A Matter of Britain
Spears and Lances
Throwing Spears in Battle
With the advent of dedicated “jousting lances,” the throwing of spears becomes a slightly different affair.
First of all, you’ll need to start distinguishing between how many lances you’re carrying versus how many spears. Lances cannot generally be thrown. Secondly, you’ll need to use the “Javelin” skill to throw spears from here on out. This is actually in the rules, but I only just discovered it. Consider this new implementation a reflection of the change in weapon doctrine and that spears are being used less and less for tossing these days. As compensation, start your Javelin skills at one-half of your current Spear Expertise score.
(You’ll note I said lances cannot “generally” be thrown—that’s because I never want to rule out the desperate, last-ditch lance throw when all other options are lost. I’ll state right now that lances can be thrown, but at -15 to skill. Hell, let’s say any non-throwing weapon can be thrown a short distance at -15 and -1d6 to damage.)
Lances may seem like a step down from spears; in compensation for its loss of versatility as a weapon, the lance does offer a bonus, however: when charging against an opponent not armed with a lance, you get a +5 to Spear Expertise. This counts for both mounted and infantry targets. Thus, charging a mounted knight armed with a mace would give you a +5, while charging a bandit with a spear would give you +10.
Carrying Spears and Lances
When you’re on the road or in a battle, there’s a practical limit on how many spears you (or, more specifically, your squire) can carry. Spears may be cheap and lightweight, but they take up a lot of physical space and can make maneuvering on horseback tricky. Here’s what I propose:
For every spear in excess of 5 that your squire is carrying, they suffer a -1 to their Horsemanship and Squire rolls. Lances, due to their slightly greater weight and bulkier shape, count as two spears. Thus, a typical post-Boy King load-out would be 2 lances and 1 spear for the squire, with the knight carrying a weapon of his own (which could certainly be another lance or spear).
In a big battle, you can always state that you have brought more lances and spears with you, but they must of necessity be kept in the Rear—if you run out during battle and wish to get more, you’ll have to disengage from your unit, return to camp to fetch them, then find your unit again, which would mean dropping out of battle for a minimum of three rounds.