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Your Whispering Homunculus: At the Horse Fair, Part 1

Your Whispering Homunculus: At the Horse Fair, Part 1

horses“Blessed Lord, I was at the window today looking into the streets.”

“Foolish insect, keep your face from the window, I cannot risk losing another house to the flames.”

“I beg forgiveness master, but my eyes were drawn to the steeds men use, and it gave me an idea…”

A trusty mount of many an adventurer, the horse receives only scant detail in the rules. However, they vary enormously: from sway-backed nag to majestic shire. If you are running a campaign where horses are more prevalent, you may wish to consider expanding on their details by assigning traits to some or all such creatures in your campaign as suggested below…

Horse Traits

As a rule of thumb, a horse has a 25% chance of 1d3 good traits and a 25% of 1D3 bad traits; however, you may wish to modify this according to who (if anyone) trained it (see below). The maximum number of traits is 3 times Intelligence (which is usually 2). A horse may have good and bad traits, but if these traits clash (racehorse and plodder for example), the effects cancel each other out but still count toward the maximum amount of traits a horse can have.

Traits come from training (if any) and character. While, generally, a horse that has been well trained should only have good traits, they can pick up bad habits as well. The value of a horse with traits is reflected in its gp cost; a horse with one good trait costs 50% more than normal, and each extra good trait doubles that bonus in value: thus a horse with four good traits is worth five times its usual value. A horse with a bad trait is worth half its listed price, a quarter with two and so on. For horses with a mixture of traits, cancel each good trait with a bad one in terms of cost.

Detecting traits is not always easy, and some traders use their talents to cover up any poor traits (Handle Animal DC 15). Certain unscrupulous dealers use tricks of the trade, such as doping, to hide bad traits; such traders modify the DC of spotting bad traits by 5 with the help of herbs and alchemical substances (Craft (alchemy) DC 25 masks a trait for 1 hour), but the odor, or other signs, of this tampering can watched for (Perception DC 20).

Teaching traits through good training is time-consuming. There are several tricks an animal can be taught using the Handle Animal skill (see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook), and teaching traits is handled in a similar way. To teach a trait from any of those listed below requires 8 weeks training and a Handle Animal check (DC 20). Each time the character attempts to stack a trait, the DC increases by 2. Traits count as a trick against the animal’s allotted applicable amount.

Bad traits can be removed through proper training (Handle Animal DC 25); each trait requires 8 weeks training. Removing a bad trait doesn’t free up a slot for the animal to be taught another skill or trait and bad traits, like good, count as a trick against the animal’s possible maximum amount it can learn.

Only traits listed as doing so can stack.

Good Traits

Cunning—Riders with the Mounted Combat feat add a +1 competence bonus to their Ride skill when hit. This bonus stacks with itself (up to +5), counting as a further good trait each time.

Good-naturedAll Handle Animal checks made on the mount gain a +1 competence bonus. This bonus stacks with itself (up to +5), counting as a further good trait each time.

RacehorseThe mount has a base move of 10 ft. greater than standard.

SensitiveThe horse doubles the bonuses of the Animal Affinity feat for riders that have it.

SharpThe mount is exceptionally bright and has 1 point more Intelligence than normal, making it a prized mount to train.

TrainedPick two DC 15 tricks from the Handle Animal trick list. The mount has these as standard tricks it can already perform. These tricks do not count toward the maximum amount of tricks an animal can be taught. The trait takes a single trait slot.

Well-Balanced—The horse augments the Ride skill of the rider, providing a +1 competence bonus. This bonus stacks with itself (up to +5), counting as a further good trait each time.

Well-TrainedPick a DC 20 trick from the handle animal skill list. The mount has this as an inherent trick it can already perform.

Bad Traits

Bad Tempered—The animal decreases the Handle Animal skill of anyone training it or riding it, imposing a −1 penalty. This penalty stacks with itself (up to −5), counting as a further bad trait each time.

DobbinThe horse has 1 point less Intelligence than normal (minimum 1).

Hard to TrainThe animal is incapable of learning two DC 15 tricks from the Handle Animal trick list.

Hateful—The horse negates any skill bonuses from the Animal Affinity feat of riders.

Impossible to train—The animal is incapable of being taught one DC 20 trick from the Handle Animal trick list.

Plodder The mount has a base move of 10 ft. lower than standard.

SkittishThe horse is nervous in battle and increases relevant DC checks by 1. This penalty stacks with itself (up to −5), counting as a further bad trait each time.

WillfulThe mount decreases the rider’s Ride skill, imposing a −1 penalty. This penalty stacks with itself (up to −5), counting as a further bad trait each time.

(This post is Product Identity.)

8 thoughts on “Your Whispering Homunculus: At the Horse Fair, Part 1”

  1. Charles Carrier

    I very much like this list, although I think that “teachable” traits should be differentiated from “inherent” traits. For example, Racehorse and Plodder: Just like with people, fast and slow are dependant on physique. (Think about it – can you picture Arnold Schwarzenegger, even at his physical peak, winning a track meet against a scrawny high school kid?).

    However, that nitpick aside, I am copying this article for use in my campaign. Thank you, Mr. Pett.

  2. Charles Carrier

    P.S. Since the “Cunning” trait specifically mentions the Mounted Combat feat, I assume it is intended as the opposite of the “Skittish” trait. If that is indeed the intent, I think “Courageous” might be a better name than “Cunning”.

    Come to think of it, real life horses that are described as “cunning” are usually also thought of as troublemakers. They are the horses that slip their lead ropes, open their stall doors, find their way into the grain shed, and hold their breath while being saddled (makes their chest bigger so you think the strap holding the saddle in place is secure, when in fact the saddle – and you – will slide off after just a couple of steps).

  3. Thanks for the feedback.

    The format for homuncule gives us plenty of opportunity to switch away from lists when the maester of the boards wishes, and have a change occasionally. I’m actually just playing about with some ‘for one night only’ rules to just spice up encounters over a single evening in a setting, hopefully that too may make an appearance on these mighty boards at some stage.

    This article stems back to my desire to run and onld MERP campaign set in Rohan, sadly I never did get to run that one.

  4. I think you’re right as well Charles, there may be scope for thinking about what traits are purely inherited in your campaign.

    I remember playing in the old village of homlett where the traders sold you dogs that just ran away. At the time I recall it being very cool; occasionally throwing an unpredictable animal can spice things up, and you can have fun with the PC who gets the nag in the cavalry of course.

    Rich

  5. Hooray! Another one!
    I just found my word file and reread the previous homunculus articles, then went looking. Great stuff, can’t wait to slip it into my game.

    PS: Any chance of tagging these articles with Homunculus (or Pett)? They aren’t so easy to spot anmong the many other great articles… or am I missing a big RSS button or new article subscription mail weekly service thingy? :)

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