I can't find any rules if there are specific skills needed to be able to use a mount or a vehicle. Animal Handling seems to be for when your mount is getting spooked, and vehicle proficiency seems to be only for when you're driving a vehicle under difficult conditions...

So do you not really need any particular skills in order to try riding a mount or controlling a vehicle?


Anyone can use a mount or vehicle, there are no restrictions based on proficiencies.

Ability (skill) checks only come into play when the DM decides it. Generally it's reasonable to assume that most characters in a medieval setting have some knowledge of mounts and vehicles.

(DMG p. 237) Is a task so easy and free of conflict and stress that there should be no chance of failure?

And later on:

(DMG p.237) With enough attempts and enough time, a character should eventually succeed at the task. ... However, no amount of repeating the check allows a character to turn an impossible task into a successful one.

However, when trying to do something fancy, or to prevent a mount from spooking, or say your character has never ridden a horse before, then an ability check to Animal Handling or Vehicles (Land) may be called for at the DM's discretion.

Note that these can be called with different attributes; you may need Dexterity (Animal Handling) to stay on a bucking mount, or Wisdom (Animal Handling) to calm a frightened horse. (See PHB p. 175 Variant: Skills With Different Abilities)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this correct (and already-upvoted) answer would be improved with a citation to DMG p.237, which backs up everything you say. (Well, the generic skill stuff. It doesn't specifically talk about mounts and vehicles, but rather the skill system in general.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Dec 21 '16 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Randomorph I might just add a note to your second paragraph explaining that tool proficiency checks (such as Vehicles (Land)) cannot be made without proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 21 '16 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Randomorph Whoops, already added it in for you. Feel free to revert or edit further. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 21 '16 at 15:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You won't find it because it's not always true. In fact, it's the exception, not the rule. Tool proficiency "lets you to add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make using the tools in your craft." (SRD p70, artisan tools) Just like all ability checks, anyone can attempt without their proficiency bonus. There are specific examples that require proficiency just to attempt, such as making antitoxin with the Herbalism kit. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 21 '16 at 15:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki also a note, that picking a lock is called out as something that cannot be performed without physical Thieves Tools (improvised or otherwise), but can still be attempted with Thieves Tools by the unproficient. (First sentence of p.154 in the PHB) \$\endgroup\$
    – Randomorph
    Dec 21 '16 at 15:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.