The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 2 ratings)
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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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****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.


Contributor

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This book has a lovely name.

Scarab Sages

Cheapy wrote:
This book has a lovely name.

Thank you! As something of a cavalry enthusiast I have always felt that mounted combat is a dramatically engaging aspect of heroic adventure which is sadly underutilized in fantasy gaming. (Why can I not fight on horseback in Skyrim?! Curse you, Bethesda!!) I sincerely hope I've covered the majority of what players and GMs need in order to breathe new life into an aspect of their games which is often neglected.

It's worth noting that the main objective behind the book was to allow players to enjoy the tropes of mounted combat in a meaningful way without having to build an entire character concept around it. To that end, the book includes:

- A wide variety of mounts geared towards PCs that don't have animal companion class features. Your 10th level fighter deserves to ride a horse with more than 2 hit dice!

- New actions to perform in combat that can be performed by any mounted PC regardless of class or level, including Countercharge and Massed Charge.

- Rules for sharing certain feats and saves between rider and mount that reduce bookkeeping in combat and allow characters to use their hard-earned movement abilities even when in the saddle.

- Simplified rules that allow your PC to fight while mounted, even if you don't have the stats for your mount handy!

- Loads of roleplaying ideas covering how to obtain, train, and care for heroic mounts.

- Rules for a new type of performance combat: The Joust. (Personally, I think this is worth the price of admission by itself.)

And of course there are new feats, items, and spells aimed at mounts and their riders, for those players who want to go the extra mile toward making their character effective in the saddle.

I sincerely hope a lot of you will check it out.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wolfsnap wrote:
Simplified rules that allow your PC to fight while mounted, even if you don't have the stats for your mount handy!

This is something I'm quite interested in. We've had two mounted characters so far in our last two campaigns (one of the characters was mine), and we found some of the rules awkward and unclear ("so my mount and I both get a round's worth of actions, but taken at the same time...right?") and clarification/simplification would be quite helpful.

Are you planning on selling this at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG also?

By the by, you do realize with this name, you'll never be able to do a sequel book, right? ;)

Scarab Sages

Alzrius wrote:
This is something I'm quite interested in. We've had two mounted characters so far in our last two campaigns (one of the characters was mine), and we found some of the rules awkward and unclear ("so my mount and I both get a round's worth of actions, but taken at the same time...right?") and clarification/simplification would be quite helpful.

In this book you will find not only additional rules to widen the scope of actions that being mounted makes possible, but you will find commentary and explanation of the existing rules which answer just those kinds of questions while making the entire enterprise easier.

Quote:
Are you planning on selling this at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG also?

Right now you can only get the PDF here at Paizo or at lulu.com. I recommend buying through Paizo because Lulu doesn't let me insert bookmakrs into the PDFs. There will be a print version available through the Paizo site at some point.

Quote:
By the by, you do realize with this name, you'll never be able to do a sequel book, right? ;)

This is the last Mounted Combat book you will ever need! :)

If it sells enough copies, I will tackle another thorny topic desperately in need of a "Final Word":

THE VERY LAST BOOK ABOUT ALIGNMENT

Scarab Sages

Many thanks to BiblioTech for the kind review!


This is the highest quality book I've seen from (what I assume to be) a first time studio in a while. I've only really looked in detail at the explanation of the mounted combat rules (to see if you got it right :)), but as someone who did their thesis on cavalry, I plan on reading it sometime soon.

Scarab Sages

Cheapy wrote:
This is the highest quality book I've seen from (what I assume to be) a first time studio in a while. I've only really looked in detail at the explanation of the mounted combat rules (to see if you got it right :)), but as someone who did their thesis on cavalry, I plan on reading it sometime soon.

Thanks! I did get a little bit of experience under my belt with "The Tomb of Haggemoth" which I published a several years back for D&D 3.5 (basically a complete adventure path in one book). I've been considering putting the PDF up here at Paizo, but I'm not sure how much interest there would be considering that it hasn't been updated for Pathfinder.

I'm glad you like the look of the book! When you've had a chance to digest it thoroughly, please go ahead and write a brief customer review!


Interesting! I might check this out as soon as finances permit. The new OD ate my budget. -.-

Scarab Sages

Many thanks to everyone who's been buying the book - I am both pleased and surprised! As always I would like to encourage you to make your opinions known by adding a customer review.

Scarab Sages

Just wanted to add a note here that I will be at Paizocon 2012 and I hope to make print copies available for purchase in the Paizo store at the con.

I also am planning a Jousting-based event for the con, although that's still in the organization stage. Watch this space!

And again, many thanks to everyone who's bought a copy of the book!

Scarab Sages

I thought it worth noting that we are almost completely booked for the First Annual Jousting Competition which will be happening at Paizocon 2012. This tournament will be using the rules for Jousting from The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat and will feature characters competing against one another in head-to-head matches in an elimination tournament.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Scarab Sages

Big thanks to everyone who bought a copy of the book while attending Paizocon 2012! The First Annual Jousting Competition was a huge success, and a great time was had by all, so I'm thinking we might expand the event next year.

Next month, I'm going to be at Gen Con in the author's alley where there will be more print copies for sale, and of course you can always get the book here at Paizo.

Contributor

Print/PDF Bundle now available!

Dark Archive

It is still on my list of books I plan to pickup some day. Sadly the list grows faster than I buy things on it. :)

Scarab Sages

Thanks Liz!

And thanks again to everyone who's bought a copy. Feel free to leave a review or a rating!


I bought this one and plan to have a review up soonish. :)


And finally reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!

Scarab Sages

Many thanks to Endseitgeist for the kind but fair review!

Dark Archive

Nice review End, just moved this up the list of my what to buy next.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hrm, I may have to get this...


Thanks and you're welcome! This had been on my review-pile for quite a while.

Scarab Sages

Big thanks to everyone who came by the table at Gen Con and picked up a copy! This year was our best Gen Con yet!

Dark Archive

I need the deck of jousting cards (used at PaizoCon), any help?

Scarab Sages

I should try to get a PDF put up for those cards.

There's going to be another Jousting Competition this year at Paizocon - I may have an extra deck or two there.

Scarab Sages

Congratulations to Sir Malir, the winner of the 2013 jousting tournament! We had a great time at Paizocon and I'm already looking for to next year.

Scarab Sages

It's Gen Con time again! I will be at Gen COn 2013 in the Author's Alley section if anyone wants to come by and say hello!

Scarab Sages

Hard Copies once more in stock!

Scarab Sages

My profound thanks to everyone who attended the 3rd Annual Jousting Competition at Paizocon this year. We had a fantastic field of entrants, and some really exciting action.

And now to announce the winners:

In third place: Sir Eric the Arrogant, who's actually quite a nice fellow once you get to know him.

In second place: Sir Benedict Patchweasel, whose fresh steed Peppermint was a favorite with the crowd.

And our first place winner, who unseated all his challengers without breaking a sweat, was Sir Crispin, a last minute-entry who gamely took up the lance and rode to victory despite his initial trepidations.

Congratulations to our winners, and I look forward to seeing you all next year! In the meantime, if you'd like to run a joust in your own games, may I humbly suggest you pick up a copy of The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat.

Scarab Sages

Had an excellent time at GenCon 2014! Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of The Very Last Book about Mounted Combat!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is it fair to say that this is a must-have if you're running Kingmaker, and have both a paladin and a cavalier in your party? ;-)

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
El Ronza wrote:
Is it fair to say that this is a must-have if you're running Kingmaker, and have both a paladin and a cavalier in your party? ;-)

I'd say that in a primarily outdoor setting such as Kingmaker, this is an excellent resource not just for the paladin and cavalier, but for the whole party.

One of the purposes behind this book was to make mounted combat easier, more useful, and conducive to fun role-playing. The reason that most players (or GMs) don't get into mounted cobat is that in order for a character to be good at it, they usually need to build it into their character concept. Obviously not too many players do this, since you usually can't ride a horse into a dungeon.

The core of this book is about finding ways to get players who don't want to spec into mounted combat to still find a use for it in the right conditions. Even a rogue, a cleric, or a wizard can be involved in cinematic, sweeping action on horseback (or wolf-back, or any number of exotic creatures) without having to spend precious feats or resources on it.

Of course the book DOES contain feats, spells, and items for those players who DO wish to spend some time and resources on fighting from the saddle, and we've tried to make the effort suitably rewarding.

Incidentally, if you're playing Kingmaker, you will probably also be interested in another book in this series: The Very Last Book About War, which presents an alternative mass combat system for Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Even better than I thought. I'll try to pick it up come payday! =)

Scarab Sages

Print copies of The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat are now back in stock at Paizo!

ALSO: check out this interview I did at RPGMP3.com where we talk about the new book, Dire Destiny, and a whole lot about the fun and complexities of Game Mastering:

Balgin chats with Wolfsnap

Scarab Sages

Congratulations to the winners of the Open Jousting Tournament at Paizocon 2015!

Grand Champion:
Sir Benedict Patchwesel (and his horse Peppermint)

Runners Up:
Sir Joustalot
Lady Aurelia and her noble steed Snowflake

It was a fun, raucous event (as usual) and a good time was had by all. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Scarab Sages

Thanks to everyone who came by my table at Gen Con 2015! New print copies of this book should be available in the Paizo store in a couple of weeks.

Scarab Sages

Just wanted to give a shout out to everyone attending Paizocon 2016: Sadly, I can't be there this year to run the annual Jousting competition, but I do hope the event can return next year, better than ever!

Have a great Paizocon, everyone!

Scarab Sages

Ride on by our table in Author's Alley at Gen Con 2016! All our books will be there on sale.

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