[Proficiency] Bonded Mount

Hey all,

I’m trying to create a proficiency that will allow characters (such as paladins) to bond with a special mount. This is typically going to be taken by high level characters who must also possess the appropriate riding proficiency, and who have already established a relationship with or undergone some sort of quest to find the appropriate mount to bond with. Take a look and let me know what you think:

Bonded Mount: The character forms a preternatural bond with a specific willing creature that chooses to serve as their companion and mount. The bonded mount gains +2 hit points per Hit Die and a +2 bonus to saving throws. In addition, the mount serves loyally and possesses a morale score of +4 as long as the character is mounted or within sight and alive. Finally, the mount and the character possess a limited empathic bond while within sight of one another, allowing basic emotions (fear, anger, sorrow, etc.) to be discerned and very simple commands (stay, come, attack, etc.) to be communicated through the bond.

The character must possess the appropriate riding general proficiency to successfully ride a bonded mount under difficult circumstances, such as combat. For good or ill, a bonded mount retains the typical attitudes, will, and instincts of a creature of its type, though the creature’s behavior may be kept in check by a strong-willed, charismatic, or particularly potent character. Powerful, intelligent mounts who allow themselves to be bonded to a character will consider themselves companions, equal partners, or even advisers and teachers, and will expect to be treated accordingly. Should the bonded mount be killed, the character must save vs. Death or instantly take damage equal to the mount’s total hit points. The character may not bond with another mount until they gain another level of experience or until ten years have passed. It is possible to raise a slain mount from the dead through spell or magical item. Deliberate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse of the bonded mount may cause it to abandon or even betray the character at an inopportune moment in addition to the bond being severed.

Typically a creature possessing more Hit Dice than the character has levels will refuse to become a bonded mount. Creatures able to be bonded by this proficiency may include a paladin’s divine warhorse, giant eagles, pegasi, nightmares, griffons, hippogriffs, unicorns, dire wolves, wyverns, and even dragons. The Judge is the final arbiter on which creatures may be bonded with this proficiency in the campaign world.


It’s a great proficiency! It seems well-balanced to me. Like Beast Friendship it allows you to have effectively an animal henchman that you can communicate with, but it balances against Beast Friendship by focusing on one animal which becomes more powerful.

Does the Bonded Mount count as a henchman for CHA limits?

Thanks Alex, glad you like it.

Hmmmm… I hadn’t thought about it. I was leaning toward no, as it really requires 2 proficiencies for the companion to be viable in combat as a mount, but an investment like this would probably make this creature your closest ally anyway.

I’d lean towards having it count as a henchman; mostly for literary reasons.

I’m reading the Chronicles of Prydain for the first time since I was a kid to get the brain wired up for a kid’s game I’m going to start; I’m reminded of Ellidyr and Islimach.

Hey Koewn,

I think you’re right - I don’t think it would make thematic sense for the bonded mount not to take up a henchman slot. It also makes it easier on the judge to work things out if the mount is treated as a henchman.

I’ve never read the Prydain books - is it worth a look as an adult? I’ve always loved the idea of the paladin questing for their mount, dragonriders, etc. and wanted to create an ACKS-friendly option for players to pursue that sort of thing if they wanted.

Ellidyr is a side character; you won’t find the noble quest there; he’s more the tragic hero. I’d class him as a cavalier, rather than a paladin.

Prydain is ostensibly based in Welsh mythology; the world shown in the stories is much smaller (a single ACKS region hex page, honestly). There’s some interesting ideas in there in how magic works; there’s a fey underground, etc.

If you’ve seen Disney’s ‘The Black Cauldron’ (not sure of your age) you’ve seen a mashup of the first two books in the series.

On my ereader’s current zoom each book is only like 100 pages; it’s a quick, quick read. It’s certainly a children’s book; not annoyingly so, however.

I’m mashing up Beyond The Wall’s character playbook creation up into ACKS for this, and Beyond The Wall is very strongly typed towards a Prydain or Earthsea sort of thing - the PCs starting as actual young people from a single village.

Ah ok. I spend a lot of time on the train. I’ll pick it up and take a look.