Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

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MrUkpyr
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Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by MrUkpyr » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Hello everyone.

I've a quick question.

I know that you cannot *ride* a horse in Mirkwood, even along the elf road or old dwarf road.

My questions are:
1. Can you *bring* a normal horse or pony through Mirkwood?
2. Can you *bring* a "trusted horse" (ala Rider of Rohan or my Leofrings) through Mirkwood?
3. Can you *bring* a Mearas horse through Mirkwood?

Thanks.
Last edited by MrUkpyr on Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:35 pm

For question #1, I refer you to the sidebar on page 166 of the Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide:
Note that there are many places in Wilderland where ponies (and horses) are unwilling to venture. This includes the Forest of Mirkwood, the Misty Mountains and the Grey Mountains. Reluctant animals can be coaxed over a mountain pass with a Wisdom (Animal Handling) test against a DC 15 in Summer and Autumn, DC 20 in Spring, and DC 25 in Winter. Nothing can get a horse or pony deep beneath the eaves of Mirkwood.
That said, I would consider allowing rolls for at least mearas and perhaps also for your 'trusted horses'. After all the horses of the Mirkwood Elves are related to the mearas. Of course the hunts of the Wood-elves took place in the Woodland Realm and even their mounts might be reluctant to venture deeper into the Forest.

If you allow a test, perhaps the Player-hero should pass a Wisdom (Animal Handling) test against a DC 30 with the Status of the horse (from Horse-lords of Rohan, page 133) as an additional bonus:
  • Draught horse ... Status: -
  • Pack-horse ... Status: 1
  • Travel horse ... Status: 2
  • Riding horse ... Status : 3
  • Fine-bred steed ... Status: 4
  • Warhorse ... Status: 5
  • Royal horse (meara) ... Status: 6
I might even allow a Hero with a meara to attempt a Charisma (Persuasion) check.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Anarfin
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Anarfin » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:12 pm

Although the p. 166 of PG indeed says that "Nothing can get a horse or pony deep beneath the eaves of Mirkwood", in the Wilderland Adventures are described ordinary ponies that do not share such objections:

Most ponies refuse to travel under the eaves of Mirkwood, but these hardy beasts have been acclimatised by arduous training, and will at least consent to be dragged along the Elf-Path.
WA p.10

So, I would rule, that horse or pony could be taken along Elf-path or Old Forest Road (only) if it's accustomed to it (such training would require a single Fellowship Undertaking in one of the locations near or within the borders of Mirkwood).
Otherwise, it would require a test of Animal Handling vs DC 25 (maybe with advantage in case of trained/extremely devoted horse or pony).
In either case such animal:
-cannot be ridden
-is especially jumpy, and require some everyday additional effort to be taken care off (party cannot benefit from the pony "advantage" - ignoring first level of exhaustion)
-is prone to panic during stressful situation (combat or other "frightening" event requires another Animal Handling check at DC 25 - failure means that pony or horse runs away and is lost in Mirkwood).

tl:dr - if you're taking even well trained horse or pony deep beneath eaves of mirkwood, you're in risk of losing it forever.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:10 pm

Anarfin wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:12 pm
Although the p. 166 of PG indeed says that "Nothing can get a horse or pony deep beneath the eaves of Mirkwood", in the Wilderland Adventures are described ordinary ponies that do not share such objections:

Most ponies refuse to travel under the eaves of Mirkwood, but these hardy beasts have been acclimatised by arduous training, and will at least consent to be dragged along the Elf-Path.
WA p.10

So, I would rule, that horse or pony could be taken along Elf-path or Old Forest Road (only) if it's accustomed to it (such training would require a single Fellowship Undertaking in one of the locations near or within the borders of Mirkwood).
Otherwise, it would require a test of Animal Handling vs DC 25 (maybe with advantage in case of trained/extremely devoted horse or pony).
Well, that helps clarify things a bit, though even trying to lead the ponies described in Wilderland Adventures along the old Dwarf-road through the Heart of Mirkwood might require an Animal Handling check.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Anarfin
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Anarfin » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:59 pm

Of course, it's only my interpretation/houserule (based on exception mentioned in WA, that there are such animals, trained to face dangers of Mirkwood), and as a LM you can, by all means, declare that such test is necessary on Old Dwarf Road, even with trained horses/ponies.
Btw, the reason that I lowered DC that you proposed, from 30 to 25, was to give a minimal chance for success for the talented but yet still "ordinary", non-hero muleteer :)

MrUkpyr
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by MrUkpyr » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:03 am

my thanks to you both for the ideas.

I love the idea of the (DC 30) - Horse Status to get a Mirkwood Pony or Trusted Steed or Mearas into Mirkwood. I think I'll combine that with the "trained to be in Mirkwood" as a Fellowship action.

It would take an Animal Handling DC 25 to train the horse to be "Mirkwood acclimated", and if successful then the DC-30 above would be lowered to a [(DC-25)-Horse Status].

Doesn't make it easy, nor fast, but if the PC really wants it, it is possible.

Glorelendil
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:16 pm

I was asked, through a trusted intermediary, to post this:
Dear Adventurers,

We just wanted to assure you that ponies and horses are most warmly welcome in Mirkwood Forest, during any season of the year, including winter. Especially winter! In fact, feel free to bring any other animals and livestock, although goats are our particular favorites. Oh, and Hobbits!

Signed,
The Denizens of Mirkwood

P.S. Bring barbecue sauce, too, please.
The Munchkin Formerly Known as Elfcrusher
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:59 pm

Well, Glorelendil, I was exploring what might be possible; I wasn't recommending it as a course of action. :lol:

However, any attempt to restore the Dwarves' Forest Road would require beasts of burden for heavy hauling. And if that road was actually re-opened then it would be natural to want to lead animals through it, including ponies and draught horses pulling carts and wagons. Do we think that beasts were never taken through the Forest via the Dwarf-road before the coming of Smaug? Even then the Forest was known as Mirkwood and had developed an evil reputation.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

BookBarbarian
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by BookBarbarian » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:04 pm

Not all parts of Mirkwood are equally dangerous. the Elf path would be slightly easier than Southern Mirkwood I would think, but likely still trouble.

If all parts of the Journey were known lands to a Wanderer in the party, I would probably give Advantage on checks to keep the Mount from running off.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Horses / Ponies in Mirkwood

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:19 pm

BookBarbarian wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:04 pm
Not all parts of Mirkwood are equally dangerous. the Elf path would be slightly easier than Southern Mirkwood I would think, but likely still trouble.
True. I suggested as much when I stated that even horses trained to withstand the Elf-path might balk at using the Dwarf-road, especially in its damaged state. And, unless the course of the Enchanted Stream has been altered, either the bridge passing over it must be repaired or another means of crossing it (a ferry?) must be found.
If all parts of the Journey were known lands to a Wanderer in the party, I would probably give Advantage on checks to keep the Mount from running off.
There would be few such Wanderers even among the Woodmen. But, yes, I could possibly see that.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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