A Halfling Cavalier's Mount

Round 1: Cavalier and Oracle


I've not had to opportunity to play it yet, but I was thinking of making a Halfling cavalier. My original concept of a small armored gentleman riding his trustworthy riding-dog has, however, radically changed.

At first the following annoyed me greatly, but now I'm in pure awe. There is no specific animal companion block for a riding-dog, but I assume that role gets filled by the regular dog when it advances at 4th level to a medium sized creature. This means that my 1st level Halfling could buy a riding-dog for 150gp, but cannot be bonded with it via his class until 4th level... though he could ride a wolf at first level and call it his dog instead. A viable solution... but why stop there.

A Halfling (or Gnome) cavalier's list for mounts at first level is CRAZY! Why wait for a classic (and more urban-acceptable) riding-dog, when you could ride one of the following instead, right from the get-go:

The aforementioned Wolf
An Auroch
A Lion
A Tiger
An Elephant
A Rhinoceros
An Ankylosaurus
A Brachiosaurus
A Pteranodon
A Stegosaurus
A Triceratops
A Tyrannosaurus
And even a Roc!

All of these creatures start of as medium sized animal companions (yes, even the t-rex and the roc), and thus can be used by a small character (Halfling / Gnome) as a mount. Sure, you'll need an exotic saddle, but I'd say it's worth the extra gold. And because they're medium, they can also be easily taken into dungeons with the rest of your medium sized party (the time it takes to combat train a mount, and then the extra tricks it gets for being an AC are well worth the investment)! Plus you don't have to advance them to the larger size at level 4 or 7, you can instead up their dexterity and constitution (or you could upgrade to something that becomes medium from small, like a cheetah or a velociraptor / deinonychus).

As a player I am drooling... but at the same time, it seems wrong to me that a Halfling cavalier can gain a triceratops (or anything else on that list) as a mount at level 1, but not a riding dog.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm actually going to have my halfling cavalier riding a Roc.
One thing to be careful of: they have very low constitution scores, so if you get one have it grab toughness as a feat.
Also for later on when the Roc grows to Large size, I'm going to try and have a saddle of reduce animal (-1 size, +2dex, -2str, lasts hours), which would allow it to remain medium size, but still get most of the bonuses from the 7th level advancement.
Also, if you look in the bonus bestiary (free download!) they also have axebeaks and dragonnes statted up as animal companions.

It's really much better to advance your AC to a larger size, and try to find a way to shrink them down as necessary, than to forgo the gigantic bonuses they get from advancing normally.
If you can't find a way to shrink them, it's still better to change to a different mount that's advanced to the correct size than to retain your old mount.

Btw the velociraptor stands out as the best medium sized (after 7th lvl advancement) mount animal companion. 5 attacks, good str/dex/con, pounce, and etc... It even has good mental stats!

As a sidenote, use your AC's first attribute point to beef their Int up to 3, it means that you don't need to use handle animal checks anymore, and they get to pick feats from the entire list.

The Exchange

I don't know about you guys, but I'd be riding a medium viper as a halfling cavalier after 4th, and a constrictor before that... I think that's the most badass way of doing it, personally. Especially if you were using craft(alchemy) to duplicate the viper's poison, then dishing out 2 doses of it on a charge (one from the viper, one from your lance for a +2 to the DC and an extra 3 rounds)

I know it's goofy, but I'd do it =P

On a side note, even though it's not on the list, I think that Ability Focus should be on there for the animal companions(if only for the viper's poison).


The upgrade to a velociraptor is exactly what I had in mind. The 60' speed was the clincher for me. Awesome mobility! Decent strength, attacks, and AC, plus the pounce ability. Though it is bipedal instead of a quadruped, but the lack of the extra 50% to carrying capacity shouldn't cause to much trouble for a Halfling who weighs so little. I was thinking of starting off with a tiger. (battle-cat anyone)

You may get some argument against the viper though, as there is one line that say "The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount". What is suitable? I think it's something you can invision putting a saddle onto and be able to sit on and ride. A medium sized viper is medium because it is so long, not because it is thick enough to hold me off the ground without my feet dragging. (at least, the way I see them. perhaps your viper is really, really fat?)

Though I will repeat: I still find it perplexing that these exotic mounts are more viable for a starting small sized cavalier than a riding-dog. *shrugs*

Pirate wrote:
Though I will repeat: I still find it perplexing that these exotic mounts are more viable for a starting small sized cavalier than a riding-dog. *shrugs*

Its not as much that they're trying to not give you a riding dog, its that the small dog is included for those who actually want a small dog. If you want to have a medium dog all the way up, use the wolf stats from 1-3, then dog at 4+, you should even be able to get away with pretending it is the same dog.

Watch the stats though if you are worried about it. A lot of the bestiary animals have very low base con scores, at least the dinosaurs do (because they have massive base sizes and have their bulk of hit points in pure hit dice instead of high con, so when reduced to a low hit dice and a smaller size they end up with very few hit points), the electric eel on the otherhand is crazy tough.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Strangely the Velociraptor has massive con, much better than just about every single other AC of equal size.

The Exchange

Whatever happened to the Dire Weasel, btw? I would love to play a Halfling Cavalier that rides a Dire Weasel, just having it latch onto an opponent and drain blood (con damage FTW!) while I take full attack actions against the target as well. It's AC drops while it's latched on, but that's what Mounted Combat is for =)

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