What Should Mounts Do?

I’ve been contemplating adding mounts to FS3.3, as I think that’s one of the obstacles to using FS3 in a fantasy type of setting.

What I have so far is the idea that there’s a list of mount types, like “War Horse” “Horse” etc. and a command:

combat/mount <animal type>

But beyond that… what should mounts do in terms of combat effects? Some ideas… (some of mine, some from @Roadspike):

  • Mounts could have different bonuses to attacks and defense, like stances (based on mount type).
  • Mount bonuses could be higher vs unmounted opponents.
  • Mounts could work like cover, in that a hit would have a chance of hitting the mount instead of you. I really don’t want the complexity of tracking mount damage, but perhaps there could be a simple toughness roll (based on mount type) to see if the mount was KOed.
  • Mounted opponents could have shifted hit locations (like unmounted vs mounted you’d have a bigger chance of hitting the legs) but given the way the hitloc charts work I think that would be a PITA to configure.

What do y’all think? Worth the effort or is it better just to handwave mounts?

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So what I have tentatively implemented for the next patch. Feel free to suggest other ideas though!

Mounts are similar to vehicles, but simpler. The game configuration defines types of mounts (e.g. Horse, War Horse, Elephant) with different statistics:

  • Bonus vs Unmounted Opponents
  • Toughness

The bonus against unmounted opponents is added to the rider’s attack when attacking an unmounted opponent. When an unmounted opponent attacks the rider, that bonus is subtracted from the attack roll (making it harder for someone on the ground to hit a mounted rider). This bonus is on top of stances, so games probably don’t want to set them too high.

When a mounted opponent is hit, there’s a chance the hit will hit the mount instead of the rider. If the attacker gets 3+ net successes, he automatically hits the rider. Otherwise, there’s a 20% chance of hitting the mount if the attacker is also mounted, and 40% if he’s unmounted. This reflects the fact that it’s harder to hit the rider from the ground.

Every time a mount is hit, it gets a knockout roll with a number of dice equal to the mount’s toughness rating. You can use toughness to reflect the mount’s size and/or armor. If a mount fails it’s KO roll, it’s taken out and the rider becomes unmounted. Otherwise the mount is only injured. This is just a RP effect; damage isn’t tracked for the mount.

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Is it going too far down the rabbit hole to have a property on weapons that gives it a bonus attacking mounts? Ie, that 20% chance to hit the mount becomes much more?

I know FS3 goes for a simplified view of combat, but a mounted knight against a sword wielding infantry has a serious advantage. Against a pikeman with the pike set against the ground and aimed center-of-mass for the horse, he’s downright TRYING to hit the mount.

Which occurs to me: If a mount is taken out, it shouldn’t just result in the rider going unmounted. There should be a roll for damage-- getting thrown or having a mount land on you is a real danger.

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Well an unmounted opponent vs a mounted one already has a 40% chance of hitting the mount instead of the rider. Pikes set against charges strike me as a pretty uncommon exception in MUSH-land, though of course in RL you’re 100% correct about their lethality vs. mounts.

Are there other situations where you think a weapon should have different effects vs mounts?

I can probably do something like a crew hit for someone getting their mount taken out. That makes sense.

Well, its less ‘different effects vs mounts’ but that a willful tactic to actually not even try to hit the mounted person, and attack the mount itself. The pike is just an example; if I swing my sword at the mount’s legs a mounted guy runs by, that seems a very reasonable tactic (if slightly dangerous: perhaps a crew hit might also hit the person WIELDING THE WEAPON that dismounts someone? A horse is a big beast, if you’re not careful when you take it out it might hit you)

Okay, pause as someone who grew up on a horse farm and loves horses thinking of them on a battlefield … shudder.


Oh gotcha. Yeah I actually considered that. Vehicles have the opposite effect, where you can willfully target the crew instead of the vehicle (which is the default). I was trying to keep it simple for the first go-round but it folks think that’s really important, I can add a similar ‘attack mount’ option to combat/attack.

@Ixokai So I added some fall damage if you’re forcibly dismounted and a ‘mount’ attack option for someone to deliberately target the mount. I’m going to leave trampling effects up to the GM - that seems a bit much to try to code in, particularly with the differences between, say, trying to take out a horse with a pike vs a sword vs a rifle from some distance away.

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I like it. Still relatively simple, but allows some tactical ability.

I like the idea of some weapons getting less penalty than others against mounted targets (the old, relatively unused ‘reach’ stat would have been perfect for that), but I think that’s not really that necessary. If someone is, for instance, holding a braced pike, the GM can provide them with a bonus to counter the penalty to hit a mounted target.

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