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Is there any text in the core rulebooks that specifies a mounted creature maintains a constant relative position with its mount?

The only relevant snippet that I can find is the first sentence of the Mounted Combat section of the PHB:

A knight charging into battle on a warhorse, a wizard casting spells from the back of a griffon, or a cleric soaring through the sky on a pegasus all enjoy the benefits of speed and mobility that a mount can provide.

There are two major problems if the above passage is the only applicable rule:

  1. The benefits of speed and mobility that a mount can provide are not defined
  2. The three examples given are the only defined ways in which a mounted creature can gain said benefits

I am deeply suspicious that, under pure RAW, a mounted creature's position is in no way tied to that of its mount.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you seriously asking if the horse underneath the knight runs off without him? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri In essence, yes. I am hoping I have overlooked a rule that prevents that from being the case. \$\endgroup\$
    – RuralAir
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you read the "Mounts and Vehicles" section of the PHB? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack Thank you for the find! I didn't think to check through the equipment rules. On further inspection, I still can't find a direct answer to my question. But the bit about how a mount "...can help you move more quickly through the wilderness..." is close to what I'm after. \$\endgroup\$
    – RuralAir
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure your question is answerable. There are a millionxxxxxxx infinite things the rules do not specifically spell out. The default world assumes things like gravity, light, sound. The default world assumes you get on a mount and ride it. Or get on a ship. Or sit in a chair. Also, it's not clear what actual problem you might be having. Is there an actual concrete issue that you're having? Or is it more tire-kicking the rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:50

3 Answers 3

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Yes, that’s what the word “mount” means.

I googled the definition of “mount”. The noun form is:

a horse being ridden or that is available for riding.

The verb form is:

get up on (an animal or bicycle) in order to ride it.

So yes, the rider and the mount they ride upon maintain their position relative to each other, because that’s what it means to be mounted upon a mount. If the rider and mount do not maintain position relative to one another, the mount is not a mount, the rider is not a rider, and you should rethink that nonsense ruling. In other words, when the rules call your house a mount, everything that “mount” means is included when the rules use the word. As for the “speed and mobility” mentioned in the quote you provide, these are exactly the movement statistics provided in your mount’s stat block.

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Yes, they do

In the rules, mundane things work as we would expect them to from the real world, so there is no need to spell out what it means to mount a horse, because it works as expected from the real world: you are sitting on the horse. And by extention, as shown in the rules snippet you quote, the same holds for phantastic creatures like pegasi or griffons.

The benefits to "speed and mobility" you gain are those of being able to use the mount's speed and modes of movement, instead of your own, which in many cases are better than yours. You as a typcial character have 25 or 30 feet of walking movement, while a riding horse has 60 feet, twice as fast, and a griffon for example has 80 feet of flying movement.

There even is additonal rules text supporting this, even though there is no real need for stating the obvious. The rules for mounted combat (p. 198, PHB) say:

In either case, if the mount provokes an opportunity attack while you’re on it, the attacker can target you or the mount.

So it is clear what your relative position to the mount is that you are on the mount.

The DMG (p. 119) for overland travel also explains:

Flying by spell or magic item works the same as travel on foot, as described in the Player's Handbook. A creature that serves as a flying mount must rest 1 hour for every 3 hours it flies, and it can't fly for more than 9 hours per day. Thus, characters mounted on griffons (which have a flying speed of 80 feet) can travel at 8 miles per hour, covering 72 miles over 9 hours with two I-hour-long rests over the course of the day.

This makes it explicit that when you are using a flying mount, you use the mounts speed, instead of your own.

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There are no rules that establish the relative position of riders on mounts.

Obviously, we expect that riders will move with their mounts. But exactly where the rider sits relative to the mount is not in the rules. If your question is if the rider moves when the mount does, I submit you have taken the rules to a point of ad absurdem, and you need to stop. If your question is actually about the relative position of the rider to the mount, I posit the following.

In theater of the mind, this probably isn't even a consideration. But when we use optional grid rules, we might put a rider in the exact middle of 4 squares, or on any of the 4 squares. If the rider is on a huge creature (like an elephant), this becomes meaningful, since they might not be able to attack form the middle of 9 squares. The rider might move on the elephant to a position advantageous to attacking.

All this must be adjudicated by the DM. There are several excellent discussions of it, including:

Crawford on Mounted Combat (26:15)

Treantmonk on mounted combat (10:30)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I downvoted because there are rules (evidenced in the other answers), and because it looks like you have misunderstood the question because it doesn't mention a grid. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 18:48

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