[HR] Chariots

Way back in Ye Olde Days, Dragon #81 had rules for creating chariots. However, it only covered horses. In an attempt to genericize it and make it suitable for ACKS, I’ve come up with the following house rules:

A chariot can be pulled by 1, 2, or 4 creatures. The advantage of a chariot over riding an animal is that animals can pull more than they can carry on their backs. A 1-animal chariot has a weight allowance of 150% of that animal’s normal carrying capacity. 2-animal chariots have a 300% weight allowance, and 4-animal chariots have a 500% weight allowance.

A 1-horse chariot moves at a maximum speed of 2/3 of the animal’s normal movement. 2-horse chariots can move at 5/6 normal speed, and 4-horse chariots can move at the animal’s normal speed.

The advantage of the lighter chariots is greater maneuverability. At 1/4 speed, a 1-horse chariot can turn 360 degrees in a single round. This is reduced to 300 degrees at 1/2 speed, 240 degrees at 3/4 speed, or 180 degrees at full speed. For 2-horse chariots, reduce all numbers by 60 degrees, and for 4-horse chariots, reduce them by 120 degrees.

Chariots may be armored. The armor weighs double normal armor weight. Crew in an armored cab gain half the armor’s AC as cover protection. For armor with an odd AC, round down for attacks from cavalry or chariots, and round up for attacks from infantry.

Missile attacks are at full attack bonus if traveling half speed or less, at -2 if traveling 3/4 speed, and at -4 if traveling full speed. The Precise Shot proficiency reduces these penalties.

The driver may only use one-handed weapons (or a shield) normally. If the driver drops the reins or ties them around their waist, they may use a two-handed weapon, but all attacks from everyone in the chariot suffer a -2 penalty.

ACKS land-based creatures that have carry weights listed: camel, horse, mule, unicorn

AD&D 1e animals with encumbrance (from the Wilderness Survival Guide):
Brown Bear = 30 stone
Elephant = 50 stone (note: this seems low)
Dog = effectively 6 stone (a 7-dog dogsled is 30 stone). I would consider this for War Dog and Wolf, so goblins and hobbitses can have mounts/chariots

Creatures from Robin Dijkema’s Monster Manual (on pandius.com):
Boar = 15 stone
Giant Boar = 30 stone
Elephant = 90 stone (I like this better than the AD&D number)
Mammoth/Mastodon = 90 stone
Triceratops = 100 stone
Wolf = 5 stone
Dire Wolf = 10 stone
Giant Lizard = 15 stone
Horned Chameleion = 5 stone
Tuatara = 12 stone


There’s rules in D@W for chariots; but it’s mainly for the mass combat side (turning them into workable units) - not so much the man-to-man scale.

D@W lists small/medium/large chariots, and expresses the ‘puller’ as a number of Large Creatures (up to 4), and the passengers as a number of Medium Creatures (up to 4), and one would evidently divide out in the case of larger (or smaller, movie-Radagast?) creatures.

I do have some odd mash up of Ben Hur and Car Wars in my head right now, though.

This also raises the question in my mind again about mounted “at speed” attacks in general - one would think of the image of the chariot or horseman racing by and taking a swing at an opponent, in the middle of their movement. That’s not necessarily the intent in the ACKS rules be default, I don’t think, where the charge stops at the attack.

In the original article, anything directly in front of the chariot was subject to trample attacks from the horses. Anything adjacent to the horses could be attacked by spear or other long stabby weapon, while anything adjacent to the cab could be attacked by regular melee weapon.

I think I would require the driver to declare speed before the start of the round, then the chariot moves on its initiative, and the passengers can attack at any point they choose during the movement, while the driver can only attack at the end of movement. This gives it a slightly different feel than cavalry, which is more maneuverable and more flexible on the move, but less flexible in attacking because the rider’s attention is more divided than the passenger’s.

Let’s make a goblin chariot.

Goblins weigh around 4.5 stone on average (http://www.autarch.co/forums/house-rules/humanoid-weights). A chariot with 2 goblins (driver and warrior) would thus have 9 stone of weight plus equipment, so we’ll make this a two-animal chariot with normal wolves (normally 5 stone, increased to 15 per the chariot rule). This allows 6 stone for equipment. The chariot will be unarmored, since even leather armor would require 4 stone just for a +1 cover save to armor. The driver is likewise unarmored, but carries a shield (1 stone) for protection, while the warrior has leather armor (2 stone), a shield (1 stone), a spear (1 stone), and 6 javelins (1 stone). The chariot has a speed of 150’ (50’). The wolves can attack at the end of movement, like the driver, but cannot make trample attacks during movement.

By comparison, a goblin mounted on a wolf would only have 3 items’ worth of capacity (5 stone carrying weight less 4.5 stone goblin weight), so light goblin cavalry would be unarmored, probably with a pair of javelins and a normal-sized melee weapon. Goblin “heavy cavalry” (relatively speaking - they’re still fairly light by human standards), on a dire wolf, might have looted chain armor, a spear, a backup melee weapon, and a pair of javelins. This heavy cavalry would have the same speed as the chariot, with better armor (and only needing 1 goblin instead of 2), but not be able to fire as many missiles before having to close or flee. Meanwhile, the light cavalry would be faster than the chariot, but less protected and with fewer weapons.

I might have to make use of this! Thanks Dark.

That’s a good idea.

Making a ride-by-attack a declaration (in the same manner as spellcasting) feels clean.

What if, for drivers (which include riders of mounts) the same rules as spellcasting holds - if you declare a ride-by-attack, then you (or your mount) are hit before you execute, you lose the attack (but not the movement?) due to having to control your mount or yourself?

In theory light cavalry would be easier to turn aside than heavy cataphracts due to the AC difference, which feels ‘right’.

And as it’s a declared action at the start of the round, any given target has the opportunity to set against charge in response.

I don’t think the above …tramples… too much over the Overrun maneuver?