While Raksha ride an incredible variety of behemoths and wyld beasties, and style them in an equally incredible variety of ways, even for the Raksha there’s a basic steed – cheap, effective, and easy to care for since it’s fundamentally just a shaping weapon and can be stored in elsewhere at a moment’s notice.
Raksha Battlemount (Gossamer ** Purchase):
These elegant steeds are impossibly white (occasionally impossibly black), lovely, and stylish, with flowing manes, splendid lines and conformation, slight “beards” (and sometimes flowing eastern-dragon-style mustaches), and modest, elegant, curved, horns. From even slight distance, they could easily pass as exotic albino horses – there are much greater variations in Creation – but up close their mad red eyes and the wyld energies which send subtle, but constantly-shifting, glyphs of ruffled fur racing across their bodies are more apparent, as are the bell-like, resonant, tones of their hoofbeats. For those who can see the truth, however, a Battlemount more closely resembles a living hole in reality, dark, and terrible – and somehow hungry.
Basically these are “Mutant Warleaders”, with irrelevant abilities stripped out and a few of the more appropriate ones boosted: As a Sword-Shaping Weapon: Speed 6, Accuracy +1, Damage +2, Defense +4, Rate 2.
As a creature:
- Attributes: Str 4 (6), Dex 3 (7 for movement, then x2), Sta 5 (6); Cha 2, Man 2, App 2, Per 3, Int 2, and Wits 3.
- Virtues: Compassion 2, Conviction 3, Temperance 2, Valor 4
- Abilities: Athletics 4 (8), Awareness 4, Dodge 4, Integrity 2, Investigation 2, Martial Arts 4 (6), Presence 3, Resistance 3, Stealth 4, Survival 3 (4).
- Specialities: Athletics/Running +3d, Endurance/Physical Activity +3d, Martial Arts/Kicking +3d.
- Join Battle: 7
- Kick: Speed 5, Accuracy 12, Damage +16B/2, Defense +1, Rate 2, O, P.
- Soak 15B/12L.
- Health Levels: -0/-0/-1/-1/-2/-2/-4/Incap, Damage Capped at 3, Walkaway 3, thrice per scene.
- Dodge DV: 3
- Willpower: 7
- Essence: 1
Mutation: Tower of Invincible Egotism (4); Runecloak of the Wyld.
A Runecloak throws a veil of another identity entirely around its wearer, wrapping them in the narrative of a beast of the Wyld. While there are many variants on this particular form of bestial armor, this version is an innate power for a Battlemount – which naturally draws forth a shroud of identity from the Wyld to cloak its fundamental emptiness in the aspect of a mighty steed.
- Perfect Lamellar (+8L/8B Soak, no fatigue or mobility penalty).
- Augmenting (1): +2 Athletics, +2 Martial Arts.
- Exoskeletal (3): +2 Str, +1 Sta
- Striding (2): Double Speed.
- Talismanic (1): Walkaway III, three times per scene.
- Transforming (2): Includes Hooves (+2B Kick, 1), Gazelle’s Pace (+4 Dex for moving, +4 Str for jumping distances, +2d to rolls for competitive running, as per horse, 2), Large (+1 Str, +1 Sta, +1x-0 Health Level, 1), Inexhaustible (2), Tail (+2 Athletics, 1), Fur (+1 Survival, needs no clothing, +1L/+1B Soak, 1).
- Warding (3): Perfectly caps damage at 3 health Levels.
- Parrying (2): Hooves count as Maces. (Acc +1, Dam =8B/2, Def +1, Rate 2, O, P)
The Feybeast version of a Battlemount gains another two points worth of mutations – usually Gossamer Winged Flight – and an additional natural weapon. They can either use the same base statistics (to make life easier) or use their handlers traits as modified by the Runecloak.
And yes, giving most creatures some form of innate Artifact Armor, with the damage-capping and walkaway functions built into it, goes a long ways towards fixing the over-lethality of the system. It means that most characters can take several hits before dying. If they’re using the hit-location or vitality-multiplying charms as well they may be able to absorb quite a few shots before getting seriously wounded.
Wealthier nobles among the Raksha sometimes assign a Lorekeeper to enhance their steeds with a simple bit of grace magic – an…
Elegant Silver Bridle (Onieromancy *):
- Assumption of Dreams and Passion (1): Mysterious Beauty. The Bridle is a beautiful thing, richly engraved, and well worthy of the magnificent steed that wears it.
- Mad God’s Mein (1): The Bridle is immune to countermagic.
- Behemoth Forging Meditation (Outward-Facing) (3): Mortals who look at the bridle or the “horse” it adorns will soon find it utterly beautiful – certainly too lovely a thing to risk launching an attack on it or its rider, although they may consider stealing it. Children tend to want to climb aboard and go – or be taken for – for a ride.
- Gossamer Wing Flight (2): Over water, clouds, or the tops of trees, the steeds of the Raksha acknowledge few barriers.
- King of Beasts Method (Outward Facing) (3): The steed, and its rider, both receive a +3 bonus on any relevant rolls. For the rider that’s fighting while mounted, keeping his or her seat, leading charges, overawing non-riders, and so on. For the mount it’s most tasks – running, jumping, and fighting with a rider. After all, steeds rarely need to roll for tasks that aren’t relevant to steeds.