Various rideable creatures exist in the Mage Wars RPG universe. Some must be tamed (already-tamed versions can be bought from venders), and others are etherial or magical and must be purchased from vendors or found as loot.
Mounts are available to characters at all levels. Etherial or purchased mounts may have minimum level requirements.
Every mount has 3 basic stats:
- Speed: How fast the mount can travel, also used in combat.
- Toughness: How durable the creature is: this is used to calculate AC and damage, and how it handles rough terrain.
- Agility: Turning radius.
Additionally, based on the type of animal, it will have a melee stat and an attack dice. Much like characters, there is a complete AV/DV system as well.
Regardless of species, every mount will require both a saddle and a bridle. A mystical "mount bag" (Note: Find a better name for this later) allows the animal to be placed into the owners' inventory.
Various other accessories are available, such as shoes to increase speed, and saddle bags to provide a little more storage. Some of the bridles may improve attack power.
Horses are the most common but a wide variety will exist. A normal, basic mount must be captured and trained, or purchased from a breeder. The mount will follow the player around and wait patiently outside dungeons. Since mounts are primarily used for travel, all of them will have the same speed. The choice between different types will be mainly cosmetic, though different types may melee differently.
- Horse: of course. We'll make several types but the differences are basically cosmetic until I find a good horse-expert to help me. Heavy horses, light horses, chariot horses, cart horses… you name it. Some are more useful in one terrain and less in others, some can be trained to fight, some can be ridden, some can carry loads, but no single type can do it all. A heavy horse (with armor) can be ridden to break enemy lines, or face off against another rider, but they're not very fast. Light horses are fast and agile, but can't carry heavy loads. Chariot horses pull chariots, of course, and transport PCs (or rescued NPCs), but can't carry much or break enemy lines (unless the enemy is also riding chariots). Cart horses mainly carry cargo. Etc., etc.
- Llama: this is mainly for humor-value. Llamas cannot be used as draught-animals, so when a chariot says it can be pulled by anything, it's lying.
- Camel: because camels are smarter than horses. Basic camels are dromedary (one-humped, warm-climate camels); but there are also Bactrians (two-humped, and capable of surviving the cold), and other varieties: possibly various species of Ice Age camels, and possibly some magically-bred varieties with up to seven humps. Colors are indicative of rarity: brown or sandy camels are common, reddish are uncommon, white are rare, black are exotic.
- Arugolaa: A fast, agile, turtle-like creature with a hard shell. They are fearless in combat.
- Tiagra: A large cat-like creature used for riding and combat.
- *Black Earth Juvenile Hellkite: Yes, you have done it: you are riding a young, flightless, feral dragon into combat. Yay you.
Etherial mounts actually come as items by default but take up very little inventory space. They do not need be fed or otherwise cared for and are always loyal. However, they cannot take part in melee.
While technically available at all levels, a flying mount will be very difficult to obtain early in the game, and progressively easier as the player advances. Flying mounts are more difficult to train initially but easier to maintain, and ethereal flying mounts are also available. Flying mounts are typically faster than the bottom-tier of skyships but cannot fly indefinitely.
Unlike ground-bound mounts, some flying mounts will be able to use ranged attacks for the purposes of aerial combat. Though these will appear as spells, for the purposes of combat the creature will use Weapon Proficiency, Ranged.
- Red Fire Juvenile Hellkite: a young Western dragon, but without much of a will of its own.
- Red Fire Adult Hellkite: a full-grown Western dragon, but without much of a will of its own.
- Winged Arugolaa
Okay, I refuse to go the World of Warcraft route and create steam-punk motorcycles. Just no. A thousand times no.
However, I like some more reasonable in-universe ground-vehicles, which will be detailed here. See SkyShips for flying ones or flying mounts (above) for animals you can ride.
Why don't more games feature these? Chariots are awesome! Chariots were the F15 of ancient Egypt (they invented the strafing run and everything!). All chariots are exceptionally maneuverable and very fast.
- The Basic Chariot: A basic 2-wheeled/1-horse chariot is the smallest available. It cannot be pulled by anything other than a horse. This provided no benefit over a standard horse except that the rider does not suffer the 50% mounted combat penalty when using a ranged weapon.
- The "Ramses II" Model: 2-wheeled/2-horse chariot. Can be pulled by anything and gets a 40% bonus to movement speed. Holds only 1 person, & that person gets to ignore the 50% penalty for mounted ranged combat and gets to attack faster.
- The Caesar: This is the big chariot. It's pulled by four large horses and can hold 3 people. It also gets a 50% movement speed bonus. As with all chariots, anyone riding in it gets to ignore the 50% movement speed penalty.
- Double Caesar: This one is even bigger. Eight horses and 4 wheels (still one axle though, so it's not a cart). 100% movement bonus and holds 5 (very crowded) people. No ranged penalty (obviously). The Double Caesar is also armored around the crew compartment, giving everyone inside a 25% AC bonus.
One type of "mount" you can get is basically a litter carried by eight Sauro-Taru or Viverren. It waits patiently for you outside dungeons and even has a little storage on it. Or you can pack the whole thing up and shove it in a special bag (apparently no one has campaigned for Viverren/Sauro-Taru rights just yet). It goes as fast as a horse with the added bonus of a sapient lifeform that sometimes makes wise-crack comments.
The litters are more expensive but come with a few perks. Extra storage, for starters, and you have the option of purchasing additional carriers to gain extra speed (up to 12, which gives you about 30% over the speed of a horse). The Litter can still be ridden in combat and is more maneuverable than a horse; while you are riding it, the litter does not melee. However, if you wish to dismount, the carriers can be trained to set the litter down and fight beside you (this might require some skill-checks or background, etc.). The catch, of course, is that they can (probably quite easily) be killed, and then you have to walk out.
Also just like chariots, anyone in a litter does not have a 50% AV penalty when using ranged weapons.
Not to be placed before horses. Mostly for loot, or cargo, or injured PCs.
Bear with me for a moment, here, as this one sounds a bit strange at first. I plan to have boating in the game, but the problem with boating is land: you can't sail on it.
Enter the Land Yacht. This is your regular boat on the back of some large creature. When sailing, this critter helpfully clings to the bottom of your boat and kicks his feet to make up for his increased drag. This is basically a conversion to make your sailboat not-useless on the shore.
However, there is no mounted combat on your land yacht. You have to get off it in order to melee. You can still used ranged weapons onboard (no penalty) and if your ship has guns you can use those.
Ultimately the land yacht is designed to function like a mobile house. You can take it anywhere, you can have guests onboard, etc. The land yacht offers some quite a bit of fun for the MMO, but will be heavily limited in size (probably mostly to small skiffs). In the PnP driven by the infinite power of imagination, this offers up some very exciting story-ideas. Imagine the potential for a large ship being carried across the landscape by a number of hulking giants... it'll be fun I am sure.
(Note: See MPNP Combat Instances and Rounds for combat details).
Being on horseback (or llamaback, turtleback, etc.) will allow you to move and attack using your mount's speed stat (whatever that stat is). Characters are unable to melee attack from horseback unless their weapon size is Medium or above. Characters using ranged weapons may attack regardless of size, but suffer a 50% penalty to Attack Value.
Mounts also melee. Every mount is considered to have Weapon Proficiency, Empty-Hand, and makes regular attack rolls. In PnP, the player decides when his mount attacks. In the MMO, the mount will just attack as quickly as it can.
The vehicles covered above still allow for combat, and some even provide speed boosts. The attack speed bonuses only apply while the vehicle is in motion. You don't get a bonus for sitting still in a chair surrounded by angry semi-intelligent lizard-men, just because that chair has handles on it.