Pathfinder 1E Lance from horseback up close & personal

John Blackport

First Post
I understand how the lance, though a two-handed weapon, can be used one-handed from a mount; and how charging works.

But most mounts are Large (occupying 4 spaces on the map). As I remember it, the rider (even if Medium size) also effectively occupies the same 4 spaces (and is vulnerable to attack from any enemy who can reach any one of those 4 squares).

Can the rider also attack *from* any of those 4 squares? If so, can't they effectively use the lance against opponents adjacent to the mount, since each square adjacent to the mount is also 2 squares away from at least one of the other three squares the mount occupies?

I like this idea, since it makes mounted combat both more effective (for attacking more enemies) AND more dangerous (for simultaneously being attacked by more enemies).

<EDIT: Hmm, just found some other threads about lances & mounted combat . . . reading up on these . . .>
 
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Seule

Explorer
My understanding is no, you take on the space of your mount with your own reach, so you cannot attack anything that is adjacent to your mount and not Large+.
You should always be able to attack anything bigger than Medium of course by attacking its back squares, and a creature cannot provide cover to itself.

--Penn
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
My understanding is no, as well. The ability to wield a lance with a single hand is granted solely by seating it under the arm and useful for only keeping it still while the forward movement of the horse allows the lance to impact its target. You cannot freely wield the lance in a different position. While not in the rules per se, moving your wielding arm from its secure position means that you will probably drop the lance. If you could use both hands to reset the lance to a different position, then you are no longer holding the reins to your mount and hampering your ability to ride out the charge. Simply put you can only aim your lance at a target directly in front, in the path of your charging mount.
 



gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Hmm . . . I don't remember the RAW ever implying that lances are for charges only. . . is that a house rule?

It probably would be if we used mounted knights with lances in our games. I think I remember one player 20 years ago as a paladin with lance charging on a horse. Its not a tactic we use much in our games - mounts tend to die too often for it to matter.
 

John Blackport

First Post
gamerprinter said:
Its not a tactic we use much in our games - mounts tend to die too often for it to matter.

In a way, that's the idea though . . . given feats like Trick Riding and Indomitable Mount, where the rider gets two Ride checks per round to prevent hits (ranged or melee) plus one Ride check per round to replace a save the mount has to make . . . well, the mid-level cavalier gives the enemy an unpleasant choice. That's part of mounted combat's tactical value.

The enemy can try to "make sure" of killing the cavalier's mount by throwing two or more save-or-die effects in a round, or throw lots of melee attacks at it, knowing that the two that seem the most dangerous are likely to be rendered useless by a maxed-out Ride check. And since the mount progresses in the same way as a druid's animal companion, a mount with over 100 hit points isn't far-fetched.

So, yeah, with sufficient resources you can kill the mount, but sometimes that'll take the same level of bad-guy resources that it would take to crush two or three other party members. That's one of the enemy's bad choices. The other bad choice is to just let the mounted cavalier run wild.

This isn't 1st or 2nd edition, where a 3rd- or 4th-level wizard can kill virtually any mount in a couple of rounds with attack spells (or a mid-to-high level archer will manage in it easily in only one round).

An enemy caster's best bet in that situation, really, isn't merely attacking the mount, but to do something that changes the battlefield --- something like Web, Entangle or Ice Storm, that removes the advantage in mobility that the mount provides (and along with that, the extra damage potential of mounted charges).

gamerprinter said:
It probably would be if we used mounted knights with lances in our games. I think I remember one player 20 years ago as a paladin with lance charging on a horse.


I agree with you --- a mounted combatant obsessed with lance charges is going to be of very, very limited value. It's nice to get your x5 crit against the biggest threat on the field, sure, but you can't count on your enemy allowing you opportunities like that very often. Ignoring skirmishing and the opportunities for ranged combat from horseback just leaves most of the tactical value on the table.
 
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John Blackport

First Post
I was just pointing out that reach weapons can't attack opponents adjacent to the mount.

--Penn

Not the answer I wanted to hear of course :) but your explanation makes a lot of sense: you "take on the space of the mount with your reach". Terrible news for riders of mounts of bigger than Large size!

Here's another situation I'd like your thoughts on: Whirlwind Attack allows you one attack against "each enemy within reach". I'm leaving all the "spiked chain" stuff out of this, since I have no interest in it.

Theoretically, you could have a reach weapon in one hand and a light weapon in the other, to get attacks on everyone in 5' and 10', with all the appropriate penalties to hit. The problem is that, when you are on foot, all reach weapons seem to require the use of two hands.

But when you are mounted, lances can be used in one hand. A horseman's pick in the other hand is a light weapon, which helps with the TWF penalties (especially if you don't have the TWF feat --- as you know, few people take both TWF and Whirlwind)

I'm assuming a more-or-less stationary position (maybe after a charge, maybe not) where the cavalier is "stuck in" to a few ranks of enemy infantry. . . so charging is not an issue here, just fighting in close combat. It seems that, if you are "taking the space" of a Large (4x4) mount, you could have theoretically be able to reach 32 enemies in one round (assuming they're all Medium size or smaller, and standing 1 per square).

Granted --- it's hard to visualize exactly how this situation might happen in play. And being in close combat with 32 enemies is probably certain doom (unless those every one of those enemies are MUCH weaker than you, in which case a good old-fashioned area-effect spell might be more efficient). But is it legal?
 

Seule

Explorer
Pretty much treat reach combat on a mount like reach combat dismounted except that you take up 4 squares and can thus reach correspondingly more area. If it works dismounted to increase your reach it'll probably work mounted. The one benefit you have is a one-handed reach weapon. Of course, there are other ways to get that like the Phalanx Fighter archetype, and there are other ways to threaten adjacent like a spiked gauntlet (I think).
Two-weapon reach and non should work just fine, but you are getting pretty feat-intensive to make it work well.

Side note, I've been playing mounted characters on Large mounts since the first weekend of Living Greyhawk, you can get more lance charges than you might expect, particularly if you can get your mount to fly or airwalk at mid to high levels.

--Penn
 

Ramaster

Adventurer
My reading of both the Lance and Whirlwind attack indicates that, yes, you can attack opponents 10 feet away with the lance and the close ones with a reach-less weapon. This is also useful for unmounted combatants, too. Attack the foes further away with a reach weapon and the ones that are close with a spiked gauntlet, a natural attack or something.

The thing is that the amount of feats that this tactic takes up compared to the amount of times such circumstances come up... well, the math just doesn't add up. You'll be better off taking power attack or whatever.
 

John Blackport

First Post
Two-weapon reach and non should work just fine, but you are getting pretty feat-intensive to make it work well.

It sure is . . . especially without the fighter-class bonus feats! I'm tempted to multi-class into 3 or 4 fighter levels, but I'd hate to slow down the mount's progression of feats and ability scores!

Side note, I've been playing mounted characters on Large mounts since the first weekend of Living Greyhawk, you can get more lance charges than you might expect, particularly if you can get your mount to fly or airwalk at mid to high levels.

I'm playing in a setting sort of like 1700AD. . . I'd love to try Greyhawk someday.
 

Seule

Explorer
It sure is . . . especially without the fighter-class bonus feats! I'm tempted to multi-class into 3 or 4 fighter levels, but I'd hate to slow down the mount's progression of feats and ability scores!

I think there is a feat to buff the advancement of a Cavalier mount at least to full character level rather than class level but I can't find it right now.

Edit: Horse Master from Ultimate Combat.

--Penn
 
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gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
This isn't 1st or 2nd edition, where a 3rd- or 4th-level wizard can kill virtually any mount in a couple of rounds with attack spells (or a mid-to-high level archer will manage in it easily in only one round).

Yeah, I know. I am a developer/designer/cartographer with my own published setting, the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG). So I know what PF spellcasters can and cannot do.

I agree with you --- a mounted combatant obsessed with lance charges is going to be of very, very limited value. It's nice to get your x5 crit against the biggest threat on the field, sure, but you can't count on your enemy allowing you opportunities like that very often. Ignoring skirmishing and the opportunities for ranged combat from horseback just leaves most of the tactical value on the table.

At my table, instead of cavaliers with lances on horseback, you'll more likely see samurai with bow and katana on horseback. I even helped develop the Yabusame samurai archetype, a purpose built mounted archer specialist.
 

John Blackport

First Post
I know what PF spellcasters can and cannot do.

I apologize, my comment you quoted was a reaction to the phrase "20 years ago". I certainly didn't mean to imply that you didn't know what you're doing. Sorry about that.

I edited out the link because the forum rules seem to prohibit me from posting them until I've posted a few more times. . . no offense intended
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
I apologize, my comment you quoted was a reaction to the phrase "20 years ago". I certainly didn't mean to imply that you didn't know what you're doing. Sorry about that.

No problem. My point about 20 years ago, was that was the last time a player with a mounted knight with lance PC appeared in any of my games, even though I've been playing for over 30 years - and still play today. I tend to avoid Euro-centric settings, so as to why you'd not normally see a lance bearing mounted knight in my games. Its not because they are not effective, rather thematically, they don't fit.

Casting Create Pit in front of a charging mounted knight, is an easy, low level spell to effectively end a charge attack...
 
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Ramaster

Adventurer
The one time I had a mounted character was during a 3.0 campaign. He used the chain of mounted combat feats and was quite effective at dealing and taking blows (he was using the Knight class from PH2).

It also helped A LOT that I gave him a sort of figurine of wondrous power that summoned a horse so that he could take it wherever he went.
 

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