Pony, Cager
Pony, Cager

Pony, Cager

Cager Pony

CLIMATE/TERRAIN:Urban, cold temperate
HIT DICE:2 + 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:1d2 / 1d2 (hooves) / 1d4 (bite)
SPECIAL DEFENCES:-1 to be surprised, poison resistance
SIZE:L (7′ long)
MORALE:Steady (11-12)
AD&D 2e statistics

As a general rule, horses do not fare well in the harsh environment of Sigil. To be honest, the polluted atmosphere doesn’t do anyone’s health much good, but horses tend to come out even worse. As a consequence, the millennia have seen many attempts to breed a mount suitable to the Cage; the most successful example is the creature known as the Cager pony, cobbled from generations of natural and sorcerous interbreeding of normal prime equine stock with Arcadian ponies, Ysgardian warhorses, nightmares and other equine species. 

The result has been an incredibly hardy little beast looking much like a normal pony, but with a mottled grey coat (almost like urban camouflage), rock-hard hooves that need not be shod, a fanged muzzle and remarkable morale in the face of excitement. They stand up to the clash and clatter of a street fight or the war cry of a band of khaasta at least as well as any trained destrier; in fact, far from being spooked at the smell of blood or sound of combat, some say they seem to look forward to it.

It’s only the beasts’ tempers that keep them from being more popular with Cagers. It’s not that the ponies are unpredictable. Quite the opposite; they’re always in a foul mood. They are difficult to train (this taking at least double the normal time as a normal horse) and even then give the impression of constant surliness. For the first month of association with a new rider, all riding rolls are at -3.

Fanciers of the breed say this is a virtue; after all, they reckon, it just goes to show the beasts are true Cagers, and furthermore, they point out, belongings left on one of these creatures is unlikely to be stolen without the thief losing a few fingers at least. Some will say that once the beast does bond with a rider, one could not have a more loyal mount, but such bonding takes years, if it ever happens at all.

COMBAT: These equines fight in much the same manner as any other, attacking with their iron-hard hooves and biting, though their fanged bites are more dangerous than those of normal ponies. Probably due to their supernatural heritage, Cager ponies possess superior senses, granting a -1 to their surprise rolls and infravision in a 45-foot range.

The creatures are a savvy enough fighters not to let themselves be surrounded if they can help it, and will try to keep their backs to a wall if attacked by multiple opponents; in such a case, they tend to will make a stand, and try to concentrate on one eliminating one opponent at a time

The ponies’ breeding makes them highly resistant to toxins of all kinds, against which they save at +3 and take half normal effect (if the effect is quite minor, it may be ignored altogether). Their orneriness provides them with +3 to save versus all sorts of charm and fear, magical or otherwise. Encumbrance is as per a normal pony.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: If these creatures are by nature herd animals, they hide it well; males and females will of course mingle for breeding purposes, but other than this the ponies tend to fight among themselves like tanar’ri at a watering hole. Properly trained, they will tolerate one another, but a group riding these ponies had best tether them to separate posts or a fight is sure to break out at some point.

ECOLOGY: Cagers to the core, the ponies thrive on the smoggy air of even the Lower Ward, and will drink from any nearby pool of water, even the ooze puddles in the Hive. Bred to be economical, the ponies are omnivorous, and will dine as readily on roadkill or rats caught under a broad hoof as they will on weeds growing between the cobblestones.

In fact, so well have the creatures adapted to the environment of the Cage that they sicken and die in more pure environments, much as do normal horses in Sigil. Within weeks, they become short of breath, and their iron-hard hooves grow to the point of distortion without the regular wear and tear of pavement. Riders planning Upper Planar jaunts for any great length of time have been warned!

Grooms of these ponies add small amounts of brimstone to their feed for a healthy coat, and coal for strong hooves. This has led to another of their nicknames; ‘tiefling ponies’.

Source: Sean Miner

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