Ark-Like Mounts (5e Variant Rule)

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Ark-Like Mounts[edit]

The way Ark: Survival Evolved handles mounted creatures works rather well, in my opinion. What this rule will try to do is allow for more exotic/dangerous creatures to work better when ridden, and implement a bit of the leveling system. Many other rules cover taming, and the way Ark does it is very mechanical/unflavorful. I don’t have the time or see the reason to write out rules for that, so if you want taming, I would recommend a different rule, like Animal Training (5e Variant Rule).

Riding a Creature[edit]

The rules for riding creatures are almost completely unchanged, here. First of all, some miscellaneous changes.

  • A creature that is being ridden must roll for Initiative alongside the rider. They act on the same turn, and their initiative score is the average of the two.
  • You can ride any creature that is at least your size, and can carry your body weight without becoming encumbered in any way. If it is not fit to be ridden(i.e medium humanoid riding a medium humanoid), the creature being ridden has disadvantage on every roll.
  • When balancing an encounter, an allied creature is a character with a level equivalent to their CR + 2. Creatures with a CR below 1 count as a character with a level equal to twice their CR.


Unless a creature can be ridden bareback(I.e horses, dragons, reapers, and so on), they must have a saddle in order to be mounted and controlled. Attempting to ride any other creature without a saddle gives you disadvantage on doing anything while riding them, such as saving throws, attacks, and skill checks.


While riding a creature, they can take any action they could normally, including attacks. However, the rider must use their action to control a creature, and must have a hand free to do so. If they do not use their action, they preform the last action they performed, and moved in the exact same way they did the last turn they were controlled. If they have an Intelligence score above 1, or a Wisdom above 4, they will avoid taking an action/moving in a way that would actively harm them if they have not been controlled. If they have an Intelligence score above 3, or a Wisdom above 8, you do not need to take an action to control them.

Creature Levels[edit]

Any creature that participated in an encounter can gain experience. If they cannot take levels, they have “creature levels”, which follow the below requirements

(Table would go here. Twice the normal requirement)

When a creature gains a creature level, they can choose one of the following benefits. They can gain a total of 6 creature levels. Every 3 creature levels, the CR of the creature increases by 1.

  • Their Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution score increases by 1.
  • They gain an additional hitdie.
  • Their movement speed increases by 5 ft.
  • Their carrying capacity increases by 30 lbs.
  • They can gain one extra level of Exhaustion before suffering any of the effects of Exhaustion.

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