Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WoW vs. 4e - Mounts

In my continuing personal study of World of Warcraft and 4e DnD, I thought I should bring up the mount. In WoW, the mount is pretty much your crowning joy. I know from experience that saving up enough money to get my hands on a flying mount was some serious work, a true labor of laboriousness (if that is even a word). But, once I had myself a flying mount, I couldn't have been happier. Now, I am saving to get myself a better one. It is a LOONNNGGG way off. Getting together the cash to get that mount is going to take some serious questing and some serious work on my part, but when it is all done, I will be flying around the skies of Azeroth in style.


What about 4e? In all honesty, I have never had a character that even owned a mount in 4th Edition D&D. In fact, only one character, my Gnome Bard/Paladin back in my RPGA days of 3.5 even had a mount (a warhound). Does not having a mount take anything away from the game? I don't really know.

From what I have seen, the standard Dungeon Crawl format of D&D 4e doesn't really support mounted combat very much. It is not going to be easy to get your mount into a dungeon and it is going to be even harder to keep it in line while there. But, does this mean that as a player, I have to give up on having a shiny magical mount of my own?

The problem, as I see it, is that you are rarely, if ever, going to really get to make good use of mounted combat in 4e D&D. If that is the case, than you are also very rarely going to want to spend the prescious money that you have to pick up an awesome mount of your own (if you look them up, some of the more expensive mounts cost quite a bit of cash).

In other words, as a player, you very rarely want to buy a mount, but if you think about it as your character, that character would most likely love to be mounted up and enjoying traveling on a trusted companion rather than some rental steed.

Now, how can we rectify this rift. Honestly, I don't know. WoW is a video game, and as such, they have rules which sometimes don't really work the way we would think of them. Mounts can't be used in combat, and you can't fight from atop a mount. However, in D&D you can do both of these things, and if you are riding around on a Dragon, that dragon is GOING to have a role in combat.

I guess, I am at a bit of a mental standstill on this issue. I would love to give all my players awesome mounts that they can use to get around my sandbox world in style, but I don't want to give them, essentially a massive weapon that can be used in combat for a huge boon.

If anybody has a solution to this problem, I am all ears.


  1. Well, I think that a lot of it depends on the nature of your game. If you want a mounted combat game, buy a mount and take the mounted combat feat. Then, if you have a good DM, he'll find a way for you to use it to shine.

  2. You can't fight with / from your mount in WoW? *Really*? Well, what is the point of having high-res 3D graphics if your going to have some ludicrous immersion failure like that? OK, so this gives me yet another reason never to waste a minute of my time on WoW, its sparkly graphics notwithstanding.

    Anyway, on to your question. In my own 3.5e game many people have 'cool' mounts. Some have griffons, others super warhorses, yet others have giant lizards that can walk up walls with their suckered feet. Some folks do like to take their mounts into combat, but many prefer to keep them purely as a mode of transportation.

    It's easy enough to dissuade people from using their mounts in combat. I don't know about 4e, but in 3.5e if you don't have a good ride skill and the mounted combat feat it's quite difficult to do anything at all in combat while mounted, if you play strictly by the rules. Not everyone wants to sink the skill points and feat into that.

    But there's another disincentive you can use - have your bad guys always pick on their mounts out of preference. Mounts usually have a poorer AC than player characters and break more easily. Pretty soon your players will start thinking twice about taking their expensive or hard-won mounts into combat.

  3. These are all very good points, but I guess where I am getting the hang up is that it is very hard to get my players to spend feats and skills so that they can use a mount some of the time.

    Also, do you think that mounts, whether they be flying or not, are in any way suited to the delve format that WotC is putting out on the market?

  4. I don't know anything about the delves, but I do know that PCs don't need to get the mounted combat feat to fight effectively while on a mount.

    At the very least (and without the Mounted Combat feat), fighting while on horseback usually changes your speed from 6 to 10. The downside (without the feat) is that skills such as Athletics and Stealth must be made using the horse's skill rank, not the PC's.

    At a certain point, when the mount starts taking combat actions by itself, it's counted as an ally. Thus, its XP value is subtracted from the encounter's XP total (lowering the encounter level). Just beef up the encounter level if you like.