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In a recent Pathfinder campaign I'm playing in, the GM mentioned 'The Knights Gryphon', an ancient order of knights which was outlawed, disbanded, and 'recreated' as a mercenary army by the king in years long past. That struck up a chord which reminded me of an old 2e character that I've always wanted to get more mileage out of. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any way to create a gryphon-riding knight of any sort.

The current concept would be a spellslinger, gryphon-rider. Perhaps the last scion of the line of the old Knights, still on the run. I was initially thinking something based on a Paladin, because they're classically associated with having a mount, but that's been a dead end. The closest I've found is the 'Sky Stalker' ranger archetype. I could easily re-fluff the hippogriff as a gryphon with no real issues, but I'm wondering if there's any other/better ways to get a similar effect.

This is less of a character-optimization question than a 'how can I do this at all', but notes as to the best route to go would be appreciated. I had a discussion with the GM this weekend, and he's OK with the 'Sky Stalker' route, but I'd really prefer an arcane-caster based build if at all possible. Are there any arcane classes which provide a 'mount' feature I could use to qualify for 'Monstrous Mount'?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 3.5 classes aren't allowed, and as I discovered during a quick chat I had with the GM over the weekend, neither are guns (except to dwarves from a specific region). Editing the question to update the details. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Oct 6 '14 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ You have changed your question significantly - try not to do that, ask new questions. If now you also want to know "how can I get an animal companion or divine bond as an arcane spellcaster (without multiclassing I guess as that's pretty obvious)" you should open that as a new question rather than invalidating previous answers. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Oct 8 '14 at 11:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm really not sure how I changed my question "significantly". The change I made started with, "I had a discussion with the GM...", and simply reiterated the desire for an arcane-caster option, if any existed (as noted in the second paragraph, "The current concept would be a spellslinger...". If there isn't a mount-related arcane option (other than a level 8+ summoner), then I can accept that, but the only arcane options presented so far are 'GM-fiat' or 'summoner'. I'm holding off on marking the first answer as the accepted answer for a bit in hopes of other options. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Oct 8 '14 at 16:30
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First, to ride a griffon you just need to obtain one and ride it. You don't need a class feature besides skills. The griffon entry says:

Before it can be ridden in combat, a griffon requires practice bearing the weight of its rider. In order to be trained successfully, a griffon must first be helpful toward its trainer (possibly requiring a Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Handle Animal check). After that, 6 weeks of practice and a successful DC 20 Handle Animal check is sufficient for the beast to be comfortable with its burden, and due to their intelligence, trained griffons can be treated as knowing every trick listed in the Handle Animal skill description, possibly even responding to new, simple requests made in Common.

The real trick is getting one in the first place. As they are intelligent, forcing them to be a mount is basically slavery (and pretty dangerous), though still feasible for some characters. Griffons are intelligent and not just animals, so you can convince them to join you in other ways.

Characters eager for griffon mounts, however, should note that buying or forcibly domesticating intelligent creatures like griffons is still recognized as slavery by most good deities, and winning a griffon's allegiance of its own free will is no easy task. Reaching a mutually agreeable accord (or even a friendship) is a much more elegant and safe route to securing a griffon mount.

  1. "Working with your Game Master" is the most effective. Trying to find a rules solution outside of working with them to enliven a piece of their world's history seems counterproductive.

  2. Refluff the Sky Rider (aka Sable Company Marine) ranger archetype. It was designated as refluff-ready when it was introduced on the Paizo blog...

  3. Use the Leadership feat to get a monster cohort - see Knights of the Inner Sea, which specifically talks about knights using that to get monstrous mounts including griffons as an 8th level cohort.

  4. Be a summoner and have a griffonlike eidolon.

  5. Otherwise summon/emulate a griffon via spells, like phantom steed.

  6. The Monstrous Mount feat will let you upgrade an animal companion or divine-bond mount to a griffon. Prerequisite(s): Handle Animal 4 ranks; Ride 4 ranks; divine bond (mount), hunter's bond (animal companion), or mount class feature with an effective druid level of 4. for the feat and Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Handle Animal 5 ranks; Ride 5 ranks for the griffon specifically.

    Mythic Monsters Revisited has an example:

    On the outskirts of the Barrowood in Cheliax, near the settlement of Dekarium, a druid rider and his griffon mount patrol the land in search of devil-worshipers who hope to make sacrifices to their dark lords within the forest.

  7. Use a bronze griffon figurine of wondrous power, like this stock NPC from the NPC Codex.

There's probably more, depending on what kind of a character you envision and the nature of the relationship with the griffon, as well as whether you want it to be a "for realz griffon" or whether something like an eidolon could serve (potentially leading to an interesting history of those Griffon Knights...)

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