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The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 2 ratings)
DDB1004E

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Whether you prefer to roleplay as an elven scout bounding through the forest on a fleet-footed stag, a dwarven barbarian charging fearlessly into battle on the back of a sturdy war-ram, or a shining knight in armor atop his mighty charger, this book will help you to bring these iconic characters to life in new ways. This book features new, expanded rules for using mounts in combat, new uses for the Ride skill, new actions in combat for mounted characters, as well as a bestiary with new options allowing your mounts to scale with your character's level. New feats, spells, and magic items specifically geared for use by mounts and mounted characters are included as well.

For the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Written by Robert Kendzie.

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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Good book, though I wished it focused more on the new rules and less on stats

****( )

The freshman-offering for PFRPG by Dire Destiny Press is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement/back cover, leaving 36 pages of content, so let's check this out!

The book kicks off with a discussion on gaming terms and the problematic and somewhat underrepresented role mounted combat tends to play in D20 and its derivates like Pathfinder as well as discussing the CORE and APG-classes and their respective takes on mounts/efficiency when applicable, including advice for summoners and even archetypes.

After that, a heretofore often neglected topic comes up, namely the upkeep of mounts - general guidelines are included, providing an easy-to-implement mechanic for an added bit of realism. Better yet, the pdf also comes with a massive box in which the raising of a domesticated wild animal and the breaking of an adult one are covered with a plethora of factors - including rules that cover breaking by force and detrimental conditions the subjected mounts may incur from such inhumane methods.

Better yet, the pdf also provides thoroughbred templates for mounts, and yes, that's plural: From a lowly CR +2 to the massive CR +10 version, these templates enable you to add a vast amount of different qualities to the horses featured in your campaign and enable you to create a truly legendary steed. After that, we are introduced to 5 different types of horses, complete with statblocks, as well as 4 ponies, 3 new riding dogs, 2 riding cats (war panther and war lion, baby!), dwarven war rams (2 statblocks), bone steeds, war raptors, war rhinoceroses, riding lizards and constructs and noble unicorns - all of these creatures come with their own statblocks, but they make only for a fraction of the creatures covered - staples like worgs, nessian hellhounds, dire creatures etc. are also covered. It should be noted that some of the statblocks, though not all, feature highlighted, underlined blue words, which leads me to think they supposedly are intended as hyperlinks. In my copy, they don't work, though, and the implementation of them is lackluster at best, with a lot of statblocks missing them completely and not all of the terms being covered. All or nothing would have been more prudent here.

After that, we are introduced to War Beasts, which essentially are larger mounts like War mammoths, saurian war beasts etc., as well as flying mounts like winged unicorns, bloodthirsty pegasi and their almost celestial brethren and hippogriffs, also all with their own statblocks, alongside information on riding dragon horses, drakes and regular griffons.

After all these new mount options, we get to a truly useful couple of pages - a comprehensive, easy to understand run-down of the mounted combat rules that expands them with some truly useful crunchy bits: From the countercharge maneuver and the devastating massed charge of knight's regiments to sharing a selection of feats and maneuvers, this section is not only concisely presented, it's a great bit of crunch. Better yet, if you prefer your approach simple, there's an alternate rule for that as well. And to add another nifty piece of rules-advice, handling war beasts also is covered, though not in that much detail. The book also details different pieces of mundane and magical equipment, from different saddles to barding, horseshoes and razorclaws, rules to provide magical armors and weapons for mounts with 3 specific armors, 1 weapon and 5 wondrous items being featured herein. A total of 7 new spells also deals with mounts, from phantom steeds with hoof attacks to the iconic paladin that charges like an army was with him (this spell being particularly awesome and iconic, utilizing the new mass charge rules) to the creation of a secure stable. Nice spells without any filler and all with respective places in one's campaign world.

A total of 8 feats also serves to enhance a mounted warriors arsenal, whether it'll be via the option to substitute the ride skill for a combat maneuver or CMD once per round, ignoring armor check penalties on ride-checks, jumping into the saddle or even gaining a companion-mount of a limited list, druid-style. Support NPC-roles (Important for everyone like yours truly who's into a certain degree of realism and enjoys seeing the leadership feat make sense) from groom to squire, drover, farrier and mahout are explained as well.

The last 2.5 pages deal with mounted combat and potential problems due to increased space and mobility of the mounts - whether you move of the (in my opinion restricting) battle-mat-grid or remain on it - careful advice is given before the pdf ends with my personal favorite rules of the whole book: Jousting! 8 different jousting ploys allow for finesse and tactics with respective bonuses and penalties to juggle - plain awesome, including Performance (Combat)-checks and the option to influence the crowds and win their hearts. If I had one gripe about this section, then that no sample crowds are given and that the Performance (combat)-skill remains rather undeveloped when a bunch of sample DCs and more exotic maneuvers and their benefits would have further expanded the coolness of jousting.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting - on the one hand, I noticed no significant editing glitches in this pdf. On the other hand the defunct hyperlinks (or whatever they are supposed to be) jar me and make for the one piece of color in an otherwise b/w-book. As mentioned before - all or nothing would have been preferable. Layout adheres to a no-frills b/w-standard that can be considered printer-friendly in the extreme, while the inside-artwork is universally stock and mostly medieval, which is ok since it fits the tone. The pdf is extensively bookmarked.

This pdf seeks to make mounted combat more easy to in a given campaign and the pdf does succeed in some respects - the new templates, statblocks, are nice, but where the pdf truly shines is with the new feats, spells, maneuvers and break-down of mounted combat rules. And then there are the jousting rules. Honestly, I would have loved to see more of them - they are that good. And more combat maneuvers and advice on e.g. how to handle battle between cavalry units would have been nice as well. All in all, Dire Destiny Press has created a great book, especially when combined with 4 Wind Fantasy Gaming's Phantasia Zoologica-horses for added versatility. In the end, this is a recommended purchase, but not a perfect one. Its concise writing is nice, the content awesome, but the strange glitches and somewhat short side on the cool new rules make me settle on a final verdict of 4 stars with a recommendation for anyone intrigued by mounted combat and possibly, knightly courts.

Endzeitgeist out.


Saddle Up!

*****

With 35 pages of content plus an index, The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat offers a lot of bang for the buck. There is enough content to keep players from ending up with cookie-cutter effects; no two players will end up with the same mount. The rules variations are easily understood, and the effects provided are quite imaginative and impressive.

A simple table of contents at the start would have been a nice feature, but since the book is laid out in a fairly straightforward manner it’s more nice-to-have than need-to-have. The inclusion of common-appearance medieval-style illustrations throughout is a nice touch that adds to the content without distracting from the subjects at hand.

A brief introductory chapter, Call out the Cavalry!, lets the reader know the author’s reasons for presenting this work; logical and concise, it lays out the basic concepts to be covered in the accessory.

Chapter 2, Obtaining a Mount, explains a lot of the basics of mounts: clarification of details for those classes for whom mounts are an integral feature, some nice background on the day-to-day uses of mounts for any character, and well-thought-out variant rules on domesticating wild animals as mounts. I might have liked to see a small treatise on the basics of care and feeding of horses in particular, but as that can get quite involved I can see why it isn’t covered.

Chapter 3, The Cavalryman’s Bestiary, is where a lot of the meat can be found: descriptions and stat blocks for common and exotic mounts from riding dogs up to elephants and flying mounts are clearly presented. Too bad for the aquatic rangers and sea elves, though – no aquatic mounts. Still, those characters with a view to putting their racial or cultural distinctiveness at the forefront will appreciate the variety of mounts found here.

Chapter 4, Battle in the Saddle, offers a few rules for mass combat, including charges, ranged attacks and spellcasting, as well as shared rider/mount actions. An amplification of uses for the Ride skill rounds out this short but informative section.

Chapter 5, War Beasts, gives information on the mobile battle platforms of the fantasy campaign, huge- or larger-sized creatures. This information might have just as easily been included in the previous chapter, but wherever it resides the details presented are a must-have for anyone preparing a large-scale battle scenario.

Chapter 6, Gear and Tack, adds a bit of color for those with an eye to authenticity in their gear. Concise descriptions of common equipment give players a better idea of what they need to spend their hard-earned coin on, and provide a basis for understanding the why’s and wherefore’s of some of the items presented in the next chapter.

Chapter 7, Magic Items for Mounts, includes items for both mounts and their riders, and gives an idea of what "clothing slots" are appropriate for mounts.

Chapter 8, Spells, presents several new spells, each with an eye toward enhancing life in the saddle. These are mostly lower-level spells with imaginative effects for all spellcasting classes.

Chapter 9, Feats for Riders, provides several interesting effects for the mounted character. One in particular, Companion Mount, opens up a lot of options for those classes without a feature directly tied to obtaining a mount.

Chapter 10, Support NPCs, gives the duties, costs and benefits of grooms, squires, farriers, drovers and mahouts. Players with an eye for detail will appreciate the information necessary for supporting their mounts in style.

Chapter 11, Running a Mounted Combat Scenario, is almost worth the price of admission alone. Advice on the logistics of presenting mounted combat scenes on the tabletop, along with simple but effective rules for that most iconic of medieval spectator sports, the joust, put a nice finish on the accessory.

Conclusion:

For those who want to flesh out their paladins, druids, rangers and cavaliers, this is a must-have accessory. For everyone else, it offers an impressive array of options that can provide a distinctive and enjoyable roleplaying experience.

I heartily recommend The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat; it’s well worth the purchase price.




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DDB1004E
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****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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