Chapter H: The Horse
|“There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.”
|- General George Armstrong Custer
In all the history of warfare there is no nobler creature than the
horse. Whether hauling chariots, powering a heavy cavalry charge,
carrying supplies and communications through harsh terrain, or simply
running in and out of danger in the service of mounted troops, a horse brings strength and mobility
to a military force that no man or vehicle can match. Without the
spirited assistance of these magnificent animals, history's greatest wars would have consisted of little more than
a bunch of guys wandering around listlessly and bleeding.
If you continue on to the next book (Book Two: MOC Combat), you'll see that BrikWars has rules
that allow players to do battle with literally any creature or vehicle
they can build out of bricks or other toys. However, in many classic battle genres,
horses (or their close equivalents) are the only significant animals
or vehicles on the field, making the extensive custom Creations
rules unnecessary. This intermediate
chapter lets players jump straight into equestrian warfare with
quick and dirty stats for horses in combat. The Horse rules
can either serve as a lighter introduction to handling full-fledged Vehicles,
or as a shortcut to allow less-ambitious players to avoid the hassle
of the advanced rules entirely.
H.1: The Horse
|"A man that don't love a horse, there is something the matter with him."
|- Will Rogers
In BrikWars, a Horse isn't necessarily any specific type of
animal; instead it's a blanket category for any single-passenger steed
or vehicle that's roughly horse-sized. A horse is a Horse, of course,
perforce; but so is a gryphon, a motorcycle, a magic carpet, or a
A unit in the Horse category has roughly the same abilities that you'd
expect from real-world horse, and its Skill, Move, and Armor statistics
are used in the same way as a minifig's. Common sense will dictate
whether a given type of Horse can perform acts like swimming, Sprinting,
climbing ladders, or hauling chariots. In the rare case where common
sense is insufficient, a What I Say Goes roll will clear up any confusion.
Skill: d6 - see 4.2: Action
A Horse uses Skill for the same kinds of tasks a minifig would,
as far as it's able.
The main difference between a Horse's Skill and that of a minifig is that a Horse is a Submissive creature and can only perform useful tasks while under a minifig's direction.
While being ridden or led, a Horse is completely obedient to its current master.
If its master is killed, wanders off, or is otherwise absent, a loose Horse briefly remains under the control of its Human player. If none of the player's minifigs have managed to take control of the Horse by the end of the turn, then the player must hand control of the Horse over to one of his or her Enemies (1.4: The Spirit of the Game).
On the Enemy's turn, the Enemy can direct the Horse to take either a Movement or an Action - not both. If none of the new player's minifigs have taken control of the Horse by the end of the turn, then control of the Horse must be handed over to one of his or her own Enemies. The cycle continues until some minifig
manages to take the reins, or until the Horse is killed or otherwise removed from battle.
When a minifig rider directs his Horse to take any Action requiring a Skill
roll (preferably an Attack), the player rolls either the Horse's Skill
or the rider's, whichever is lower. In the rare case in which a Horse
takes Actions of its own accord, only its own Skill is used, of course. Horses are not intelligent enough to use equipment
items or operate machinery, although a properly harnessed Horse or
team of Horses can haul a wheeled cart or chariot up to twice as many inches in Size as the number of Horses pulling it (7.1: Structure).
||Cannot be used to Parry
By default, a Horse is able to make one Unarmed Attack per turn, if it has the proper body parts to do so. (For Horses of the regular equine variety, these attacks
will be in the form of kicks or bites. For more exotic Horses, these
might take the form of tail stings, claw swipes, or tentacle whips.) A Horse's Unarmed Attack is roughly equivalent to a minifig's Hand Weapon, except that it can't be used to Parry. It's a Close Combat weapon with a Use rating of 2 and a Damage rating of 1d6.
Not all Horses have the proper appendages to Shove opponents (although any Horse can go around Crashing into them in a pinch (H.3: Fighting From Horseback)). For those that do, a Horse's Shove is more powerful than a minifig's. A minifig has a -2 Skill Penalty when trying to resist a Shove from a Horse; Horses Shove other Horses as normal. When minifigs try to Shove Horses in return, a minifig working alone can't Shove a Horse at all. It takes two minifigs together to try to Shove a Horse.
|Horse Shoving Example: Cow Tipping
|Example: Cattle mutilations work best on cows that are pre-tipped, so two alien minifig Grays have been sent on a night mission to prepare the livestock for abduction. They locate a likely Cow standing in the pasture and approach it cautiously.
Grays' turn 1:
The Grays approach the first Cow from the side. (Shoving a Cow from the front or rear is unlikely to result in a successful tipping.) This Cow is asleep and doesn't attempt to Parry; the Shove is an Automatic Hit, and the Cow is tilted two inches. This is enough to topple it over.
Grays' turn 2:
Emboldened by their success, the Grays approach a second Cow. This time, their unfamiliarity with Earth herbivores betrays them: this Cow is a Bull, and it's wide awake. The Bull declares its intention to Parry their Shove with an enraged moo.
The Bull is Outnumbered two to one, so he has a -1 Skill Penalty, but Parrying a Shove bare-hooved is easy at Use: 0. His Skill Roll of 3 is enough to succeed, and the Bull stands his ground. He then successfully Counterattacks with his horns, brutally goring the second Gray and putting an end to their Cow-tipping adventures.
10" - see 4.1:
For minifigs, Horses, and other animals, Movement is an unrestricted affair.
They can spend their Move inches however they like, running and jumping
back and forth along any arbitrarily complex zigzag. Like minifigs, a Horse running in a straight line can Sprint, spending its Action to add 1d6 inches to its straight-line Movement.
Players may decide that a particular Horse may not be able to hop around as freely. It may be hauling a load, for instance, or wearing roller skates. These situations are left for the players to handle as they see fit.
1d6 - see Chapter 3: Minifig
A Horse's Armor works in similar fashion to a minifig's: an attacking unit must do enough Damage to exceed the Horse's Armor in order to have any effect. The difference is that a Horse takes two hits to kill rather than one.
The first time that Damage from an attack exceeds a Horse's Armor, attach a Damage Pip (usually a red 1x1 brick) to the Horse somewhere prominently visible to indicate that the Horse has been Wounded. When a Horse is Wounded, it's reduced to Half Speed, its maximum Momentum or Physical Opposition in a Charge are limited to 1 MOM or POP, and its ability to Shove and resist Shoves is reduced to that of a regular minifig.
If Damage from an attack exceeds the Armor of a Horse that's already been Wounded, or if a Horse takes enough Damage to exceed its Armor twice over (effectively taking two hits in a single attack), then the Horse is killed in whatever
grisly fashion seems appropriate.
|Horse Body Armor
||Move -2", can't swim
|Horse Heavy Armor
||Half Speed, can't swim
Like a minifig, a Horse may be equipped with Body Armor or Heavy Armor to boost its
defenses. Regular Horse Body Armor covers the Horse's body but not the head. It costs 2CP and raises the Horse's Armor rating to 1d10, although the Horse's Move is reduced by 2" and it loses the ability to Swim. Horse Heavy Armor covers both the body and head. It costs 3CP and makes the horse Shielded from damage (3.3: Bodily Protection), at the cost of reducing the Horse's Movement to Half Speed. Just as for minifigs, Half Speed means that the Horse cannot swim or fly (4.1: Movement).
|The BrikVerse hosts a multitude of simultaneous apocalypses in various stages of progression, each with its own attendant Horsemen with their own attendant Horses. The Four Bikers of Ragnablok ride Rocket Hogs.
|Photo: Zahru II
no Mind, Skill, or Angry Inch
||Move: 10" Flight
no Horse Armor
Cost:+10CP for Steel Horses
||Gun: Use:3 Range:6" Damage:1d6
Units in the Horse category have abilities similar to any regular horse. The only distinctions made are for those
varieties of Horses that are unthinking machines or constructs (the Steel Horse), those that have an ability to fly (the Flying Horse),
those that are equipped with some kind of ranged weapon (the Gun Horse),
or any combination of those three (for instance, a WWI Sopwith Camel
would be a Steel Flying Gun Horse). When the abilities of a Horse
unit start to drift too far from one of these standard templates, players should
go ahead and advance to the full MOC Combat rules to make their own custom units (Book Two: MOC Combat).
- A Steel Horse (Cost: +0CP) is any Horse-sized machine or animated construction that lacks a mind of its own and carries one or fewer passengers. A Steel Horse has no Mind or Skill rating, and is incapable of taking independent Actions.
Due to their mechanical construction, Steel Horses have an augmented Armor rating of 1d10, which grants them a much greater ability to do Damage in a Crash than their squishy biological equivalents (H.3: Fighting From Horseback). This comes in handy, since most mechanical Steel Horses lack the appendages that would allow them to make Close Combat Attacks.
When abandoned by its rider, a Steel Horse mostly just sits there, unless it was in motion at the time of the rider's departure. In this case, the Steel Horse continues moving forward at for one round for half its Move before coasting to a stop. (Common sense may dictate otherwise in some cases - abandoned airplanes in flight also come to a stop, but the process by which this occurs is referred to as "crashing" rather than "coasting.")
Examples: Motorcycles, golems, mini-tanks, mini-planes, tricycles, jeeps
- A Flying Horse (Cost: +5CP, or +10CP for a Flying Steel Horse) is any Horse with the ability to fly. This is indicated by placing stacks of blocks underneath them to raise them to their default altitude of five inches above ground. Transparent elements work best for this, since the support column doesn't represent anything in-game other than the Flying Horse's shadow, but any elements can be used. A Flying Horse uses its Move inches to travel horizontally, vertically, or at any angle in between, the same way that a regular Minifig moves along the ground.
Theoretically, Flying Horses can fly high enough to be out of vertical range of enemy ranged weapons, making them immune to attack as they rain down damage on their foes. This is extremely poor sportsmanship, and players should be ashamed of themselves for even considering it. To mitigate this, Flying Horses are Koincidentally unable to make attacks on targets more than five inches below their current altitude.
Flying Horses cannot wear Horse Body Armor, due to the added weight. A Flying Steel Horse retains the Steel Horse's Armor rating of 1d10, but costs +10CP rather than +5CP.
When a Flying Horse is Wounded or otherwise reduced to Half Speed, it loses the ability to fly. It falls straight downward, taking Crash Damage if it impacts the ground or another hard object from a height of 4" or greater (H.3: Fighting From Horseback).
Examples: Pegasi, speeder bikes, mini-copters, giant eagles, hang gliders
- A Gun Horse (Cost: +3CP) is any Horse with built-in ranged weapons. Whether from eye lasers, fiery breath, or machine guns, all Gun Horse Guns have the same weapon stats.
Putting a Gun on a Horse doesn't replace any Close Combat abilities it may or may not have, but remember that Horses, like minifigs, can only make one type of attack per turn.
Examples: Fire dragons, cannon carts, ice dragons, snub spacefighters, lightning dragons, rainbow ponies, laser dragons
H.2: Riding a Horse
|"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion."
|- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Horses and other vehicles are more like equipment items than independent units; they need a minifig in control in order to be utilized properly. This control isn't free.
A minifig riding a Horse can spend his Action to control it. A minifig in control of a Horse can direct its Movement and, when appropriate, direct the Horse to either make one Attack (such as kicking with its hooves or firing its main cannon) or to take a single Action (such as Sprinting) of its own.
Because controlling a Horse costs a minifig's Action, normal minifigs cannot control a Horse and make Attacks on the same turn (except the Horse's own Attacks). When defending in Close Combat, regular Horses can defend themselves; both the minifig and the Horse may use all their Counters as normal. For Steel Horses or other Horses without their own Skill rating, the minifig must choose between making his own Counters, or controlling the Horse's Counters.
- Horse Movement
Because Horses lack independent initiative, the default movement for any Horse is to continue doing exactly what it was already doing on the previous turn. Unless a minifig spends his Action to direct the Horse's movement, the Horse will move in whatever direction it is facing, at the same speed it was traveling on its previous turn. If the undirected Horse runs into an obstacle, it will leap or climb over it if possible (to a maximum height equal to the Horse's legs or wheels); otherwise it will be stopped and possibly crash (H.3: Fighting From Horseback).
If a minifig is in a position to direct a Horse's movement, and uses his Action to do so, then the Horse moves as quickly and nimbly as its propulsion type would reasonably allow. A motorcycle-type Horse, for instance, isn't able to jump sideways the way a horse-type Horse can, or to cross rivers with the same ease as a speedboat-type Horse.
If a Horse is running in a straight line, it can be directed to Sprint like a minifig (4.1: Movement), adding 1d6" to its Move for the turn.
- Horse Action
A minifig using his Action to control a Horse can direct it to take an Action of its own. In most cases this will be an attack, especially for Gun Horses, but it might also be used in cases where a Horse has a special device or ability the minifig would like to make use of. A Horse may take an Angry Inch as part of a Close Combat Attack (5.2: Close Combat), if it's a type of Horse that's capable of being Angry.
When making Horse Actions, whenever a Skill Roll is called for, the lower of the Skill ratings of either the minifig or the Horse is used. (In the case of a Steel Horse, only the minifig's Skill applies.)
- Minifig Action
Instead of directing the Horse, a minifig may make any of the usual types of Actions available to him, usually to attack with a hand weapon. Without any further direction, the Horse is left to continue running along in blissful ignorance.
While every minifig has the basic level of skill required to operate a Horse, few have the training and experience to excel at it. The Rider is an experienced horseman who moves as naturally on horseback as on his own two feet - and in some cases, even more so.
Horsemanship Specialty (+1CP): control a Horse and make attacks from horseback as part of a single Action
The Rider's advantage is simple: where lesser minifigs must choose between using their Action to control a Horse or using it to make attacks with their own minifig weapons, the Rider can do both. Using a single Action, the Rider can steer a Horse and combine both the Horse's weapons and his own as part of a single attack.
When a Horse is acting under the direction of a Rider, it always uses the Rider's Skill, regardless of whose is lower.
In Close Combat, a skilled Rider and Horse are so closely bonded that they fight as a single unit. They can Counter for each other when attacked, making them especially deadly against melee attackers, since an attack on one draws Counters from both.
H.3: Fighting From Horseback
For the most common types of combat, making attacks from atop a Horse is the same as making attacks on foot. Minifigs on horseback check their weapon ranges and make their Attack and Damage Rolls exactly as usual.
The two areas in which a Horse's increased size can make a difference are in Close Combat and during a Charge.
While a Horse and its minifig are often treated as a single unit, they're still separate targets that can be attacked together or individually. If attacked together, the defending player gets to decide which of them takes any successful hits.
A typical horse is large enough to grant a +1 Attack Bonus for Target Size, whether the attacker is targeting the Horse and minifig together or targeting the Horse alone. Targeting the minifig specifically confers no Attack Bonus, and might even suffer an Attack Penalty if enough of the minifig is hidden behind the Horse to count as effective cover.
A minifig controlling a Horse can also have trouble coordinating in Close Combat, since normal minifigs without the Horsemanship Specialty have to choose between using their Action for attacking with their own weapons or for steering the Horse. In many cases where Close Combat would normally force a minifig to stop and fight, and even sometimes when he would prefer to, his Horse will keep on running away with him even as he's in the midst of trading blows.
If a minifig is unable or unwilling to stop his Horse for Close Combat, and can only take a swing as the Horse runs past, he's Getting Carried Away. The minifig can make a single attack with a Close Combat weapon and then immediately Withdraw, drawing Counters from his opponent as usual (5.2: Close Combat).
Crashing and Trampling
Despite the efforts of Hollywood, a tragic number of adults have forgotten a truth that's obvious to any first-grader: vehicles are nice for driving around, but their true purpose is crashing into things, and the faster you crash them, the better. This makes the most sense with mechanical vehicles like jeeps, airplanes, and star destroyers, but hand those young prodigies a toy horse or dinosaur and you'll see exactly the same thing happen.
Like a minifig, a Horse that Charges in a straight line for four inches builds up one MOM worth of Momentum (5.4: Charge!). However, because the Horse is twice as large, with a little more wind-up it can potentially build up twice as much power. If a Horse extends its Charge to eight inches in a straight line, its Momentum increases to two MOMs. (Assuming it's not Wounded, that is - a Wounded Horse is limited to one MOM no matter how far it Charges.)
A Horse MOM can be spent in the same ways as a minifig MOM: adding +1d6 to any roll that would logically benefit from Momentum, or +1 Skill die of Damage to an attack with a Charging Weapon. The extra Damage dice can be added to a Charging Weapon carried by the minifig or mounted on the Horse itself, up to +1 die for a Heavy Weapon or +2 dice for a Two-Handed Weapon (3.1: Close Combat Weapons).
Minifigs who run around crashing into things have a pretty minimal effect on anything besides plate glass windows or fine china. Even in plate armor, their bodies are too small and soft to make effective projectiles. The same is true for meat-based Horses, whose soft fleshy bodies make them inappropriate for use as a ramming weapon.
Steel Horses, on the other hand, are perfect for the job. In any Collision with at least one MOM, any object hitting or being hit by a Steel Horse automatically takes 1d6 Crash Damage. When two Steel Horses Crash into each other, they both take the 1d6 Crash Damage.
Although Crash Damage only occurs in Collisions that have Momentum, a d6 of Crash Damage doesn't use up a MOM - all the MOMs are spent on KnockBack rolls instead, the same as they would be in a Collision without Crash Damage.
Crash Damage is cumulative with any other Damage dealt out as part of a Charge, and can only be Parried with a Shield or Heavy Shield. Crashing requires no Skill Roll. A unit trying to collide with a target always succeeds unless the target Bails out of the way.
Minifigs are smaller than Horses, and therefore it's natural for Horses to want to stomp on them. Trampling is a means for a Horse to add insult to injury. If a minifig is lying on the ground Disrupted, possibly as a result of being Knocked Back by a Charging Horse, then the Horse can Run Over the prone minifig for one additional point of Damage. Obviously a single point of Damage isn't enough to kill any regular minifig, but, cumulative with other injuries the minifig may have sustained during the Charge, the final additional point can sometimes make the needed difference.
Any number of Horses can Trample a Disrupted minifig in a single turn, but each does its point of Damage only once. Running the same Horse back and forth over a minifig a dozen times is funny but has no extra effect.
Horses do no damage to other Horses with Trampling, because they're the same size. Again, it's still funny to watch them run over each other regardless.
While their higher potential Momentum increases Horses' ability to send opponents flying, their extra stability also makes them more resistant to KnockBack inches when they get Knocked Back themselves.
All Horses start with two POPs; this is reduced to one POP if they're Wounded. As with minifigs, a Charging attacker's Momentum roll must exceed this Physical Opposition in order for the Horse to be Knocked Back.
Like minifigs, a Horse takes one point of Smash Damage for each inch of KnockBack prevented by immovable obstacles or objects its own size or larger. Smaller objects simply get Knocked Back along with the Horse.
Even if a Horse is successfully Knocked Back, it only becomes Disrupted if the KnockBack distance is greater than the width or length of the Horse from that direction. Because most Horses are longer than they are wide, it's easier to knock them over from the side (where they may be less than an inch wide from right to left) than from the front or the rear (along which axis they're likely to be two inches in length or more). A Horse that's Knocked Back any distance less than or equal to this length less simply lands on its feet and is ready to keep fighting as usual. A Horse that's Knocked Back further than this length lands on its side and is Disrupted. A Horse Knocked Back twice this length lands upside-down and Disrupted, possibly allowing upside-down Trample Damage to its own passengers.
If a Horse and a target are Charging each other at the same time, each makes its KnockBack roll by rolling its MOMs against its opponent's POPs as usual. This may result in one, both, or neither combatants getting Knocked Back, depending on the results of the rolls.
Jousting is the most characteristic attack of the mounted horseman, and it combines the fun of a mounted Close Combat attack with the calamity of a Crash. In a Jousting attack, a minifig with a Charging Weapon (normally a spear or lance, although any Charging Weapon will do (5.4: Charge!)) uses the power of his Horse's Charge to do heavy damage to a target - frequently another minifig on Horseback, and often one who's Jousting right back at him.
While any Charging Weapon can be used for Jousting, a long lance is the preferred tool, because lining up a Joust attack can be tricky if the point of the weapon doesn't extend past the nose of the Horse. For a minifig on foot, a Two-Handed polearm like a lance normally requires two hands and costs an inch of Movement, but the power of a Charging Horse allows a Jousting minifig to weild a lance or other similar Charging Weapon with one hand at no penalty. A Jousting minifig can even use its off hand to hold a Shield, which will come in handy if he's getting Jousted in return.
|Close Combat Weapon
||Bonus MOM Damage
|Heavy Charging Weapon
(on foot or on Horseback)
|Skill die + 2
||+ up to 1 MOM
|may be paired with Shield or Heavy Shield
|Two-Handed Charging Weapon
|2 Skill dice
||+ up to 1 MOM
|Two-Handed; -1" to Move;
can't Sprint or throw
|Two-Handed Charging Weapon
||+ up to 2 MOMs
(Horse and weapon maximum)
|may be paired with Shield
As with foot-based Charge attacks, the length of two Jousting minifigs' weapons can determine whether one side strikes first or if both sides' attacks strike simultaneously. If the minifig on either side has a weapon long enough to deliver an Attack at least one inch before his opponent is able to deliver a return blow, then he strikes first, regardless of whose turn it is or who initiated the Joust.
Making the Joust Attack
Making a Joust attack is, for the most part, identical to attacking with a Charging Weapon on foot (5.4: Charge!); the Jousting minifig and his target have the same options and make the same rolls. Like a minifig, the Jousting attacker must continue running in a straight line to the limit of his Move inches, even if this results in Crashing into the target or other obstacles.
|Joust Example: Solo Jones vs. the Black Rider
shown: LEGO, Mega Bloks, Little Armory
|| Example: Thanks to a series of convenient plot twists, post-apocalyptic archaeology smuggler Solo Jones has managed to abscond with a Jaw-Jaw coven's sacred Poo On A Stick. As he makes his escape on his obligatory post-apocalyptic motorcycle, he finds himself confronted by the Black Rider, a mysterious highwayman who kills for pleasure and has never lost a joust.
The Black Rider is a well armed and armored Rider, with a Shield, Heavy Armor, and Two-Handed Lance in addition to his Steel Horse motorcycle.
Solo Jones is an Adventurer Hero, with only his Steel Horse motorcycle, his hat, and the deadly Poo On A Stick (a Heroic Two-Handed Weapon).
|Jones' Turn :
Solo Jones guns the engine, using a Heroic Feat to Sprint the motorcycle and make a Charge Attack with the Poo on a Stick. (If he were a Rider, he'd be able to do this automatically. Luckily, the Feat is successful.)
Sadly, he rolls a 1 on his Sprint die. He moves forward eleven inches, enough to earn two MOMs but falling short on his Joust attack by a full three inches. The Black Rider laughs at him.
|Black Rider's Turn (Combat):
The Black Rider backs up an inch to give himself room (4") to build up one MOM worth of Momentum. Peeling out, he lowers his lance and accelerates to meet Jones' Charge.
The Black Rider's lance has an extra inch of reach over the Poo On A Stick, so the Black Rider strikes first in the Joust rather than both sides striking simultaneously. The Black Rider rolls a Skill of 3 against his lance's Use of 4, barely missing Jones. The Black Rider keeps his MOM.
Feeling lucky to have survived, Jones may now make his Counterattack with his shorter weapon. Jones rolls a Skill of 5 against the Stick's Use rating of 4: success!
The strike does the Stick's Damage Rating of 2 Skill dice - in Solo Jones' case, 2d10. Jones spends his two MOMs to add an additional 2 dice, for a whopping 4d10 points of Damage. Before he makes the Damage Roll, however, he has to wait to see whether the Black Rider is able to Parry.
The Black Rider attempts to Parry
the Stick with his Shield. He rolls a 5 against the Shield's Use:2, successfully Parrying the blow, but becoming splattered with Poo in the process.
The Black Rider is Shielded against Jones's Joust thanks to his Parry, reducing the Damage to 3d10, and Shielded a second time thanks to his Heavy Armor, reducing the Damage further to 2d10. Jones rolls a one and a two for a total of 3 Damage.
As a Rider, the Black Rider's natural Armor is 3 - exactly enough to survive Jones' powerful Poo attack. The now Brown-Spattered Rider lives to laugh again!