The Player's Handbook on the skill Ride says, "If you attempt to ride a creature that is ill suited as a mount (such as most bipedal creatures), you take a –5 penalty on your Ride checks" (80).

Is there a class feature, feat, magic item, or other rules element that allows a rider to avoid suffering this specific penalty? (To be clear, the goal is not to make the ill-suited creature into a suitable creature via an effect like the polymorph spell or whatever but to enable the rider to hop onto any creature and ride it without penalty.)

My research has, I think, eliminated official feats, feats from licensed products, official class features, and official prestige class features, but I'm happy for answers to confirm or deny my research. Official sources are preferred for this rules element, but, if it can't be found in official sources, licensed sources and third-party non-Pathfinder sources are acceptable.


2 Answers 2


Yes, maybe?

Depending on how one interprets what exactly makes one "ill-suited" - as there does not seem to be an accompanying definition as to what, exactly, makes a mount "ill-suited" other than the offhand bipedal reference which still does not define why - there may be a simple and easy solution:


The Compression psionic power allows one to reduce their size by one or two size categories. This is based on the concept that what makes a mount "ill-suited" is body compatibility, with size difference being the major or at least one of the major stumbling blocks. If this is ruled to be acceptable, then a sufficiently small individual should be able to use bipeds as mounts without penalty. However, this is more of a rules-don't-say-I-can't-ala-DM's-adjudication answer, so apologies for that.

I believe there are also some spells (Wu-Jen among others) which could pull off a similar effect.

As a real life example, and speaking from personal experience, when I had one of my kids sitting on my shoulders and yanking my hair in a given direction, there was a distinct tendency to turn my head in that direction (let alone when on my back). While this would be most uncomfortable and difficult to pull off with another adult, even a biped can more or less easily perform all manner of mount-type actions successfully with a child-size (or smaller) person on the shoulders.

I suppose I could make a Ratatouille reference here. ^^


I've found nothing published by Wizards of the Coast nor in licensed products that reduces or eliminates the penalty for riding an inappropriate mount. However, in Schwalb's Aasimar & Tiefling: A Guidebook to the Planetouched (2004), part of Green Ronin's Races of Renown series, the prestige class warrior maiden of the Valkyrie gains at level 1 the extraordinary ability steed mastery that says

Warrior maidens are skilled at mounted combat so they eschew penalties from riding bareback. In addition, they ignore all penalties to their ride checks imposed by the inappropriateness of their steed. Finally, warrior maidens receive a +2 competence bonus to all Handle Animal and Ride checks. (53)

Unfortunately, the prestige class is otherwise lackluster. Although possessing full base attack bonus and good Fortitude and Will saving throws, it has steep entry requirements, makes the character over the course of its 10 levels pick between either advancing preexisting casting 3 levels or 3 bonus feats, grants only a tiny handful of other special abilities, and neither grants nor advances an animal companion, familiar, or special mount.

To this player, given the hassle of entering and that investment's low return, it seems that it may be unwise for a PC to take but 1 level of warrior maiden of the Valkyrie solely for the extraordinary ability steed mastery.


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