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Mount-Oriented Characters


Advice


Has anyone played one before?

While my love affair of the Riders of Rohan remains firm (pun intended? you decide...), I have always wanted to play a character that was mount-oriented. Now that my friend has decided to run the Kingmaker AP, I feel that now would be a great time to fulfill my destiny.

Does anyone have any experience with mounted characters? Good? Bad? Not quite what you expected?

Thanks for your time!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Robot GoGo Funshine wrote:

Has anyone played one before?

While my love affair of the Riders of Rohan remains firm (pun intended? you decide...), I have always wanted to play a character that was mount-oriented. Now that my friend has decided to run the Kingmaker AP, I feel that now would be a great time to fulfill my destiny.

Does anyone have any experience with mounted characters? Good? Bad? Not quite what you expected?

Mounted characters are situationally very strong. Under the right conditions they will control the battle field. Under the wrong conditions they are just poorly designed footmen, fighters without feats.

I had a mounted character once that since we fought mostly in dungeons and crowded cities and thus couldn't use his abilities to his full effect. The one time I actually got to use all my feats was to run down a teenage bully who thought he was a highwayman, not exactly the stuff of legends.

My advice would be to make the character competent both in the saddle and out of the saddle as you will likely spend at least as much time (and likely much more) on the ground.

The other thing is that without other mounted characters you will likely go running off by yourself without support close at hand.

If you do build a mounted combat character, have a chat with you GM. A lot of GM's start combat when the two sides are at the limit of the combat mat even though a rider on the plains could see them at quite a distance. This reduces the likelihood of moving around them and charging from the flanks or rear of an enemy.

Also talk with your fellow players. Explain that you need a free path to charge and don't step in front you just to get a better look at the enemy. Make sure they know about the delay action. I've seen many a mounted (or charging) character nerfed by his own party.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We are currently playing Kingmaker and we all have mounts (all war trained now). And they help with the exploration and such, but there are times when mounts come at a disadvantage. Want to hide, what are you doing with your horse. Want to ride down bandits, well horses have a base AC of 11, so easy pickings.

BTW, our last combat encounter was against 12 bandits and it started out at nearly 1000 feet (180 squares to be precise). We were losing essentially a mount a round once we got within about 500 feet. Now, granted they weren't hurting us, but it took time and resources to not loose our mounts.

It is a bit of a different experience than the standard city adventure / dungeon crawl though.

A few hints - there is very little advantage (and with most of the disadvantages) if there is only one or two mounted PCs. For best effect, mount everyone up. Two, get war trained mounts ASAP - otherwise the horses just scatter during combat. Three go through the mounted combat rules and then read WOTCs Rules of the Game that explain Mounted Combat for 3.5 (which is virtually identical to Pathfinder, so they should apply). Four, not everyone needs to have Mounted feats or even the Ride skill - they can help one to be much more effective in mounted combat, but not everyone needs that. Finally, invest in some barding and heavy war horses when you can and don't get too attached to your mounts - they will take damage and can easily die.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For Kingmaker, I think a mounted character can be quite the strong character, both in flavor and mechanics.

Pros: you'll have lots of wide-open type fighting, and will really enjoy the mounted speed while exploring the map. If you have a smart mount, you can teach it stuff like skills and games. If possible, consider a flying mount.

Cons: There's also lots of not-wide-open fighting. There're plenty of dungeons and delves in KM, and a Large or larger quadruped may have trouble getting in and around.

Possible solutions:

Gnome/Halfling on a Medium mount. This works great with Summoners, Sorcerers, and Paladins. A charging, power-attacking, smiting Gnomish Paladin makes for a very scary, charismatic, and powerful combatant. Find a climbing, jumping, sticky-tongue'd mount (like The Giant Gecko, and you're cooking with gas.

Cavalier/Paladin with a Horse. Be prepared to leave Bessy behind at the dungeon entrance more than a few times. The upshot is that your horse, being slightly more intelligent (not to mention quite a bit more comat-capable) can easily defend the party's horses and secure your escape vehicles. Very easy to become "Prince Valiant" or "The Black Knight" and loved/feared throughout your kingdom.

Fighter/Ranger Mounted Archer. Small or Medium race will work here, but the character will be a bit feat-starved. Unlike the Charger Knight, you have the option of remaining out of the limelight (and danger.) With a lot of the encounters happening at long distances, and the know-how to capitalize on that stand-off, you exhibit all the deadliness that is PF Archers, and probably ride more than a few horses into the ground.

Summoner. Create your mount when and where you want, plus all the awesome that is Summoner to boot.

Druid is another choice. Here the focus is on spellcasting, with the mount transportation and possibly close-in defense. It's still mount-oriented, and potentially allows for the following, pending GM discretion, of course:

Leadership + Natural Spell + Rider of Rohan Cohort + Druid Horsey = Charging Lance Damage + Full Druid Casting. (AKA, Win.)


In the last campaign, a player had a Dragon cavalier on Dragonne (mini bestiary rule).

Focusing his mount was dangerous for him, but overall he did well even wen not mounted (flanking, the dragonne ussing Improved Drag maneuvers, cavalier using different weapons and teamwork feats).

Mounted, expecially charging + challenge, was SCARY. Scary. And add in Aura of Justice of his fellow paladin...


Inquisitor works too. You can get an animal companion at your level -4 by taking the right domain (Animal i think). Take boon companion, and you're set.

Sovereign Court

I was running a homebrew setting and the party picked up mounts really fast. Especially when they noticed how useful the Cavalier's mount was.

1. Mount had a better sense check than the players and tended to hear/spot things earlier.

2. In combat while on the Mount the Cavalier was GODLY. Damage output kept pace with the combat heavy casters early on.

3. Speeds up movement around town and outside. Came in handy quite often.

I consider it a rite of passage when the PC's get their first mounts.

Shadow Lodge

In one game, I have a mounted wizard. It's great when I can get it to work. We once ambushed someone, and I started by riding through the middle of them, dropping an Obscuring Mist in the center of them, riding on past, and then blasting the group with area effects as I rode around in circles.

The extra mobility is terrific. It's a little harder in Pathfinder because concentration checks are harder, but get that as high as possible and you only need to be fair-to-middling in riding. I had taken Animal Affinity and Skill Focus: Concentration and it worked great.


We did a game to level 10 where one of the players had a halfling Cavalier on a Large wolf Mount. He did a number of Creative things.

He Fed it Reduce Animal, spider Climb and Fly potions. It had no Fly skill But he had to learn a Trick for botht he Climb and Fly bit and the Flying was basically for Running straight at things un-impeded by terrain. If we had to go somewhere he would reduce it to medium and he could still ride it indoors.

The end of the game took place in a City surrounded by Jungle and he was basically Death to the Enemy. He killed a large black Dragon in one Pass (I cannot remember if he crit on the charge or if it rolled a 1 on its Massive damage roll)

the only thing we couldn't solve was a way to give him a swift action Passwall to solve the whole obstacles to he enemy thing.

Theres nothing wrong with mounted characters when theya re int hir element they shine and In the case of Cavaliers they are perfectly good the rest of the time.


Robot GoGo Funshine wrote:
Does anyone have any experience with mounted characters? Good? Bad? Not quite what you expected?

We have slightly altered the Mounted Combat rules in my game.

That said, I like to use Ranger or Fighter as the base for "nomad" type mounted characters. I'm open to swapping Class Abilities for certain feats, or occasionally re-arranging Abilities a little.

The advantage of a Druid or Ranger on a horse is that you can make it a Companion, which helps dramatically with its survivability. WotC had an online column some time ago that featured a bunch of new Tricks you could teach Animals that also could be really handy.

Like anything "non-standard" or "themed", you really need to make certain that the game, the group, the environment (the DM) and so forth are accommodating to what you're attempting. Playing a dwarven tank in an ocean-going campaign is generally no more fun than a sea-captain who goes spelunking. The uber-wood-elf isn't going to enjoy a gothic urban-mystery campaign, while the diplomatic charisma-Rogue won't be a great party asset in the great deep wilds.

HTH,

Rez


Thanks, everyone, for the insightful responses! I greatly appreciate it. Gives me a lot to mull over while I crank out this character.

I am just apprehensive about all of those times where being on my mount just won't be a viable option in-game. Making a character is never an easy endeavor for me, haha, striving to cater to my ideal character concepts.

Again, thanks!

Liberty's Edge

If you think a "pounce kitty" druid is bad, now imagine a gnome barb4/rangerX on his leopard doing the same thing, but sharing Rage with it.


As stated by other people, the problem with mounts is that they're often pretty fragile. Unless you're riding on a souped-up animal companion horse or some exotic animal, you're basically going to be riding... a horse.
Now there's nothing wrong with horses, but mechanically they're fairly weak. Even a heavy warhorse (using the advanced template applied to a horse) has an AC of 15 and 19 hit points. By level 3 or 4, that's awfully easy to hit and kill. Granted, the Mounted Combat feat lets you avoid one attack per round, but a couple of archers can kill your horse awfully quickly. And it's no fun to have invested feats in mounted combat if your horses keep getting shot out from under you.

Historically, being on horseback was a huge advantage, in part because you didn't get tired running around in your armor. But since there aren't rules for battle fatigue, that doesn't translate to PF, of course.

I honestly don't know the best way to implement mounted combat in a better way. But it would be nice to have some way in which knights mounted on horses were actually not kind of lame.

Sovereign Court

Man. There needs to be a magic item that allows you carry mounts with you in dungeons.

Something that has 4 holster like pouches that can store (diminished in size) 4 war horse scale critters. Or up to 8 riding dogs.

Maybe call it the Magnificant Minature Stable?

Does something like this exist?


I'm playing a cavalier with a... giant spider mount. (In the setting the GM made they were common as horses.) Since the mount benefits from most of the same rules as a druid animal companion, it's AC with feats is almost as good as the cavalier's (and it has a ridiculous DEX). This is not likely to be available to most characters, but I'm loving it so far. Even when it's not viable to be mounted, the spider is a fairly good flanker, and it can squeeze into areas a horse couldn't get to.

With a horse, I'd often be relegated to the aforementioned 'fighter without feats' status, with the slight edge of the cavalier challege once or twice a day.


The problem of monstrous mounts is similar to that of monstrous (or even unusual) animal companions in general: you can't easily take them with you into a city or any sort of settled area. Now if giant spiders are common and considered normal mounts, that's not a problem, of course, but it can definitely cause problems if you, as a ranger want to bring your direwolf mount with you into town.

I guess it makes me wonder how cavalry can be considered effective in a world governed by PF rules :)


Robot GoGo Funshine wrote:

Thanks, everyone, for the insightful responses! I greatly appreciate it. Gives me a lot to mull over while I crank out this character.

I am just apprehensive about all of those times where being on my mount just won't be a viable option in-game. Making a character is never an easy endeavor for me, haha, striving to cater to my ideal character concepts.

Again, thanks!

Well, barring being inside a dinner hall, castle, or other such place where it would be socially prohibited, there are few places a medium sized character can go that a small-sized character with a (medium) mount can't.

One of the more impressive characters I've had in a party was a Halfling Paladin with a Leopard Mount... and the new Cavalier class is set up to allow small cavaliers to take mounts such as boars.

In terms of getting them "into town" -- much as you would with a horse, you just ride it in. (Now, to be fair, I don't think they'll be keen on letting you stable most "fun" mounts at the local livery -- but at the same time, the mount can be ridden up the stairs and into your room at the inn -- though I'm sure you'll need to pay extra, most innkeepers opinions of what's allowed changes pretty quickly when a few gold coins are passed to them [especially when a paladin promises the room will be clean, in the halfling example])


If exotic mounts are considered less than exotic and a city often has people coming through it riding on leopards, direwolves, giant spiders and so on, then it's not so much of a problem bringing your pet with you to an inn in town.
On the other hand if this is not the case, I would imagine that a lot of places simply won't let your bring dangerous animals into cities, and certainly not into inns.
I know that druids and rangers are supposed to be wild and everything, but being near civilization does have its advantages. Like access to places of commerce...


Halfling Cavalier on a riding dog.

I am not kidding, your about as tall as a human is normally and your mount does not think its weird that you want it to go inside. Sure your weapons are smaller but your challenge and your party buffs should make up for that.

Oh, and Mithiral breastplate barding as soon as you can wrangle it, you want your puppy to be fast and long lived.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thomas nelson wrote:

Halfling Cavalier on a riding dog.

I am not kidding, your about as tall as a human is normally and your mount does not think its weird that you want it to go inside. Sure your weapons are smaller but your challenge and your party buffs should make up for that.

Oh, and Mithiral breastplate barding as soon as you can wrangle it, you want your puppy to be fast and long lived.

Also consider: Gnome Paladin on Riding Dog. Or whatever kind of critter you prefer.

For slightly reduced weapon damage, and 20' base speed, you get +1 AC, +1 HP/Lvl, +1 Fort, and +2 Cha as a Paladin. Let's not forget the bonus to hit, stealth, and craft skills. Low-light vision and innate SLA's never hurt anyone, either.

I had a Gnome Paladin all the way through Legacy of Fire. He mounted whatever he could grab locally, though, as he divine bonded his sword. Either way is extremely viable, though. [rul=http://paizo.com/store/byCompany/m/magnificentEgos/uncommonCharacters/v5748btpy7clh]There's even a mini just for him.[/url]

As a Paladin, you get to lead your valiant kingdom through righteous leadership and massive charisma.


Elrostar wrote:

If exotic mounts are considered less than exotic and a city often has people coming through it riding on leopards, direwolves, giant spiders and so on, then it's not so much of a problem bringing your pet with you to an inn in town.

On the other hand if this is not the case, I would imagine that a lot of places simply won't let your bring dangerous animals into cities, and certainly not into inns.
I know that druids and rangers are supposed to be wild and everything, but being near civilization does have its advantages. Like access to places of commerce...

First up - I wasn't talking about giant spiders or dire wolves - I was more thinking small cats or boars than large-size predators.

Second, to most people, the guy riding on the boar with the spear and flail is probably considered only one dangerous thing (mount and rider), and that's usually enough to get you in the gate. It's a rather different scenario than the ranger covered in weapons walking up to the gate with a Dire Lion at his side.

And third, yes, I assume that in a civilized land, you can get in the gate -- but that will be restrictions - namely probably a need for muzzles, horn caps, etc., and most likely a peace bond. I hand-waved all that stuff as part of the RP - though I certainly think it does and should exist.

Thing to remember is that everyone in Golarion (or whatever gaming land you're using) grew up there - and so they know that, for instance, the Halfling Cavalier and all his (enchanted) weapons is a much bigger threat than the boar he rode in on.

SO then it's up to the player to RP where he's storing it, because, I would imagine that it might make the horses nervous.

Liberty's Edge

Most fun while mounted ever: old Living Greyhawk mod where the big fight at the end was in the big bad's temple (he was an evil cleric). I was a multiclass paladin on an ordinary warhorse...

(I discovered a weird "metagame loophole" which I exploited to the max: at high-level tables, if you could Smite and wore plate, judges would simply assume you were a Spirited Charge monkey and that your horse was a bonded mount with massive hitpoints and saves and normally invulnerable to damage due to Mounted Combat ride-checks -- and wouldn't waste time messing with it. I rode a lame 30hp mount all over the place, without any Mounted feats, and didn't lose them unless targeted by a Big Blasto.)

...and asked the GM to describe the doors at the front entrance.

"It's a set of double doors up an incline of steps."

<Paladin grins wolfishly, spurs warhorse up the steps, rears mount and steel-shod hooves smash the doors open just like the scene in Ladyhawke; charge the altar swinging glaive.>


Robot GoGo Funshine wrote:

Has anyone played one before?

While my love affair of the Riders of Rohan remains firm (pun intended? you decide...), I have always wanted to play a character that was mount-oriented. Now that my friend has decided to run the Kingmaker AP, I feel that now would be a great time to fulfill my destiny.

Does anyone have any experience with mounted characters? Good? Bad? Not quite what you expected?

Thanks for your time!

What about a Barbarian? If you take a look in APG, there is a barbarian variant for those who wanna use a mount plus some cool rage powers that really supports you and your mount. That way you can use your rage powers with with your mount, while you can focus your feats on other things, my suggestion would be one feat that can support you in mounted combat and then leave the rest up to you.

I to am a big fan of the riders of rohan and i never had the chance to make one myself.

Hope this can help you out.

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