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5E Downsides to Mounted Combat?

Uller

Adventurer
I have a 13th level Paladin with a Griffon mount. Tonight I ran him through a solo adventure (the player is my son and we had an hour or two to kill). He could have his mount fly 80' to get within reach of his target with his lance, attack twice, then move 80' away (and out of sight) without his target getting to attack back. So while fighting the BBEG (a beefed up Medusa...so his attacks were not with advantage because I told him he had to divert his eyes or make a save versus petrification once he got within 30'...I don't care that he "started" his turn 80' away).

It seemed a bit nuts. The Medusa couldn't attack the Griffon directly (because Mounted Combatant feat). So she had to attack the Paladin with his very high AC (+2 Full Plate, Shield, Ring of Protection) and was unable to hit. The Paladin could make two lance attacks. That seems off to me. A charging knight with a lance doesn't stop to attack. It's a generally a "ride-by" attack.

Anyone else have some experience here? We're playing a beefed up ToA campaign. They just started it. So I have some opportunity to modify/strengthen foes...definitely the biggest weakness is forced movement. His dex save isn't great, so I'll be sure to have foes make attacks that can move his mount.

Any other ideas? I don't want to complete nerf a cool ability he built his character around but I also don't like the idea of him flitting in, getting two attacks then flitting away all the time.
 

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jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
So wait, why didn't the medusa get to make opportunity attacks? And why was the paladin always getting advantage?

In any case if the medusa couldn't hit the paladin, then it didn't make much difference having the mount there, no?

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OK, advantage from the feat, check, and no OA because of the lance's reach. That is a pretty good combination, but doesn't do as well vs a larger opponent.

Here, in any case, I'm not sure I would have let the griffon automatically avert its gaze. And a good tactic for the medusa would be to ready an action to move away when the paladin approached within 10 ft. That would break the 80 ft distance thing.
 
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jodyjohnson

First Post
I've seen a tweet from Jeremy pointing out that while the Mount and rider have the same initiative they still have discrete turns. So either the player goes (Action and move) and then the mount takes its full turn or the reverse. You could rule that the actions and movement isn't combined.

I've usually played it that they can mix but discreet turns probably are more balanced and in line with the action and initiative rules.
 

Uller

Adventurer
So wait, why didn't the medusa get to make opportunity attacks?
Lance. 10' reach. Plus, the Medusa switched to her bow so she could attempt to make some ranged attacks. Part of what seemed a bit over the top to me is the Paladin averting his eyes (and the griffon since it has int 6) he could still maneuver so precisely as to move 80' to a point precisely out of the medusa's reach, attack and then move away again.
And why was the paladin always getting advantage?
Attacking a creature smaller than your mount gives advantage. Averting your eyes gives disadvantage so the two cancelled out.
In any case if the medusa couldn't hit the paladin, then it didn't make much difference having the mount there, no?
He has a 24 AC I think...she needed a 19 to hit. So she could hit...she just needed to be able to maximize her number of attacks to have a good chance at it and he was able to totally negate any chance of that.
---
OK, advantage from the feat, check, and no OA because of the lance's reach. That is a pretty good combination, but doesn't do as well vs a larger opponent.

Here, in any case, I'm not sure I would have let the griffon automatically avert its gaze. And a good tactic for the medusa would be to ready an action to move away when the paladin approached within 10 ft. That would break the 80 ft distance thing.
This...is a good idea. It would have effectively turned the fight into a stalemate and forced him to change tactics if he wanted to destroy her (which was his goal...she had been beguiling innocents with promises of magical favors so he wanted to destroy her. She wanted to survive. My wife and younger daughter got home as we started the fight so I was kind of rushing things and didn't get to think about how to make her a really good challenge. Like all 5e monsters she didn't make a great solo bad guy. She probably needed some legendary and lair actions, a few minions and some spells to make an effective baddie for a high level PC. It was all just a sort of ad hoc adventure picked out of one of the locations in Chult from ToA.

And yes, bigger monsters with reach, decent ranged weapons and spell effects (especially those that force movement) will be more of a problem for him. His dex save is only +4...falling off a flying mount can be hazardous to one's health. Plus he is one of the party's two tanks. His AC, HP and Aura are pretty critical to the other party members so if he's off flying around they become easier targets.

I guess my biggest concern is the cheese factor of a mounted rider with a lance riding at full speed into a foe, getting two attacks with his lance (poke! poke!) and continuing on at full speed with no real consequence even in confined spaces where maneuvering your mount might be at least a little bit of a challenge and the foe can't even make a single melee attack. A lot of folks have complained about the cheese factor with halfling rogues hiding behind big allies, making a ranged attack with advantage and then rehiding over and over. This seems worse to me. In my mind, a mounted knight with a lance charging a foe standing on the ground, if he misses it seems the foe has at least a chance to take a swing as the rider passes.

I like to let my players use their cool abilities they have built their characters around to good effect and I'm thinking that it probably isn't going to come up that much realistically. After all...the party is 13th level (started at 3rd) and mounted combat has come up maybe 3 times total...so I doubt it will be really game breaking and if he is abusing it too much I'm sure a good fall will make him think twice. A Thunderwave spell has pretty decent chance of dropping him. A grapple attack from a large flying foe can also be pretty ruinous.
 

toucanbuzz

Adventurer
It's your son...I wouldn't be looking for too many angles to ruin his fun. On the other hand, the DM let a player get a flying mount with a very high movement speed. Your son obviously has been paying attention to what can be done...

Question where the advantage is coming from. [edit: assuming he has Mounted Combat feat; if so, don't want to nerf players for making a feat work as they're giving up an ability boost that will benefit 100% of the time instead of a feat which may be situational, as Mounted Combat is.]

In any case, D&D doesn't capture real physics, but a real-life lance hit obliterates targets. Targets without spears against mounted foes are at severe handicap. Nevertheless, the griffin moves at 80'. Was there any reason the medusa couldn't have moved (dashed even) within range, and at the least forced the griffin (and its rider unless gaze averted) to make a save at the beginning of their turn? Unless the attacker can duck behind a pillar/mountain or whatever, the medusa isn't stupid and knows its best bet is making an opponent see it.

Finally, I wouldn't nerf a player for a tactic that is useless in buildings, underground, etc. He (your son, remember this!) got a moment to shine with a thought-out tactic that won't work anywhere else. He'll savor the moment a lot more than you will shooting it down! (Remember the time I took down that medusa.....

As far as explaining the 2 attacks, D&D doesn't capture physics at all. A lance hit by a charging mount doesn't graze targets. It obliterates them. As such, multiple attacks could be viewed as getting in a really good hit, or one that caused the enemy to narrowly avoid death, or anything that translates to one good strike, possibly multiplied.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
As the DM, you get to decide how and when your paladin gets to have some fun, and when he has to change his tactics.

Letting him have his mounted combat lance attacks a few times every couple combats is fine. Then when you want to change it up... the monster being attacks sees this flying death machine and does something simple like go inside a cave or building or something. The paladin then has to get off his mount and go attack on foot.

You get to set things up so both things can happen. And so long as not every combat is made trivial or the paladin doesn't have his features completely nerfed and eliminated from use... you both can enjoy what you have.
 


The problem I see is that you have a CR 6 creature against a level 13 character. The paladin should have easily steamrolled this encounter, so the mounted combat was fairly irrelevant. A more on par creature would have a greater chance of hitting the paladin, even with his ability to move quickly, so the encounter would be meaningful. I had a player who had a Pegasus with a saddle of the caviler, and I didn't have that many problems with it (except for fleeing enemies... that trick never worked).
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The problem I see is that you have a CR 6 creature against a level 13 character. The paladin should have easily steamrolled this encounter, so the mounted combat was fairly irrelevant. A more on par creature would have a greater chance of hitting the paladin, even with his ability to move quickly, so the encounter would be meaningful. I had a player who had a Pegasus with a saddle of the caviler, and I didn't have that many problems with it (except for fleeing enemies... that trick never worked).
Tricks are 100% more effective in a solo campaign than in a party campaign.

Just attack the guy not on the mount... as opposed to attack nothing because the mount guy flew out of your effective reach
 

Horwath

Adventurer
Mounted combat was almost allways better than non mounted. At least in clear even terrain.

That is why cavalry decimated non-cavalry on open ground.

But in DUNGEONS! & Dragons mount is not practical 95% of the time.

Underground caverns, swamps, dense forests, rocky hills, mountain passes, snow, jungle, narrow city streets,

anything except open plains and well mantained roads are death for any cavalry or mounted combat.
 

Uller

Adventurer
In thinking about it some more I think we played it a littlebit incorrectly.

With a controlled mount, its init becomes the rider's init. But I thibk they still act separately. The way we were playing it the rider's speed effectively became 80...so he could move, attack, move (up to 160' total since the mount "dashed").

But if the mount and rider act as separate characters then the rider starting at a distance has to allow his mount to act first and choose one of the mount's actions (dash, disengage or dodge). Let's say he chooses dodge. Then the mount moves up to its speed and closes the distance to where the rider can attack. Then its turn ends. Now the rider acts and attacks. But he can't move away unless he dismounts.

Now his foe can attack. Next turn if the rider wishes to move away he can have the mount "disengage". But if the DM wants to be a real stickler he could say the mount has to go first...



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jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
Mounted combat was almost allways better than non mounted. At least in clear even terrain.

That is why cavalry decimated non-cavalry on open ground.

But in DUNGEONS! & Dragons mount is not practical 95% of the time.

Underground caverns, swamps, dense forests, rocky hills, mountain passes, snow, jungle, narrow city streets,

anything except open plains and well mantained roads are death for any cavalry or mounted combat.
A flying mount is even better, pretty much everywhere but underground.
 
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Uller

Adventurer
It's your son...I wouldn't be looking for too many angles to ruin his fun.
He's 19, in college and traing to be an army officer.. I think he'll be okay....besides...he doesnt take it easy on me in sports so crushing him in table top games is all I have...

Once we are back to our regular game I don't think it'll be an issue. Especially if I make it so the mount acts/moves and then he acts (or vice versa).

And yeah...I can see how multiple attacks can just be simulating a single strike.


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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
In thinking about it some more I think we played it a littlebit incorrectly.

With a controlled mount, its init becomes the rider's init. But I thibk they still act separately. The way we were playing it the rider's speed effectively became 80...so he could move, attack, move (up to 160' total since the mount "dashed").

But if the mount and rider act as separate characters then the rider starting at a distance has to allow his mount to act first and choose one of the mount's actions (dash, disengage or dodge). Let's say he chooses dodge. Then the mount moves up to its speed and closes the distance to where the rider can attack. Then its turn ends. Now the rider acts and attacks. But he can't move away unless he dismounts.

Now his foe can attack. Next turn if the rider wishes to move away he can have the mount "disengage". But if the DM wants to be a real stickler he could say the mount has to go first...



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Only if he doesn’t think to use the Ready Action. What a mounted combatant should do is act before his mount. On his turn, he Readies the Attack Action with the trigger being “when I’m in range of my target.” Then on the mount’s turn, it uses the Dash, Dodge, or Disengage Action, moves within range of the target triggering the rider’s Readied Attack Action, and then uses the rest of its movement to retreat.
 

Uller

Adventurer
Only if he doesn’t think to use the Ready Action. What a mounted combatant should do is act before his mount. On his turn, he Readies the Attack Action with the trigger being “when I’m in range of my target.” Then on the mount’s turn, it uses the Dash, Dodge, or Disengage Action, moves within range of the target triggering the rider’s Readied Attack Action, and then uses the rest of its movement to retreat.
But then he only gets one attack, which is a very fair trade off, I think. That's what I primarily want with any useful tactic...trade offs and reasonable counter tactics. I think requiring mount and rider to act separately does that. Maybe. Hopefully.

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But then he only gets one attack, which is a very fair trade off, I think. That's what I primarily want with any useful tactic...trade offs and reasonable counter tactics. I think requiring mount and rider to act separately does that. Maybe. Hopefully.

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I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to use both attacks. The action he prepares with Ready is the Attack Action, and thanks to Extra Attack, he can attack twice when he takes the Attack Action. The only drawback is that it burns his Reaction.
 

Uller

Adventurer
I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to use both attacks. The action he prepares with Ready is the Attack Action, and thanks to Extra Attack, he can attack twice when he takes the Attack Action. The only drawback is that it burns his Reaction.
According to sage advice extra attack only works on your turn. So you only get one attack....in my group we generaly don't play it that way...but that seems to be RAW. Multiattack for monsters seems less clear (which is why we juat say everyone gets their full complimwnt of attacks on a ready)

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
According to sage advice extra attack only works on your turn. So you only get one attack....in my group we generaly don't play it that way...but that seems to be RAW. Multiattack for monsters seems less clear (which is why we juat say everyone gets their full complimwnt of attacks on a ready)

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Ahh, foiled again by Sage Advice. Curse you, Jeremy Crawfooooooord!!!!

In all seriousness though, that sounds like it should provide a decent drawback for you, between the Attack limit and the Reaction. Best of luck!
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
According to sage advice extra attack only works on your turn. So you only get one attack....in my group we generaly don't play it that way...but that seems to be RAW. Multiattack for monsters seems less clear (which is why we juat say everyone gets their full complimwnt of attacks on a ready)

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Indeed, Sage Advice is just repeating what the book says. And though you cannot use multiattack for an opportunity attack, you can for a readied action (by the book).
 


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