Points

The cavalrymen of the Roman Empire combined the military traditions of various subject peoples into a highly effective martial art. Their composite style blended standoff tactics (every soldier had to be proficient with either the javelin or the bow) with hand-to-hand techniques. Training included horsemanship. Some troops even learned how to cross bodies of water with their mounts while still in formation.

Roman horsemen wielded a medium shield of light construction in a mobile blocking style, and strove to keep the enemy on their shield side. The majority relied on the spear and the javelin as weapons, but riders often had training with the thrusting broadsword (similar to that of auxiliary infantry) and some troops were mounted archers. Cavalrymen thrust the spear downward rather than couching it like a lance. When tossing the javelin, they sometimes hurled it end-over-end instead of in a flat trajectory, to better slip around a defender's shield - a kind of Deceptive Attack (see Tricky Shooting, p. 121).

Armatura Equestris survived through much of the Dark Ages. Other European cavalry of the period used a similar style with heavier armor and longer spears, as did Byzantine horsemen. The latter favored the bow while Western forces preferred the javelin.

There are few legends of amazing abilities among the Roman cavalry. However, they sometimes claimed incredible skill both as riders and with their weapons. One left an epitaph commemorating how he shot an arrow into the air and then split it in two with a second arrow before it hit the ground . . . while on horseback . . . while his mount was swimming the Danube! Heroic Archer and the Zen Archery skill would fit heroes of this caliber.

The traits below assume a bow-armed cavalryman. For a javelin-equipped horseman, replace Bow with Thrown Weapon (Spear) and Horse Archery with Mounted Shooting (Thrown Spear/Horse). Some cavalrymen were recruited from the infantry; these should have the training under Armatura (see above), too. Armatura Equestris suits realistic "Knights of King Arthur." For the abilities of legendary Arthurian knights, see Knightly Mounted Combat (pp. 175-177).

Skills: Bow; Broadsword; Riding (Horse); Shield; Spear.

Techniques: Cavalry Training (Broadsword or Spear); Combat Riding; Hands-Free Riding; Horse Archery; Quick Mount.

Cinematic Skills: Zen Archery.

Perks: Strongbow; Sure-Footed (Water).

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