So it’s Horse Week this week at Necromancers of the Northwest, and thus it should come as no surprise that this week’s new Best in Class features an archetype all about riding horses. The horse master is a new hunter archetype which forms a special bond with a horse and learns a number of trick riding techniques and improved horsemanship tactics that make him and his horse companion deadly combatants and entertaining allies.
New Hunter Archetype
Skilled riders and stalwart friends to their horse companions, a horse master is a hunter who has formed an intense bond with a single horse who serves as her closest ally and trusted friend. A master of trick horsemanship and a skilled motivator, horse masters lead their equine combatants to perform amazing acts of derring-do that few others can even dream of. In battle, they combine the skills of a knight with the flashy arts of a circus performer to outmaneuver and ultimately defeat their foes.
Horse Companion (Ex): At 1st level, a horse master forms a powerful bond with a horse. This functions identically to the hunter’s animal companion class feature, except that the horse master must choose a light horse, heavy horse, or pony for her animal companion, and that her animal companion gains the entertain, exclusive, and heel tricks as bonus tricks.
This ability modifies the animal companion class feature.
Horsemanship (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a horse master adds 1/2 her level (rounded down) to all Ride skill checks.
This ability replaces track class feature.
Horse Tricks (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, a horse master’s skill at horsemanship allows her to perfect several master feats of horsemanship. A horse master can perform a number of horse tricks equal to 1/2 her level + her Wisdom modifier each day.
At 4th level, a horse master has access to the following horse tricks:
10-foot Canter (Ex): Once per turn, as a free action, the horse master can command her animal companion to move up to 10 feet with a DC 20 Handle Animal skill check. If successful, the animal companion moves in the direction of the horse master’s choice. This movement is treated as a 5-foot step and never provokes attacks of opportunity.
Fling from Saddle (Ex): As a standard action, the horse master can attempt a Handle Animal check (DC 20) to have her horse hurl her from her saddle, landing 10 feet away in the direction of her choosing. For every 5 points by which the horse master exceeds the DC, she may travel up to an additional 5 feet. The horse master ends this movement standing. If the horse master would encounter any obstacles in the course of this movement, her movement instead ends in the nearest adjacent unoccupied square to the obstacle and she may make a single melee attack against that obstacle with a +4 bonus on the attack roll. If the attack is successful, it deals damage as normal and knocks the target prone if that creature or object is at least 1 size category smaller than the horse master’s mount.
Side Riding (Ex): The horse master can command her mount to move and attack, while using her mount for cover. In order to perform this trick, the horse master must be gaining cover from her mount while remaining mounted (such as by using the Ride skill to gain cover). As a swift action, the horse master can attempt a Ride check (DC 25) in order to guide her mount while using it for cover. If successful, the horse master can move her mount, handle it as normal, and make any actions which could be performed one-handed while retaining the benefits of cover for 1 round.
At 14th level, the horse master gains access to the following additional tricks.
Deadly Whirl (Ex): As a full-round action, the horse master can attempt a DC 30 Ride check in order to whirl her mount around in a tight circle, striking out with her weapons and her horse’s hooves in tandem. If the check is successful, both the horse master and the horse master’s animal companion may make a single melee attack at their highest base attack bonus against each adjacent target.
Plow Charge (Ex): As a part of a charge action, the horse master can attempt a Ride check in order to cause her mount to take a skidding strike at the legs of her foe. The DC is equal to the CMD of the target of the charge attack. If successful, the target suffers 1d6 points of damage and falls prone before the attack is made.
Magnificent Leap (Ex): Whenever the horse master’s mount jumps, the horse master may attempt a Ride check as a free action, and add the result of that check to the result of the Acrobatics check made to jump.
This ability replaces the improved empathic link and the greater empathic link class features.
Greater Horsemanship (Ex): At 8th level, a horse master can take 10 on all Handle Animal checks and animal empathy checks made with horses.
This ability replaces the swift tracker class feature.