D&D General Most memorable mounts from your campaigns?


He / Him
We are wrapping up a two-year campaign tomorrow, and one of the biggest surprises was the barbarian's mount, a giant pig named Hammertime.

While the characters traveled down a river, I rolled up a random encounter for a few fey creatures who were "guarding a source of food." A town upriver raised giant pigs, so I decided that the fey had caused a raft ferrying pigs to crash. The characters defeated the fey, and then decided to keep the large-sized pigs!

I created a downtime activity for training the animals. Over months, the Barbarian dedicated many weeks of downtime to train his pig to be ridden in combat, attack on command, and drag injured allies to safety. He named the pig Hammertime. I created a list of unique traits, and the player rolled that his pig liked to eat or drink something special. He decided that Hammertime had a taste for beer.

For the last year we've had the Barbarian bringing this pig into combat, headbutting enemies, and swilling beer afterwards. It's been a lot of fun.

What are the most memorable mounts from your D&D campaigns?

Note: for anyone who wants it, here are my Downtime rules for Training an Animal.

Animal Training​

A character who has the time and resources may train a beast to perform select behaviors.

Resources: A character must spend an amount of gold for each behavior they wish their beast to learn. This cost represents food, housing, and the equipment required for training. If a character is training more than one beast, the price must be paid for each beast being trained.

Resolution: At the end of a work week, the character makes a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check to determine how many new behaviors they successfully taught their beast. A character may train more than one beast at a time, if the beasts are of the same species. However, each additional beast increases the DC of the check by 2.

Wisdom (Handle Animal)
  • 10 - 1 new behavior
  • 15 - 2 new behaviors
  • 20 - 3 new behaviors
  • Carry Supplies - 2 gp
  • Carry a Rider - 5 gp
  • Fetch an Item - 10 gp
  • Stay Calm in Battle - 15 gp
  • Attack on Command - 20 gp
Unique Traits: Every beast has unique traits that are only revealed during training. Roll on the following table for each beast when it is first trained:
  1. The beast has a unique pattern on its fur, scales, hide, or feathers that is only revealed after it is cleaned and groomed.
  2. The beast develops a taste for a unique and unusual food.
  3. The beast becomes remarkably friendly towards an unexpected ally.
  4. The beast sings when happy or excited.
  5. The beast develops a liking for a certain musical instrument.
  6. The beast develops a friendship with a different kind of beast, perhaps one that is its natural predator or prey.
  7. The beast is overly protective of its owner.
  8. The beast is pregnant or has sired offspring.
  9. The beast develops an affinity for a certain unusual clothing item, such as a scarf, decorative flower, or hat.
  10. The beast is exceptionally smart and learns a new behavior.

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In my previous 3.5 campaign, my son ran a gnome fighter named Binkadink Dundernoggin. One of his stated goals was to gain a giant rabbit as a riding mount for his PC (since he could speak with burrowing mammals). Since I was planning on incorporating a link to the Gamma World campaign into that D&D campaign, I mentally upgraded "D&D giant rabbit" to "Gamma World hopper" (AKA horse-sized jackalope). But since Gamma World hoppers had camouflage fur that allowed them to blend in to their surroundings and I didn't want to "spill the beans" that this creature was anything more than a terrestrial giant bunny with horns, I made the one who came through the rift onto Oerth (it was a heavily-modified Greyhawk campaign) one of the few whose fur stayed the same color throughout his life. (And as a result, the jackalope's given name was "Obvious.") When Binkadink met up with this intelligent jackalope and they agreed the gnome would be allowed to ride on his back as long as he was fed and cared for, a true partnership was formed. Binkadink rode Obvious into battle for the rest of that entire campaign, and even went as far as enter the rift to Gamma Terra to fetch the rest of Obvious's litter-mates. (As a result, at the very end of the campaign each of the other PCs ended up with a jackalope riding mount as well.)



And in the 3.5 campaign my son's about to finish up DMing (we should be playing our final session on Wednesday), we have a slightly different situation, in which the gnome cleric, Cramer Appleknocker, habitually rides on the top of the backpack worn by our burly dwarven barbarian, Utred Butterflinger. Utred's not really a riding mount in the traditional sense, but Cramer's gotten used to sitting there even during battle, as he gets an increased movement speed and there's usually not a safer space to be had than right there with Utred. And once the barbarian got a pair of winged boots he became even more of an asset as a "riding mount" - albeit one capable of wielding a flaming greatsword and dealing triple-digit damage per round.



A suffusion of yellow
Orbril the gnome once captured a pair of giant Hamsters and trained them as mounta. He also trained them to pull a wagon. The pair was also bred until he had a herd which he trained for his circus. some excess hamsters were distributed to other gnome burrows he passed in his travels

Orbril also learnt falconry and the ranger who taught him had a harness made that allowed the gnome to strap himself to the breast of a hawk and control the birds flight (like a glider)


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Most memorable mount was way back form AD&D 2nd. The DM had a houserule system for something called "god shots", where you could call out to your god (or another god) and potentially get a response, trigger an action, or even send an avatar. A bit like the divine intervention rules in 5e but much less likely to work and more punitive when they did.

Anyway, at 10th a paladin could get a mount, and he used the godshot system to determine how special your mount was. And we rolled well.

I was playing The Lady Nikkadaema Roaringhorn, of the Waterdhavian Roaringhoarns. An urban paladin as opposed to your normal Lawful Stupid knight in shining armor. And she got Durpal.

Durpal was an intelligent speaking giant eagle, who could change shape to human 3 times a day. That was pretty nice, but it was really how he was roleplayed.

First, he was a bit of a coward. Not completely overt, but he didn't like all the battle and everything. But he was fanatically devoted to Nikkadaema and would do things he considered suicidal for her.

Second, he was perennially the "other". He had no clue about human social customs. He got the party in so much trouble by being honest when told not to lie, by being rude when he just didn't understand, and by being proud of Nikkadaema when she was trying to be low key.

It also took over two years of play before the rest of the player realized why he got most numbers wrong. Because if it was more than a handful, he always did. You see, eagles talons aren't 5, they are four. So as a comp sci major I quickly (and roughly) translated everything to base 8. I think it was eight of something where he said 10 enemies that forced him to count in front of everyone and it come out.

But in some ways he became the preferred to RP of the two. The Lady Nikkadaema Roaringhorn was a fun zealot, righteous and ended up in a forbidden love with a cleric of another (good-aligned) god. But Durpal was just so durn quirky, everyone liked when he was around to RP with.


ORC (Open RPG) horde ally
Tank the Kank from my first Dark Sun campaign. The guy playing the fighter absolutely loved the fact that his spartan warrior-inspired PC rode a giant scarab beetle-ant monster.

The Aardvark from one of my Dad’s more lighthearted campaigns. We were fighting an invading colony of formians from Mechanus and it was the only time in my entire tabletop gaming experience that a PC’s mount got the HDYWTDT against the BBEG.


Then of course there was my PC Jace Syngaard, a human fighter who was somewhat of a lout. About halfway through the campaign he purchased a figurine of wondrous power - specifically, a bronze griffon that he could ride into battle twice per week. I worked it out with the DM that instead of a command word to activate it, you would rub it like a genie's lamp - he saw no reason not to allow that small of a change.

Then I named the bronze griffon "Dick." So naturally, when an opportunity for mounted battle arose, Syngaard would state, "I pull my Dick out of my pocket, rub it until it gets bigger, and ride it into combat." He'd also shout at his enemies things like, "Do you dare face the awesome power of my Dick?" and offer to give the other PCs in the group a ride on his Dick. He also did this with a completely straight face as if he had no idea that what he was saying could be interpreted as anything but its face value - which was perfectly understandable, as he had a lower-than-normal Intelligence and was always misinterpreting what some of the bigger words other people around him used really meant.

In that same campaign, another player ran a halfling rogue named Orion Nightsky. Orion had a riding dog named Carl for the first part of the campaign, but he got killed. That was actually the best thing that could have happened, though, for Carl came back as a ghost and Orion had a special saddle made that allowed her to ride on her incorporeal ghost-dog. The saddle was eventually upgraded so Carl could bring her along when he went ethereal, which came in really handy a few times when we needed to stealthily infiltrate a building without being spotted. And best of all, if he got killed during an adventure it was no big deal - he'd just remanifest back in a day or two.

Finally, that campaign also featured a human paladin named Galen Thorne who chose to wait to summon his paladin mount until later on so he could get a more powerful creature than normal, eventually getting a dire lion he named "Burt" (after Bert Lahr, the actor who played the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz," intentionally spelled differently).



Lord of the Hidden Layer
In my truncated Tiamat campaign, the player of the barbarian (who was from one of the Uthgardt tribes) wanted a Mammoth as a mount. I never got to do anything with it, though.
Years later I page through Rime of the Frostmaiden and see that one random encounter is ... a frost giant riding a Mammoth.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
In my truncated Tiamat campaign, the player of the barbarian (who was from one of the Uthgardt tribes) wanted a Mammoth as a mount. I never got to do anything with it, though.
Years later I page through Rime of the Frostmaiden and see that one random encounter is ... a frost giant riding a Mammoth.
That reminds me of a monty haul AD&D game. I had a half-ogre ranger (back when rangers got 2d8 at 1st level, but half-ogres increased the size of their hit die). Anyway, the DM eventually let me find and train a might war tricertops! Yeah, compared to the rest of the campaign it wasn't even OP.

Ah yes, when only having one ability score at 25 proved you weren't a twink.


Follower of the Way
Sadly, I haven't had a game last long enough to truly make mounts stand out. I've had a couple games where it looked like they might do so, but they either petered out or collapsed due to IRL problems (usually for the DM).

Which means the most memorable mounts I've seen in a game are the camels (and one donkey) owned by the players in my Dungeon World game. Timothy, Timothy-Tu, and Timothree. (I don't believe the donkey ever got a name.)

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