Riding a mount


The riding a mount chapter (p:533) in BWG is somehow hard to understand, especially in the beginning. There’s a section dedicated to generate an obstacle for the riding test you need to roll for traveling with a mount. It’s divided in 4 sections: Distance, Terrain, time and beast.

in order to determine the travel obstacle you need to start with a base obstacle of 0 then add the obstacles together troughout the 4 sections.

ex: I travel a moderate journey (+2 ob) in the countryside (+3 ob), i’ll get there when I get there (0 ob) using a great wolf as a mount (+2 ob) with full riding gear +1D.

Meaning that if I have a riding skill of 3 +1D (riding gears) I get a dice pool of 4 on an overall obstacle of 7 wich makes for a challenging test.
According to p: 15 an ob 7 is an improbable feat.

With a riding of 3 +1 (with the appropriate gears), wanting to travel a moderate journey in the countryside on a great wolf is that much of an improbable feat?

What i’m trying to get here is why the riding obstacles are so high? I mean is it that hard to ride a moderate journey on the countryside? A I missing something here? Even on a horse, for the same travel I would have a 5D dice pool for a 5 Ob wich is still hard to get for a moderate journey in the countryside isn’t it?

Thanks for enlighting me.


Riding a mount other than a horse meant for travel is a generally bad idea. Wolves are imaginary, but the implication is that you take them into battle, not on a long-distance trip. That’s a huge bump in Ob right there. Like a warhorse, but more so, you’d probably go on foot and lead your mount. Or, in the case of a wolf, let the wolf travel with you.

The other thing to note is that traveling on anything other than roads is hard. There’s a reason road-building was such a major, important feat, and why Roman roads remained important for centuries after the empire itself departed. So yes, going even a short way across countryside is very hard travel. That’s why you take roads unless you’re desperate, and desperate journeys are indeed a good time for high Obs.

Ok so I got the rules right?


I’ll admit that I use those numbers as absolute guidelines, oh, never. I really tend to eyeball Riding test Obs, and many trips have no test at all. But you got the rules as they’re written.

I think it’s built that way to make it prudent for characters to do the things most people would do when they set off on a moderate journey across the open countryside.

Are you moving carefully?
Are you FoRKing in any skills?
Are you preparing for the trip, making linked tests, checking maps or news of the road, gathering tools and supplies for advantage dice?
Are you alone or do you have helping dice?

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Helping dice equals safety in numbers :blush:
Also keep in mind that your B3 riding skill makes you nominally trained and practiced.
I can saddle and ride a horse, but I wouldn’t want to take much of a trip on one without a well seasoned guide who knows the trails we’re riding.

You guys have good points. Riding 3 is a minimum, meaning that if you wanna successfully use that skill it has to be at least 5 if you wanna get some routine test and have some success with it, under that good luck and use artha. Also, helping, forking, taking your time is all important and might help to get a few more dices in the pool as well as linking it and puting riding at the end to get the advantage dice…only if you succeed on the previous rolls.

Thanks a lot!

Also the basics of a test:

Intent: travel to Somewheresvania
Task: Riding
Failure: You arrive but you or your horse are injured

Implicit in most tests is “without any bad stuff happening” so it’s often possible to just use some appropriate “bad stuff” as a failure consequence.

This thread has been super helpful to me as well. Just the visualization provided in some of your examples of how the riding skill alone in a test would literally mean jumping on the back of a mount and heading off into the woods with zero planning. Big thanks. An example like this should be in the books (if one isn’t already) unless Luke’s philosophy of “system mastery” is intended to be an Easter Egg of emergent play, which is interesting design in its own right.

This is definitely a potential outcome cross-country. There’s a big reason that Pony Express stations were about 10 miles apart: to be able to ride the horse hard without ruining it.
And if you miss a jump or don’t notice an ankle-breaker hole: might have to put the horse down; might have a broken arm (or head!). Failure outcome: It takes you MUCH longer to reach your destination, and only if you succeed at several survival, hunting, etc tests until you find a town where you (might) buy or rent a new mount.

Don’t let the fantasy movies fool you. Travel is no joke in pre-industrial eras…