Find Steed – DM’s Pocket Guide
Welcome to DM’s Pocket Guide, where we discuss the rules, spells, and monsters of Dungeons and Dragons, 5th edition.
Tricia: Alright, today we are going to talk about the spell “Find Steed” on page 240 of the Player’s Handbook.
Rachel: Do do dooo! That’s me finding a steed.
T: Your little steed horn. This was a spell that, when I played my first paladin, I didn’t realize how awesome it was for a long time! Then I was like, “I could have been riding a horse this whole time?”
R: Yeah, once your paladin remembers that they can use “Find Steed,” it’s very hard to get them off the horse, or whatever creature it is they choose to summon.
T: Yes, exactly. This is a second level conjuration spell, and it takes ten minutes to cast.
R: Oh, right. So it’s not like, *snap* “Ah, there’s my steed!”
T: No, you’ve got to prepare this. You’ve got to be in a space where you can prepare it, so it’s unlikely that in the midst of battle you will be finding a steed.
R: Mmhm, it’s something you have to prepare before.
T: Yeah. The range is 30 feet, so the steed will appear near you. You can’t summon it away from you – makes sense. It’s both verbal and somatic components.
R: So you can only do it if you are able to speak and move. You couldn’t be bound and gagged in a castle somewhere and be like, “Well, I’ll summon my steed to help me out of this.”
T: No, that won’t work. This part is a bit confusing. In the book it says that the duration is instantaneous. So as a DM you need to be looking out for that. If a player is like, “Well, I instantaneously cast this!” No, it takes 10 minutes to cast. Instantaneous means, this is going to last for as long as it lasts. It’s weirdly phrased.
R: Yeah, that’s not really the right word for it. This lasts until it’s either dismissed or is reduced to zero hit points, and apparently that is covered by the word “instantaneous.”
T: Yeah, it’s not great. So! The way that this works is you summon a spirit that assumes the form of an unusually intelligent, strong and loyal steed, creating a long lasting bond with it. So all you horse girls out there are going to be real excited about this! Uh, I’m not even a horse girl, and I’m really excited about this! It appears in an unoccupied space within range. The steed can take on these forms: it could be a warhorse, a pony, a camel, an elk, or a mastiff. And the book helpfully says that your DM can allow other things if they want to.
R: Yeah, players will usually want whatever critter that they want to ride into battle.
T: Yup. So this is a spirit, so that means that these steeds are either celestial, fey or fiend. The player gets to choose. And they have the statistics of the creature.
R: Okay, so thinking about that celestial, fey or fiend – you might think, “Oh, well why would this matter?” If the regular form of that creature, let’s say a warhorse, for example, that would be a beast. It no longer counts as a beast, so spells that affects beasts or – they wouldn’t work on this. Whatever form it’s taking, like celestial. I know paladins have that –
T: Detect good and evil?
R: Something like that – divine sense! This horse will now show up if the paladin detects…uses their divine sense.
T: Yeah, so it’s just a little thing, but it’s good flavour. And I think as a DM, you could take that choice and run with it. Additionally, even though it does have its traditional stat block, the steed’s intelligence cannot be lower than 6, so it will be bumped up if it was lower.
R: Ah, so it’s a super smart horse.
R: I’m going to be holding conversations with this guy. It’s gonna be, like, playing chess in a tavern!
T: Yeah, it’s the Mr. Ed of steeds. Um, no, unfortunately even though it does gain the ability to understand one language of your choice that you speak, an intelligence of 6 is still lower than the lowest option of the standard array.
R: Oh, that’s true. It’s like a minus 2 modifier?
T: Yes. I did find online someone had written examples of what this would look like, and with an intelligence of 6, it’s still – you might understand the language, but you misunderstand words, and you misremember words often. So this would be a steed that gets words mixed up sometimes. You tell it to do something – “Go right!” – he goes left.
R: So it’s like taking three classes of French or Spanish? It’s really good at nouns but doesn’t have any idea how to make a sentence?
T: Yes! That’s a great way to look at it. So your steed serves you as a mount, both in combat and out, and we’re going to have a separate episode on mounted combat, so we’ll deal with that there. When your steed drops to zero hit points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form because it is a spirit.
T: You can also dismiss your steed as an action at any time, which will also make it disappear.
R: That will probably never happen. They will never want to get rid of their steed.
T: You can cast this spell again to summon the same steed, restoring its hit points to its maximum. So the other big thing is that while your steed is within one mile of you, you can communicate with each other telepathically. Once again – with limited language! I have had a player who wanted to send their warhorse on a reconnaissance mission, telepathically communicating with each other and feedback and information to the player, and I hadn’t read this spell carefully, so I was like, “Yeah, I guess! But this feels like a very easy way to break the world.” So lean hard into that language is still very difficult.
R: For sure.
T: Also, you cannot have more than one steed bonded by this spell at a time.
R: Not multiple steeds? I can’t have a team of carriage horses?
T: That would be amazing, but no. You have to have a team of paladins, all with their own steeds!
R: Oh, right, yeah. I just need to be friends with a bunch of paladins.
T: That is “Find Steed” on page 240 of the Player’s Handbook.
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