Jousting rules for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e – WFRP – Homebrew

Hello awesome gamers!

Welcome to my homebrew jousting rules for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) 4e.

For incorporation into your WFRP campaign when you need something a little more involved than just a simple opposed test.

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So I have run a few jousting tourneys in various campaigns that I’ve run and I’ve always been a bit underwhelmed by the lack of official rules or guidance on the matter. Obviously one could just do a simple contested melee (Cavalry) check, but I wanted a bit more drama than a single roll of the dice.

So having searched around, I finally came across Full Tilt which, in 1997 was described as “the new Tournament Game for Bretonnian Knights in Warhammer”. It was originally published in White Dwarf magazine issue #215 and was based on the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules.

You can download the Full Tilt PDF here!

Download a scanned copy of White Dwarf Issue #215 here!

Full Tilt is a great little rule set for jousting in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It is just the kind of supplement I love! It has a lovely bit of flavor text at the start, setting the scene with a spattering of lore and then straight into the mechanics.

So without further ado, and with huge thanks to Nigel Stillman, Games Workshop and everyone involved with the Full Tilt production, let’s get stuck into my adaptation of jousting for WFRP! I’ve made the seeking favor stage more fitting for a roleplaying game, added in a ploy option and adjusted the modifiers for WFRP 4e.

Although Full Tilt is aimed at Bretonnian knights, feel free to use this rule set with Knights of any order in and around the Empire.

Please note that these are just my ideas and you should feel free to change any of the rules that you see fit – let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions for this rule set.

I initially made these rules for first edition WFRP, but the updated rules here are for fourth edition. Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to post up my first edition version as well.

New to WFRP? Read my review of 4th Edition WFRP here!

Jousting Homebrew for WFRP

The Tourney is divided into three stages, often taking place on separate days. When I have run this, I have sometimes run all three stages on the same day, or the first two stages on the first day and stage three on the second day.

Stage one is Seeking Favor when the knights attempt to woo a fair maiden from amongst the eligible nobles in the stands. Winning a favor will grant the knight a number of bonus Fortune points for use throughout the tournament.

Stage two is the jousting itself. It is a knock-out style competition with random pairings, the winners of each pairing going through to stage three.

Stage three is a series of one-on-one combats against the dreaded Black Knight. The knights, in a random order, attempt to take on the Black Knight. Any knight who unseats the Black Knight wins the ultimate prize of the tourney – a maiden’s hand in marriage, a magical item or a chest of gold!

Read my review of the classic WFRP Campaign, Enemy in Shadows!

Stage one: Seeking Favor.

The first stage of the tourney involves the knights courting the favor of a beautiful maiden. There will be several eligible maidens in the stands and if the knight is successful in his charm he will be granted an item of her apparel. The level of beauty of the maiden and the more private the item of clothing, the more luck the knight will have on the field.

There will be five maidens for the knight to choose from. Each with a different social standing which is correlated to their perceived beauty. Choosing more influential ladies incurs a penalty to the knight’s charm roll and they only get one chance, so they must choose wisely or be left without a lucky favor.

I have used the following women in my most recent campaign, so feel free to change the names.

The Seeking Favor Table

Name

Modifier to Charm roll

If successful, modifier to Favor roll

Eva Kopf von Uckrofort, the Lord’s daughter

-20

+2+SL

Karol Dippeltflusser, Daughter of Sir Reikhard Dippeltflusser – Leader of the bloc of nobles in the council.

-10

+1+SL

Isentrad Leidtragendeert, sister of Count Cherus Leidtragendeert

0

+0+SL

Grite Thyrus, daughter of Ditrich Thyrus – Wealthy merchant who leads the merchant bloc on the council

+10

-1+SL

Gabby Geldung, daughter of Berthold Frotermann, a wealthy merchant

+20

-2+SL

Each knight must choose a fair maiden to court and roll a Charm test with the modifier as listed above. If the knight is successful, then the lady is suitably flattered and the SL of the roll is added to the modifier indicated and applied to the Favor table to see what piece of clothing is offered as a lucky charm.

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The Favor Table

Roll 3d4

Item awarded to knight

Number of bonus Fortune points(re-rolls)*

3 or less

Veil

1

4-6

Wimple (Headdress)

2

7-9

Kirtle (Gown)

3

10-11

Girdle (waistband)

4

12-13

Garter (from leg)

5

14+

Tress (lock of hair)

6

Note that the bonus fortune points last for both the jousting phase and, if successful, the Black Knight phase as well. They can only be used as re-rolls and any initial roll can only be re-rolled once.

Stage two: The passes

Having hopefully won the favor of a fair maiden, the knight is now ready for the tournament proper with a number of bonus fortune points under their belt.

Each match-up of two knights involves three passes (or charges) down the tilt (the pitch), each with lance in hand and, ideally, some decent armour. Before each pass, each knight secretly chooses a ploy to enact. When the charge begins, both knights reveal their ploys and apply the modifiers (see below) to the contested Melee (Cavalry) test.

As the lances are blunted in order to reduce fatalities on the field. The damage for the lance is remains at SB + SL + 6 but the qualities of the lance are also negated, so no Impact or Impale qualities. If both melee checks are successful, both players hit their target and break their lances. Only the winner of the test will deal damage and have teh opportunity to unseat their opponent.

The winner of the melee test hits (regardless of whether it was a ‘successful’ test or not) and has the opportunity to knock their opponent off. If the strike does more than 1 Wound worth of damage, then the riders must make an opposed Strength test.

If the knight who was struck loses, then he is forced from his seat and knocked off his horse, taking an extra d4 + 4 Wounds – TB (note this is a change from the falling rules in the core rule book which I deem too deadly. Feel free to replace these with the original rules).

A broken lance is one point, but an unseated knight is immediately out of the tourney and the other rider is the winner for that pairing, regardless of the number of points accrued by either party. Knocking a crest off is 2 points.

The organizers of the event have plenty of spare lances to replace those that are broken. If both riders managed to stay in their seat, the second pass proceeds and likewise for the third.

If both knights remain seated through three passes, then the winner is the one with most points. A draw will lead to tie-breaker passes until there is one clear winner. Winning knights are put through to the second round where they meet the Black Knight.
Note also, that warhorses do not get an action during the jousting.

Read about my home brew criminal gang for WFRP 4e, The Wasserratens!

Jousting Ploys

This is the list of jousting ploys that the knights must choose from. It is important to note, not only the modifiers for each one, but also that the swipe is considered dishonorable and the dodge even more so, reflecting loss of Fortune points.

Note, a knight cannot go below zero on their fortune points, so if you are all out of luck the dodge could be a good option. The dodge is most often used on the last pass by a knight if he is in the lead and wants to deny his opponent the opportunity to unseat him.

Remember, the ploys must be chosen in secret and revealed simultaneously right before the opposed Melee test. The Strength modifier applies to both the damage roll and the opppsed Strength test for unseating.

Jousting Ploy

WS modifier

Strength Modifier

Fortune points

1: Aim for shield

+10
-10
0

2: Aim for body

0
0
0

3: Aim for helm

-10
+10*
0

4: Aim for crest**

-20
0
+1

5: Swipe

+20
-10
-1

6: Dodge

Use dodge skill +20***
-10
-2

* When aiming for the helm, +10 to Strength only applies on a succesful hit.

** If the crest is hit, it does not trigger an opposed Strength test, but it is worth 2 points. The bonus fortune represents the increased support of the crowd.

*** If the dodge is successful there is no contested strength test, if it is not successful the -10 strength modifier applies as the knight is already leaning over, trying to avoid his opponent’s lance, albeit unsuccessfully!

Roleplaying the Tourney

Aside from the obvious pomp and ceremony associated with a tourney which you can have a lot of fun with, when I have run this, there is usually just one character competing and the rest of the party are there to support. To involve the other players and to make the secret ploys fair, I assign competitor knights to the other players at the table and they will choose the ploys for the competing knights.

This way, as GM, I can’t employ any meta gaming and the outcome will be as much a surprise to me as the players, as long as you have players you can trust not to cheat!

Read my review of the WFRP card game, Elector Counts!

Stage 3: The Black Knight or The Tableaux de Bataille

I have lifted the description of this straight from Full Tilt p.55 onwards:

“The tableaux de bataille is an imaginative and spectacular contest that is very popular with the Bretonnian ladies. The

tableaux usually has an elaborate theatrical setting inspired by one of the many chansons, the troubadours’ songs which tell

of the legendary feats of arms of various paladins of Bretonnian chivalry.

This contest is held on the last day of the tourney. [This gives the contestants time to heal after the jousting] The winners of the previous day’s jousting challenge the Black Knight in [a random order], in order to win the top prize.

The Black Knight is the best Knight of the dukedom, chosen by the Duke himself, disguised in black armour with no identifying heraldry. He usually unhorses several challengers before someone succeeds in beating him to win the prize!

None Shall Pass!

If the prize of the tourney is the hand of a fair damsel, the heiress to a vacant feudal domain, a mock dungeon tower is

set up on the tourney field, surrounded by a moat, over which is a drawbridge The lady plays the role of a ‘damsel in

distress’ locked up in the tower. She leans out of the window shouting encouragement to the Knights trying to rescue her.

Each challenger tries in turn to cross over the drawbridge and reach the tower to rescue the damsel. Whoever succeeds wins the prize. Unfortunately you can only cross the drawbridge by unhorsing the Black Knight who is the guardian of the tower.

The Ring of Stones

If the prize of the tourney is an enchanted relic [or simply a large quantity of gold], the contenders and spectators make a splendid procession over to a nearby stone circle on the morning before the contest, which is held in the afternoon. This will be the same place where trials by combat are customarily held.

The prize is placed in the middle of the circle on an altar stone. There is only one way into the circle, between two large stones wide enough apart to admit a rider on horseback.

Guarding the circle is the Black Knight who cannot leave the circle. Each challenger enters the circle in turn. The only way to claim the prize is to unhorse the Black Knight!

Buy the WFRP core rules here – USA!

Challenging the Black Knight

Each contender challenges the Black Knight in turn. The order in which contenders challenge him is determined randomly as for the jousting.”

There are no ploys employed for this charge as both knights are honor bound to aim for the shield. An opposed Melee (Cavalry) test is used with the winner having the chance to unhorse their opponent, as long as more than 1 wound is dealt.

An opposed Strength test is conducted with the struck knight becoming unseated if he loses.

If both knights are still on their horses, then [s]ubsequent rounds of the combat are fought with blunted maces or morning stars which make for a noisy, robust and entertaining spectacle in which both Knights end up with their shields well and truly dented! … The contest continues until one or other of the Knights is unhorsed. If a challenger is unhorsed, the next challenger rides out. As in the joust, warhorse attacks and warhorse barding [armour] are disregarded.

Wounds taken by the Black Knight are cumulative and when he has suffered his full wounds he is automatically unhorsed which means that his current opponent wins, this applies to knights as well. Your chances of beating the Black Knight are therefore better if your Knights are not among the first to challenge him!

The Black Knight

The Black Knight wears black armour, a black surcoat and carries a black shield bearing no blazon by which he can be recognised. No one knows the true identity of the Knight who plays the role of the Black Knight.

All that you can be sure of is that he will be a Knight of great renown and martial prowess! It could be the Duke himself, the best Knight in the Duke’s retinue or a hermit Grail Knight from a remote grail chapel somewhere in the dukedom.

According to legend sometimes the King of Bretonnia himself has played the role of the Black Knight in the tournament at Couronne!”

Buy the WFRP 4e Starter set here!

Stat Block for the Black Knight

Note: Please feel free to adjust the stats of the Black Knight to balance him for your game, depending on the XP level of your players.

WS BS S T I Ag Dex Int WP Fel W
54* 35 43* 38* 37 36 35 26 48 57* 14
Basic Skills
Basic Skills
Advanced Skills
Name Value Name Value Heal 42
Athletics 56 Endurance 48 Language (Battle) 47
Charm 72 Intimidate 63 Language (Bretonnian) 40
Charm Animal 31 Leadership 72 Lore (Heraldry) 42
Cool 58 Melee (Basic) 79 Lore (Warfare) 57
Consume Alcohol 53 Melee (Cavalry) 79 Secret Signs (Knightly Order) 57
Dodge 56 Ride (Horse) 56 Trade (Farrier) 42
Talents
Talent Name
Times Taken
Description
Disarm 3 +2 SL to Disarm (Melee) tests
Iron Will 1 Intimidation does not cause fear.
Roughrider 1 Can direct a mount to take an action without a ride test
Strike Mighty Blow 2 +2 damage
Strike to Injure 3 +3 damage to critical wounds
Suave 1 + 5 Fellowship *included in stat block
Very Resilient 1 +5 Toughness *included in stat block
Very Strong 1 +5 Strength *included in stat block
Warrior Born 1 +5 Weapon Skill *included in stat block

Optional Talents for Jousting Knights

In the Full Tilt rules there is a Knightly Virtues section which I have adapted for WFRP 4e in the form of bonus Talents for Knights who regularly joust. The Talents in this section are only in effect during a Tourney or The Tableaux do Bataille, they cannot be used in regular melee during adventuring.

Talent Career Rank Description
Discipline 2 The Knight practices frequently in the tilt yard and has a +1 SL to the Strength test if they are the loser in the opposed Melee test.
Impetuous Knight 2 The Knight spurs on his warhorse and so gains +1SL in the opposed melee test.
Knightly Ardour 2 The knight is particularly charismatic and knows how to impress a lady, he gains + 1 SL to his charm roll during the Seeking Favor stage.
Noble Disdain 3 The Knight completely disregards the wounds he receives from the first blow he receives. He bravely shrugs off the wound with a great show of indifference (“it’s only a flesh wound – I’ve had worse…” The effect of this is that he cannot be unseated on the first pass.
Purity 3 The Knight may never use a Swipe or Dodge ploy. His extraordinary faith affords him one extra Fortune point for the contest.
Valor 3 Automatically receives a lady’s favor. Chose a lady at random and apply the base modifier to the Favor Table roll. If the player does not like the result, they can then attempt a Charm test as normal, but if they fail, they do not get a favor.
Devotion 4 A knight with this virtue will automatically receive a Kirtle (Gown) as a favor from a random maiden and gain 3 Fortune. If the player thinks they can do better, they can opt to roll Charm as per Seeking Favor, but must abide by the result, even if they gain no favor.
Knightly Temper 4 The Knight gains an extra Attack each turn in the Tableaux de Bataille. This virtue is only effective in the Tableaux de Bataille.
Jousting Virtue 4 The Knight gains + 2SL when using a lance.

Prizes

It is up to the GM what the prizes actually are, but here some suggestions adapted from Full Tilt:

Any knight who wins their pairing in the jousting can gain 25 XP and is allowed to add to his heraldry a special blazon to

show that he is a victor in the joust, a striped lance perhaps or a laurel wreath around his helm.

If the tableaux de bataille was the tableaux of the dungeon tower then the prize would be the hand of the damsel herself. There is more to this prize than a fair Bretonnian damsel, perhaps a castle and feudal domain complete with a modest retinue of: 1 Mounted Squire, 1 Foot Squire, 1 Man-at-arms and 1 Archer.

If the tableaux de bataille was the tableaux of the stone circle, then the prize would be a magical item of some sort. Perhaps a relic of a saint which bestows healing power or a magical sword. If the prize is hard cash, then 50GC might be a reasonable bounty.

In either case, 50 XP is also awarded to the successful knight.

So there you have it, my home brew rules for Jousting in the WFRP 4e world!

Let me know in the comments below what you think. Would you ever use these rules in your game? What are the issues with the rule set? Is the Black Knight not scary enough; does he need a buff to make him more of a formidable opponent?

What do you think of the optional extra Talents for knights who regularly joust? Would you let you players have access to these if jousting was commonplace in your campaign?

Check out my Play-by-Post games on Startplaying.games!

And finally, as always, thanks for reading!

– Bren

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