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Related: Bring a horse in a dungeon. How is this question different? I am asking specifically as a mounted archer, who doesn't need to charge on horseback and does not have the option of choosing a different mount.


In the current Pathfinder campaign I am a human ranger and have a combat-trained light horse animal companion.

I have placed a number of points into the Ride skill (and also Handle Animal) and am appropriately outfitted to annihilate my foes from the saddle as an archer (composite longbow). However, most of the combat encounters take place in dungeons where my large-sized horse is, well, uncomfortable to say the least.

Now, this is not a matter of squeezing, but of how the horse can actually still be useful in small spaces.

In this case I am not looking to replace my mount for RP reasons, so they would need to be solutions that work with a large-sized horse (unless shrinking is involved). As I am also exclusively an archer, I would still need to be able to keep some distance between myself and my target when possible (ie. when space permits).

Question: What are some ways (if there are any) I could continue to ride my horse effectively in combat while in a dungeon?

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Why not run the following ideas past your DM

Combat

1) Some sort of horseshoes, saddle, etc. that would allow the horse to fly/ levitate / swim in some manner. This gets around the limitation of the horse needing to be on stable ground.

Included in this idea is polymorphing your horse into a Pegasus (fly) / Hippocampus (swim) or other such animal.

Limitations: the horse would need to be trained to fly (swim) as a trick - which may take awhile. You as the rider might have to take the fly skill, since you're flying your horse.

2) Conversely, get it a ring or feather fall and boots of spider climbing (well in this case it would be "horseshoes")

Limitations: The horse might not want to use the magic items (because it's scared of heights, because even though it knows it's going to be safe, it's tough to overcome natural instincts.)

3) Platforms (think several Tenser's Floating Disks") as a stable, immovable platform. (For ideas on how to use if you need to have it move, see this link on giant tip Get a wand or several scrolls of them of them to save from having to get levels of wizard.

Limitations: The wand/ scrolls caster providing caster level.

4) Teach horse tricks to deal with a dungeon area, if you've not already done so.

Limitations: Keep in mind that even with tricks, the horse is going to have to typically go slower than it normally would because of stalagmites/ stalactites, slanted, unstable, slippery, narrow, areas, and would automatically count as difficult terrain for the horse, unless the DM specifically states the area as having no hazards that the horse would be able to get injured on or by.

Getting Horse from Point A to Point B

(included for completeness Sake)

5) Reduce Animal + bag of holding (provided the duration is 10 minutes or less)

6) Rope Trick

7) Tower Shield with Hosteling

8) Carry Companion Spell

Ideas taken from here: this reddit thread

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It makes sense as a PC group to choose only to go on dungeons with big corridors, so you can take the full potential from your group. If someone comes and talks to you about the mystery of the rabbit hole, while said rabbit hole is known to be a tight cave, just ditch him: "We are the company of the fat horse, we don't do this kind of stuff."

This won't work if for a reason or another you don't choose which dungeon to do (because there is not many of them, because you want something specific which is only on this very dungeon...)

Anyways if you plan on doing that make that clear with the GM, so he doesn't have to design a whole dungeon for nothing.

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It'll make a great meat-shield, and provide excellent cover to hide behind. Often whether you want it to or not.

If you are unwilling to change your mount, then the most reasonable answer is "Change yourself instead."

While dragging a horse into a dungeon can be done, it's probably not a good idea.


At best the dungeon will smell like monsters, and the horse won't like that, making it more difficult to control. This is less true with a war-trained animal, but then the animal will be expecting a fight and will be more difficult to control in that direction.


And then, assuming you can get it to go into the place that smells so questionably, you have to ask the next question.

Will there be enough room in any given direction? A horse can't really crouch and move. If the ceiling is low, you won't be able to ride without scraping on it. If the ceiling is lower, the horse simply won't be able to progress. This is equally true for width; if you are brushing your shoulders against the walls walking straight in, the horse is getting squeezed. If you have to turn sideways to pass, the horse simply isn't going.

Another answer suggested "Only take on dungeons with large corridors" but what do you do when you explore deeper into the dungeon and discover that only the "ground floor" has large corridors, and everything else is much smaller?

In AD&D the default was a 10' square, which would provide enough room. Not a lot, but enough. D&D (3E and later) changed that to the 5' square, meaning your horse now occupies a 2x2 space on the map.


Now that your horse is nervous, and cramped in a tight space, you can deal with the party's "marching order".

Horses are animals, and react by instinct not reasoning.

One of those instincts is to kick when something "sneaks up" on it. They can't see behind themselves any better than we can, so when a party member walks up behind your twitchy horse, they risk a sudden kick in the face.

(Another instinct is rearing to attack an enemy. Won't that be fun for the rider in a low-ceilinged area?)

Plus, if the horse gets stuck and can't pass, well so does any of the party in line behind it.

You can put the horse (and rider) at the back of the line, which isn't a bad place for the archer to be either, but the horse can't tell you that it hears something coming up behind you, and it can't turn around to hold the monsters off for a couple of rounds while the lineup reorganizes itself.


I won't even consider this to be a complete list of potential problems. (Leg injuries after the magical healing is exhausted?)

Trying to bring a horse into a dungeon is a liability, not a benefit. Even when you can afford the resources to make it work, it still requires that those resources be dedicated to that task, instead of being used somewhere else.

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