Druids make better horsemen than cavaliers


General Discussion


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If my main character concept is a mounted warrior, I can best achieve that by being a Druid rather than being any other class and picking up the cavalier archetype, and by quite a lot. Why? Because Animal Order Druids get the ability to let their horse move without them spending an action to make it move at level 4, while Cavaliers dont get it till level 10.

That is a remarkable dissonance between concept and rules, as I think most people who want to ride a horse dont want to be a druid and vice versa (i imagine most druids want a wolf or hawk or something)

Im not suggesting nerfing animal order druids, because that ability makes sense for them, but how about letting cavaliers get the ability to have a beneficial horse at the same level, seeing as horses bring a ton of inconveniences with them.


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Yeah them both getting it at the same level makes since to me. I could get behind that.


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I don't know about that. At best as a druid you'll be wielding a 1d6 weapon whereas if a fighter (cavalier) wields a lance* they get to use a 1d8 weapon (1d10 on a charge).

Mounts that attack while you mount them use your attack penalty so they'll suffer the same -10 that you do.

As a fighter, you can spend your turn to do the following: Command Action; Attack; Attack (-5); Animal Companion Attack (-10); Animal Companion Attack (-10)

As a druid, you can spend your turn to do the following: Attack; Attack (-5); Attack (-10); Animal Companion Attack (-10); Animal Companion Attack (-10)

So yes. A druid gets one extra attack at -10. But you'll only have +1d6 with your damage rolls so with a +1 scimitar you'll be dealing 6d6 assuming all of the attacks hit (21 damage from dice alone) while a fighter with a +1 lance will be dealing 4d8 assuming all of the attacks hit (18 damage). However on a critical hit the druid will be dealing 4d6 per crit while the fighter with his lance will be dealing 6d8 per crit. Given you're not going to be getting a crit on your third attack I'd rather take the fighter if I was worried about dealing the most damage.

* I can't actually find any rules that allow a character to wield a lance while mounted one handed.


Why cant I spend a general feat to get a lance as a druid too? Theyre typically wooden weapons. It would cost less feats than the fighters spending for Cavalier. Or if I really wanted to I could take Archetype (fighter) and pick up some of the fighters tricks too.

There are currently no rules to use a lance one handed while mounted you didnt overlook that (or we both did. Also a Lance is not 1d10 on the charge, its 1d8+1. They come out to the same average though so thats mostly semantics.

In addition id probably be looking to use a Scythe as a mounted Druid if I truly only cared about my damage, since my Savage Slice allows me to add an extra 1d10 to the second hit for free, and both its base damage and deadly quality are higher which is likely more valuable than the few extra damage from Charge. Im aware Scythe is a partially metal weapon, but not much more than a Scimitar and its nature related, so I could probably talk most DMs into allowing it (and even if not, it would only be one anathema so it shouldnt cost me my druid powers)

But more importantly youre overlooking the point of this thread, which is youre assuming both players start right next to the enemy and make their mounts attack with them, when my point is that if they dont start right next to the enemy the Druid can have his horse make a free move to get him next and then take 3 attacks of his own, while the fighter has to command his horse to move and then gets 2 attacks and his horse gets 1.

Does the Work Together benefit make up for the extra attack? Possibly, but that depends entirely on how likely you are to hit with your third attack, as +1 to damage for the first 2 attacks doesnt make up for an extra 1d6-1d10 or more if the third attack hits, even if the first one crits (likely if the third has a good chance to hit). But there are other things he might want to do after moving, such as blocking, tripping, or even being a spellcaster and thus not using the Work Together benefit, at which point the Druid gains the distinct advantage over the Cavalier.

The cavalier description says "How you fight from your mount can vary, from striking with a lance to casting spells.", but as it stands the Druid is as good or better at both from level 4-10 (and at level 1 as well, when the Druid will have his companion while the Cavalier-to-be will have to at best rent a warhorse).


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Druids can use metal weapons all they like. It's only metal armor and shields that are anathema.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Druids can use metal weapons all they like. It's only metal armor and shields that are anathema.

even better then


Wait... Animal Companions attack at -10? They don't get their own MAP iteration?


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MrShine wrote:
Wait... Animal Companions attack at -10? They don't get their own MAP iteration?

It depends on if youre riding them or not. If youre riding them they count yours as part of theirs and vice versa. See page 315 "Mounted Attacks"


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Baval wrote:
Why cant I spend a general feat to get a lance as a druid too?

Sure. The Weapon Proficiency would give them that.

Baval wrote:
It would cost less feats than the fighters spending for Cavalier.

Oh, I see. We're trying to say which class has to invest more resources. Well druids of the animal order spend half a feat on their animal companion (I think a trained skill and spell points are fair to be equal to the other half of the feat), Full Grown Companion at 4th level and 1 general feat for lance proficiency. The Fighter (Cavalier) spends 2 feats (Cavalier Dedication and Knightly Steed).

So that's 1.5+1 feats vs 2 feats. Given druids get a bit extra for their 1.5 feats but then have to spend an extra feat to boost their weapon damage I'd argue they're investing about equal amounts of resources into being a cavalier.

Baval wrote:
Or if I really wanted to I could take Archetype (fighter) and pick up some of the fighters tricks too.

Sure. And as a fighter I could take archetype (druid) and perhaps get a different set of mount-related feats.

Baval wrote:
There are currently no rules to use a lance one handed while mounted you didnt overlook that (or we both did.

I did make that note in my post. I have to believe Paizo fully intend for lances to be usable atop horses though.

Baval wrote:
Also a Lance is not 1d10 on the charge, its 1d8+1. They come out to the same average though so thats mostly semantics.

Yup. But good to know.

Baval wrote:
In addition id probably be looking to use a Scythe as a mounted Druid if I truly only cared about my damage, since my Savage Slice allows me to add an extra 1d10 to the second hit for free, and both its base damage and deadly quality are higher which is likely more valuable than the few extra damage from Charge. Im aware Scythe is a partially metal weapon, but not much more than a Scimitar and its nature related, so I could probably talk most DMs into allowing it (and even if not, it would only be one anathema so it shouldnt cost me my druid powers)

1) The prohibition against metal is only against metal armor and shields.

2) Scythes are also a two-handed weapon. I'd be less confident of PF2e allowing scythes to be used atop a horse, but it could definitely be possible (they might limit it to two-handed piercing weapons or just limit it to the lance itself).
3) That extra 1d10 is only on your second and third attacks (but still a really good feat).

We could compare the two builds in total which I did start doing by mentioning weapon attacks. Fighters get more HP, but druids get spells. Fighters can spend their stat points on charisma instead of dex (STR, CON, WIS, CHA), but druids can have higher reflex saves (STR, DEX, CON, WIS).

Overall ideally you'll find both classes are much of a muchness (and if they're not then there's an indicator of an overpowered or underpowered feat or two).

What I specifically wanted to look at was "how good are the two classes at being a cavalier"

Baval wrote:
But more importantly youre overlooking the point of this thread, which is youre assuming both players start right next to the enemy and make their mounts attack with them, when my point is that if they dont start right next to the enemy the Druid can have his horse make a free move to get him next and then take 3 attacks of his own, while the fighter has to command his horse to move and then gets 2 attacks and his horse gets 1.

Okay. Let's look at the action economy of that with the druid not commanding her mount:

Fighter's action economy: Command Action; Animal Companion Stride; Attack; Attack (-5); Animal Companion Attack (-10).

Druid's action economy: Animal Stride; Attack; Attack (-5); Attack (-10)

Actually, I messed up in the original analysis. Here is the analysis of the two classes if they start their turn next to the enemy:

Fighter's action economy: Command Action; Attack; Attack (-5); Animal Companion Attack (-10); Animal Companion Attack (-10)

Druid's action economy: Attack; Attack (-5); Attack (-10); Animal Companion Attack (-10);

So if they have to move the druid gets 0 extra attacks, however instead of the fighter's third attack the animal companion gets an attack for less damage.

If they don't have to move the fighter gets 4 attacks and the druid gets 4 attacks.

So no, I don't think the druid is the better cavalier because they don't actually win out in the action economy.

Baval wrote:
Does the Work Together benefit make up for the extra attack? Possibly

It's irrelevant though because both the druid and fighter can choose to benefit from the work together ability. Furthermore the animal companion cannot use work together unless they are commanded to which means they're "one free stride or strike" that the druid gets is irrelevant.

Baval wrote:
But there are other things he might want to do after moving, such as blocking, tripping, or even being a spellcaster and thus not using the Work Together benefit, at which point the Druid gains the distinct advantage over the Cavalier.

And the fighter gets more class feats and the fighter gets expert and master weapon proficiency, more hit points, etc, etc.

If you want to look at which is the better class: druid vs fighter, go for it. But that's not relevant to the conversation of which one is better able to work with their animal companion while expending the same or less resources.

Baval wrote:
The cavalier description says "How you fight from your mount can vary, from striking with a lance to casting spells.", but as it stands the Druid is as good or better at both from level 4-10 (and at level 1 as well, when the Druid will have his companion while the Cavalier-to-be will have to at best rent a warhorse).

See my analysis as to why I disagree. If you are trying to say the druid is a better class than the fighter, you can. But that might be better in another thread. If you want to say the druid is a better mounted warrior then the fighter (cavalier) I'll need evidence before I agree with you. Because so far druids do not have an edge in the action economy.


John Lynch 106 wrote:


Oh, I see. We're trying to say which class has to invest more resources. Well druids of the animal order spend half a feat on their animal companion (I think a trained skill and spell points are fair to be equal to the other half of the feat), Full Grown Companion at 4th level and 1 general feat for lance proficiency. The Fighter (Cavalier) spends 2 feats (Cavalier Dedication and Knightly Steed).

So that's 1.5+1 feats vs 2 feats. Given druids get a bit extra for their 1.5 feats but then have to spend an extra feat to boost their weapon damage I'd argue they're investing about equal amounts of resources into being a cavalier.

No, we were never trying to see which class has to invest more into being a horseman, we were trying to see which class gets to be one first and better. The answer is Druid. It gets the option of using its horse as a horse at level 4, instead of being required to use it as a combination horse and attack. The fact that even by your calculations they spend the same amount of resources and the druid still comes out much better only furthers my point. Also, its Impressive Steed not Knightly Steed the Cavalier needs, Knightly Steed only makes the mount an adult, Impressive Steed allows it to make its own moves without being commanded.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


Sure. And as a fighter I could take archetype (druid) and perhaps get a
different set of mount-related feats.

There is no archetype druid, and even if there will (be which is likely) if it ends up being a better horseman than the horseman archetype that still a problem. The same problem im pointing out. Druids are better horsemen than Cavaliers.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


I did make that note in my post. I have to believe Paizo fully intend for lances to be usable atop horses though.

There is no rule that says you cant use a lance atop a horse, 2 handed or otherwise.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


1) The prohibition against metal is only against metal armor and shields.
2) Scythes are also a two-handed weapon. I'd be less confident of PF2e allowing scythes to be used atop a horse, but it could definitely be possible (they might limit it to two-handed piercing weapons or just limit it to the lance itself).
3) That extra 1d10 is only on your second and third attacks (but still a really good feat).

We could compare the two builds in total which I did start doing by mentioning weapon attacks. Fighters get more HP, but druids get spells. Fighters can spend their stat points on charisma instead of dex (STR, CON, WIS, CHA), but druids can have higher reflex saves (STR, DEX, CON, WIS).

Overall ideally you'll find both classes are much of a muchness (and if they're not then there's an indicator of an overpowered or underpowered feat or two).

Youre pointing out a bunch of things that are irrelevant. 1 was already pointed out to me and acknowledged. 2 is nonsensical since there are no rules restricting using 2 handed weapons while mounted. 3 is something i already mentioned and completely irrelevant.

We dont need to compare HP and saves and things like that to determine which class makes the better horseman, we only need to compare one thing: which class is better at riding around on a horse in combat. The answer at levels 1 and 4-9 is Druid.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


What I specifically wanted to look at was "how good are the two classes at being a cavalier"

Then why are you talking about things that are irrelevant to how good the two classes are at riding horses?

John Lynch 106 wrote:


It's irrelevant though because both the druid and fighter can choose to benefit from the work together ability. Furthermore the animal companion cannot use work together unless they are commanded to which means they're "one free stride or strike" that the druid gets is irrelevant.

I feel like you didnt even read the rest of the line. Your response was completely irrelevant to my point, which was the only real advantage the fighter gets from moving with their horse is the work together benefit, since the horses attack is defacto weaker than the Druids scythe, but the work together benefit still is not better than the Druids scythe (and even if it was, the Druid also has that option)

John Lynch 106 wrote:


And the fighter gets more class feats and the fighter gets expert and master weapon proficiency, more hit points, etc, etc.

Once again, irrelevant. Firstly, we are not comparing the fighter to the druid we are comparing the cavalier to the druid, and only in terms of how well they can ride horses. The druids mount enables them to make more non-striking actions in a round than the cavaliers mount does from level 4-9. These can include but are not limited to tripping, using a shield, and casting spells. These are not specifically benefits of the druid, they are benefits of using the Druids mounts free move as an extra action while performing non-striking actions. The Druids mount also allows the druid to make more powerful attacks than the Cavalier, because it allows them to make their own attacks rather than using the non scaling attacks of the horse.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


If you want to look at which is the better class: druid vs fighter, go for it. But that's not relevant to the conversation of which one is better able to work with their animal companion while expending the same or less resources.

I agree, its completely irrelevant so stop bringing it up. Also stop bringing up "expending the same or less resources" because that is also irrelevant. The only thing being discussed here is "who is better at riding horses, and at what level"

John Lynch 106 wrote:


See my analysis as to why I disagree. If you are trying to say the druid is a better class than the fighter, you can. But that might be better in another thread. If you want to say the druid is a better mounted warrior then the fighter (cavalier) I'll need evidence before I agree with you. Because so far druids do not have an edge in the action economy.

Your analysis, which previously precluded any scenario but standing right next to the target, now tries to make it seem like the Cavaliers 4 actions and the Druids 4 actions are equal, when the third attack is very different (a minimum of 2d10 damage from the druids scythe vs 1d6 from the horses hooves, with the gulf widened further with magic weapons and crits). It also precludes once again any options other than moving in and using all your actions on strikes. If for example it becomes needed to trip an enemy the druid can move in with his mount and get 3 trip attacks, while the fighter must command his mount and only gets 2 as the horse cant trip. Or if the Cavalier was a magic Cavalier the Druid could move with his horse while retaining 3 actions to cast a spells or other activities like using a shield, while the cavalier must command his horse to move, not using the second action the horse gets at all, and is left with 2 actions to split between spellcasting and other activities. Or, if theyre an archer, the same thing happens where the Druid can have his horse move from combat and then fire 3 arrows while the Cavalier must command his horse to move and fire only 2


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If your sole criteria of a good cavalier is someone who can ride a horse without spending an action then you win. I will concede under THAT definition you are right.

That is not a definition I am willing to use though to be perfectly honest. If that is not your criteria can you please outline it for me. Because all I see is "druids are the best because they don't have to spend an action to get their mount to stride."


John Lynch 106 wrote:

If your sole criteria of a good cavalier is someone who can ride a horse without spending an action then you win. I will concede under THAT definition you are right.

That is not a definition I am willing to use though to be perfectly honest. If that is not your criteria can you please outline it for me. Because all I see is "druids are the best because they don't have to spend an action to get their mount to stride."

Honestly did you even read most of my post? My sole definition isnt "can ride without spending an action" but rather "best enables concepts the earliest" and being able to ride without spending an action defacto makes you more effective than those that cant.

Very few mounted warrior concepts are "I fight with my horse", in fact the only one I can think of off the top of my head is a Druid with a horse animal companion. Most mounted characters want the horse for mobility for one reason or another and thats it, they want their actual character doing the work and horses arent often thought of as battle mounts. Only the Druid and the Cavalier allow that, and the Druid allows it at level 4 while the Cavalier is at level 10.

Let me give you an example. My favorite character is a character who fights from horseback, with a shield, in melee, with an ally. What classes allow me to do that and at what level?

Well, to do that I need 4 actions in a turn, 1 to use my shield, 1 to command my horse, 1 to command my summoned ally, and 1 to use my weapon. I can do that with Cavalier or Druid, but I can do it at Druid level 4 or Cavalier level 10. Since I dont want to wait half my adventuring career to play the character I want to play (and its a simple concept), im forced to be a Druid.

Your criteria just seems to be "who gets the most actions per turn" or "who has to spend less resources to own a horse" or even "which class is better ignoring horse or otherwise" which completely misses the point.


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Baval wrote:


Honestly did you even read most of my post? My sole definition isnt "can ride without spending an action" but rather "best enables concepts the earliest" and being able to ride without spending an action defacto makes you more effective than those that cant.

Yup. Most of it was "that's not relevant. Stop talking about that". So what else about the Druid enables the concept beyond no action auto stride? Because not a single point in this reply actually detailed that. All it did was reinforce your point of "Druids win because they get a free stride".

So stop telling me Imiss the point and start telling me what the point is.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Baval wrote:


Honestly did you even read most of my post? My sole definition isnt "can ride without spending an action" but rather "best enables concepts the earliest" and being able to ride without spending an action defacto makes you more effective than those that cant.

Yup. Most of it was "that's not relevant. Stop talking about that". So what else about the Druid enables the concept beyond no action auto stride? Because not a single point in this reply actually detailed that. All it did was reinforce your point of "Druids win because they get a free stride".

So stop telling me Imiss the point and start telling me what the point is.

You read my post, yet somehow missed this

Baval wrote:

but rather "best enables concepts the earliest" and being able to ride without spending an action defacto makes you more effective than those that cant.

this

Baval wrote:


Most mounted characters want the horse for mobility for one reason or another and thats it, they want their actual character doing the work and horses arent often thought of as battle mounts. Only the Druid and the Cavalier allow that, and the Druid allows it at level 4 while the Cavalier is at level 10.

and all this

Baval wrote:


Let me give you an example. My favorite character is a character who fights from horseback, with a shield, in melee, with an ally. What classes allow me to do that and at what level?

Well, to do that I need 4 actions in a turn, 1 to use my shield, 1 to command my horse, 1 to command my summoned ally, and 1 to use my weapon. I can do that with Cavalier or Druid, but I can do it at Druid level 4 or Cavalier level 10. Since I dont want to wait half my adventuring career to play the character I want to play (and its a simple concept), im forced to be a Druid.

which honestly is pretty close to my entire post.

So....i dont really know what to say to you now. I mean, you even quoted when i explained my point and asked me what it was. Thats next level not reading.

There doesnt have to be anything beyond auto stride. Thats it. Auto stride enables concepts. That single ability is what this thread is asking to make uniform between druid and cavalier. Because that single ability enables concepts. Thats the only thing I asked for. The fact that youre asking me what else I want besides that shows me you didnt even read the very first post of this thread before arguing against it. I really have no idea what else to tell you. Druids win because they get free stride.


It seems like the Heavy metal armor component of being a good knight wouldn't jive well with the Druid. The druid may make a better light cavalry or horse archer though. I think if your plan is to ride your horse into the thick of it though, the Heavy Armor proficiencies are going to be pretty critical


Unicore wrote:
It seems like the Heavy metal armor component of being a good knight wouldn't jive well with the Druid. The druid may make a better light cavalry or horse archer though. I think if your plan is to ride your horse into the thick of it though, the Heavy Armor proficiencies are going to be pretty critical

I agree that if your concept is to be a knight then Druid might not be best (for now, pretty typically some non-metal heavy armor has been introduced at some point in the game)

But I dont want to *just* support the knight concept, the Cavalier Archetype should support all horseman archetypes, since mounted characters are a pretty common theme across all types of characters from wizards (Gandalf) to Juggernauts (Archaeon)

The Cavalier itself from PF1 that the Archetype is based on understood this, having plenty of Archetypes of its own to support different mounted character concepts.


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Baval you've literally spent two posts saying how awesome Druids are because they get a free stride. You've also been quite insulting as you do that. Good luck to you in your gaming endeavors but I'm done with responding to you in this thread.


Baval wrote:
et me give you an example. My favorite character is a character who fights from horseback, with a shield, in melee, with an ally. What classes allow me to do that and at what level?

I would suggest a Druid for that concept. They're traditionally good at summoning allies.

However, if you want to play knight in shining armor, or a guy on a horse with a Retributive Strike and a reach weapon, or a mounted archer, there are other classes that might do a better job.


Maybe it is just me but playing a natural oriented primal spell caster who can actually commune and speak with animals AND understand their responses seems like maybe they should be better in the pure riding/controlling of horses and SHOULD be better on horseback.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

Baval you've literally spent two posts saying how awesome Druids are because they get a free stride.

Why yes, yes I have, since thats the entire point of the thread. Ive actually spent 5-6 posts talking about that.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


You've also been quite insulting as you do that.

If you say so. Im sorry if anything I said came off as insulting. However you did come into this thread about free stride to talk about everything except free stride. At several points you tried to compare Fighter to Druid which has nothing to do with this thread at all.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

Good luck to you in your gaming endeavors but I'm done with responding to you in this thread.

thats fine, have fun with your games.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Baval wrote:
et me give you an example. My favorite character is a character who fights from horseback, with a shield, in melee, with an ally. What classes allow me to do that and at what level?

I would suggest a Druid for that concept. They're traditionally good at summoning allies.

However, if you want to play knight in shining armor, or a guy on a horse with a Retributive Strike and a reach weapon, or a mounted archer, there are other classes that might do a better job.

Theyre also the only class that can do that concept before level 10 in PF2. That character is actually usually a Necromancer, so it would make sense for me to be Cleric with Cavalier Archetype but that cant do it before level 10. Druid however can do it at level 4, and in fact can even get undead by taking the Cleric Archetype.

Sure if you want to play the one type that Druid physically cant be, or want the ability exclusive to one class (until archtype Paladin comes out), then Druid wont work. That doesnt really mean much though. (Also reach 10 weapons, the only kind available to medium creatures, dont have reach when mounted on a large creature, the size they have to ride and the size a horse is)

As for archer, im not so sure theres a class that can do it better than Druid levels 4-9. If you have any ideas let me know


kaid wrote:
Maybe it is just me but playing a natural oriented primal spell caster who can actually commune and speak with animals AND understand their responses seems like maybe they should be better in the pure riding/controlling of horses and SHOULD be better on horseback.

I disagree. There are a ton of concepts of characters who ride horses and most of them are not Druids. Druid should not be the best way to represent characters who arent Druids.

I can understand where youre coming from, and I wouldnt really be opposed to if the Druid had the better mount ability for 1-2 levels earlier than Cavalier, but 6 levels earlier is ridiculous.

To point out another discrepancy, the Ranger is actually as good at riding as the Cavalier before level 10, in some ways better.


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Riding the horse is one thing having the rider and mount in full plate with heavy weapons is the one thing that druids won't do and most rangers won't do either. If you are looking for a cavalier expert horse riding is only part of the package you expect when talking about a cavalier.

Druids and rangers are understandably REALLY GOOD at getting animals to do what they want when they want. They are however not heavy cavalry like a cavalier is.


kaid wrote:

Riding the horse is one thing having the rider and mount in full plate with heavy weapons is the one thing that druids won't do and most rangers won't do either. If you are looking for a cavalier expert horse riding is only part of the package you expect when talking about a cavalier.

Druids and rangers are understandably REALLY GOOD at getting animals to do what they want when they want. They are however not heavy cavalry like a cavalier is.

Cavalier is not heavy cavalry. Cavalier is horsemen, the class had dozens of archetypes for every type of rider. Now that it has been changed into an archetype it needs to keep that versatility, not try to turn a class into an archetype and then force that archetype to turn back into the class, that simply doesnt make sense. If you want the class to keep its identity, leave it as a class. If you want the class to become an Archetype, it has to adapt the identity of the base class.

Look here
https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/cavalier/archetypes/paizo-cav alier-archetypes/dune-drifter-cavalier-archetype

No armor heavier than light, no shield, no banner, no tactics, still very much a Cavalier.

There is nothing whatsoever stopping a ranger from wearing heavy armor, and the only thing stopping druids is the (current) lack of heavy armor that isnt made of metal.

All that said, while expert horse riding might not be the only thing that made Pathfinders base cavalier, thats not an excuse for making it so much worse than Druids. Imagine if Clerics didnt get turning till level 10 and someone said "turning isnt the only thing that makes a Cleric", that wouldnt be a valid excuse for putting off a core part of their kit for half their career now is it?

Now imagine if at the same time Clerics lost turning till level 10, Rangers got it right away if they picked favored enemy undead. Would that be ok?

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