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One of my players who is playing a warden uses a griffin as a mount. Besides being able to fly, he also gains a lot bigger range than his regular move speed is. This seems a huge advantage to me and I fear that now all players want to have a mount to fly over every trap or encounter they might get, only picking the weak ones. Of course I can adjust the encounters by also add flying or hovering enemies, however I have a few questions regarding:

  • What are particular dis-advantages of using a mount, or a flying mount?
  • Can a player with a griffin mount just always fly or when would the mount be exhausted?>
  • Can you fly upwards with a griffon the same speed/distance as dropping down?
  • If the mount has a speed of lets say 12, does the speed decrease when a character is mounted?
  • When and how is damage dealt to the mount, when the character is mounted?
  • Can a mount be revived?

I have a few thoughts of my own about the questions above, i am not sure if they are good: e.g. you should not be able to fly all the time maybe every few rounds in a encounter you have to rest one round, if you fly upwards then half the movement speed, if the mount has a speed of 12 then if a character is mounted it would have less maybe -2 or -3.

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Because 4e is really big on specific mechanics over fictional positioning, we need to know how this particular warden acquired his griffon mount. Is it an item? A class feature? A feat? A character theme feature? Summoned by a ritual? What's the name of the feat/power/item/whatever that gives him a griffon? Every different option will have distinctly different answers. –  BESW Apr 1 at 11:54
    
@peteX, Please clarify how much you want pure rules answers and whether you'd also like GM advice and technique. –  mxyzplk Apr 1 at 14:08
    
All my players are using my Dnd-Insider account to create their character. The mount was equipped by just purchasing it just like equipment/item. The griffon can be found in the Monster Manual p146 (Large Natural Beast). So no class feature, feat, or summoning. I am new to mounts so i am trying to find out how this works, how mounted combat works, what advantages and disadvantages they come with and how to best use them in the game :) –  pet Apr 2 at 11:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Some things to take into consideration:

  • First and foremost, most Wardens are melee characters, their marks are distributed burst 1, they do have ranged mark triggers, but their actual mark punishment is a melee power. If they aren't in melee, they aren't doing their job.

  • Second, don't forget opportunity attack rules, if the character exits a square adjacent to an enemy, he takes a hit. If the character happens to have reach, then make sure you grab some monsters with threatening reach.

Now your questions:

  1. Review the Mounted Combat rules in the RC/Compendium/DMG (RC page 252). Keep in mind that they share the Mount's space, so any area or burst attack will get both of them. Also keep in mind that on an opportunity attack you can target he mount or the rider (hint: go for the mount).

  2. There are rules for exhaustion and starvation, they are seldom used, and it's not a great idea to add them to your game simply to hurt a player's specific tactic. Ultimately, this will come down to endurance checks for mount and rider.

  3. Yes. Speed is the speed in 3 dimensions. Griffons do not have an altitude limit so they can fly as high as they want.

  4. No. The mount's speed is it's speed with a rider or without.

  5. When the Mount and Rider are attacked, you choose which one you attack, if it's a single target attack. If it has multiple possible targets you may attack both.

  6. A mount can be revived with the Raise Dead ritual, with all that that entails.

While a mount may seem like a huge advantage, it's often more of a pain in the neck than a boon, it's an extra creature to keep track of. Falling prone knocks you off of it, you lose a lot of the advantage when you are engaged in melee like a defender traditionally is, and disengaging from melee should leave your companions locked in combat.

To address your thoughts on why your party wouldn't just buy mounts and bypass all of the encounters you've so carefully crafted, there are two ways to do this.

  1. Compel your players' characters to need to face the challenges that lie ahead. They have to fight the goblins to find out where the orcs are to find out where the princess is kept by the dragon. Or somesuch, if the combats aren't important, why are they in your adventure?

  2. Place your adventures somewhere where their mounts are illogical, inaccessible or simply less effective. Dungeons aren't great places for flying critters, narrow passageways will limit the accessibility of large or huge mounts.

Three other good ways to wreak havoc with a mounted rider:

  • Prone the mount. If the mount falls prone, the rider is dismounted (unless they are flying at the time, then they descend their speed, and fall if they aren't on the ground). If the rider is proned, they get a saving throw if they fail, they get dismounted and proned (a success leaves them mounted and unaffected).

  • Teleporting. Teleportation only teleports one of the mount and rider.

  • Forced movement, if you target the mount, they both move, if you target the rider, he can choose to bring along the mount, else he is moved and proned.

That said, if your players want to go about mounted, good on them, there should be plenty of mounted monsters in their way. Remember, that if PCs take up specific tactics, then the monsters should too.

Finally, a bit of advice on 4e. Learn the rules. Don't house rule stuff simply because you haven't learned the rules well enough and things seem overpowered. Operate within the rules and make sure your monsters are effective within the rules. Talk to your players, if they are trying things, understand why, RPGs should not have antagonistic relationships between players and DM. You're all there for the same goal, to tell great stories together, if you find a specific tactic is harming the stories you're trying to tell, the first thing you should to is talk to your players, not houserule the tactic away.

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@ThalesPereira I'm not saying don't house rule. I'm saying house rule with caution and know the actual rules first. The asker is trying to house rule it before he knows what the rules are. –  wax eagle Apr 1 at 13:17
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@waxeagle "Remember, that if PCs take up specific tactics, then the monsters should too." BESW has a similar ethos he's expressed which might be worth incorporating; it goes something like this: "Whichever way you can break the game, the NPCs can break ten times better. But they won't begin breaking it unless you do." Or, put differently, he lets his players show him where they'd like the line drawn. –  doppelgreener Apr 1 at 14:55

I'm currently in a campaign that has grown to a ridiculous size (9 players, although one of them doesn't really show up any more). Because of some half-joking actions of the only Dwarf in the party early in the campaign, we all have dragons as mounts, now, including my Warden.

The biggest pitfall to be wary of is to not turn mounts into another party member. If the player wants the mount to act in combat, he must use up his own actions to command it. Assuming you're already doing that, the mount becomes essentially another magic item, which offers alternative attack(s) (which, trust me, are very quickly outclassed by what the player has access to), alternative movement modes, and can become a liability (dominate, prone-in-flight, no-hover flight, etc.).

Note that, RAW, the mount starts getting its own set of actions the turn after the rider dismounts. Personally, I recommend against letting the mount be another party member; even if the mount's attack bonus is too small to be useful, setting up flanking is extremely effective. In the above campaign, dragons that have been dismounted back away from the combat until their rider wants to re-mount (or the rider wants to use actions to command the dragon while dismounted), but that's house-ruling by the GM.

Now, to answer specific questions:

What are particular dis-advantages of using a mount, or a flying mount?

The mount doesn't level up with the party, and so the mount will quickly fall behind. If the rider doesn't have the Mounted Combat feat, it's even worse, as the mount will have a -2 attack penalty. Eventually, the mount's attack powers won't be worth using, and the mount will be hit by just about everything except a natural 1. Mounting or dismounting requires a move action, and proning the mount will dismount the rider (and prone him... and standing up requires a move action), which slows down the character a lot. Consider: I prone a mount and its rider. On the next turn, the rider stands with a move action, and converts his standard to a move to make the mount stand... then the turn after that he uses a move action to re-mount. With a single attack, I've consumed three of the target's actions, and he hasn't left his square.

For flying mounts, you add the problem of falling when they get knocked prone (although you need to be higher than the mount's move speed to do damage). If the mount doesn't have hover, they'll also fall (and get knocked prone if they fall from a high enough altitude) if they don't move 2 squares on their turn, and they can't shift. This provides a lot of opportunity attacks.

Can a player with a griffin mount just always fly or when would the mount be exhausted?

Yes, the player can always fly, assuming there's room to do so. In the campaign I described above, the GM alternately builds encounters in the open where we can use our dragons and in enclosed spaces where the dragons can't fit, forcing us to hoof it.

Can you fly upwards with a griffon the same speed/distance as dropping down?

Yes. The mount's speed is the same in all directions. (Although I suppose you could move a larger number of spaces by falling, that comes with prone and damage.)

If the mount has a speed of lets say 12, does the speed decrease when a character is mounted?

I don't know of any creature whose speed is reduced by having a rider. I suppose it's possible for such a creature to exist, though.

When and how is damage dealt to the mount, when the character is mounted?

When an enemy uses a single-target attack, the attacker can target either mount or rider. It doesn't matter what square the rider is on; if the mount can be targeted, so can the rider. Area and close attacks which include the mount include both mount and rider. However, the two are separate entities. If the mount is dealt damage, the rider is fine. If the rider is slowed, the mount isn't.

Can a mount be revived?

Sure, why wouldn't the mount be able to be revived?


I feel that it's worth mentioning that neither the Griffon, Bronze Griffon, nor Rimefire Griffon have the hover quality. That means the griffon cannot shift in the air, and the giffon must move at least two squares or fall to the ground. Since you can't shift and you must move, the rider is likely going to be provoking a lot of OAs, especially a melee character on a griffon. Also, an immobilized/restrained/stunned/dominated griffon is going to fall like a rock.

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