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Old 07-17-2008, 11:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Horses, encumbrance and travelling speed

Originally Posted by Icelander
Until we get a GURPS Bestiary: Horses . . . the rules for horses in BASIC leave certain things to be desired.
I'd write this if I had the time . . . my father and brother are professional horsemen. I grew up on a horse farm.

Originally Posted by Icelander
The higher number of 1,200 lbs. might be average for a modern horse that stands 16-17 hands tall, but it's not for an average weight for a riding horse for most of history.
The horses I have experience with are American Quarter Horses. They run from 900-1200 pounds, and typically are "big" at 1200 pounds and 15-2 hands. Here's a formula.

I would take Basic Sets weights as somewhat on the big side (by 10-20%). Also, I find the ST a little low. As you say, Lifting ST is probably the way to add the details (partly so that horses don't have massive HPs).

Originally Posted by Icelander
Horse travelling speed. If we assume that the BASIC rates are unacceptably high, what rates should we use? Does anyone know if one can use the rules Hiking Distance in High-Tech without changes for horses?
I based the High-Tech rates on hourly rates from historical sources, i.e., Army manuals and campaign rates from the 18th and 19th century. If one were to do the same for cavalry rates, it would be fine.

Originally Posted by Icelander
How about FP? Horses are clearly able to run for longer than humans, but the abbreviated stats don't display the difference. How much extra FP should one buy for them?
I'm not sure I would. Maybe a few points for endurance horses. The common horse, no.

Originally Posted by Icelander
Are horses often Fit or Very Fit (long recovery times after exhaustion would seem to argue against it)? What modifier should one use for their stats if they are?
Horses should have the traits if they are working horses bred for endurance work. A grass fed mare that simply chomps and lays around all day is just like an out of shape human.

Originally Posted by Icelander
Any other thoughts about horses?
A horse's diet, breeding, and training is very important. One cannot simply train a draft horse to be a destrier, for instance. The natural courage, physical prowess, and genetic "talent" of breeds was very well recognized even at TL2-3. Gamers often assume a horse is a horse, but the truth is that careful selection and breeding was a major part of the "arms" program of kingdoms. Part of the price premium today is for genetics -- a prize winning thoroughbred can have $100,000 or even $1M stud fee. The prices seen in history books which seem insane are likely because the horse was a stud being brought in to strengthen the bloodlines of a warhorse breeding stock. Thus, finding a prized specimen and BUYING rather than just breeding a few mares to it would create this outrageous price.

Horses can be trained to fight in battle fairly quickly. Basic war training would be Quick Learning Under Pressure. More involved skills, such as teaching a horse to attack, takes much, much longer. This is normal training, accelerated by good facilities and excellent instructors.

Horses tend to bond with people. I'd take Equipment Bond with a horse to represent this.

A well-equipped knight should have a riding horse, a mule or two for supplies, a destrier for combat, and likely a spare one, just in case. This IS pricey. Speaking of prices, the Basic Set prices are too high for a riding horse in comparison to a destier. Set the riding horse at $500, and the entry level destrier at $5,000. Advance the price very rapidly for exceptional examples, or training beyond basic combat training. $10,000 to $20,000 for a fully-trained horse would probably be cheap.

Horses have personalities and quirks. They can be curious or stubborn, lazy or hard workers. The best horses enjoy what they do. They are eager to go to work and will work themselves to death if they aren't carefully managed (IQ-based Riding). Others will balk and leap at the slightest shadow or disturbance. For some, no amount of training will get them beyond this!
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