an advantage is up to the player and whether the system is doing it's job.

I would like to implement some kind of momentum, even you saw in mount and blade how important turn speed was, you can't just turn on your heel like on foot, how fast you can turn and what speed you're going is crucial. I know you don't like maps but this might be something for table-top.
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby TheVor » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:54 pm

Because you've probably heard the word "collection" at least once.

A horse collecting is like an athlete being "ready" every muscle is taught to some extent, held at the ready to react. The weight moves to the hind meaning the horse is loaded like a spring and can go in many more directions. This is a horse's instinctive "fight" reaction as it frees their front to rear and strike as well as burst forwards or move sideways, this is the instinctive reaction of a destrier, as soon as adrenaline hits this should be his reaction. The visual cue is the horse curling and flexing his neck muscles this pulls all of his back muscles into position for combat and naturally moves his weight back, this is easier for short backed horses such as spanish types. Stallions tend to this reaction- This is required for any kind of dressage type feats. It should maybe a marshal feet in itself a prerequisite for others.

The flight reaction is exactly the opposite all weight is moved onto the front and the neck stretches out this is all about going straight forwards as fast as possible, this is a courser, as soon as adrenaline hits he wants to run and run fast. Mares tend to prefer to take a flight response.

Here you can judge the preferred strategy of a horse culture usually by the extent they preferred stallions, stallions collect for close combat, mares are calmer and tend to run, this is better for long rang warfare (note this means long distances not ranged weapons if you're at a 20ft range you still probably want a stallion).
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:28 pm

I hadn't even thought about that... the gender of the horse is a big deal and totally matters. Have to put that in the rules.

How about geldings?

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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby TheVor » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:39 pm

Geldings have no preference really, they don't build the same muscle groups as Stallions aren't as aggressive and don't have that natural urge to collect in the same way, if you want to see male showmanship, watch a stallion that just saw a mare in heat, testosterone is collection crack.

Geldings in general have about the same muscle mass and strength just not all the right stuff in all the right places :D, Stallions are much more likely to challenge you for hierarchy though, often just when you are weakest if you're relationship isn't strong.

Horses should have willpower and animal handling should be contested test ;)

Stallions get extra bonus to strength/dex and willpower.

Mares get bonuses to speed and wisdom, with lower willpower but minuses to strength/size (you can also milk them, not suggested with stallions no matter how much the like it)

Geldings are neutral.

A fighter on a mare or gelding for battle should automatically fail any diplomacy or intimidate tests with Europeans ;), that shit just wasn't cool.

suggested basic stats for horses

Dex/agility, influences acceleration and is used for collection tests
strength/size, influences maximum carrying and pulling weight
speed, does what it says on the tin, not sure whether to link it with another stat though
Willpower/courage, used for animal handling tests and resisting fear (a panicked horse will however get bonuses to his willpower especially if he's "spooky")
Wisdom/intelligence, how fast does this guy learn, will he go get help if you're stuck down a well? Can you leave him to his own devices on the trail as you take a nap? also used for awareness checks.
hardiness/endurance, how fast does get tired or lose condition in the field, can he survive on autumn leaves and leftover grass long enough to make it back to base?

also MP/bonus dice for the horse also applicable to non combat feats like intelligence tricks or hardiness etc.

Optional rules.
I would also have a "relationship" level this happens every time YOU level up YOUR horse, I would either use them as emergency bonus dice or as bonus dice to animal handling (different skill than riding, riding is giving cues and staying on, there's a difference between riding a bronk out and convincing him he doesn't need to buck)
Way I would suggest that is, every time your character takes an hour to train his horse you let him roll a animal handling check, if he rolls a crit the horse rolls an intelligence check to get the required skill or boosted stat. Horses should not learn via xp from combat except maybe critical successes with willpower adding +1 to their stat, you don't learn trick-riding during combat, you learn it practicing in between fights.

I was thinking of doing something similar for humans as well, advanced skills need an instructor and the better the teacher the more bonus dice to the roll, some feats might even need multiple crits. This means that you can learn to be a distance fighter easily via couple odd crits but you need a teacher to learn the Meisterhau or advanced mathematics, books might be appropriate substitutes to teachers.
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Re: Horses, types and rules on them

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:14 pm

Yeah I'm thinking of coming up with a 'special' horse template for certain warhorses and personal mounts, which would be able to level up. I have to think about how to handle it so it's still reasonably simple.

The idea of contested will-checks between mount and rider is a great idea.

Regarding different kinds of fencing, for my new character generation book I've been working on for Codex, I've divided the Martial Feats into different 'schools' (with some overlap). So for example, Simple Fencing includes all the things which you can and do learn intuitively. I was involved in stick fighting with no training from my early teenage years through young adulthood and got good at a lot of these things like distance management, simple hangen-parries, avoiding telegraphing while exploiting it in opponents, something like nachriesen and so on. As you know many people assume that the Kunst Des Fechten is written with the idea of the reader / fighter already knowing certain basic things.

Then I have Battlefield, Dueling, Chivalric (including most harnischfechten and rossfechten techniques) and Kunst Des Fechten (really the blossfechten part of KDF) 'schools', which are all based on things that are somewhat counter-intuitive. Like mastercuts and some of the guards; contra tempo, false-edge cutting, pretty much all single-time counters, and techniques based on the ability to fight in trained cohesion with other warriors. Right now I'm just assigning these to different classes since it's still based on 3.5 DnD, but I agree one of the most important distinctions here are basically those things you can learn on your own vs. things that you must be taught either from an instructor or a book or both.

After years of this project kind of languishing incomplete I recently actually started developing a computer program which allows you to generate characters, and this will let me much more rapidly verify that the system is reasonably balanced and efficient and produces 'good' characters. It's about half finished now but it's going quickly, I've done all the hardest parts already, and it's already helped me fine tune the character generation system quite a bit and eliminate and streamline many features of it.

I'll share more of that with you privately.

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