The Widow Harun
Breeds of Horses
For the people of The Eastern Realms, horses come in more varieties than just light and heavy. A pedigreed horse is one which is the foal or descendant of some other famous horse. Pedigrees are always documented, most often in some sort of breeding book kept under lock and key, without which the horse is anonymous and therefore worthless. Pedigreed racehorses are most often owned by wealthy or important people.
The Monster Manual provides four different horses, each of which might be considered typical in a different setting. In any rural setting in the Realms, a draft horse used for agriculture might conform to the statistics of a Heavy Horse, while a mount used for traveling is often a Light Horse. These varieties are ubiquitous and cheap but uninspiring. A light horse sells for 75 GP, a heavy horse for 200. Mounts used by the heavily armored cavalry of settled areas are always Heavy Warhorses. Mounts used by highly mobile cavalry such as bandits are always Light Warhorses. A heavy warhorse which is the favorite mount of some important figure might have a pedigree, but this is rare. These varieties, while more expensive, are still common. A light warhorse sells for 150 GP, a heavy warhorse for 400.
In a race, a heavy horse has a speed of 50, a Con score of 15, 22 HP on average, and a breed rank of 0. A light horse has a speed of 60, a Con of 15, 15 HP on average, and a breed rank of 1. A heavy warhorse has a speed of 50, Con 17, 22 HP on average and a breed rank of 2. A light warhorse has a speed of 60, Con 17, 16 HP on average and a breed rank of of 3.
The better breeds available in The Eastern Realms are discussed in more detail in the Champions of Valor supplement, p. 155, which is available from your DM in PDF form. These are presented briefly below.
Note that some breeds are available only in certain lands, because their sale is restricted or they are simply not valued outside of their home region. Obtaining a rare horse can therefore be a good excuse for the party to travel to some exotic locale.
The Amphail Gray is a reliable northern breed. Cost 225 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Con, +2 Wis, +2 Cha. Its breed rank is 8.
The Calimite is a famous purebred horse of the desert. Cost 1650 GP, as light warhorse (Monster Manual p. 274) except speed 70, +2 Con. Its breed rank is 16. The Calimite breed is also found on the other side of the world, in Gezer, where these magnificent mounts are favored as war chargers by Gezerite nobles. Given its distance from the homeland of the Calimite, it is not known if the horse of Gezer is actually the same breed, or an offshoot, but it is exactly the same as a Calimite in both appearance and statistics.
The Chionthar is a Calimite-Dambraai crossbreed, valued by messengers. Cost 225 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except speed 70, +2 Str, -2 Wis. The Chionthar grants a jockey a +1 bonus on Ride checks. Its breed rank is 12.
The Cormyrean Destrier is the legendary charger of knights in The Western Realms. Cost 2500 GP, as heavy warhorse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Str, +2 Wis. The Cormyrean Destrier grants a jockey a +1 bonus on Ride checks. Its breed rank is 6.
The Dambraai is a warhorse bred for raiding, common in The Shining South. Cost 1800 GP, as light warhorse (Monster Manual p. 274) except speed 70, +2 Dex, +2 Con. A Dambraai grants a jockey +2 to Handle Animal checks and can be trained in half the time. Its breed rank is 15. The Dambraai breed can only be found in The Shaar, where it will be an individual captured in battle from a Dambrathan raider.
The Kromlor is a northern workhorse used for mining and farming. Cost 1000 GP, as heavy horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Str, +2 Con. Its breed rank is 4.
The Lhesperan is a common breed in The Shaar and points south. Cost 100 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except speed 70, +2 Con, -2 Wis. Its breed rank is 14.
The Meth is an ancient breed from old Unther and widely used in Chessenta as a charger and chariot horse. Cost 450 GP, as light warhorse (Monster Manual p. 274) except speed 50, +2 Str, +2 Con, +2 Wis. Its breed rank is 5.
The Nars is a northern workhorse, an ancient breed popular in the region of Nathoud. Cost 250 GP, as heavy horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except speed 60, +2 Str, +2 Cha, -2 Wis. Its breed rank is 7.
The Raurin is a desert breed, a half-wild descended from the purebreds of old Imaskar, gone feral after the empire’s collapse. Cost 1000 GP, as light warhorse (Monster Manual p. 274) except speed 70, +2 Str, +2 Con. Its breed rank is 13. The Raurin breed can only be found in the area for which it is named.
The Semphari is a purebred of the Mulhorand and Murghom regions, descended from the same Imaskari stock as the Raurin. Cost 2000 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Con, +2 Dex, +2 Cha, +2 racial bonus on Listen checks. A Semphari grants a jockey a +1 bonus to Ride checks. The DC for learning tasks is reduced by 2, and the Semphari can learn them in half the time. Its breed rank is 11. Semphari can only be purchased in Semphar and Murghom.
The Sosser is a far northern workhorse, a mixed breed with some steppe ancestry. Cost 90 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Cha. The Sosser has cold resistance 5 and a +2 resistance bonus to saving throws vs. cold-based attacks. Its breed rank is 9.
The Steppe is a shaggy, hardy half-wild native to The Endless Waste, where it is the favored mount of the Tuigan. Cost 70 GP, as light horse (Monster Manual p. 273) except +2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex, -2 Cha, +4 natural armor. Its breed rank is 10. Steppe horses are found primarily in The Endless Waste, but increasingly also in The Shaar, where herds of them were brought by the Tuigan odus that have moved there.
Finally, there are two more breeds of horse that might be found in the wild if a man is exceptionally lucky.
Dire Horses are the kings of equines, with a noble, almost primordial appearance. These horses are exceedingly rare, occurring only in pairs, never herds, in the wild. They live only in The Endless Waste, and their numbers are tiny. Most of the nomads go a lifetime without seeing one, and it is a rare man who manages to wrangle one, much less to tame it. They are sought after primarily as mounts for combat, because of their superior hit points, but if you wish to race one you will be rewarded with its exceptional statistics. Dire mares cannot be crossbred, but dire stallions can be bred to normal horses. This is only rarely successful (the breed rank of the mare is the probability on d% that the resulting foal will be dire). The owner of a dire horse would be a fool to sell it, but were someone to try, the mount would almost certainly bring in five figures. The dire horse is fully detailed in the 3rd edition supplement Masters of the Wild (not a Forgotten Realms product). In a race, the dire horse has a speed of 60, a Con of 22, 56 HP on average, and a breed rank of 17. It grants its rider a +2 to Profession (Jockey) checks.
Only two or three Legendary Horses are known to exist on the surface of Faerun at any given time. A legendary horse is not actually a horse at all, but some sort of spirit that has taken equine form (which, depending on its surroundings, could be an elemental, an extraplanar, a nature spirit or even an ancestor). They are not born but allowed to exist by the gods, often with a specific rider in mind. Each legendary horse is an intelligent creature that must be convinced to serve a rider willingly. Needless to say, a legendary horse cannot be bred, but the spirit in question, like the great dragons, is capable of romancing mortal creatures while shapechanged. The offspring of these unions, if any exist, must be incredibly odd and powerful creatures. Obviously, these horses cannot be bought and sold. The legendary horse is fully detailed in the 3rd edition supplement Masters of the Wild (not a Forgotten Realms product). In a race, the legendary horse has a speed of 80, a Con of 26, 144 HP on average, and a breed rank of 18. It grants its rider a +2 to both Profession (Jockey) checks and Ride checks.