This installment of the Lost Lore-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content!
Okay, so I wanted to start this review with a Richard III-quote…but alas, the pdf already did that. What does it sport? Well, for one, it sports basic light horse stats…and 5 variants of light horses, specifically bred for different tasks and with mechanically-relevant repercussions. The heavy horse receives a similar treatment, mind you – and a horse can make all the difference: A steed of proper pedigree can help you dealing with nobility and certain breeds can make the difference between life and death, with excellent swimming capabilities, for example. The problem here is that these bonuses are pretty excessive…a bit too much, for my liking: E.g. +5 to Diplomacy when interacting with nobility is pretty hefty. (Though it should be noted that there are quite a bunch of horses herein that do not suffer from such an issue…)
5 sensible new animal handling tricks, including the much demanded Stealth-trick can be found in this book and we also get an array of feats: No more mounted archery penalties, intimidating from horse-back, better trampling, a mounted variant of spring attack and a high-level option to perform two-handed spirited charges are provided – the latter is pretty much insane: Not only can you dual-lance (ridiculous though that may sound), you add the damage together for purposes of DR-bypassing etc. Urgh. Not gonna get anywhere near my table.
Where things get more interesting would be with two other feats for your mount: Sufficiently smart awakened mounts may learn to cast a limited array of spells from the master’s list of spells, but only targeting itself. On a nitpicky side – that should be SPs…or the feats would need information on which key attribute governs the spells, that of the rider or that of the mount.
Now even more interesting, and possibly the most interesting component here: There is an option to take equestrian animal companions with specific bloodlines. To receive such a mount, the rider must give up a feat slot to gain a horse-bond – but the mount thus receives a bloodline, complete with associated class skills, bonus feats, bloodline arcane and bloodline powers that are governed by your level. Equidae Sortarius, for example can hide their auras and are great mounts for more subtle characters. Primal Beasts can grow as a capstone and are true powerhouses, while thunderhorses can unleash electrical bolts and blasts – come sing it with me: “Riders of the Storm…” >_>….<_<…Sorry for that.
We also get a sample bloodlined horse and 3 types of magical barding: One associated with light (including 1/day daylight) as well as animated octopus hide that can Snatch Arrows and pass the missiles to the rider. Finally, there is the obligatory pegasus wing-item. Solid, if a bit unremarkable. The pdf lists the types of standard barding’s stats for your convenience.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, i noticed no issues there. Layout adheres to Frog God Games’ 2-column full-color standard for the series. The pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a slight comfort detriment at this brief length.
Rob Manning’s little pdf proved to be more interesting than I thought it would be – while the bonuses some horse types grant you seem a bit excessive to me and while not all feats are as precise as I’d like them to be, the idea of feats for awakened horses is great…and magical bloodlines for horses? Now that is an awesome concept I’d love to see expanded in the future. Particularly if the latter interests, you, then this will be worth its low asking price. That being said, with its rough edges, I unfortunately can’t go higher than 4 stars, though I do recommend you checking it out if the subject matter and ideas interest you.
You can get this nice little pdf here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!