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I wanted to make a custom mount but I'm not sure how to fully go about it.
What I wanted to do was make a half-Dire Wolf, half-Worg.

I've got the idea for the background story of how it was created, but I have no idea of how to work the stats or anything to make it workable. I'd prefer it to run off of D&D 3.5e rules.

The core question is how I would go about figuring out the stats, abilities and any other features for a custom mount - with the example above at the moment being just an example.

Experience base:
I've only got maybe four or five sessions experience with D&D 3.5e and nil for 5e.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you talked to your DM (or is that you)? \$\endgroup\$
    – lucasvw
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 4:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok! I'm guessing that you also are flexible with the system then? Typically a question would be for D&D 3.5 or 5, but not both \$\endgroup\$
    – lucasvw
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 4:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Definitely ive only got maybe four or five sessions experience with 3.5 and nil for 5 but my sister and brother in law are interested in doing one so I'm curious about homebrewing my own fully custom character. And the mount is my focus right now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 4:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like it could just be a reskin (I admit I'm coming from a 5e perspective here, which might not be so relevant now this has become a 3.5e question - as an aside, I agree with comments above that say that this question needs to be one edition or the other, so don't add the 5e tag back in just because of me!). Would just using the stats of a Worg and just saying that in-universe it's a half-Worg/half-Wolf satisfy your creativity? It seems as though what you've come up with so far regarding this mount's backstory is more about the narrative, not so much about the mechanics... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 9:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like How do you Homebrew a mount in (system)? for 3.5 and 5 are both answerable questions on this site. Whether or not OP is actually in a game doesn't affect the answer of 'this is a good way, but talk to your DM' \$\endgroup\$
    – lucasvw
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 12:33

1 Answer 1

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There isn’t any system you can use, or formula you can check. You have to just create a new monster, assigning all its stats and abilities, and then you have to figure out how it’s accessed as a mount (e.g. what effective druid level you should have before you can get it as an animal companion, what effective paladin level you should have before you can get it as a special mount, what a trained one costs to buy, etc.).

Having two monsters as a starting point kind of helps, in that you can kind of try to keep most of the numbers somewhere in between the two, but it only goes so far. In the case of a dire wolf and a worg, which are so similar, I guess it gets easier—though I’m kind of having a hard time seeing the point.

So here’s what’s different between them:

Dire Wolf Worg
Type Animal Magical Beast
HD 6 4
Size Large Medium
Abilities Stronger, hardier Smarter, can speak
Special Darkvision 60 ft.
Skills +2 to Listen, Move Silently, Spot +1 to the same
CR 3 2

Everything else is the same, including the special auto-trip attack, scent, and low-light vision.

So most of the numbers, we can just go halfway in between the two: 5 HD, 21 Strength, 16 Constitution, 4 Intelligence, 13 Wisdom. Having 4 Intelligence means the creature is a magical beast, not an animal, so that solves that question. Giving darkvision to 30 ft. is halfway between the worg’s 60 and the dire wolf’s 0.

We could also make it a Medium creature that has powerful build, like the half-giant, to split the difference on size.

The skill bonuses are so minor that it doesn’t really matter where you go with that, go ahead with the +2 I guess.

But there are a few problems here, with respect to this creature being a mount:

  • Suitable Mounts: [The DM has] the final decision on what is or is not a suitable mount. At its most basic level, a mount should have the following characteristics: [...]

    • At least one size category larger than the character [...]

    • The mount’s Challenge Rating should be no more than 3 less than the rider’s character level. [...]

    (Dungeon Master’s Guide pg. 204)

  • Intelligent Mounts

    Mounts with Intelligence scores of 5 or higher are more like NPCs than they are like traditional mounts. As a result, characters must use Diplomacy checks to negotiate what the mount will and will not do.

    (Dungeon Master’s Guide pg. 205)

This creature is Medium, so a rider must be Small or smaller. And while its Int 4 is not “5 or higher,” it is greater than an animal’s 1 or 2—making its interactions with Handle Animal and being an animal companion awkward.

Worse still, we care about the CR—and we don’t have a good answer for it. We can’t split the difference between CR 2 and CR 3, and it matters as a mount because it makes the difference between the mount being reasonably available at 5th level, or 6th level. Paladins can have a dire wolf mount at 6th level—why would they prefer a hybrid worg–dire wolf at the same level? But at the same time, this is a whole lot stronger than the warhorse a paladin would ordinarily get at 5th level.

There isn’t really a good solution here—I suppose you put this at CR 3, so available at 6th level, but know it’s going to be underpowered. The dire wolf is just better—especially for a paladin, since the paladin’s mount has 6 or more Intelligence no matter what it started with, so the biggest advantage of the worg is eliminated.

Conclusion: really, just make everyone’s life easier and use a dire wolf.

You can say it has some worg blood if you want and the DM agrees, but still use the dire wolf stats.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This was more or less my answer while the question was still tagged w '5e'. Nice work on that comparison table!! \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see what you are saying completely. Thats just the main one that was floating in my head most recently so I decided to use it for the example. So the core of it is just wing it and try your best to make it balanced. For instance making it very strong or smart but try to balance that with some kind of penalty or draw back so that it isnt like stupidly op. Right? And I am lost on the whole paladin druid thing because i was planning on going with a barbarian with this as mainly a companion but able to mount and ride. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BradleyLindsey So the reason I brought up druid and paladin is because those classes have special features that give them an “animal companion” or “special mount” explicitly, as part of the class, and cause that creature to grow as they level up. A barbarian doesn’t have that, so that means finding a dire wolf (or worg, or worg–dire wolf hybrid) in the game, and acquiring its companionship in-character. You should be able to do that, but how and for what cost is entirely up to the DM. Note that the DMG does recommend you not be able to do that before 6th level, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BradleyLindsey Other ways that a barbarian can get an explicit rules-based creature minion include the Leadership feat, or the Wild Cohort feat. Multiclassing, into druid or paladin or else into something else that gives those features—the beastmaster, Harmonium peacekeeper, and ranger–knight of Furyondy prestige classes all get them with bonuses beyond what druid or paladin does—is of course also an option. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BradleyLindsey Don't forget to accept the answer if you believe it sufficiently answered your question. It incentivizes high quality answers like KRyan's. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 22:44

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