Domain Game 101: Horsebreeding Rules

Passing the holidays in Milan means, to me, playing a lot. In the past week I ran 5 sessions of 5-6 hours each and PCs gained land and title. There’s a lack of small scale OSR rules for domains so I started using Chris’s Feudal Anarchy rules. One of my players realized that horses are expensive and decided to start horsebreeding.

I made some rules to support it because I think it’s an interesting downtime activity, it’s appropriate for a knight bachelor and destriers are awesome, mean, have 4HD and fight with hooves and a big chip on their shoulder. By the way, I have zero experiences with horses. I have vague memories of riding a mule for about 10 meters when I was 5 though, so a casual wikipedia browsing gave me enough information to build some rules. I can only claim that these rules please us, but not any kind of realism or clue.

Most importantly horses in general allow characters in heavy armour to outrun opponents. Wearing heavy armour or not ought to be an important choice in fantasy RPGs and the whole “can’t outrun opponents in heavy armour” is a big, big problem. In AFG this usually means death for either fighters left behind as the rest of the group falls back or for the fighters’ unarmoured comrades that don’t flee when they can. Horses give you mobility.

The following rules use super-easy 5MORE mechanics. Furthermore all hit dice below are d6s: if you prefer using d8 increase all end-of-development thresholds accordingly. Note that “level 2 horse” means that the horse saves and fights as an animal or monster of level two.

Horsebreeding Rules

Mares are usually receptive in spring and summer (two seasons). If there is a stallion (adult male) available mares (adult females) can try to conceive, roll once per season a Conceiving roll, succeeding on a 5MORE.

Then, for each of the three following seasons, try a 5MORE Pregnancy roll with a +1: on a failure pregnancy results in a stillbirth. If all rolls so far have been successful 11 months after conception the mare will give birth to the cutest little foal ever.

The foal will start at 1HD. Roll the hits at birth: of course it won’t have all these hit points as soon as it gets out of the womb, but we’re going to use hits to track horse development until their fourth year, when development ends.

From the second year rules change depending on the two parents’ level. The types are Rouncey (lvl 2), Courser (lvl 3) and Destrier (lvl 4).

Rounceys: add 1 hit during the second year, then 1d6-1 hits during the third year. At the end if the third year if the horse has at least 11 hits it become a Courser, otherwise a Rouncey.

Coursers: add 1d6 during the second year and 1d6 during the third year. At the end if the third year if the horse has at least 15 hits it will become Destrier, if it has 6 or less a Rouncey, otherwise a Courser.

Destriers: add 1d6+1 during the second year and 2d6-1 during the third year. At the end if the third year if the horse has 11 hits or less it will become a Courser, otherwise a Destrier.

If horses of different types mate, treat the offspring as inferior type but add 1 hit at the end of development.  If a Destrier mates with a Rouncey, roll development as a Courser.

An horsebreeder can follow up to 10 horses and can aid horse development three times each season: in case the character is not pleased with one of the above rolls for their horses a Horsebreeding 5MORE test can be rolled. If successful the horse can re-roll and keep the best result except for Pregnancy rolls.

Mares Special Attributes

In addition to any other horse quirks that your system supports, roll 1d6 for each of the following attributes. On a 1 the mare has that attributes, but don’t tell that to the player until it’s evident.

Twin-conceiver: this mare has a 50% chance of conceiving twins.

Late estrus: the mare is receptive also in autumn.

Fertile: +1 to Conceiving roll, +1 to Pregnancy rolls.

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