Ride

Key Attribute: Dexterity

The Ride skill demonstates you ability to command animals while riding them. Although this skill is similar to the Animal Handling skill, it focuses on your command of the animal, not the animal's training, making it possible to ride any creature if you are skilled enough.

Rank 1 Ability

Every round that you are mounted, you must make a ride check as a non-action. Whenever possible, you should be taking 10 on these checks. Doing otherwise slows the game down and increases the likelihood of you suffering a substantial failure when you really don’t want to. The result of your check indicates what you can do with your mount in the round, and how many of your actions that round it takes to accomplish. Most of the time the results don’t matter, because even if you spend a full action controlling your mount you weren’t doing anything more pressing anyway. Sometimes though, like in combat, it matters a lot.

Note that even when you can perform an easy task like Direct with Knees as a free action, your mount only has a limited number of actions. If you use that riding task, and direct your mount to make a double move, that is almost all of what your mount can do in the round. You may still have a standard and a move action left to spend, but you can’t use them to make your mount move any farther or attack someone because all of their actions have been spent. Similarly, if combat breaks out and you are not riding a combat trained mount, it may take you a full round action to use the Direct with Knees ability. Even if you only keep your mount from fleeing and stay where you are, you have used both of your actions and don’t have any left to use any additional riding tasks.

You need to be aware of how your actions and your mounts actions interact in this way. Whenever your mount is out of actions, you can not get it to perform further no matter how many actions you have remaining. And when you are out of actions, your mount will not do anything that you want it to no matter how many actions it has remaining (unless it is intelligent and you ask nicely, but that’s kind of a special case).

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The base DC to perform an easy task, like directing your mount with your knees, as a free action is 10 + the CR of the mount + the attitude of the mount. Most trained mounts have the comfortable attitude, though bonded mounts like the paladin’s or animal companion mounts may instead be trusting and make every task easier. Unruly or ornery mounts may be indifferent, and wild mounts are very likely skittish; both cases make riding more difficult. In addition to the attitude modifier, you suffer a +10 increase to the check DC whenever you bring a mount into combat or similar circumstances (exploding buildings, disintegrating ruins, etc.) without proper combat training (the Combat Riding purpose). Mounts without this training are very difficult to control when things are occurring violently around them.

Base DC: Task DC (below) + Animal's Hit Dice + attitude, +10 if in combat or similarly distracted

Success:As a full-round action, you may perform any difficult riding task. You may perform moderate riding tasks as a move action, and easy or trivial ones as a free action. You may not perform any riding task more complicated than difficult. If you exceed the DC by more than 5, as a full-round action, you may perform any extreme riding task. You may perform difficult riding tasks as a move action, and moderate, easy, or trivial ones as a free action. You may not perform any riding task more complicated than extreme, which is fine because there aren’t any. If you exceed the DC by more than 10, as a move action, you may perform any extreme riding task. You may perform difficult, moderate, easy, or trivial ones as a free action. You may not perform any riding task more complicated than extreme, though you can perform two in a round if you really want to show off.

Failure: As a full-round action, you may perform any moderate riding task. You may perform easy riding tasks as a move action, and trivial ones as a free action. You may not perform any riding task more complicated than moderate. If you fail the check by more than 5, as a full-round action, you may perform any easy riding task. You may perform trivial riding tasks as a move action. You may not perform anything more complicated. If you fail the check by more than 10, as a full-round action, you may perform any trivial riding task as long as your mount is not in combat or similarly distracted. You may not perform any more complicated tasks. If you are in combat, a situation that would similarly distract and frighten your mount, or it the mount is just particularly ornery (which you should have seen coming), you are instead thrown from your mount.

Trivial Riding Tasks (DC 5)
Direct Mount - You direct your mount to take a move, double move, or run action in the direction of your choosing. You must use both your hands and your legs.

Easy Riding Tasks (DC 10)
Direct with Knees - You direct your mount to take a move, double move, or run action in the direction of your choosing. You only need your knees and legs to direct him, leaving your hands free for other tasks, like attacking your foes.

Remain in Saddle - You remain in your saddle after your mount unexpectedly rears, bolts, or otherwise tries to throw you. Sometimes holding on while your mount takes you for a ride is all you can do.

Strike a Foe - You direct your mount to use a standard action to attack a foe of your choosing. Your mount may not take a full attack action, and does not threaten an area and can not make attacks of opportunity.

Moderate Riding Tasks (DC 15)
Assault a Foe - You direct your mount to take a full attack action against a foe, or foes, of your choosing. Your mount also threatens its natural area and can make attacks of opportunity, though it suffers a -4 penalty to these attacks if its intelligence is 3 or less.

Into Harm’s Way - You direct your mount to shift into the path of a strike aimed at you. If your ride check for the round is greater than your opponent’s attack roll, the strike hits your mount instead of you, dealing all appropriate damage. Precision damage is negated in this case. This shift is an immediate action for your mount. Because this happens outside of your turn, you must be able to perform a moderate riding task as a free action to be able to use this ability.

Leap - You direct your mount to make a jump as part of its move action. You must make a jump check as usual to see if your mount clears the gap or hurdle, but you may use half of your ride bonus in place of the mount’s jump bonus if you like.

Regain the Saddle - This task is used to properly place yourself in the saddle after taking cover, standing up, or being knocked from it but not falling off of your mount. It is of no use in any other situation.

Ride in Cover - You slip over the side of your mount and ride there, using it as cover against all attacks originating on the other side. As you aren’t in the saddle, you can not use the Direct Mount or Direct with Knees riding tasks, and are unable to direct your mount from this position. It will keep moving as you last directed it to until you either regain the saddle or call it to a stop. If you become unable to maintain this cover position on a later round, you must use the Regain the Saddle riding task or you immediately fall from your mount.

Spur Mount - You cause your mount to push itself just a little bit harder. For the duration of this round it gains a 25% bonus to its base speed, rounded up. It also suffers subdual damage equal to its number of hit dice.

Difficult Riding Tasks (DC 20)

Direct from Cover - //You slip down onto the side of your mount and ride there, using it as cover against all attacks originating on the other side. You are unable to use the Direct Mount or Direct with Knees tasks from this position, but you can still direct your mount as you need to while using it as cover. If you become unable to maintain this cover position on a later round, you must use the Regain the Saddle riding task or you immediately fall from your mount.
Stand on Mount -//You stand up on your saddle and continue riding there. As you are not properly mounted or riding in cover, you can not use the Direct Mount, Direct with Knees, or Direct from Cover riding tasks and can not direct your mount from this position. It will keep moving as you last directed it to until you either regain the saddle or call it to a stop. If you become unable to maintain this standing position on a later round, you must use the Regain the Saddle riding task or you immediately fall from your mount.

Extreme Riding Tasks (DC 25)
Direct with Toes - You stand up on your saddle and continue riding there. Wile standing you can not use the Direct Mount, Direct with Knees, or Direct from Cover riding tasks, but you can direct your mount with your toes instead. If you become unable to maintain this standing position on a later round, you must use the Regain the Saddle riding task or you immediately fall from your mount.

Sentient Mounts
Any creature with an intelligence of 3 or greater is sentient, and these mounts function a bit differently than non-sentient mounts. The first thing to understand is that these creatures have an intelligence within human limits, even if it is possibly on the bottom of the range. This means that if you have a method of communicating with them, you can just ask them to do stuff for you. While a trained sentient mounts will take direction from their rider, they don't actually require you to give it. In general, if you can talk to your sentient mount you don't need to make riding checks to indicate what you want it to do. If you want your griffon to follow a wagon down a road while you try to jump to it, you really can just ask him to do that. And since you don't need to direct him round by round anymore, you don't need to make ride checks to direct with your toes when you stand.

Sentient mounts can be shown the same riding tricks as other mounts, and if a sentient mount knows those tricks you can use them as you would a regular mounts. If a sentient creatures lacks a trick, the only way to get it to perform the trick is to ask for the creature to perform it. And if they understand you, it's probably not hard for them to do it. Guard, stay, attack, these are all concepts that a sentient mount can understand and be asked to perform even without formal training. Formal training just teaches them how to recognize the command when the rider lacks a way to communicate with them directly. This also means that sentient mounts don't necessarily freak out in combat even if they lack the combat riding role. If you can communicate with them, you basically don't need to make riding checks to work with them and the 10 point penalty is irrelevant. If you can't communicate directly with them, you do still suffer the penalty to indicate what you would like them to do. They don't pitch you from the saddle though, unless they really don't like you.

The last difference to note is that when a sentient mount doesn't like you, it can cause problems for you. While a trained sentient mount probably won't attack you without provocation, they are capable of subverting your orders and directions in frustrating and unforeseen ways. If you fail to treat the mount better or transfer it to a new owner, they are likely to just slip away during the night. If you have a sentient mount, take care of it. They're more NPC than object, and while they are quite useful because of that they're also a bit more work.

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