Features Archive | 2/7/2013
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Cavalier: Alternate Mounts
Appendix d12
By Jason Sholtis

With the release of the premium edition of AD&D's Unearthed Arcana, we take a look back at the classes presented in the book—the barbarian, cavalier, and split-class thief-acrobat!

To help DMs add further detail to their adventures, Jason Sholtis (of The Dungeon Dozen) has provided the following tables—in the spirit of the 1st Edition DMG’s appendices, charts, and random encounters!

Cavalier: Alternate Mounts

As they increase in level, cavaliers might gain the ability (with DM approval, naturally) to master otherwise wild and dangerous creatures for use as steeds, such as hippogriffs, griffins and even unicorns. The table below offers possibilities to DMs and players who may wish veer from the beaten path with their cavalier characters.


  1. Ape bearer: roughly twice the size and weight of a bull gorilla, highly intelligent and can perform some duties typically seen to by a squire; must be wrestled into submission.

  2. Giant sparrow: sent from golden nesting sites in the castles of the seven heavens to serve faithful warriors; they fly with speed unmatched by any bird, griffin or dragon.

  3. Noble yak: with heightened intelligence and capable of surprising bursts of speed; in combat, highly trained yaks provide additional height and demand the use of longer, heavier lances and pole arms.

  4. Hippopotamus: under the guidance of a true-hearted cavalier, the frequently ferocious river-horse traverses land and water with equal style and grace.

  5. Tusked behemoth: a domesticated pachyderm that stands 6 feet high at the shoulder, tireless if slower than horses, uses shovel-like tusks to devastating effect in melee.

  6. War beetle: heavily armored giant insects with natural saddle-shaped formations of chitin on their thoraxes, war beetles must be physically subdued before they will serve.

  7. Invisible steed: horse-shaped embodiment of Law imperceptible to imperfect creatures, including (most) humans; prospective masters must perform ritual hunt blindfolded.

  8. Giant elk: must be pursued through the wilderness until it submits, often just before the cavalier perishes of hunger/exposure.

  9. Steel horse: a construct of the gods of law, this stallion of gleaming chrome, once broken by the mightiest of paladins, cannot be destroyed by physical means (and often outlive their masters).

  10. Philosopher horse: exceptionally intelligent and telepathic, can mentally assist its master while simultaneously providing strong cautions against any possible lapses in adherence to moral code.

  11. Giant hound: as faithful and intelligent as a normal dog but large and powerful enough to bear an armored warrior, utterly fearless in service of a good master, will charge the gates of hell without hesitation.

  12. Motorcycle: shunted in from the 21st century as a divine reward for only the most virtuous and accomplished cavaliers, its gas tank perpetually full, its appurtenances ever-polished.

About the Author

Jason Sholtis serves humanity by day as a humble social services worker but keeps evenings free for self-indulgences such as writing, drawing and playing in rock bands. D&D occupies a special place in his heart. His semi-daily blog The Dungeon Dozen focuses exclusively on random tables for the twelve-sided die.

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