The Myth of the Paper Purchased Mount


Advice

The Exchange

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I've noticed that, dotted about the boards, there still lingers the received wisdom that purchased mounts are worthless because they're so vulnerable. Whilst that was certainly true back in the days when the only mounts you could purchase were light and heavy horses (or ponies and riding dogs for the wee folk) Ultimate Equipment and (mainly) Animal Archive have really opened up the options for purchased mounts.

Here's a list of the purchased mounts available for medium-sized riders from Ultimate Equipment and Animal Archive (plus the mammoth from People of the North) along with their Hit Dice and hit points. The gp costs are for combat-trained versions. I've left out creatures with higher than animal intelligence (as slavery is something quite different) and only included those animals who are listed as being purchasable as combat-trained mounts 'off the shelf' (so to speak). I've included a standard-issue horse Animal Companion in the listings, at the various Druid-equivalent levels, with average hit points, as a comparison (although keep in mind that the master of an Animal Companion can get it to spend its Ability Score increases as it levels on more Con, and some favoured class bonuses and the like could also boost Animal Companion hit points a little).

Format is:

Name (price for a combat-trained version): Hit Dice (hit points)

Animal Companion (Horse) 1st: 2 (13) (Con 15)

Light Horse (110gp): 2 (15)
Riding Gecko (400gp): 2 (15)
Heavy Horse (300gp): 2 (19)

Animal Companion (Horse) 2nd-3rd: 3 (19)

Aurochs (450gp): 3 (22)
Axe Beak (1,500gp): 3 (22)
Dire Bat (450gp): 4 (22)
Hippogriff (5,000gp): 3 (22)

Animal Companion (Horse) 4th: 4 (30) (Con 17)

Lion (300gp): 5 (32)
Giant Chameleon (350gp): 4 (34)

Animal Companion (Horse) 5th: 5 (37)

Bison (75gp): 5 (42)
Giant Vulture (1,125gp): 5 (42)
Rhinoceros (1,500gp): 5 (42)
Tiger (500gp): 6 (45)

Animal Companion (Horse) 6th-7th: 6 (45)
Animal Companion (Horse) 8th: 7 (52)

Giant Frilled Lizard (550gp): 7 (59)

Animal Companion (Horse) 9th: 8 (60)
Animal Companion (Horse) 10th-11th: 9 (67)
Animal Companion (Horse) 12th: 10 (75)

Woolly Rhinoceros (3,000gp): 8 (76)

Animal Companion (Horse) 13th: 11 (82)
Animal Companion (Horse) 14th-15th: 12 (90)
Animal Companion (Horse) 16th: 13 (97)
Animal Companion (Horse) 17th: 14 (105)
Animal Companion (Horse) 18th-19th: 15 (112)

Roc (10,800gp): 16 (120)

Animal Companion (Horse) 20th: 16 (120)

Mammoth (2,250gp): 14 (133)

... if you train your own you can look into dinosaurs, more dire animals, and more megafauna too. Also keep in mind that the standard combat-trained package only includes the 'attack' trick once - training an animal to attack anything requires taking that trick twice, so some retraining may be in order if you want to go hunting dragons from the back of a roc or something...

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Being able to drop down to -Con before dying gives all these critters a surprising amount of buffer. They tend to drop a lot if targeted but it takes a mighty blow to actually kill a warhorse.

I has a character manage to keep a standard heavy warhorse alive all the way to level 13, until a surprise breath weapon ended its life. Not a bad run.


Cool, thanks for the breakdown. Interesting that the Horse as a companion actually stays a shade behind war-trained mounts of its equivalent HD as far as HP are concerned.

I once had a DM who made it his personal goal to see how many of our gold-bought mounts he could kill throughout our run through the first Kingmaker book. The answer was a lot.


I have always held that in black markets one can purchase dragons and dragon eggs for about 2k/hatchling CR for an egg (usually the starting value at auction) or 5k/CR for a hatchling to very young dragon.

But that's homebrew, however bothering your GM about it may work, as so long as slavery and black markets exist as well as semi-common dragons, you should be able to buy a dragon.

Silver Crusade

Oxylepy wrote:

I have always held that in black markets one can purchase dragons and dragon eggs for about 2k/hatchling CR for an egg (usually the starting value at auction) or 5k/CR for a hatchling to very young dragon.

But that's homebrew, however bothering your GM about it may work, as so long as slavery and black markets exist as well as semi-common dragons, you should be able to buy a dragon.

The good news: you now have a slave dragon

The bad news: mommy (or great aunt) is angry. Very angry

I'm thinking that very few people are going to deal in dragons. No city is going to allow slave dragons anywhere near it. Dragons are ibtelligent enough to know that stopping the slave dragon trade is a VERY good idea. And powerful enough to stop it.


I think the biggest problem here is the idea that a GM is going to let you purchase a mammoth or rhino, etc.

Some animals may be available for purchase, but not necessarily the ones you want or the ones that are "survivable".

It's not like you walk down the street and just find a lot of these megafauna just hanging out.

Now, if you made it part of your mission to hunt down a specific creature, capture, and then train it could be a different matter. But that's a lot more time and resource investment than "I buy the mount at the mount store".

The Exchange

Cuup wrote:
Cool, thanks for the breakdown. Interesting that the Horse as a companion actually stays a shade behind war-trained mounts of its equivalent HD as far as HP are concerned.

No problem.

As for the horse Animal Companion, I guess it's motivation for players to put their Companion's Ability Score increases into Con. Toughness is also an available animal Feat for Companions, and the human alternate Racial Trait Eye For Talent could also be used to boost a Companion's Con... if one was willing to give up that bonus Feat at level 1, of course. Plus Companions are a lot easier to manage (a free action Vs a move action for normal use of the Handle Animal Skill) and learn bonus tricks - so an Animal Companion is still a big advantage.

But yes, the purchased mounts really are perfectly survivable and, with such a selection now available, tend to turn the whole argument of 'you need a mount that levels with you' on its head - as you can easily purchase a mount of a much higher number of Hit Dice than you'd get through the class feature if you follow standard Wealth by Level guidelines (and, one assumes, can get to a city big enough to stock all this stuff... but they're also the places that sell all the magic items you're after, so chances are you were heading there anyway...).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Great. When you're out adventuring and spend the night at a small inn, your freak mount can just eat everyone else' horses while you sleep. No need to worry about having to feed it.


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Those darn horse-eating rhinoceroses!


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Hey, Rhinos are apex predators i'll have you know

The Exchange

Claxon wrote:

I think the biggest problem here is the idea that a GM is going to let you purchase a mammoth or rhino, etc.

Some animals may be available for purchase, but not necessarily the ones you want or the ones that are "survivable".

It's not like you walk down the street and just find a lot of these megafauna just hanging out.

Now, if you made it part of your mission to hunt down a specific creature, capture, and then train it could be a different matter. But that's a lot more time and resource investment than "I buy the mount at the mount store".

The creatures I mentioned literally can be brought at 'the mount store', as they're all listed as being purchasable as combat-trained mounts. Of course individual GMs are free to limit any purchases they wish (after all, I may not want katanas and kukris in my European medieval influenced campaign, or rapiers and swordbreaker daggers in my samurai epic) but that's a different matter: in general these are all available for purchase anywhere the purchase limit doesn't exceed their price... just like any other gear. The 'mount store' may actually be many different outlets spread across the city, just like the 'magic store' or the 'adventuring gear store', but it's no less a reasonable assumption.

Put another way: if you let PCs purchase any magical gear they want to utilize their Use Magic Device Skill with, then you're probably being bias if you don't let them purchase mounts to utilize with their Ride and Handle Animal Skills.

For other creatures (dire tigers or dinosaurs and the like) there are listed prices for untrained creatures - so that's where you'd be investing time and effort (and, if you're talking something with a CR that way outclasses you, risking your life too) to train.

Sure, some corners of the map won't have Giant Frilled Lizard mounts available to purchase, just as some corners of the map won't have Scrolls of Raise Dead to purchase, but Golarion is full of cities and communities which are designed for just such a wide and colourful market choice.

Anguish wrote:
Great. When you're out adventuring and spend the night at a small inn, your freak mount can just eat everyone else' horses while you sleep. No need to worry about having to feed it.

Well, again, some places in Golarian they likely wouldn't bat an eyelid at you riding up on a giant lizard or rhino... if they're available for general purchase they hardly qualify as 'freak'... but anyway, non-horse large creatures require the princely sum of 1sp worth of feed per day, huge creatures need 2sp worth of feed... is your average adventurer really counting the pennies that closely?

Scarab Sages

I would be remiss not to mention that there are a set of graduated "Thoroughbred" templates available for purchased mounts in The Very Last Book About Mounted Combat which allows for very survivable mounts at higher levels.


ProfPotts wrote:

The creatures I mentioned literally can be brought at 'the mount store', as they're all listed as being purchasable as combat-trained mounts. Of course individual GMs are free to limit any purchases they wish (after all, I may not want katanas and kukris in my European medieval influenced campaign, or rapiers and swordbreaker daggers in my samurai epic) but that's a different matter: in general these are all available for purchase anywhere the purchase limit doesn't exceed their price... just like any other gear. The 'mount store' may actually be many different outlets spread across the city, just like the 'magic store' or the 'adventuring gear store', but it's no less a reasonable assumption.

Put another way: if you let PCs purchase any magical gear they want to utilize their Use Magic Device Skill with, then you're probably being bias if you don't let them purchase mounts to utilize with their Ride and Handle Animal Skills.

For other creatures (dire tigers or dinosaurs and the like) there are listed prices for untrained creatures - so that's where you'd be investing time and effort (and, if you're talking something with a CR that way outclasses you, risking your life too) to train.

Sure, some corners of the map won't have Giant Frilled Lizard mounts available to purchase, just as some corners of the map won't have Scrolls of Raise Dead to purchase, but Golarion is full of cities and communities which are designed for just such a wide and colourful market choice.

Let me clarify, while you may think they can all be just bought at the mount store, if you're not in the right climate for an animal to be there, it is a low chance for you to be able to find that animal. Especially large and larger animals. I think part of the problem here is making assumptions about ease of access to general magic items and goods in general. And that is something that will vary heavily group to group. In my games, the size/value limit of city is very much in play.

You can't get many magical items in Sandpoint for high level characters. But if you go to Magnimar you can get a little more. But to have access to virtually anything you're going to need to go to Absalom, and if you can't find someone who has it already you can request to have it made. In the same way, you're probably not going to find a lot of the more exotic creatures for sale places, but if you look far enough you might find a place where they are.

Just because a price is listed, doesn't mean its easily available.


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Claxon wrote:

...

Let me clarify, while you may think they can all be just bought at the mount store, if you're not in the right climate for an animal to be there, it is a low chance for you to be able to find that animal. Especially large and larger animals. I think part of the problem here is making assumptions about ease of access to general magic items and goods in general. And that is something that will vary heavily group to group. In my games, the size/value limit of city is very much in play.

You can't get many magical items in Sandpoint for high level characters. But if you go to Magnimar you can get a little more. But to have access to virtually anything you're going to need to go to Absalom, and if you can't find someone who has it already you can request to have it made. In the same way, you're probably not going to find a lot of the more exotic creatures for sale places, but if you look far enough you might find a place where they are.

Just because a price is listed, doesn't mean its easily available.

To be fair, if we are assuming the normal availability rules (and I remember them correctly) then a 2000GP Mammoth has exactly the same 75% availability as a 2000gp magic item in a sufficiently large settlement if the GM thinks that T-Rexes are difficult to acquire.

That said, easy exotic mounts have a lot more immediately obvious nasty consequences on the GM's setting, so I could see a GM restricting access to mounts beyond what the rules say more often than they do with magic items, so it's worth mentioning that as a caveat.


Its worth noting that the specific rules for animals and transports has this to say:

Quote:
The animals, mounts, and related gear in this section can be found in most large cities. Based on its location, a settlement might not have all of these animals or related gear available at a given time (as the GM deems fit).

So first you are only likely to find some animals/mounts in large cities and the GM can say still say no.

It doesn't actually use the base value rules for settlements apparently.

It's also worth noting large cities are the second biggest, only 1 step below metropolis.


Honestly, if I was running a game and a player wanted a wooly rhino, I'd direct them to the back of beyond, not to a large city. The large city probably has laws about huge dangerous creatures within the walls, the rhino doesn't want to be around all those people without charging them out of sheer paranoia, everyone's happier if they're kept well separated.


The system of costs for these animals is really bad, honestly. Those costs should be heavily subjective to availability, liscensing, etc. A tribe that raises rhinos for meat and hides would value them substantially less than the Menagerie of England.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Note that most large cities in Avistan will likely have substantial trade with locales where various "exotic" mounts live. Granted, certain selections will be more available nearer to their "home range," but there's enough commerce that mammoths and woolly rhinos are probably not unheard of in, say, Taldor (either from trade with the Mammoth Lords or stock descended from that brought back by the Armies of Exploration) as well as closer areas like Ustalav; or aurochs and riding geckos in areas around the Cinderlands; or axe beaks near the Mwangi Expanse; etc.

Most mounted persons will likely use equines (horses, donkeys, mules) or canines (dogs, wolves), just for cost considerations (both the initial cost and the upkeep). However, I'm also sure that a more exotic mount could be viewed as a status symbol in certain societal circles.

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