DMing with 3 Mounted players [Help me please]


Advice


I have a party of with 3 Mounted members, they're saying that when they charge with their lance they hit for +28 (x3) for every time they preform a spirited charge with a Power attack + Smite.

This is the only rule I found that has anything to do with multiplying damage aside from criticals, it's really hard to set up a Campaign if they can literally hit for a minimum of 93 dmg when charging. Is there something I'm misunderstanding? The Lance says it doubles your damage already, spirited charge makes it 3x.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment/weapons/weapon-descriptions/lance/

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/spirited-charge-combat-final/

http://legacy.aonprd.com/coreRuleBook/combat.html
Multiplying Damage: Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results.
Note: When you multiply damage more than once, each multiplier works off the original, unmultiplied damage. So if you are asked to double the damage twice, the end result is three times the normal damage.
Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon's normal damage are never multiplied.

Do I just have to make situations to force them off their mounts? Because dear god.


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I haven't checked the maths but don't really see the issue. A mounted charge is very situational. There should be many situations where the mounted charge is not practical or plain stupid. Letting the players get a big hit every now and again is fun for the players. Having 3 characters specialised in this way will leave a lot of holes in their party's capability making other encounters more difficult for a given encounter level.

Counters to mounted combat include: Difficult terrain, braced weapons, encounters where ranged combat is preferable, grappling after the charge particularly if the enemy is a large group, targeting the mount, AoE spells, flying creatures etc.

Additionally 3 mounted charging characters could split a party leaving the non charging members exposed or preventing support and cover from assising if one or more of the chargers is immobilised.

A pack of kobolds or goblins are likely to bait the chargers with a small group that flee and then ambush the remainder of the group before splitting the charging group into multiple many v one combats.

After a few encounters the party should soon realise that charge is not the answer to every encounter.

Grand Lodge

As the GM, limit how they can charge. Force them in scenarios where the terrain prevents them from getting proper angles. If you're on a big open field, chargers will thrive.
Are they all on large sized mounts? That's taking up a BUNCH of game space. If there are three of them consistently being able to charge, it's on you to change up enemy tactics. Because charging shouldn't be that easy for them.

Also, look onto characters with high initiative. If they can get up to your players before they can get to you, no charging.

Also something to think about. A hasted 6th level fighter is doing the same amount of damage as a lance up spirited charger. It's just over 3 hits instead. Yeah they have to hit all three times but even if they just hit once they still deal more damage than a charger who misses once. As your players get higher in level the impact of dealing 3x damage is stifled fairly significantly.


They will deal two times damage when they charge, on a mount, with a lance.
They will deal three times damage when they charge, on a mount, with a lance, and have Spirited Charge. So that's 3d8 + three times their other modifiers to damage as normal (meaning extra damage, like sneak attack or flaming, is not doubled or tripled)

It also means that if they manage to critically hit, while charging on a mount, it will be five times normal damage. So yes, it would be a really nice hit.

There is nothing to worry about. Let them try and do it. Like the others mentioned, maneuvering three horses and being able to strike and charge consistently is not the easiest thing in the world (even accounting for reach or having Ride-by Attack). There will be times where they have to dismount to enter a building or get their initial charge and can't move away to charge again immediately, etc. Just go with it. Unless you blatantly fail to remember that they're on horses (and that mounts can take damage from AoE effects too) and just have your BBEG stand around and not behind a wall or something, you'll be okay. Let them each get a moment where they nova burst and crit some poor guy (and probably roll really bad damage on all the dice).


The only AP I've seen where mounted combat would be awesome would be the Kingmaker AP. All of the other APs I've seen just don't have a lot of open field combat. Being in a regular dungeon crawl usually disallows mounts, and certainly makes it difficult to get multiple charges. A bit of AoE magic and you've got dead mounts. Flying creatures are a bit immune to charge, until the PCs have flying mounts.

Honestly the whole charging thing is easier to put up with than oh say an archer build. Or one of those trip or grapple specialists. At least mounted knights have some style to them. There will be lots of situations they can bring their mounts to, so let them enjoy while they can.

Silver Crusade

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Things GMs think mounted-chargers fear:

- dragons
- abominations
- evil necromancers
- windmills

Things mounted-chargers actually fear:

- big rocks
- overgrown bushes
- narrow corridors
- small rooms
- corners


i had one in my game, when he got too enclosed on his charge tactics i let him face a fighter focused on long-spears (reach + brace). they met on a free from obstacles plain. it went like this:

they spot and challenge each other at a distance far larger then ether can charge in one round (yes even with mount.)
the spear-man waited while the pc advanced assuming, since he was mounted that he can stop far enough to allow himself to charge before the other can.
the spear-man closed distance with one move action and the other reading an action, but here is the catch, he ready to brace vs charge AND move 5 foot closer once the pc would be 10 ft away.
so the pc charged, the moment he got into 10 ft range (reach for both of them) the ready took place (power attack + all the fighter feats\abilities he had + brace for double damage AND pc charging for -2 ac) he delt a ton of damage then moved in to be too close for the pc's reach = ruining HIS part of the charge attack.( yea i know riding a horse let you decide from which area you attack, but as the spear-man readied to hit when the pc was 10 feet away it still comes the same even if the horse is closer). that kinda killed the charge part and from close range without it it really wasn't a lot of difference between them (well except pc's shield and high ground for being on horse, but it's less important).

Dark Archive

zza ni wrote:

i had one in my game, when he got too enclosed on his charge tactics i let him face a fighter focused on long-spears (reach + brace). they met on a free from obstacles plain. it went like this:

they spot and challenge each other at a distance far larger then ether can charge in one round (yes even with mount.)
the spear-man waited while the pc advanced assuming, since he was mounted that he can stop far enough to allow himself to charge before the other can.
the spear-man closed distance with one move action and the other reading an action, but here is the catch, he ready to brace vs charge AND move 5 foot closer once the pc would be 10 ft away.
so the pc charged, the moment he got into 10 ft range (reach for both of them) the ready took place (power attack + all the fighter feats\abilities he had + brace for double damage AND pc charging for -2 ac) he delt a ton of damage then moved in to be too close for the pc's reach = ruining HIS part of the charge attack.( yea i know riding a horse let you decide from which area you attack, but as the spear-man readied to hit when the pc was 10 feet away it still comes the same even if the horse is closer). that kinda killed the charge part and from close range without it it really wasn't a lot of difference between them (well except pc's shield and high ground for being on horse, but it's less important).

You can't move and 5ft step in the same round. Even in a ready


Gray Warden wrote:

Things GMs think mounted-chargers fear:

- dragons
- abominations
- evil necromancers
- windmills

Things mounted-chargers actually fear:
- big rocks
- overgrown bushes
- narrow corridors
- small rooms
- corners

- Stairs

- Ladders
- Pit-traps in the middle of the road
- Readied attacks with Bracing weapons
- Rickity bridges
- Grease and other slicks

Also:
- Dudes in the way of the real enemy; such as CR1/2 mooks in the way of a CRX caster
- Readied Move Actions
- Creatures with 10ft+ reach and Grab. "Ooooo, sorry bout that. You don't get that charge attack because you are now in a grapple."

___________________
I actually have a race who always carries spears and work as a group if they fight; forming a phalanx of little guys to protect their musicians/standard-bearers, slowly advancing with readied attacks, and getting an AoO if you don't have reach weapons. A cavalry person walking into 6 attacks, 3 of them being double damage, is quite the potential for bad times. So:

Readied Attack actions, especially those with Brace and Reach, and especially if multiple enemies are holding them next to eachother defensively.

Dark Archive

Archer's in trees
Killing the mounts
Pits
Narrow terrain (cliff sides)
Killing the mounts
Entangled condition the mounts (net, tanglefoot bag, entangle spell)
Trip the mounts
Kill the mounts
Unseat maneuver (knock them off mount)
Fatigue the mounts
Kill the mounts


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Name Violation wrote:

Archer's in trees

Killing the mounts
Pits
Narrow terrain (cliff sides)
Killing the mounts
Entangled condition the mounts (net, tanglefoot bag, entangle spell)
Trip the mounts
Kill the mounts
Unseat maneuver (knock them off mount)
Fatigue the mounts
Kill the mounts

Unless you are planning on throwing a lot of opponents into the fight, killing mounts is non-trivial.

Many classes/archetypes get their mounts as animal companions. They have nearly as many HP as their riders, wear armor like their riders, and gain the benefit of the rider's Mounted Combat feat.

Even touch attacks are not a reliable means of hitting mounts. Mounted Combat allows the riders to attempt to negate anything that requires an attack roll as an immediate action.

Terrain obstacles work at low to mid-level. After that, characters who invest in their mounts will not care about pits, cliffs, difficult terrain, etc.


Can you share what they are specifically? It would help a great deal to know what class/archetype they are. Lets us know if you've got a future of rocs and giant chameleons.


Even touch attacks are not a reliable means of hitting mounts. Mounted Combat allows the riders to attempt to negate anything that requires an attack roll as an immediate action.

Just going to point out the feat only works once per round.


Caltrops could work. Technically the Mounted Combat feat could allow the rider to negate one attack, but again, that only works once per round, so if they use it, their mount is fair game. Plus, they attack each square, so even if he negates the first damage, he couldn't do it for the next square. Caltrop's attack kind of sucks, but they are valid and ignore barding and such.


Kayerloth wrote:

Even touch attacks are not a reliable means of hitting mounts. Mounted Combat allows the riders to attempt to negate anything that requires an attack roll as an immediate action.

Just going to point out the feat only works once per round.

That is implicit with "as an immediate action."

It is also why I used the caveat.

But then, you can kill almost any character if you start lobbing enough touch attacks. You might as well target the rider and not worry about him using the Mounted Combat feat.

Liberty's Edge

In a PFS module last Sunday my 6th level Halfling Cavalier riding a wolf got of a charge for 58 points of damage against a challenged foe. It was a one-shot; which was fortune as the enemy was one of four vampires doing energy level drains. I didn't manage to charge any of the other vampires (terrain did not allow me to Ride-By to set up another charge).

So... one round of nova damage. cavaliers are hardly the only class to do that sort of thing.

Get your party indoors and see how they like it. It doesn't have to be a dungeon, a visit to a merchant/noble (being attacked by assassins) usually does not feature mounts _or_ lances.

Oh, and things riders that charge also fear: will saves that mount fails.


Rents wrote:
Do I just have to make situations to force them off their mounts?

NO! They are playing mounted characters, do not engineer situations that disallow them to play their characters! Don't target your players because of their choice of play. I'm serious. Players outputting a ton of damage is not a problem, just let them.


Agreed. Situations where charging doesn't work will arise all by themselves. When they can use the abilities they chose, they'll shine, and that's awesome; when they can't, they'll have to fall back to other means.

Liberty's Edge

Rub-Eta wrote:
Rents wrote:
Do I just have to make situations to force them off their mounts?
NO! They are playing mounted characters, do not engineer situations that disallow them to play their characters! ...

This is only partially correct. Do not engineer situations where they cannot ride & lance _often_. Do it sparingly, and as organically as possible.

You have described nothing to us about your campaign. Are your players acting as messengers, getting waylaid by bandits/enemies of the message sender? There's lots of room for lancers in that setting. Are they wandering adventurers, killing monsters for loot? Some outside adventures are appropriate, as well as having to track monsters into their (possibly cavernous) lairs. Or spawning dungeons.

Play to the characters strengths as well as their weaknesses.


Every time you create a scenario to specifically confound a player's choice of character options, you negate that player's agency, rendering their choice pointless. "Sparingly" is a understatement. Let the situations in which spirited charge doesn't work rise as they will or not at all. The ability is designed around the frequency with which it can be used; messing with that frequency specifically to affect the ability's effectiveness, especially without notifying the player that you're doing so, is what one might refer to as a "shadow nerf". If I found out that my GM specifically removed half the giants in an AP because he felt my choice of favored enemy was overpowered, I'd find a new GM.


blahpers wrote:
If I found out that my GM specifically removed half the giants in an AP because he felt my choice of favored enemy was overpowered, I'd find a new GM.

I guess in (I assume published) AP, I can agree. If, instead, their campaign is going to be a boring one because the giant encounters are made trivial/pointless.. it's definitely time to change most of those encounters. Leave some so that the choice is valid and shines; but remove a good chunk because both the GM and the players will get bored of BBQPWNing everything. It's literally the GM's job to balance things.

If you counter this with "Well just raise the giant to a higher CR!" I can.. sort of see that? But then you're still just countering what the player chose. I get that they want to PWN some giants, so feed them a giant here and there, but don't have 75% Giant encounters.

______________
Aside from that, crafting some situations where character flaws are present is good GMing. You're not taking away their agency, you're presenting them with challenges to overcome -> aka the entire point of a game.

Choices make a game interesting. If you only present encounters that are "I charge forward and insta-gib the opponent GRAH!!" then you're trivializing the game (at least the combat portion) to the point that no one should care if they play it or not; it's literally just one obvious choice that any 6-year-old can/will make and would succeed in equal measure in.

If some of your enemies now have readied 10ft grabs, or they dig a trench you have to jump, or they have hidden pit-traps, or they shoot from high walls/cliffs, your players are being presented with interesting situations that forces them to make choices; possibly difficult choices like "Should I remove the horses' armor to make that jump?" or "How do I get my zoggin' horse out of the pit?" or "Dang, we really should be at least carrying a bow or smoke bomb or something for those dang ranged guys."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Charge based characters do high damage, once a round. So move away from one enemy with big stacks of hit points to many enemies with a low amount of hitpoints. I used a team of ten goblins and two trolls to great effect in a similar situation, remember that most monsters or npcs know that mounts exist and even in real life polearms became the go to way to deal with cavalry. Also a horse can't charge all day any more than even the best runner can sprint all day. Exhaustion and fatigue should be in use, and keep in mind that horses don't stop when they are tired, they often will run themselves into the ground if ordered.

TLDR; horses can get tired, go nuts with polearms and bows


Maybe the actual issue here is that on-demand damage multipliers are detrimental to good game design.


Opuk0 wrote:
Maybe the actual issue here is that on-demand damage multipliers are detrimental to good game design.

Why?


blahpers wrote:
Opuk0 wrote:
Maybe the actual issue here is that on-demand damage multipliers are detrimental to good game design.
Why?

Multipliers can quickly get out of hand, as is the case here, especially when they apply universally instead of only to specific numbers.

Rather than twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to make situations where charging is hard or impossible to do, sit down with your players and discuss with them a way to rein in Spirit Charge.

Pathfinder is not a perfect game system, and no ones going to take your DM card away for nerfing things here an there.

3d8+4.5 times strength mod (1.5 for two-hand times 3) is still a respectable amount of damage on an opening move.


Respectable, sure. Respectability isn't usually grounds for nerfing a situationally useful ability. Regardless, that's outside the purview of a Rules Question thread. Spirited charge does what it says it does.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Fatigue has been mentioned, and smart NPCs will know this. Maybe one of the bad guys has a wand of ray of exhaustion.


Rents wrote:

I have a party of with 3 Mounted members, they're saying that when they charge with their lance they hit for +28 (x3) for every time they preform a spirited charge with a Power attack + Smite.

Do I just have to make situations to force them off their mounts? Because dear god.

Are they medium sized?

What levels are they?
What are they riding?

In a lot of dungeons three medium PCs on large mounts would have a lot trouble -

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