So I popped in at the end of a one-shot that a friend was DMing and as they were finishing up one of the players in my Slaves of Troustar campaign asking me a weird out of the blue question.
“Hey I’m probably gonna level up soon to level 5 and I can get this Find Steed spell. It looks pretty cool and its says that the DM could allow all kinds of creatures and I was thinking cool. I really like to have a [I honestly can’t remember because it was a ridiculously overpowered creature.]”
I was ill-prepared for this out of the blue question and just said that I would have to take a look.
It turns out that Find Steed (D&D 5e Player’s Handbook p240) is a 2nd level conjuration that summons a spirit-like creature that bonds with its caster. The creature is intelligent and understands the commands of its master.
The steed is essentially a mount D&D 5e Player’s Handbook p198, 155-157, 181-182) that you can use in combat and on the trail. The creature has all the features of a mount but must have at least 6 intelligence.
Difference Between a Mount and Find Steed Creature
Unlike the basic mount, the steed and mount can can fight as one. Does that mean that the payer has their attack moves as well as the attack moves of their steed?
To me, it appears that considering the creatures intelligence, it could be considered independent and intelligent and would roll it’s own initiative if the creature is not mounted in battle. Because the creature was conjured by the paladin it is fair to say that the creature can be controlled by the player.
So, for example, your paladin could charge his warhorse into battle using Trampling Charge (D&D 5e Monster Manual p340) as an attack from the warhorse and then the Paladin would carry out their attack.
If the paladin mounts the creature in combat. AC of the Paladin and creature is not combined. The DM decides where the attack goes – on the paladin or the steed.
Choosing a Steed
For my campaign, steeds generally come from the basic list provided in the Player’s Handbook on page 240 of Find Steed: warhorse, pony, camel, elk or mastiff.
It would seem a little odd for a massive half-orc fighter to be riding a Mastiff into battle. I think the type of mount needs to depend on the size and weight of the character.
My human paladin in this game, would then need to choose from large beasts. Other beasts could be an option for the paladin but the beasts also need to keep their challenge rating under 1/2(100xp). So for example, the player could create a creature out of the basic form of a creature like a Giant Goat and call it a War Ox.
Of course, this limits the choice to non-flying creatures – don’t get me started on flying in D&D, ugh!
I also think that a creature summoned by the paladin should be relevant to their experience. They are not going to summon an emu into battle if they have not seen one before.
Finally, steeds are for riding. I think it is unfair to summon a steed you couldn’t possibly ride in a cramped dungeon just to give you a little edge.
How to Deal With an Over Powered Conjuring In-Game
Just tell the paladin that their skill and purity to the cause was not yet suitable enough for them to summon such an exotic creature. With time and dedication they may be able to call forth such a creature but in the meantime, here’s a three-legged donkey names Rufus.