Mounted Combat

Rules of Mounted Combat

Core Rules

  • Core rules are defined in PHB, pg 198.
  • The mount must be larger than the rider. The rider occupies the same squares as the mount. The rider becomes effectively larger for purposes of attacking and being attacked.
  • Any time the mount can be targeted, the attacker can choose to attack the rider instead, and vice versa.
  • Riders can mount or dismount mid-turn by paying ½ total movement, so ground and mounted combat can be mixed during a single turn.
  • Riders can be forcibly dismounted/thrown. See PHB pg 198.
  • Rider can either control the mount or leave it uncontrolled. The rider can alter this choice at the start of their turn.

Controlled Mounts

The rider exerts direct control over the mount. The mount must be trained and willing to follow directions.

  • Mechanically, the mount becomes an alternate movement mode. The mount can’t use any of its own attacks. The rider still has their normal action to use during the turn, so they can attack when the mount moves adjacent to an enemy. Mount and rider act on the same turn.
  • Each turn, the rider chooses the mount’s move mode: Dash, Disengage, or Dodge.
    • Dash: Doubles movement. Example: A horse can dash 120’.
    • Disengage: Mount doesn’t provoke OAs when it moves.
    • Dodge: Attackers have disadvantage when attacking the mount.

IMPORTANT: Disengage and Dodge modes only affect the mount, not the rider! A disengaging mount can expose the rider to OAs.

  • The rider can spend their Dodge action to increase their own defense.
  • The rider can spend their Disengage action, but it has no effect while mounted. Per PHB pg. 192 and errata, Disengage only applies when the PC is moving itself, not when being moved. This prevents Rogues from abusing mounts with Cunning Action.

Uncontrolled Mounts

The rider lets the mount decide what to do. This gives the mount a combat action, at the cost of control. Effectiveness depends on the mount’s temperament and training.

  • Mount and rider act separately with different initiatives.
  • The rider can attempt to guide the mount, but ultimately the mount is controlled by the DM. Example: a trained warhorse will follow the commands of the rider in combat, while a pony will always flee immediately.
  • On the rider’s turn, the rider is effectively stuck on a stationary platform unless they dismount.
  • The rider can use a Readied action to attack on the mount’s turn.
  • As with controlled mounts, movement can expose the rider to OAs.

Mounted Items, Skills, Feats


  • Lances (PHB 148). One-handed when mounted.
  • Saddles (PHB 155). Advantage when rolling to avoid dismount.


  • Animal Handling (PHB 178). Used for virtually all mounted checks.


  • Mounted Combatant (PHB 168). Advantage vs. unmounted foes smaller than mount; force attack against mount to attack rider; mount gets Evasion (on dex save: no dam on save, 1/2 dam on fail)


  • DM may prohibit some actions when on a moving mount. For example: no longbows or other 2-handed weapons can be used. 1 handed crossbows can be fired but not reloaded.

Mounted Combat

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