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Leadership Calculations


by Avian

A mini game for one or more players

The sport of Runtspike is mentioned in Phil Kelly's Ivory Road story from UK WD 302. Little is mentioned of it, apart from the fact that javelins are used, which suggests that it is played by humans. Working from this meagre description, here is my take on the sport. Ruleswise it is based on another of my little games from a few years ago, 'Stomp on a Skink' which was good fun, but used 5th ediition rules and a special 'Foot of Gork' template from the 5th edition Magic set.

Runtspike is intended to be played by only one player at a time, though several players make take turns and see who manages to spike the runt the quickest.



Runtspike is a popular game in Pigbarter and other human settlements plagued by Gnoblars and is often used as a warm-up event to more serious pit fighting or bear-baiting events. In less organised forms it is a favoured pastime on farms plagued by the diminutive greenskins. It is played in an arena, corral or similar and a captured Gnoblar is tossed into it while the audience cheers and throws rotten vegetables at it. The Gnoblar will frequently be disoriented and scared and will be quite surprised when the human contestant rides into the arena and starts throwing javelins at it. Traditionally the arena has two exits and the rider who does not kill the Gnoblar right away must manoeuvre his horse so that the Gnoblar does not simply flee the field. A rider is considered to have failed if the Gnoblar escapes or manages to climb the wall of the arena, or if he kills the Gnoblar by any manner other than with the javelin, the goal being to spike the runt as quickly as possible.

Gnoblars who manage to climb the walls of the arena are generally clubbed to death by the audience, while those that manage to make it out through one of the exit points are traditionally dipped in tar, rolled in feathers and tossed in the river.

Variants of Runtspike include using several Gnoblars and more than one rider, the winner being the one that kills the most Gnoblars. Other versions use different weaponry, such as throwing axes or short bows.


What you will need


Setting up the game

Mark an area about 24 x 24" to be the arena. The rider may not move outside the arena and if the Gnoblar manages to get out the rider gains 0 points for that round. Select two diagonally opposite corners to be the exit points and place the Gnoblar midway between those, in the centre of the arena. Then place the rider just outside the arena, touching one of the exit points. The game starts with the rider entering the arena.


The rider's turn

Each turn the rider may move and throw a javelin at the Gnoblar. The rules of Runtspike stipulate that the Gnoblar must be killed by a thrown javelin for the rider to score any points - simply running it down with the horse doesn't count (though this is often an option chosen by a frustrated competitor who has exhausted his supply of javelins trying to hit a Gnoblar that keeps ducking).



Each turn the rider may move up to 8". Alternatively, he may move up to 16" if he started the move more than 8" away from the Gnoblar or if he started closer but the Gnoblar was fleeing. He may freely turn as he moves. Due to the restrictions that the Gnoblar must be killed by throwing a javelin, he may not declare charges.


After moving, regardless of how far, the rider may throw a javelin. The javelin has a range of 8" and the rider may throw it in any direction, just like Fast cavalry can in FB. Roll a D6 with the score needed to hit depending on how far the rider moved that turn.

Did not move Moved up to 8" Moved up to 16"
3+ 4+ 5+

Note that javelins are thrown weapons and would thus in normal FB receive no penalty to hit for moving, but that would be a bit too dull in this case.

If you hit, roll a further D6 to see if you kill the Gnoblar. The Gnoblar is wounded on a 4+ and having no armour it will die immediately if hit.

Should the rider fail to kill the Gnoblar, it is now the greenskin's turn.


The Gnoblar turn

Each Gnoblar turn follows the same procedure.


Step 1 - Rally

If the Gnoblar is fleeing it must test to rally. This follows the normal rules, except that there is an additional +1 Ld modifier for every 3" between the Gnoblar and the rider. If the test is passed, the Gnoblar rallies and may do nothing that turn. If the Gnoblar fails to rally it will flee 2D6" towards the nearest exit point, as long as the path towards this point will not lead it within 1" of the rider. If this is the case, the Gnoblar will flee towards the other exit point instead.

Step 2 - Panic

If the Gnoblar was not fleeing at the start of the turn, it must take a Panic test. Having some big meanie riding around throwing javelins at you can be really scary if you are a little Gnoblar. As with the rally test, there is an additional +1 Ld modifier to the test for every 3" between the Gnoblar and the rider. If the Gnoblar fails the Panic test it will flee 2D6" directly away from the rider. If this takes the Gnoblar outside the arena it is clubbed to death by the spectators and it counts as a failure for the rider. If the test is passed, continue to step 3.

Step 3 - Stupidity

Gnoblars are rather dim creatures and often don't realise what is going on. Thus a Gnoblar who passed the Panic test in step 2 must now take a Stupidity test following the normal rules. If the test is failed, the Gnoblar will move D6" in a random direction (roll a Scatter dice, using the little arrow on the HIT symbol if you get that result). If this takes the Gnoblar outside the arena it is clubbed to death as above and the rider fails. If the Gnoblar's movement would take him within 1" of the rider it is halted 1" away and it's movement ends.
If the Gnoblar passes the Stupidity test also, then continue to step 4.

Step 4 - Running towards freedom

A Gnoblar that has passed both the Panic and the Stupidity test (not very likely!) realises what is going on and makes a bolt towards safety. He will move 8" towards the closest exit point, as long as the path towards this point will not lead it within 1" of the rider. If this is the case, the Gnoblar will move towards the other exit point instead.

It is then the rider's turn again.


Winning the game

The game ends when the Gnoblar is either killed or manages to leave the arena. The rider then gets points for how quickly he killed the Gnoblar.

Gnoblar killed in Points
Round 1 10
Round 2 7
Round 3 5
Round 4 4
Round 5 3
Round 6 2
Round 7 or later 1
Gnoblar left the arena 0

Note that it makes no difference how the Gnoblar leaves the arena (except to the Gnoblar, but who cares about that), whether is is by one of the exit points or by climbing the walls.

If several players compete, then each gets three tries and the one with the single highest score wins. If two are tied for the same score, then their second highest scores are compared, and so on. Alternatively, the players may each have a set number of goes and the one with the highest total score is the winner.


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