Friday, January 28, 2022

Enter the Hippodrome: Procedures for Horse and Chariot Racing

This can be you!

The goal of these procedures are to quickly resolve a race of 8 participants and to allow the players who participate in the races to take actions by which they would claim glory. If you search for existing procedures on how to adjudicate horse races, one would find most occur in several phases where the stats of horses determine who wins. I play-tested a few of these to get a sense on how long they take and most took around 15 minutes and required me to track multiple racers. My weekly games are 3 hours long so these procedures were made in mind to hasten the race and allow players to bet on or participate in multiple races.

Rather than tracking the progression of each horse and having them compete in total, the race is resolved by means of a double elimination tournament with racing resolved in pairs.

For more participants just make a larger bracket

Once the players are seeded in the bracket, each "match" is resolved by rolling a six-sided dice. On rolls of 1-3 the player advance while on rolls of 4-6 their opponent advances. Players have two options for each match: 
1) Prior to the roll, a player may elect to get physical with their opponent, increasing the range of their advance to a 1-4, but incurring 1d6 points of damage on rolls of 5-6.
2) Prior or after the roll, a player may elect to spur their horse onward, rolling an additional six-sided dice and choosing the better result. 

If a player both gets physical and spurs their horse onward, rolls of 5-6 are cumulative so a player in the end of the race who spurs their horse onwards thrice, and rolls 1,5,6 would take 2d6 damage and if they survive it would win. This is lethal damage to match the Ola Pane! nature of the Hippodrome, but it could be non-lethal for a more lighthearted game.
As previously mentioned, horses are able to be spurred onwards to win a race. Riding horses may be spurred twice in the course of race. Fine quality horses, such as those bred for speed or living amid the wilderness where they must outrace monstrous predators, may be spurred up to four times in a race. A horse's racing quality is spoken of in terms of stars, thus a three star horse is able to be spurred thrice in a race. 

To determine the quality of a tamed wild horses a six sided dice is rolled with rolls of 4 or greater indicating a 2 star horse , rolls of 2 and 3 indicating a 3 star horse, and a roll of 1 indicating a 4 star horse. A racehorse costs 300 * the sum of three six-sided dice silver pieces, its quality is determined by rolling two six-sided dice and picking the lower.

Conan depicted with a 4 star horse he tamed in the wilds of Aquilonia

A Brief Aside on Types Horses

Draft Horse/Pack Horse
A horse used for pulling plows/carriages/transporting goods, 2 HD, 1 star quality, 50s

Riding Horse 
A horse capable to be ridden quickly and over distances, 2 HD, 150s

A horse trained for war, 2 HD, 500s

A horse trained to trample over men in war, 3 HD, 2000s

Melee attacks from horseback grant a +2 to hit. Horses which are trained for war do not need to roll morale vs entering melee with men. All horses require morale vs entering melee with undead/weird/carnivores.

Easily adaptable for Boothill games!

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