I’m not really very good with character templates and fiddly bits. Rules are my thing, or at least I think they are. So when it came time to add some powers to Cadmus, the Warrior Saint I play in +Nathan Joy‘s Dungeon Fantasy game, I enlisted help. Emily Smirle and +Theodore Briggs pitched in and suggested a Summonable mount. Em started me down the right path with the Stallion template from DF5: Allies (a great book), and I tweaked the point value to be 50% of Cadmus’ current 415-point total.

It’s Higher Purpose, so to speak, is to bear Pharasma’s holy cause into battle. It does not eat, sleep, or communicate with other animals.

This changes the cost of Animal Ally, I think:

Spirit Horse Ally: Bestial [-10]; Mute [-25]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25]. [-60]

Typically Dense Unreadable Statblock: Spirit Horse

ST: 30[100]*† HP: 30 [0] Speed: 6.25 [0]
Lifting ST: ST 40 [15]*†
DX: 13 [36]† Will: 11 [25] Move: 8/24 [10]
IQ: 6 [-80] Per: 12 [30]
HT: 12 [20] FP: 12 [0] SM: +1
Dodge: 10 Parry: n/a DR: 4 [20]

Bite (14): 1d+2 crushing.
Kick (14): 3d+2 crushing.

Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4]; Claws (Hooves) [3]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Doesn’t Eat or Drink [10]; Enhanced Move 1.5 (Ground) [30]; Night Vision 3 [3]; Peripheral Vision [15]; Ultrahearing [5]; Walk on Air [20].
Disadvantages: Spirit Horse Ally [-60]; Careful [-1]; Quadruped [-35]; Vow (Only attack demons, spirits, or the undead), [-10]; Weak Bite [-2]. [Total -108]
Skills: Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-15; Intimidation (A) Will-1 [4]-12; Mount (A) DX+2 [16]-17; Running (A) HT+1 [4]-13; Survival (Plains) (A) Per [2]-12. [Total 30]
Techniques: Kicking (Brawling) (H) [3]-15.[Total: 3]
Class: Spirit.

* Cost reduced for Size (-10%).
† Cost reduced for No Fine Manipulators (-40%).

Design Notes

The only skills I thought I wanted him to have are Intimidation, Mount, and Running. Survival is pointless (he goes away), and Brawling means a spirit could alter the natural course of things. Maybe it can only use certain skills like Brawling and whatnot against undead, spirits, and demons. That would work. I’ll add a Vow and keep the brawling.

Restricted Diet as a Disad would be replaced with Doesn’t Eat or Drink, a 10-point advantage.

Given a 205-point budget, I think that gives me 45 points to spend.

Hitting ST 30 for 100 points (+15 from now) and +10 Lifting ST (+15 points? Same modifiers as ST?) would be ST 30, Lifting ST 40. BL 320 lbs. I like that.

DX +1 is an easy 12-point add, fits within the budget, and helps out lots of stuff.

Attribues: 176
Advantages: 105
Disads: -108
Skills: 30
Techniques: 3

Total: 206.

Cadmus value: 415; 50% Ally. on 15- wouuld be a 12-point power, I believe, as a Summonable Ally.

Parting Shot
If Nate lets me have this guy, it’ll only eat up 12 points of a “you get to spend 50 points on otherworldly cool powers” budget. The request/demand was that we get some 3D mobility. The spirit horse can carry 320 lbs, which includes Cadmus and a bunch of his gear (Cadmus ain’t light), but not my goal of throwing wounded companions over the saddle . . . not at full speed, anyway.

This lets me take Cadmus into the fight, he improves my Riding skill by +2 due to averaging (and that will need to go up even more if Cadmus isn’t going to be hampered in combat by the lower limit of Riding and Weapon skill). The horse, much like Shrivener (Cadmus’ Named Weapon) is only able to attack spirits, demons, and the undead. The mount is fast enough with a max speed of Move 24, and able to accelerate at 8 yards/sec/sec.

I’m open to any tweakage, and of course, feel free to steal the horse for your own games if you want!

9 thoughts on “Cadmus’ Spirit Horse

  1. You might want to give this spirit horse some spirit-like damage resistances. Right now he's DR 4, 30 HP, and Dodge 10. If you faced a guy mounted on a horse like that, would you worry, or just take the horse out?

    You might want to think about some more DR (even if only vs. mundane damage, to simulate "magic weapon to hit"), Damage Reduction, Injury Tolerance (Diffuse), maybe Insubstantial with enhancements to let it carry you (it's not a horse, it's a horse of holy spirit-smoke!), or something like that.

    1. Yeah, that would be a good adder, to the point of taking away his ability to do damage at all. Eventually this will get to the point where we might be back to "this is just Flight, buy it as flight!" but the Spirit Horse for 12 points is pretty darn good.

  2. I would recommend the Escape skill so he can wedge himself through SM 0 holes and the like, unless you are using different rules for Summonable Allies that let you dismiss and then resummon during the same adventure. Hiking and Swimming are useful as well, especially Swimming with something as heavy as Cadmus on its back. And as always, the party is only as stealthy as its least stealthy member, which might be this guy without Stealth 🙂

    Basically, the everyman adventurer skills are good even for summoned mounts, presuming you cant dismiss and _resummon_ at will.

    Social Stigma (Valuable Property) may or may not fit, depending on how folks treat spirit horses.

    Also, Im not sure what a spirit horse with Doesnt Eat Or Drink gets out of Survival (Plains)… You even mention ditching it, but you still have it in the stat block.

    Dont forget slam damage! A nice thick plate Peytral and the included Brawling at DX+2 can help this guy Slam for some really awesome numbers.

  3. Where did you get that " carry 320 lbs"? BL for ST 30 is 180 lbs and Medium Encumbrance would be 540. I think I'm with Anthony on Unkillable. Probably level 3. You might have to go to 100% of your CP total but I think you can afford that.

    1. He's got +10 Lifting ST, for overall LIfting ST 40. BL on that is 320 lbs.

      I don't disagree on some sort of "you can't hurt him" thing. Unkillable, Insubstantial or both. I do have budget left over so I can likely boost the point total.

  4. Still working on this?

    First principle of modelling: Define the concept. What do you want it to do? The approach follows.

    1) A horse that appears when you need it, disappears when you don't. When it's around, it's mostly like a regular horse – maybe an especially good one, maybe with a special power, but mostly regular. Here's how you do that: Buy Ally, available all the time (×4), but NOT summonable. Build the Ally with the astral entity template and Alternate Form: Horse. It's always there, invisible but insubstantial, until you need it. Then it turns into a horse, and all the points from the Astral Entity meta-trait become available to help buy horse stuff, plus a couple of fancy extras like 1) Doesn't Eat, 2) Walk on Air, 3) See Invisible (Spirits), and 4) Blessed: Ghost Strike (from Psionic Powers). Plus maybe, if you have the points, and you could because this ally needn't be summonable, buy Injury Tolerance (Diffuse) – that's pretty good protection, and it means that the horse isn't a real horse on the inside, just undifferentiated ectoplasm, exactly like the In-Betweeners from GURPS Voodoo that the advantage was invented for in the first place. This horse can do everything a normal horse can do, including biting the guy who tries to steal it, plus run through the sky and attack wraiths. Cool?

    By the way, the limitations for ST (Size and NFM) do not apply to its constituents by RAW, as far as I know, though it seems a reasonable house rule. Instead of extra lift ST, think about Payload (Exposed).

    2) The horse is a spirit, and it never become substantial, but somehow, magically, you can ride it. Of course it can attack other spirits, but it can't attack people. Build the horse as normal, add Insubstantial and whatever else you like from the spirit meta-trait, except for the expensive enhancement Affects Substantial, because it can't do that except in one important instance: It can carry you. To model that, give it Payload, with the Accessibility limitation "Riders Remain Substantial" – I'd call it -30%. Also, buy payload as an Alternate Ability to Invisibility. This version doesn't have to be summonable either: It's always there, but nobody can see it, unless it becomes visible so you can ride it. Make sense?

  5. Oops! On option 2, I suggested Payload with a weird Accessibility limitation, but really, that's exactly what Exposed does – it means that the rider is not affected by the steed's defensive advantages. So just take that. It's a better discount anyway, than the one I suggested.

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