« Last post by TKDB on September 25, 2016, 02:10:35 PM »
Except you haven't "already paid for it". The price for an action and two attacks in a single round is well established, and adding a mount to the equation is no different than adding a extra weapon - it doesn't inherently give you more actions.
You have paid for it though, because a mount is an entire extra character that you've gone to the trouble of acquiring (either by paying a whole lot of silver or, probably more typically, by taking the Animal Partner or Personal Lieutenant feat). The mount comes with its own actions, and you give those up as part of the cost of mounted combat. It's not at all like a weapon, which has no impact on the actions economy of your side regardless of whether it's wielded or not.
You take the Animal Partner feat, selecting a bear as your partner. With this, you have four actions at your disposal: Your character has two actions, and the bear has two actions.
If you decide to ride the bear, you lose one character's worth of actions. You were two characters with two actions each, you are now one character with two actions between you. You have given up an entire turn -- and that's a big deal! This (along with the worsened Defense, saves, and initiative one of you will suffer, and the attack penalties you'll have unless you use cavalry weapons or take Combat Rider) is the price you pay for the improved mobility, damage management, and afforded by mounted combat.
Now, I agree that this is a perfectly fine price to pay as a baseline (hence why I'm not interested in doing away with it outright with a campaign quality). To be honest, I think it's a bit of a bum deal in the general, but that's not a bad thing for a baseline option requiring no particular investment: It makes it dependent on the details of the situation. It is absolutely not a given that mounted combat would be preferable to unmounted; you need the right kind of circumstances, and the right kind of mount and rider. All well and good.
But I do think it's something that those interested in investing in mounted combat ought to be able to buy off, because otherwise it has a big impact on what kinds of things are appropriate for riding. The action cost makes for a serious mechanical disincentive against taking a mount that's anything more than a damage sponge on some fast legs (or wings), because those are about the only benefits you can actually make use of. It leaves you wondering why you're trying to be a bear cavalry when you'd be a lot more dangerous as a guy fighting side by side with a bear. (Maybe because you want the mobility and tankiness -- but that simply changes the question to why you wasted resources on a mount with offensive options you can't use rather than something like a warhorse that's focused on the mobility and tankiness you want.)
Basically, I consider this a bit of a different category from other feats that affect action economy, because it's not just the actions you'd have without the feat that are relevant, but also the actions you'd have if you and your mount just fought separately. Obviously there needs to be an appropriate investment demanded, but I'd rather that investment be in terms of character building opportunity costs, not in terms of penalties you wouldn't suffer were you trying to use the same actions unmounted. The point is to provide the ability for people to play mounted combatants with cool and exotic mounts without feeling like they're shooting themselves in the foot by doing so -- and while there must of course be a commensurate cost in character power any way you slice it, it feels less intrusive when it's purely an opportunity cost, rather than a penalty staring you in the face every time you act, reminding you that you'd be better at this if you just fought separately.
Hmm. Trying to slim down what you're describing~Hm, it loses the ability to split the actions across either side of the move, but I guess that's an acceptable price to pay.
Benefit: Once per round while part of a mounted pair, as a single half action both rider and mount may each perform a non-Movement half action (in the order of your choice).
That's VERY powerful and I'd be looking to put some form of restriction on it before turning it loose into the wild because it does violate some well established elements of the action economy. I'd also avoid the cross-blocking simply because Mastercraft goes out of it's way to not create dead options because of overlap. Both rider and mount having the feat should be awesome, not annoying. I'd likely be more comfortable not having a second feat in the chain and have both rider and mount take this feat as the way to utilize the effect twice per round... which creates a somewhat amusing situation where a Captain could hand this out to any and all special character mounts in the group along with the riders .
As for the cross-blocking, my thinking on that was originally that (based on my experience) feats are a bit more of a premium resource for PCs than for NPCs, so I figured requiring a two-feat chain would be a steeper cost than letting them split the cost between the rider and mount (which, when one is a PC, the other will typically be an NPC). However, on further reflection, that's kind of silly since there's no reason the NPC can't be the one to take both, so making it dependent on each having it for the maximum benefit would actually be the better for enforcing a certain level of investment.
As far as additional restrictions, perhaps making it require a prereq feat of some kind to force a higher degree of investment? I'd actually thought about having the two-feat chain build on Combat Rider as a prereq, though that might not be as good an idea here due to the intent of avoiding dead investments when both mount and rider take it (and the expectation of both mount and rider taking it to fully buy off the mounted combat action cost). Not sure what other feats would work well as a prereq, though...