Mounted combat

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I have a particular fondness for the mounted knight. But I 've never seen
rules for mounted combat that I'm comfortable with. This is usually due
to the fragility of the mount.

Any ideas how this is handled in 4e?
I cannot remember reading any details about mounted combat in 4e. Whether that is due to my terrible memory or because there simply haven't been any details, I cannot be certain.
i havent seen either.

however i do think that fighters and paladins should of had that as a class feature instead of having to take it as feats.''
thats just me though. but then i prefer to fight on foot
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
I have a particular fondness for the mounted knight. But I 've never seen
rules for mounted combat that I'm comfortable with. This is usually due
to the fragility of the mount.

Any ideas how this is handled in 4e?

D&D Miniatures has new rules for mounts. I wouldn't be surprised if they are a clue for what to expect in 4e.
D&D Miniatures has new rules for mounts. I wouldn't be surprised if they are a clue for what to expect in 4e.

What changes in these rules?
you know, wasnt there a rumor that the knight was killed and the fighter and paladin took his stuff.
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
you know, wasnt there a rumor that the knight was killed and the fighter and paladin took his stuff.

Yes. But the class Knight has nothing to do with the mounted combat rules.
Yes. But the class Knight has nothing to do with the mounted combat rules.

No really, all of the bonus feat options (besides two) were very good choices for mounted combatants. Additionally, mounted combat was one of the best ways to give the Knight the extra offensive power it normally lacked.
No really, all of the bonus feat options (besides two) were very good choices for mounted combatants. Additionally, mounted combat was one of the best ways to give the Knight the extra offensive power it normally lacked.

Yes, but it still has nothing to do with the mounted combat rules. The fact that the fighter and the paladin are splitting the knight's stuff, doesn't have the slightest implication on the subject of changes in the mounted combat rules.
If an opponent is mounted on a horse (or other mount), is it legal to target the horse directly?

I just wondered. Because, if so, then this would discourage high-level
characters from mounted combat. Their HP would effectively that of their
horse. And HP is such a large part of a character's combat effectiveness.
If an opponent is mounted on a horse (or other mount), is it legal to target the horse directly?

Yes, but that's what the mounted combat feat is for.
There are a lot of problems with mounted combat as it is in 3E D&D. First off, it requires having ranks in the ride skill, the Mounted Combat feat, possibly the Mounted Archery feat, to even be able to ride a mount in to battle. Needing skills and feats to be able to take advantage of something is certainly acceptable, but it gets worse from there.

Next, you had to make a ride check:
1) at the start of every turn in order to guide your horse with your knees.
2) whenever you get hit with an attack in order to stay in the saddle.
3) once per round when your mount is attacked in order to keep it alive.
4) whenever you want your horse to attack, run fast, or jump over something.
5) if your horse dies to not take falling damage.
6) using your move action if your mount is not a warhorse.

Combined together, it isn't implausible for a character to have to make half a dozen ride checks every round. (I had to look up the SRD to even remember all of these.)

Finally, even with the Mounted Combat feat, most mounts are very fragile compared to the PCs. If AoE spells are going off, a horse won't live very long.

All of these complexities, and what is the benefit? You get a +1 to attack rolls for fighting from higher ground, and maybe your horse can bite something if you make your ride check. If you carry a lance around, or take more feats, you might get something more.

All together, mounted combat is more complex than grappling, for even less benefit. It really deserves some improvement in 4E.
Also, you often have to leave your mount behind in an adventure, usually right before the big combat. You could make a "summon mount" class ability, but then you have a whole section of special rules that is only useful to one class.

Mounted combat should perhaps be treated less as a character option and more as a set of terrain rules. Underwater terrain, underground terrain, mounted terrain, etc. Give Rangers an ability that gives them a small bonus on rolls in certain types of terrain. Juxtapose the mounted combat terrain rules against a mini-game for chase scenes, and you're good to go.
There are a lot of problems with mounted combat as it is in 3E D&D. First off, it requires having ranks in the ride skill, the Mounted Combat feat, possibly the Mounted Archery feat, to even be able to ride a mount in to battle. Needing skills and feats to be able to take advantage of something is certainly acceptable, but it gets worse from there.

Let's find out just how "worse" it gets.
Next, you had to make a ride check:
1) at the start of every turn in order to guide your horse with your knees.

DC 5. If you have a +4 or more modifier, you don't have to roll it at all since a natural 1 isn't a failure with skill checks.
2) whenever you get hit with an attack in order to stay in the saddle.

Stay in Saddle is also DC 5. The only good way dismount a rider (a.k.a. anyone with a +4 modifier) is to Bull Rush them from the saddle.
3) once per round when your mount is attacked in order to keep it alive.

You are talking about using Mounted Combat to negate an attack once per round. A PC could always choose to not negate an attack that would hit their mount, but that would be silly.
4) whenever you want your horse to attack, run fast, or jump over something.

Fight with warhorse (or other war mount) is DC 10 (With a Dex of 12, you just need to be level 3 before you can take 1 on the ride checks to fight with your mount since Handle Animal 5 ranks gives a +2 synergy on Ride). Jumping is lesser or mounts Jump or rider's Ride, but is no different than any other time you jump (i.e. you make a check of some sort). And Spur Mount let's you make the mount move FASTER than normal (it adds 10 to the base speed for a round) it has nothing to do with charging or running. A mount can run as usual.
5) if your horse dies to not take falling damage.

This is at most once per combat.
6) using your move action if your mount is not a warhorse.

This makes sense. Non-combat animals panic when threatened and they have this huge weight on their back.

You also left off Fast Mount or Dismount which is DC 20. But hopefully it isn't being used every round (although if a PC can consistently make the DC 20 check--including having a +19 modifier--the PC can move anywhere).
Combined together, it isn't implausible for a character to have to make half a dozen ride checks every round. (I had to look up the SRD to even remember all of these.)

Let's say this is a Level one character with 4 ranks in Ride, a Dex of 10, and Mounted Combat feat riding a light warhorse. Not counting stupid examples (i.e. jumping and spur mount because unmounted people still have to make skill checks to jump and a mount is rarely spurred).

Ride checks per round:
1. Mounted Combat to negate an attack that would otherwise hit the mount's normal AC.
2. DC 10 to fight with a war mount.
*. Guide with Knees and Stay in Saddle are passed automatically (DC 5 each).

That is two ride checks per round on a "normal" round. A "normal" round is one you aren't trying to jump, the mount doesn't die, aren't using the mount for cover, and aren't spurring the mount to be faster.

Now let's say it is a round where a PC needs to spur the mount (+10 ft, so that it is a single move instead of a full move to allow the mount to attack), leap over a gorge, to charge a foe that is threatening an ally. That WOULD require a DC 15 ride check to spur the mount, a leap check (lesser of rider's Ride or mount's Jump modifier), and a DC 10 ride check to fight with warhorse. Yeah on that very dramatic round, the riding PC would have to make 3 ride checks, or 2 if the rider has a +9 or more modifier in Ride.

(I didn't have to look at the SRD to find the flaw in most of those reasons.)
Finally, even with the Mounted Combat feat, most mounts are very fragile compared to the PCs. If AoE spells are going off, a horse won't live very long.

This is the only good point you've made.

However, there have been several attempts to fix this.
1. Animal Companions/Special Mounts. For completeness I am including this here. Personally I would rather see Animal Companions and Special Mounts be combined and made into a feat that anyone could take (probably replacing Leadership and the like as Leadership works great as a situational thing where an NPC puts a PC in charge).
2. Online content. There was a feat that granted a feature similar to an animal companion, but lacking a lot of the animal companion abilities (tricks, evasion, etc). I forget what they were called.
3. Cohorts. Through the Leadership feat and/or Dragon Cohort feat, a PC can attract a much more durable creature to serve as a mount.
All of these complexities, and what is the benefit? You get a +1 to attack rolls for fighting from higher ground, and maybe your horse can bite something if you make your ride check. If you carry a lance around, or take more feats, you might get something more.

Mounted combat is actually all about getting two move actions in a row, or getting to do things in the middle. Specifically, look at the ranged attack rules when mounted. They let you attack in the middle of the move. If it is a normal move there is no penalty (even without Mounted Archery), so the Light Warhorse moves 60 ft (as a single move) you can move 30 ft in a straight line, make a full attack (PHB 157) attack with a ranged weapon (i.e. a bow), and move the other 30 ft in the continued line.
All together, mounted combat is more complex than grappling, for even less benefit. It really deserves some improvement in 4E.

What? No way is it more complex than grappling. Nothing in mounted rules is iterative (do things in this order).

I do agree that there needs to be a better way for PCs to get decent mounts besides as Animal Companions and Special Mounts. But I don't think the situation is quite as dire you say SkyOdin.
There are a lot of problems with mounted combat as it is in 3E D&D. First off, it requires having ranks in the ride skill, the Mounted Combat feat, possibly the Mounted Archery feat, to even be able to ride a mount in to battle. Needing skills and feats to be able to take advantage of something is certainly acceptable, but it gets worse from there.

Next, you had to make a ride check:
1) at the start of every turn in order to guide your horse with your knees.
2) whenever you get hit with an attack in order to stay in the saddle.
3) once per round when your mount is attacked in order to keep it alive.
4) whenever you want your horse to attack, run fast, or jump over something.
5) if your horse dies to not take falling damage.
6) using your move action if your mount is not a warhorse.

Combined together, it isn't implausible for a character to have to make half a dozen ride checks every round.

This is exaggeration. That basic "no hands" check is DC 5 I think, most players won't even have to roll for it. Ditto for most of the other ride checks; they have low DCs a 3rd or 4th level PC won't sweat over. Your horse doesn't die every round (hopefully), so no check there, and one should always ride a warhorse into combat, avoiding that roll. So someone with a decent Ride modifier and an appropriate mount shouldn't be making any Ride checks in most situations.

The kicker is mount fragility. If one has the Mounted Combat feat, one can roll Ride to negate one attack per turn that hits the mount. If the feat allowed you to roll multiple times it would be worthwhile. Maybe a number of times equal to Dex modifier, to parallel Combat Reflexes? Also, mounts should use the higher of theirs or your saves, just to increase survivability.

Late Update: JosephKell covered all my points, and better. Guess I was a little too quick on the draw.
My thoughts on the matter:

When a "knight" gets on his horse treat them as one thing, same AC one lot of actions between them this allows for Theoden (LoTR) style crushed under your steeds body deaths.

Allow some bonuses to happen eg HP etc.

Allow some feats that give extra attacks "from the mount" and charging bonuses.

Allow the character to avoid one attack's damage by stating that "it hits my horse killing it" followed by a ride check (or whatever) to manage to land on your feet as your mount falls. Or even use a ride check to do this.
This is exaggeration. That basic "no hands" check is DC 5 I think, most players won't even have to roll for it. Ditto for most of the other ride checks; they have low DCs a 3rd or 4th level PC won't sweat over. Your horse doesn't die every round (hopefully), so no check there, and one should always ride a warhorse into combat, avoiding that roll. So someone with a decent Ride modifier and an appropriate mount shouldn't be making any Ride checks in most situations.

This is true. I have to admit that I was exaggerating a bit for effect, since most of these skill checks can be ignored by someone with a reasonably high ride check. However, if someone with even basic proficiency in the Ride skill can make these checks, why are they so complex? Wouldn't rolling most of those easily ignored checks into the Mounted Combat feat simplify the rules a bit?

The kicker is mount fragility.

This really is the big problem. JosephKell, most of your solutions involve replacing your regular warhorse with a magic warhorse, then replacing that with a griffon, then replacing the griffon with a dragon, and so on. My preference would be that a character could ride the same mundane horse from 1st level through late Paragon levels without worrying about losing it too much.

I still argue that the current mounted combat rules are too complex because it is pretty easy to come up with much simpler alternatives. For example, you can more or less treat horses as equipment, and treat the horse and rider as effectively one character. When a character is mounted, both him and his horse are treated as having the same hit points (for simplicity's sake, the riders). There could be a simple proficiency in mounted combat, and people who are not proficient in mounted combat take a penalty when fighting from horseback. When mounted, a character uses his Ride check instead of Jump, Swim, and other such skills. Particularly good horses give the rider a bonus to his Ride check. Additional feats and powers allow a character to do additional things while riding a horse.

Any comments?
Wouldn't rolling most of those easily ignored checks into the Mounted Combat feat simplify the rules a bit?

It would simplify it, and it's probably best to do that or chuck those insignificant rolls altogether.

My preference would be that a character could ride the same mundane horse from 1st level through late Paragon levels without worrying about losing it too much.

Horses do wear out from age and use, broken legs etc. But I would agree that the risk of losing one in battle right now is far too high. Smart opponents will take the path of least resistance and rob a horseman of the benefits of his mounted feats and options by downing his relatively low AC, 20-30 hp horse.

I still argue that the current mounted combat rules are too complex because it is pretty easy to come up with much simpler alternatives. For example, you can more or less treat horses as equipment, and treat the horse and rider as effectively one character. When a character is mounted, both him and his horse are treated as having the same hit points (for simplicity's sake, the riders). There could be a simple proficiency in mounted combat, and people who are not proficient in mounted combat take a penalty when fighting from horseback. When mounted, a character uses his Ride check instead of Jump, Swim, and other such skills. Particularly good horses give the rider a bonus to his Ride check. Additional feats and powers allow a character to do additional things while riding a horse.

Right on target. I'd like to see the system move in this direction for 4th.
For example, you can more or less treat horses as equipment, and treat the horse and rider as effectively one character. When a character is mounted, both him and his horse are treated as having the same hit points (for simplicity's sake, the riders).

Any comments?

Effectively, you just bought a non-magical item that increases your move to 50' or 60' for only a few hundred gp. That might be a bit of an issue. There has to be some limitations that justify the comparably low cost. Such as the fact that your horse dies on the first fireball.
Effectively, you just bought a non-magical item that increases your move to 50' or 60' for only a few hundred gp. That might be a bit of an issue. There has to be some limitations that justify the comparably low cost. Such as the fact that your horse dies on the first fireball.

Are you saying that all bonuses should come from magical items? I don't want my horse to be made of magic when I play my knight? No, I want a warhorse. A mounted knight is a fantasy archtype and should be supported by and viable in the D&D system.

Also, a horse doesn't just cost a few hundred gp. A horse costs at least a feat and 1 skill point per level to be used with any efficiency.
I posted these over in the 3E boards. I recently came up with them (today actually,) so they haven't been play tested yet. Some feedback would be nice. You can either leave comments here or cast thread-shift and comment on the thread I started on the 3E plane.



Mounted Combat Reflexes*
You can respond quickly and repeatedly to protect your mount from harm.
Prerequisites: Mounted Combat, Combat Reflexes, Ride 5 ranks
Benefit: When your mount is hit in combat, you may attempt a Ride check (as a reaction) to negate the hit. The hit is negated if your ride check result is greater than the opponent's attack roll. (Essentially, the Ride check result becomes the mount's Armor Class if it's higher than the mount's regular AC.) You may attempt to do this a number of times per round equal to your Dexterity in addition to the one attempt that the Mounted Combat feat would grant you. For example, a fighter with a Dexterity of 15 could attempt a ride check to negate up to 3 hits on his mount per round (2 from his Dexterity bonus, and the one that any character with the Mounted Combat feat is entitled to.)
Normal: A character with only the Mounted Combat feat can only attempt one Ride check per round to negate a hit on their mount; a character wither neither the Mounted Combat feat nor the Mounted Combat Reflexes feat can make no attempt to negate hits on their mount.
Special: A fighter may select Mounted Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat.

*I had originally considered called the feat Improved Mounted Combat, but I believe there's already a feat with that name.



Shared Evasion
Your skill at riding often makes you feel as though you and your mount move and react as one; this extraordinary connection allows you and your mount to share abilities which allow you to avoid danger.
Prerequesites: Mounted Combat, Ride 5 ranks, and the Evasion class ability or a mount with the evasion ability
Benefit: A character and her mount can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility and skill. When subject to an attack which normally deals half damage on a successful save (such as a dragon's beath weapon or a fireball spell) she may attempt a Reflex save or a Ride check -but, not both (normally using whichever one would be more beneficial.) If the result of the Reflex saving throw or the Ride check is high enough to make the save against the effect, both the mount and the rider only take half damage.
Special: A fighter may select Shared Evasion as a bonus feat.
Special: A monk may select Shared Evasion as a bonus feat at any level at which they could choose a bonus feat.
Special:** A character with the Improved Evasion class skill or a mount with Improved Evasion can use this feat to share their Improved Invasion ability.
Special: The mount must be considered a suitable mount as defined by the Dungeon Master's Guide and the rules for mounts in the Player's Handbook. This feat and a character's mount should be discussed with the DM before a player chooses it to determine if a mount is considered a suitable mount or not for th purposes of this feat. (This was included to avoid such cheese as a Halfling Rogue trying to use the party Fighter as a mount and granting them both evasion.)

**I had considered creating a Improved Shared Evasion feat which would do this and eliminating this benefit from Shared Evasion, but not very many classes (or mounts for that matter) have Improved Evasion as an ability.

One concern I had was that this feat may be slightly overpowered, but after further thought I don't think it would be. You can only place an amount of ranks into a skill equal to 3 + class level at the most. At second level (the earliest you could qualify) the highest modifier your could have due to ranks in the ride skill would be +5 which is only 2 higher than the best Reflex save available at that level. The Skill Focus feat would allow a character to boost the modifier to a +8, but that's only 3 higher than someone with a good Reflex save who chose Lightning Reflexes as a feat (+8 vs +5.) I still have concerns, but without some playtesting I can't be sure.
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With the addition of the "Bloodied" status in 4E, it might actually work to treat the knight and horse as a single unit. Then, perhaps, when you get Bloodied your mount falls (dying, perhaps) and you're on foot.

Then you could have a lot of feats and/or abilities to go with it, like:

- bonus HP when mounted;
- ability to keep riding when bloodied;
- bonus attack and/or defense;
- trample, good old trample; :D
- mounted charge (extra damage);
Are you saying that all bonuses should come from magical items? I don't want my horse to be made of magic when I play my knight? No, I want a warhorse. A mounted knight is a fantasy archtype and should be supported by and viable in the D&D system.

Also, a horse doesn't just cost a few hundred gp. A horse costs at least a feat and 1 skill point per level to be used with any efficiency.

Horses currently require a feat and imply the investment of 10 minus Dex skill points (minimum). But SkyOdin seemed to be suggesting that this be simplified.

What I felt was that going from 20 speed to 50 speed is a big jump in maneuverability for under 500 gp. Compare to boots of striding and springing that increase your move by 10 for the cost of 5,500 gp.

And under SkyOdin's proposed changes, mounts would be exactly as hard to kill as the rider (shared HP), so effectively the speed bonus only goes away when the rider is out of hit points. In other words, it can't be taken from you; they just have to kill you.

Even for the cost of a feat, plus 400 gp, you far outstrip the Dash feat or any other feat that adds to your character's speed.

This is why I think mounted combat is made difficult and mounts are made frail. It's just too much of a superior advantage in speed for the cost. Without constant skill checks and the possibility of foes taking out the mount, it would be the obvious choice for every PC that was charge-based or wanted to stay away from combat (archers and mages).


Let's flip this around. Would you want to face foes large-sized foes that moved at speed 50, had high hp and ac, and could just ride around your frontline to get to your wizard and cleric? Would you feel cheated when you killed them and the "item" that allowed this was destroyed in the process?

In fact, infantry men didn't want to face calvary either. It was far superior (and far more expensive) to standard troops. Generally it could only be countered by archers or static pike squares; neither of which would be effective in D&D.
This really is the big problem. JosephKell, most of your solutions involve replacing your regular warhorse with a magic warhorse, then replacing that with a griffon, then replacing the griffon with a dragon, and so on. My preference would be that a character could ride the same mundane horse from 1st level through late Paragon levels without worrying about losing it too much.

Yep. Fortunately I found the feat I meant to reference when I said "online content." Random Encounters: Animal Companions for Any Character.
I still argue that the current mounted combat rules are too complex because it is pretty easy to come up with much simpler alternatives. For example, you can more or less treat horses as equipment, and treat the horse and rider as effectively one character. When a character is mounted, both him and his horse are treated as having the same hit points (for simplicity's sake, the riders). There could be a simple proficiency in mounted combat, and people who are not proficient in mounted combat take a penalty when fighting from horseback. When mounted, a character uses his Ride check instead of Jump, Swim, and other such skills. Particularly good horses give the rider a bonus to his Ride check. Additional feats and powers allow a character to do additional things while riding a horse.

Any comments?

As has been stated, treating mounts as equipment that are effectively invulnerable makes them a little broken. Even if you make a PC re-pay for the basic mount every adventure, it is still pretty inexpensive.

But the low DCs are to basically to have untrained PCs fail occasionally.

And the Leap uses lesser of rider's Ride or mount's Jump makes total sense since even the best rider can't push a mount too far. Maybe they could let the rider make an aid another check (especially if you modify aid another so that you can aid more with a higher check).
Effectively, you just bought a non-magical item that increases your move to 50' or 60' for only a few hundred gp. That might be a bit of an issue. There has to be some limitations that justify the comparably low cost. Such as the fact that your horse dies on the first fireball.

A horse can run fast, but it can't climb, it takes up a large amount of space, and it isn't so good at crossing many kinds of softer terrain. Furthermore, a rider can be knocked or pulled out of his saddle. A magic item can't be removed by your opponent mid-battle. Having your horse die every battle only punishes the player for using skill points, feats, and levels to make themselves a better rider.

Ideally, a character should be able to put effort into being a great mounted combatant and have it pay off. Right now, a character has to spend skill points and feats, and maybe take a prestige class, to be really good at fighting on horseback. However, right now all of that investment becomes useless as soon as fireball spells are thrown at the team. It isn't fair that a character can only use his best abilities for less than half the time.
With the addition of the "Bloodied" status in 4E, it might actually work to treat the knight and horse as a single unit. Then, perhaps, when you get Bloodied your mount falls (dying, perhaps) and you're on foot.

This was exactly my thought when I started the thread.

Make the Rider + Mount a single unit, with special abilities because of the presence of the mount, and then have the bloodied condition mean your mount is no longer functional. (it could be dead in the case of a purchased warhorse, and out for the encounter in the case of a special mount or companion)

It is simple, easy to track, and makes mounted combat more of a style choice than a complex analysis of when the mount is a benefit, and when it is a hinderance.
A horse can run fast, but it can't climb, it takes up a large amount of space, and it isn't so good at crossing many kinds of softer terrain. Furthermore, a rider can be knocked or pulled out of his saddle. A magic item can't be removed by your opponent mid-battle. Having your horse die every battle only punishes the player for using skill points, feats, and levels to make themselves a better rider.

Aside from the fact that the rules specifically allow you to disarm holy symbols and spell component pouches (I believe the defender suffers a -4 penalty similar to a light weapon), which isn't that much different than taking a cavalier off his or her mount (a spellcaster loses the ability to cast most spells).

That said, the idea of using bloodied to dismount a PC might be interesting.

I am still in the Wait and See opinion. It is possible that WotC has already fixed the problem of flimsy mounts.

As for 3rd Edition. If Wild Cohort and Mounted Combat were grouped together, I think it would be fairly balanced (Mounted Combat's negate ability is once per round and the whole feat pretty much acts as the root of the Mounted Combat tree, much how Power Attack and Dodge are the roots of their respective trees), especially if they further incorporated some sort of ritual to augment your cohort (so that it didn't turn into a free unit) similar to how Magebred animals are handled in Eberron.
Ideally, a character should be able to put effort into being a great mounted combatant and have it pay off. Right now, a character has to spend skill points and feats, and maybe take a prestige class, to be really good at fighting on horseback. However, right now all of that investment becomes useless as soon as fireball spells are thrown at the team. It isn't fair that a character can only use his best abilities for less than half the time.

Actually, the improved combat ability that the mount gives you with the addition of lots of feats makes sense to me as a mechanism that simultaneously makes the mount less frail.

If it is just a riding horse for the wizard, a technique for staying as mobile as possible, then "*phoom*, welcome to the ground" should work just fine. But if the combatant spends feats and skill points and invests himself in the mount, as a hero in a fantasy campaign, shouldn't this mount be above average too?

If you want a real, normal horse to stand up to the dangers that are beyond the common battlefield (such as area attacks), you are expecting too much, in my opinion. But if you are a cavalier hero that tilts actual dragons (not windmills), you should be on a heroic mount. It makes sense to me that your investment through feats or mounted-oriented powers should also boost the dry numerics that sum up your horses stats.

I know that a lot of people are resistant to making the mount another version of an animal companion, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a mounted paragon-tier hero from fiction that did not have a Named Mount that was markedly superior to other horses. Heck, even Gandalf had Shadowfax.


My arguement about how to make mounts fun and non-complex would require the user to take powers from a mount-focused tree of powers. Each selection would improve the durability of your mount and give a greater bonus to attack and damage. Since you only get one attack per round in 4E, as far as I know, your mount's efforts would be included in your attacks as bonuses, not as seperate attacks. Skill rolls would still be required for hazardous situations, like being pulled from your mount or jumping; and players should expect to see these fairly often, given the new dynamic battlefields that are being promised. But those same battlefields are likely to improve the size of the areas, making mounted combat less limiting.

Meanwhile, a character without any feat/powers in this area is making a ride check every single round to do anything as they struggle to control the mount in the chaos of combat. It's still possible without the feats, but not worth the effort at higher levels, since your mount is weak.

Now there are two reasons why I don't think this is going to be in the first PHB:
  • Mounted heroes fighting in ruins/sewers/mountaintops for treasure and glory are a minority in fantasy fiction/movies.
  • I think that the complexities of balancing this one specialization for combat would be time consuming and fraught with peril. Such effort should be made, but perhaps after the core rules have started their "gamma testing" by being played by the general public. Thus a PHB II release.
Now there are two reasons why I don't think this is going to be in the first PHB:
  • Mounted heroes fighting in ruins/sewers/mountaintops for treasure and glory are a minority in fantasy fiction/movies.
  • I think that the complexities of balancing this one specialization for combat would be time consuming and fraught with peril. Such effort should be made, but perhaps after the core rules have started their "gamma testing" by being played by the general public. Thus a PHB II release.

Well, in a change from your previous posts, it seems like you agree with us that mounted viability should be radically improved for 4e.

But this last quoted bit makes little sense to me. Basically you're saying that in the years of development 4e has undergone it would have been too taxing to work out an improved set of equestrian abilities to go along with all the others. With 30 levels of powers detailed in the PH, I'm sure many "trees" and scores of powers have been developed and are being tested and balanced together. It's inconceivable that they won't have standard mounted feats and skills ready for the PH, why the lag for a detailed system?
First, thank you all for your insightful comments. I have really enjoyed reading the different opinions. I am happy to see as much thought has been put into mounted combat as I have put into it...

Instead of being redundant, I will throw out a comment that has not previously been mentioned. (Unless I missed it.)

My highest level character has a special mount (he is a ranger) and then my next highest took classes in cavalier. So, without really having to say so, I like mounted combat. Now, I have my own pet-peeve in regards to mounted combat. I hardly ever get to do "it!" Rarely do I get to play a module that allows for travel time. Instead we either get teleported there or our "travel" is nothing more than ENCOUNTER 1 - Ambush at Night and then we "arrive." Inevitably, the party will complete the rest of the module without me ever having the opportunity to mount up...

So, the way I see it. I would like to see more opportunities for mounted combat, be it by more travel in modules, open areas, or some kind of "ability" that would allow us the opportunity to transport our mounts (higher levels) into areas where not normally allowed.

Or, if this does not happen (most likely,) then I would like to see mounted combat become "cheaper" in regards to feats, skills, etc. so that for we that like to use mounted combat, we could do so without being unfairly punished by spending so much effort to become specialists and be pretty much worthless on foot...

I would appreciate any and all comments! Thanks again for the wonderful topic...
Instead of being redundant, I will throw out a comment that has not previously been mentioned. (Unless I missed it.)
*snip*

You just touched what might be the most difficult facet of mounted combat to enhance/change/make viable: Opportunity.

(Oh, and btw someone did mention shortly the fact that seldom we see mounted adventurers in fantasy fiction or something, but anyways...)

Most D&Ding tends to occur in, unsurprisingly, Dungeons. Dungeons are usually, though not always, small, cramped, dark, narrow etc. Unless the adventure is tailor-made to account for the characters abilities (I do that sometimes for my players), it'll be a rare day that we'll see a mounted charge down a 10-ft. corridor.

As you said, travel time can ease that somewhat, but it's not a good alternative. Even if an adventure has 1/3 of it happen "on the road", a mounted character will still be put off 2/3 of the time. And, sadly, that is not something that depends on rules.
You just touched what might be the most difficult facet of mounted combat to enhance/change/make viable: Opportunity.

(Oh, and btw someone did mention shortly the fact that seldom we see mounted adventurers in fantasy fiction or something, but anyways...)

Most D&Ding tends to occur in, unsurprisingly, Dungeons. Dungeons are usually, though not always, small, cramped, dark, narrow etc. Unless the adventure is tailor-made to account for the characters abilities (I do that sometimes for my players), it'll be a rare day that we'll see a mounted charge down a 10-ft. corridor.

As you said, travel time can ease that somewhat, but it's not a good alternative. Even if an adventure has 1/3 of it happen "on the road", a mounted character will still be put off 2/3 of the time. And, sadly, that is not something that depends on rules.

I can somewhat agree with that, but it also depends upon the game. I'd say that my gaming experiences have been roughly 50/50 with regards to where encounters take place; some have been in dungeons, but some have been above ground as well.

It's also worth mentioning that horses aren't the only mount available. Small characters could easily fit a riding dog into a dungeon, and even for medium characters there are some mounts that would fit into a dungeon.

There are some noticeable drawbacks to trying to fight while mounted inside of cramped quarters, but that only seems reasonable when you think about it. Similar problems are seen in modern day warfare; just like an M-1 Tank has trouble fitting down a narrow street in a city, a warhorse is going to have trouble moving around in a small room. That's not a fault of game design though; that's just a fact of tactics.
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First, thank you all for your insightful comments. I have really enjoyed reading the different opinions. I am happy to see as much thought has been put into mounted combat as I have put into it...

Instead of being redundant, I will throw out a comment that has not previously been mentioned. (Unless I missed it.)

My highest level character has a special mount (he is a ranger) and then my next highest took classes in cavalier. So, without really having to say so, I like mounted combat. Now, I have my own pet-peeve in regards to mounted combat. I hardly ever get to do "it!" Rarely do I get to play a module that allows for travel time. Instead we either get teleported there or our "travel" is nothing more than ENCOUNTER 1 - Ambush at Night and then we "arrive." Inevitably, the party will complete the rest of the module without me ever having the opportunity to mount up...

So, the way I see it. I would like to see more opportunities for mounted combat, be it by more travel in modules, open areas, or some kind of "ability" that would allow us the opportunity to transport our mounts (higher levels) into areas where not normally allowed.

Or, if this does not happen (most likely,) then I would like to see mounted combat become "cheaper" in regards to feats, skills, etc. so that for we that like to use mounted combat, we could do so without being unfairly punished by spending so much effort to become specialists and be pretty much worthless on foot...

I would appreciate any and all comments! Thanks again for the wonderful topic...

I agree on the cost of mounted combat. The best "fix" I've found is to simply combine multiple mounted feats into one so that you can get more bang for your buck. As for being able to use it more often, that's something you have to take up with your DM. It's not hard to design adventures that allow you use of your mount, but the DM just might not see it as an issue until you bring it up.
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