Created By: Koveras on June 13, 2013 Last Edited By: Koveras on January 27, 2014
Nuked

No Horse For The Player

When horseback riding exists in the game setting but cannot be used by the player.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A Fantasy Video Game trope wherein horses (or other equivalent mounts) exist as riding animals in the setting but the Player Character is barred from riding one (except maybe in cutscenes). This may have to do with the game not having the horse riding (and mounted combat) mechanic implemented, or with the difficulty of controlling a Player Party where not all members are in the saddle.

May overlap with its Sister Trope Unusable Enemy Equipment, if there are mounted enemies but the player characters cannot ride anything themselves. Contrast Power-Up Mount.

Examples:

  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the only game in The Elder Scrolls series that does not feature any horses at all, let alone ridable ones. There are local equivalents (like the guar) but you cannot ride them, either. M'Aiq the Liar lampshades this if you ask him about horses: he'll say he likes them "with good cream sauce", or he'll suggest that the player buy passage on a silt strider if they want to ride a beast.
  • Neverwinter Nights, being based on Dungeons & Dragons, added the Ride skill with patch 1.69, which you can invest skill points into—but there aren't any horses to be ridden in the entire game except the single premium module Wyvern Crown of Cormyr.
  • The Dragon Age series has so far been completely horse-less, even though horses are a big thing in the lore, e.g. the Chevaliers of Orlais are defined by their combat role as heavy cavalry. It remains to be seen if this changes in Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is set in Orlais.
  • Played straight and then sorta inverted by Nethack. The Riders of the Apocalypse (three of 'em, anyway) appear in the endgame, and have done since much earlier versions. As of version 3.3, the player character was able to ride horses and various other creatures, but this was never implemented for NPCs, so the "Riders" became conspicuously pedestrians.

Will go under Equine And Equestrian Tropes and Gameplay and Story Segregation.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • June 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    A page about a lack of something is problematic unless that element is automatically expected. Just because a game has peasant farmers, you dont expect to play farmville by default. Likewise, a platformer may have cars, but that doesn't mean it should automatically have a driving simulation.

    Not being able to ride a horse would only definitely be tropeable in a cowboy-themed game (or, well, a horse-racing one I guess.) RPGs are iffier, but I admit nowadays its become somewhat common to include mounts in them. Lets see what the Hive Mind thinks.
  • June 14, 2013
    Koveras
    I am aware of the difficulties of "troping" the absence of something, so my examples concentrate on obvious cases of horseback riding being in the setting but not in the gameplay, so it's not about audience's expectations but about the creator including a piece of lore without corresponding gameplay.
  • June 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Actually, after I posted that I realized this is a Sister Trope to Unusable Enemy Equipment. I withdraw my objection, commence troping...

  • June 14, 2013
    robinjohnson
    Played straight and then sorta inverted by Nethack. The Riders of the Apocalypse (three of 'em, anyway) appear in the endgame, and have done since much earlier versions. As of version 3.3, the player character was able to ride horses and various other creatures, but this was never implemented for NPCs, so the "Riders" became conspicuously pedestrians.
  • June 15, 2013
    Koveras
    @robinjohnson: Added!

    @whatisahandleagainguys: I have reverted your change of this YKTTW's provisional title because No Horse For You has two problems: one, it sounds somewhat like dialogue, since it addresses the reader in second person; two, it contains no indication that this is specifically a video game trope. In the future, I'd prefer if you suggested new titles in the comments first, so that other tropers can evaluate them, especially since provisional titles are the main means of identifying individual entries on YKTTW. :)
  • June 15, 2013
    Stratadrake
    For some title brainstorming, the idea of a Horseless Protagonist comes to mind. Not sure how it fares, though, since this is about the player's lack of horse-riding being notable in a setting where it's pretty commonplace.
  • June 15, 2013
    wanderlustwarrior
    I think a play on words about "My kingdom for a horse!" would work for a title, if the absence is sorely missed.
  • June 15, 2013
    DracMonster
    Denied Equine Rights (Or Heroes Dont Get Equine Rights or something)

    I'm going to hell, but it was totally worth it.
  • June 15, 2013
    Astaroth
    Did Neverwinter Nights have a horseback riding skill? I remember it having a 'handle animal' skill which was useful for druids and rangers because they could use it to pacify hostile animals for a short time, but not a skill specifically for riding horses (though it has been a long time since I played it)
  • June 15, 2013
    KTera
    Morrowind's lack of horses is lampshaded by M'Aiq the Liar. If you ask him about horses, he'll say he likes them "with good cream sauce", or he'll suggest that the player buy passage on a silt strider if they want to ride a beast.
  • June 16, 2013
    Koveras
    @DracMonster: Un Equine Rights. See you there, man. :)

    @Astaroth: It was added with patch 1.69, apparently.
  • September 20, 2013
    Koveras
  • October 9, 2013
    johnnye
    [ignore this]
  • October 9, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ *okayface*
  • October 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Contrast Powerup Mount.
  • January 27, 2014
    Koveras
    This never went anywhere, so discarding it...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qusv1ocf233utnab6vz7q4mp