Embyr: The Fifth Age
To some players a noble steed is as important as any henchmen or boon companion. For other players it is merely the current means to get to the next city so as to unload their glut of dungeon spoils. In any case, here are some guidelines on how to make that 75 gp ‘riding horse’ something a little more interesting.
There are twelve distinctive types of horse breeds in Embyr. A small stable will have 1 to 4 (1d4) animals available for sale, a moderate stable will have 3 to 9 (2d4+1) animals, and a large stable will have 4 to 14 (3d4+2) animals. Larger establishments would be considered a ranch and would be slightly removed from any township that they service.
If you want a truly random variety of mounts roll 1d12 and consult the list below for each available animal for sale.
Each of the animals described below will have an associating Template after it’s description that may or may not have suggested modifications to set it apart from what might be considered ‘game standard.’
As with everything in these games that we all love so very much, take what you want and leave the rest.
Classification by breed and use
1) Destrier – (600 gp)
Destriers are tall, strong, splendid animals that give knights a majestic air at tournaments and are often high spirited. Simply put, these animals are the single most valuable variety of natural horse; meticulously well bred and highly trained. Ironically, some members of the aristocracy consider them too valuable to risk in combat.
Template: Warhorse with +2 to STR and high to maximum HP
2) Courser – (400 gp)
Lighter than destriers and less costly, coursers are still beautiful animals. Coursers are strong and fast, fit both for war and for hunting. Most true warhorses are coursers and are the expected mount of knights and nobility when they find themselves in combat or jousting situations.
3) Charger – (300 gp)
A charger lacks the power and stamina of a courser, but is rivaled only by a well bred sand steed when it comes to pure speed, and in short bursts they are second to none. Chargers are frequently the warhorse of choice for the mounted armored noble.
Template: Warhorse with -1 STR and low to mid HP but with a speed burst of 75 on a successful Animal Handling check up to 3 times per day.
4) Sand Steed – (300 gp)
Beautiful in the extreme, this smaller than normal warhorse will not bear the weight of traditional armor (barding) that a warhorse usually wears and if so burdened they will serve no better than a common rounsey. They have incredible stamina, however, and can be ridden for a day and a night before tiring.
Template: Riding Horse with a speed burst of 70 on a successful Animal Handling check up to 5 times per day. Con Saves have Advantage up to 3 times per day.
5) Palfrey – (150 gp)
The distinguishing characteristic of a palfrey is its ambling capability that makes it a more comfortable mount for long riding journeys. Royalty and high nobility will often be seen riding palfreys although they tend to be very skittish and are not meant for combat or jousting. A well-bred palfrey of exceptional grace and beauty may sometimes cost as much as a mighty destrier.
Template: Riding Horse with low to mid HP and limited to a speed of 50. All Animal Handling checks with this mount have Advantage.
6) Garron – (80 gp)
Garrons are notable for their capability to deal with irregular terrain, snow and cold temperatures. Under extreme cold, they fare better than other breeds, much more so than destriers with their high eating demands. Garrons are stout of heart and are excellent in combat conditions.
Template: Riding Horse with high to maximum HP. Con Saves have Advantage once per day.
7) Rounsey – (75 gp)
This is a strong and capable steed of no particular breeding. Although rounseys are perfectly capable war horses, they are relegated to hedge knights, squires, and non-knightly men-at-arms. Rounseys are the most common of riding horses and may also be used as pack animals.
Template: Riding Horse
8) Draft – (50 gp)
Draft horses are strong, huge animals meant for heavy tasks. They are not necessarily unfit for riding, although they will not be the best choice for combat situations. A healthy draft makes a near matchless pack animal.
Template: Draft Horse
9) Pony – (30 gp)
A pony is a horse that is noticeably small even when fully grown. Ponies are widely utilized for driving charts and serving as pack animals. They can be mounted by riders of compatible size and are not inherently less athletic or less capable than ordinary horses.
10) Dray – (20 gp)
Dray horses (also called plow horses) are strong horses meant for heavy tasks. They are very slow and usually ill-suited for riding and most will run if they can from any notion of danger.
Template: Draft Horse with low to mid HP and limited to a speed of 30.
11) Stot – (15 gp)
A stot is a term for an inferior or worthless horse, usually very old or weakened by illness or malnutrition. Occasionally though, a stot can turn out to be a starved or misused animal of high breeding that can possibly be nursed back to health.
Template: Mule with a speed of 50
12) Mule – (8 gp)
The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, mules are valued for their endurance and versatility in a myriad of tasks. Mules are excellent working animals and may even be ridden, although they are not meant for combat. Mules are almost always infertile, although it is possible for a rare few female mules to breed.
Realistically most of the stables of the realm will not have the mounts listed 1-5, though a garron may be found from time to time.
Conversely, stables that specialize in animals of high breeding will generally not bother with the inferior stock listed 6-12.
Positive and Negative Traits
A given animal MIGHT have up to three of the traits listed below. If you like, roll 1d6 and subtract 3 from the result, then roll a d12 as needed and take the bad with the good.
1) Powerful: Strong for it’s breed. Add 1 STR
2) Sure-Footed: Where other horses stop, this one finds a way through
3) Stamina: Needs to be urged to stop running (advantage on CON save once per day)
4) Loyal: Always comes back to its master. May throw other riders
5) Wary: Always stops when the terrain is too dangerous. Add 2 to WIS
6) Fleet-Footed: Faster than most. Add 5" Speed
7) Shivers: Under control but sometimes off-putting.
8) Agitated: It never stands still even when you stop; feet are always in motion
9) Winded: Froths a great deal more than others when it runs. Very vocal and wheezes
10) Irritable: Kicks and bites-don’t turn your back!
11) Homely: Not a handsome horse.
12) Slow-Footed: Must be urged to maintain a run.
Coloration and Markings
There are five basic body colors and three variant colors of horses.
A brown horse has a mixture of black and brown in his coat. The color of it’s tail, mane and muzzle will be the same shade as it’s body, though it may bare markings (see below).
A bay horse can be any shade of rich brown, with points such as tail, mane, muzzle and lower legs being a darker brown or black. The brown can range from a light, almost tan or chestnut to a dark, seal color or even a near black.
A black horse is completely black, including muzzle and flanks. Most horses that look black are actually a very dark bay.
A chestnut horse has brown skin with hairs of red. The shades vary from a light yellowy color to a dark red. The mane and tail are usually the same color as the body but can be lighter in what is called a flaxen chestnut. A lighter colored horse is called a sorrel, while a very dark chestnut is called a liver chestnut.
A truly white horse is born white and remains so, with snowy hair, pink skin and blue eyes. Cream horses are a variation, also having pink skin and pink or blue eyes, with a pale colored coat. Most “white horses” are actually light gray.
Duns have black skin with an evenly distributed pail coat and a black mane and tail similar to bay coloring. The coat color can range from a pale canvas hue to a rich ivory. Dun horses usually have a dorsal stripe down their backs and some have stripes on their forelegs. The lighter shades of dun are called buckskin.
The coat on a gray horse is actually a mixture of black and white hairs on black skin. A foal may be born a solid color with a few white hairs sprinkled in his coat, but more white hairs will appear in the coat until he is gray at maturity. A “dappled gray” has white mottling, while grays with clusters of reddish brown are called “flea bitten”.
A roan has a mixture of white and colored hairs. White with brown is called red roan; white with red is called a strawberry roan; white with black is called a blue roan.
Variegated colors on a horse are referred to as markings, and are most common on their faces and legs.
There are Face Markings, Leg Markings, and General Markings. Typically a horse can only have one type of face marking (if you roll a Star and then roll a Blaze, the latter will cover and obliterate the former) but feel free to be creative with what might be considered conflicting results.
On the average a given animal will have 0-4 (1d6-2) of the markings listed below.
A white mark spread over the forehead and the length of the face. If the blaze is exaggerated to cover the entire front of the face, the term “bald face” or “war bonnet” might be used.
A white mark down the face, similar to a blaze but narrower.
A white mark running partway down the face.
A patch of white on the forehead.
White hair on a leg, extending from hoof to hock or knee.
White hair on a leg, looking like human ankle socks.
A white or pink patch on the nose or lip
Uneven splotches of color along the haunches, forequarters, or both.
Large and irregular patches of white that can appear anywhere over the coat of the animal.
Faint and narrow bands of color along the haunches, forequarters, or both.
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