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D&D 5E How to Joust in D&D 5e


Magic Wordsmith
Overhead View (One square equals 5 feet.)

Side View (One square equals 5 feet.)


The corrupted aarakocra of the Singed Wing have long been a bane to the burgeoning civilization in the shadow of the Spine of the Vaati, using their pact with the forces of Elemental Evil to bring about great windstorms, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Tainted by the blood of the Queen of Chaos, the Singed Wing seek nothing more than to sow chaos in the world and wash away law and order. When their flock grows, chaos and destruction follow.

As the planes align and the veil between the world and the Elemental Chaos becomes thin, the aarakocra and their fell allies seek to unleash unholy fire from the heart of the mountains. But first they must travel to a remote hatchery in the caldera of a volcano to grow their numbers and marshal their forces. Heroic adventurers - civilization's only hope in the face of fiery destruction - answer the call to stop them.

Mounting noble ostrich steeds to fly them to the hatchery of the Singed Wing (giant eagles were already on loan to some halflings who needed to get halfway to their ultimate destination), these adventurers have arrived ahead of the aarakocra and have a slim chance of putting a stop to the evil avians' plans. Meanwhile, it is said that the aarakocra are in league with the legendary Blue Knight who is on a quest to recover a fragment of the Rod of Seven Parts and possesses a map to its location.

Will the adventurers be able to stop the aarakocra from growing their numbers thus preventing flaming devastation? Can they defeat the Blue Knight in a joust and take her map to gain a valuable clue to the location of a powerful artifact?


Four 4th-level player characters and their giant ostrich mounts
Large beast, neutral
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 19 (3d10 + 3)
Speed 50 ft., fly 30 ft.
STR 13 (+1) DEX 15 (+2) CON 12 (+1)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 6 (-2)
Skills Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages -
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Keen Hearing and Sight. The ostrich has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.

Kick. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

15 aarakocra* (Monster Manual, page 12)
4 pteranodon (Monster Manual, page 80)
The Blue Knight, a knight** (Monster Manual, page 347)
Carrion, a giant vulture (Monster Manual, page page 329)

* These particular aarakocra are chaotic evil, resistant to fire, fly at 60 ft., and wield lances (Basic Rules, pages 46, 47) rather than javelins.

** The Blue Knight is a neutral evil human knight. She wields a lance rather than a greatsword and rides Carrion into battle. While riding Carrion, the Blue Knight can force an attack targeted at her mount to target her instead. Hidden in a compartment in her helm is a map to ruins where the first fragment of the Rod of Seven Parts is said to be held.


The aarakocra and other enemies arrive in a series of three waves. Each wave becomes visible 120 feet away from the floating platforms. The first wave consists of 6 aarakocra, becomes visible at the end of Round 1, and acts in Round 2. The second wave is 5 aarakocra and 4 pteranodon; they arrive at the end of Round 4 and act in Round 5. The third and final wave is comprised of 4 aarakocra, The Blue Knight, and Carrion, her mount. This wave comes into view at the end of round 7 and act in Round 8.

Each aarakocra that arrives on the scene is carrying a corrupted egg in its talons. Its goal is to place an egg within the magic circle on the floating platform. After an egg is deposited in this way, the egg hatches into a full-grown aarakocra (with no weapons) at the end of the aarakocra's next turn. Each aarkocra guards its own egg until it hatches, is destroyed. If an aarakocra doesn't have an egg to guard - either because its egg was lost or hatched or because it was just hatched from an egg itself - it flies 60 feet above the highest platforms and performs the Dodge action until a flock of five is formed. When such a flock forms, they begin to dance (see the Monster Manual, page 12) and summon an air elemental (Monster Manual, page 124) which is commanded to attack their enemies.

Aarakocra possess a lingering avian bond with ostriches, so they always attack adventurers rather than ostriches. Pteranodon always attack ostriches because they are tastier than adventurers. The Blue Knight and Carrion attack either. Such is their single-minded ferocity, however, that they pursue only a single target at a time until that enemy is dead before moving on to someone or something else. If any of the player characters have the Knight variant background, that adventurer is her primary target. She ruthlessly insults the player characters for using ostriches as mounts. Wherever possible, The Blue Knight demonstrates her bravery by fighting directly over the lava which imperils the PCs' recovery of the valuable map in her helm.

At the end of Round 4 and Round 7, one of the floating platforms (determined randomly), crumbles, breaks apart, and falls. Any creature beneath it when it does must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take 2d10 bludgeoning damage (half on a successful save).


Corrupted Egg: The aarakocra of the Singed Wing are born into the world corrupted by the fell blood of the Queen of Chaos. As a result, they have rebelled against the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and sow chaos and evil in the world. A corrupted egg is leathery and quite big, requiring two hands (or talons) to hold, and is infused with magic. It has AC 13, 5 hit points, and is immune to bludgeoning damage (which means it does not take damage from falling).

Floating Platforms: These rocky platforms and the magic circles inscribed upon them served some beneficent purpose in ages past, but it has been lost to memory. The aarakocra of the Singed Wing now use them as a means to grow their numbers at an accelerated rate. The floating platforms are badly damaged by the volcanic activity that goes on around them, cracked, scorched, and pitted.

Ground Level: Little more than a sheet of hardened magma, the rising lava in the caldera will probably swallow this area soon. The PCs start here when the scenario begins. Each character has a giant ostrich mount and a lance.

Lava: With the exception of the ground level, the entire area is a sea of lava. The comprehensive rules governing the lava can be found in this helpful guide.

Magic Circle: The magic circles on the floating platforms were inscribed long ago by a group of arcanists working against Mishka the Wolf-Spider. Their original purpose is lost to time. Now they are used to hatch fully-grown corrupted aarakocra (see Complications above).

They also have a beneficial purpose, however: Each circle is keyed to a particular personal attribute - strength (1), dexterity (2), constitution (3), intelligence (4), wisdom (5), and charisma (6). When a living creature stands in one of these magic circles, it receives a +4 bonus to the respective attribute for as long as it remains in the circle.

The circles can be deactivated by destroying the runes that comprise them, manipulating their magical energies, or short-circuiting their arcane power. Any attempt to do this might call for a Strength, Intelligence (Arcana), or Dexterity (Thieves' Tools) check as appropriate to the character's stated goal and approach.


Thanks for reading this short-form scenario. I hope it reminded you of a certain fun arcade game from back in the day and can be used in your campaign. It might also be a good choice for an off-night at your table. I welcome your constructive feedback below.

How do you think the characters in your campaign would deal with this challenge? What is the most optimal way of overcoming the enemies and achieving the characters' objectives (that is also fun, exciting, and memorable)? Which character races and classes would be best suited to success?
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This looks like it could be fun, nice job creating it! However I don't see anywhere where it tells you details on the size and distances on the map, or alternatively how big each of the grid squares are. Is each square supposed to be 1 foot, 5 feet, what?


Magic Wordsmith
This looks like it could be fun, nice job creating it! However I don't see anywhere where it tells you details on the size and distances on the map, or alternatively how big each of the grid squares are. Is each square supposed to be 1 foot, 5 feet, what?

Thanks! The squares represent 5 feet. I also worked it so that if you're not using a grid, it's easy to figure out where people are relative to the platforms since enemy fliers all have a speed of 60 feet whereas the PCs all have a speed of 30 feet. It's 60 feet from the ground level to the top platforms - a move for enemies, dash for PCs. And pretty much it's a move for PCs to go from one platform to the next or a dash to get from a platform on the left to the right or vice versa. (Plus maybe a couple of squares extra, but to keep it easy, round in the PCs' favor.)


Magic Wordsmith
The first thing that went through my head when I saw the thread title was "hit that flap button really fast!"

Nostalgia Option: Award Inspiration if a player rapidly taps his or her hand on the table when announcing a move or dash. :)


Ostriches can't fly.

More to the point, the players ought to concentrate on tipping the platforms so that they fall into the lava before the bad guys get there. (I have no idea what game this is based on, and if the players don't either, don't be surprised if they ignore what you expect them to do.)


Magic Wordsmith
Ostriches can't fly.

In the 80s arcade game, Joust, they do!

More to the point, the players ought to concentrate on tipping the platforms so that they fall into the lava before the bad guys get there. (I have no idea what game this is based on, and if the players don't either, don't be surprised if they ignore what you expect them to do.)

That might be a way of dealing with the challenge - after all, the floating platforms are in bad shape. Perhaps they can break them apart or tip them into the lava. That leaves the objective of getting the map from the Blue Knight.

I don't expect the players to do anything in particular, but I would give the players the skinny on what game the scenario is based on if they hadn't already figured it out.


Magic Wordsmith
Wait, I think you left out that comprehensive guide to lava! You're lucky I remembered it from another adventure, or I'd have no idea how to handle the interactions between lava and people.

You're right, by gods! I have edited the post to add that link. Thanks for the heads up - that was a close one!

Don't forget to also award inspiration if someone makes a screeching noise when ending movement.


1UP: A dying character regains 1 hit point if the character's player places a quarter on the table.

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