When the Maradonian people fled their dying world and conquered the stars, they brought their beloved Steeds with them. These great beasts resemble the Westerly mustang (and, indeed, both descend from the same ancestral species); an elegant, four-legged beast with a single, nailed toe called a “hoof” and a long neck and long face. They have a light covering of fur, and longer “hair” for a tail and along the spine of the neck, their “mane.” Herbivores, they have flat teeth and large eyes to either side of their head. At the shoulder, a mustang is about as tall as a human, between 5’ and 5’8”, and weighs between 1000 lbs and 1,500 lbs. Steed fur coats tend to be white or black; black steeds often have white markings on them, such as spots or a line down their long face or “socks” near their hooves. They often have white “manes” and “tails,” but sometimes they have a subtle color in them, often a hint of purple, blue or red, or a pearlescent quality, one often matched by their hooves. Some have black manes and some a vividly red mane.

Steeds are elegant and social creatures. They are herbivores and need a highly specific diet of grasses and fruits that descend from those found on Westerly and a few human-colonized worlds; they will often reject foods from other worlds. They are very quick and love to run; they can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour. They love attention and love to show-off, often prancing and leaping when their master comes to look at them or trotting with a pronounced, high step, almost a hop. They tend to form a fast bond with their rider, intuiting their desires, which makes them very easy to ride. They are very popular beasts with young Maradonian girls; aristocratic girls learn to ride at an early age, and Maradonian commoner girls watch on wistfully. This deep bond grants a +1 to all rolls made to assist or help the rider, and always improve the Riding rolls by +1, above and beyond whatever bonus their (high) Mount skill provides; this makes it very easy for a novice to learn to ride one. This socialness has a downside, and they tend to sulk if ignored for too long, act out against other steeds their preferred rider tries to ride, and even lash out at other humans who bother “their” human which, given their size and strength, can be quite dangerous. They tend to be very insistent around food too, expecting their dinner at the same time every day, and demanding specific treats.

Steeds are smart. At IQ 5, they are as intelligent as an animal can get before it is considered pre-sapient. A fully trained mustang can learn numerous tricks, such as positioning itself to be mounted, to fetch specific objects when asked, or even how to open containers or doors with its teeth. They’re also creative. While not as creative as a human with equivalent IQ, they can, given enough time and motivation, figure these tricks out on their own.

Maradonians mostly use keep steeds as a hobby. One can find steed ranches on the larger islands of Persephone, where the animals are kept, bred, and maintained for the entertainment of others. Sometimes, Maradonians will race the faster ones, and a few steeds have made quite a name for themselves, though watching (and gambling on) steed races is mostly an aristocratic venture, and niche at that. Some Maradonians put steeds to more practical use. While slower than a repulsorcycle, they deal better with rough terrain and can be more actively involved with the rider, so some Maradonian reeves on wild worlds, such as Arcadia, use them to get around the untamed land. However, their fussiness can sometimes make them more trouble than their worth.

Handlers of Steeds use Animal Handling (Equines); they can be taught any tricks that a cinematic dog or a monkey might learn.

Steeds as Animal Companion

60 points (3 points as an Ally with a 15 or less appearance)

Steeds make an excellent choice for someone who wants a beautiful mount that is exceedingly easy to ride. Their high Mount means that novice riders can still enjoy high ride levels, and even experts can enjoy a +2, rather than +1, to their ride skill! They’re also extremely attractive and charming to look at, making them an excellent choice for parades. They’re swift, granting a speed bonus of +6 in chase scenes! Those who want even cleverer beasts can buy off their Dull quirk.

On the other hand, they can be very “prissy” or foolhardy. They often rush into danger to protect “their” human, or just to show off. They also never want to carry more than 300 lbs, and many will refuse more than 200 lbs. Tehy tend to be quite demanding when it comes to food, eat a lot, and have highly specific dietary needs, which limits their utility on alien worlds.

Steeds make excellent mounts, on average.

Attributes: ST 22 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 5 [0]; HT 11 [0].

Secondary Traits: Dmg 2d/4d; BL 96 lbs; HP 22 [0]; Basic Speed 6.0 [0]; Basic Move 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 12 [0]; FP 11 [0]; SM +1 [0]

Advantages: Steed [16]; Spend 30 points on +2 to +4 ST [10 or 20], +1 DX [20], +1 to +2 HT [10 or 20], Basic Move +1 to +2 [5 or 10], Will +1 to +2 [5/level], +1 to +3 FP [3/level], Acute Hearing +1 to +2 [2/level], Acute Smell +1 to +2 [2/level], Brave [1], Charisma +1 [5], Daredevil [15], Fearless +1 or +3 or Unfazeable [2/level or 15], Fit or Very Fit [5 or 15], Good with Humans [1], Intuition [15], Perfect Balance [15], Special Rapport (Rider) [5], Trivial Reputation (race winner, great stud, etc) +1 to +4 [1/level] or improve Appearance (Beautiful, Impressive) to (Very Beautiful, Impressive) [4], or buy off Dull [1];

Disadvantages: Select one of -2 ST (-40% No Fine Manipulators; -10% Size Modifier) [-5], Bad Temper (15) [-5], Bully (15) [-5], Gluttony (12) [-5], Odious Personal Habits (Kicks; Bites; Rears; Charging) all [-5], Stubbornness (12) [-5], Unfit [-5];

Quirks: Select one quirk for -1 point; suggestions include Bold, Congenial, Determined, Dislikes (Robots, particular aliens, etc), Distinctive Feature (markings, unusual color, etc), Distractible, Easily Winded, Hungry, Impatient, Jealous of Master’s Attention, Layabout, Likes (specific food), Odious Personal Habit (Jigging, Pawing, Stall Walking, Weaving), Nervous Stomach, Nosy, Proud, Show-Off (Mount), Tight Dinner Schedule

Skills: Mount (A) DX+4* [8]-14; Divide 12 points among Brawling or Jumping both (E) DX+1 [2]-11, Acrobatics or Escape (H) DX-1 [2]-9, Area Knowledge (Planet) (E) IQ+1 [2]-6, Swimming (E) HT+1 [2]-12, Running (A) HT [2]-11 or Survival (Plains) (A) Per [2]-12, Intimidation (A) Will [2]-11 or raise any of the above one level for 2 points, or two levels for 6 points, or raise Mount one level for 4 points.

*Improved with Racial Talent

Steed Traits

Steed Racial Template

16 points

Attribute Modifiers: ST +12 (No Fine Manipulators -40%; SM -10%) [30]; IQ -5 [-100]; HT +1 [10].

Secondary Traits: Will +6 [30]; Perception +7 [35]; Basic Speed +0.75 [15]; Basic Move +4 [20]; SM +1 [0]

Advantages: Appearance (Beautiful; Impressive) [12]; Claws (Hooves) [2]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Enhanced Move (Ground) [20]; Higher Purpose (Devotion to Rider) [5]; Peripheral Vision [15]; Racial Talent (Mount+2) [4]

Perks: Sanitized Metabolism [1]

Disadvantages: Cannot Speak [-15]; Quadruped [-35]; Restricted Diet (Herbivore) [-10]; Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-10]; Weak Bite [-2]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25]

Quirks: Dull [-1]

Just the Stats: Steeds

ST 22 HP 22 Speed 6.0
DX 10 Will 11 Move: 10
IQ 5 Per 12
HT 11 FP 11 SM: 1 (3 yards)
Dodge: 10 Parry: N/A DR: 0

Bite (12): 2d-3 cr; reach C
Kick (12): 2d+2 cr, reach 1

Metatraits: Domestic Animal; Quadruped;

Traits: Appearance (Beautiful; Impressive); Claws (Hooves); Combat Reflexes; replace Hidebound with Dull; Enhanced Move (Ground; speed 20); Higher Purpose (Devotion to Rider); Peripheral Vision; Restricted Diet (Herbivore), Sanitized Metabolism.

Skills: Acrobatics-10; Brawling-12; Jumping-12; Mount-14; Running-12; Survival (Plaints)-12

Class: Domesticated Animal;

Notes: Animal Telepathy works on Steeds. Prefers flight over combat, but will not hesitate to fight to protect its herd or a human, or if you irritate it too much. Clever enough to figure out a few small tricks. Will “negotiate” for something like a tasty apple or a handful of oats. Will generally carry no more than 200-300 lbs without protest.

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