The New Mounted Combat

Jousting KnightIn a fantasy role-playing games sometimes a character finds himself on top of another creature in battle. In my Second Edition days, I had characters that jousted from horses and dragons, and even once fought some sea monsters whilst atop a dolphin. Each 2e sourcebook had some complicated set of rules for the mounts of its worlds. Things got better in 3E with a standardized set of rules for movement, but there was still built-in support for mounted combat and specialized encounters like jousting.

In 4th Edition, I wouldn’t know where to tell where you where are the mounted combat rules in 4e, if they exist at all. Of course, it matters less now that size and height differences aren’t factors in combat.

In my game, we had a situation a few weeks ago where there were some enemies wanting to escape on griffon-back. In course of the session it mattered what kind of an action getting on or off a mount is; is it a standard, minor, or move? Can it be done as part of a move action? Can a dazed, stunned, or slowed character effectively mount? Then there was the situation of trying to get a mount to throw its rider…

I think the 4e designers purposely hid these rules. Mounts in d&d are complicated affairs, and are only effective out of doors (horses are ridiculous in a dungeon) and when everyone in the party has one. I think they would be fun occasionally for an encounter, but as much as some unique terrain piece.

I guess my questions to the group are: (a) are there official mounted combat rules, and if so (b) where are they? And (c) have you effectively used mounts in or out of combat in a 4e game? Do people still have “horseman” as a character identity/trait or do we assume they are all proficient riders that only get on a horse between adventures, if at all?


3 thoughts on “The New Mounted Combat

  1. Looks like rules for mounted combat are in the DMG. Here’s the Compendium link:

    My group has used mounted combat for enemies on mounts a few times, but have not tried PCs fighting on mounts yet. Our characters usually just ride horses to and from adventure sites and leave them safely tied up while they are adventuring. Our characters usually take good care of making sure that the horses are safe and won’t come to any harm while they are away, though.

  2. @Steve,

    Thanks for that link! Looks like we would have fared better under the official rules. I don’t carry a DMG anymore with me since they put most of the rules for players in the PHB this edition.

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