|Intelligence:||Animal (1)||Animal (1)||Animal (1)||Animal (1)||Animal (1)|
|No. of Attacks:||3||3||3||3||3|
|Size:||L (7-8’)||L (7-8’)||L (7-8’)||M (5-7’)||M (5-7’)|
|Morale:||Average (8-10)||Unsteady (5-7)||Unsteady (5-7)||Average (8-10)||Average (8-10)|
To the untrained eye, a horse is a horse and there is little difference between a riding horse, light horse, warhorse, and draft horse. To the trained eye, however, there are great differences in breeds of horses. This is true in the Forgotten Realms just as much as anywhere else.
The different breeds of horse described here are the most notable types found in and around the lands of the Endless Waste.
The Nars breed is famous throughout the North. The breed has the reputation for combining strength, speed, and a placid nature. The Nars is a popular breeding stock in Almorel, Nathoud, Narfell, Rashemen, Damara, Vaasa, and Impiltur.
The Nars averages about sixteen hands (5’4” – a hand equals 4 inches) at the withers, making it a large animal. Its coat is normally a chestnut color, although golds and blacks are also found. It is strong in the harness, such that its movement rate is not reduced when hitched to a cart or wagon. For its size and strength, it has a fast gait, moving at the pace of a medium horse. It can carry as much as a heavy warhorse (260/390/520). The Nars has a good disposition and is less likely to be spooked by sudden shocks. For these qualities, the Nars is popular with the northern nobility and yeoman farmers alike. The Nars breed is a staple of the horse markets of Nathoud.
The Raurin is found mainly in the Raurin Desert and surrounding lands. It is an ancient breed and has been the well-spring of many other bloodlines. Bred first when the desert was a green land, the Raurin survived the drastic change to arid desert. In surviving, it grew tough and sturdy. For centuries it lived wild and free in the desert lands. Then, as men returned into the desert, they tamed the Raurin and began to cultivate the breed.
The Raurin is a fine, strong animal, about 15 hands high. Its legs are long and slender. Overall, the horse is slimly built, so that it has the general proportions of a light warhorse. The Raurin are almost always golden, dun, or gray in color.
The breeders have capitalized on the Raurin’s strength and stamina. Through careful management, they have bred the line for speed. The Raurin has all the qualities of a light warhorse and then some. In addition to speed, the Raurin is noted for its sure-footedness and stamina. It is stronger than a light warhorse and hardier. It can survive on fodder alone, and does not need to be fed grain. It can also last for one to three days without water.
It is speed that makes the Raurin famous, however. its supporters boast that there is no faster horse in the world. It certainly is one of the fastest, and the breed is popular among the horse racers throughout the region. It can triple its speed for short spurts (no more than 1 or 2 miles). After this it must be cooled down (walked for a turn) and then allowed to rest. If this isn’t done, the horse must make a saving throw vs. shock or collapse from exhaustion.
The Raurin breed is rare in the desert and virtually unknown in distant lands. The breed is seldom recognized in distant lands. Although the horse is valuable in the lands where it is known, commanding prices of 1,000 gp or more, it is hard to sell elsewhere. Foreigners must be shown the Raurin’s talents, usually in a horse race. If the demonstration is convincing, the price can be as great as 5,000 gp. In these cases, it is commonly bought to improve the stock of the local breed.
One of the closest relations to the Raurin is the Semphari, a magnificent animal. Of the known breeds, there is none that can rival the Semphari for grace and beauty. These, combined with its fine stamina, sure-footedness, and intelligent nature, have made it one of the most valuable of all horses.
The Semphari, so named for the land of its origin, is a smallish, light horse. It stands an average of 14 hands (4’8”) at the withers. Its body is light, and its muscles are lean and trim. Like the Raurin, the legs are long and slender, giving it a graceful look. The coat is almost always chestnut or white, fading to gray near the rump. The mane and tail are long.
The Semphari is prized for more than just its good looks. it is a hardy horse, able to endure more hardship than its appearance would suggest. This stamina gives it the hit dice of a heavy horse, while it still retains the speed of a light horse. It is nimble and sure-footed, so that all Riding proficiency checks made by its rider are improved by one. Likewise, any saving throws the horse must make that involve dodging are improved by one. Thus, both the horse and rider would have a slightly better chance of springing out of the area of a dragon – a breath at the very last second.
By far the most desirable traits, however, are the keen senses and intelligence of the breed. It has good sight and hearing. Wild Semphari mounts have a +1 applied to their surprise die.
Tame horses are easily trained. Learning general tasks takes half the normal time required (see the Animal Training proficiency). The Semphari can learn more specific tricks, from 2 to 12. Because of its nature, all Animal Training proficiency checks are one better than normal when dealing with the Semphari.
The Semphari is not a widespread breed, found mostly in Semphar and Murghom. There, the lords and nobles keep breeding stables and vie to produce the finest horses. Elaborate pedigrees are maintained and traded with each sale. An average horse of the breed sells for 1,000 to 3,000 gold. A Semphari stallion with an illustrious father can easily command double or triple the normal price.
Outside this area, the Semphari is less well known. However, unlike the Raurin, the Semphari’s qualities are easy to see. in foreign markets, the Semphari can still fetch a high price. Pedigrees, while impressive, have little bearing on such sales. Most of the horses are sold to kings and nobles as breeding stock. The prices average 1,000 gold, but finding the breed is almost impossible.
This beast looks like a cross between a horse and a pony. It is not a graceful or attractive mount, nor large and powerful. Its homely appearance disguises a horse of great endurance and strength.
The steppe horse is small, averaging 13 hands at the withers (4’4”). The neck is short, and the body is heavyboned. The head is large. The overall effect is of a small, ungainly mount. Add to this the shaggy winter coat of the breed, and the appearance is such that the Steppe is often called a “half-wild”. The coat is normally copper or bronze with a lighter yellow stripe down the back.
Beneath the surface, however, is a remarkable mount. The steppe horse is tough and hard to kill; its thick coat and hide give it a good armor class. For all its short legs, the steed can go swiftly for long distances. Its small back is strong and can carry as much as a medium warhorse (220/330/440). It is even-natured, making it steady in battle.
The most remarkable of its qualities is its endurance. The steppe horse survives on grazing alone. It does not need separate supplies of grain. It can be ridden for long distances without faltering. A +3 modifier is applied to the saving throw for lameness and exhaustion checks when traveling overland.
Still, the steppe horse is not valuable or sought after; it is most commonly ridden by the nomadic tribes. Outside this region, however, the horse is almost completely unknown, nor will it command high prices at auction. Only those breeders seeking strength and stamina for their own bloodlines are likely to consider the steppe pony worth greater than normal sums.
The Sosser is a mix of steppe horse and other breeds. It is not a glamorous animal, but it is not as homely as its cousin the steppe horse. It is valued for its surefootedness, strength, and ability to resist the cold.
The Sosser is a smallish horse, about 14 hands, though not as barrel-chested as the steppe horse. The neck is long and the head narrow. The hooves are broader than most. In general, it has the proportions of a light horse. The coat is normally chestnut or copper and grows long during the cold season.
The Sosser is bred to endure the cold weather of the far northern mountains and to serve as a work animal. It has greater-than-normal hit dice and a better armor class than most. It is not a fast horse for its size, but can carry as much as a medium warhorse (220/330/440). Like the Nars, it is good in the harness. Its movement rate is not reduced when pulling carts or wagons.
The Sosser has admirable resistance to cold weather. it has a saving throw bonus of +1 against cold-based attacks and suffers one point less per die of damage from such attacks. Conversely, it has less endurance to heat, and saving throws against heat exhaustion are made at a -1.
With the Nars, the Sosser is favored by the farmers of the far north. The horse can commonly be found in the lands of Sossai, Narfell, Vaasa, Damara, and Thar. It is not considered particularly exceptional and can usually be bought for only a little more than the average price.
Last Modified: June 10, 2010, 11:59:10 GMT
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