Pendragon Houserules for Jousting

This is a draft. House rules are not tested much.

This article applies to Pendragon 5.2. The rules are useful with any version.

We ran a small jousting tournament the other day, using the standard 5.2 rules. We soon found that the rules were not good enough, and we did some quick in-game house-rules. My main objections are:

  • A partial success (success, but still not as good as your opponent) makes no difference.
  • The horsemanship roll to save from Knockdown is far too easy. Jousting can go on for (too) many rounds.

The truth is that I have no idea for how long real knights were jousing. 1 pass? 5 passes? All afternoon? But I do not care – I and my players have seen Ivanhoe – we have an idea what we expect, and we want it to be quick.

Suggested House Rules

The suggested house rules are not that different from the orginal 5.2 rules. Both knights roll opposed Lance checks.

OriginalHouse rule
Both fail/fumbleTieTie
FumbleGM decidesSee table below
Same success (or both crit)TieBoth falls off
Winner vs Fail/fumbleDamage and Horsemanship rollsLoser falls
Winner vs PartialDamage and Horsemanship rollsIf difference in success is
1-4: Damage and Horsemanship rolls
5+: Loser falls
CriticalReal damage and Horsemanship rollsDeal real damage, Loser falls

This should avoid too many passes/rounds.

Type of Win

Here is a random table to decide what the victory looked like, in case anyone is curious. This is for dramatic effect. If it is a real battle no one should be penalized by this table.

  1. Hit to head, helmet removed, dizzy for a while
  2. Loser stays on for for a dozen feet but can not hold it
  3. Hit to head, rolling backwards over horse
  4. Shoulder hit sends loser spinning off the horse
  5. Loser thrown off, lands on back with a noise
  6. Loser falls off backwards, manages to land on feet
  7. Loser seems to make ut, but lance hits ground and he falls of
  8. Loser is left dangling to the side of the horse, can’t get up or down
  9. Losers horse made a weak rush, making him an easy target
  10. Loser hits shield, then ground and is pole jumping off his horse
  11. A corner of the shield comes off
  12. Hit to head, on his back on the horse, then rolling off
  13. Hit to head, dizzy for a few moments, fails to stay on the horse an falls off moments later
  14. About to be hit in neck, evades, fails to stay on the horse
  15. Loser delivers a solid shield hit, but it is him losing the balance
  16. Loser is pulled down by his shield (being hit by the lance)
  17. Loser lifts shield to protect from head head, gets shield in the head
  18. Tries to dodge a head hit, taking hit to upper torso
  19. Hit to shield is just too powerful to recover from
  20. Tries to dodge sideways, falls off doing so
  21. Comes off rolling into the middle fence, comes to sudden stop
  22. Shield hit, lance slides hitting the lance arm, pulling the knight off
  23. Light hit to side of head, enough to lose all balance
  24. A rare lance-lance hit sends knight off spinning
  25. Loser, sitting high, manages to get lance under him, ejected out of saddle
  26. Violently thrown off, helmet comes off, face buried in mud
  27. When about to recover from impact, thrown off by horse
  28. Rider and horse falls by the force of the impact
  29. Falls off, landing on the fence, not pretty
  30. Looking bad, landing on head, but rolls up nicely finishing on his feet
  31. Breaks lance when landing on it. Score?
  32. Ridiculously flapping with arms, throwing shields and lance, for no gain
  33. Never taking determined eyes off opponent, until afoot again
  34. Both horse and knight falls backwards
  35. Losing breath, taking a few minutes to recover
  36. Hit by horse kick when falling off
  37. Pushed backwards by impact, falling off behind horse
  38. Shield hits face with some blood spilled
  39. Horse comes back quickly, licking his master in the face to get him up again
  40. Horse comes back quickly, kneels down, and helps knight to his feet
  41. Horse runs away
  42. Crashes into the mud on opponents side of the fence
  43. Seems confident for a while, then just falls off
  44. After impact, horse makes a few jumps, throws knight off forward
  45. Pushed out of saddle by impact, tries to recover sitting on the rear of the horse, but fails
  46. Hit to head, leans numbly forward for a little while, then falls off
  47. Saddle comes off, knight has no chance
  48. Clings to the mane of the horse to get back up, but has to surrender afoot
  49. Gets splinters in face and eyes, takes a while before walking off the field
  50. Knight gracefully slides sideways out of saddle, ending up on knees and hands
  51. …you are welcome to suggest more…


Fumble is 1/20. For two knights that is almost 1/10. I think that is way to often for some kind of critical or disqualifying event. So this table is somewhat forgiving.

  1. Hit opponents horse, dealing normal damage. Disqualified
  2. Horse tries to get rid of rider, Horsemanship or fall off before impact
  3. Blinded (by dust, sun), and makes no proper attack attempt
  4. Horse tries to run off in another direction (roll horsemanship or disqualified)
  5. Too voilent charge, can not direct attack at all
  6. Lowers lance way too late
  7. Lowers lance way too early
  8. Horse stops suddenly, just before impact (horsemanship or fall off forward)
  9. About to hit opponents horse, throws lance on ground to save
  10. Cracked lance, not even an attempt
  11. Hesitating start, no power, easy target
  12. Lose grip of lance, trying to recover as it hits the ground (DEX or fall off)
  13. … you are welcome to suggest more…

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