Attacking the Mount in Mounted Combat


Rules Questions


Is that possible in the rules? If that's the case, then horses and other low-level mounts get useless really quick. How do you handle mounted combat when you have combatants around level 7-11 and the warhorse is level 2? Do I just use the rider's HP and say its for both of them? Or do I have to level up the horse to an equivalent level?

Grand Lodge

Generally speaking you need to either have a mount via class feature or feat in order for mounted combat to be viable past the first few levels, for just that reason.


In short, the mount just dies.

You can attack a mount, but a ride check can still negate a hit once per round with

Quote:

Mounted Combat (Combat)

You are adept at guiding your mount through combat.

Prerequisite: Ride 1 rank.
Benefit: Once per round when your mount is hit in combat, you may attempt a Ride check (as an immediate action) to negate the hit. The hit is negated if your Ride check result is greater than the opponent's attack roll.

This is why special mounts, animal companions, eidolons, etc. are the only reliable mounts

I use a house rule to allow non-special mounts to be trained up and advanced so they can survive more than a stern glance at higher levels.


Unless being mounted is REALLY helping someone in battle, we tend to ignore them. It just screws with the suspension of disbelief if we kill all the horses. I know it is a valid tactic both in and out of game, but they are so weak once you gain a few levels. They would die in EVERY fight, not just when people are prepared for them.


Komoda wrote:
Unless being mounted is REALLY helping someone in battle, we tend to ignore them. It just screws with the suspension of disbelief if we kill all the horses. I know it is a valid tactic both in and out of game, but they are so weak once you gain a few levels. They would die in EVERY fight, not just when people are prepared for them.

I do the opposite.

Players are always asking if they can rent horses in town. No way! No merchant rents monster-bait to adventurers. Pay up front or no horses.

Adventurers are always losing horses. They tie them up and go into dungeons, sometimes for days at a time. Sooner or later something comes by and consumes the all-you-can-eat-buffet they left outside.

And as they level up, their horses get killed right out from under them. One dragon with a fly-by breath weapon and boom! Everyone in the party is singed but those horses are totally barbecued.

Nope. I don't ignore them.

But smart players learn to use it to their advantage. Horses can be good bait to lure monsters out of their lair and into ambushes. Horses can draw fire from unintelligent predators - I had a group of PCs kill a ECL+3 battle against a few griffons quite easily by simply getting the griffons to make a bunch of their attacks against the yummy horses while the PCs hardly got hurt. Sure, they lost a couple horses, but they got their money's worth in easy XP...


So there's Mounted Combat to negate an attack, which has already been posted. There's also Indomitable Mount for saving throws. Mounted Shield can also help. Trick Riding lets you use Mounted Combat to negate a hit twice a round.

But honestly, the best way is to get a full animal companion through Animal Ally or similar. 2 HD horses are appetizers or mooks after a certain level. You can try to armor them but they're still going to die to the first solid hit.

Grand Lodge

Komoda wrote:
Unless being mounted is REALLY helping someone in battle, we tend to ignore them. It just screws with the suspension of disbelief if we kill all the horses. I know it is a valid tactic both in and out of game, but they are so weak once you gain a few levels. They would die in EVERY fight, not just when people are prepared for them.

I'm not sure why it would mess with suspension of disbelief when "cut the horse out from under the rider" was a well established tactic in real wars.


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Because the miniature is on a horse, and he doesn't just separate into two pieces!

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
KPhan1212 wrote:
Is [attacking the mount in mounted combat] possible in the rules?

Indeed. The mount and rider are separate creatures with their own pool of hit points and their own AC and saving throws.

Most characters that focus on mounted combat will have the feats listed above, however, which makes it much easier to protect the mount. In some cases the mount may have feats to protect the rider!

Acquiring an Animal Companion will also make your mount more survivable than a store-bought animal.

KPhan1212 wrote:
How do you handle mounted combat when you have combatants around level 7-11?

I've never encountered an entire party focused on mounted combat. In 20 years. Horses just can't go many places (in buildings, underwater, underground) that adventurers do. It shouldn't come up.

Picking up a wand of the spell Mount (or some equivalent) helps alleviate travel time in a pinch. Scrolls of Overland Flight can be scribed for cheap. Paying for Teleport gets common at high levels (if you can't cast it yourself).

I'd almost go so far as to advise that you *not* allow your party to entirely focus on mounted combat. That doubles the number of 1) actions per round, 2) figurines to keep track of, 3) dice rolls needed for saves and checks, and 4) becomes a burden the moment you need to climb a ladder down into the sewers.

I'd avoid it if possible.

Sovereign Court

Yeah - past level 4-5, you either need an animal companion, or you need your halfling to start riding the dwarf barbarian. (Yes - it's legal. And yes, it's disturbingly effective.)

Grand Lodge

So far my hunter riding his wolf (now worg) has been incredibly effective (kind of a hunter, he's got other stuff thrown in (especially since straight up hunter doesn't qualify)). Now that I just got my third hunter level and can share my teamwork feats with my mount, it's gonna be even more effective.

That being said, I'm level 5 and haven't picked up any of the mounted feats yet. Mounted Combat seems like it would be useful, but I can't convince any of the PFS GMs to hit my mount instead of me.. And he has a higher AC than I do anyways.

Spirited Charge seems useful, but I'm not using a lance (I want my worg to attack so no reach weapon) and it's not actually often that charge lanes are open anyways.

Mounted Skirmisher would be good, but the way I'm multiclassing I won't get an iterative attack until lvl 9, so that seems wasted, too.

My lvl 6 and 7 levels are probably going to be Sohei for two bonus feats--one being Combat Reflexes, the other being a mounted feat that I have yet to determine what will actually be useful. With that, I'll have to spend my lvl 7 feat on Boon Companion which opens me up to two more levels of something that doesn't have a companion which will progress my worg.

More on point, I recently played a scenario that had a large number of Aspis Consortium npcs riding non-trained mounts (it was obvious they weren't trained due to their skittishness in battle). I went right up to the leader and cut his horse out from under him. He went down and we proceeded to pummel him to death while he was stuck under his horse.


Historically, an officer or an aide-de-camp might start a campaign season with 15-20 horses, expecting high casualties among them (combat losses, being ridden to death carrying urgent messages, disease issues in new terrain, etc.) So high casualties among mounts are certainly fairly common.

(This is yet another reason why it was rare for entire armies to be mounted -- very few societies were able to mount everyone. Of course, adventurers don't always have the same economic issues as nation-states.)

A destrier, a wartrained stallion, could be a LOT more expensive than a suit of plate mail (in game terms, a class feature animal companion...)


Jeff Merola wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Unless being mounted is REALLY helping someone in battle, we tend to ignore them. It just screws with the suspension of disbelief if we kill all the horses. I know it is a valid tactic both in and out of game, but they are so weak once you gain a few levels. They would die in EVERY fight, not just when people are prepared for them.
I'm not sure why it would mess with suspension of disbelief when "cut the horse out from under the rider" was a well established tactic in real wars.

Because it is a well established tactic for WARS, not individuals. It is really hard for one individual with a sword vs one with a sword and a horse. Yes there are tactics, as in all things. A properly equipped US soldier can turn a modern battle tank into a tin can coffin with weapons he can carry on his back. Not all soldiers, in fact, very few, are carrying them everywhere they go. There are not very many creatures on earth that can kill a 1,000+ lbs beast, even a herd animal, but barely scratch the human riding it.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love horses, even the mundane ones. If you take them into battle they are a great boost to your speed early on, and allow you to gain cover as an immediate action!

If you don't take them into fights, they are still great for travel and carrying gear and treasure.


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Our campaign has introduced several breeds of horses in four tiers of quality..base horses are barely broken or trained ones, tier 2 is the standard horse in game, tier 3 is a much more well defined breed, (race and nation based), and tier 4 are the absolute best of them.
They range all the way up to a CR5-6 top of the line warhorse...that costs 4-6k gp

and to further enhance the horse process, we also have 20 horse traits that are randomly generated when someone goes shopping for a mount, the tier of the horse is the maximum number of traits it can have.

The traits range in effect and will influence various stats and such..and even reflect a very spirited powerful horse is not for a unskilled rider.

all in all it has added alot of depth to our campaign, and the GM has gone to lengths to keep horses and such as vital to travel..(no overland flight spells..teleports etc)


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I once had a GameMistress who was a Veterinary Science student. Her rules for horses were ... extensive. My dwarf warrior had a warhorse custom bread from a shetland pony and a percheron. The resulting warpony was unimpressed by anything up to and including small dragons.


This is why the redeemer paladin encourages the party necromancer to conjure him an awesome undead mount, so he can use his holy weapon against evil.....


Attacking the mount is certainly possible and in some cases desirable. If the rider is full plate or small size--or both!--taking out the mount will seriously slow him down. (Pulling him off the mount might be even better, though, and a lot of hooked polearms were designed to do exactly that.)

If the mount has the Trample attack, kill it quickly.

If you have a horde of mounted characters coming at you, a fireball is a great way to separate the animal companions from the purchased ponies.


Ashtathlon wrote:

Our campaign has introduced several breeds of horses in four tiers of quality..base horses are barely broken or trained ones, tier 2 is the standard horse in game, tier 3 is a much more well defined breed, (race and nation based), and tier 4 are the absolute best of them.

They range all the way up to a CR5-6 top of the line warhorse...that costs 4-6k gp

and to further enhance the horse process, we also have 20 horse traits that are randomly generated when someone goes shopping for a mount, the tier of the horse is the maximum number of traits it can have.

The traits range in effect and will influence various stats and such..and even reflect a very spirited powerful horse is not for a unskilled rider.

all in all it has added alot of depth to our campaign, and the GM has gone to lengths to keep horses and such as vital to travel..(no overland flight spells..teleports etc)

This sounds awesome. Any way I could get the rules you're using?

Sovereign Court

Speaking personally for one of my characters, the mount has a better AC, better saves, and the PC has a REALLY high ride check, so you're welcome to try and attack the mount.

Grand Lodge

Komoda wrote:

Because it is a well established tactic for WARS, not individuals. It is really hard for one individual with a sword vs one with a sword and a horse. Yes there are tactics, as in all things. A properly equipped US soldier can turn a modern battle tank into a tin can coffin with weapons he can carry on his back. Not all soldiers, in fact, very few, are carrying them everywhere they go. There are not very many creatures on earth that can kill a 1,000+ lbs beast, even a herd animal, but barely scratch the human riding it.

I'm still not sure why you find this suspension of disbelief breaking. A tactic for wars requires the individuals to make use of it. And yes, a mounted combatant will usually win in one on one with another...at early levels. The ones that are still someone accurate to real life. By the time a normal horse becomes a liability, you're into levels where pretty much everything you fight is way beyond what a normal human has to deal with in the real world.

Also the tank thing isn't really relevant, as the difference between a tank's durability and a human's is a lot different than the difference between a horse's and a human's.


The relevancy was that there is a tactic for everything, not that a horse and a tank are comparable.

Tactics against heavy horse usually involve pike lines and hedge rows on a prepared battlefield, not a chance encounter between adventurers.

Again, levels is part of the suspension. Horses didn't become weak vehicles until what, WWI. Even the invention of firearms did not end the horse's usefulness on the battlefield.

In Pathfinder, they are relegated to weak vehicles early on, unless of course it is a special mount. It seems incredibly stupid to me that in a world like that of Pathfinder, that heavier duty mounts are not the norm.

Why the heck would a horse cost as much as a few year's salary if it can't handle a trip through the woods?

Grand Lodge

In real life humans don't start being able to kill gods after running around in the woods for a few years, but they can in Pathfinder. It's not a comparable experience.


NikolaiJuno wrote:
Ashtathlon wrote:

Our campaign has introduced several breeds of horses in four tiers of quality..base horses are barely broken or trained ones, tier 2 is the standard horse in game, tier 3 is a much more well defined breed, (race and nation based), and tier 4 are the absolute best of them.

They range all the way up to a CR5-6 top of the line warhorse...that costs 4-6k gp

and to further enhance the horse process, we also have 20 horse traits that are randomly generated when someone goes shopping for a mount, the tier of the horse is the maximum number of traits it can have.

The traits range in effect and will influence various stats and such..and even reflect a very spirited powerful horse is not for a unskilled rider.

all in all it has added alot of depth to our campaign, and the GM has gone to lengths to keep horses and such as vital to travel..(no overland flight spells..teleports etc)

This sounds awesome. Any way I could get the rules you're using?

Sure send me a email or something and I will try to put together most of the rules for you..we use roll20 and turned the horse traits into a card deck..and the mount breeds are kinda world specific but I can find those for you to.

Grand Lodge

Komoda wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Unless being mounted is REALLY helping someone in battle, we tend to ignore them. It just screws with the suspension of disbelief if we kill all the horses. I know it is a valid tactic both in and out of game, but they are so weak once you gain a few levels. They would die in EVERY fight, not just when people are prepared for them.
I'm not sure why it would mess with suspension of disbelief when "cut the horse out from under the rider" was a well established tactic in real wars.
Because it is a well established tactic for WARS, not individuals. It is really hard for one individual with a sword vs one with a sword and a horse. Yes there are tactics, as in all things. A properly equipped US soldier can turn a modern battle tank into a tin can coffin with weapons he can carry on his back. Not all soldiers, in fact, very few, are carrying them everywhere they go. There are not very many creatures on earth that can kill a 1,000+ lbs beast, even a herd animal, but barely scratch the human riding it.

Well, for non-Chivalrous combat, the horses were, frequently, the target of choice.

And, in Pathfinder, there are plenty of ways for a 7-1 PC or NPC to target areas, instead of individuals.

And, even uglier, is when the <redacted> is riding a mount like a pegasus, which is an invitation to disaster. Only 34 hit points, Ref +6, that is just asking for a high level area of effect. Kill that mount, and the rider is now falling, falling, falling....

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