"Hello. I am Kato Ayame, Paladin of Shizuru. Shizuru is the goddess of swordplay, honor, and the sun. This," she says, glancing toward the giant bird at her side, "is Hansuke, my companion. He is from Heaven."
Her speech is somewhat halting, with a pronounced Minkaian accent.
"First, I will say: I am sorry, Common is not my first language. It is my fourth language. I hope everything I say makes sense. Second, I will say, if you speak in Celestial, Hansuke and I will both understand you. He is a very smart axebeak. He is as smart as me. "
"I like to talk to new Pathfinders about mounts. Some mounts are very smart, like Hansuke. Other mounts are not as smart, like a horse or a riding dog. There are some things that you must remember. I will make a list."
- To be good at riding, you must train at riding. The most basic thing in riding is to guide your mount with your knees, so you can use your hands for other things. If you want to fight while riding, you must train more. If you want to drop behind your mount to dodge an attack, you must train even more. If you want to get off your mount quickly, you must train even more than that.
- Mounts can do many different tricks. Most mounts are either trained for riding or combat. Riding mounts can come to you, follow you, or stay where you tell them. Combat-trained mounts can also attack, or guard an area, or defend someone, or stop attacking. All mounts can carry a rider. If you want a mount to do something, you need to tell them what you want, and then you need to be convincing. If they already know how to do a trick, it is easy to convince them to do it. Most people can ride a horse without a problem, but some cannot. It is harder to teach an animal a new trick. It is even harder to convince them to do something new, because it is hard to communicate what you want, and they are usually afraid of the new thing. If the mount is hurt, it is harder to convince them to do anything.
- Take care of your mount. Make sure that your mount has food, water, and a comfortable place to rest. Groom your mount. Buy a good saddle. If they will fight, buy them armor too. Do not send them into hallways that might be trapped so that you do not have to go there first. If your mount is smart, make friends with them. It is a privilege to ride them, not a right. Tell others that they are smart so that they get respect.
"I will now tell Hansuke what I just told you, and ask him if he has anything to add."
She switches to Celestial, speaking in a far more fluid manner than her halting Common. After listening to her, Hansuke nods, and cries out "WARK!". Ayame pulls a metal box from her bag and sets it on the ground, opening it to reveal loose dirt. Hansuke sticks one of his talons into the dirt and deftly traces out a series of angelic runes.
"Oh, thank you, Hansuke," says Ayame.
- When you carry many things, it is uncomfortable and you have to walk very slowly. The same is true for mounts. Keep in mind how heavy you and your things are.
- Squeezing into narrow hallways is hard for many mounts. They cannot fight or defend themselves as well as they usually can. They block the way for other people in your group if they are not in the back. Also, some mounts are not good with stairs.
- Hansuke would like you to know that he is an excellent climber, that he is faster than any horse, that his beak is skilled at defeating evil foes, and that the shine of his feathers shows that he is healthy and strong.
"Thank you for listening. I hope that you are successful in your missions."
- Ride: If you want to use a mount in combat, the Ride skill is critical. It is a DC 5 Ride check to guide a mount with your knees. When attacking in melee with a war-trained mount, you must make a DC 10 Ride check; otherwise, only your mount will get to attack. At DC 15, you can leap behind your mount to use it as cover. Finally, at DC 20, you can dismount as a free action.
- Tricks and Handle Animal: It is a DC 10 Handle Animal check to get an animal to do something it already knows how to do. For example, if you want a warhorse to attack, it is a DC 10 Handle animal check. Riding a horse also requires a DC 10 handle animal check. These checks can be rolled untrained. Teaching an animal a new trick is either DC 15 or 20 depending on the trick. Animals with 2 intelligence can know at most 6 tricks, and animals with 1 intelligence can know at most 3 tricks. If you want to change up your tricks, check out the Handle Animal skill in the Core Rulebook, or the Animal Archive. You must be trained in Handle Animal to teach new tricks.Pushing an animal to do something it wouldn't normally do and is not trained to do is a DC 25 handle animal check. This check can also be rolled untrained. All Handle Animal checks take a -2 penalty if the animal has taken damage or ability damage.
- Caring for Mounts: Animal feed is generally 1cp per day, and stabling is 5sp per day. Animal armor, called barding, costs twice the standard cost for that armor if the mount is medium, and four times as much if the mount is large.
- Carrying Capacity: Check out the carrying capacity chart to see how much your mount can carry without going into medium load. Medium quadripeds can carry one and a half times as the value on the chart. Large bipeds can carry twice as much, and large quadripeds can carry three times as much.