View Full Version : A campaign setting that involves Cavalry as a Base Class

2012-03-10, 11:56 PM
I've been working on a homebrew edition of D&D for the past 4 months and aside from balancing issues (which is still in the air) I'm stuck at a proverbial wall of sorts: Cavalry and how to use them.

In the homebrew, everyone starts as the same class: the Recruit. There are no proficiencies with any weapon but there aren't any restrictions either. With 1d4 for the HD, they can't take much damage before dying. A nice difficulty curve early on sets the stage for a players to really get the feel of the game :smallamused:. Surviving the first few skirmishes, a character will develop enough to become a Militia at level 3. Again after 2 levels, the character changes classes into the three base classes: Cavalry, Infantry, and Skirmisher. For the basic rundown, after the base class, comes three separate classes that evolve via tree style (You pick between A,B,C then with the appropriate per-requisites, you pick between D,E,F). In each tree there will be a counter-infantry, counter-skirmisher, and counter-cavalry choice. I'd like to go into detail but I need to get to the crux of my question.

Cavalry as a base class is a dangerous idea, since riding a mount (land-non magical -type) is a sure way of getting yourself killed. Mind you, having a flying beast that can shoot beams of destruction is pretty boss :smallbiggrin:. Sure, there's the increased mobility and the awesome damage a charge can do, but aside from always moving in a straight line or entering a Cantabrian Circle, what kinds of perks should this class have ?

Finally, what I believe to be the more important question: What is the best way of having a class that specifies the use of a mount properly added to the game?

2012-03-11, 12:08 AM
You could have said "with 1d12 for the HD, they can't take much damage before dying", and still not have been lying.

Well, in order to have cavalry in your game, you clearly need to make it either happen outdoors or have some Medium steeds. I'm not sure why you think the Cavalry are the ones that need additional abilities, since the Cantabrian Circle is a no-risk tactic against meleers, and the straight line charge minimizes damage from archers.

By "riding a mount is a sure way of getting yourself killed", do you mean you're keeping the whole "mounts have static HP" thing? If so, what Cavalry really need is a "mounts don't have static HP" ability.

2012-03-11, 12:39 AM
I'd say the first thing to decide is whether you want this to be light cavalry or heavy cavalry, as they work completely differently.

For light cavalry, give them boosts to mount speed, the ability to use Mounted Combat on more attacks (and perhaps also get a flat dodge bonus to the mount's AC based on the rider's BAB), and a cavalry equivalent to spring attack (one that doesn't require a charge). They'll mainly be relying on speed and the ability to go in, attack, and retreat with no AoO to keep the enemy from responding effectively to their attacks; kiting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiting_%28video_gaming%29) is also a very likely tactic (if you ever wondered what shortbows are for...) The mount will not have high HP, and they should therefore be somewhat capable of combat (roughly barbarian-at-range levels) even after their mount is shot out from under them.

For heavy cavalry, give them boosts to charges and the Trample feat, plus probably to mounted bull rushes. A boost to mount HP based on class level is also highly advised, although they'll probably be relying mainly on an attack that overwhelms the enemy before they can respond.

2012-03-11, 04:43 PM
Cavalries problem really is how they focus on fighting on horseback and have no way to have a mount that can stand up in combat without multiple riders with mounted combat, blocking one attack is good, but you can't block them all.
So cavalry needs scaling mounts of some sort.

2012-03-11, 05:09 PM
Or scaling Mounted Combat, or the ability to maneuver to the point where most enemies can't attack them...

2012-03-11, 08:23 PM
For the "riding a mount is a sure way of getting yourself killed" I mean the static HP. So to have bonus to static HP, is it best to have roughly 2-3 more HD for the mount ?

Ah, so then there should definitely be a Light-Cavalry set, Heavy Cavalry-set and Light-Knight-set. And for each set, there should be a focused type of bonus like: increased mobility, increased charge damage, increased HD...etc. It just all comes down to how these sets will interact with the other classes.

Just so it is known, I've implemented a Weapon Skill System that affects a whole weapon category. That is, every 4 levels you gain a Weapon Skill Point to spend towards One-Handed, Two-Handed, Polearms, Archery, Crossbows, Thrown or Flintlocks (currently a placeholder until a better name is found). This Skill System gives a +1 to hit and at every even numbered Weapon Skill level grants a +1 to damage as well as the +1 to hit. At level 20, assuming you poured all your Weapon Skill Points into the same category, you'd have +10 to hit/+5 to damage. This system doesn't replace feats such as Weapon Specialization. Those feats found, still only apply to a selected weapon, not a whole weapon category.

For scaling combat, I've got counter-units in each of the base classes. Such as Pikemen for infantry. Combat relies on the advantage that is presented by class types mainly, but this doesn't mean that a Knight can't take down a Pikeman and not lose. Rather it is the individual character's choices that affect how they play. I could pick a Scout Cavalry who's normally strong against Skirmisher-types, but through the correct choices of feats and appropriate weapons, this Scout Cavalry can now take down Infantry (though you could argue that his speedy mount and an invested interest in a ranged weapon can make this possible anyways). Ultimately, it comes down to a certain build a character becomes.

I've gotta say that this feedback, both in its legitimacy and timing is well appreciated. I'm really looking forward to getting back on track with this design.