Continuing with an exploration of the Dragon Warriors Bestiary for rules to apply more generally, this essay looks at beasts that charge and how rules for that might inform more general charging rules.
The Bestiary is consistent in its charge attack rules for both Bulls (p. 26) and Minotaurs (p. 41) - the target of the charge must evade a Speed 14 charge or suffer damage (reduced by armour) and lie winded for 1d3 combat rounds. The damage dealt by a successful charge is the only variable - the Bull does 1d4 + 5 HP damage and the Minotaur does 2d6 + 1 HP damage.
Both the Bull and the Minotaur do approximately the same average damage (7.5/8 HP - close enough). The Bull, presumably by virtue of its greater bulk, has a higher minimum damage and the Minotaur, presumably because of its greater intelligence, has a higher maximum damage - more chance to get its horns in a vulnerable and critical area of its victim's body.
Importantly, both the Bull and the Minotaur have horns, so we can assume that a blunt-force charge, from a horse, perhaps, would have an average damage 2-3 points lower - let's say 5 HP.
But Bulls and Minotaurs (and horses) are much stronger and bulkier than people, so whilst 5 HP average damage makes sense for a charge from a large creature like a horse, it still feels high for a charge from a person, even an armoured one - perhaps a man-sized creature would do a Health Point or two less damage.
Finally, what about weapons? As part of a charge, a Minotaur does not get the option to attack with his axe, just his natural weapons, which is supported by the Moving into Combat rule (p. 67 of the Rulebook), which states that a character can only move a quarter of his movement and still use a weapon. A charge, which presumably moves a character up to their running movement rate (20m for a human), therefore precludes the use of a weapon.
Charging Rules for General Play
- A charge attack is resolved as a Speed 14 attack against the opponent's Evasion up to the attacker's running speed away (20m for a human; 30m for a horse).
- Base damage for a charge is 1d4 + 2 for a large animal or only 1d6 for a man-sized creature (armoured barbarian, for example).
- Damage is reduced by the AF of the opponent but may be increased by up to 3 points if the attacker has natural weapons (e.g., horns).
- When a character makes a charge attack, high Strength (16+), spiked armour, or other special circumstances may each add a further 1 or 2 HP damage, at the GM's discretion.
- A successful charge, in addition to doing damage, knocks the target prone for 1d3 combat round, during which time their Attack, Defence, and Evasion scores are all reduced to zero (equivalent to being stunned by an Assassin's Shock Attack (see p. 42 of the Rulebook).
Warhorses deserve a special note, for whilst the warhorse may not be able to make a separate attack as it charges down an opponent, the knight upon its back will be able to swing their weapon at the opponent as the horse barrels into them.
And, whilst there is no precedent in the Dragon Warriors rules for doing so, I would grant the knight's attack a +1 bonus to hit, armour bypass, and damage for the increased momentum of the horse.