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Old 04-09-2021, 07:46 AM   #1
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Hello Folks,
Laying the groundwork here as it were:

I'm starting up a face to face campaign with players - in an Old West setting. One player wanted to set things up that he has a horse that he's really attached to as a result of the Civil War. The year is 1867, two years post civil war ending, and he still has his horse from that war as part of accepting material goods in lieu of pay during the end of his stint of enlistment.

So, enter the Horse. First, I thought about the Noble Steed article and thought it would serve me well despite it being crafted for use with GURPS 3e. Then I got to looking at Horse Sense and other articles regarding horses. Then I started to take a good HARD look at GURPS BASIC SET: CAMPAIGNS because of a few odds and ends items there and thought to myself "hmmmm".

The Noble Steed gives a fair amount of information worth looking at, and I can't help but think that perhaps one should continue what was done in GURPS BASIC SET CAMPAIGNS and see where it takes us.

First, let's look at what is given regard a Saddle horse on page 460:

ST 21; DX 9; IQ 3; HT 11; Will 10; Per 12; Speed 5; Dodge 8; Move 6.
SM +1 (3 hexes); 1,200 lbs.

Traits: Domestic Animal; Enhanced Move 1 (Ground Speed 12); Hooves; Peripheral Vision; Quadruped; Weak Bite.

Skills: Mount-11.
Cost: $1,200.

So, what is missing from the picture here? We have a general listing of traits, which were taken from GURPS BASIC SET CHARACTERS. Domestic Animal is shorthand for "Cannot Speak", "Hidebound"< and "Social Stigma(Valuable property" - all combined as a -30 point disadvantage. Quadruped is treated as shorthand for "Extra legs", "Horizontal" and "No fine Manupulators" - for a total net value of -35). Hooves is Sharp Claws worth 3, and Enhanced Move is worth 10. Peripheral Vision is worth 15.

ST 21 costs a mere 55 points due to the 40% discount due to no fine manipulators. IQ 3 is worth -160. Move that is 1 better than the normal it would have had based upon HT and DX (5) costs 5 points. Double movement on land costs 10 points.

So what is missing in all of this? Short Lifespan. At 12 years of age (per Noble Steed), the horse begins its aging rolls. Once per year for three years, then once per 6 months for every 4 years, then once per 3 months for any age over 20. Unfortunately, this isn't modeled precisely with Short Lifespan, but if you look at GURPS BIO-TECH, one can play fast and loose with age of maturation as well as the other fiddly bits if necessary. So call it Short lifespan 2, worth -20 but still using the aging schedule as outlined in NOBLE STEED.

Now for the fun part. Here is a list of advantages that the horse may take as well as disadvantages:

Assuming a Base Perception of 12 as was given in GURPS BASIC SET CAMPAIGNS, that matches perfectly with the "Vision" of a horse. Give the horse Acute Hearing +2 and Acute Sense of Smell/taste +4, and we meet the Noble Steed levels of hearing, smell, and sight.

Fit, Very Fit, Unfit, Very Unfit, Appearance of any kind, Absolute direction, Alertness in 3e becomes Perception in 4e, so not possible - simply bump up the attribute for the Alertness aspect. Combat reflexes, Common Sense (rare for a horse), Cow Sense (Variant of Animal Empathy perhaps?), Easy Keeper (not in GURPS 4e), Disease Resistance, Longevity, Natural Jump Talent, Night Vision, Reputation (Breed)

Absolute Timing (as a disadvantage), Age, Bad Sight, Bad Temper, Bully, Difficult Keeper (oppposite of Easy Keeper), Lower DX, Lower IQ, Lower HT, Lower ST, Gluttony, Lameness, Low pain threshold, Fearfulness, Odious Personal habit, One Eye, Overweight, Phobia, Reputation (Breed), Skinny, Stubbornness, Youth

Continued next post

ADDENDA: Here is the link to the article NOBLE STEED that some might enjoy...

Last edited by hal; 04-09-2021 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Addenda: adding the link to THE NOBLE STEED
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:53 AM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

I believe that horses have "mammal vision," or in GURPS terms Bad Sight (Low Resolution): -4 to spot objects at any range, and -8 to make out fine details. Most animals with camera style eyes have this (primates, raptors and probably many other birds, and cephalopods have extraordinarily good vision, comparable to having the Discriminatory advantage on other senses). That's -25 points and can't be mitigated, because it's inherent in the density of retinal cells.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:58 AM   #3
ericthered
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Gurps Animalia loves this sort of super-analysis of animals. The Author has done horses. Here is an example sheet.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:58 AM   #4
hal
 
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Now for the fun part - Skills.

THE NOBLE STEED indicates that horses can have skills. This is further reinforced in GURPS BASIC SET in both books because horses have the skill Mount at 11. This is analogous to "Under Saddle" per THE NOBLE STEED.

But there are so much more "Skills" in THE NOBLE STEED than is presented in GURPS 4e - it would make life so much easier if one could stat out the various skills contained within the article.

Here is a list of the available skills:
Acrobatics(Horse)
Area Knowledge
Bucking
Fighting
Escape
Leadership (with extreme bonus to skill based on advantages)
Running
Survival (Area Type)
Swimming (hard for a horse raised in the Desert to have one might think)
Wrestling (Sumo Wrestling with no fine manipulators)

Trainable Skills
Airs above Ground (with techniques perhaps?)
At Liberty
Combat Trained
Cutting
Dressage
Endurance under Saddle
High School (advanced dressage)
In Hand
In Harness
Jumping
Polo
Roping
Steeplechasing
Tricks
Under Pack
Under Saddle
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:09 AM   #5
hal
 
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Wow, didn't even get to go to the second post and already two people have chimed in. Thanks ericthered and whswhs

My ultimate goal is to be able to create a series of tables that I will roll upon for "attributes" for horses, but also permit players who want to buy Animal characters as Allies to be able to do so, along with presenting the players with NPC horses.

One thing that I have always been mindful of, is the fact that projectiles in the form of buckshot or bullets, don't just magically disappear in mid-flight if they miss their targets. If you have horses tied to the hitching post outside of a building (Old West campaign right?), missing a guy you're aiming a shotgun at, and having horses behind him is almost a sure fire way of saying that some of those pellets that missed the target are going to hit the horse directly behind him in line of sight. Likewise, many horses are NOT combat trained and will spook easily when guns are firing all around them.

Ultimately, my intent is to have fun researching real world stuff for use in my campaign all the while presenting situations that will make the game sessions a bit more "gritty" than might be expected. If the players want to try and sneak up on someone while riding, they may have to contend with the whicker of a horse as it fails to understand the need for silence. Not shoeing a horse every few weeks is an invitation to having the horse go lame. Having a horse buck a little when first saddled after three weeks of no riding might liven someone's day.

You get the gist of where I'm going with this. But for one player at least, this prep work is designed to allow him to have a love for his horse as a "Character" instead of it being a flesh motorcycle.

Now the fun begins - how to convert the older article predicated on 3e, for use with 4e. For instance, one skill of Wrestling permits a horse to push at other horses and beasts. To me, that says Sumo Wrestling without the holds (which is because the animal has no fine manipulators). If I hadn't spotted the discount for no fine Manipulators, I would have thought that a ST 21 would cost 110 points instead of 55.

So, let's see if we can convert all of those skills to something that makes sense. Keep in mind, ST values for horses in 3e were higher than they are in GURPS 4e.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

I'd probably replace Acrobatics (Horse) with Jumping, which is pretty much the thing they'd use it for (although perhaps they could use it in place of DX when Pushing the Envelope, such as having a shorter turn radius when using High Speed Movement). Fighting, Bucking, and Sumo Wrestling can probably all be replaced by Brawling (possibly with the Clinch Perk). For some of the other bits, you may want to check out Icelander's system for Medieval horses in 4e, which covers things like Dressage, Combat Training, etc.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

In GURPS Furries, I wrote up the martial art of Hnarrf for the race of houyhnhnms (the sapient horses in Gulliver's Travels). It assumes sapience and self-disciplined training, but the anatomy is no different from that of real world horses. I worked out a few techniques specifically for equine combat. If I recall correctly, they default to Brawling, Karate, or Mount at various penalties.
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:29 AM   #8
hal
 
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I'd probably replace Acrobatics (Horse) with Jumping, which is pretty much the thing they'd use it for (although perhaps they could use it in place of DX when Pushing the Envelope, such as having a shorter turn radius when using High Speed Movement). Fighting, Bucking, and Sumo Wrestling can probably all be replaced by Brawling (possibly with the Clinch Perk). For some of the other bits, you may want to check out Icelander's system for Medieval horses in 4e, which covers things like Dressage, Combat Training, etc.
Having reread Icelander's concepts and rules for pricing, I find that there are some minor issues involve here that doesn't really do justice to where I would like to see a reworking of THE NOBLE STEED to 4e standards.

For example: 4e specifies that it takes 360 days to train a horse to being rideable. Mount is a DX/Ave skill, and a Mount-11 for a DX 9 Horse works out to DX+2. This costs 8 character points to reach that level.

War Trained Mounts take an additional 360 days training, and gain Brawling 10 or Brawling 12 depending on whether it is a Cavalry mount or a Warhorse Mount respectively. That works out to DX+1 for the cavalry Mount or DX+3 for a Warhorse. Works out to 2 or 8 points respectively (cavalry vs Warhorse).

Now for the sticky question: Animal training requires an Animal Handling <specialized by creature> roll once per day. Does 360 days of training mean that a skill 10 character with Animal Handling, will actively take up to 720 days of actual training attempts (Failing at half of them) in order to reach 360 day's worth of training?

In the end? I seriously doubt that a horse can be trained non-stop for 8 hours every day. Reading up on it at various web sites, the duration can vary to as little as 15 minutes per day up to about an hour per day depending factors such as age and prior experience etc. So call it at BEST and hour per day. 360 days at 1 hour per is at best, 360 hours of training. if you need 360 successful days of training before a horse can be ridden in a saddle etc. - a skill 12 professional will success roughly 75% of the time and will need roughly 480 days of training on average.

The GURPS rules for training animals does seem a wee bit vague. :(

So, what kinds of skill can horses have? Cutting? Barrel Racing? Dressage? These are all varioius things that take time to handle. I get the feeling that the rules in GURPS are essentially "Eyeballing it" without any real attempt to have a system in place for real training.

The closest thing we have to this is THE NOBLE STEED, and the training rules there are a little different. How different? 3e rules for character points are different, but I suspect the rules for skills as compared against 3e character rules are not standard for the horse learning things.

Sooooooo. Conversion being the art of looking at the old and making it now work for the new. That is the goal. ;)
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:30 AM   #9
hal
 
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Default Re: Horses as NPCs (of sorts)

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
In GURPS Furries, I wrote up the martial art of Hnarrf for the race of houyhnhnms (the sapient horses in Gulliver's Travels). It assumes sapience and self-disciplined training, but the anatomy is no different from that of real world horses. I worked out a few techniques specifically for equine combat. If I recall correctly, they default to Brawling, Karate, or Mount at various penalties.
OK, let's try this on for size. What if the various things in THE NOBLE STEED are in reality, "Techniques" as opposed to skills out right. Would that make it easier to convert THE NOBLE STEED over to GURPS 4e?
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Now for the sticky question: Animal training requires an Animal Handling <specialized by creature> roll once per day. Does 360 days of training mean that a skill 10 character with Animal Handling, will actively take up to 720 days of actual training attempts (Failing at half of them) in order to reach 360 day's worth of training?
If going to that level, I'd be inclined to say the stated 360 days of training corresponds to 360 days of training with a skill 12 handler. Skill 12 has a success rate of 160/216, or 20/27 (74.074%), which corresponds to 266.67 successes. So, a skill 10 handler would need 533.33 days, while one with skill 16+ would need need only ~271.70 days. That assumes critical results (for a skill 12 handler, 360 attempts would on average result in 6.67 Critical Successes and 6.67 Critical Failures, in addition to the 260 Successes and 86.67 Failures) don't get special treatment, and also that the handler doesn't get any relevant modifiers (such as from having assistants).
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