Horseracing (sage ability)
Horseracing is an expert-status sage ability in the study of Horseback Riding that gives the knowledge and finesse required to guide horses towards peak performance in racing, optimizing their physical capabilities. This skill involves discerning a horse's form and musculature, enabling the recognition of its potential to emerge victorious in a race.
Victory in a race hinges on four of a horse's physical attributes: speed, robustness, courage and health, with their respective significance in that order. Additionally, factors such as the rider's weight, the rider's accumulated knowledge points, the track's length and condition, as well as the race type, all play pivotal roles in determining the outcome.
The process involves rolling dice; however, the influence of these dice is intentionally kept minimal and rarely serves as the ultimate decider. In most cases, the race's outcome is determined beforehand, primarily by the combined statistics of the horse and rider. Unfortunately, these crucial numbers remain concealed from all but the Dungeon Master, necessitating an actual race to unveil the victor.
Riders lacking horseracing skills must possess a minimum of handling I ability. However, in a race, they essentially become burdens that the horse must bear. While it's theoretically possible for an exceptionally superior horse to overcome this handicap and secure victory, such an outcome is improbable.
Once a character has attained an authority-status in horseback riding they gain the ability to reduce their effective body weight by the number of knowledge points they have accumulated. This slight disparity can become significant when horses are closely matched. Naturally, a smaller rider offers a distinct advantage.
- For example, a character weighing 145 lbs. has a horseback riding knowledge of 38 points. While riding, their weight would therefore count as just 107 lbs. above a horse's weight.
Traditionally, lighter riders are favored as they can more effectively utilize the weight subtraction described. Nevertheless, in the interest of maintaining a level playing field among all competitors, weight is typically added to every jockey to achieve an equilibrium.
In addition to the mass adjustment discussed above, experts are well-versed in various techniques to maximize a horse's speed and courage. When guided by an expert rider, these attributes are both treated at 1 point higher than their natural value. For example, a horse with a natural speed of 19 would have a modified speed of 20 in the hands of an expert.
Experts also gain specific advantages in different types of races. In a Steeplechase, they receive a substantial +3 bonus to their dexterity, enhancing their performance. In an endurance race, which covers extensive distances often spanning hundreds of miles, experts can increase a horse's robustness by 1 point and enable horses to heal at a rate of 1 hit point per day, even without rest. However, this healing ability is limited to a four-day span and no more.
These additional skills, combined with the expert's greater overall knowledge, increase an expert's likelihood of winning a race, even when riding a slightly inferior horse. As a result, unless it's a local event, you can expect that all riders in a competition will be seasoned experts.