Riding horses vs light war horses??

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Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Tue May 02, 2017 12:07 am

Ok, I find this royally messed up.

A light war horse costs 150gp, has only 2hd, and a 19 thac0. It can carry 180lb at full speed, 270lb for half speed or 360lb at 1/3rd speed.

However, the Riding horse (Half that cost, 75gp), Loses only 10lb of weigh for full speed movement, 15lb for half speed movement and 20lb for 1/3rd speed movement, but has 1 additional HD (3 vs 2), a better thac0 (17 vice 19), and does MORE damage in combat (d4 per hoof vs d2 for the light war horse).

So, other than the whole "war horses are trained for combat, but ridings are not, thus fighting from the back of a riding horse might make it stitish and impose a -2 penalty to the rider", what else is it that makes the riding horse that much better than a light war horse??
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby Lyrwik » Tue May 02, 2017 4:43 am

I seem to recall the rules somewhere saying that the horse (irrespective of which) doesn't make attacks when the character is riding it. Is that right, or am I making up memories?

I had also thought that if you tried to take a regular riding horse into combat, you'd have to make riding checks (with the -2 modifier) to make it do anything other than flee or buck you off. That may or may not be by the book - but it's certainly how I'd interpreted the intention and would probably rule on it.

As for the more HD and better THAC0 issue - I think that's simply due to the linkage between HD and creature THAC0. As for why they have more HD, I'd assume that it's because a riding horse may be more suited to being ridden for longer periods of time (ie is bigger/stronger) than a light war horse.

garhkal wrote:However, the Riding horse (Half that cost, 75gp), Loses only 10lb of weigh for full speed movement, 15lb for half speed movement and 20lb for 1/3rd speed movement, but has 1 additional HD (3 vs 2), a better thac0 (17 vice 19), and does MORE damage in combat (d4 per hoof vs d2 for the light war horse).


Are you reading from the PHB or MM? In the MM, a Light war horse is listed as causing D4 damage with its hooves, whereas the riding horse does D2. Either the PHB and MM might be contradicting each other, or you might have misread.

However, the MM also lists Riding horses as being able to carry slightly more than light war horses, not less. More than anything, I think this is a result of there being Light/Medium/Heavy warhorses, but only one kind of riding horse. I suppose it might also be that if you breed a horse and it doesn't take to being trained for war, and it also doesn't run fast with weight, then you have a nag and you send it off to the glue factory :P

The MM also mentions that non-war horses are 90% likely to be panicked by 'loud noises, strange smells, fire, or sudden movements' whereas the war horses are only 10% likely. In addition, war horses will fight 'independently of the rider' while other horses will 'fight only if cornered'.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Tue May 02, 2017 12:55 pm

Gha.. Got those 2 horse types backwards on the damage they deal.. But all else stays the same.
My question though, is.. IS that training (to where it doesn't buck/bolt) really worth the cost of 1hd and the 2x gp cost increase>??
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue May 02, 2017 10:43 pm

Also, wouldn't it be easier (cheaper too!) to buy a riding horse, then take the horse riding NWP? This has always confused me as well. :|
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Tue May 02, 2017 11:12 pm

Exactly. Hell combine that with animal training and you can buy riding horses for the entire party and then after say 6-mo in game, bam you've trained up a bunch of war horses...
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby Lyrwik » Wed May 03, 2017 3:15 am

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Also, wouldn't it be easier (cheaper too!) to buy a riding horse, then take the horse riding NWP? This has always confused me as well. :|

I can't recall what the rules say exactly about this, but I had thought that without the riding proficiency, mounted combat was either not practically possible, or would require tests (with penalties for not being proficient) to stay on the horse. I could be wrong, by the book, but this would make sense to me. Personally, I can ride a horse in the sense that I can sit on it as it moves (up to a canter maybe), but if I tried to swing a sword, I'd quickly be on the ground - so the proficiency (ie real training and practice) should be a requirement.

In keeping with this, I would also say that taking the riding NWP would not automatically allow a character to push a riding horse into combat. I can't remember if this is by the book or not, but even with the NWP, I'd have them make tests any time the horse is threatened or would otherwise be panicked (or maybe apply that 90% rule from the MM). Meanwhile, a war horse would go into combat more willingly, and be less likely to be startled and therefore not require tests (except say, when it's actually injured).

garhkal wrote:Exactly. Hell combine that with animal training and you can buy riding horses for the entire party and then after say 6-mo in game, bam you've trained up a bunch of war horses...

This could be done - if the PCs want to dedicate that down time to training the horse... and if the horse is actually suited to learning, and isn't naturally skittish. It's probably most realistic if they have a home with the appropriate facilities where they can reasonably spend time training the horse. However, I also admit that I don't personally know a lot about training horses - but from what I hear, it takes a fair bit of time and commitment. Anyone have some insights there?
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby TigerStripedDog » Wed May 03, 2017 8:47 am

I think the easiest way is to say, as a DM, that the folks making these rules weren't perfect and they clearly messed up.

Riding horse is errata'd to 2HD, Thaco 19. Keep requirement to have horse riding prof to ride into battle.
Light War Horse is errata'd to 3HD, Thaco 17. No requirement of prof to ride, but you ridicule the player who doesn't take it because seriously people, ROLE PLAY the character, stop min-maxing.

Just my two cents.

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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Wed May 03, 2017 1:18 pm

Should i also erata the weight limits, so the war horse gets more than the riding, or keep them as is?
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby TigerStripedDog » Fri May 05, 2017 7:30 pm

Yes I would :)

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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Fri May 05, 2017 10:00 pm

So if light war horses take the 3hd spot that riding horses had, then what becomes of medium war horses (2+2 as per the MM) and heavy war horses (3+3 as per the MM)? What would they shift up to?
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby lanir » Wed May 10, 2017 8:39 am

Non-weapon proficiencies read more like talents or knacks than a full skill system. It lacks a lot of things and has way too many separate, specific things in some areas (consider all the slots you'd want just to be a capable, woodsy survival type). Also they mention not rolling them a fair bit and the individual descriptions tend to support that. They often just let you do things rather than tell you to make checks. In fact the only thing the riding, land-based non-weapon proficiency says about fighting while mounted is about using two-handed weapons and guiding the mount with your knees. This doesn't feel like a system that requires a riding skill to fight from the saddle, not if you're willing to keep one hand busy with the task of actually riding (and probably holding a shield, which isn't mentioned either).

The riding horse is pretty generic. If you want the analogs for all of them though i'd say the wild horse maps to the light and medium warhorses and the draft horse maps to the heavy warhorse. The riding horse is probably very slightly smaller and trained not to bite, so it kicks instead. That's about it, really. I guess ideally they'd have made a "warhorse mod" and given just a few sizes of horse instead.
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby TigerStripedDog » Thu May 11, 2017 7:28 am

So if light war horses take the 3hd spot that riding horses had, then what becomes of medium war horses (2+2 as per the MM) and heavy war horses (3+3 as per the MM)? What would they shift up to?


Good question. You could simplify and say there are only "Light War Horses" (scout/soldier horses) and "Heavy War Horses" (Knight's Mounts). Have Heavy War Horses be worth 4HD and call that a day. Probably simplest. Otherwise you could do 3HD -> 3+3HD -> 4HD, something like that

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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby garhkal » Thu May 11, 2017 4:46 pm

I'm just thinking of dropping riding horses to 1d+3, keeping Lt war at 2hd, medium at 2+3 and heavy at 3hd..
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Re: Riding horses vs light war horses??

Postby Stik » Sun May 14, 2017 10:28 am

lanir wrote:The riding horse is pretty generic. If you want the analogs for all of them though i'd say the wild horse maps to the light and medium warhorses and the draft horse maps to the heavy warhorse.

I've worked with a jousting team. Your last comment is pretty spot on. Our jousting horses were Belgian draft horses and a percheron. All big, heavy workhorses.

lanir wrote:The riding horse is probably very slightly smaller and trained not to bite, so it kicks instead.
It's unlikely that someone could/would train a horse not to bite, but not train it not to kick. Because a bit from a horse hurts (experience talking here) but a kick can actually kill you. I've seen plenty of horses that like to kick, and the owner/handlers generally keep that in mind and avoid of circumstances/conditions that would prompt the horse to kick, or else just stay out of the kicking zone.

Lyrwik wrote:This could be done - if the PCs want to dedicate that down time to training the horse... and if the horse is actually suited to learning, and isn't naturally skittish. It's probably most realistic if they have a home with the appropriate facilities where they can reasonably spend time training the horse. However, I also admit that I don't personally know a lot about training horses - but from what I hear, it takes a fair bit of time and commitment. Anyone have some insights there?

It takes a lot to train a horse for combat. It can be done, if the horse has the right temperament, but it takes time.
Look at it this way: horses are herbivores. Prey animals that are built for running. Fast or sudden movements, loud noises, or the smell of blood are all warning signs that a predator is attacking. The horse's natural response to danger is to run away from it.
There are also some oddities about the way a horse's eyes and brain are wired that make them particularly skittish about anything that happens near their head (this is why you see blinders on cart horses). Mounted combat, by its very nature, happens right next to the horse's head.
So you train them. You get them used to noises and moving things coming at them and bad smells and sudden shifts of the rider's weight, and you get a horse that can handle the inherent scariness of combat. Or you don't. Horses have their own minds, and are sometimes hard to control, even if well trained. You just can't enforce your will on an animal that weighs seven or eight times your weight.
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