Thursday, April 19, 2012

Factoids of the Hill Cantons: Horse Flesh

Twice a year, the southern cantonal trade town Marlankh comes alive with the sights and sounds of the Great Ebon Horse Fair. Who alive cannot thrill to the brandy and lotus-addled roar of the crowd as convicted felons race silver-bridled stallions in long laps around the squat, black Tomb of the City Gods? Who doesn't stand in fevered anticipation to trooping of the ward totem banners? Or the ritual hanging of the losers?

But let's not neglect the more practical side of that long week, the wheelings and dealings of the great horse-trading caravans that roll in from the Southlands and feed the financial life of this great, last outpost of the Overkingdom. In celebration of that barking lucrative scrum of avarice, Radegast, old god of hosts and magister ludis reveals to readers the day-to-day “mechanics” of buying a mount in the Hill Cantons.

While all involved in the low trade of commerce in the borderlands are inclined to “maximize their self-interest” (i.e. attempt to fleece you), horse traders are renowned for being more equal than others in that area. Because of their exceptional, tough-minded greed, horsetraders receive a free save vs. poison check when a Mountebank attempts to use their powers on them.

On buying a horse the GM will secretly determine the actual value of the mount based either on a ruling from roleplaying or from the following chart.

Roll d20, add whichever is best INT, WIS, or CHA bonus minus that the INT or CHA modifier of the trader.
Ripped Off (re-roll quality, if you thought you were buying an average mount roll d8, if you thought you were buying an above average horse roll 2d6)
Get What You Paid For.
A Steal (re-roll quality, if you were buying a below average horse roll d20 +2. For an average horse d20+4. If you were buying an above-average horse pay for an average.)

Horned Donkey
Base Cost: 15 suns
HD: 1-1
Movement: 120'
Small, braying asses with two tiny, goat-like horns. Favored by Rada (cantonal council) members and those with a tendency to self-promotion.

Base Cost: 30 suns
HD: 2
Movement: 120'
Your basic infertile and pissed horse-donkey mixed-breed. On a roll of 1 on a d6 they have a single, vestigial horn.

Steppe Pony
Base Cost: 35 suns
HD: 1+1
Movement: 180'
Shaggy, sturdy ponies hailing from the Sea of Grass. Favored by bowlegged, swarthy-looking men with fur hats.

Princess Pony
Base Cost: 100 suns
HD: 1+1
Movement: 180'
A small, uniformly white pony favored by midgets, the clergy, and little girls.

Work Horse
Base Cost: 35 suns
HD: 3
Movement: 90'
A sturdy, slow plow, draft, or pack horse.

Riding Mare
Base Cost: 70 suns
HD: 2
Movement: 240'
Female riding horse. If threatened will fight with hooves.

Riding Gelding
Base Cost: 75 suns
HD: 2+1
Movement: 240'
Castrated male riding horse. If threatened will fight with hooves.

Base Cost: 150 suns
HD: 3
Movement: 120'
A relatively light-weighted stallion trained for war. Will fight with hooves on command.

Base Cost: 225 suns
HD: 3+1
Movement: 120'
A medium-sized war-trained stallion. Will fight with hooves on command.

Base Cost: 350 suns
HD: 3+3
Movement: 120'
A large, war-trained stallion. Will fight with hooves and teeth on command.

Base Cost: 600 suns
HD: 4
Movement: 120'
Massive, big-boned and mean-as-a-cuss war-stallion. They are typically stolen extra-dimensionally from the dreams of paladin's. Will fight with hooves, teeth, and a serious chip on his shoulder.

Mount Quality
Roll d20
Sickly, half cost, reduce 3 hit points, reduce 10' movement, and reduce riding time 20 percent
Swaybacked, 75 percent of base cost, reduce 3 hit points and decrease riding time 20 percent
Slow, 75 percent of base cost, reduce 20' movement.
Swift, double base cost, add 20' movement.
Strong, double base cost, add 3 hit points and increase riding time 20 percent.
Heroic, triple base cost, add 3 hit points, add 10' movement, and increase riding time 20 percent

Horse Color (Optional)
Roll d100
Blood Bay, bright red with a slight brown coat, dark mane. Traditionally bred in the Southland sultanates, but now relatively common in the southern cantons. Add 1-4 suns base price.
Dark Bay, dark red or brown coat, dark mane
Liver Chestnut, dark brown coat, light mane
Sorrel/Orbish Chestnut, red to reddish tan coat (color of a bronze orb coin).
Blond Chestnut, light brown with pale mane.
Steel Gray. Evenly mixed hairs of white and dark
Dapple Gray. Dark-colored horse with light dapples (rings).
Borscht Gray. Grey-coated with pinkish tinge.
Faded Black, black coat that fades to brownish hues in sun-exposed areas. Uncommon add 1-10 suns to price.
Deodand Black, non-fading black coat. Uncommon and sought after by people who want to project their surliness, add 50 percent to base price.
Brindle Striped, brown or red with yellow zebra-like stripes. Favored by noveau riche in the cantons (though others think them to look garish and vulgar), add 50 percent to base price.
Cremello. Brownish chestnut base color coat that wash out to a pale cream. Add 50 percent to base price, favored by well-to-do ladies of the night.
Dun. Tan or yellow coat often with darker markings. Add 1-6 suns to price.
Borean Dun. Black base coat with dun over marking. Add 100 percent to base price, auspicious horse for gate-opening sacrifices in the Weird.
Piebald. Black and white spots. Add 25 percent to price, favored by the color blind and poets.
Skewbald. White coat with non-black spots. Add 25 percent to price, favored by tokenizers.
Extradimensional Oddity. Horse is from beyond the Weird and has a strange coloring and/or spotting (player decides). 30 percent chance that it has a dark secret power, weakness, or history (GM picks). Subtract 25 percent from base price due to it being ill-favored.

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