Author Topic: Mount Handbook  (Read 68806 times)

Offline Prime32

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Mount Handbook
« on: November 05, 2011, 06:10:45 PM »
The Mount Handbook


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

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.

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. :p

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

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 (WotC version here)
Things to do with your move action while mounted
Speed Handbook (for making your mount faster)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 02:14:47 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 06:11:07 PM »
Getting a mount
This list is by no means exhaustive; let me know if you've found a good source.

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 (Urban druidDrComp): Has an alternate list of animal companions, including such things as warhorses, monstrous vermin (though they become Int 1 animals), animated objects and carrion crawlers(!)
  • Animal Companion (BeastmasterCAdv PrC): As druid, but add 3 to your class level for determining abilities. Stacks with Druid levels for a very powerful companion.
  • Animal Companion (ShamanDr353 cleric ACF): As ranger, but available from lv1; you give up Turn Undead + literacy.
  • 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.
  • Celestial Companion (Holy LiberatorCD PrC): Basically the blackguard's fiendish servant, but celestial instead of fiendish, and its progression also includes +20ft speed.
  • Cohort (Leadership feat): The Leadership feat gives you a second character 2 levels lower than yourself. Yes please. :D
  • 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 (Huge master): From page 203 of the DMG, a Huge or larger character may select proportionately larger familiars - a dire rat, leopard, monitor lizard, Medium owl, Small raven, Medium viper, or wolverine. This isn't for you - it's for a teammate who's small enough to ride them.
  • Familiar (Improved/Dragon/Darkness Familiar feats): While these feats can make your familiar large enough to serve as a mount on its own (most of your Improved Familiar options are in Complete Warrior, but imps and quasits have access to Medium alternate forms), it can also be used to open up new types for alter self and similar spells. Familiars with an ECL could potentially be combined with cohorts like paladin mounts can, but it's a grey area so ask your DM.
  • Fiendish Animal Companion (Thrall of BaphometDr341 PrC): Like the druid's animal companion, but it gains the fiendish template and your effective druid level is twice your class level (it's a 10-level class). Doesn't stack with druid levels, but PrCs that advance animal companions should still be able to advance it.
  • Fiendish Servant (Blackguard PrC): The blackguard's slightly-weaker equivalent to the paladin's special mount doesn't have much support, but it's based on character level rather than class level. Sadly it takes 5 levels and some unusual prereqs to get there, so this doesn't count for as much as it could. You may be able to convince your DM to let you count it as a special mount for combinatory abilities, in which case it gets much better. Going paladin is still easier in most cases though. In addition to the options in Core, you can select a lesser nightmarePlH if you reduce the bonus HD by 2 and your effective character level for determining its abilities by 2. Also take special note of the Improved Fiendish ServantCoR and Nightmare SteedDn100 feats below.
  • Flying Mount (SkylordBoED PrC): A celestial giant eagle, celestial giant owl, or celestial pegasus. Progression is similar to a double-speed special mount, but instead of Improved Evasion + sharing your saving throws they gain extra abilities - Improved Natural Attack, Deadly Charge, a flight-based bonus feat, and immunities to paralysis/sleep/charm/compulsion effects.
  • Gondsman (TechsmithF&P PrC): It's unclear whether or not Gondsmen have to be humanoid (the fluff makes them sound like an earlier, Forgotten Realms take on warforged), so check with your DM before trying this. There's better options out there unless you're really fond of the "priest of technology" theme.
  • Griffin companion (Aglarondian GriffonriderUE PrC): As meaty as a special mount, with double-speed progression but fewer special abilities. Also it's ginormous.
  • MagebredECS warhorse (Order of Rekkenmark5N affiliation): 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.
  • Mephit Underlings (Elemental ArchonF&P PrC): A mephit is a pretty awful mount, and its stats don't improve by much, but you get three of them. I guess you could have them pull a sleigh, take the Chariot CombatS&F feat instead of Mounted Combat, and be Fire Santa. Which would be weird and dumb, but still. Three!
  • Monstrous Companion (Beast Heart AdeptDung PrC): Pick a Magical Beast from a short list, and it gains 12 levels worth of animal companion advancement in 10 levels. It's not an actual animal companion, so there's no way to advance it further, but the base creatures are stronger than the standard options. You gain two other companions as you gain levels, but at a penalty, so they're useful mainly for utility rather than combat. Your enemies provoke an AoO from you the first time they're struck by one of your companions per round, which is pretty good for a mobile type who won't be in a position to make normal AoOs often. Consider Martial Stance (island of blades) or some other "flexible flanking" ability so you can use Monstrous Flank more easily.
  • 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 power to convert it into a ridable form.
  • Spider Servant (Drow JudicatorUnd PrC): Drow only. Grants a myrlocharMoF, a phase spider, a fiendish sword spiderMoF, or a fiendish Large monstrous spider advanced to 8 HD. Includes a progression similar to blackguard, but based on class level rather than character level, and with slightly higher bonuses but no empathic link. Note that both drow and myrlochars are Medium, making them difficult to use as mounts.
  • Telthor Companion (DurthanUE PrC): Get any animal with HD up to your class level (including advanced animals) and add the telthor template from the same book (basically it becomes an Int 3 incorporeal fey with telepathy; incorporeality means it needs the Ghostly GraspLM feat or a ghost touch saddle if you're not incorporeal yourself). Fey HD are pretty bad, but the touch attacks compensate for the poor BAB and you could take OtherworldlyPGtF to upgrade to Outsider. Be sure to make use of bloodlines, Legacy ChampionWoL etc. so that you can keep advancing it past lv10, because there's no way to combine it with anything else. Oh, and you get a second companion at higher levels.
  • 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.
  • Undead Companion (Death MasterDrComp): A few of the options here can serve as mounts - the wolf skeleton, chimera skeleton (lv -6) and wyvern zombie (lv -6). The extra HD and Str/Dex bonuses follow a similar formula to paladin special mounts, but the special abilities are different. Due to its source, there aren't many ways to advance this companion through other classes, but all the usual tricks for boosting an undead creature apply (the CorpsecrafterLM feat, raising it in a desecrated area, etc.). In any case, you'll likely be remaining a single-class character.
  • Unicorn (Beloved of ValarianBoED PrC): The earliest you can get this is ECL 8, and it doesn't have any advancement, so it's more of a utility mount than a combat one. However, at 6th level of the PrC (ECL 13) it receives a massive upgrade, becoming a celestial charger - an 8HD celestial unicorn with 7 levels of cleric.
  • Wild Cohort (Wild Cohort feat): Functions more or less identically to a druid animal companion but with no Link, Share Spells or free Multiattack, while its HD, natural armor bonus and tricks known are 1 lower. Grants access to the Silverwood Arcanist PrC for spellcasters.
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
  • Celestial Minion (SentinelDr310): This NG variant paladin gets to use any Medium or smaller celestial animal as their special mount, but the duration is halved. This opens up some extremely powerful options (fleshraker anyone?), but isn't compatible with cohort mounts. Plus it's no use as a mount unless you're Small or smaller. Ask your DM if you can combine it with prestige paladin.
  • Elemental Minion (IncarnateDr310): The True Neutral paladin (not to be confused with the incarnum class of the same name) gets a Medium elemental as the base creature for their special mount, with the same halved duration as Celestial Minion. Less abusable than the Sentinel ability, but much of the same advice applies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Special mount (Ranger knightDR317): You know how prestige paladins count as three levels higher? These guys count as five levels higher. Plus since it's built for ranger entry, you have easy access to Devoted Tracker (though it doesn't advance your animal companion in any way). Oh, and the default mount for Small characters isn't a pony; it's a wolf. That's style points right there.
  • Astral construct (Shaper 1):
  • Call nightmareBoVD (Demonologist 4, Sor/Wiz 5): An evil spell that summons a nightmare for 1 week in exchange for a soul.
  • Ethereal mountSpC (Bard 4, Sor/Wiz 4): Like phantom steed but summons multiple mounts. While on the Ethereal Plane they count as CL20 for determining their speed.
  • Gate (Clr 9, Sor/Wiz 9): High-level, cheesy, short duration and requires concentration. Pass.
  • Hound of DoomCW (Hexblade 3): Summons a dire wolf with BAB and hit points equal to your own, and a deflection bonus to AC equal to your Charisma modifier. Commanded like a fully-trained animal, but counts as a magical beast for spell effects (meaning less potential for buffing). Lasts 1 minute/level, and you can only have one in existence at a time. Oddly enough, it's a shadow illusion but can't be disbelieved.
  • Mount (Siyal druid 1, Sor/Wiz 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 stagCD (Druid 5): Basically a phantom steed that can also fight, and can cast etherealness at high levels.
  • Phantom steed (Siyal druid 3, Sor/Wiz 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 (Sor/Wiz 4/6/8): Like planar ally, but cheaper and a little more dangerous.
  • Summon monster
  • Summon nature's ally
  • Andras: 1/day, for 1 hour/EBL, you can summon a heavy warhorse that comes with a saddle and heavy lance. Of note, this vestige's abilities also include some martial weapon proficiencies and a +8 bonus on Ride checks. It's a 4th-level vestige, meaning you need to be at least a 5th-level binder to get it (or a 7th-level binder if you didn't take the Improved Binding feat); if all you want is the mount then there are better options.
  • Brass SteedHoB: A specialized golem with a market price of 19,000gp. Not the fastest mount around, but its stats are otherwise pretty good, and it gets Run as a bonus feat. Has a listed HD advancement, but the cost of adding extra HD isn't given.
  • Clockwork Steed/PonyMM4: A cheap construct mount (2,150gp to purchase, 1,150gp to craft) that takes no actions except when being directed by a rider. Basically it's a horse-shaped motorbike. Comes with a bunch of upgrade options ranging in price from 100~500gp, but unfortunately there's no way to upgrade its HD.
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: April 06, 2018, 06:35:01 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 06:11:46 PM »

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. ;)

  • Custom item of master cavalierCC: For 18,000gp, get an untyped +20 bonus on Ride checks for your special mount or similar companion (or +10 for other mounts). Less than half the price of a +20 competence bonus item, and stacks with it.
  • Fingerbone NecklaceSS: A 7,620gp item that grants any goblin the benefits of the Mounted Combat feat (but not the feat itself), as well as a +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks and on Ride checks made to ride worgs. Anyone else can use it by making a DC 25 Use Magic Device check to emulate the goblin race, though a battle bridle (see the melee combat section) fills the same niche and isn't much more expensive.
  • Gloves of the Balanced HandMIC: This 8,000gp item grants Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat, or Improved Two-Weapon Fighting if you already have it. Two-Weapon Fighting is a prereq for the Ranger Knight and Revenant Blade PrCs.
  • HumillianthirDrComp: Two suits of +3 leather armor (one of them barding) which function as a set - if a paladin wears one and his special mount wears the other, then he can greater teleport onto his mount from up to 500ft away as a move action. The total cost is 3,000gp more than two normal suits of +3 armor.
  • Quickspur's AllyWoL: A shield that gives you the ability to guide a mount with your knees without a Ride check and spur a mount without damaging it, as well a continuous shield other effect targeting your mount. You also get blur, entropic shield, resist energy and stoneskin as SLAs that you can share with your mount, and can summon a phantom steed.
  • Rider's shieldRoS: This exotic shield's AC bonus also applies to your mount. Use when you would normally use a heavy shield. You can take the Exotic Shield Proficiency feat to use it, or trade in your existing Tower Shield Proficiency.
  • Wand of call mountBoED: Lets you summon your paladin special mount even if you've used up your 1/day summoning, though it takes 1 round rather than a full-round action. Note that your mount heals to full health whenever you dismiss it.
  • Wand of golden bardingCD: Basically mage armor for special mounts, except that its AC bonus scales by level (to a maximum of +8 at caster level 10th). Rather than a wand, you could get a continuous CL10 item for 20,000gp, or a 2/day command word version for 7,200gp if you're not worried about dispels. It's a bargain compared to the price of bracers of armor +8, and cooler-looking too.
  • Gnome: The gnome paladinDr329 ACF trades Knowledge (nobility and royalty) for Perform (comedy)... and adds dire badgers to their choices of special mounts.
  • Goblin: While they have weaker stats than most PC races, goblins still have Small size (useful for acessing smaller mounts), a +4 bonus on Ride checks, +2 to Dexterity, and the ability to use a fingerbone necklace (see above) without a UMD check. Arctic goblinsUA are also worth a look, trading the Dex bonus for a Con bonus and a few minor benefits. So are the bhuka from Sandstorm and vril from Drow of the Underdark, though the latter had some of their stats left out of the book so you'll need to see the errata.
  • Human (Unicorn clan)OA: Ride is always a class skill for you, but your favored class is Barbarian rather than being unrestricted like most humans (if you're one of the two people who use favored class rules in the first case).
  • Hound archon: A hound archon with access to a special mount can choose to use a bronze dragon, which gains an additional +2 HD, +4 Str, +4 natural armor, +10ft speed and improved evasion (...despite special mounts already having improved evasion). This does not provide you with the dragon, so you'll have to find one yourself (such as via Dragon Cohort or a fellow party member) but it doesn't suffer the normal +2 LA for cohort mounts. Also hound archons can turn into dire wolves while bronze dragons can turn into Medium humanoids, which means you can reverse the roles if you want. Hound archons themselves suffer from their huge +5 LA; take a level in Ranger Knight and see if you can convince your DM to treat their racial HD as levels in a divine casting class for the Holy Mount feat. Or play a gestalt campaign maybe.
  • Lizardfolk: Lizardfolk paladins can select titan salamanders as special mounts at no level penalty. Psionic lizardfolk have access to a version with some psi-like abilities, but they need to be converted from the 3.0 rules; that said, stuff like vigor scales amazingly on an ubermount build if it's tied to HD.
  • LupinDr325: An LA +0 Monstrous Humanoid that gains a +2 bonus on Ride checks, and treats it as a class skill for all classes. Also if you're a ranger you can choose Humanoid (shapechanger) as a favored enemy.
  • Salamander: A variant rule in Dragon #314 allows salamanders to add the fire subtype to their familiars so that they can actually survive in their normal environment; this isn't amazingly useful in itself, but ask your DM about extending it to other creatures who live in the Elemental Plane of Fire or similarly inhospitable locations (as well as to companions other than familiars). It also clarifies that salamanders are capable of riding mounts... somehow.
Base Classes
  • Barbarian (HorselordDr338 ACF): Replaces rage with "Battle Ecstasy", which grants different bonuses and doesn't affect your concentration. You also get a ranger-strength animal companion, some skill bonuses, and Improved Mounted Archery as a bonus feat. Take 6 levels in this class at most, unless you get something awesome from another ACF later on.
  • Bard (Fey bardUA ACF): Trade bardic music and knowledge for druid animal companion and some other minor abilities.
  • BloodlinesUA: Not technically a class, but close enough. Levels in a bloodline advance every class-level-dependent ability you have at once, including animal companions, familiars and special mounts; in some cases (e.g. Celebrant of Sharess 10) this can even allow you to break the cap and start using the epic advancement rules. Titan Bloodline lets you wield a Gargantuan warhammer in one hand (which is probably just poor wording, but cool enough that some DMs allow it anyway). Celestial Bloodline grants Smite Evil, which lets you qualify for Devoted Tracker if you gained a special mount from an unusual source. All major bloodlines grant 2 fixed bonus feats, which are occasionally useful for prereqs.
  • Cleric (ElysiumSpC planar domain): Counts as both your domain choices, and can only be selected if you're Neutral Good. Grants smite evil as a paladin of your cleric level (including daily uses), helping you qualify for Devoted Tracker.
  • Cleric (ShamanDr353 ACF): Trade turn undead for a ranger-strength animal companion. It's normally painful to give up access to Divine and Devotion feats, but a mounted character won't get much benefit out of Travel Devotion anyway.
  • Cleric (ChampionUA ACF): Trade turn undead for smite evil + aura of courage. Useful mainly for meeting the prereqs of Devoted Tracker.
  • Druid (Deadly HunterUA ACF): Trade wild shape and armor/shield proficiencies, in exchange for the monk's AC bonus and fast movement, a ranger's favored enemies (and swift tracker at lv8), and Track as a bonus feat. This is an excellent trade for mount-focused builds, since it lets you meet prerequisites for ranger PrCs and you probably weren't taking enough druid levels to get wild shape anyway.
  • Druid (Focused AnimalDr347 ACF): Lose trackless step, woodland stride and wild shape(!). In exchange you get +2 to your effective level for your companion's abilities. As above, not all mount builds take enough levels in druid to feel the loss of wild shape, but otherwise ouch. As a side bonus you can speak with animals at will, which is great for roleplaying interactions with your mount.
  • Druid (Sidhe ScholarDr339 variant): Your animal companion gains +2 to Dex and Cha, and +1 hp/HD, but it refuses to enter any settlement larger than a thorp.
  • Druid (Totem DruidDr335 variant): Choose ape, bear, eagle, horse, shark, snake, tiger or wolf as your totem animal. Your animal companion must be of the chosen species (or a dire version) but you gain +2 to your effective level for determining its abilities; dire eaglesRoS are available at a -3 level reduction, dire horsesMM2 at -6 and dire snakesMM2 at -9. You gain a version of wild shape from 1st level and Natural Spell as a bonus feat at 2nd level, but may only take the form of your totem animal (or dire/celestial/fiendish versions of it at higher levels). At 8th level you can speak in animal form and gain a continuous speak with animals effect limited to your totem animal.
  • Druid (Urban companion City ACF): Gain a slightly-improved familiar in place of an animal companion; among other things its hp are 3/4 of yours rather than half.
  • Monk (Holy monkDr310 variant): Trade your lv1/6 bonus feats for Aura of Courage and Smite Evil, plus paladin Turn Undead at lv4. Another way of meeting the prereqs for Devoted Tracker.
  • Monk (Shinto monkDr358 fighting style): At 6th level, gain an animal companion as a druid of 1/3 your monk level. Given the bonus feats provided by this style, consider on a Saint and/or Cha-based build.
  • Paladin (Berronar ValkyrieCoV RSL): A set of racial substitution levels for female dwarves. The one at lv4 replaces Turn Undead with a 3+Cha/day form of Pounce, which also grants you and your mount the Mobility feat while using it. You can only attack creatures that threaten one of your allies though, and the attacks must be made with a single weapon.
  • Paladin (Hunter of FiendsDr349 ACF): Trade Smite Evil for Favored Enemy (evil outsider) and Track as a bonus feat; instead of Knowledge (nobility and royalty) as a class skill you gain Knowledge (the planes) and Survival. A big help for paladins who want to use ranger-based feats and PrCs; the favored enemy bonus even scales by paladin level. See if you can convince your DM to adapt it to "Hunter of Celestials" for a paladin of slaughter, so that you can be a NE paladin/druid.
  • Paladin (LightbringerEtCR ACF): 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.
  • Paladin (Planar paladinPlH RSL): Trade your first weekly use of remove disease for adding the celestial template to your special mount.
  • Ranger (FangshieldsCoV RSL): +2 to your effective druid level for determining your animal companion's abilities (making your companion equivalent to a druid's at the level you get it). Cannot be selected by members of the Humanoid type (the OtherworldlyPGtF feat comes in handy here).
  • Ranger (Planar rangerPlH RSL): Your animal companion gains the celestial or fiendish template, but you reduce your effective druid level by 1 for determining its abilities.
  • Ranger (Planar rangerUA ACF): Your animal companion gains the celestial or fiendish template for free. In most cases this will be better than the substitution level of the same name, but it comes with some minor drawbacks in other places (e.g. fewer class skills), which may make it unsuitable for some builds.
  • Ranger (Urban companion City ACF): See the druid version of the ACF above; your effective druid level is still halved for determining your familiar's abilities, but you get more benefit from the hp thing than a druid does.
  • Scout (Light cavalryDr346 ACF): Gain a paladin special mount at 5th level, except that it can't share spells or command creatures. Your fast movement and free movement class features apply to your mount instead of you; you don't get camouflage or hide in plain sight, but both of you gain trackless step. If you're using this ACF, pick up smite evil somehow (a paladin dip is the easiest way but there are others); that way you can qualify for both Swift Hunter and Devoted Tracker.
  • Sorcerer (Blood of EberronDR351 ACF): Replace familiar with ranger-strength animal companion, Natural Spell feat works for any kind of shapeshifting.
  • TotemistMoI: Grants access to the Riding Bracers soulmeld, which provides Ride and Handle Animal bonuses. At lv2 they can bind it to their Totem chakra, granting the Evasion and Link abilities to any animal or Int 1-2 magical beast that they ride.
  • Wizard (Animal companionUA ACF): Gain a ranger-strength animal companion in place of a familiar. Sorcerers can select this option too, but Blood of Eberron provides more benefits.
  • Wizard (Enchanter variant: CohortUA): Trade your familiar for a cohort, as the Leadership feat (does not stack with the Leadership feat). Note that these specialist wizard variants are banned by many DMs.
  • Wizard (lv5 "High One Warrior-Wizard" substitution level): Combine your familiar with your special mount, as long as you have at least 2 levels of paladin. Interestingly, if you traded your familiar away for another ability then you gain one for the purposes of this effect, so you might as well take the animal companion ACF above then combine all three with Devoted Tracker.
Prestige Classes
  • Animal LordCAdv: 10 levels of full animal companion compression and full BAB. Okay, but not particularly exciting. There's a 3.0 version in Masters of the Wild that gets limited spellcasting, but it's not usable without some rewriting.
  • 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.
  • Celebrant of SharessPGtF: An exalted PrC which can be entered at lv5 rather than lv6. Grants a cat familiar as a wizard/sorcerer of double your class level (doesn't stack with wizard/sorcerer levels, but should stack with PrCs which advance familiars explicitly), as well as some random stuff like rage, pounce, quasi-bardic-music and limited spellcasting. It's not much by itself (the chassis is pretty bad), but it has potential in combos.
  • Dark HunterWeb: Not to be confused with the Complete Warrior PrC of the same name, this grants fast movement +30ft which can be shared with any mount you're riding. Also it's possibly the only Wisdom-based arcane spellcaster in the game, so there's that; might be useful in an Arcane Hierophant build?
  • Dragon RiderDLCS: Upgrades your Leadership feat to Dragon Cohort (without losing your followers), and grants the dragon extra abilities based on your class level (similar to a double-speed special mount, but stacks with it). Also the dragon's Frightful Presence enlarges as if it were one age category older, and it adds half your class level to its save DC - that's a huge bonus. Finally, the two of you get immunity to flanking. The +10 BAB prereq is stiff though.
  • DragonriderDrac: A 5-level class that grants Improved Maneuverability and Flyby Attack to a dragon you ride. It doesn't offer any advancement though, so it's mainly for cohorts.
  • 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. :p
  • Halfling OutriderCW: Dual advancement for animal companions and special mounts.
  • Harmonium PeacekeeperDr315: A 5-level class that grants a paladin special mount at +4 effective level, stacking with existing mounts. When you un-summon your mount you and your companions can return to its home plane with it, and then plane shift to other places from there. The prereqs are pretty easy to meet, as long as you're lawful.
  • HellbreakerFC2: Not explicitly mount-focused, but at lv4 it gets the Stowaway ability, allowing you to share in any teleportation effect used within 30ft. Useful if you have a teleporting mount, such as a blink dog.
  • Human ParagonUA: Lv1 lets you add one skill as a class skill to all classes. Picking up Ride or Handle Animal like this can be very useful for some builds.
  • Knight of the Blue MoonCoS:W: A class intended for paladin/sorcerers. Provides 5/5 spellcasting advancement and a special mount that stacks with paladin levels. If you don't have a familiar then your wizard/sorcerer levels also stack for determining its abilities. Could make a good combo with High One Warrior-Wizard.
  • Knight of the Iron GlacierFrost: Advances your special mount and replaces it with a "war megaloceros", a megaloceros (CR4 Animal with Improved Grab, Scent and a mini-dungeoncrasher ability) with the warbeast template already applied. This is basically a 1-level dip class.
  • Knight of the Flying HuntCoV: You get a pegasus... and it never improves from its base stats. Your other class features are two bonus feats from a short list, -2/-4 reductions to your Armor Check Penalties, and "someone buys you magic armor" (it's not great armor either). I could see maybe a 1-level dip in this class before heading into Windrider levels, but that's it.
  • Moonsea SkysentinelCoV: Grants you a 9 HD dire hawk as a mount (Large and with maximum hp), which gains an additional +1 HD/+2 natural armor/+2 Strength for every three class levels you possess beyond 1st. You can use shield and immediate-action 1-round spell turning, which affect both you and the hawk, and both of you gain scaling bonuses to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities.
  • Ranger KnightDr317: Grants an interesting collection of abilities, most notably a special mount at +5 effective level, favored enemies, and upgrading Trample to a full attack (devastating for dragon mounts). You can also treat medium armor as light armor for the purposes of all armor-restricted abilities while mounted. While there's four prereq feats, it's pretty easy to gain them through ranger levels and magic items (such as battle bridle and gloves of the balanced hand).
  • Sanctified One (Ehlonna)CC: Must be an NG worshipper of Ehlonna. 1/day as a swift action you can summon a griffin or unicorn that's immune to fear and grants you a +5 bonus on Ride checks. It gains +2 HD and AC per class level (and the AC bonus is sacred, not natural, meaning it applies to touch attacks) - a very fast progression, particularly if you can extend it through bloodlines or Legacy Champion. However, the summon only lasts 1 hour, so it's not much use for travel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wild Plains Outrider: Advances either animal companion or special mount. Also has an exception for the paladin's multiclassing clause, if your DM enforces it.
  • WindriderMotW: Grants bonuses to your "chosen mount" similar to a double-speed special mount. If you're a paladin, then you instead designate the chosen mount as your special mount and add your windrider levels to your paladin levels for determining its abilities (...maybe, it's not very clear). Stacks with every other type of companion, and can even be applied to fellow PCs. Also your mount gets something similar to Divine Grace, using your Cha bonus. Finally, since it has limited spellcasting it can be used with the Holy Mount feat.
  • Aereni FocusPGtE: 1st-level-only version of Skill Focus for elves, which also makes that skill a class skill for all classes (and counts as Skill Focus for prereqs). Useful if your classes don't normally have access to skills like Ride or Handle Animal.
  • Blessed of VulkoorSoX: A 1st-level-only feat for drow which gives extra SLAs, and lets them use Small to Huge monstrous scorpions as animal companions depending on level.
  • BondedDr357: When you attack in the same round as a creature you have trained with the Handle Animal skill, you both gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. When making ranged attacks, said creature also doesn't cause you to take a penalty for firing into melee.
    • Double TeamDr357: Once per round you may make an attack of opportunity against a creature your bonded companion struck with an attack.
    • Protective TalonsDr357: Once per round, if you would be struck by a ranged attack while your bonded companion is within 5ft, you may substitute its attack roll +1 for your Armor Class against the attack.
    • SereenDr357: At the start of each round your bonded companion can take a -2 penalty to attacks and AC in exchange for granting you concealment against one opponent.
  • 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.
  • Construct FamiliarDr#280: Your familiar's type changes to construct. With your DM's permission, you can also apply this feat to animal companions.
  • Darkness FamiliarDr322: Similar to Improved Familiar, drawing from a separate list. Of note for a mounted build are the Night Hunter BatMoF (Medium, lv5+), Sinister BatMoF (Large, lv8+), DarkenbeastMoF (Medium, lv12+, ECL 10), Cloaker (Large, lv14+) and Shadow Mastiff (Medium, lv14+, ECL 7).
  • Despana SchoolDotU: Grants bonuses when fighting alongside creatures you've summoned (including auto-flank), making this neat for paladins, knight phantoms and so on. You need summon monster to qualify, which means either an arcane casting dip or ex-paladin/blackguard.
  • 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. A blackguard can denote a Dragon Cohort as his fiendish companion by lowering his effective character level, though given that paladins do this through Dragon Steed it's possible this was a typo and they meant that feat instead.
  • Dragon FamiliarDrac: Lets you choose a wyrmling dragon as your familiar. The Red (lv12+, ECL 11) and Gold (lv14+, ECL 12) varieties are Medium, making them suitable as mounts for Small characters.
  • Dragon Hunter BraveryDrac: You project a 30ft aura that grants +4 Will and +4 effective HD for resisting the frightful presence of dragons, and your special companion can't be affected unless you are. An extremely situational feat, and even in a dragon-heavy campaign it's unlikely that you'll have enough HD to actually ignore frightful presence (ironically, your mount might).
  • Dragon SteedDrac: You gain a dragonnel as a mount; it doesn't advance as you gain levels, but it has good stats at the level you qualify for it. If you already have a special mount, then you can instead attract a dragonnelDrac or a few different types of dragon as your special mount by lowering your effective paladin level. Note that dragonnel and spiked felldrakeDrac special mounts are possible without the feat.
  • Exalted CompanionBoED: Adds some good-aligned magical beasts to your list of potential "animal" companions. Note that this lets your companion qualify for exalted feats without combining it with a special mount.
  • Extra FamiliarDr#280: Exactly what it sounds like. Can be selected multiple times. With your DM's permission, you can also apply this feat to animal companions.
  • Fast RiderDR285: Your mount gets +10ft speed when it has no less than a light load.
  • Feral Animal CompanionCoR: If you are evil, your animal companion gets +2 Str and Con. Also its bite is diseased and it's harder for others to handle, but those are little more than fluff.
  • Flexible MindDr326: Adds two skills to your list of class skills. You must be chaotic to select this feat.
  • 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.
  • Githyanki DragonriderMM4: A githyanki with this feat gains +2 Diplomacy/Ride vs red dragons, and both it and its mount gain +1 AC/Reflex.
  • Heroic CompanionMoE: Any kind of special companion or homunculus you possess can draw from your pool of action points, and you gain +1 action point per level. Obviously, make sure you're using action points before taking this feat (or use a spell like unfettered heroismRoE that gives a temporary pool).
  • 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.
  • Horse NomadDr349: An lv1-only regional feat that grants +3 Ride and proficiency with lances, scimitars and composite shortbows. Which you'll usually be proficient with anyway. And unlike Skill Focus it doesn't help with prerequisites.
  • HorseloreDr315: Grants a +3 bonus on Ride and Handle Animal checks related to horses, and all horses have an initial attitude of friendly towards you. In the right campaign (low-level, lots of plains combat) I guess it could be not-terrible, but there comes a point where horses just stop being relevant.
  • Improved Familiar: Notable options for mounts - Krenshar (Medium, lv3+, ECL 4), Glacier SnakeSK (Medium, lv3+), WatchspiderCoS:W (Medium, lv3+), Worg (Medium, lv3+, ECL 5), Blink Dog (Medium, lv5+, ECL 6), Hell Hound (Medium, lv5+, ECL 7), Night Hunter BatMoF (Medium, lv5+), SailsnakeMM4 (Medium, lv5+), Hippogriff (Large, lv7+), Howler (Large, lv7+, ECL 9), Imp (Medium alternate forms, lv7+), Quasit (Medium alternate forms, lv7+), Winter Wolf (Large, lv7+, ECL 9), StarsnakeShS (Medium, lv12+), Hellwasp SwarmDr329 (Can animate Large creatures, lv16+).
  • Improved Fiendish ServantCoR: Adds about a dozen fiendish animals to the list of creatures a blackguard can use as their fiendish servant, all of them superior to the standard choices. See also Nightmare SteedDn100 below.
  • 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.
  • LifebondLM: An undead creature who takes this feat chooses one living creature, and gains +2 saves/+4 turn resistance while it's within 60ft (or penalties for 24 hours if it dies). Could also be useful in the other direction, for an undead mount ridden by a living character.
  • Monstrous Animal CompanionDr326: Adds a large number of creatures to your available animal companions, of various types. Requires Savage EmpathyDr326, a feat that removes the penalty for using Wild Empathy on magical beasts and extends it to another creature type. Notable options for mounts - Lv -3: Grick (Medium), Krenshar (Medium, ECL 4), Worg (Medium, ECL 5); Lv -6: Displacer Beast (Large), Griffon (Large, ECL 10), Pegasus (Large, ECL 6), Sea Cat (Large); Lv -9: Hell Hound (Medium, ECL 7), Manticore (Large, ECL 9), Shadow Mastiff (Medium, ECL 7), Adult Tojanida (Medium); Lv -12: Digester (Medium), Dragonne (Large, ECL 13), Wyvern (Large); Lv -15: Elder Arrowhawk (Large), Behir (Huge), Eight-headed Hydra (Huge), Roc (Gargantuan)
  • 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 (especially touch AC), so it's a useful effect.
  • Mounted FightingDr346: +1 attack/damage while mounted. Better than Co-ordinated Strike, but still very weak (particularly since you can't take it at low levels).
  • 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.
  • Mounted MobilityHoB: Basically the Mobility feat with different prereqs, and it applies to your mount as well as you. While better than standard Mobility, it doesn't count as Mobility for prereqs, and that's the only reason anyone takes that feat in the first place.
  • Natural BondCAdv: 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.
  • Nightmare SteedDn100: From Polyhedron #159, included with Dungeon Magazine #100. Allows a blackguard to attract a nightmare as their fiendish servant. Badass as hell, and much stronger than Improved Fiendish ServantCoR.
  • Obtain Familiar:
  • 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.
  • Sacred SteedDn104: Increases your effective paladin level by 1 for determining the abilities of your special mount, and lets you summon it one more time per day. You must worship Azor'alq. A bonus as small as +1 will be useless most of the time since your mount only gains new abilities every 3-4 levels. The extra summoning could potentially be useful for healing your mount, but there are easier ways to do that.
  • SaddlebackPGtF: 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.
  • Shadow FamiliarToM: Functions like Obtain Familiar, except your familiar also gains the darkToM template. It requires 3 levels in shadowcaster, and levels in classes that can use shadow mysteries count as arcane spellcasting classes for determining its abilities. Also grants access to the Master of ShadowToM PrC.
  • Shape Soulmeld (Riding bracers)MoI: +4 insight bonus to Ride and Handle Animal checks, or more if you invest essentia. At character level 12th you can take the Open Lesser Chakra (arms)MoI feat for a +2 to melee damage and AC while mounted and not wearing an item on your arms slot.
  • Share SoulmeldMoI: If you can already shape soulmelds, chances are good that at least one of them will benefit your mount.
  • Shared FuryRotW: Basically the same as Mounted Fury, but for an animal companion within 5ft.
  • 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.
  • Spider CompanionDotU: Adds monstrous spiders of various sizes to your list of animal companions.
  • Steady RiderWeb: You can always take 10 on Ride checks, including the use of Mounted Combat. Inferior to Saddleback, but a decent substitute if you can't fit that in.
  • Strength of the ChargerOA: Odd feat. Bonus to hp and Fort saves while mounted equal to mount's Con modifier.
  • Swift CallBoED: You can summon your paladin special mount as a swift action rather than a full-round action. Whether this is useful will vary heavily from table to table. In any case the call mountBoED spell provides an alternate summoning method, so you can save the swift one for emergencies.
  • Talenta Dinosaur BondPGtE: Grants +4 Ride/+1 AC/+1 Reflex to a rider, and +1 AC/+1 Reflex to their mount... as long as you're a halfling riding a dinosaur. Pity it doesn't count as Skill Focus for prereqs.
  • 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.
  • Token FamiliarDr#280: Your familiar can shrink into a Diminutive stone object, similar to a figurine of wondrous power. While this can be convenient for transporting large creatures, there are a number of alternatives (like the familiar pocket spell) which require less investment. Still, this is available from lv1 even if you can't cast spells. With your DM's permission, you can also apply this feat to animal companions.
  • Totem CompanionECS: Adds a specific magical beast to your list of animal companions.
  • 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.
  • Undead FamiliarDr#280: Your familiar's type changes to undead. With your DM's permission, you can also apply this feat to animal companions.
  • Underfoot CombatRotW: When sharing the space of a creature two sizes or more larger than you, you gain soft cover (+4 AC). For Small riders with Large+ mounts (or Medium riders with Huge+ mounts, Tiny riders with Medium+ mounts, etc.). Consider combining with Defensive ExpertDr315, which increases the AC bonus from cover by +2 (and the AC bonus for fighting defensively by +1).
  • Vermin CompanionECS: Adds some vermin to your list of animal companions. Unlike standard vermin they have Int 1.
  • Wedded to the LightDr358: Grants the familiar of a Good character a few extra abilities; among other things it can sacrifice itself to resurrect you, and you both get fast healing. Can be selected as a wizard bonus feat.
  • 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: April 01, 2018, 04:42:36 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 06:13:22 PM »

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

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).
  • Cavalryman's SaddleDr334: For 8,500gp, grants a mount +10ft land speed (untyped), a +5 competence bonus on Jump checks, and both Endurance and Run as bonus feats.
  • Equestrian's SaddleA&EG: A military saddle that grants the rider a +10 circumstance bonus on Ride checks. Only 2,000gp, but only works for horses.
  • HowdahA&EG: A platform mounted on a Huge or larger creature, allowing them to carry up to four Medium creatures (only one counts as the rider), and also granting them cover.
  • Saddle of GrowthA&EG: 3/day, lets a horse, mule or donkey increase in size by one category or return to their original size.
  • Saddle of the PegasusA&EG: 3/day, can cast CL5 fly on a normal-sized horse, mule or donkey except their maneuverability is clumsy.
  • Saddle of Weather ProtectionA&EG: Grants continuous endure elements to a mount and rider, as well as 1/day protection from elements. Also keeps them perfectly dry unless immersed in water.
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.
  • Armor of the Dread EmperorBoVD: +1 full plate that comes with four chains that can be attached to humanoid creatures. Whenever you take damage, half of it is distributed evenly between the wearers of the chains (as shield other). As an item from an evil-themed sourcebook, the intended purpose of this armor is to chain four helpless children to yourself, but there's nothing to stop you from using willing creatures (and the armor itself isn't inherently evil). Craft it as barding for a mount and have the rider wear one of the collars. Much cheaper than a pair of rings of friend shield; the range is only 5ft rather than infinite, but that's not really a concern for you.
  • Fleshshifter ArmorBoVD: +1 leather armor that lets you use CL3 alter self at will. There are many things you can do with this, and giving an otherwise unridable creature a larger or more quadrupedal form is one of them. More advice on the spell here.
  • Grotesque BardingDr349: Grants +2 Intimidate in exchange for -1 on attack rolls, and lets "the animal" attempt to demoralise enemies as a free action whenever it attacks. At the insane price of +50gp! It's not even magical, though the wording might limit it to animal companions.
  • Phylactery of ChangeA&EG: 1/day you can polymorph yourself (CL7) and it lasts until the phylactery is removed or destroyed. Makes Fleshshifter Armor look sane.
  • Spiked BardingDr349: Works like spiked armour, but if worn by an animal that knows the attack and perform tricks, can be used to increase grapple damage and damage enemies who grapple it.
Not many mounts can use these, but an amulet of natural attacks or necklace of natural weapons can help out.
  • Ram HelmetDr349: A nonmagical item that grants a gore attack and a +2 bonus on Strength checks to break down a door. Both function only as part of a charge, and only when used by an animal that knows the attack trick and is ordered to use the helmet.
  • Rapid WrathGhost: A +1 shortspear of mighty cleaving priced at 11,702gp that doubles the speed of a creature that carries it. Not wields it, just carries it.
  • Steel TalonsDr349: Coverings for the talons of any bird of prey which grant that natural attack a +1 circumstance bonus on damage rolls. Can be enchanted or made of special materials, and the benefits transfer to the talons.
  • Cavalryman's BridleDr334: For 10,000gp, grants a mount the benefits of the druid's Woodland Stride and Trackless Step class features.
  • Douse of Flame and HatePh147: For 3,000gp, applies the "Companion of Flame and Hate" template to your animal companion, giving it the fire subtype and extra fire damage on their attacks, a weak breath weapon, +2 Dex, +2 natural armor, Improved Initiative as a bonus feat, and a continuous haste effect. In exchange they become evil and die in five days. Plus this counts as a violation of your druidic vows, and one so severe that the XP cost of atonement is doubled.
  • Feathered Wings (graft)FF: May turn your mount evil, but the fly speed is incredible for its price and the Diplomacy penalty is usually meaningless.
  • 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.
  • Horned HelmA&EG: For 38,000gp, doubles the wearer's base speed and grants them a 1d8 gore attack with a +2 enhancement bonus on attack rolls. The horns, by the way, are deer antlers. Has an updated version in MIC which reduces the cost (and changes the enhancement bonus to counting as a magic weapon) but also removes the speed effect; hence, seek DM approval first.
  • 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.
  • Item of Fly Like an ArrowDr308: An lv4 spell that multiplies the caster's fly speed by 10 for 1 hour/level, but only while flying at full speed in a straight line, and only if they spent the last turn flying at full speed in a straight line. Note that this is from a series of themed spells which can only be cast by dragons or creatures with the "Dragon Magic" feat from the same article... but given how similar it is to the later (dragonblooded) subtype (which appears in a book named Dragon Magic, can be accessed through a feat or bypassed by being a dragon, and grants access to unique spells), I'd say there's a fair argument for treating them as the same thing. In any case a continuous item should come out at 56,000gp, or a 2/day command word item at 20,160gp.
  • Phoenix cloakMIC: Grants fly speed based on land speed. Nice upgrade to a fast land-based mount.
  • Shielding BlindersA&EG: When worn by a horse, grants immunity to gaze attacks.
  • Shrink CollarA&EG: A 10,000gp item that shrinks the wearer to Small size.
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)HoH, 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.
  • Born FollowerDr315: 1st-level only. While within 30ft of a character with the Leadership feat, you gain a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and saving throws against fear. For cohort mounts.
  • Constant GuardianDotU: Take a -2 penalty on attack rolls to grant someone in 10ft a +2 bonus to AC. If you don't plan on attacking, go nuts.
  • 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.
  • DriftwalkerDr315: Lets you move through snow and heavy snow at full speed, and grants a nonmagical pass without trace effect while travelling over snow. Obviously very campaign-dependent (and not that useful once flight becomes available), but it's something your rider can benefit from.
  • 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 :fu 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.
  • OtherworldlyPGtF: Your type changes to Outsider, which gives a former Animal good BAB, +6 skill points per level, and possibly another good save. Particularly good for Fey like the durthan's telthor companion. Not as useful for Magical Beasts, who have full BAB already and will lose hit points in the deal. If your DM is worried about the fluff prereqs, they can also be met by having a celestial present at your time of birth (see Champions of Valor p22).
  • 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.
  • Spellcaster SupportDr318: 3.5 update of an Ancestor feat from Oriental Adventures. Your allies do not provoke AoOs for casting spells, as long as both they and their would-be attacker are in your threatened area. You can also use aid another to add +1 to an ally's CL when they cast a spell.
  • 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 (madness)BoVD: -4 Wisdom in exchange for immunity to mind-affecting effects? This is pretty awesome if you don't have that immunity from your type already.
    • Deformity (tongue)BoVD: Blindsense 30ft. Mindsight is better, but not everyone has telepathy.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 12:18:53 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2011, 06:14:11 PM »

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.

  • Knight's SwordA&EG: A bastard sword that gets the lance's mounted damage bonus. Overpriced unless you really need to use a bastard sword for some reason.
  • 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.
  • Lance of BraveryA&EG: A +2 lance that makes its holder and their mount immune to fear.
  • Lance of FaerunMoF: A +2 holy lance of evil outsider bane, that also grants the Spirited Charge feat. At over 98,000 gp it's very expensive though.
  • Lance of the Unending ChargeA&EG: A +2 lance of mighty cleaving that lets you make "cleaving charges" - when your Cleave feat triggers as part of a mounted charge, you can move up to your mount's speed in the same direction before making the bonus attack.
  • Lancer's SpursCC: If you wear these boots while riding your special mount, the mount gains the benefits of an amulet of mighty fists +2 (at half the price!) and their natural attacks become good/evil-aligned depending on your alignment. If you ride a mount that's not your special amount, the bonus is +1 and there's no alignment effect. Since this replicates the war-mount spell in the same book, see if you can convince your DM to let it trigger the spell's synergistic effect with master cavalier and phantom charge.
  • 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.

  • Bladebearer of the ValenarRoE/PGtE: Elf-only feat that's functionally equivalent to Exotic Weapon Proficiency (double scimitar), but you also get to share feats like Weapon Focus between scimitars, falchions and double scimitars, and they deal +1 damage while mounted. There's another minor bonus which applies if you're using action points. But most significantly, this is a prereq for Revenant Blade (see below).
  • Cavalry ChargerCW: Grants three benefits if you have Spirited Charge, Trample and BAB +6. Unhorse lets you use a mounted charging bull rush in order to knock other creatures off their mounts, which is hilarious if it works but doesn't come up very often. Leaping Charge grants damage bonuses but is dangerous unless you have a way to take 10 on Ride checks, and isn't always useful against monsters (it only works on creatures smaller than your mount). Fell Trample lets you make any number of mounted overrun attempts per round, which is likewise situational unless you have a very powerful Trample attack. This is a good feat for mount-centric campaigns and certain dragon-rider builds, but otherwise I'd give it a pass.
  • Devastating ThunderDr332: The save DC is good, but the fear doesn't last long and can't be used more than once.
  • 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 either that you could end a charge in any space from which you could attack the target, or that you could make an overrun attempt as a free action as part of using this feat (it seems to have been written before those 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!
  • Spirit of the StallionPGtE: +1 on melee attack and damage rolls, but only if you're an elf riding a Valenar horse (which is a specific creature, not a fluff thing). It's better than Weapon Focus, but there are much better things you could be spending feats on.
  • Talenta WarriorRoE: Like Bladebearer of the Valenar but for halflings; the weapons are Talenta sharrash, Talenta tangat, and Talenta boomerang.
  • Trample: This feat was clearly written with horses in mind - it's not clear what happens when something like a snake is entitled to a free "hoof attack", though it should probably be taken to mean their primary attack (the Ashworm Dragoon PrC goes with this interpretation). 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.
  • Tremendous ChargeDLCS: When making a mounted charge with a lance, use your mount's Str modifier for damage in place of your own. Basically lets you dump Str entirely.
  • Valenar TramplePGtE: A variant of Trample which lets both you and your mount attack, and counts as Trample for prerequisites. Nice. However, it has the same restrictions on use as Spirit of the Stallion.
  • Ashworm DragoonSand: Grants an ashworm as a mount, which advances as you gain levels. You can choose to designate it as your special mount if you have one, but this causes it to lose its poison. Grants Trample and Spirited Charge as bonus feats, or grants unique bonuses if you already have them, and lets you use Mounted Combat 2/round.
  • 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.
  • 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. Also provides advancement for paladin special mounts, as well as competence bonuses on Ride and Knowledge (nobility and royalty) checks.
  • Crinti Shadow MarauderSS: A 5-level PrC which grants Sudden Strike +2d6, and lets you and your mount teleport short distances or shadow walk. The last level gives you access to the amazing Shadow Pounce ability, which lets you make a melee full attack as a free action after teleporting, as long as your target was in line of sight beforehand. Could be a nice combo with the phantom chargeCC spell.
  • Great Rift SkyguardRoF: A PrC for gold dwarves, which focuses on jumping off a flying mount (allowing you to charge as a standard action), and training your mount to grab and resaddle you as a standard action in the middle of a move. You get some class features which improve the stats of a pre-existing hippogriff, but they're not a single progression so bloodlines don't help - over the first 8 levels this results in a hippogriff with +4 HD, +6 natural armor, +3 Str, +6 Int, Spell Resistance 20 and DR 5/magic (converted from 3.0).
  • Kishi ChargerOA: A weaker version of Cavalier with easier prereqs (BAB +6 rather than +8, proficiency with lances instead of Weapon Focus). Doesn't advance your special mount, provide bonuses to attack rolls and Knowledge checks, or grant proficiency with heavy armor and shields, and Deadly Charge never upgrades to Unstoppable Charge. Instead you gain Combat Expertise as a bonus feat at 1st level, and two 1/day abilities for modifying d20 rolls.
  • Knight of Holy ShieldingPh171: Adds half their class level to their effective paladin level for determining when they get a special mount and what abilities it has (by lv10 you get one even if you don't have levels in paladin). Also has a form of Supreme Cleave which can be used while mounted, and can add their Cha modifier to attack/damage/AC while using it. Finally, has an ability similar to favored enemy and which counts as favored enemy for prereqs.
  • 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.
  • Revenant BladePGtE: If you have ranger levels, levels in this class stack for your animal companion and caster level (the wording is very specific). Also you get three floating feats from a short list, and can treat both ends of a double scimitar as two-handed weapons. You must be an elf, which limits things somewhat (look into wood elf or wild elf for more melee-friendly ability modifiers).
  • WaveriderSS: Grants something similar to a special mount, just as strong as a paladin's but based on your character level rather than class level. However, you must possess the aquatic subtype, and you're limited to a small number of aquatic creatures. This is slightly less restrictive than it sounds, since some of your class features let you jump out of the water like a flying fish to attack. Tridents gain the "double damage while mounted" bonus of lances, and you gain a version of the Spirited Charge feat that stacks with it. You also get the Full Mounted Attack ability.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 06:52:45 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2011, 06:14:35 PM »

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.

  • Archery SaddleDr349: Grants a +2 bonus on Ride checks to guide a mount with your knees, and reduces the attack penalties for mounted archery by 1.
  • Bareback SoulDr315: You take no penalty on Ride checks for riding bareback, and automatically succeed at checks to guide your mount with your knees. You also gain a +1 competence bonus on ranged weapon attacks while mounted.
  • 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.
  • Bowman ChargerDr325: You get Improved Mounted Archery as a bonus feat, plus Weapon Specialisation, Improved Critical and Greater Weapon Specialisation in the composite shortbow - it qualifies you for Ranged Weapon MasteryPHB2 I guess. Your mount meanwhile gains Dodge and Mobility, which means it qualifies for Spring Attack and Improved Flyby Attack. The initiative bonus and Riding Dervish ability are interesting, the second largely because it makes you immune to AoOs, but the abilities which let your mount use your saving throws are inferior to basic paladin stuff. Oh, also you can double your mount's speed while charging, and gain bonuses to Ride and Handle Animal.
  • Shaaryan HunterPGtF: Poor prereqs, not-very-useful abilities, and doesn't advance your mount.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:56:05 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2011, 06:14:57 PM »

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?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spiderfriend MagicDotU: Your spells can't harm Vermin allies. Even if your mount is a Vermin you might not need this, but if you do use spells which could harm your mount it's great. Ignore the "you can suppress this feat for 1 round as a swift action" part - you can already suppress it just by not considering someone an ally.
  • AbolisherLoM: 8/10 divine spellcasting PrC that gets bonuses against aberrations. Stacks for both animal companion and wild shape (or grants a more limited version of wild shape if you don't have it), but apart from wild shape it's basically an inferior version of Gatekeeper MystagoguePGtE.
  • AlienistCArc: Summoning-focused PrC which advances your familiar and grants it the pseudonatural template after 5 levels (don't get too excited; it's the Complete Arcane one, not the Epic Level Handbook one).
  • ArachneF&P:
  • Arcane HierophantRotW: Dual-progression arcane/druid, which advances your familiar+animal companion and combines them (if you don't have a familiar then you gain one for this purpose; effective level = levels in arcane spellcasting classes + AH levels). You can enter as a non-druid via the spirit folk (bamboo)UA race or a wildrunnerRotW dip, which meets the Trackless Step prereq (Cleric/Fey bard could be an interesting option).
  • Bonded SummonerMiniHB: Give up your familiar in exchange for an elemental that scales from Medium to Elder as you gain levels. The cut to your spellcasting ability is massive though.
  • DreadmasterF&P: 10/10 divine spellcasting PrC for lawful evil characters. Requires Leadership, and grants extra cohorts at lv9 and 10 - these must be "special" (i.e. monstrous) cohorts. You also get bonuses to your leadership score, an aura that penalises saves against fear (good for mounts with Frightful Presence), and can make your cohorts and followers so fanatically loyal that they never refuse objectionable or suicidal orders. Finally, rods crafted by you get +2 to their save DCs.
  • Fiend-bloodedHoH: 9/10 spellcasting PrC intended for sorcerers. Doesn't advance your familiar, but grants it the fiendish template at lv1.
  • FleshwarperLoM: 9/10 spellcasting PrC which advances your familiar, makes it an aberration and grants it four bonuses from a list; Size Increase in particular is powerful if your familiar is unusually large already.
  • Gatekeeper MystagoguePGtE: 9/10 divine casting PrC focused on fighting aberrations. Grants a druid animal companion that stacks with existing levels, and which also gains the Slippery Mind ability and can treat its natural weapons as byeshk for overcoming DR (DR/byeshk only appears on aberrations from the Eberron setting). You also get the ability to shoot swift-action arcs of energy that debuff aberrations standing between you and your companion, but this is useless for a mounted character for obvious reasons. Despite being druid-based, this PrC could also work pretty well on a ranger.
  • Knight Phantom5N: Gish class - see melee section.
  • Lion of TalsidBoED: Full spellcasting, full animal companion advancement, and wild shape that stacks with your existing wild shape. You also get Pounce and the Exalted Companion feat (see Riders in General above).
  • Master of ShadowToM: Requires the Shadow FamiliarToM feat to enter (and thus 3 levels of shadowcaster), though it can advance any kind of spellcasting. Shadowcaster 3/Warlock 2 maybe? You dismiss your familiar, and in exchange get a Medium shadow elemental that works more like an animal companion, including bonus HD equal to your class level -1. Check with your DM whether "Size Increase (Large)" means it just grows to Large size or becomes a Large shadow elemental; the latter has +4 HD and better stats, and has precedent in the Bonded SummonerMiniHB PrC. Also the elemental is incorporeal so you'll need some way to deal with that, like the Ghostly GraspLM feat.
  • Nar DemonbinderUE: Summoning/binding-based PrC with unusual spellcasting advancement (similar to sublime chord). Grants a familiar from your wizard/sorcerer levels plus your Nar Demonbinder levels, and it can be an imp or quasit as if you had the Improved Familiar feat (which, in alternate form, are suitable for use as mounts by Small creatures).
  • Planar ShepherdFoE: This druid PrC is infamous for its huge power boost to the power of wild shape, but it also gives full spellcasting and animal companion advancement. I guess you could enter as a Wild Shape ranger if you wanted to tone things down a bit.
  • Silverwood ArcanistWeb: Requires Wild Cohort. Grants faster handling, Mounted Spellcasting as a bonus feat, and Share Spells. Full spellcasting advancement.
  • Talontar BlightlordUE: 8/10 casting PrC that applies the blightspawned template to your animal companion at lv1, making it a Plant with Str +4/Con +2/Wis -2/Cha -2 plus the standard immunities.
  • Triadic KnightCoV: A 5/7 divine spellcasting PrC that grants a paladin special mount (stacking with existing paladin levels), one use of Smite Evil, and the ability to expend three uses of Smite Evil for triple the damage bonus. Seems like a good follow-up to cleric/prestige paladin.
  • Vermin KeeperUnd: Full spellcasting PrC that expands Wild Shape to vermin forms, and gains a vermin companion at lv3. An lv10 Vermin Keeper's vermin companion has the abilities of an lv12 animal companion, though it loses the Mindless trait of standard vermin.
  • WavekeeperStorm: 9/10 divine spellcasting and animal companion advancement, as long as your companion is aquatic or has a swim speed. You also get a powerful quasi-wildshape which lets you turn into a water elemental, granting you all of its abilities and feats.
  • Witch QueenPh152: A 5-level "legendary class" (a PrC with special rules) for high-level arcane spellcasters with Leadership; doesn't advance spellcasting, but gives you one "Legendary Power" per class level. One of these gives you additional cohorts equal to the class level at which you select it. Yes, that means up to six cohorts. No, I don't know what the writers were smoking.
  • Wizard (martial wizardUA): Select your bonus feats from the fighter list instead of the wizard list; Scribe Scroll is also replaced by a fighter bonus feat. A useful ACF for meeting prerequisites.
  • 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.
Spells and Powers
  • Augment FamiliarCW (Hexblade 1, Sor/Wiz 2): For as long as you concentrate and +1/round level thereafter, your familiar gains +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 to all saving throws, and DR 5/magic. An unusually powerful buff for its level, even if it doesn't last very long.
  • Enhance FamiliarCA (Sor/Wiz 3): Similar bonuses to augment familiar (+2 attack/melee damage/AC/saves), but stacks with items and lasts long enough to keep up all day.
  • Favor of YathagheraSM (Clr 3, Drd 3): The targeted unicorn or equine animal grows wings, gaining a fly speed of 100ft (average). These wings feel completely natural to the subject, and never require any training to use.
  • Fortify FamiliarCA (Sor/Wiz 4): For 1 hour your familiar gets 2d8 temporary hp. For 1 hour/level it gets +2 natural armor and light fortification.
  • Holy MountDr299 (Pal 3): For 1 round/level your special mount gains the celestial template, and a +2 sacred bonus on attack and damage with its natural weapons.
  • Holy SpursSpC (Pal 1): As a swift action, grant your special mount a +40ft enhancement bonus to land speed for 1 round. Basically a slightly-stronger version of swift expeditious retreatCAdv/MiniHB. Note that an earlier version of this spell in the Miniatures Handbook is lv2, which isn't really worth it.
  • Inspire MountCP (Psychic warrior 1): Your mount gains an untyped +20ft speed, and you can discharge the power to attempt negating a hit on your mount as if via Mounted Combat (or gain a +10 bonus on your check, if you already have it). Comes with some decent augment options.
  • Master CavalierCC (Blackguard 2, Clr 2, Pal 2): You gain +10 on Ride checks for 10 minutes/level, or +20 for your special mount "or similar class ability".
  • Mind BondBoED (Pal 3): Your special mount gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls/3 paladin levels, and its bonuses for flanking with you are doubled. A spell that gets better if you have the ability to flank a creature without being on opposite sides of it.
  • One Mind IIIDr299 (Pal 4): For 1 round/level your special mount gains a +1 competence bonus to attack rolls per three paladin levels (max +5); the effect can be discharged to grant it a damage bonus on one attack equal to your paladin level.
  • Phantom ChargeCC (Blackguard 4, Pal 4): As a swift action, you and your special mount or fiendish companion teleport 5ft/2 levels; the spell can explicitly be cast in the middle of your mount's move. If you're under the effect of master cavalier and war-mount, your mount also gains a fly speed equal to its land speed (average maneuverability) until the duration of one of those spells expires.
  • Return to the SaddleDr307 (Brd 3, Clr 3, Rgr 2, Sor/Wiz 3): Teleports you onto a saddle within Close range (25ft +5ft/level) as a swift action, as long as you're carrying a leather strap that was crafted alongside that saddle. You are explicitly "ready to ride" from the moment you appear on it.
  • Spirit SteedECS (Deathless domainECS 4, Siyal druid 4, Valenar bard 4, War (Valenar) domain 4): For 1 hour/level, gives an animal +30ft speed, Run as a bonus feat (stacks with the existing feat if they have it), and no consequences for hustling (effectively doubling its speed over long distances). Afterwards it becomes fatigued.
  • Steed of the SeasStorm (Pal 2): A version of water breathing that can only be cast on your special mount, which also grants it the aquatic subtype (with the amphibious special quality) and a swim speed equal to half its land speed.
  • Sticky SaddleDr299 (Pal 1): For 1 minute/level, makes it much harder to knock you from your mount. Must be dismissed (as a free action) if you want to get off, though.
  • Tiny MountDr299 (Pal 2): Shrinks your special mount to Diminutive size for 1 hour/level.
  • War-mountCC (Blackguard 3, Pal 3): Grant your special mount or fiendish companion a +2 enhancement bonus on its natural attacks, and they strike as good/evil weapons depending on your alignment.
  • Winged MountCD (Blackguard 4, Pal 4): A version of fly with a somewhat better duration that targets your mount. There's also a paladin-only version in BoED which can only target your special mount.
  • When Two Become OneOA (Shugenja [water] 3): Basically a low-level version of the fusion power for riders and mounts.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 04:22:30 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2011, 06:15:18 PM »

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

Awakened Animals: Dragon Magazine #293 provides ECLs for every creature in the 3.0 Monster Manual, including awakened versions of animals. Note that some creatures which are Animals or Magical Beasts in 3.5 had the defunct "Beast" type in 3.0, monsters didn't have a consistent number of feats per level (by the conversion rules you add more if there's too few and convert some to bonus feats if there's too many), and Awaken didn't change the type of animals it was cast on (while turning plants into Constructs).
Valicorn: A "half-unicorn" template for any equine animal or awakened version of the same, from the web enhancement for Ghostwalk. It's listed here because it's unquestionably mount-related, but there's no legal way to buy one, play one or attract one as a special companion. Still, it's only CR +1, so you might be able to work something out with your DM - in particular it seems like a reasonably thematic upgrade for a Valenar Riding Horse if you use one.
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.
Mighty Steed: A feat found in the Dragonlance supplements Bestiary of Krynn and Knightly Orders of Ansalon. A mount with this feat counts as one size category larger for determining carrying capacity and the minimum size of its rider. That is, it lets a Medium character ride a Medium mount, and lets a kobold with Slight Build ride a pseudodragon.

  • Archetypes (animal companion): Totem guide is the most interesting of these, particularly in the hands of a character who can't access its spells normally. They add new feats to those the animal companion can select, but they weren't restricted in the first place so just ignore that part.
  • Archetypes (familiar): Valet could potentially be useful for a mount, and Mauler lets you ride a wider variety of creatures.
  • Mammoth Rider: A PrC that advances animal companions and grants them extra bonuses. Can be pretty nasty, but note that animal companions work differently in PF.
  • Trick Riding: A feat that upgrades Mounted Combat. Not bad. Note that due to differences in skill systems, it would require Ride 12 ranks in a 3.5e game.
  • Undersized MountACG: A feat that lets you ride mounts of the same size as you. Can potentially be combined with Mighty Steed in order to ride mounts smaller than yourself.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 12:37:18 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: Mount Handbook
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2011, 06:15:40 PM »
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 10/Beastmaster 3
Feats: 1: Mounted Combat, 3: Skill Focus (Handle Animal), 6: Devoted Tracker, 9: Natural Bond, 12: Dragon Cohort, 15: Holy Mount

At lv20 your companion is any dragon available as a cohort with a net -1LA 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.

Quote from: Arcane Ubermount
Elf Paladin 2/Wizard (High One warrior-wizard, UA animal companion, martial wizard) 6/Ranger knight 1/Fleshwarper 10/Wizard +1
Feats: 1: Aereni Focus (Ride), 3: Track, 6: Natural Bond, 9: Graft Flesh, 12: Devoted Tracker, 15: Theurgic Mount, 18: ?
Flaws: Any two
Bonus feats (flaws): Mounted Combat, Trample
Bonus feats (wizard): Two-Weapon Fighting

Your companion is a Special mount 23//Familiar 17//Animal companion 6, resulting in +12HD, +23 natural armor, +6 Str, +2 Dex, +10ft speed, Empathic Link, Multiattack, Improved Evasion, Share Spells, Share Saving Throws and Spell Resistance, plus four Aberrant Familiar abilities (Size Increase can be very powerful on something that's already big). You have a free feat slot for Dragon Cohort if you want. Also you cast spells as a 16th-level wizard.

If you drop the Graft Flesh feat and replace the Fleshwarper levels with wizard levels, then you gain access to 9th-level spells and your mount gains an additional +2 to HD/natural armor/Str/Dex.

You can get rid of the reliance on flaws by using items (such as Battle Bridle and Gloves of the Balanced Hand) to meet prerequisites.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 07:39:00 PM by Prime32 »