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Riding skills


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This is a question for those who know more about horse riding then me.

I am going to assume that the riding skill is based on having proper equipment such as bridles, saddles and stirrups.

But two of the settings listed for BRP ( Rome and Warlords of Alexandria are set before Stirrups where around. And if you playing ancient Egypt you will not even have a decent saddle. .Not to mention the person who steals a horse and rides in bare back.

So what penalties should apply if you go horse riding in these earlier times.

I am thinking of not allowing one to use a horses strength in combat if one does not have stirrups with a minus 10% to riding skills

And also applying a minus 5% if one has a primitive saddle and a minus 10% for no saddle.

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So what penalties should apply if you go horse riding in these earlier times.

Unless you have a time travel campaign, I would not introduce any penalty

to the Riding skill at all: The people in the settings you mentioned knew a

certain percentage of the riding skill of their time, not a certain fraction of

the riding skill of our time.

A Roman cavalryman who was an excellent rider knew, for example, 90 % of

the Riding skill available to his culture at that time, not 90 % minus X of a mo-

dern Riding skill.

As for cavalry weapons, I would downgrade the cavalry lance, because the

early cavalry used their lances somewhat more like spears, without the full

mass of the horse behind the attack.

Otherwise, I would not make any changes.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I wouldn't bother changing anything, unless you had two forces with different equine technology levels fighting.

If you are comparing like with like then just assume that the Ride skill corresponds with the current level of technology. So, if nobody has stirrups then stirrups aren't an issue. Similarly, unless a saddle is really good, different types of saddle won't make a lot of difference.

Lances are another matter as they supposedly need a good saddle/stirrups to use effectively, but for the purposes of BRP I wouldn't bother with that either.

What I would do, though, is to enforce the horse sizes on the culture. So, most ancient horses were quite small and wiry, more pony than horse. Even the Mongols rode small horses onto battle. That would make things like lances less effective as the horse's damage bonus would be less.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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The other posters have summed up my feelings on the matter perfectly.

Skills should be based on the knowledge base at the time. The Roman horseman with Ride 90% is theoretically better than 89% of the population at this skill, just as the Roman astronomer's skill of Science (Astronomy) 90% means he knows 90% of what's known about astronomy at the time (whereas his skill compared with a modern astronomer might be more accurately described as 05%).

If you're dealing with someone accustomed to riding with saddle and tack but is forced to do without, then that's best represented as a circumstantial action modifier (described on page 177 of BRP), ranging from -15% for no saddle if saddled is the norm, or +15% for a saddle if bareback is the norm.

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