While it's not exactly high literary art, a good reference book for an entire /society/ based on necromancy is Fire Sea, of Weis & Hickman's Death Gate Cycle. The undead are used for a source of slave labor, to stave off the final death of a dying world, at a rather gruesome cost: to reanimate the dead causes someone, somewhere, to die. Go to Comment
Excellent, looking forward to this. One of the most memorable players I gamed with had a horse with a major attitude. It was the most stubborn thing imagineable, but he and his horse had an understanding. Probably not the greatest thing in real life, but made excellent fun in the game, whenever the horse was being really stubborn a stern fist on the nose would knock some sense into the horse for a bit. But then the horse would always get back by dragging him against a tree, low hanging branch to stopping suddenly from a gallop and flinging him. It was great fun to see what he and his horse would come up with next. Basically always doing pranks on each other. Go to Comment
(I will probably chime in occassionally. We owned a horse for a few years while we lived in Spain and it was a riot. Brings back some fond memories.)
Some horses will also lay on the ground and flop around itching their back after a nice long ride. It is a sight to behold when a horse gallops and jumps around in excited freedom after a good ride and then lays itself on the ground, rolls onto its back flopping his feet over to one side and back, just like a dog would to do to itch a hard to reach place.
That could be embarassing for a stoic professional that has a reputation to uphold. He unsaddles his horse in town after a long ride, a couple of people are eyeing him as he drops his horse at the stables. As the groom takes off the bridle and saddle the horse busts away to the small corral and proceeds to flop around like a fish. Go to Comment
Can you imagine my fingers itching for creating a generator for authentic horse personalities?
But this is better left to the imagination of players and GMs. (There are already a few interesting quirks, will we create a list of them?) One case, when a horse (dog, or any pet) clearly must have personality of its own, are One player campaigns.
I've heard an old story of a preacher, that had the horse of some heavy drunkard. So whenever they passed a bar, the preacher had to enter it, at least for a moment, or the horse would not continue. Soon gossip started to spread, and the poor honest man really ended up as an alcoholic!
But if there are adventurers, what if some notorious adventure-seeker's horse has a bit of supernatural sense, and can feel dungeons, and other "adventure-worthy" locales, if coming near to them. While this may seem as an excellent plot hook, the characters may not appreciate it, if they must enter every little hole, finding usually nothing, sometimes murderous enviroments... Go to Comment
That's right. These critters have "minds" of their own, with their own personalities. Most are reasonably functional, while others are marginal (those that are not good at being domestic are either eaten or escape to the wilds).
While I know this and a few tiny things about horses, I don't know much about their day to day existance. But to add this flavor to the game, horses (other mounts- say Dragons- and important pets) became minor NPCs.
Horses as NPCs can literally double the number of characters you have to keep track of as a GM. This can be a little daunting. So, if you want to have spirited horses, use troupe styled play for the horses. Other players are assigned other player's horses to play (the limit on this is that you can not run the horse of the person running your horse). Most of the time, there will be little "horse roleplay". Every now and again, the horses will "act uppity" (mostly because the players are bored).
To keep this from being abused, tie "horse play" to standard rewards for each player's main character. The quality a players Horse RP becomes a minor modifier to the experience reward for the player's main character (+/- 10% in our case).
This rule made buying a horse a careful decision it is in the real world, rather than the "off the equipment list" sort of purchase it is normally. Players begin to carefully evaluate the mounts after this, to make sure they have compatable personalities and acceptable disads.
(We gave horses extra disadvaantages, like characters, and they used those points to buy extra abilities. So you can have a stronger, faster, smarter horse, but it might be a bit too quirky to be handled except by an expert rider (and even then it might be an issue) ). Go to Comment
One of the funny things about horses is when you find one of the hard to handle horses, they are generally some of the better horses you can find, being stronger, more dynamic, and self confident. An easy riding horse isn't the sort you want to take into battle, or any other strenuous activity say beyond a casual trail ride, or for the kids to play with.
As for flopping around, the best way to see a horse do that is to spend a few hours washing them, shampooing their mane and tail, and generally working your butt off to make the animal smell good and look great (assuming you have a good looking horse to begin with) The first thing they will do, when given a chance is to go roll in either mud, or dirt.
If you have a white horse, this is where it gets fun, they can get grass stains on their white spots / or body. My, what a green horse you have sir knight...where did you rest last? the pasture? Plus, as Murphy's Law dictates, your glistening white steed is going to get as dirty as possible, in as little as time possible. This comes mostly from listening to my wife talk about getting her horses ready to go to competition.
I really like the idea of giving horses attributes, but I wouldn't go into great detail myself. I might stick with a giving them a few attribute points, and maybe some flaws if they need them.
Example: Fritz, a large black warhorse
Adv. - Endurance
Adv. - Doesn't Spook
Flaw - Likes to bite
Flaw - Aggressive
I gues one thing I would have to point out is that horses are first and foremost social animals, they hate to be alone. This comes from the fact that they are prey animals, instead of predators. With this in mind, their instictive reaction to stimulus is to seek out other horses, and run away. Go to Comment