PDA

View Full Version : Horses vs. Rhinos



Doomboy911
2012-11-28, 09:48 AM
Well you've made it pass my title you must have some interest.

The fact of the matter is that I'm building a world and there's a part of the world where the people are very ancient so they stick to old types of farming and such. It occurred to me that I could put a bit of a spin on it and I decided that since they live in a savannah type area they could be using rhinos instead of horses. Rhinos are stronger, tougher and intimidating and since they're downright blind they could be trained to follow something that smells nice. Does that sound right though? Are horses or rhinos better?

Keep in mind that for the more mountainous terrains they ride camels not horses or rhinos.

Spiryt
2012-11-28, 10:08 AM
I would think rhinos wouldn't be nearly as quick and maneuverable on practical scale as most horses...

Could be probably still great as work-horses, if someone managed to attack plough, cart or whatever to them...

hamlet
2012-11-28, 10:12 AM
You might want to be careful about that.

Rhinos are fairly stupid (dumber than a horse, and that's saying quite a bit actually), near sighted, and mean. They don't really take well to domestication.

Oxen/wildabeast are probably a better bet.

nedz
2012-11-28, 10:18 AM
Mmm, an attack plough — that's an interesting concept — kind of like plough shares into swords :smallamused:

Anyway Rhino's:
The standard animal used for this job was an oxen. Horses are more expensive and have other uses, but obviously were also used.

IRL Rhinos are aggressive and hard to train — AFAIK they have never been domesticated.

But in a fantasy world — why not.

Malak'ai
2012-11-28, 10:30 AM
As nedz said, rhino's haven't been domesticated, but I'm pretty sure no human civilization has ever stuck to trying for very long because of the rhino's being so aggressive.
If you spun it that these ones had been bred in captivity, like the hundreds of generations before them, that they have become quite dosile with the tribesmen but will still attack any strangers that come too close.

Personally, I think it's a pretty cool idea.

Rion
2012-11-28, 11:47 AM
Keep in mind that domesticated rhinos (which have never happened in real life) would radically change mounted warfare. Most counter cavalry methods rely on the fearful nature of horses and their relative fragility when compared to a heavily armoured knight.

According to a cursory googling a horses top speed is ca. 55, while that of a rhinocerus is 40. Since rhinos are much more sturdy and (presumable) more likely to actually hammer a charge home than a horse, compared to horse-cavalry rhino-mounted heavy cavalry would be slightly slower, but without any of the weaknesses regarding spears and archers.

Grinner
2012-11-28, 11:56 AM
I think Warcraft did something like that? Koppa beasts? Kopter beasts? Something like that.

Anywho, rhino-mounted Bronze Age cavalry sounds badass. The aggressive nature of rhinos would make for excellent prose regarding the achievements of this civilization.

Jeff the Green
2012-11-28, 12:00 PM
Also remember that rhinos are at least as easily frightened as horses, but if you startle a horse it will run away from you; scare a rhino and it runs at you.

ericgrau
2012-11-28, 12:03 PM
Rule of cool says, pssshya, go for it.

Rule of husbandry says r u nuts? :smalltongue:

But seriously just invent an excuse like the suggestion for a few generations of captive breeding and go for it. Retain a few unfriendly quirks to keep them interesting.

Mark Hall
2012-11-28, 12:09 PM
Not that you shouldn't do it... especially when you consider magic in the equation (the spell "Animal Friendship", replaced in 3.5 by the Animal Companion ability of druids, would go far), but there's a number of good reasons rhinos weren't prime domestication targets.

One that hasn't been mentioned is that rhinos aren't really sociable. Even in the wild, with each other, they're like Mogo, and Mogo doesn't socialize. Elephants? Sure, elephants socialize all the time, and we've been able to socialize with them. For most creatures we've really domesticated, we rely on their social nature. We make dogs part of our pack. We make horses and cattle part of our herd. We make cats part of our pantheon (about the only way they'll have us)*. We make use of their social nature to insert them into our social groups, and us into theirs.

So I'd be less surprised by giraffe cavalry than rhinos as beasts of burden.

*Something that made me laugh out loud yesterday was a picture of several Red Lanterns... and one of them looked like a domestic cat. In LotRO, I refer to my Loremaster's wildcat companion as a "furry little hate missile."

hamlet
2012-11-28, 01:02 PM
Not that you shouldn't do it... especially when you consider magic in the equation (the spell "Animal Friendship", replaced in 3.5 by the Animal Companion ability of druids, would go far), but there's a number of good reasons rhinos weren't prime domestication targets.

One that hasn't been mentioned is that rhinos aren't really sociable. Even in the wild, with each other, they're like Mogo, and Mogo doesn't socialize. Elephants? Sure, elephants socialize all the time, and we've been able to socialize with them. For most creatures we've really domesticated, we rely on their social nature. We make dogs part of our pack. We make horses and cattle part of our herd. We make cats part of our pantheon (about the only way they'll have us)*. We make use of their social nature to insert them into our social groups, and us into theirs.

So I'd be less surprised by giraffe cavalry than rhinos as beasts of burden.

*Something that made me laugh out loud yesterday was a picture of several Red Lanterns... and one of them looked like a domestic cat. In LotRO, I refer to my Loremaster's wildcat companion as a "furry little hate missile."

What he said. Yeah, in terms of realism, it's a non-starter. Rhinos and Humans aren't going to get along.

But in terms of magic and a game world, it's really a nifty idea. Rhinos being used in place of oxen and destriers in cavalry charges. But don't stop there. Giraffe as riding/courier animals when you need to get there quickly. Or as scouts. Hippos or crocs as psychotic door wardens (hippos especially, actually, are insanely aggressive towards just about anything). Go hog wild!

awa
2012-11-28, 03:07 PM
honestly if your going to train big animals for cavalry go elephant they are still incredibly hard to control on the battle field and you cant breed them in captivity but its still a lot easier then rhinos and anything a rhino can do an elephant can do better.


(like others have said this is from a practical real world perspective from a dnd perspective where a wolverine is easier to domesticate then a cow go for it.)

edit if i recall correctly that red lantern dosent just look like a cat it is a cat

JBento
2012-11-28, 08:59 PM
*Something that made me laugh out loud yesterday was a picture of several Red Lanterns... and one of them looked like a domestic cat. In LotRO, I refer to my Loremaster's wildcat companion as a "furry little hate missile."

For the record: that Lantern is Dex-Starr, and he IS a common, domestic, household, Earth cat. He was adopted by a kind old lady who called him Dexter (notice the similarities? yeah), who was then killed by a burglar who broke into her house. Dexter then lived on the streets for a while, until two dumbasses decided to put him in a bag and throw him into the river just to see how long it'd take him to drown.

Cue "Dexter of Earth, you have shown the ability to possess great rage - welcome to the red lantern corps." The dumbasses didn't fare so well (but they DID find out how someone can be in multiple pie, I mean places, at the same time). He then began hunting the burglar who killed his former owner. Since I get the comics with a severe delay, I have no idea if he's found him yet.

So, yes. One of the most badass characters in all the multi-hued Corps combined is an Earth housecat.

Dex-Starr: for when you need housecats to kill more than commoners.

Gamedap
2012-11-29, 09:30 AM
I think to compare horses and rhinos slightly relevant, it's like comparing a motorcycle tank. Tasks and functions of these animals are different, as the horse is said above is agile animal, and the rhino is a tool break defensive lines!

Darius Kane
2012-11-29, 11:02 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BYxjlRmn1k

TheCountAlucard
2012-11-29, 05:11 PM
To be fair, one of the places in my Exalted game has domesticated rhinos, but that's because the tribes in the area are descended from a leader who made a pact with a rhino-god in the past; thanks to his divine influence, rhinoceros are outright tame - at least with regard to the locals.

Spamotron
2012-11-29, 05:25 PM
San Diego Wild Animal Park has a decent number of white rhinos. When I took the tour the females hung out together in small groups of 3 or 4 while the males were always alone. Also the female groups would come up to the tour bus and mooch for apples while the males stayed a distance away.

So perhaps this civilization would have better luck using the females as work animals and mounts since they appear to be more social and only keeping around a few males for breeding stock.

Deepbluediver
2012-11-29, 05:45 PM
I'm trying to double-check on this; I'll get back with a more concrete link if I manage to lock down a reliable source on territory size and migration.

As far as I know, rhinos are not very good at long distance travel or even working hard for a decent amount of time. A horse or camel can go for miles or pull a plough all day, but a rhino runs out of steam very quickly. They're more like sumo-wrestlers; not marathon runners.
If the enemy is kind enough to show up at your castle/rhino-breeding center, then sure you can probably run right over him. But good luck getting them to move anywhere if the battle doesn't take place right at your doorstep.


That being said, in terms of fantasy gameplay I wouldn't think that a rhino as a mount would be any less believable than a wolf, lion, giant spider, or lizard, all of which show up in various works of fiction.

Acanous
2012-11-29, 07:14 PM
Forget Rhinos, what you really want is BEARS.
http://edu.glogster.com/blog-thumbs/2/6/1/2/6010275_2/bear-cavalry.jpg?u=85ca5eaf8c8a984c23ccf2eeb110f91b

Doomboy911
2012-11-30, 12:20 AM
As fantastic as bears are (seriously there's another part of the world where I'll try to get polars bears) I'm dealing with a savanah type area where the mounts people will be using is rhinos (mounted combat) camels (for the long travels when speed isn't the goal just reliably and cheaply getting there) giraffes and ostriches (scout travel and message delivery probably ostrich for cities and such ) elephants (for the big big cargo or lots of people) water buffalo (for the plow horses) hippos (for water travel) and big cats (why not riding a lion, panther or tiger (shush) is always awesome). Than for the fantasy bits painted dogs the size of lions and gators three times bigger than they usually are for ferrying boats.

Tell me does this sound cool or does this sound lame?

nedz
2012-11-30, 04:56 AM
It sounds good — but change the Horses for Zebra, or at least Quagga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quagga).

Driderman
2012-11-30, 05:42 AM
As fantastic as bears are (seriously there's another part of the world where I'll try to get polars bears) I'm dealing with a savanah type area where the mounts people will be using is rhinos (mounted combat) camels (for the long travels when speed isn't the goal just reliably and cheaply getting there) giraffes and ostriches (scout travel and message delivery probably ostrich for cities and such ) elephants (for the big big cargo or lots of people) water buffalo (for the plow horses) hippos (for water travel) and big cats (why not riding a lion, panther or tiger (shush) is always awesome). Than for the fantasy bits painted dogs the size of lions and gators three times bigger than they usually are for ferrying boats.

Tell me does this sound cool or does this sound lame?

It sounds cool. Although, it might be a bit of a case of "everything and the kitchen sink" :)

Cikomyr
2012-11-30, 06:07 AM
If you have the idea that men have domesticated and bred Rhino for domestic and warfare use in the past thousand years, I don't see why you couldn't make an "adapted" rhino that is more adapted to service us. Some that are more resilient to extended work and are more dociles.

Kinda like Dogs are to Wolves. Or Pigs are to Boars. Cows are to Buffalos.

awa
2012-11-30, 12:36 PM
Domestic cows aren’t that similar to buffalo certainly not the ways dogs are to wolves.

Aurochs were wild cows.

For a fantasy setting where people ride giant spiders a domesticated rhino would be simple. In the real world domesticating rhinos would be insanely difficult as others have mentioned almost all domestic animals are ones with strong social orders we can insert ourselves into.

JBento
2012-11-30, 04:13 PM
Wait, wait - you're worried about the realism of tame rhinos and you want to tame HIPPOS? :smalleek:

You DO know that hippos are the single meanest, orneriest, most savage beasts in the world, right? It literally takes a smaller dose of tranquiliser to knock out anything else than a hippo, including rhinos and elephants, which have them beat in the weight category. When they open their mouths? That's not a yawn. That's a "here, look at these teeth and imagine what would happen should I bite down on you. That's right buddy, stay waaaay over there." They're also one of the very few animals that will fight to the actual death amongst themselves.

Doomboy911
2012-12-01, 01:26 PM
Perhaps pygmy hippos they're less aggressive.

nedz
2012-12-01, 02:03 PM
Nope — Full Metal Hippo Marines
They just need the Blessed by Tem-Et-Nu feat, or similar*.
Pigmy Hippos are strictly for training purposes.

Or Druid, obviously.

* I'm not sure what is similar to this feat, but there probably is something.

warty goblin
2012-12-01, 07:41 PM
Wait, wait - you're worried about the realism of tame rhinos and you want to tame HIPPOS? :smalleek:

You DO know that hippos are the single meanest, orneriest, most savage beasts in the world, right? It literally takes a smaller dose of tranquiliser to knock out anything else than a hippo, including rhinos and elephants, which have them beat in the weight category. When they open their mouths? That's not a yawn. That's a "here, look at these teeth and imagine what would happen should I bite down on you. That's right buddy, stay waaaay over there." They're also one of the very few animals that will fight to the actual death amongst themselves.

Also, hippos may be the only creatures whose skulls could be mistaken for demon bones. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hippo_skull_dark.jpg)

Admiral Squish
2012-12-01, 09:39 PM
Also, hippos may be the only creatures whose skulls could be mistaken for demon bones. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hippo_skull_dark.jpg)

Not true, a lot of creatures have really terrifying-looking skulls.

TuggyNE
2012-12-02, 05:49 AM
Not true, a lot of creatures have really terrifying-looking skulls.

And a remarkable number of peaceful herbivores have teeth that look for all the world like they belong in a maneating carnivore's mouth.

paddyfool
2012-12-03, 06:48 AM
Solitary animals are generally much harder to domesticate than herd or pack animals. Hence why, historically, we see domesticated elephants, but not domesticated rhinos. (Also, apparently tigers are harder than lions to domesticate, although neither are exactly safe or easy).

Give your setting's rhinos a herding instinct, however, and you're golden. If Africa and India can support migrating herds of elephants, no reason your setting couldn't also have migrating herds of rhinos. And fantasy settings offer plenty of huge or larger carnivorous beasts to provide an incentive for herding behaviour (a herd of rhinos could defend itself against some such predators even though an individual rhino would be vulnerable).

Poil
2012-12-03, 10:04 AM
I'd hate to run into something that rhinos need to gang up on. :smalleek:

Also to sperg on rhino cavalry, while they'd make for a nasty and heavy shock into infantry lines they would easily be outmaneuvered by horse archers and the riders picked off once the beasts are tired out. I'm no expert on rhino endurance but I'm pretty sure they can't outrun horses.