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Exceedingly specific questions about serpentine eidolons


Rules Questions


I'd like the opinions of other Society GMs about a couple of things, if you good people have a moment.

What would you say the carrying capacity of serpentine eidolons is (before any ability score bonuses have come into play)?

They're medium creatures with a strength of 12, so at first glance I'd think to use Table 7-4 in the CRB. However, the text under the heading Bigger and Smaller Creatures at p. 170 of the CRB makes it clear that the values listed on the table are for "Medium bipedal creatures," and various multipliers are applied for different-sized creatures and for quadrupeds.

A serpentine eidolon is neither a biped nor a quadruped obviously. My impulse is to use the values as listed on Table 7-4, but I'm open to--heck, I'm requesting--good arguments for other interpretations.

My second question (or set of questions, really) regarding serpentine eidolons applies only to those which have the mount evolution. Would you require characters who ride their eidolons (assuming that the size differential makes it possible--I'm thinking specifically of a Small character riding a Medium eidolon) to have saddles? If so, would you require them to be exotic saddles?

Further to this topic of riding--do you apply the rules for Mounted Combat and under the Ride skill to summoners riding their eidolons, especially in melee?

My impulses with regard to these issues are to yes, require an exotic saddle, and yes, to use the Mounted Combat and Ride rules, but as with the carrying capacity issue, I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't want to hear other views.

Thanks!

Christopher

Andoran

I've not seen anything to indicate serpentine creatures should have a different carrying capacity from bipedal, so I'd say use the base table.

Any mount that is not built "typically" for a mount needs an exotic saddle, so I'd require one for a serpentine eidolon. And riding anything requires a ride check and the mounted combat rules. If a cavalier has to use those rules for his bonded mount, I think a summoner would certainly have to use them for his eidolon.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A mount is a mount is a mount, no matter where it comes from, they're all subject to the same mechanics when it comes to riding them. If you want to ride bareback on your serpent, the appropriate penalties apply.


Thank you Rinaldo and LazarX. I'm afraid whatever decisions I make about this are going to cause some consternation, locally. Sigh.

Related to this, does anyone know how good HeroLab is at tracking encumbrance and weight carried for mounts? Or for characters, for that matter? Does it, for example, just use the weight carried values from Table 7-4 in the CRB or does it take the 3/4 calculation required by the rule for Small creatures at p. 170 under Bigger and Smaller Creatures into account?

I'm very attracted to the idea of HeroLab and it seems to do a lot of things very well. But my secondary experience with it so far is that there are gaps in what it does that some players exploit either out of ignorance or, sadly, malice. I'm halfway thinking of buying it just to see what it's NOT doing, rather than what it IS.

Shadow Lodge

My internet connection is currently moving slower than an encumbered gnome, but i vaguely recall that snakes used quadrupedal carrying capacity in 3.5 . I'll see if i can find something because yeah, otherwise your snake/dragon can't hold a halfling and his lunch.


I see we've moved forums.

Even if we (me and the other local Society GMs) use the quadruped rules--and I'd love to see something official on it, because I'm leaning against it, frankly--encumbrance still might come in to play.

Based on the character's class and what I know him to be carrying, the minimum possible load for the eidolon in question, as I see it, works out this way.

One male gnome: 37 lbs. (Table 7-3, CRB)
One exotic riding saddle: 30 lbs.
One small light crossbow: 2 lbs.
Ten small crossbow bolts: 1/2 lb.
One spell component pouch: 2 lbs.
One small peasant's outfit*: 1/4 lb.

*assumes he's wearing the lightest set of clothing listed in Ultimate Equipment.

That's a total weight on the eidolon of 71.75 pounds.

Working with a Medium creature with Strength 12 (again, assuming I don't hear anything different), I look to Table 7-4: Carrying Capacity, in the CRB. That load puts the eidolon in the upper third of the range given for Medium Load. Looking down at Table 7-5: Encumbrance Effects, I find that a Medium Load leads to a Max Dex bonus of +3 (the serpentine eidolon has a Dex of 16, so no problems there, right?) and a Check Penalty of -3. Further, as a creature with a listed speed of 20 feet the eidolon's speed becomes 15 feet.

Have I done all that right?

Now, assuming that someone rules that serpentine eidolon's should be treated as quadrupeds for the purpose of weight and encumbrance, I look to p. 170 of the CRB and learn that Medium quadrupeds multiply the values on Table 7-4 by 1.5. Medium encumbrance starts for STR 12 creatures at 44 pounds. 1.5 x 44 = 66. So even with that theoretical ruling, the gnome summoner in our example is still riding a serpentine eidolon suffering under the effects of a Medium load, yes?

Shadow Lodge

AHah. Thank you ravingdork

For purposes of carrying capacity, creatures that literally use their whole bodies to move, such as snakes and fish, also should be treated as quadrupeds.

Linky


BigNorseWolf wrote:

AHah. Thank you ravingdork

For purposes of carrying capacity, creatures that literally use their whole bodies to move, such as snakes and fish, also should be treated as quadrupeds.

Linky

That's very interesting, thank you (and thanks ravingdork). I never played 3.0/3.5 and that's news to me.

I must admit, I'd love to see a Pathfinder specific ruling on this, especially in the case of serpentine form creatures in general, and serpentine form eidolons in particular. I understand and appreciate that the rules linked were no doubt designed for ease of play, but they come very close to doing the opposite of mapping onto my experience of serpentine creatures--by which I mean, snakes--in real life.

Snakes can be very powerful and strong, obviously, especially the constricting species. However, I invite any and everyone: the next time you have the opportunity, (carefully!) place a fingertip on the top of a snake's head and press down with the slightest pressure.

You've pinned it.

The musculature of serpents is not conducive to withstanding downward pressure anywhere along their length--they are, in other words, spectacularly unsuited to be mounts, at least according to my experience and observation.

My impulse is still to rule that serpentine form eidolons should use the biped rules and be glad to have them instead of some penalty, despite this clarification from the 3.5 era. Of course, I will abide by the word of any designer or campaign official, whatever that word may be, and will probably even be swayed by the will of the majority should that prove different than my instinct.

Thanks again!


Well, I believe that the physical make up of an eidolon can from outside appearances look like a snake that, the fact that it is in fact an outsider, could have a very odd anatomy that we cannot hope to comprehend short of an MD in planar-biology. Also, the fact that a summoner's eidolon is in fact taking the mount evolutions. Then you should come to the realization that it is in fact easily capable of being a mount and should be able to serve this purpose.

And.....

Please don't take offense to this. If you do, I will apologize now. Sorry!

Any Gm who would nerf my ability to ride a pet that is designed to be a mount, *$*(&#$ Sucks! It is in no way more game breaking than if the person designed their eidolon to just take advantage of all of the available natural attacks that an eidolon gets, and pounce that it could get as a quadruped. In fact you should be thanking this person for not going the obvious cheese rout.


Oh, I'm not offended, Roger Stonebow, and thank you for your input. Your points about the eidolon being, after all, not a serpent but an outsider are particularly germane.

I am curious, though, about what you think I'm suggesting that "nerfs" anything. You don't think saddles should be required? That summoners riding their eidolons shouldn't be required to make ride checks in circumstances where, say, the rules clearly dictate that cavaliers riding their mounts must? That summoners and eidolons should be exempt from the encumbrance rules?


actually, I am in agreement about saddles, but it seems your making the case that you don't want the summoner's eidolon/mount to be able to carry the halfling because your leaning toward using the bipedal numbers instead of the increased capacity of the quadruped numbers.


I don't have anything to do with PFS, but I'll throw in my 2 cp for you to take or leave at your leisure...

If it came up in my home game I would say that an exotic saddle was required (or the character could take a penalty to do with out), and all normal rules of mounted combat would apply.

As for carrying capacity I'd probably go with quadruped, but then I can be a softy some times, I can certainly see the argument for giving them the carrying capacity of a biped, and if I were a player in a game where the GM made such a ruling I would have no complaints.


at such an early level that this is an issue, I can't see why a gm would rather a player spend points on making his eidolon a combat machine rather than just a very unique mount. It seems obvious to me that, the player wants more than just the normal OP eidolon.


Also, since the saddle is designed to be used on a large creature, wouldn't it be fair to cut the weight of it in half for a medium mount?

The precedent for this being that barding is not multiplied in weight for a riding dog, but is for a horse.

A saddle having no base for a medium creature, only a large, should scale the same way.

This gives you a 15lb. saddle. Actually, if that is -not- how it works, I can't see a riding dog being able to carry an armored gnome cavalier at all, assuming a 40lb gnome, 25lb. saddle, and 25lb gnome plate armor, we're already deep into his medium load and riding dogs have a 15 Str.


TGMaxMaxer, Christopher Rowe factored in the half weight of the exotic military saddle which is usually 60. The issue at hand, however are the need of an exotic saddle (I say yes) and whether as snake should have quadruped carrying capactiy or not (I say yes it should).

Christopher Rowe wrote:
The musculature of serpents is not conducive to withstanding downward pressure anywhere along their length--they are, in other words, spectacularly unsuited to be mounts, at least according to my experience and observation.

I would assume that an exotic saddle for a serpent would be made to alleviate the centering of the downward pressure, spreading it out along the body to avoid impeding the snake. The whole point of an exotic saddle is to make a normally unrideable creature rideable.


TGMaxMaxer wrote:
This gives you a 15lb. saddle. Actually, if that is -not- how it works, I can't see a riding dog being able to carry an armored gnome cavalier at all, assuming a 40lb gnome, 25lb. saddle, and 25lb gnome plate armor, we're already deep into his medium load and riding dogs have a 15 Str.

A riding dog would have a max light load 99 (str 15 = 66 x 1.5 quadruped bonus) and a max medium load of 199.5. With the weight of the saddle and rider that you have above, that's only 105, barely a medium load.

Furthermore, if we're talking cavalier, the mount gets a +1 str/dex every three levels, increasing its carrying capacity.


Lyarie wrote:
The whole point of an exotic saddle is to make a normally unrideable creature rideable.

But the eidolon isn't unsuitable for riding, an evolution point has been spent to make it suitable for riding.


Christopher Rowe wrote:

That summoners riding their eidolons shouldn't be required to make ride checks in circumstances where, say, the rules clearly dictate that cavaliers riding their mounts must?

For the ride checks I would only require certain checks because the eidolon is intelligent and communicating with the eidolon (and giving orders) is a free action for the summoner.

So from the ride skill section of the prd:

Guide with knees - should usually not apply
Stay in saddle - applies
Fight with a combat-trained mount - debateable because the check is required to direct the mount to attack which should be something the eidolon can do on its own
Cover - should apply
Soft fall - should apply
Leap - should apply
Spur mount - should apply (and the eidolon should whip you later for that)
Control mount in battle - nope (you do not need to control the eidolon in this way)
Fast mount or dismount - should apply


@Lyarie: No, in the CRB an exotic military saddle is 40 lbs, and an exotic riding is 30 lbs, I wrote 25 incorrectly looking at the regular riding saddle.
I gave the weight of the gnome, his armor, and the saddle as listed, 95 lbs. If the gnome in question has a shield and one weapon, we're into the medium load. Since their mounts get bonus stats, the cavalier/paladin with a bonded mount is a bad choice.

Take the 15Str riding dog and a gnome/halfling fighter. CRB in Extra Rules also lists 101 as being the medium load breakover for speed reduction for a riding dog. My gnome fighter in full plate carrying a shield and sword and nothing else saddled on his riding dog brings it to a medium load (albeit by about 3 lbs), not including saddle bags and normal bedding gear that most characters travel with.

Which is all I was pointing out, there is a listing for sizing up/down armor weight, saddle should follow the same rule, and would matter much more for the 12 Str serpentine Eidolon.

On the OP tho,

If the Eidolon has the Mount evolution, it is specifically designed to be ridden as a mount, so should be fine with the proper exotic saddle (riding or military), or follow the penalties for bareback.

Being intelligent, anything that could be verbally understood should not need a check for ride(i.e. attack commands, guide, etc.), but the cover/soft fall/leap/fast mount-dismount etc. should be needed as BW pointed out.

The problem is that since we're dealing with an imaginary construct, snakes not being built to carry riders physically can not be bound or equated to the Serpentine Mounted evolution built Eidolon. It is an imaginary construct outsider whose rules of function only fall within the mind of the summoner. Yes, a snake wouldn't normally have the capacity to carry a rider, but, this extraplanar construct with a vaguely serpentine form magically warped to be able to carry a rider by the imagination of the creature intending to ride it, should do just fine.

I would argue that by spending the evolution point to grant it the mount ability, instead of a whole other set of limbs/attacks/wings/etc. would also include the proper physiological changes of form to distribute the weight of a rider at least as well as normal, mundane mounts that the summoner could have purchased.


The arguments that the Ride evolution should bring the quadruped rules into play sound pretty convincing to me. I'll point out again though, that, absent the two-point ability increase evolution or throwing points to strength as the eidolon levels up, the basic serpentine form will still only be able to carry 66 pounds before it hits medium encumbrance and its speed drops from 20 to 15 (and check penalties come into play for skill use).

At a quick glance, I can't find the rules that state different weights for saddles by creature size. Is that just a (logical) extension of the barding rules or is actually stated someplace?

I'm inclined to still require checks for the "fight with combat-trained mount" section of the ride skill. You're not merely directing the mount, which is, after all, combat-trained and in this case in particular knows what it's doing; you're also making your own attacks and hanging on for dear life.


I think a normal saddle or military saddle is adequate. If the form of the eidolon is based upon the imagination of the summoner, then the form Can conform to the traditional saddles.


Rogar Stonebow wrote:
I think a normal saddle or military saddle is adequate. If the form of the eidolon is based upon the imagination of the summoner, then the form Can conform to the traditional saddles.

That's a good argument, and actually raises the question of whether the summoner could shape his eidolon so that it has something like a natural saddle. Can we envision a saddle-shaped depression on this serpent with cartilaginous protrusions for the saddle horn and the edges of the seat? Perhaps deep folds in the skin just below where the rider could insert her legs in the place of stirrups?

Hmmmm...Would that simultaneously solve two problems here? The need for a saddle to avoid -5 penalties to ride checks and the extra weight of a saddle on a creature that's going to be in danger of being encumbered under relatively light weights?


Depends on exactly how powerful you think the Mount Evolution is. It's the equivalent of... pounce in points, so a full attack on a charge is normally reserved for characters around 10th level(barb, catfolk racial, alchemist).

I'd say that equates to a 1.5 str rated carrying capacity, and no penalty to ride checks in combat. Altho they would still be necessary for most actions.


Well, I don't think the Mount evolution should be so powerful (it's only a one point evolution) that the summoner/eidolon team are as good in mounted combat as cavaliers. Do cavaliers have to make Ride checks in combat?


I'm just saying that the Mount evolution costs the same amount as giving the Eidolon the Pounce Evolution.

So, a full attack after a double move for 1 Evolution point.

I would say that this easily equates to negating the need for an actual saddle, but still enforcing ride checks (yes the cavalier makes them too) just not giving a penalty for no saddle; and letting them count 1.5 str for carrying capacity as part of being designed to be mounted.


Okay, yeah, that's the way I'm leaning. No saddle necessary, but no Ride check penalty for not having one. Treated as a quadruped for purposes of encumbrance and weight borne. Ride checks required as appropriate.


Sounds good.

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