Couched attacks are performed automatically by default, but can be switched to manual on the options screen (see below).
The lance will be pointed upwards when the horse is not yet moving fast enough. The lance will lower into position once sufficient speed has been acquired. Charge an enemy with the lance pointed directly at them, and if done correctly, it will deliver a large amount of damage. This couched attack ignores normal directional blocking with a weapon. The damage delivered is dependent on speed, so faster horses will inflict more damage. However, rarely does an enemy survive a couched lance attack, so investing in a faster horse for this reason alone is probably unnecessary. An armored horse may be a wise choice, since charging the enemy increases risk of melee combat and receiving hits that use your speed against you.
When a couched attack is successful, the message "Delivered couched lance damage!" will appear in the game log.
The AI is also capable of using couched lance damage, so players should be on guard when fighting mounted lancers such as those in Sarranid armies or in tournaments. In the event of a head-on joust where you do not have a longer lance than your opponent, thrusting at the right moment, swerving to evade or sacrificing your shield is often preferred over maintaining the couch, since the AI will almost always hold their lance at the appropriate level to maximize their reach against their current target.
Couched lances can be blocked with a shield but not with a weapon. Blocking couches with a shield will usually damage the shield greatly, if not break it in one shot. Interestingly, couches can be "chambered" by any weapon with an overhead swing or thrust, but this requires precise timing.
If the controls are switched to manual lance control (easy or hard), the lance will not automatically lower itself and you will not deliver couched lance damage.
To perform this attack, a player has to ride a horse straight forward until it gets enough speed and then press the "toggle weapon mode" key (by default this is X). The attack key (default left mouse button) is not involved at all.
If the horse is moving fast enough, the lance will now lower itself and stay there until the horse slows down or for a period of time if controls are set to hard.
The small "loaded" indicator in the bottom right corner which would tell if a crossbow is loaded will indicate if the cooldown is up or not.
Weapons with this effect
|Bonus against shields • Can crush through blocks • Cannot be used on horseback|
Can't be used to block • Couched lance damage • Modifiers • No shield • Unbalanced