03 April 2013

C is for Cavaliers (of the Keebler Variety!)

I have mentioned before that I use the material in Unearthed Arcana, and, yes, that includes the cavalier class. Of course, since I like to tinker with the rules, I've made some adjustments for elves.

Dragon #114

First, however, let me mention Chris Booth's article "The Elven Cavalier" from Dragon 114. It is well written; however, it proceeds from the assumption that elves or more like the wood-dwelling, well, wood elves. For some elven cultures, such changes will work, but they are not necessary. I'll discuss this some more in a bit.

As far as rules are concerned, I make a couple of minor changes to the class. First, since "A human cavalier (but not an elf or a half-elf) makes all attacks from horseback as if the character were 1 level higher," I allow elven cavaliers to fire a bow from horseback without penalty. Now, nowhere does it explicitly state in AD&D hat there is a penalty for firing from horseback. Note that short composite bows are a required weapon for elven cavaliers per UA. This gives them something back and makes them a tad more unique. Second, I remove the weapon of choice for "the horseman’s mace, horseman’s flail, or horseman’s military pick (player’s choice)" and replace it with short bow, long bow, short composite bow, and long composite bow. For followers, I use the Plains and Woods tables from the article "Tables and Tables of Troops" in Dragon 99, using the numbers gained from UA. Also, since half-elves are pretty much ignored, I allow half-elf cavaliers to come from either human or elven upbringing and function as that race for purposes of cavalier abilities. And that's pretty much it.

A Knight of Rivendell...or is that Celene? Maybe Evermeet?

I said above that Mr. Booth's article was adequate for the time. However, in the last 25 years, perceptions have changed. Much of that is due to Peter Jackson's interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth works. Thanks to PJ, we can now see elves in plate and riding roughshod over warg-riders (good scene in Hobbit: And Unexpected Journey, that). Like I said, the old way was to view elves as woodsy, dandelion-eating forest-dwellers. Now that might hold true for Wood Elves and Wild Elves; High Elves and Grey Elves, on the other hand, are more...noble, for want of a better term. And this is true even in old school AD&D. There is the court of Queen Yolonde of Celene on Oerth, a realm that Gary Gygax's Gord novels assure us is protected by Elven cavaliers and knights. And why not on Toril as well? I can see elven cavaliers in Evermeet and old Myth Drannor; it fits the feel of those nations without breaking them.

Sweet water and light laughter until next, gentle readers!

Gil-Galad was an elven king...his sword was long, his LANCE was keen...

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