Epic Ride checks confer the ability to stand on a mount. What mechanical benefit does this confer? The only description given in the SRD is:

This allows the character to stand on his or her mount’s back even during movement or combat. The character takes no penalties to actions while doing so.

but I am unaware of anything that is actually gained from doing this. Is this a blunder? A recent and related answer from KRyan found nothing.


2 Answers 2


You ignore all penalties specifically associated with riding

It is far from being crystal clear, but relevant part probably means

The character takes no [i.e. ignores] penalties [induced by the process of riding only, not each and every, obviously] to actions while doing so.

clarifications mine

Penalties which come from riding are:

  • -5 penalties for riding bareback and for riding an ill-suited mount
  • -4 or -8 (halved with a feat) penalty on a ranged attack from a mount which moves fast
  • non-numerical penalty in a form of inability to use a longbow from a saddle (this may or may not actually be interpreated as a penalty)

While ignoring -8 penalty on an attack is a realy huge benefit, the check DC is high enough to justify it. Still, maybe only penalties to ride checks were intended to be negated.

To me, similar situation to someone standing on mount is someone standing on a raft, which is moving downstream. This induces no penalty on a ranged attack for example.

Also, there is Halfling Outrider prestige class (Complete Warrior, p. 38), who has Stand on Mount ability, which is phrased in a very similar language, but explicitly removes penalties for shooting while riding.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer makes me wonder if a standing archer also gets no bonus from a masterwork saddle (for example). Maybe at that point they're so epic they don't care though=) \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    Jan 6, 2020 at 23:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @joedragons I think it is totally OK to say you lose some bonuses as well as most penalties. For example, you hardly can stand on mount and "hang alongside your mount, using it as cover", both at the same time. Rules don't say, that's right. I just think rules at least set the main concept. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2020 at 17:42

A typical rider gains no inherent mechanical benefit from standing on a mount

I've tried many times to make sense of mounted combat in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. I've read several books about it like this one and this one. I make frequent use of articles like this one and its sequels (see here and here). I've gone so far as to attempt to rewrite from scratch the rules for mounted combat so that all of the scattered information about it is both usable and in one place. (My current unreleased and incomplete opus that overhauls and consolidates the 3.5 mounted combat rules—including stat blocks—runs over 30,000 words.)

With all that in mind, I'm led to believe that, mechanically, a rider need only stand on a mount either if the DM says that the rider must stand on the mount for some reason or if the rider wants to take some action that mandates that the rider stand yet the rider wants to remain on the mount (e.g. it may be difficult to convince the DM that a rider in the saddle can jump from his mount to another nonadjacent mount). Standing on a mount otherwise offers the typical rider no mechanical advantage (e.g. the rider already benefits from having higher ground for being on a mount; see here or Player's Handbook 157).

Narratively, on the other hand, there are a few reasons a rider may want to stand on a mount, like to increase her visibility, to communicate with a wider audience, or to look cool.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Another thought I had is that the game does—very occasionally—consider the significance of vertical reach, which standing on a mount should increase (even in the absence of a rule explicitly saying so?) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 28, 2019 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan The only place I can think of where vertical reach is referenced is in the Jump skill, and I assumed that would be either the-DM-says-I-gotta-stand-up kind of sitch or largely another narrative factor. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28, 2019 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the look cool part, if it's part of a performance, it could encourage the crowd to give more money to the one performing! \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Dec 30, 2019 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mechanical benefits may include ability to: attack with a longbow; avoid penalties for riding ill-suited mount or for riding bareback, probably; avoid penalties for ranged combat, possibly but unlikely. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2019 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp I'd argue against the others, but the longbow thing is interesting: "A longbow is too unwieldy to use while you are mounted" (PH 119). Is a rider still mounted while standing on a mount? I'd say yes because a creature can still control the mount while standing on it, but, again, I think that may fall into "the DM says that the rider must stand on the mount for some reason," and that would be a darn good reason. (Although waiting until one can stand on a mount to use a longbow while mounted is a long wait!) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30, 2019 at 23:28

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