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TFWoods3
June 8th, 2009, 23:07
I've always had a problem with players having horses in the game, it seems to cause problems or force the GM to make sure he keeps horse speed in mind with outdoor encounters. So I try to keep players from having them, at least early on.

Does anyone else restrict easy access to horses or do you allow them and plan ahead (" Hmm, if they see a troll blocking the road up ahead, they could just ride around him at top speed, I better make it a one hex narrow path.")

Oberoten
June 8th, 2009, 23:13
With a trolll I'd say let them. Trolls are DUMB, people'd be able to ride past them a few times.

... of course even a troll will learn that they do after five-six or maybe nine times and then take precautions. Maybe crude such as pits and hidden sharp stakes, but they will try and be sly too. Even if they slyness isn't so efficient as that of a more clever being.

Phystus
June 9th, 2009, 02:16
I just factor it into my planning.

But there is another tactic available: make the party not want to have horses. :D

A few cases of whinneys at inopportune times, high stable fees, and horses bolting at a sudden fright (with half the party's gear on board) should quickly cool the party's interest. Make sure they spend some time looking after the beasts, too. Use an encounter with an irritated druid to drive the point home if they don't. ;)

Don't forget that animals that aren't trained for war are likely to be a real handful in combat, transforming what would be an easy fight on foot into something memorable (in a way the party won't want to repeat!). Warhorses (ponys, dogs, etc.) are even more expensive to buy and maintain, giving you another swipe at their pocketbooks. Be sure to catch those expensive horses in some area-of-effect damage spells from time to time too. :D

In short, look at horses not as a vehicle for characters, but as a vehicle for DM mischief, and make the most of it!

~P

TFWoods3
June 9th, 2009, 03:04
Good tips the Phystus, if they ever get some horses.

turelus
June 9th, 2009, 09:23
I would say don't start messing with them too much, I know horses are a pain but you don't want the players to feel helpless/worthless with their horses because no matter what they do it runs off or they can't afford to stable it.

Remember as a DM your job is to keep the game fun for everyone including yourself, some of the ideas mentioned above may just annoy your players more than solve the problems.

I myself would just talk to my players about my problems/issues and I'm sure they would help me out.

Sorontar
June 9th, 2009, 13:27
I think horses aren't in games enough because of the nature of many of the pre-designed adventures.

God help the guy who wants to play a character based on a Rider of Rohan and takes mounted feats and then has to tie his main weapon up outside most adventure sites to be eaten by anything that walks past.

Just let them do what they want but ensure that the horses are just one more dynamic feature you use in your game. A horse making noise may well happen and give the party away, but a horse may well smell ambushers ahead and start to play up slightly which a party may pick up on if they are paying attention.

Oberoten
June 9th, 2009, 19:32
Having done some work-time in stables I have to admitt that yes, horses are a bit of a hassle if on the road.

But with a GM that knows his horses they are a good oportunity for roleplaying in their own right. Heck what would Lucky Luke be without Jolly Jumper?

Phystus
June 9th, 2009, 23:47
I guess I should mention that I don't actually do that sort of stuff very often in my own campaign. But I do enforce the rules that exist in the game system (D&D 3.5 in my case) about horses (and other mounts and animals). Most rule systems have some rules about encumberance, care, feeding, fatigue, and the effects of training (or lack thereof) on a mount. Making sure they're followed is a bit of a pain at times, but does provide a lot of opportunity for roleplaying, as Obe pointed out. And FG makes keeping track of encumberance so easy there's no reason not to enforce it.

I guess my point really is that you should let them have horses, but don't let the horse just become a mechanism to convert gold into an improved movement rate and carrying capacity. As long as the players take the minimal roleplaying time needed to say "I feed the horses" or "let's tie them up down in the next valley before we head to the dungeon" I don't mess with them.

~P

Sigurd
June 10th, 2009, 01:29
Yea that power creep is something else.


Imagine, Horses!



:D

Oberoten
June 10th, 2009, 08:54
Speaking from my own experience :
In winter the horses should have spiked shoes. Not even that will always help, I had a clydesdale step on my foot with those and I have nice little scars for it.

And this gentlemen, was a FRIENDLY big lug who looked at my foot apologeticlly with a quizical expression saying "What is he pushing at me for... oh, that smells like it'd hurt..."

Horses are wonderful, albeit all too often dead-dumb animals.

- Obe

** Edited :

Point of this is of course showing how FUN you can have with horses. ;)

- Obe

Sorontar
June 10th, 2009, 14:44
Speaking from my own experience :
In winter the horses should have spiked shoes. Not even that will always help, I had a clydesdale step on my foot with those and I have nice little scars for it.

And this gentlemen, was a FRIENDLY big lug who looked at my foot apologeticlly with a quizical expression saying "What is he pushing at me for... oh, that smells like it'd hurt..."

Horses are wonderful, albeit all too often dead-dumb animals.

- Obe

** Edited :

Point of this is of course showing how FUN you can have with horses. ;)

- Obe


Have the villains horse drop a load in the path of the heroes, always a winner when the wizzie gets it on the hem of his robe :D

Oberoten
June 10th, 2009, 14:52
Or the ever present horse-slobber "Don't worry it just means he LIKES you."

- Obe

TFWoods3
June 10th, 2009, 15:46
Are there more detailed rules in 3.5 for horse care than in 4E? I also haven't seen much in the way of horse gear on the item lists. It would be nice to have :)

Griogre
June 10th, 2009, 20:46
3.x had bit & bridals, saddles (pack, riding, war), saddle bags, and barding. For 4E, Adventures Vault has barding and the rest of the gear other than the war saddle (because of it's special rules in 3.x) was a few gold each. Feed was like a silver a day and weighted 10 pounds for a days worth.

Phystus
June 11th, 2009, 01:29
Well, I don't know what's in 4.0, but in 3.5 the one paragraph in the DMG boils down to "have the party hire some commoner to deal with it".

There are some rules in the movement section of the PHB about forced movement, hustling for extended periods, and such. There's also some mention of feed in the equipment section.

My house rule since AD&D days has been 20 minutes of care (removing saddles, grooming, feeding, etc.) daily per horse. I'd originally proposed 15, but several members of the party who were more horse-savvy than I objected that it was too short. Someone in the party (usually one of the rangers, or the druid until she went into semi-retirement) would usually mention horse care as they made camp, or stables when they got to town, so I didn't have to push the issue much.

~P

TFWoods3
June 11th, 2009, 06:53
It just seems to me that horses could make outdoor encounters far more unpredictable and harder to manage. Planning out an encounter on a specific map could end up having them moving off the edge of the map in just one move at horse rate of speed. Suddenly I have to decide, does the enemy also have mounts or not? Should i factor in chances of the horses getting hit in combat? Now I have to track horse health? and on and on...

Oberoten
June 11th, 2009, 07:45
Well personally when dealing with mounts I'd go this route :

* Of coures the mounts can be hit, targeted and slain on both sides. Make it it's own challenge for both players and npcs. A shriek and hooves flailing everywhere as the massive warhorse goes down might put a crimp in even the toughest knight's day.

* Bigger maps for outdoors encounters. Might even let the players or the NPCs set up ambushes and do other nice little tactical maneuvers.

* If horses become comon, so will countermeasures. That is the truth of all warfare. When pistols made armour obsolete, the longsword (made to punch through armour) became replaced by the rapier in it's many forms. Measure begets countermeasure. Sure, not everyone can afford the effort or money to have countermeasures for everything. But a group who is defending an area won't NOT take something like cavalery into the calculation.

Lithl
June 15th, 2009, 15:33
Or the ever present horse-slobber "Don't worry it just means he LIKES you."
Since when do horses slobber? I've held a horse's tongue in my hand while still in the horse's mouth and is wasn't slobbery.

And since one of the players in my group lives with about 8 horses or, so, we could never get away with such breaks in logic as this! :p


Hmm, I suppose I should change my stance, though. I have seen horses slobber while eating Bois D'Arc fruit. Which could be due to Bois D'Arc fruit being sufficiently poisonous to induce vomiting...

Oberoten
June 15th, 2009, 21:37
It all depends on the horse. Very affectionate ones will happily slobber all over you (and so will the ones with bad teeth)

- Obe

Sigurd
June 15th, 2009, 22:52
Has anyone seen good rules for rider damage in a horse fall? Its a problem with D&D levels making superhero characters. I bet that with a couple of levels horse fall is barely an inconvenience.

Its not for nothing knights were called 'the horse butchers guild'.

Phystus
June 16th, 2009, 02:16
It just seems to me that horses could make outdoor encounters far more unpredictable and harder to manage. Planning out an encounter on a specific map could end up having them moving off the edge of the map in just one move at horse rate of speed. Suddenly I have to decide, does the enemy also have mounts or not? Should i factor in chances of the horses getting hit in combat? Now I have to track horse health? and on and on...

Well, it may seem more unpredictable and hard to manage at first, but you'll soon get better at it. And it also tends to make more memorable, enjoyable battles. And that means more fun, which is the whole point, right?

It does help to use a big map (I go 90x90 5' squares for my generic encounter maps). You may have to compromise on map quality to keep file size in check, but I figure even a low-res map is more impressive than the battlemat and markers we used in face-to-face play.

Another tactic you can take from face-to-face gaming is simply scooting everyone back x squares at the end of the turn if the battle approaches the edge of the map.

As for deciding whether opponents are mounted, do so beforehand. In D&D, at least, it's usually not hard. Make sure the mounts are counted against the opponent's wealth, of course! ;) Since the party won't want to kill the treasure, you shouldn't need to keep track of damage on the horses as often. :D

I normally have the mount act on the rider's initiative, and I don't put the horses on the combat tracker until they're actually wounded. Keeps the clutter down a bit. I also don't put horses with riders on the map. I just increase the rider's space in the combat tracker, which automatically gives them the correct size and reach on the map (at least with the 3.5_JPG ruleset).

Hope that helps make it a little more manageable.

~P

zabulus
July 1st, 2009, 20:33
This so reminded me of this conversation :)

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1273

TFWoods3
July 2nd, 2009, 18:49
This so reminded me of this conversation :)

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1273

Hehe, nice. Thanks for sharing.