In this episode of 'Wasting Time with Phill', we take a look at how mounts and riders interact with their saving throws.

How does a mount interact with its rider in regards to Reflex saves?

  • If a mount has a better Reflex saving throw, can the rider use its save instead of his own?
  • If a mount has evasion and the rider does not, does the rider gain the benefit of it?
  • The opposite: If a mount doesn't have evasion and the rider does, does the mount gain the benefit?
  • Is the relationship between rider and mount important? E.g., animal companion, special mount, familiar, 'bought the mount with gold', 'raised him from a pup', etc.

Have you thought of something I haven't? Let me know!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are there any rules to suggest that riders and their mounts don't have independent saving throws? \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Jan 4, 2013 at 19:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe I can't find any rules that suggest one way or the other. This is focused on Reflex saves, seeing as the definition of Reflex is something along the lines of 'moving out of the way'. If the mount moves but the rider still gets hit... realism clashes with game mechanics. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phill.Zitt
    Jan 4, 2013 at 19:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Since when does 3.5 care about logical sense? Unless there are rules about this, which I can't find anywhere (which doesn't mean they don't exist), I would assume that the rider and mount are independent for 1-3. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Jan 4, 2013 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ask separate questions separately, unless there's a critical reason they must be asked together. Asking questions is free - it's not like you have a limited budget - so if you have several questions to ask about mounts, go ahead and ask several different questions. Combining them all into one glob-question is a bad use of the SE format. If you can ask about different defensive behaviours differently, it's best to do so. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2013 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Phill.Zitt That's fine, if you're asking about that and want some specific details answered, but it might become cumbersome to require too many details at once - it would become like answering several independent questions together. There is no actual space being wasted here even if you do ask a few two-line questions (of which there are many). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2013 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


There's nothing in the rules that mentions any sharing of reflex saves between mount and rider. Each rolls a separate reflex save. Unless it's stated specifically, a mount and rider do not share any abilities such as Evasion with each other, either.

To address the issue of realism clashing with the game rules, I don't think this is out of bounds with realism, either. While a reflex save is described as "moving out of the way", the act of rolling a reflex save doesn't grant any actual movement. Any movement that's used to describe the reflex save would be within your own space.

I can think of a lot of descriptive reasons why a mount that occupies a 10 foot square (such as a horse) would have a different save result as the rider, despite the mount moving the rider with it. Perhaps while the horse was moving to avoid a fireball, it left the rider more exposed? Perhaps part of the rider's successful save was using the horse for cover?

The relationship between the mount and rider also only applies to reflex saves if something specifically states it. If your character has a special mount that has an ability that allows its rider to use its reflex save, or its evasion ability, then it would apply.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The riding skill allows you to use the mount as cover on a successful DC 15 riding check.(p80 PHB) \$\endgroup\$
    – jsecker
    Jan 5, 2013 at 3:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would go with the rolls being separate. The mount could jink in a way that avoids danger for itself but not for the rider. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Jan 5, 2013 at 4:16

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