Knowledge is power, especially when one rules over a vast steppe empire. Outlying territories may be thousands of miles away from the center of power, making it seemingly impossible to transport important documents and communicate vital information from the capital to these far-flung locales. Still, like most other facets of life in the temperate grasslands, the horse provides a feasible and reliable solution to this problem. While a single mounted courier travels faster than a man on foot, fatigue eventually sets in, forcing rider and steed to rest for extended periods of time. Administrators solved this dilemma by devising a system that allows hundreds of men and horses to perform a task previously assigned to one rider and mount. They built stations with fresh men and horses at regular intervals along a designated route. Each rider and mount completes just one leg of the trek rather than the entire journey and then passes off his documents or information to a new rider at the next station who repeats the process until the papers or news reached their intended destination. Though outwardly simple, the job is not for the faint of heart.
Robbers and monsters sometimes lie in wait for passing riders, and there are no respites for bad weather and poor riding conditions. Known as yuam, these specialized riders are more than ordinary couriers. They are exceptionally brave expert horsemen and fighters. Speed is of the essence so, unlike the armored knight, the mounted yuam carries as little armor, weapons and baggage as possible. He strikes a less-imposing figure than the typical horse archer or mounted warrior, but looks are often deceiving.
One strike from the blade of a charging yuam is an experience that few would-be thieves and raiders soon forget. That is if they survive their encounter with this lethal courier.
Yuams are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
At 1st level, a mounted yuam gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls on charges made with a light or one-handed melee weapon. This bonus is in addition to the attack roll bonus he gains from charging. The damage bonus is multiplied on a critical hit, but it is not multiplied when determining the damage dealt by a charging yuam with the Spirited Charge feat. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +2 up to a maximum of +10 at 20th level.
This ability replaces favored enemy.
The speed of any mount the yuam rides is increased by 10 feet.
This ability replaces wild empathy.
At 2nd level, a yuam must choose the mounted combat style.
This ability functions like the druid animal companion ability except that the ranger’s effective druid level is equal to his ranger level –3. The ranger gains a +2 bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks with his animal companion mount.
This ability replaces hunter’s bond.
At 9th level, the yuam is immune to fear (magical or otherwise).
This ability replaces evasion.
At 16th level, the yuam gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells and effects.
This ability replaces improved evasion.
Fields of Blood © 2015 Frog God Games, LLC. Author: Tom Knauss