View Full Version : Cohorts, or What Level is my Heavy Warhorse?

Gan The Grey
2010-09-04, 01:26 AM
I was looking over the rules for cohorts t'other day, and it got me a-wondering. Say a non-druid, non-paladin, non-ranger...okay, let's just say a fighter buys a heavy horse, uses his prodigious ranks of Handle Animal to train it for war, and gives it a nice strong name. Like Bergul. Yes...Bergul the horse. As such, he becomes rather attached to Bergul, but due to the DM's (that's me!) inability to figure out the rules, Bergul never really gets any better as Mr. Fighter gains levels.

Now, this could apply to nearly any purchased animal - dogs, lions, goats. I am aware that there are no rules for advancing a heavy warhorse according to its stat block, but I'd like to think that it would get tougher as it sees more battles.

For use with the cohort rules, do I treat the animal's HD as its level? Would YOU treat it that way?

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I realize letting any PC with enough time and money have a nearly limitless amount of animal slaves would be broken.

EDIT: K, Ignoring RAW for these purposes, and assume that I could treat any purchased animal as a Cohort.

Innis Cabal
2010-09-04, 01:30 AM
It's just a horse. It's a mount, not a cohort. If it were intellegent beyond an animal level, that's different. But...it's a horse. It's not supposed to get better. You could give it armor enchantments for it's barding. But at the end of the day. It's just a mount. Nothing special like any class listed.

2010-09-04, 01:30 AM
The only way good ol' Bergul could become a cohort (and gain levels, as horses cannot advance in racial HD) would be to have a druid Awaken him.

Gan The Grey
2010-09-04, 01:36 AM
K, cool. Doesn't work by RAW. Ignore that part. Let's just say I COULD treat Bergul as a cohort. How then would you approach the rules?

2010-09-04, 01:37 AM
No Awakened horses?

Gan The Grey
2010-09-04, 01:40 AM
No Awakened horses?

Ignore RAW. Normal horse that gets better and tougher as it joins in more battles with the fighter. Or a dog that does the same. Advance my non-magical animal as per the Cohorts rules.

2010-09-04, 01:44 AM
Welp...you could use The Vorpal Tribble's method of determining ECL, so you could figure out what the base ECL of the horse would be for cohort rules. Then just advance it by Animal hit die, I guess.

Determining ECL/CR
1. Divide its average HP by 4.5 to 6,
4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD.
2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, minusing 1 for every 5 below.
3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if its got a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities).
4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity.
5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has.
6. Divide by 3.

According to Tribble's method, it's a 3. By core, it'd be at least ECL 4 for the hit dice.

Gan The Grey
2010-09-04, 02:01 AM
I suppose I could treat their level as their CR, and increase their HD by 1 for each level they gain...

Mystic Muse
2010-09-04, 02:04 AM
I suppose I could treat their level as their CR, and increase their HD by 1 for each level they gain...

probably the easiest if you don't want to use the methods another class (Druid, ranger, Paladin) uses.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-09-04, 08:00 AM
All it takes is a feat, and the Fighter has plenty of those lying around.

2010-09-04, 08:01 AM
There's a [general] feat that'll give you an animal cohort that advances as you level: Wild Cohort (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a). Give it a look and you may be able to talk your DM into allowing the progression apply to your horse without spending another feat (or trading it for an existing one).

2010-09-04, 08:11 AM
The leadership cohort rules are already designed to work with a mount. Simply pick a mount whose HD + LA matches the appropriate level, gear it out and you're good to go. The thing is he should probably be riding a griffon or pegasus at his level. Hey, that's the ticket. Find a magical excuse for his horse to sprout wings. After that the pegasus may advance 1 HD per level getting everything a magical beast (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#magicalBeastType) gets from each HD.

If he isn't high enough level for an ECL 6 mount, you could invent some kind of gradual progression similar to savage species races. Basically you give the pegasus 6 levels from 4 HD and 2 LA, with special abilities and ability score bonuses at each level. The abilties you need to spread across those 6 levels are Flight 120 ft. (average), +8 strength, +4 dex, +6 con, +2 wis, +2 cha. He also gets everything the HD grant (BAB, saves, skill points) and feats at 1 and 3 HD, as normal.

For other animals I'd compare them to similar mounts with LA +X (cohort) and assign whatever LA seems fair to balance them with other mounts.