Advice on whether to go for mounted combat or not



Hello everyone,

I have a question of advice whether to go for mounted combat on my battle oriented cleric. Typically I can decide for myself, but I am torn apart a bit between the fluff and mechanics of it.

A quick statistics of my character:

Dwarf cleric of Torag (forgemaster), currently level 3 and about to take a single level into fighter class primary for proficiency with dwarven weapons.

Statistics: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 5.
Feats: Power Attack, Combat Reflexes.
Armor Check Penalty: -4.

He has decent armor, hp, saves and pretty much everything. I fairly happy with him, however I would love him to be able to ride a heavily armored bison while wielding his dwarven longhammer later on after few more levels, so I am just planing up a head to see if it's possible to make it work.

So my real questions are, how can I make it work? Is it possible to make it at least a viable option?

Additional side questions;
How high is Handle Animal skill needed?
How high is Ride skill needed?
How many feats are required?
Is it even possible to use heavy barding?

This is for PFS, so only legal options are needed.

Thanks upfront for responses.

There are some issues with mounted combat. Since you are a dwarf, you need a large sized mount, which won't fit in a lot of dungeon spaces and you won't have the room maneuver (a prime benefit of being mounted).

Also, the mount itself quickly becomes....squishy, without some way to advance the mount (Cavalier, Druid, Ranger, etc). None of Torag's domains offer an animal companion option. You still have options, but none are optimal.

For the side questions
25 Handle Animal is the highest DC you need to worry about (Push)

20 Ride is about the highest DC you need to worry about

Mounted Combat at minimum, but like any combat style the more you invest the more you get out of it

An animal companion gets feats as it advances that can be used for barding proficiency.

Ride is very important for Mounted Combat; you want to be able to match or exceed attackers' to-hit rolls so you have a reasonable chance of deflecting blows from your mount. A masterwork saddle for +2 Ride, Skill Focus, etc., etc. -- the more you invest, the more you get out of it.

That said, another way to acquire a mount is Leadership, giving you a cohort that you can ride and will level up with you. You may need to work with your DM on this one. That won't work until 7th level, though. A awakened animal might make a good cohort, say a celestial bison with fighter levels....

At lower levels, trained animals aren't too expensive and you may be able to use spells to help, but expect to need remounts from time to time.

Liberty's Edge

One can gain benefit situationally from a mount without being specialized in it. Using mounted combat can be some combination of feats, skills, class abilities, and equipment. How deeply you invest is up to you.

An animal must have Int 3 to have combat training and attack x2 (7 total tricks). This is tough without an AC, and means it's tough to get animals to attack most odd critters.

Handle animal: if buying a trained animal, you won't need much HA for training. You generally are going to need to hit DC 12 when animal is wounded. With your Charisma, 1 rank and a class skill gets you effectively to 50% control in combat. It will take a move action to give an HA command. You do not need HA to move around on the battlefield, but may see some table variance on whether HA is needed to get your beast to attack.

Riding: you need a DC 10 to attack with a combat trained animal This allows you both to attack, with table variance as to whether this also gets the animal to attack or if it needs a HA command as well. Your ACP applies. Some DC 20 checks come up, but are usually optional and you'll generally just not do them or fail.

Your animal is not proficient with armor without feats, but can wear armor without proficiency, taking ACP as a penalty to movement skills and attacks. Mithral chainshirt or masterwork studded armor are 0 ACP and can be worn without effective penalty. More than that and penalties apply.

Feats are all optional.

Liberty's Edge

Leadership is not an option in PFS, specified by OP.


Thanks everyone for responses so far.

My intention isn't to use mounted combat all the time. I expect to be riding the mount 30% of time only in PFS. I guess you could say it's mostly for "show", but if possibility arises, I want to be able to use it.

While mount (a regular mount bought for cash, not AC or cavalier's mount) might be squishy, it's easily replaceable if I need to buy another. I would most likely buy several just in case to have them ready in case something bad happens to the first one.

Not sure how much would mithral chain shirt barding cost for a large nonhumanoid creature. It says it's price is 4x, but when is that multiplied?

I am also not sure what to do with tricks. I can train a bison later for combat training between scenario's, but training him individual tricks for Attack x2, might be hard time. Are there ways to improve it's intelligence or bypass the Attack x2 ?

Owner - Pikes Comics

If you take the animal domain to get a companion I think it might be worth it. The separatist archtype would allow this to be taken.

Liberty's Edge

Whether the mithral get multiplied is unclear. There is a highly supported FAQ thread near the top of the rules forum on the subject.

You might check on whether there is resource for buying a combat trained animal in Arimal Archive or whatever it is called. With your Cha and lack of AC bonus, it's tough to train on your own.


Here's my advice: ask your GM.

If he says, "Yes," then do it because your GM is actually planning on putting you in situations where you can use mounted combat.

If he says, "No," then don't do it because your GM is going to be playing like virtually every other GM, and mounted combat will be a gimmick that your party loathes because you'll be the only one able to do anything worth a damn.

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