Unusual Mounts


Unusual Mounts
  Steeder(600gp non-combat, 1,200gp combat)
Steeders, aka surface steeders were developed by good mages during the war to combat the drow steeder cavalry. Drow rode giant spiders, which they also referred to as steeders, in webbed and rough terrain that normal mounts could not traverse, thus having the only mounted soldiers in combat. The development of surface steeders helped to turn the war against the drow. Surface Steeders are magical cross-breeds of a riding horse and a giant spider. The body is primarily horse-like, although  it has 8 spidery legs, 4 or which it can attack with at any given moment for 1d4 damage each. Optionally, the steeder can shoot a strand of webbing at a single opponent, then reel him in with its front spider-legs.  Because of the unusual shape of the steeder’s body, and its requirement to have its spider-legs flexible and free, standard horse barding cannot be used on a steeder. It might be possible to modify horse barding or have barding custom made, but this would at least triple the price. Steeders are able to move like both a horse and a spider using their spider-legs to climb up or down steep surfaces such as sheer cliffs. People employing steeders as mounts have intricately-buckled saddles which hold the rider in place during such steep ascents and descents. Because of the differences between steeders and normal horses, and between the kinds of gear needed to ride them, a -3 riding penalty may be applied to riding checks (unless the skill is specifically geared towards steeders). Anyone attempting to ride a steeder with a riding skill geared toward normal horses is likely to end up being pitched head over heels at the first steep ascent or descent, although they could probably get by as long as the steeder kept to level terrain. Besides their ability to travel where normal horses cannot, the steeder is prized for its ability to spin webs. A single web-line can be used to help lower the creature and its rider down a mountain slope, or the steeder can make an intricate web like those of a standard spider. A lone rider can often sleep easier knowing his faithful steeder steed has created walls of sticky webs around his master (essentially, weaving a “tent” in which the rider can sleep). Because steeders cannot close their compound eyes, they are peripherally aware of their surroundings even when sleeping and can awaken at a moments notice, sounding a warning to their masters in case of trouble. Any creatures caught in a steeder’s web are left alone by the creature, who is strictly herbi vuhrous. While it is not understood why steeders do not retain the venomous bites of the giant spiders used to create them, most wizards are happy enough with the beneficial traits. Steeders mate once in their life and produce 2 black eggs the size and shape of watermelons. The eggs hatch in 3 months yielding normal looking colts. When the colts reach maturity in about 1 year, they shed their skin and suddenly acquire all of the traits of a full-grown steeder. Steeders do not have motherly instincts, and the colts need to be hand raised or given to normal horse mothers . Steeders can not mate with non-steeders.
  Sand Runner (500gp, 750gp war-trained)
Sand runners are extremely thin, long-legged horses of great speed and reliability-the “greyhounds” of the horse world. They are of particular value in far flung kingdoms, as they swim well, never get lost, and can travel without a rider to a known destination. They are also sufficiently intelligent to learn simple commands and even recognize one or two simple symbols, such as a coat of arms. Thus, their allegiance can be extended to everyone in a certain group who knows the proper commands or signs. Sand runners serve any kind masters and have no particular racial preferences. They dislike barding. Sand runners like magic and are not afraid of most spells, but they are terrified of fire and all firelike effects. Wild sand runners travel in swift packs and are hard to catch. Once captured, they are skittish but easily trained. They can be bred, but horse/sand runner combinations always result in fair-quality standard horses. Sand runners are rather weak in melee and prefer to run from trouble, but they can be trained for combat much as normal horses of good quality. However, sand runner are forced to the fringes of battle even by light war horses and are certainly no match for medium and heavy horses. Sand runners prefer deserts, plains, and other hot, dry regions, but are reasonably tolerant of all climates and weather with the exception of rain. They are slow and troublesome on wet days. Sand runners have very good endurance, being able to travel up to 15 hours per day with ease, and require only three-fourths the water required by normal horses. Stallions (uncut adult males) are capable of bursts of speed of 80 feet. They can do this once a day for up to 30 minutes. Sand runner have large, flaring nostrils and small, double-lidded eyes in thin heads. They are bony, with long, hairy tales and manes and large hooves. They range from butter yellow to golden brown in color and often have bands and stripes in dark brown or reddish-brown. Sand runners are usually about 15 hands at the withers. They eat a normal horse diet and live up to 25 years.
  Bahtel  (500gp, 1,000gp war-trained)
Bahtel (bah-TEL) are large, powerful horses that excel in combat. They are intense, high-strung, and always ready to fight. They are sometimes referred to as berserker horses or whirlygigs for their wildly aggressive behavior in battle. They are not as fragile as normal horses, having thicker legs and stronger bones. In melee, they bite with their strong jaws, kick with their front hooves, and use their large, bony foreheads to butt opponents. Unlike other horses, bahtel can attack on the first round of melee. Every other round, a bahtel can kick with its rear hooves (both hooves thrusting at a single target) for 2d6 hp damage . This “rear” attack can be directed against an opponent in front, as the bahtel can leap up and kick its rear feet forward. An opponent hit by a bahtel’s rear hooves must make a dexterity check, DC 14, or be knocked down. There is only a 1% chance that bahtel will panic and bolt from a fight while mounted, but they always retreat if wounded while facing poor odds. During combat, only characters with riding skill are able to stay in the saddle of a berserker horse. Others are thrown by the beast’s continual wild bucking and twisting as it fights. Only partial actions can be made from the back of a bucking bahtel. All attacks by the rider are at -2 to hit. A rider must use one hand to hold the bahtel’s reins while it fights, his other hand being free to hold a weapon. An unskilled character could tie himself into the saddle and but there are some thus stay on the horse, obvious problems with this. Spell-casting from the back of a fighting bahtel is impossible, and only simple magical item use is possible. For instance, a character could not (safely) use an item that required aiming, such as a wand of paralyzation, but could use a figurine of wondrous power. If there is not sufficient room for the bahtel to thrash around in melee (about 10’ x 20’ plus 14’ vertically), its armor class is one point worse and it does not get its rear-leg attack. However, riders have only a - 1 to their attacks, and my take actions normally. Bahtel wear any barding and can be fitted with any normal saddle, but they must have special bitless bridles in order to accommodate their huge jaws. Berserker horses are not particularly loyal, usually following whomever feeds them best. However, since they are some-what intelligent, they do pay attention to their masters and riders, showing preference for skilled and aggressive characters. Riding mastery is lightly more important to them than food, so the better rider wins out over the rich one. If one master is killed, a bahtel will go with the next best one. For some reason, berserker horses are not fond of gnomes and halflings, preferring to avoid (or kick) them. They tolerate dwarves, but recognize them as nonriders. They are neutral with regard to all other species except unicorns, which bahtel dislike. Bahtel are not interested in (or intelligent enough for) matters of good and evil, or law and chaos. A bahtel can learn to recognize 2-5 simple verbal commands. These can be for any simple action such as charge, wait, or come. It takes a minimum of two weeks for the beast to learn each command. Bahtel communicate among themselves in a simple language of grunts and thin whistles. During melee, they sometimes whistle quite loudly, with any nearby bahtel answering. A bahtel willingly fights any creature, including another bahtel. Due to their thin, rough hide, berserker horses are not at all suited to cold climes and prefer hot, wet regions. They take 150% damage from cold-based attacks (e.g., taking 15 hp instead of 10 hp dam-age) and always try to avoid snow and ice. Bahtel are omni vuhres, with a normal diet of grasses and fruits supplemented with eggs, small mammals, insects, and lizards. They eat one-and-a-half times as much as medium war horses. In the wild, bahtel travel alone or in small packs. All berserker horses have very good eyesight, and they are very difficult to catch alive.  Female bahtel are larger and stronger than males and get + 1 hp on each hit die rolled; females absolutely refuse any non-bahtel stud. All bahtel have short, broad bodies with thick, muscular legs and long, very flexible necks. Their heads are short and wide, with a heavy knot of bone over the eyes. They are usually striped in wide, vertical bands of gray, white, or black. They have no manes; their tails are short, thick and hairless. Males are usually about 15 hands and females 16 hands. Bahtel are rather short-lived, maturing in one year and living to about 12 years of age.
   Vuhr, 250 gp (non-combat), 500 gp (combat)
 Vuhr are extremely strong and sure-footed. They are quiet, placid creatures, valuable for their ability to carry heavy loads virtually anywhere. However, they are slow and not strong in combat. Being of animal intelligence, they recognize only good treatment and food, although they do have some rider loyalty.  vuhr are very tractable, easily-trained beasts are usually calm and trustworthy. They are less nervous than horses.  vuhr dislike dwarves but otherwise enjoy the smaller demi-humans, who find  vuhr vastly amusing and can triple up when riding the larger specimens. They are easy to catch and breed (only among them-selves) and are fairly disease-resistant.  Vuhr are comfortable in temperate regions, where they roam in small herds, often in rocky uplands.  vuhr are very distantly related to horses.  vuhr are generally the size and weight of heavy war horses but can carry significantly more than any horse and can climb even steep grades with large loads.  vuhr will enter cave mouths but are terribly claustrophobic and never willingly enter any sort of enclosed space other than a stable. In melee,  vuhr can attack opponents only directly ahead or just to the side. They attack on the second and succeeding rounds of any melee.  vuhr let out a tremendous bellow when they are wounded and when charging into a fight. Anyone directly in front of the beast at this moment must make a will save at DC 10 or lose 1d4 initiative on the following melee round.  vuhr are very faithful to masters who treat them well, and they stay at the sides of their dismounted riders until they are driven off or one of them is killed. Other than their roaring and great strength, a  vuhr’s only special skill is the ability to smell poisonous substances. The  vuhr can smell poison at 1’ distance, only if there are no other strong smells present. Thus, a poison mixed in with a complete, odorous meal would escape the  vuhr, but one in a glass of white wine would not.  vuhr require only normal saddles and other tack. They can be fitted with barding at 150% of the usual cost. They are herbi vuhres and like most good grasses and feeds. Male  vuhr are larger than females and have a 60% chance of having six legs instead of four. Those with six legs are the largest and strongest, gaining +2 hp per hit die. Females have a 20% chance of six legs, with six-legged specimens receiving + 1 hp per hit die.  vuhr mounts are tall (16-17 hands), heavy, orange or red beasts with thin, handsome faces and large ears. They have large, hard hooves that help them climb in steep and stony areas. They each have horns son the sides of their head and hairy tails and manes, and live up to 30 years.
Bounder (400gp non-combat, 750gp combat)
The bounder is a reptillian riding beast, bred in the cities for its incredible strength. It is used in groups for pulling large wagons and individually as a war mount. Many bounders have escaped into the wilderness, where they have integrated with wild herds. The bounder is a bipedal lizard. Its hind legs are thick and broad to support itself and a considerable load even on loose sand or gravel. The forelimbs are long but not especially strong. The claws are naturally sharp but are often filed to points or even shod with metal blades for battle. The bounder’s back, the back of its neck, and the top of its head and face are covered with thick scales, while its underbelly and throat have softer, leathery scales. Bounder can be any of a variety of colors, from light brown and sandy yellow to deep green approaching black. Generally, the harder scales are a darker color than the softer ones. Bounder have long tongues and they have an unfortunate tendency to drool . The bounder communicates with other of its kind with snorts that convey very basic concepts. In individual combat, a bounder can make five separate attacks: one bite, two foreclaws, and two hindclaws. When carrying a rider or pulling a load, the bounder cannot bring its hindclaws into play. A bite inflicts 1d10 hp damage; foreclaws inflict 1d6 hp damage each; and the powerful hindclaws can inflict 1d8 hp damage each. Bounders specially prepared for combat may have bladed foreclaws or armor. Bladed foreclaws increase the damage by one point (1d6 + 1). Some riders have even had the blades enchanted or blessed to enhance their mounts’ combat effectiveness. Domestic bounders can be found in cities and on caravan routes. Special pens, maintained for crossbreeding to continue the line, are owned by noble families and merchant houses, even by the queen herself. Many bounders have escaped captivity and returned to the wild, either running off from caravans or slipping away riderless after a large battle.
  Battle Bird(300gp non-combat, 650gp combat)
Also known as axe beaks, they are large flightless birds related to the ostrich. The battle bird stands 10 feet tall and weighs 500 pounds. The animal’s small head and gigantic beak are perched atop a long neck. If forced to fight, a battle bird uses its legs to deliver a kick that inflicts 1d8 points of damage and a massive bite attack that does 1d12. Battle birds are fearless, stupid, and require lots of supervision. They are not very strong and prefer unarmored or small riders. They absolutely refuse to move if encumbered. However, they are swift on their feet, can run faster than most horses, can fight in smaller areas, and can outmaneuver other mounts in combat. Halfling and gnomish riders favor battle birds. They lay huge eggs yearly and tend to watch over and feed their young. Axe beaks are omnivorous, preying on smaller creatures and eating grasses and berries in the wild. In captivity, they happily eat leftovers, table scraps, and anything else they can get their beak around.
  Blue Cat (750gp non-combat, 1,500gp combat)
The blue cat is the largest and most feared of the great cats. Blue Cats have light blue fur, dark vertical stripes, and two large twisting horns on their heads. They can leap 10 feet upward, and spring forward 30 feet to 50 feet to attack. This species ranges from the subarctic to the tropics, generally inhabiting wooded or covered terrain. Blue Cats are nocturnal, solitary, graceful climbers and swimmers who are capable of sustained high speed. These animals rarely fight among themselves, but will protect their territories ferociously. Their fa vuhrite prey includes cattle, wild pigs and deer. Females raise their 1-3 cubs alone. The cubs remain with their mother for several years. In the untamed wilderness, the Blue Cat occupies the top predatory niche. In captivity, they make faithful mounts, protecting their rider with the ferocity of a demon. However, if they are mistreated, they will turn on their owners. They can carry moderate loads, but prefer medium sized unarmored riders. They will not accept barding heavier than leather. They are quite intelligent and can carry out many simple commands with out supervision. They are the favored mounts of many barbarian tribes.
  Roaks 250 gp (non-combat), 500 gp (combat)
Roaks are giant beetles, similar to their more ordinary counterparts, but thousands of times larger—with chewing mandibles and hard wings that provide substantial armor protection. Roaks have two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs. Fortunately, the wings of a roak cannot be used to fly, and its six bristly legs do not enable it to move faster than a mule. While their shells protect roaks as well as plate mail armor, it is difficult to craft armor from them, and a skilled alchemist would need to be brought in on the job. Roaks are basically unintelligent and always hungry. They will feed on virtually any form of organic material, including other sorts of beetles. They taste matter with their antennae, or feelers; if a substance tasted is organic, the beetle grasps it with its mandibles, crushes it, and eats it. Because of the thorough grinding of the mandibles, nothing eaten by giant beetles can be revived by anything short of a wish. Beetles do not hear or see well, and rely primarily on taste and feel. Unlike other giant beetles, Roaks are social animals with a herd mentality. Wild roaks are about as common as a wild cow, as they have been thoroughly domesticated. They are raised as mounts because they are basically fearless, obey commands absolutely (although they are not very smart), and can carry huge loads. They are also raised for food as they yield a high protein meat, that tastes a bit like rancid oatmeal (half-orcs and goblinoids love the stuff). Roaks are useless in northern climates because when the temperature reaches freezing, roaks immediately go into a suspended animation, where they do not move, eat, grow, or do much of anything. They are sluggish in cold weather (under 55 degrees Fahrenheit) and act as if under the affects of a slow spell.
  Kairuku (small riders only, 150gp, 300gp for combat trained)
Large flocks of kairuku dominate the icy shorelines, with the birds both strutting along the shore and diving beneath the waves. In areas where they are unmolested by humanoids, they can be quite tame unless their breeding grounds are disturbed. They have an unfortunate habit of stealing shiny objects. A humanoid bearing something of interest may be mobbed by an entire flock.
Kairuku feed mostly on large fish and squid. In turn they are prey for many larger creatures. They may also be found feeding on carrion washed up on the shore, from whales to humanoids. The birds themselves are edible, yet oily and foul tasting.
The story of the kairuku’s origins is nothing less than extraordinary. Originally, the kairuku went extinct ages ago, but a flock was well preserved in solid ice till roughly 6 centuries ago. They were then discovered by the kul, who sold them to the squawks. The squawks treated them like treasure and they were put on display (still frozen in blocks of ice). Eventually, one of the frozen birds was stolen by some qulari rogues, sold to their own kin, and later thawed and resurrected. Everyone was so pleased with the creature that emerged that eventually the entire flock was brought back to life and allowed to multiply.
Kairuku are easily domesticated and squawks frequently use them as mounts above and below the waves. A tamed kairuku is utterly loyal to its allies, yet still retains the troublesome habit of pilfering items from those around it.
  Whale Bear (large riders only, 600gp, 2,000gp for combat trained)
Although whale bears, also known as qulari akhluts, appear similar to standard akhluts (PATHFINDER BESTIARY 3), they are non-magical, and likely not related, having evolved on entirely different poles. Regardless, there are many similarities, including a wolf-like body, the uncanny ability to see through blizzards, and an extremely savage bite. When the two do interact, the weaker whale bear inevitably becomes submissive to its magical look-alike, and may even fight on its behalf.
The qulari were the first to domesticate these beasts, and they are often used as mounts and war-beasts. Unfortunately, their propensity for occasionally turning on and devouring their masters could never entirely be bred out from their stock. Many consider this trait to be worth the risk, regardless.
When the thanors (north pole natives) discovered the qulari (who are native to the south pole), many traded their giant polar bear mounts for these fierce animals, importing a substantial population to the Arctic circle. Now, roving packs of whale bears are quite common in there and even outnumber the indigenous akhlut. The thanor are slightly more successful at akhlut domestication, perhaps because it is impossible for a whale bear to swallow an adult thanor whole.