The Hippei are the elite forces of the military that are rich enough to own a horse. The Hippei are rare, no more than 300 amongst the Spartans. They are composed of 30 young men age 20, 21, 22, and so on up to 29, thus creating 300 Hippei strong. Each year, the 29-year-olds are retired when they reach 30 even as the 19-year-old prospects advance into the esteem ranks of the Hippei.

In contrast to the Hoplite, Hippei wear no armor and carry no shields. Their main weapon is the javelin and the long spear, which they use from horseback. They wear broad-brimmed hats to protect them from the sun’s glare and ride bareback on their mounts.

On entering service, Hippei are paid an establishment grant (called a katastasis) to cover the cost of his mount.

The katastasis must be paid back on leaving the cavalry, unless the mount is killed on active service. Horses are regularly inspected through a dokimasia, performed by a council. Horses that fail the dokimasia are branded on the jaw with the sign of a wheel. Those riders who pass the review are entered into the sanides (“chalk boards”), which are passed on to the taxiarchs, who control the infantry regiments.

Hippei are at their most powerful when mounted. When astride a horse, they have no parallel in battle. They can also inspire their lessers and lead them into combat.

Hippei are elite warriors, so it only makes sense that they worship the gods of war. Those who enjoy the slaughter venerate Ares, while those who strive to act with noble dignity worship Athena. Hippei also worship Poseidon as the originator of all horses Only the best and brightest warriors join the Hippei.

Their task is vital; they must protect the king in battle.

Some Hippei are Olympic victors first, guaranteeing the attention of the three sub-commanders that choose who becomes a Hippeus.

Hippei are common only amongst those species that have horses. Centaurs make the ideal Hippeus, since man and equine are one. Few other species ride horses, although Myrmidons and Sparti are sufficiently similar to humans to adopt mounted combat as their weapon of choice.

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics.

Born To The Saddle

Starting at 3rd level, your mastery as a rider becomes apparent. You have advantage on saving throws made to avoid falling off your mount. If you fall off your mount and descend no more than 10 feet, you can land on your feet if you’re not incapacitated. Finally, mounting or dismounting a creature costs you only 5 feet of movement, rather than half your speed.

Forced March

At 7th level, whether mounted or on foot, your travel pace is doubled, as is the travel pace of up to ten companions while they’re within 60 feet of you and you’re not incapacitated.

Remarkable Athlete

Starting at 10th level, you can add half your proficiency bonus (rounded up) to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check you make that doesn’t already use your proficiency bonus. In addition, when you make a running long jump, the distance you can cover increases by a number of feet equal to your Strength modifier.

Javelin Defense

At 15th level, you learn to fend off strikes directed at you, your mount, or other creatures nearby. If you or a creature you can see within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack, you can roll 1d8 as a reaction if you’re wielding a melee weapon. Roll the die, and add the number rolled to the target’s AC against that attack. If the attack still hits, the target has resistance against the attack‘s damage. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (a minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Spear Charge

Starting at 18th level, you can run down your foes while mounted. If your mount moves at least 10 feet in a straight line right before attacking a creature and you hit it with the attack, that target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier) or be knocked prone. You can use this feature only once on each of your turns.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

5E RPG: Ancient Adventures. Copyright 2020, Mal and Tal, LLC; Author Michael Tresca.