I recently found these pathfinder rules about using skill checks for running a chase. I would like to adapt them to my D&D game, however, I wanted to run a mounted chase. Are there any skill besides Ride, Handle animal, and maybe Survival to navigate the terrain, that I can use to run this chase?

EDIT: The focus of this question is, as BESW said, about adapting from a footchase to a mounted scenario. The horses aren't the focus (and are specific to the scene, rather than an investment by the players), so the characters' resources and choices are made meaningful by not forcing them to use the skills of the horses they grabbed for the scene.


2 Answers 2


Ask your players.

This is a strategy I adopted to great success when implementing 4e skill challenges: I might give them a set of obvious skils, but I'd also make it clear that any skill they could justify and the group considered legit would be made available. This is an at-the-table affair (not a help-me-prepare thing), and can take two expressions in the Pathfinder skill challenge paradigm you linked:

  1. Let the player narrate how he uses a different skill to overcome the obstacle I've given him:
    • If the horse must jump a ravine, he might use Arcana to cast a minor charm that lets the horse jump further.
    • Faced with a hidden shortcut, he could use Decipher Script to quickly understand a scrawled notice of it in the local equivalent of hobo sign as he races along.
  2. Slightly more radical, I can give the player a chance to create the obstacle as well as the method in which he overcomes it:
    • The horses begin to flag, and he uses Heal to give them their second wind.
    • The enemy begins to catch up, and he uses Balance to fire off covering Parthian shots to make them back away.

By giving my players these decisions, I increased their agency and engagement in the story, and I opened up the scene to interesting and unexpected developments. It encourages creative action, and gives players a chance to shine even when their characters wouldn't be typically proficient in that particular environment.

It also reduces my prep work, but I usually have to model this behavior for new players. It's a rather radical increase in the player's narrative agency compared to common expressions of the d20 System ethos.


It would often make sense to have Ride or Handle Animal be a way to get past an obstacle, but there are certainly lots of other options.

Horseback stunts

I guess the main thing would be to find skill-related obstacles particularly suited for horse back:

  • Maybe there's no clearance for both the rider and the horse -- you can take that passage by having the rider jump over the obstacle as the horse passes underneath.

  • You could snatch a key or other necessary item while riding past someone using sleight of hand.

  • An obstacle that required the rider to stand up while on horseback could require balance.

  • Concentration checks are necessary to cast spells while riding, so that would work as an obstacle for casters.

  • If the goal is to catch someone, a use rope check as the last obstacle would be especially appropriate from horse back.


There are a lot of general obstacles that could apply to about any type of chase:

  • Listen, Spot, Search, and Survival to correctly navigate or find hidden routes would all still apply.
  • Intimidate or Diplomacy to force a crowd to get out of your way.
  • Disable Device, Open Lock, and Escape Artist could all still be used from horseback to deal with doors, trapped passages, and the like.

But, no matter what you do, someone with a good Ride check should be better at this! You could either make more obstacles that require Ride, or allow them to get a bonus on other types of checks.


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