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Darius West

Mounted Combat.

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I have just been looking over the RQG rules on mounted combat, and I noticed something that wasn't there.  In the original RQ2 if you charged with a couched lance, you got to add your mount's damage bonus to any damage you did if you hit.  This meant that not only did your bison or rhino hit like a steamtrain, even a glancing blow from a lance was terrifying.

Since then things have changed a bit.  Presently in Glorantha, saddles are nothing like modern saddles, let alone knight saddles.  In fact, presently Glorantha has bronze age saddles, that are little better than a cushion and a blanket wrapped by a belt.  So, that whole notion of a couched lance charge?  It is never going to happen because the gear won't allow it, as riders are pretty much gripping onto their mount with their thighs (incidentally, that gets super painful for even the most experienced rider, and was one of the driving forces behind the invention of pants).

Yes, even cataphracts have the same problems.  In fact, they certainly don't couch their spears, but likely use them in an overhand grip.  Historically, many cataphracts used their lance in 2 hands for greater control.

As to the whole damage bonus rule, well, it's gone, until such a time as saddle tech makes it possible.  On the other hand, I can't help but think that a charging mount does impart some extra force to a blow, just not the amount the rules used to allow for.  I think I might house rule for 1/4 of the mount's DB, but also include the riders DB for non-impaling weapons.

As to the rule about not being able to use 2h weapon like rhomphaia and 2h swords from a mount, how do people feel about that?  I mean, they have the all-important reach.  Frankly, if you can use a naginata from horseback (you definitely can), I can't see why you couldn't use a dagger axe or a great axe.  

It is also worth noting that many cataphract lances are often depicted as being to-all-intents-and-purposes  pikes on horseback, well in excess of 3.5 meters.  I am not suggesting any modification to damage on that basis though; clearly using a pike from horseback allows less control over movement and stance.  It's just an odd image to consider a person and a horse, both in full bronze scale, with no shield essentially charging with a pike in their hands, one hand up to control it, and the other acting as the fulcrum of the lever.   It's a strange image.

skythianchief.jpg

Think this guy but with a longer spear.

Edited by Darius West

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"The Lance: A lance can be used in a charge, a 
straight run of 20 meters or more. If a target is hit  during a charge, the damage bonus of the animal  ridden is used, not that of the rider. If the adventurer using the lance has had no training in its use,  they can use it at 1/2 their normal attack chance  with a one-handed spear, unless their Ride skill  is below that. It can also be used as a one-handed  spear if the adventurer has the necessary STR and  DEX to use a long spear one-handed." Page 219.

I also recall there being another thread on this same topic a while ago. I think at least a few cultures have developed stirrups, one of the many discrepancies between Glorantha and our bronze age.

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Oh, another point worth mentioning is that on Earth there was something known as the "four pommel", "four horn" or Romano-Celtic saddle. It had pieces built into it to help brace the rider in a manner similar to stirrups. So it looks like a decent lance charge was possible for some calvary before the introduction of stirrups. That probably holds true for Glorantha, too. 

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Macedonian and Thessalian heavy cavalry had no stirrups, but used xyston (around 4 meters lance) 1 or 2 handed for shock attacks. I don't know how they did it, nor what saddle they used, but the troops pinned by the phalanx were most of the time destroyed by the shock. The effect on greek, persian, egyptian armies was devastating, so the rule seems correct.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

Yes, even cataphracts have the same problems.  In fact, they certainly don't couch their spears, but likely use them in an overhand grip.  Historically, many cataphracts used their lance in 2 hands for greater control.

To get a little off-topic and Gloranthan ...

There are a few things that annoy me about the cataphracts in the new version of Seshnela -- mainly that the term designates a type of regular heavy cavalry troop of late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, whose effectiveness relied on their constant training to be able to keep their line straight during charges ; which mediaeval knights were far less capable of, except that knights were simultaneously heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, as well as being both soldiers and warriors.

An isolated cataphract was also easier to dismount than a mounted knight would be in later centuries, so that all of their training is all about fighting as one, on horseback, within the unit -- which seems limiting character generation -wise.

Thing is, I really don't see the cataphract as a good model for a Gloranthan player character. RQ2-like "past experience" sure, that would certainly work, but the rest of it just doesn't seem to fit, and IMO there's a loss of versatility, from I think perhaps some over-compensation for the previous version of Seshnela being overly pseudo-mediaeval and pseudo-Arthurian. Cataphracts ordinarily belonged to costly regular standing armies, and typical RQ player characters do not.

If I were ever to do another Seshnelan campaign, I'd probably play it closer to the historical than the pseudo-Arthurian -- and take inspiration from perhaps early mediaeval & post-imperial Italy, where units of cataphracts coexisted with the emerging more independent knight class. Play it so that these knights (which was originally in the Germanic languages just a word meaning "fighter, soldier", and in the Romance "horseman") are a recent innovation and a factor in and product of the Hero Wars.

IIRC didn't the "stirrup wars" over at the old Glorantha Digest seem to conclude that the stirrup had emerged in the West but without systematic adoption yet, and to a minor degree in Peloria (which relies more on infantry), but not yet Dragon Pass nor the East ?

Wasn't there some old RQ3 rule about charging with or without the benefit of stirrups, or am I misremembering ?

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A lot of the energy being transferred is related to speed not mass of horse

Having done jousting in an English saddle, admittedly with stirrups, I'd argue you don't need a high pommel and cantle to stay on the horse

Stirrup makes it easier to get on and off the horse. They're not essential for riding or staying on

 

 2h weapons on horse is are difficult to use. Get into problems with interference of weapon and horse

 

Trousers were associated with horse riders

But you don't grip when riding. Use core muscles, balance and flow with horse

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On 2/20/2019 at 1:40 AM, seneschal said:

Do Gloranthans have strirrups?

No, for the love of God no! Please let's not have another thirty page discussion over whether Gloranthans have stirrups, saddles or whatnot.

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13 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Gee, I just asked.  I really don’t know.  🥺

Don't worry about it, it's just something that ran and ran a while back. It got a little heated.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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Gloranthans have stirrups if Gloranthans in Your Glorantha (or your GM's Glorantha) have stirrups, I suspect. Most of the art I've seen recently suggests that stirrups are not universally employed... :)

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22 hours ago, seneschal said:

Gee, I just asked.  I really don’t know.  🥺

Sorry, I just had a flashback.

In my Glorantha, riders may well have stirrups, I don't really care. They can do all the things that people using stirrups can do, which is what is important to me.

They also have saddles, otherwise it would hurt to ride on horses. Whether those saddles are like Bronze Age, iron Age, Medieval or Western Cowboy saddles doesn't really matter to me.

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I have no desire to unleash SaddleWars(tm) but the (non-canonical) page copied below is based on assessing Gloranthan and terrestrial sources. Iron Age cataphracts, using a two-handed kontos certainly were effective prior to the introduction of the stirrup; Gloranthan cataphracts probably use the same sort of saddle. Unfortunately, we lack detailed evidence of the exact sort of saddle they used, but we know the 'Roman' four horned saddle almost certainly came from the steppes, and what art we have of cataphracts suggests they used something similar, probably with a more solid seat to hold the rider firmly. Canonical artwork is suggestive of the types of saddle in use.

saddles.png

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I can't tell if he has stirrups or not, but this picture of Grazelander in RQG certainly appears to have a more comfortable and sophisticated saddle than the "rug on the animal's back" that I've seen suggested.

Screenshot_20190224-143422__01.jpg

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If you want stirrups in your Glorantha, i'd go ahead and use them. The technology of a Gloranthan bronze age doesn't have to mirror our real world bronze age timeline. I believe in our middle ages, the Arab world had more medical and mathematical advancements than the West. It could be the Gloranthan bronze age has more advancements than our bronze age. I'd do whatever works for you.

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On 2/22/2019 at 9:57 AM, soltakss said:

No, for the love of God no! Please let's not have another thirty page discussion over whether Gloranthans have stirrups, saddles or whatnot.

Don't be silly.

Thirty pages isn't NEARLY enough to work through the details in such a debate!

Edited by g33k
F'ing autocorrect
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On 2/22/2019 at 9:57 AM, soltakss said:

No, for the love of God no! Please let's not have another thirty page discussion over whether Gloranthans have stirrups, saddles or whatnot.

That was the first thing I thought when I saw this thread.  Oh God!  Not again!

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24 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

That was the first thing I thought when I saw this thread.  Oh God!  Not again!

It's not like we really reached a conclusion, did we?😈

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

It's not like we really reached a conclusion, did we?😈

No, we certainly didn't, although we probably would have five to ten years back.  The thing I find so funny is that no one wants to have another 30 page debate about Stirrups in Glorantha have not problems with a longer thread about Swords in Genertela, where people debate even more details. Saddle minute isn't esoteric enough? Not specific enough to a region? Or just not as well illustrated? I mean we are all discussing minutiae about a fantasy world. What is the litmus test that determines  significant trivial details and insignificant ones?

Oh, and just so as not to give anybody the wrong idea, I love that thread about Sword in Central Genertela, and M. Helsodon's excellent work into the military details of the region. 

 

It's just funny the things we get up in arms over.

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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7 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

No, we certainly didn't, although we probably would have five to ten years back.  The thing I find so funny is that no one wants to have another 30 page debate about Stirrups in Glorantha have not problems with a longer thread about Swords in Genertela, where people debate even more details. Saddle minute isn't esoteric enough? Not specific enough to a region? Or just not as well illustrated? I mean we are all discussing minutiae about a fantasy world. What is the litmus test that determines  significant trivial details and insignificant ones?

Oh, and just so as not to give anybody the wrong idea, I love that thread about Sword in Central Genertela, and M. Helsodon's excellent work into the military details of the region. 

 

It's just funny the things we get up in arms over.

 

 

"They're natural enemies! Just like Glorantha fans and other Glorantha fans! Damn Glorantha fans, they ruined Glorantha!"

"You Glorantha fans sure are a contentious people."

"You've just made an enemy for life!"

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29 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

The thing I find so funny is that no one wants to have another 30 page debate about Stirrups in Glorantha have not problems with a longer thread about Swords in Genertela, where people debate even more details. Saddle minute isn't esoteric enough? Not specific enough to a region? Or just not as well illustrated? I mean we are all discussing minutiae about a fantasy world. What is the litmus test that determines  significant trivial details and insignificant ones?

That thread's hardly a monoculture of discussion, though, is it? New shinies are cropping up all the time for 'us' to offer our suggestions and praise for, and, occasionally nitpick with each other... And it's actually worth the time, rather than being largely navel-gazing, since something beautiful may be born to the world from it, unlike a discussion about stirrups where the answer is: "There can be stirrups if you(r GM) want(s) them."

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19 hours ago, 10baseT said:

If you want stirrups in your Glorantha, i'd go ahead and use them. The technology of a Gloranthan bronze age doesn't have to mirror our real world bronze age timeline. I believe in our middle ages, the Arab world had more medical and mathematical advancements than the West. It could be the Gloranthan bronze age has more advancements than our bronze age. I'd do whatever works for you.

Given Glorantha seems to be a small part Bronze Age and more parts Iron Age, Classical and whatnot, I don't see how you can get hung up on real world parallels at all. Ancient Greece, Rome, Sarmatians, Scythians, Parthians, Cataphracts etc ad infinitum - none of these have anything to do with the bronze age at all

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