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Prax Ostrich Combat Jockets = Terrible IRL

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Also might be worth considering that not every Praxian beast is exactly like the modern real-world counterpart.  The llama & bison, for example, are IIRC most-like a couple of long extinct species (notably larger than any modern species).  It could be that the Praxian ostrich is a larger ratite than everyone is currently presuming; think moa.  Not big enough to make it viable as shock cavalry, but big enough to outrun a horse, even carrying a rider; big enough that carrying a rider for a day's travel is viable day after day, not an exhausting overload...

One of the tricks to figuring out how Glorantha works is not to say, "that CAN'T work!" but "huh... how CAN that work?"

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

Also might be worth considering that not every Praxian beast is exactly like the modern real-world counterpart. 

Probably none of them are. Just like Gloranthan "bronze" and "iron". The beast are probably different animals that are similar enough to Earth animals that we can refer to them by the same names. 

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6 hours ago, g33k said:

Also might be worth considering that not every Praxian beast is exactly like the modern real-world counterpart.  The llama & bison, for example, are IIRC most-like a couple of long extinct species (notably larger than any modern species).  It could be that the Praxian ostrich is a larger ratite than everyone is currently presuming; think moa.  Not big enough to make it viable as shock cavalry, but big enough to outrun a horse, even carrying a rider; big enough that carrying a rider for a day's travel is viable day after day, not an exhausting overload...

One of the tricks to figuring out how Glorantha works is not to say, "that CAN'T work!" but "huh... how CAN that work?"

This still applies to the Prax book:

Ostriches are visually and behaviourally based on the North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus). Stats are on page 155 of the RQG bestiary.

Generally speaking I apply the standard 20% loading to all ridden praxian herd beasts, except Ostriches and bolo lizards. They'd only be able to carry children using that formula. Instead I use 40%. They are much more able to carry riders due to their different parentage.

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18 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

BTW, that film looks remarkably good on Blu Ray for a 40+ year old film shot on a shoestring budget.  Back on topic, my original point was that pygmies riders wouldn't be impossible (or impossibly bad) as Ostrich riders. That and the fact that it's not like the Ostrich people would have much say in the matter. If the are pygmies there's not much they can do to change it, outside of some serious heroquesting.

Well, is that really true?  The fact is that in RQ, the benefit of having a mount is that you get its damage bonus on a lance charge.  Now an ostrich doesn't have much of a damage bonus to transfer compared to a bison, but it will be more than a pygmy would have unless they were very strong and tall for their kind.  If they use ostriches for a charge, they're suicidal idiots.  They should be using the same tactics as the impala riders, and simply shower their enemies with arrows, and use their superior maneuverability to inflict flank attacks.  Ostriches are not a shock mount, and to use them as such is mad.  On the other hand, it should also be pointed out than a person with -1d4 damage bonus because they are small and weak will still get their horse's +5d6 damage bonus in place of their own when they do a lance charge, plus being a smaller target is an advantage IRL under such circumstances, provided you are strong enough to wear armor.  There are many records of people with damaged and even crippled legs being fine in the saddle, as well as comparatively short people doing quite well in that role too.  Riding isn't about strength or size, if anything those are negatives as they will tire out your animal, it is about you learning to anticipate the mount and the mount learning to anticipate you.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

Well, is that really true?  The fact is that in RQ, the benefit of having a mount is that you get its damage bonus on a lance charge. 

So every rider is a lancer and always charging? Strange how empires like the Huns, the Parthians or the Mongols achieved so much with so little lance charging. And they had horses (though not overwhelmingly big ones).

Ostriches and other avilry are mainly a means of highly increased mobility. 

Would you put a trollkin onto the shoulders of every great troll and have extra lance charge bonus in a battle?

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

So every rider is a lancer and always charging? Strange how empires like the Huns, the Parthians or the Mongols achieved so much with so little lance charging. And they had horses (though not overwhelmingly big ones).

Ostriches and other avilry are mainly a means of highly increased mobility. 

Would you put a trollkin onto the shoulders of every great troll and have extra lance charge bonus in a battle?

Seriously?  You're putting words in my mouth just so you can disagree with them.  Read the rest of my comment please instead of totally ignoring the context.

Edited by Darius West

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Ostrich riding skirmish cavalry aren't going to do well fighting Lunar hoplites & peltasts supported by Crater Maker artillery. 

They'll do a great job though of avoiding a stand up battle, falling back deeper into the chaparral, and if pursued having some of their toughest volunteer to keep harassing the main Lunar force for a couple days while the rest of the Ostrich Riders circle back and wreck the Lunars' supply train while the Moon is dark. Lacking the power of the Covenant, the Lunars' pack animals can't survive off the land. With their water amphorae spilled and rations scattered or burning, the Lunar army now has big problems.

Ostrich Riders and similar don't win by fighting battles where they cant win. They win by not fighting those battles, and helping the enemy fail.

Edited by JonL
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6 hours ago, David Scott said:

,,, Ostriches are visually and behaviourally based on the North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus). Stats are on page 155 of the RQG bestiary.

Generally speaking I apply the standard 20% loading to all ridden praxian herd beasts, except Ostriches and bolo lizards. They'd only be able to carry children using that formula. Instead I use 40%. They are much more able to carry riders due to their different parentage.

As demonstrated by various RL / YouTube "ostrich rider" vids, the real ostrich isn't suitable for being an avilry mount; it's too handicapped by the weight of even "jockey" sized riders.  Their top speed is dramatically reduced, they cannot be ridden for long, etc etc ...

To support its role in Prax, we need either a larger/stronger bird, or one that (despite being the same size) is mythically stronger than in RL .

Or just stick our heads in the sand and deny that this RL/Gloranthan discrepancy exists (really, that's as valid as another approach, because Glorantha is Just That Different anyhow).

YGMV

Edited by g33k

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

Well, is that really true?

The Blu Ray, yes. About charging. Somewhat.

 

One of the benefits of superior maneuverability and speed is that they might be able to charge in situations where their opponents cannot. Quicker, more maneuverable mounts should, at times, be able to turn quickly and charge on a flank, whereas  bison riders might not be able to turn and build up enough speed for a charge bonus, which requires straight line movement,  in time.  So the Ostrich riders might be charging at 50 mph against Bison riders who are only moving at 10 mph. 

 

6 hours ago, Darius West said:

   Ostriches are not a shock mount, and to use them as such is mad. 

Depends on the circumstances. Against foot troops, or when they aren't going to be counter charged, they might be decent. 

6 hours ago, Darius West said:

 Riding isn't about strength or size, if anything those are negatives as they will tire out your animal, it is about you learning to anticipate the mount and the mount learning to anticipate you.

Somewhat. IRL theres been some doubt recently about that. It seems to use a lance properly and stay in the saddle does depend more on the rider's strength than the mounts. But that's fairly recent stuff from an author who suspected that knights & stirrups weren't quite the game changer historians believed and that ancient calvary was effective as shock troops. 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

So every rider is a lancer and always charging?

That's not what he said. He said, approximately, that Ostrich rider would be better suited as missile troops and skirmishers harassing their opponents flanks, and that  lance charges for them would be suicidal.

I, for one,  agree with his first points, but not so much with the last. I think that a lance charge isn't suicidal, under the right cirsumstances. They just have to be opportunistic about it and try to avoid the feudal Charge vs. Charge against anybody with bigger/stronger mounts.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

One of the benefits of superior maneuverability and speed is that they might be able to charge in situations where their opponents cannot. Quicker, more maneuverable mounts should, at times, be able to turn quickly and charge on a flank, whereas  bison riders might not be able to turn and build up enough speed for a charge bonus, which requires straight line movement,  in time.  So the Ostrich riders might be charging at 50 mph against Bison riders who are only moving at 10 mph. 

Your point is well taken.  Still, the poor buggers are still only going to get a +2d6 damage bonus for charging though.

44 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Depends on the circumstances. Against foot troops, or when they aren't going to be counter charged, they might be decent. 

Agreed.  I was really suggesting the suicidal nature of charging against other Praxian mounts who are also charging.

44 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Somewhat. IRL theres been some doubt recently about that. It seems to use a lance properly and stay in the saddle does depend more on the rider's strength than the mounts. But that's fairly recent stuff from an author who suspected that knights & stirrups weren't quite the game changer historians believed and that ancient calvary was effective as shock troops. 

Well, the celtic 4 horn saddle was a very good stop gap as far as saddles went, and even the Sassanids adopted them.  On the other hand, the speed with which everyone adopted stirrups once they encountered cavalry that use them suggests to me that they are pretty important.  Remember knights survived pretty much unaltered for 5 successful centuries until the Mongols arrived. As to the historians who say that stirrups don't make a difference, they should be sentenced to try riding with and without them for a couple of weeks each for making such claims.  I promise you that the difference is phenomenal; stirrups save your ass from a lot of punishment. On the other hand, texts from the bronze age suggest that saddles were largely unknown, and that implies that thighs like iron or a glue spell would have been a necessity. As we are dealing with bronze age tech, I suspect I am coming around to your way of thinking about strength for riders.

Edited by Darius West

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Your point is well taken.  Still, the poor buggers are still only going to get a +2d6 damage bonus for charging though.

Yup. 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Agreed.  I was really suggesting the suicidal nature of charging against other Praxian mounts who are also charging.

Yeah, except as years of Pendragon has taught me, speed and skill makes a bit of a difference here too. If the Ostrich riders can act first they could take out or at least dismount their opponents before they get hit.  Then it won't really matter if those opponents get +4d6 or even +8d6 in a charge. 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Well, the celtic 4 horn saddle was a very good stop gap as far as saddles went, and even the Sassanids adopted them.  On the other hand, the speed with which everyone adopted stirrups once they encountered cavalry that use them suggests to me that they are pretty important.  Remember knights survived pretty much unaltered for 5 successful centuries until the Mongols arrived.

Hardly. Knights evolved over the years. As did thier mounts, arms, and armor. And their demise was probably more because of economics. For what it cost to field and maintain a knight someone could field dozens of archers, crossbowmen or men with early guns. 

 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

 As to the historians who say that stirrups don't make a difference, they should be sentenced to try riding with and without them for a couple of weeks each for making such claims.  I promise you that the difference is phenomenal; stirrups save your ass from a lot of punishment. On the other hand, texts from the bronze age suggest that saddles were largely unknown, and that implies that thighs like iron or a glue spell would have been a necessity. As we are dealing with bronze age tech, I suspect I am coming around to your way of thinking about strength for riders.

It's not that they say they sdon't make a differcne. Just that the claims that lance chargges would be ineffective without them is in dispute. Strirrups make riding easier and do make it easier to stay in the saddle. But I think it is more a case of giving a modifier to Riding rolls, and knockback. 

And people did ride bareback. IMO that would be difficult (half skill?), but the cultures that did so probably had really high skill. 

 

Overall, I think we are in agreement here. 

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Haven't the point that Ostrich Riders do best as skirmishers been made like six or seven times now? Is there anything more to squeeze out of that?

A big egg?

Oh, and the fact that just about all mounted troops work better as skirmishers. Just about any tribe, except maybe the Rhinos and Bisons, would do better peppering their opponents with arrows and outmaneuvering their foes than by charging.  The Mongol steppe nomad analogy, right down to Waha "Khan" titles, really fits better than knights or cataphacti. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

And people did ride bareback. IMO that would be difficult (half skill?), but the cultures that did so probably had really high skill. 

Half-skill is probably overstating it for most things, but I suppose the degree of benefit/hindrance for the kit (or lack thereof) it depends on the nature of the challenge, as well as how accustomed to that riding approach both you and your horse are.

In practice, I'd just make the baseline roll assume whatever the normal riding approach in your setting is, and give bonuses/penalties for hardware/tech above or below that baseline in situations where it's relevant. If everyone just has blankets, no need for harder rolls. 

(Also, paging @Ellie: this ostrich thread has taken an equestrian turn.)

 

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

To support its role in Prax, we need either a larger/stronger bird, or one that (despite being the same size) is mythically stronger than in RL .

 

I wouldn't prohibit heroquesting for the mythic Elephant Bird (Aepyornithidae) or even a suitably impressive Theropod as a mount. We already have dinosaurs around so why not? Going off to bully Ostrich Riders and getting trampled by a T Rex will make anyone reconsider one's life choices. 

Regarding battles, skirmishing with slings and bows seems the usual tactic but I would also permit the occasional surprising great leap (with ridiculous flapping) over the battle line of the other side or similar. Or, considering defensive maneuvers, retreating by leap is easy if there is a suitable chasm nearby. Probably requires a bit of secret magic to pull this off, especially in a formation. 

It seems in general quite useful to fighting praxians to enhance their mounts in various ways.

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9 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

A big egg?

Oh, and the fact that just about all mounted troops work better as skirmishers. Just about any tribe, except maybe the Rhinos and Bisons, would do better peppering their opponents with arrows and outmaneuvering their foes than by charging.  The Mongol steppe nomad analogy, right down to Waha "Khan" titles, really fits better than knights or cataphacti. 

 

Heck, the Norman victory at Hastings wasn't through charging the Saxon shield-wall. They used ride-by-javelinings to get the Saxons riled-up, faked a retreat, and then wheeled to attack when the less disciplined among the Saxons broke formation to pursue them. The surviving texts on Knight tactics are all about facing foot against foot and then circling around the battle line to pounce on your enemy's flank while they're tied up with your foot. Even with heavy cavalry, direct charges were for use against disorganized rabble, not men at arms.

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Just now, JonL said:

Heck, the Norman victory at Hastings wasn't through charging the Saxon shield-wall. They used ride-by-javelinings to get the Saxons riled-up, faked a retreat, and then wheeled to attack when the less disciplined among the Saxons broke formation to pursue them. The surviving texts on Knight tactics are all about facing foot against foot and then circling around the battle line to pounce on your enemy's flank while they're tied up with your foot. Even with heavy cavalry, direct charges were for use against disorganized rabble, not men at arms.

Yeah, you don't really see the iconic lance charges until about 20 years later or so. And by the Hundred Years war it became more risky. Missile troops screen by polarms could withstand a charge.make charges less effective than they had been.

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2 hours ago, The God Learner said:

I wouldn't prohibit heroquesting for the mythic Elephant Bird (Aepyornithidae) or even a suitably impressive Theropod as a mount. We already have dinosaurs around so why not? Going off to bully Ostrich Riders and getting trampled by a T Rex will make anyone reconsider one's life choices. 

 

I'd let Bolo-riders HQ for a T.rex, I I think; dino-to-dino upgrade, thematic & cool = yes!

Not sure what I'd see as the Ostrich-rider's HQ...

 

2 hours ago, The God Learner said:

Regarding battles, skirmishing with slings and bows seems the usual tactic but I would also permit the occasional surprising great leap (with ridiculous flapping) over the battle line of the other side or similar. Or, considering defensive maneuvers, retreating by leap is easy if there is a suitable chasm nearby. Probably requires a bit of secret magic to pull this off, especially in a formation. 

Actually, that could be a decent HQ power -- an uber-leap landing behind enemy lines (or coming down atop an enemy, legs 1st... an ostrich-kick is dangerous even to a lion!

 

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

and the fact that just about all mounted troops work better as skirmishers. Just about any tribe, except maybe the Rhinos and Bisons, would do better peppering their opponents with arrows and outmaneuvering their foes than by charging.

Yes, but... unless you are the Impala people (who are renowned for being masters of that tactic), you may have to fight a tribe who is better at it than you are, in which case it is no longer a good tactic. 

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8 hours ago, g33k said:

Not sure what I'd see as the Ostrich-rider's HQ...

I think we can at the very least permit retrieving various exotic flightless giant birds as mounts (phorusrhacidae or Terror birds, perhaps), but as suggested previously possibly also, er, flightless dinosaurs with beaks and feathers. All of these should be hero mount one-offs to avoid turning one's people into the Gastornis Riders. (But breeding the tribal stock with particularly divine ostrich specimens is in my opinion a permissible way forward.)

Regarding an ostrich Great Leap, one could also make it a rune spell, depending on how rare or common you want to make it. Learning this secret and teaching it to the Ostrich Riders as a magic power would be a very suitable HQ, as I see it. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

Yes, but... unless you are the Impala people (who are renowned for being masters of that tactic), you may have to fight a tribe who is better at it than you are, in which case it is no longer a good tactic. 

Oh it still could be a good tactic. If the one who better at something always won, they wouldn't ever have to fight battles. Quite a lot depends on terrain, numbers, morale, preparation, etc. Somebody is always going to come up second or third best at something (or worse) but it still might be their best option. Lance charging Impala people wouldn't be any better for the Ostrich riders, either.

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On 1/3/2019 at 4:14 PM, Darius West said:

Seriously?  You're putting words in my mouth just so you can disagree with them.  Read the rest of my comment please instead of totally ignoring the context.

You're right, and I apologize. I lost track about who argued what way in this thread,  and the sentence I quoted rubbed me quite irritatingly as a very bad drop-back to the initial post in this thread when your previous record in this thread is very much on line with my views.

 

23 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That's not what he said. He said, approximately, that Ostrich rider would be better suited as missile troops and skirmishers harassing their opponents flanks, and that  lance charges for them would be suicidal.

I, for one,  agree with his first points, but not so much with the last. I think that a lance charge isn't suicidal, under the right circumstances. They just have to be opportunistic about it and try to avoid the feudal Charge vs. Charge against anybody with bigger/stronger mounts.

Opportunisitic is another word for Waha's way, in my book. Other than the taboo about horses which is taking a sensible limitation over the top,  the Praxian tribes are willing to exploit every little niche that is there for the taking to further their chances at survival. The Plains Elk and Longnose tribes have already paid the price for failure, and neither the Zebra Tribe nor the Unicorn Riders have been fully integrated in the Praxian ways of life. The Pol Joni are too reliant on sedentary Sartar (or alternatively Greater Tarsh), too, and have even revived farming in the Exilestead/Barbarian town region to make their lives a little easier.

Putting it another way, having a jeep with a heavy machine gun or a recoil-less anti-tank gun doesn't mean that a motorcycle with sidecar can mount the same with the same efficiency, too. There is a good possibility that pygmy riders too weak to wield a significant bow use ranged magic for their skirmishing, demoralizing enemy steeds, igniting carelessly carried flammable stuff, or the nuisance of disruption spells. Specialist terror weapons like leather-wrapped wasp nests might be another interesting defence option for ostrich riders whose nesting grounds are endangered by enemy tribes. Having multiple nesting sites of different parental groups, carefully exchanging eggs between unwitting ostrich parents, might be another form of insurance for the two-legged egg-laying tribes, as would be tasking sedentary Eiritha priestesses (at the oases) with the protection of a few yet unhatched chicks for major favors.

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On 1/3/2019 at 5:00 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Haven't the point that Ostrich Riders do best as skirmishers been made like six or seven times now? Is there anything more to squeeze out of that?

Some people don't want to listen, to make a point ...

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23 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

 

Oh, and the fact that just about all mounted troops work better as skirmishers. Just about any tribe, except maybe the Rhinos and Bisons, would do better peppering their opponents with arrows and outmaneuvering their foes than by charging.  The Mongol steppe nomad analogy, right down to Waha "Khan" titles, really fits better than knights or cataphacti. 

 

Time once again to link to Sandy Petersen's article on the relative strengths and weaknesses of missile and melee cavalry and infantry.

http://www.pensee.com/dunham/glorantha/aow.html

 

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