Thistletop bridge with a horse


Rise of the Runelords

Liberty's Edge

So Tonight I run the infamous trapped bridge at Thistletop. Not my firts time running a group through RotRL, but its quickly proving to be the most interesting.

The Druid has worked hard clearing brambles and other shenanigans to ensure his horse is with him. This is partly due to the lack of a frontline fighter type in the party and the horse filling the role. (Strangest group I've ever had I must confess)

Any rate as I prepare for the bridge crossing I find myself asking a few things and not finding answers.

1. Would a horse fit? I assume yes as the goblins brought one across

2. Would the horse get a reflex save when the trap triggers? It can try to grab the rope with its teeth but that doesn't seem logical seeing a horse hanging by its teeth...

Any advice on handling this would be greatly appreciated


1) I believe so, though it might have to "squeeze".

2) If the horse happened to be near one end of the bridge when it broke, I'd give it a Reflex save to jump clear, but in the middle of the bridge with no hands it would be out of luck. (Though if you wanted to be nice, you could allow a save and a success would result in it being tangled up in the ropes; a very precarious situation that the party would need to take great care to resolve, but better than it automatically plunging into the water and likely dying.)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Off the top of my head, a couple of ideas, clearly the goblins managed to get a horse onto the island, so sure it's a big enough bridge.:

1. Make the horse reluctant to cross the bridge - if the party forces the issue, bad things happen.

This sets a bad precedent, I wouldn't recommend this.

2. Allow the horse a reflex save. A successful save gets the horse tangled in the dangling ropes rather that taking a long fall - the horse will obviously need help.

This one gives you a great opportunity to scare the crap out of the players about what is going to happen to the horse, and still causes them all sorts of problems, as saving the horse is NOT going to be quiet work.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Incidentally, I'm mentally picturing the horse from "Tangled" (NPI) while we're discussing this.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Heh, looks like we were typing basically the same ideas at the same time.


Great minds and all that.

As I get older as a GM, I find myself more willing to tweak things in favor of the narrative even if they're not necessarily RAW.


wait. how did the horse get through the thistle maze?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The goblins dragged it through after beating it unconscious, if I recall correctly.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Bellona wrote:
The goblins dragged it through after beating it unconscious, if I recall correctly.

This is correct. When the horse healed up enough to wake up in the room it ended up in, the goblins realized they'd made a huge mistake.

Liberty's Edge

The druid has been wasting a lot of resources and time to get his horse through the thistle maze.
The rouge is playing Parker from Leverage who hates horses and is now pissed off half the time as the druid keeps ruining the element of surprise with his antics.


Aw c'mon- who can resist the fun of saving a horse that's holding on by it's teeth!


Bellona wrote:
The goblins dragged it through after beating it unconscious, if I recall correctly.

not that horse, the OP's horse!

of course


When I look at the map (in the Anniversary edition), it sure seems the bridge is 10' wide - it's certainly wider than one of the 5' grid squares. So the horse should be able to cross it without squeezing.

I think answers about reflex saves should derive less from rules and more from play style you and your players would like. And it sounds like there may be some dissension. At least from the rogue.

A conventional response would be: I assume this is a warhorse - normal horses do not do combat. Even so, warhorses are trained to fight, not traverse rickety rope bridges over crashing waves. So, a handle animal check should be needed to coax the animal across the bridge. I would give the druid either pluses on the check or a lower dc if using things like speak with animals or charm animal.

Spoiler:

Keep in mind, the horse is large and alone is sufficient to trigger the trap. Which I assume is why you asked about the reflex save. Which the horse cannot reasonable succeed at since it has no ability to grab a rope to save itself. The pc's might avoid trouble by exploring the bridge, finding and disabling the trap and then the horse can cross.

However, if your group is more interested in story - the druid and is companion horse are interesting and the technical, "realistic" challenges are less important, then perhaps the horse readily follows the druid and maybe a save indicates the trap fails to trigger at all.

Keep in mind, on the other side of the bridge are considerably more challenging space and access problems for a horse. And the AP is changing just about at this point - a horse will be less and less effective as a fighter substitute going forward. It's probably been fun having it stomp goblins but it will be ill-suited to deal with most of what it will find inside the fort (except for more goblins of course.)

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm darn near speechless.
It went worse than I thought.

The Druid decided that the horse was the heaviest of them so it should test the bridge... HE ORDER HIS HORSE TO TEST THE BRIDGE!

The fall was enough to finish off the horse.
It also took me a bit to realize they assumed the bridge had broken, not that it was trapped.


Well, looks like he might find a new equine companion in the very near future...

Spoiler:
I'm talking about the captured horse, of course, of course.


calvsie wrote:

I'm darn near speechless.

It went worse than I thought.

The Druid decided that the horse was the heaviest of them so it should test the bridge... HE ORDER HIS HORSE TO TEST THE BRIDGE!

The fall was enough to finish off the horse.
It also took me a bit to realize they assumed the bridge had broken, not that it was trapped.

Well, problem solved (and it was their own fault at that.)


I couldn't get rid of the warhorse fast enough... it was a cute bit of background, but realistically it was unimaginable that they got it across that bridge - unconscious and dead weight no less - and ultimately it was meaningless in the grander scheme of things.

I added more than enough to make up for its omission, however. ;)

Dark Archive

Story Archer wrote:

I couldn't get rid of the warhorse fast enough... it was a cute bit of background, but realistically it was unimaginable that they got it across that bridge - unconscious and dead weight no less - and ultimately it was meaningless in the grander scheme of things.

I added more than enough to make up for its omission, however. ;)

Thats just underestimating sturdiness of well made rope bridges xP


CorvusMask wrote:
Story Archer wrote:

I couldn't get rid of the warhorse fast enough... it was a cute bit of background, but realistically it was unimaginable that they got it across that bridge - unconscious and dead weight no less - and ultimately it was meaningless in the grander scheme of things.

I added more than enough to make up for its omission, however. ;)

Thats just underestimating sturdiness of well made rope bridges xP

And apparently the strength of goblins when it comes to dragging a 1,500 - 1,800 pound horse head weight across one... after getting it through a maze of thorn tunnels that are all about 3-4' wide.

Lot of really great things about Burnt Offerings and Thistletop, but the horse wasn't one of them imo.


The idea of goblins carrying or otherwise using strength to move the horse is pretty silly. I always assumed that Gogmurt used charm animal or something like that to convince the horse to cross of its own accord.

I agree the idea of the goblins capturing a horse instead of killing it given their racial enmity is odd. But the idea Ripnugget wants to prove his strength by defeating it in combat makes sense from a twisted goblin in point of view.


Latrecis wrote:
I agree the idea of the goblins capturing a horse instead of killing it given their racial enmity is odd. But the idea Ripnugget wants to prove his strength by defeating it in combat makes sense from a twisted goblin in point of view.

I turned it into a camel for the same reason.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Story Archer wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Story Archer wrote:

I couldn't get rid of the warhorse fast enough... it was a cute bit of background, but realistically it was unimaginable that they got it across that bridge - unconscious and dead weight no less - and ultimately it was meaningless in the grander scheme of things.

I added more than enough to make up for its omission, however. ;)

Thats just underestimating sturdiness of well made rope bridges xP

And apparently the strength of goblins when it comes to dragging a 1,500 - 1,800 pound horse head weight across one... after getting it through a maze of thorn tunnels that are all about 3-4' wide.

Lot of really great things about Burnt Offerings and Thistletop, but the horse wasn't one of them imo.

Imagine all of the goblins trying to carry a horse and putting way too much effort into it. Much funnier than "boo doesn't make sense, skip" :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Imagine all of the goblins trying to carry a horse and putting way too much effort into it. Much funnier than "boo doesn't make sense, skip" :D

I totally agree. I think the horse is great idea specifically BECAUSE it is so illogical. It's easy to forget how crazy the goblins are. That one would concoct this plan and convince enough others to help is just perfectly gobliny.

Liberty's Edge

It was kind of moot point.They never even encountered the war horse and the bridge has been permanently cut free from the mainland side. They barely even saw the second basement level.
Good times.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Rise of the Runelords / Thistletop bridge with a horse All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rise of the Runelords