Age of Heroes
The cultures of the ancient world do not use riding saddles; at most, a cloth is put on the horse’s back to sit upon. Stirrups are not invented until later years. Nonetheless, bareback riding is a skill that many learn.
Typical riding actions do not require checks. You can mount, ride and dismount from a mount without a problem. The following tasks do require checks.
- Guide with Knees:
You can react instantly to guide your mount with your knees so that you can use both hands in combat. Make your Ride check at the start of your turn. If you fail, you can use only one hand this round because you need to use the other to control your mount.
- Stay Mounted:
You can react instantly to try to avoid falling when your mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when you take damage. This usage does not take an action.
- Fight with Warhorse:
If you direct your war-trained mount to attack in battle, you can still make your own attack or attacks normally. This usage is a free action as it is used reactively.
- Soft Fall:
You can react instantly to try to avoid injury should you fall off a mount – when it is killed, hamstrung or when it falls, for example. If you fail your Ride check, you take 1d6 points of falling damage. This usage does not take an action as it is used reactively.
You can gain your mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use your Ride modifier or the mount’s Jump modifier, whichever is lower, to see how far the creature can jump. If you fail your Ride check, you fall from the mount when it leaps and take the appropriate falling damage, at least 1d6 points. This usage does not take an action, but is part of the mount’s movement.
- Spur Mount:
You can spur your mount to greater speed with a move action. A successful Ride check increases the mount’s speed by 10 feet for one round but deals one point of damage to the creature. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage to the mount as the previous round (two points, four points, eight points and so on).
- Control Mount in Battle:
As a move action, you can attempt to control a light horse, pony, heavy horse or other mount not trained for combat riding while in battle. If you fail the Ride check, you can do nothing else in that round. You do not need to roll for warhorses or warponies.
- Fast Mount or Dismount:
You can attempt to mount or dismount from a mount of up to one size category larger than yourself as a free action, provided that you still have a move action available that round. If you fail the Ride check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. You cannot use fast mount or dismount on a mount more than one size category larger than yourself.
Varies. Mounting or dismounting normally is a move action. Other checks are a move action, a free action or no action at all, as noted above.
The Ride skill is a prerequisite for the feats Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Ride- By Attack, Spirited Charge and Trample. If you have the Animal Affinity feat, you gain a +2 bonus on Ride checks. If you attempt to ride a creature that is ill suited as a mount, you suffer a –5 penalty on your Ride checks.
If you have five or more ranks in Handle Animal, you gain a +2 bonus on Ride checks.