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Mounted Combat- How's it work?


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

I'm building a Cavalier, and this is my first time playing a mounted character. As such, I'm not 100% clear on how mounted combat works exactly (not the feat, just regular riding around a combat-trained horse in battle). I've looked around at the Ride Skill section in the CRB and a couple other places, and those don't do such a great job of explaining.

So can someone give me a basic rundown on the way it works?
e.g. Move actions, standards actions, your actions vs. mount's actions, you doing a charge vs. your mount doing a charge, provoking, etc.
The whole shebang.

Thanks,
Confused Cavalier

And as an aside, (typically) how often do things attack your mount instead of you? That is, how concerned should i be about someone killing my horse, provided i give it decent armor?

Liberty's Edge

Salabrian wrote:

I'm building a Cavalier, and this is my first time playing a mounted character. As such, I'm not 100% clear on how mounted combat works exactly (not the feat, just regular riding around a combat-trained horse in battle). I've looked around at the Ride Skill section in the CRB and a couple other places, and those don't do such a great job of explaining.

So can someone give me a basic rundown on the way it works?
e.g. Move actions, standards actions, your actions vs. mount's actions, you doing a charge vs. your mount doing a charge, provoking, etc.
The whole shebang.

See the mounted combat link in my profile.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/combat#TOC-Mounted-Combat has most of what you need to get started. Namely, initiative, figuring out move/standard actions, and the like.

Mount shares your initiative. You share the mount's square(s).

Mount's move doesn't count as your move action; it counts as the mount's, even when it's double moving.

Guiding the mount is a free action (DC 5 ride check). (This assumes a combat-trained mount; otherwise, it's a move action or, if you fail DC 20 Ride, a full-round action.)

Since the mount does the moving for you, you can do your normal actions and enjoy movement, save that you can't full-attack while moving more than 5 feet, as you're moving to fast to do so.

Charging bonuses and penalties apply to both you and your mount.

+1 to attack rolls for higher ground unless the target is as big as your mount or bigger.

Keep in mind that your mount can attack too, if it's trained to. That means it gets a move and standard (or full, if not moving), and you get your move and standard or full. It's a DC 10 check and a free action to make the mount attack. If it attacks without your say-so, that might entail a DC 5 check to stay in saddle. It's a little vague on these points.

That's it for basic, basic mechanics. Just remember to charge, and for FSM's sake, get a lance. They're amazing.

How often do enemies attack your horse? Depends on the enemy and the situation. A smart enemy will attack your horse if and only if it feels that it would be more effective. Fortunately, in Pathfinder, a fall from a fallen horse only does 1d6 damage to you; no getting pinned under your horse for the Witch-King of Angmar to finish off unless the GM is in an evil mood. Still, some barding for the cavalier's companion wouldn't hurt. If the enemy figures out that you're crushing them via CHALLENGELANCECHARGE, they may try to knock you off the horse (or knock the horse out from under you) to nerf the lance.

In my game, the main mount-related problem the party faced while traveling overland through marsh was giant leeches. They tended to attack the horses because their deliciously unprotected bellies were closer to the ground, where the leeches were hidden in the muck. Small and especially smaller creatures would go for the mount more often for similar reasons.

Mounted combat is full of win.

Liberty's Edge

Many thanks to the both of you!
A few more questions:
1) A natural 1 isn't an auto-fail on a ride check is it?
2) For the Spirited Charge feat that doubles your melee damage, I assume this is just the normal damage that the weapon does and won't include things like extra fire damage from a flaming weapon? Also is that a "roll the die twice" or "roll the die once and multiply by two" type of deal?
3) The Ride-by Attack feat lets you "charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge)" Since when you charge, you have to charge to the closest square that threatens the enemy, the enemy is always going to be standing in a square that continues the straight line of the charge. Does this feat ignore that to allow you to ride by him without going through him, or do you have to attempt an overrun?
4) Similarly, for Wheeling charge, are you still required to go directly for the enemy if possible or can you use your 90 degree turn and move to place yourself in a better position before going for him?

Oh, and "no getting pinned under your horse for the Witch-King of Angmar to finish off" = *like*

Liberty's Edge

1) No. A nat 1 is not an auto-fail on skill checks.
2) Extra dice don't multiply, but extra static damage from Str, +1, etc. does multiply. Anytime you multiply a result that involves dice, roll repeated dice, don't roll once and multiply.
3) Ride-by Attack is problematic. There isn't a good answer that both fits the RAW and the actual utility of the feat. Common practice is to allow the charge to the nearest square from which you can hit and then move on in a straight line without entering the target's square. There are other ways to handle it. YMMV.
4) You can make the turn anywhere during the charge, before hitting or after.

Liberty's Edge

Howie23 wrote:

1) No. A nat 1 is not an auto-fail on skill checks.

2) Extra dice don't multiply, but extra static damage from Str, +1, etc. does multiply. Anytime you multiply a result that involves dice, roll repeated dice, don't roll once and multiply.
3) Ride-by Attack is problematic. There isn't a good answer that both fits the RAW and the actual utility of the feat. Common practice is to allow the charge to the nearest square from which you can hit and then move on in a straight line without entering the target's square. There are other ways to handle it. YMMV.
4) You can make the turn anywhere during the charge, before hitting or after.

Awesome, thanks.

Scarab Sages

There's also a new book out all about mounted combat, if it's not too gauche for me to suggest it myself.

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