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Old 07-18-2008, 10:07 AM   #4
Icelander's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Horses, encumbrance and travelling speed

Originally Posted by safisher
I'd write this if I had the time . . . my father and brother are professional horsemen. I grew up on a horse farm.
Clearly, you must abandon a few of your more less productive pursuits in order to serve your fellow gamers.

D'you sleep, perchance? There's at least a six hours per day that you could be cranking out manuscripts instead of snoring, you lazy bum! ;)

Originally Posted by safisher
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).
How much Lifting ST, if any, would you add for the following horses:

A plain-vanilla 900 lbs. Saddle horse?

An officer's Irish thoroughbred in Britain's Peninsular Army in the early 19th century?

A service-ready French Cuirasseur's cavalry horse?

A Polish Hussar cavalry horse?

And would you reduce overall ST to keep Medium Encumbrance the same as the GURPS Campaigns stats, at least for horses that aren't more expensive than normal?

Originally Posted by safisher
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.
Using the High Tech rates unchanged for horses yields an average hourly rate of 3.6 miles for a Saddle Horse carrying a third of its bodyweight and an hourly rate of 4.8 miles for a Cavalry Horse doing the same.

How does this seem to you? As benchmarks, a the best modern prize horses can maintain a speed of almost 25 mph for about an hour, but during endurance rides, it takes about 24 hours to cross a 100 miles.

I suppose that Mount skill would be used instead of Hiking, for checks. Fit and Very Fit are extremely valuable for horses.

Originally Posted by safisher
I'm not sure I would. Maybe a few points for endurance horses. The common horse, no.
With 11 FPs (what most common horses have) and bearing a rider (Medium encumbrance for most horses), that means that a trot can be maintained for just over 2 hours before Move is halved due to exhaustion. Horses can maintain a paced run (about 9mph for a Saddle Horse with rider or just under 12 mph for a courser) for about 19 minutes until his Move is halved. That seems rather low.

Horses should be good at medium distances, i.e. trots and paced runs, but their long term stamina when bearing a rider should not much exceed human levels.

Of course, a strong horse with a light rider might be at Light Encumbrance, which gives him significantly better Move. But to carry a 150 lbs. rider and 30+ lbs. of tack as a Light load, a horse needs Lifting ST 22, which is more than a Saddle Horse has. And the average load of a cavalry horse was far more than this bare minimum, reaching over 300 lbs. To be at Light Encumbrance with such a cavalryman and his gear requires a horse with Lifting ST 28.

Originally Posted by safisher
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.
But how to represent the fact that horses don't recover as fast from exhaustion as humans? Fit, after all, has the game effects of allowing a 'blown' horse to be at full capabilities again within an hour instead of two.

Originally Posted by safisher
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.
Campaigns states that both TL 3 battle training (teaching stallions to fight) and TL4+ war training (teaching horses not to bolt) takes a year and doubles the value of the mount. I find this disappointing.

What do you suggest instead? If full war training takes a year, how much time does just acclimatising horses to battle take? And how much does it cost? Add a flat fee or base it on the value of the horse?

And I assume that Cavalry Horses and Heavy Warhorses in Campaigns have Bad Temper due to selection and training for fighting. A horse that's just taught not to bolt in combat should probably not have it, right?

Originally Posted by safisher
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.
Prices are very setting dependent, of course, but would a saddle horse really be available at only $500? At the very least, that would require adjustment of Pony and Mule prices as well, right?

The recent purchase of a horse by one of my PCs was quite a coup (critical Merchant skill check for bargain hunting). He got a young warhorse (not yet blooded, but already trained not to bolt) for $10,000 and a baggage hackney thrown in. It's not a destrier, more of a courser, of course.

For that lucky buy, would adding +2 Lifting ST, +1 IQ and +1 Move to the Cavalry Horse statistics be too much?

And another thing, how much would extra FP add to the cost of horses? What about Fit or Very Fit?

I've been using +10% per extra FP up to a limit of 30% more than HT. I've no idea what Fit or Very Fit should add to cost.
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