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Author Topic: Mount Handbook  (Read 63766 times)
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Prime32
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« on: March 09, 2010, 11:18:13 AM »

The Mount Handbook

Introduction

Reasons to get a mount
Travel
With a mount you can get places faster. This is eventually outpaced by teleportation, though teleporting mounts are available.

Defence
A character can use all available actions to attack from horseback while the mount moves him out of range of reprisal. This is generally the reserve of archers and spellcasters, though melee combatants can do it too.

Attack
Being mounted can increase your damage output significantly, as well as get you to the scene of action more quickly. Most such strategies are related to charging, but isn't that how it always works? I know, a warhulking hurler can outpace an ubercharger in damage, but you can use your mount as ammo or something. Tongue

Flavour
Face it, nothing says Rule of Cool like riding a dragon into battle.

Links
Rules of the Game - Mounts (1-2-3-4-5)

Archery Handbook (includes a section on mounted archery)
Druid Handbook (for advice on animal companions)
Ranger Handbook (likewise)
Paladin Handbook (for advice on special mounts)
Special Paladin Mount (at GitP)
The Familiars Handbook
Getting the most out of your familiar
The Handle Animal Guide
Things to do with your move action while mounted
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 09:42:25 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
Honorary Moderator
Organ Grinder
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Posts: 7534


Modding since 03/12/10


« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2010, 11:18:26 AM »

Getting a mount
This list is by no means exhaustive; let me know if you've found a good source.

Permanent
The best way to get a mount is to have one by virtue of a class feature or feat.
  • Animal Companion (Druid): One of the most powerful options. Everything about the druid class is hax, were you expecting any less here? The downside is that you'll need to worry about Handle Animal to control it, unless you combine it with a familiar or special mount (which gives it an Int above 2).
  • Animal Companion (Ranger): Not as good, but still respectable. You get an animal companion at 4th level, and use only half your ranger level to calculate its abilities.
  • Animal Companion (Prestige Ranger): That's better. This PrC gives you a druid-strength animal companion from lv1. Plus it counts as ranger for most purposes.
  • Animal Companion (Beastmaster PrC): As druid, but add 3 to your class level for determining abilities. Stacks with Druid levels for a very powerful companion.
  • Buy (gp): You can simply buy a mount with gold - the prices are listed in the PHB. The warbeast template lets buy any creature to serve as a mount but they're ridiculously underpriced, so make sure your DM knows what you're doing.
  • Cohort (Leadership feat): The Leadership feat gives you a second character 2 levels lower than yourself. Yes please. Big Grin
  • Cohort (Dragon Cohort feat): Who doesn't love dragons? And in particular, who doesn't love a 3-point reduction in LA for their scaly friend? If your mount is a dragon there's no reason not to pick this feat over Leadership, unless you want an army of followers.
  • Dragon (Dragon Steed feat):
  • Familiar (Wizard/sorcerer): Familiars usually aren't powerful (or large!) enough to make reliable mounts. They don't get many feats, and their hp is half of the caster's d4 - that's just pitiful. Their ability to share their master's buffs, however, means that they can take advantage of most of the ways the caster has around his own fragility problems - they can do pretty well if polymorphed into something, blurred, etc.
  • Familiar (Attain Familiar feat): A duskblade has d10 Hit Dice, so his familiar can actually have decent hit points. Most non-Core arcane casters don't have the same number of buffs though. Note that the familiar from this feat derives its abilities from your caster level rather than your class level - normal familiars aren't advanced by levels in PrCs.
  • Familiar (Improved Familiar feat): While this feat can make your familiar large enough to serve as a mount on its own, it can also be used to open up new types for alter self and similar spells.
  • Griffin companion (Aglarondian GriffonriderUE): As meaty as a special mount, with double-speed progression but fewer special abilities. Also it's ginormous.
  • MagebredECS warhorse (Order of Rekkenmark affiliation5N): Good at low levels, since you get it essentially for free if you write the order into your backstory. The free 4th-level bodyguard at lv1 is kind of cheesy though. Unlikely to get by many DMs.
  • Party Member (Friendship): If another PC is a horse, then good for you. After all, real men ride each other. Can be very powerful if you get the means to share buffs somehow.
  • Psicrystal (Psicrystal Affinity feat): Usually preferable to a familiar. Psions and psychic warriors may not be as powerful as wizards, but the psicrystal's feats, average BAB and hardness give it a big advantage over the familiar, and share pain is a nice buff. The disadvantage is that there are no larger psicrystal variants, so unless your character is very small you will need the metamorphosis spell to convert it into a ridable form.
  • Thrall (Thrallherd PrC): Thralls are like cohorts, but always loyal. A thrall is also one level lower than you rather than two. And if you reach lv10 in the PrC you get another one! The only downside is that you can't combine thrallherd with Leadership. This may not apply to substitutes like Dragon Cohort, but your DM is likely to breathe fire on you if you try it. If you have a psionic build, try to fit a level of thrallherd in instead of Leadership.
  • Wild Cohort (Wild Cohort feat): Functions more or less identically to an animal companion, but a little less powerful. Grants access to the Silverwood Arcanist PrC for spellcasters.
Summoned
If you're looking at using a summoned creature for a mount, duration is important. If you're using your mount for travel rather than just for combat then a duration of 1 round/level isn't that useful unless you can summon some kind of robot horse with rockets for legs. Bear in mind that you will have to spend actions to get on the mount. And watch out for dispel magic.

Class features
  • Special mount (Paladin): It's a summon, but it lasts 2 hours per paladin level and can be used 1/day, meaning that you can basically keep it up all the time. Of note, according to the DMG you can designate a cohort as your special mount for +2LA - the rules are unclear on whether this creature must be summoned or sticks around.
    • Of special note is the lightbringer paladin ACF from Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, which lets you trade your first weekly use of remove disease for a continuous death ward effect on your mount. If you have 6 levels of paladin this is always worth it.
  • Special mount (Prestige paladin): Requires two levels rather than five, one of which advances a divine spellcasting class. You have to wait a few levels to get in - as compensation, your mount's abilities are calculated as if your class level were three higher.
Spells
  • Astral construct (Shaper 1):
  • Gate (Wiz/Sor 9, Clr 9): High-level, cheesy, short duration and requires concentration. Pass.
  • Mount (Wiz/Sor 1): Summons a light horse or pony. You can use this from lv1, and it lasts 2 hours/level. Eventually you can summon enough of these for your entire party and keep them up continuously. You can't summon warhorses with this spell, so this is mainly for travel.
  • Phantom steed (Wiz/Sor 3): Lasts half as long as mount, but the "horse" it creates is super-fast, can go just about anywhere, and looks cool as hell. It doesn't attack, but it doesn't panic in combat either. Plus "animals shun it and refuse to attack it", which might extend to its rider as well. Gets better with the Knight Phantom PrC (Five Nations) which boosts the CL and gives you extra castings per day. It normally takes 10 minutes to cast, but Knight Phantoms can cut this down to a standard action.
  • Planar ally (Clr 4/6/8): Your ally can remain for a number of days, though you need to pay gp and xp.
  • Planar binding (Wiz/Sor 4/6/8): Like planar ally, but cheaper and a little more dangerous.
  • Summon monster
  • Summon nature's ally
Vestiges
  • Andras
Transformed
If you don't have a creature you can ride, turn something else into one. Many transformative spells have restrictions based on creature type, so that should be the most important thing to bear in mind when choosing a base creature. Many of the same caveats apply here as with summoned creatures - the difference is that if the polymorph runs out you'll still have an ally of some kind.

Some candidates (such as a druid cohort) are capable of transforming themselves, while others require you to cast spells on them. The Share Spells ability makes this significantly easier.
  • Wild shape
  • Alter self
I am the mount!
If you're getting a cohort/thrall/etc. it's definitely worth considering making him the rider and yourself the mount. Alternatively, if your minion ends up significantly more powerful than you (as with the Ubermount and Big Guy Is With Me builds), it might be more enjoyable to play the minion as the main character and the "master" as a tag-along.

On a related note, certain races like centaur count as being mounted at all times due to their anatomy.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:28:07 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
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Posts: 7534


Modding since 03/12/10


« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 11:18:35 AM »


Riders in general
One of the things to bear in mind when statting the rider is size. A Medium PC requires a creature of at least Large size to carry him around, but a halfling can ride a mount which is the same size as his other party members. The value of this cannot be understated - you can't guarantee that your mount will fit through dungeon halls designed for Medium creatures. Oh, and in Eberron, halflings ride dinosaurs. The dinos are Medium creatures, so other races can't ride them. Keep that in mind. Wink

Equipment
  • Rider's shield: This shield's AC bonus also applies to the mount. Use when you would normally use a heavy shield.
Classes
  • Aglarondian GriffonriderUE: Get a griffin companion with its own progression OR select a griffin as your special mount and advance it. Note that granting your mount Evasion doesn't do anything in the latter case, since it already has Improved Evasion. You can also use Mounted Combat multiple times per round. The capstone works like Spirited Charge, but stacks with it. Sadly incompatible with special cohort mounts.
  • Faith ScionUA: If you're using the rules for legendary weapons, this class will advance a ton of abilities at once. Oh, and you also get a hammer. Tongue
  • Halfling OutriderCW: Dual advancement for animal companions and special mounts.
  • Silverwood OutriderWeb: Grants benefits for Wild Cohorts, animal companions or special mounts. However, since it does not actually advance their abilities, there is little reason to use this for an animal companion. With a special mount it makes even less sense, since special mounts are intelligent and don't need to be handled or learn tricks. A one-level dip makes Ride a class skill for all classes, which even applies retroactively - don't take any more levels than this unless you have a Wild Cohort.
  • Wild Plains Outrider: Advances either animal companion or special mount
  • Wizard (lv5 "High One Warrior-Wizard" ACF): Combine your familiar with your animal companion.
  • Bard (Fey bardUA ACF): Trade bardic music and knowledge for druid animal companion and some other minor abilities.
  • Sorcerer (Blood of EberronDR351 ACF): Replace familiar with ranger animal companion, Natural Spell feat works for any kind of shapeshifting.
  • Vadalis BeastkeeperDragonmarked: Get the magebred template for your animal companion or special mount, some mounted combat bonus feats, and limited spellcasting (including polymorph and a version of heal mount which also works on animal companions). What's more, you can enter this PrC at lv5 rather than lv6 like most PrCs. A good choice for use with the Holy Mount feat in Ubermount builds.
Feats
  • Attain Familiar:
  • Celestial MountBoED: Special mount gains celestial template. For an ubermount with huge numbers of HD this can be worth adding for the Spell Resistance, but normally the bonuses aren't really significant. Note that it requires 4 levels of paladin, meaning prestige paladin can't be used for the usual 2-level dip.
  • Cloak DanceXPH: Take this if you find that you have move actions to spare while mounted. You gain concealment as a move action, or total concealment as a full-round action.
  • Close CohortDR346: If you have Leadership your cohort is one level lower than you, rather than two levels. It isn't much of a stretch to apply this to alternatives like Dragon Cohort. Talk to your DM before trying to combine it with thrallherd.
  • Co-ordinated StrikeRotW: +1 attack bonus against any foe your animal companion or special mount has struck in the same round. I'd just take Knowledge Devotion instead. Heck, Weapon Focus is better than this.
  • Devoted Tracker: Lets you designate your special mount as your animal companion. The possibilities are endless. Forms the basis of the ubermount build when combined with a way to advance both at once (such as bloodline levels or certain PrCs).
  • Dragon CohortDrac: Like Leadership, but better. Well, if you wanted a dragon anyway.
  • Dragon Steed:
  • Fast RiderDR285: Your mount gets +10ft speed when it has no less than a light load.
  • Gestalt AnchorCP: +2 to Ref and initiative is pretty nice but your mount needs to take a [Host] feat, and you need to either do the same or be a kalashtar. Choose the latter if possible. See also Psymbiot.
  • Holy MountDR325: All levels in divine spellcasting classes count as paladin levels for determining your special mount's abilities. Paladin's a pretty weak class compared to most divine casters, so this means you don't have to take many levels in it. Gets better with cleric X/prestige paladin 2 builds. Nasty when combined with Devoted Tracker.
  • Improved Familiar:
  • Improved Psicrystal: Ignore the extra personality. What you're interested in is the +1 level for determining abilities, which means +1HD, which means extra attack bonus and feats for your psicrystal. Basis of the "Big guy is with me" build.
  • Leadership: Source of mount with its own gp supply.
  • Mounted Combat: The basic riding feat, and a prereq for most others. It's pretty easy to get a higher Ride check than your mount's AC, so it's a useful effect.
  • Mounted FuryWeb: If you can rage, your mount can rage with you. The benefits are obvious. Note that you must be riding your mount when you start raging, and the mount stops raging if you dismount.
  • Natural Bond: Practiced Spellcaster for animal companions - increase your level by 3 for the purposes of determining its abilities, to a maximum of your character level. It's a reasonable stretch to allow this to apply to Wild Cohorts as well. This gets interesting when applied to beastmasters, who have a level cap 3 higher than normal. It gets really interesting if you can use it to get higher-level companions faster.
  • Phalanx FightingCW: Consider this if your mount can hold and use a shield (via race or feats). See "feats for mounts" for more details.
  • Psicrystal Affinity: Source of potentially impressive mount, but only if transformed.
  • PsymbiotCP: Grants benefits if both you and your mount have manifester levels of 3. The latter can be handled by having your mount take a combination of Hidden Talent and Practiced Manifester, or a [Host] feat, which also qualifies you for Gestalt Anchor.
  • Saddleback: 1st level only. You can always take 10 on Ride checks. Once per round you can reroll a Reflex save as a Ride check - this applies to either you or your mount, or both if you must both save against the same effect. Your mount probably has Improved Evasion, so the second one is more useful when used on yourself. Still, on a clumsy character the ability to reroll Reflex saves at a higher bonus is hardly shabby, and taking 10 is useful too.
  • Share SoulmeldMoI: If you can already shape soulmelds, chances are good that at least one of them will benefit your mount.
  • SlowUA: Both the trait and the flaw of this name reduce your speed. A dwarf PC or one wearing heavy armour who takes both will find himself with a speed of only 5ft per round. However, as long as you stay on a mount your own speed will never come up, meaning that you essentially get Improved Toughness and a second feat for free.
  • Strength of the ChargerOA: Odd feat. Bonus to hp and Fort saves while mounted equal to mount's Con modifier.
  • Theurgic BondDR325: Allows levels in animal companion classes to stack for familiar abilities or vice versa. The "vice versa" is the more interesting here, since familiars don't get nearly as much as animal companions.
  • Theurgic MountDR325: Arcane version of Holy Mount. Probably weaker unless you have combined your mount with your familiar. The Fey bard variant which receives an animal companion can use this to great effect with Devoted Tracker.
  • Thrall BredLoM: Choose one creature with more HD than you. You gain a +1 bonus to saving throws and damage rolls while they're within 30ft and doing okay, and a -2 penalty when they're not. Ubermounts will easily have more HD than their riders, so why not? Doesn't work the other way around since it's Humanoid only.
  • Tunnel RidingRoS: Your mount does not take the -4 attack/AC penalties for squeezing through Medium passages. The alternatives to this are having your mount take the Tunnel Fighting feat, or being a Small character with a Medium mount.
  • Wild CohortWeb: Animal companion on the cheap, with entry to two interesting PrCs.
  • Winter's MountFB: Special mount gains cold subtype and +2 Con. If your mount already has the fire subtype this will make it immune to both cold and fire. Otherwise, the fire vulnerability offsets the extra HP somewhat.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:47:36 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
Honorary Moderator
Organ Grinder
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Posts: 7534


Modding since 03/12/10


« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2010, 11:18:46 AM »


Equipment for mounts
Would a fighter go into battle naked? Well, why should his steed?

Saddle
You take a penalty for riding bareback, so this is important. Of note in Core are the military saddle (which keeps you from falling out) and the exotic saddle (required for unusual mounts).

Armour
After saddles, the first thing you'll want to look at is barding. The costs of a suit of armour for a quadruped are doubled, and every size category above Medium doubles it again. Since most mounts are Large quadrupeds, that's 4x the cost before enchantments. Since speed is probably one of the reasons you have a mount in the first place, it's best to stick to light armour. If you want more AC you can go with a mithral breastplate.

Weapon
Not many mounts can use these, but an amulet of natural attacks or necklace of natural weapons can help out.

Other
  • Hand of the Mage: 600gp necklace grants at-will mage hand for mounts without hands of their own. Cheap enough that its effects can be added to another item without becoming too costly.
  • Horseshoes of FlameSS: Good Boccob these are ridiculous. 90ft fly speed (good), +1d4 fire damage to hoof attacks, +2 Dex, +10 Int, +6 Cha. For 30,240gp. According to the rules they work only for "an ordinary horse", though this is ill-defined. Does a warhorse count as an ordinary horse? What about a legendary horse? If your mount has ranks in Use Magic Device they can use them regardless. Heck, with UMD his rider can use them - no-one will care how silly he looks if he's a wizard running around with a +10 bonus to Int.
  • Horseshoes of Speed: +30ft enhancment bonus to base land speed for 3,000gp is a pretty good deal.
  • Horseshoes of a Zephyr: You float just above the ground, meaning that you can cross water and quicksand and don't leave tracks. Might also allow your mount to avoid traps based on pressure plates. 6,000gp.
  • Phoenix cloakMIC: Grants fly speed based on land speed. Nice upgrade to a fast land-based mount.
Feats for mounts
Not all mounts can get feats, but they can be extremely useful. While PCs need feats as prerequisites for prestige classes, most mounts do not have class levels; thus their choices are a lot more open. Keep an eye out for short-range aura effects, and feats which grant entry to alternate magic systems. This thread has some advice on these.

Note that you can swap out any of the feats a mount comes with as long as they aren't bonus feats.

  • Aberration BloodLoM: Some interesting feats in this chain. See also Mourning MutateDR359, which is treated as Aberration Blood but has a different set of options and does not require you to be humanoid.
    • DeepspawnLoM: Gain two tentacles. Combine with the gloves of manSS item to allow the mount to use its tentacles as hands. You also qualify for the Extended ReachSS feat and extend tentacles spell (which can be made permanent), but there are other ways to get reach.
    • Inhuman ReachLoM: +5ft reach. Now psicrystals can threaten adjacent squares even in their natural form. See also Deformity (tall), which grants much the same benefits but only for Medium creatures.
    • WaterspawnLoM: Your mount now works just as well in water as on the ground. Nice - this is a blue feat for aquatic campaigns. Also it gets resistance to cold 5 for some reason.
  • Airy Gallop: An obscure source (link), but an interesting way to get pseudo-flight. Requires "Con -" for some reason, meaning an undead or construct mount.
  • Air HeritagePlanH: +30ft fly speed. Nifty. Also +2 to Jump and Balance while unburdened.
  • Awaken Frightful PresenceDrac: More potent than the Frightful Presence feat, the real gem here is combining this with Dreadful Wrath to get a massive radius and increased DC. If you have Frightful Presence and Dreadful Wrath the bonus should apply to both of them. You have to be a dragon to take the feat though.
  • Bind VestigeToM: While the image is hilarious, make sure your mount is actually capable of carrying out the binding ritual. If it can, this can be a pretty good choice.
  • Cumbrous Dodge: If you are immune to fatigue (eg. if you are an undead or construct) this is essentially +2 free AC. Requires Dodge, but there are good alternatives like Desert Wind DodgeToB and Expeditious DodgeRotW.
  • DarkstalkerLoM: Hide from unusual senses like blindsight and scent. A good feat, but not very useful to a mount unless its rider has Darkstalker too. The ability to flank creatures with all-around vision is nice in combination with Martial Stance (island of blades) though.
  • Draconic AuraDM: Gets you a 30ft aura (benefiting both rider and mount) from the lists in Player's Handbook 2 and Dragon Magic. If your mount has the Dragon type or dragonblood subtype (see Dragontouched below) the bonus scales by level (up to +4). Otherwise it stays at +1. Ubermounts have large amounts of HD, so they'll hit this cap pretty quickly. You can gain more than one aura, and switch between them (or use two at once if you have the Double Draconic Aura feat from the same source).
  • DragontouchedDM: Gain the dragonblood subtype. Qualifies you for feats which grant various things like wings, though since some of those are lv1-only you'll need to take flaws to get them. If your type is Dragon you already count as dragonblood, so you don't need this feat.
  • Dreadful WrathPGtF: 1st-level only, gain a form of Frightful Presence. It's a regional feat, so you may have trouble getting it approved by the DM. Can be a great help to a rider with a fear-based build.
  • Frightful PresenceDrac: Check how many HD you have before taking this feat. If you're a combo cohort-mount-companion you should have enough for this to be useful a reasonable percentage of the time, but usually most monsters are too high level for this to work. Dreadful Wrath has a lower radius but no HD limit, and is usually preferable. Combining the two feats can be effective.
  • Illithid HeritageLoM: This feat chain requires a power point reserve. Wild Talent will get you that, though it will make the feats which expand your Powers Known useless.
    • Illithid GrappleLoM: Improved Grab is interesting, but you can only use it on creatures within one size category of you. That means horses can't use this feat on halflings, while psicrystals can hardly use it on anything. See also Deepspawn above.
    • Illithid BlastLoM: A character without levels in a manifesting class can still qualify for this feat with the Hidden Talent and Practiced Manifester feats.
    • Illithid LegacyLoM: Likewise for this feat, though Greater Illithid Legacy is out of your reach (unless you take a [Host] feat as well). While psionic charm and read thoughts can be useful, you won't have enough pp to use them unless you take the Psionic Talent feat a few times or get an external source of pp. Your rider, on the other hand, can use the rules for manifesting powers from another mind.
  • Mage SlayerCW: Normally the kind of thing you always wanted to take, but were never able to fit in. Nothing says to mages like this feat chain.
  • Martial Stance/Martial StudyToB: Kung-fu ponies. Hurrah!
    • Martial Stance (island of blades)ToB: When you and an ally both threaten an opponent, the two of you are treated as flanking. Nice if the rider has sneak attack. This works just as well on riders, but the rider is likely to have fewer spare feats.
  • Mighty Roar, GreaterSS: The standard Mighty Roar is inferior to frightful presence of any kind, but the improved version renders enemies panicked for 2d6 rounds. Must be an animal or magical beast of at least Large size, meaning that this will mostly see use with druids and paladins.
  • MindsightLoM: Near-perfect detection abilities for mounts with telepathy (including psicrystals) - you are aware of the location of anything with a mind in range of your telepathy, as well as its Int and type. The rider can't see them, but his mount can direct him to the right square. Plus it can alert the rider to ambushes.
  • Mourning MutateDR359: See Aberration Blood
  • Natural Spell: For druids who transform into mounts. Any sane druid would take this feat, but it bears repeating.
  • Phalanx FightingCW: If you get your mount some way to hold items then you two can use this feat. Note that an unarmed strike is a light weapon, so a heavy shield is all that's required for the tasty +3 AC/+1 Reflex bonus.
  • Prehensile TailSS: Now your mount, too, can wield a weapon! If your mount does not have a tail slap, Draconic TailRotD will get them one.
  • PsymbiotCP: This is a feat which grants some nice bonuses when a creature with ML3 is within 10ft. The restriction is that it can't be "any psionic creatures crafted, projected, or summoned by you". There's nothing to stop the summoned creature from using the summoner to fuel the feat though, making this a good choice for Hidden Talent psicrystals.
  • RapidstrikeDrac: If you have a "pair" of natural weapons (two claws) etc. you can make an extra attack with them. You can take this feat once for every pair of weapons you have.
    • Improved RapidstrikeDrac: Every time you take this feat you can make four extra attacks per turn. Seriously.
  • ReverberationSS: Ability Focus for sonic attacks. Except that it stacks with Ability Focus.
  • Shape SoulmeldMoI: There are a lot of interesting options here, though for some purposes it's better for the rider to take Share Soulmeld instead.
  • Travel DevotionCC: This is a great feat, but your mount will need some way to turn undead to make use of it properly.
  • Virulent PoisonSS: +2 DC for extraordinary poison attacks which stacks with Ability Focus.
  • Vow of PovertyBoED: This is just plain ridiculous if you can get it allowed. Normally the cost of this feat is that you must give up all your magic items and gold, but most mounts don't have their own supply of gold anyway. If you ride a cohort, thrall, or other party member, this feat will hurt you more than it helps.
  • Wild Talent: Opens the door to psionic feats, which can be good. If you have a psicrystal, take Psicrystal Containment and have your psicrystal take this feat (and Psychic Meditation, if you want) - now your psicrystal can take a move action to restore your psionic focus, allowing you to theoretically expend four psionic focuses per round.
    • Hidden TalentXPH: A 1st-level-only variant of Wild Talent which appears only in the XPH (it's not in the SRD), this feat also gives you the ability to manifest a single 1st-level power at manifester level 1, with Charisma as your base manifesting stat (if you can already manifest powers this functions like Expanded Knowledge instead). With the Practiced Manifester feat you can increase your ML to 5.
    • [Host] featsCP: Can be even better than Hidden Talent - these feats grant you a 1/day psi-like ability with ML equal to half your HD. Or rather, two psi-like abilities, but you can only use one of them per day. Also qualifies you for Gestalt Anchor, which is pretty cool with a kalashtar rider. Otherwise, don't take one of these unless you need a manifester level to meet a prereq
  • Willing DeformityBoVD: This is a vile feat, so you must be evil to take it. +2 Intimidate in Book of Vile Darkness, increased to +3 in Heroes of Horror. This chain grants some interesting abilities on its own, but the Intimidate bonuses also synergise with a fear-based build.
    • Deformity (gaunt/obese)BoVD: These feats are, naturally, opposites of each other. One gives +2 Dex and -2 Con, the other grants -2 Dex and +2 Con. Some skill bonuses as well. An undead mount can take the (gaunt) feat and ignore the penalty, since it lost its Con score when it became undead. There aren't many feats which grant +2 to an ability score.
    • Deformity (tongue)BoVD: Blindsense 30ft. Mindsight is better, but not everyone has telepathy.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:32:37 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
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The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2010, 11:19:00 AM »


Mounted combat (melee)
Melee combat from horseback comes down to jousting. Charge the enemy as hard as possible, and be out of range before they can strike back. For this the Ride-By Attack feat is essential. One major obstacle for you is your inability to make more than one melee attack per round. There are PrC abilities which can help this though, and if you have some form of Pounce it applies to your mounted charges.

A rider is considered to be in all of his mount's squares at once, which means that you threaten squares as if you were a creature of the mount's size but with your own reach.

Items
  • Lance: While mounted, you can wield a lance in one hand and your charge attacks deal double damage. Note that just because you can, you don't have to wield it in one hand. Most charger builds benefit more from a two-handed weapon and Power Attack
  • Battle BridleMIC: 9k, grants Mounted Combat and a +5 bonus to Ride checks. If you already have Mounted Combat you get Ride-by Attack instead. A melee character should upgrade to Riding Boots when it becomes possible.
  • Riding BootsMIC: For 12,000gp you get +5 to Ride checks, Ride-by Attack as a bonus feat, and a boost to the power of Spirited Charge if you have it.

Feats
  • Cavalry ChargerCW:
  • Ride-by Attack: While not as good as Fly-by Attack, this is much easier to qualify for than Spring Attack, and you get more total movement out of it (a charge as opposed to a move action). Note that you must continue in a straight line after you attack, unless you or your mount has a "crooked charge" ability of some kind. The downside is that, well, by RAW it isn't actually possible to keep moving in a straight line after charging except in a small number of situations, since this would result in you moving through your enemy's space. The designers probably intended that you could make an overrun attempt as a free action as part of using this feat (it seems to have been written before the overrun rules were finalised), but make sure you clear up this issue with your DM.
  • Spirited Charge: Double damage on mounted charge, or triple damage if you use a lance? Boo-yah!
  • Trample: This feat was clearly written with horses in mind - it's not clear what happens when something like an ashworm is entitled to a free "hoof attack", though it should probably be taken to mean their primary attack. If you can use this feat with a mount with a nasty primary attack then this can be decent, particularly if you have access to Fell Trample. Usually, though, it's better to just have your mount trip the enemy while you attack it. Consider having your mount take Improved Trip instead.
Classes
  • CavalierCW: This class takes your Spirited Charge feat and turns it up to eleven. Unfortunately, you can only use its insane damage multipliers a limited number of times per day.
  • Knight Phantom5N: Gish class - 9/10 spellcasting, full BAB. Your phantom steed advances faster (+10CL!) and you also get it as a 1/level spell-like ability. Importantly, the SLA version takes only a standard action to cast rather than the normal 10 minutes. You also get some phantom-themed abilities.
  • Bone Knight5N: Grants a special mount which stacks with paladin levels, and applies the skeleton template to it. Also you get armour made out of bones.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:36:45 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 11:19:12 AM »


Mounted combat (ranged)
Ranged combatants have a significant advantage - they can make full attacks while mounted, effectively giving them two sets of actions per turn. Your attacks, however, take place between your mount's two actions. (eg. your mount moves, you attack, your mount moves again) If your mount is taking a full-round action to move (such as running or charging) you make the attacks at the halfway point.

Note that you cannot use longbows while mounted (they're too long and get in the way). You can use shortbows, composite shortbows and composite longbows fine though.

Feats
  • Mounted Archery: Halves the attack roll penalties for making ranged attacks from horseback. A must.
    • Improved Mounted ArcheryCW:If you have Mounted Archery you take only a -2 penalty for attacking while your mount is running, and no penalty otherwise. Also, you can attack at any point in your mount's movement.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:37:19 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 11:21:16 AM »


Mounted combat (spellcasting)
The biggest obstacle to any wannabe cavalry mage is that it's hard to focus on a spell while being jostled about. Your mount must take no more than one move action per turn, so that you can do your thing before or after it's done. Otherwise, you have to make a Concentration check or lose the spell.

If you use a lot of spells requiring ranged attack rolls, the advice in the ranged combat section also applies to you. Given that this increases the feat investment needed to pull the combat style off, it's recommended that you don't learn/prepare many such spells. You can take the hit to accuracy in many cases since you roll vs touch AC, but who knows when you might have to cast a spell while running?

Items
  • Steadying RobeCM: You no longer have to make Concentration checks to cast spells while being jostled around. And for only 1,000gp? Very nice. By item-stacking rules you could make this slotless for 2,000gp, in case you're a gish who doesn't want a robe taking up his armour slot. Otherwise, most robes can be crafted as cloaks without an increase in price.
Feats
  • Mounted CastingMiniHB: You gain a +10 bonus on Concentration checks made to cast spells while mounted. Nice, but pointless if you can get Mounted Spellcasting instead. Due to the wording, however, you might be able to interpret this as a bonus to all spellcasting-related Concentration checks (including casting spells while taking damage), as long as you are on a horse while you make them.
  • Mounted SpellcastingWeb: Superior to Mounted Casting, this feat lets you cast spells while mounted without having to make Concentration checks for movement. Requires 5 ranks in Concentration though, so you'll have to wait until 2nd level.
Classes
  • Arcane Heirophant: Dual-progression arcane/druid, lets you combine your familiar and animal companion.
  • Knight Phantom5N: Gish class - see melee section.
  • Silverwood ArcanistWeb: Requires Wild Cohort. Grants faster handling, Mounted Spellcasting as a bonus feat, and Share Spells. Full spellcasting advancement.
  • Zhentarim SkymageLoD: *snorts milk out nose* This would be powerful even without the mount it gives you... which can be basically anything. Oh, and you can share spells both ways, meaning that you can ride a dragon and have him share his buffs with you.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:37:52 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 11:22:07 AM »


Non-standard material
Here's some material which is useful for mounts but is unlikely to be allowed in a standard game:

Bone RiderTome: A PrC that gets you a kickass undead mount which can be combined with your cohort. Since this is part of the Tome rules, you're much more free to use any monster as the base. I recommend an ooze or something, since it gains an Int score and you're immune to negative effects of being in its presence.
Fey druids: Leader of the Pack feat is of special note, doubling the effects of bardic music on your animal companion. Fey Blood feat reduces MAD in some builds.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:38:06 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Prime32
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 12:46:55 PM »

Builds
World record Ubermount
The big guy is with me (psicrystal build)

Quote from: Sample Ubermount
LG Ranger 4/Cleric 1/Prestige paladin 2/Vadalis Beastmaster X
Feats: 1: Mounted Combat, 3: ?, 6: Natural Bond, 9: Devoted Tracker, 12: Dragon Cohort, 15: Holy Mount

At lv20 your companion is any dragon available as a cohort with a -3LA reduction, +20HD, +24 natural armor, +10 Str, +6 Dex, +10ft speed, Empathic Link, Multiattack, Improved Evasion, Share Spells, Share Saving Throws and Spell Resistance. On top of that it gets +4/+2 to two physical ability scores, your choice of +2 natural armor or +10ft speed, and Alertness, Athletic, Endurance or Improved Natural Attack as a bonus feat.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 05:30:24 PM by Prime32 » Logged

My work
DeviantArt
Current games
The tier system in a nutshell:
Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 12:53:32 PM »

On permanent mounts: Being a member of the Order of Rekkenmark (Five Nations) of at least Member of the Inner Circle rank (score 20+) gets you a magebred warhorse for free. Only prerequisites are fluff, and it's easy to rack up a high score in your background, so this is pretty much something for nothing on low-level characters. You also get a 4th-level NPC to order around, so you might get him/her to make the horse a Warbeast too.
Also, you get to be a Colonel in the Karrnathi army.
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 04:24:31 PM »

If you want people to not bug you about supermountage all you have to do is link my maximally optimized one.
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Quote
An interesting read, nice to see a civil discussion
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And healed. Don't forget that.
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It blows MoMF out of the water

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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 04:47:18 PM »

Knight Phantom is an excerpt. I suggest you hyperlink to it.
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2010, 11:46:28 PM »

Rules of the Game - All About Mounts
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050125a
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050201a
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050208a
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050215a
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050222a
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2010, 01:19:30 PM »

Note on the Order of Rekkenmark: it's a magebred light warhorse, and you also gain a bodyguard of 4 1st level fighters and a 4th level fighter.  Which is pretty funny, given that you could conceivably hit affiliation rank 20 through your backstory at 1st level.  There are also some RP conflicts between the Order and being a Knight Phantom if you're playing in Eberron.
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2010, 11:38:09 PM »

I would love for my Wild Cohort mount to have any of the feats you have listed.  I think in the minds of most people there is an unspoken intelligence prerequisite.  Some of the feats you have listed require abstract philosophical qualms about the world or just a suspension of disbelief beyond belief (ToB)

Can you list some good feats for a wild cohort or druid animal companion that a heavy role playing DM would allow?  
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2010, 07:40:54 AM »

Note on the Order of Rekkenmark: it's a magebred light warhorse, and you also gain a bodyguard of 4 1st level fighters and a 4th level fighter.  Which is pretty funny, given that you could conceivably hit affiliation rank 20 through your backstory at 1st level.  There are also some RP conflicts between the Order and being a Knight Phantom if you're playing in Eberron.
Actually, the 4th level NPC is an officier of an NPC class, not a bodyguard, so I find it much more useful to make him an Adept or a Magewright.
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2010, 10:59:01 AM »

I may have missed it, but how good is paladin or prestige paladin levels in terms of mount power? Shouldnt they be up there?
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2010, 12:15:25 PM »

I would love for my Wild Cohort mount to have any of the feats you have listed.  I think in the minds of most people there is an unspoken intelligence prerequisite.  Some of the feats you have listed require abstract philosophical qualms about the world or just a suspension of disbelief beyond belief (ToB)

Can you list some good feats for a wild cohort or druid animal companion that a heavy role playing DM would allow?  

The fey or fiendish heritage line of feats, lots of roleplaying possibilities right there
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deuxhero
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2010, 12:33:37 PM »

I would love for my Wild Cohort mount to have any of the feats you have listed.  I think in the minds of most people there is an unspoken intelligence prerequisite.  Some of the feats you have listed require abstract philosophical qualms about the world or just a suspension of disbelief beyond belief (ToB)

Can you list some good feats for a wild cohort or druid animal companion that a heavy role playing DM would allow?  


It isn't like the mount is taking martial initiator levels, it's taking a good deal of time and effort (a feat) to learn a single maneuver. Fairly plausible that an initiator with handle animal ranks could teach it. VoP is cheesy yes, but martial study isn't that odd.
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2010, 11:57:55 AM »

I may have missed it, but how good is paladin or prestige paladin levels in terms of mount power? Shouldnt they be up there?
If comparing with animal companion & familiar its base ability and flexibility exceeds the others. All should take heed of the DMG rules for alternate mount acquisition. Share spells can make this an utterly useless comparison with buffing involved. Also the downside for death of your mount if significant.
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