Find Steed – Second Level Paladin Spell

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’m on a horse! No, I can’ fly!

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.

Hey! I found yer steed!


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Wood Elf Hermit Druid – Slaves of Troustar Character Back Story

This is an example back story for the D&D 5e campaign, Slaves of Troustar.Lint to Slaves of Troustar Contents Page

Return to Pregame

You in the World

You know little of the world outside your special part of the forest. You know the capital of the elven empire Myrast lies across Lake Holoust to the east and even you have heard of the multicultural hotpot of Ac Rumb in the Vesluvian Empire.

Something has been troubling your forest of late. You can’t put your finger on it, it is more of a subtle scent – no stench on the wind that knots at your stomach. Your desire for your peaceful home and your curiosity conflict with each other until you awake one night in a sweat. You need to move…the nose out the abnormalities…the wrong. You leave your forest home set between Holoust Lake and the Brafous Range and head South for the first time out beyond the protection of the great elven forest of Alastian and into the realm of dwarf and human.

You make your way south across the great Melefous River and over the Garuhm Range and into the Turm Forest. In the Turm Forest you notice what could be described as a smugglers track recently used. You follow…

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Forest Gnome Wizard – Slaves of Troustar Character Back Story

This is an example back story for the D&D 5e campaign, Slaves of Troustar.Lint to Slaves of Troustar Contents Page
Return to Pregame

You in the World

Leaving behind your homeland, the hidden maze of burrows on the forested foothills of the Pinnacle Mountains, you make your first small step west to the great city of Ac Rumb. Your small band, known as the Tink, inhabit the northern edge of the Palarah Forest. Further south lies the mighty dwarven kingdom of Todimn. To the northwest rests Lake Holoust and upon its edges the beautiful elven city of Myrast. To the east are the forgotten territories – Once might civilisations lost in ruin and decay.

Most gnomes prefer to concentrate on their own projects and bother themselves only with the lives of those in their villages, but as a rare magic user and adept study of life you have chosen to read well of the world and take the subtle clues that cling to the tales of the simple creatures that pass your lands to advances your awareness of the goings on on the borders of your home.

You have noticed in recent times that these communes with the forest animals seem to be unnaturally vivid, foretelling strange things like changes in weather or visits from other members of nearby gnomish burrows. The engineer minded of your village have put these visions down to nothing more than your overexercised observant mind. They jest, as gnomes are want to do, that you have your nose in every corner of the village sniffing for honey, and the occasional murmur of the term ‘sticky beak’ makes you wonder if the it is a referenced to you. It would give you a good chuckle if it did.

But there has to be something more to all of this. It can’t be just the muddlings of old age. Especially, the day you found the offer of adventure to that hotbed of culture Ac Rumb. As you picked up that flyer a surge of energy set you square on your fanny. It was a telling.

You read on. Meh! Young traveller, you thought. Your a gnome you have always been young at heart. It’s time to make farewells and set off for a journey like no other.

What has your life given you? What secrets do you hold? Why did you decide to take this journey?

Ac Rumb

Your centuries on terra firma, the many books you have collected and the whisperings on the wind have given you a pretty good grasp of the goings on of Ac Rumb, though that grasp may be a little dated and strongly biased towards animals.

You recall a scrap of text you had managed to squirrel away some time ago. You can’t recall where you got it from, but it appeared to be a page out of a history book of the Vesluvian Empire. You hurry back home and dive into you collection (no doubt the dive was quite literal for a gnome). There it is! It isn’t on Ac Rumb exactly but is is on it’s ruler. Close enough!

Wide-eyed you read:

Lord Vecevious – Patrician of Ac Rumb

Since the disappearance of the Mad King Jelofar of the Vesluvian Empire some fifty years previous, Lord Vecevious has reigned as patrician until an heir to the throne is found to replace him.

Since the patrician took power, peace has reigned over the kingdom and a peace of varying degrees has been forged with Vesluvia’s neighbors.

Benevolent? Arguably. Dictator? Absolutely. Lord Vecevious’ takes a unique approach to the care of his kingdom. Rarely seen by his subjects, his policies reflect an eye in every corner of the world that gradually adds to the prosperity of the kingdom and its capital of Ac Rumb. Unlike the crazy spectacle of violence of his former King in response to defiance of the laws of the kingdom, Lord Vecevious takes a more subtle approach. If a threat to the state occurs, the perpetrators just tend to go…missing indefinitely…forever.

Of course there is still crime in the city. There would be no Thieves Guild without it. However, crime in the great city could almost be considered, controlled. As many a commoner would say in the Bleak District, “Ain’t noten wrong with a bit o crime now and then. Keep too’er many visit’ers away and the rest o-us sharp!”

There is little known of Lord Vecevious’ past and what is known is little more than conjecture. Some say he was the fabled, Black, from the Assassin’s guild. Others believed he was the spymaster for both King Jelofar and his father. Whatever else, his claim to Patrician of Ac Rumb was absolute and with little conflict (that wasn’t dealt with swiftly, quietly and mysteriously.)

His age is another conundrum. He has been in power for the past 50 years but on the rare occasion of his public visits has not appeared to age. His tall thin form may give credence to elvish mixed into his human blood but his features are distinctly human which leads others to believe his longevity is a result of some magical influence. …

Your Story Begins

The pain of leaving your burrow that has hung around you during the first several weeks of your journey has suddenly vanished as the great spires of the city of Ac Rumb rise before you.

Even on the outer edge of the city before the outer walls you notice homes, shops, warehouses and more. You delight to find pockets of small small city gardens and vegetable gardens bent around spare pockets of land.

You increase your pace as you spin your head around trying to take in every aspect of this city. A few times you have even tripped over your own feet in your enthusiasm to glimpse it all. You had never been beyond the burrows, of what could loosely be described at the gnomish state, before and the small alien towns and villages that have dotted the path to the city along the Limo Q’esso Road pale in comparison.

Ahead lays the blue-Gray eastern gates protruding from the earth like giants teeth. High above the walls reaches a great tower vibrating a purple glow of magic. A magician’s school, you wonder. Would they let you visit? No time to worry about that, you think. You need to find the Butcher’s Arm first.

Half Elf Water Monk – Slaves of Troustar Character Back Story

This is an example back story for the D&D 5e campaign, Slaves of Troustar.Lint to Slaves of Troustar Contents Page
Return to Pregame

You in the World

You embark from Mia Partis heading northeast aboard a small open deck merchant vessel to the mighty centre of culture, Ac Rumb. A lifetime in the Monastery of O has filled you with the refreshing clarity that an only absolute devotion to the element of water can provide. This devotion to the mysteries of O, arduous training in it its secret arts and long hours of contemplation, have prepared you well for a life in the order but not a life in the world. The final step in your novitiate is to embark and explore the world. Is there are secret mission you must undertake or were you sent merely to experience the world and return when the water calls you? Or was there another reason…?

Your small monastery rests on one of the tiny delta islands that make up the river town of Mia Partis. Your monastery’s island is known by the locals as Reg A’sm. Loosely translated from the old tongue this means, shuddering eruption. It was thought, that centuries ago when the first pilgrims of the order of O appeared in Mia Partis and used their powerful ki energy on the waters of the delta to erupt forth the island causing the lands to convulse and shudder.

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Pregame for Slaves of Troustar

003 PregameLint to Slaves of Troustar Contents Page

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Pregame Introduction

Slaves of Troustar sets each player out on their own path. Each starting player discovers a poster inviting them to travel to Ac Rumb and join a party for adventure, fame and fortune.

Top Secret Note: When players first meet they will know nothing of each other and barely be able to tell what their companions look like let alone their race, class and background. This means that there can be no game Zero for the players and the Dungeon Master.

Instead, preparation for the game starts with a short correspondence between players and the DM. I recommend that after you receive a reply from the initial invitation you take some time and take a look at the map and history to place characters in the world.

The invitation

Before the game, players are sent an invitation. The invitation contains a poster that their character finds and some further details on character creation.

Try an get the invitations sent out at least a week before you start your game. This will give you some time to prepare some of the characters backgrounds. Also make sure you get your players to respond to your invitation ASAP.

Invitation to Slaves of Troustar

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Dead of Winter Provides Some Pretty Good Ideas for D&D Campaigns

Just getting started for our game of Dead of Winter. I hope I don’t get Sparky.

Sparky the wonder dog?! Faark…That’s it, I’m gonna get this bushy tailed little bastard topped! I send sparky out of the colony deftly avoiding the zombies mounting at the door. I’m not going to waste a fuel card on this mongrel. How would he realistically use it?

On the way to the hospital, Sparky finds a pole to pee on. The pole turns out to be the legs of a zombie. In retaliation, the zombie groans and tries rip apart Sparky’s hind legs incurring one would token. Sparky yelps in pain and instinctively turns on his attacker with a snarling bite taking off the wrist of his attacker.

Ewh!!! That must taste awful, but then again Sparky can occasionally be found savouring the truffle-like delights of cat poo.

Sparky yelps away making his way to the Hospital where he encounters one of the survivor that I control, the red headed siren of innocence Janet Taylor (Get it? Get it? Hurh, hurh, hurh…oh nevermind.), who has yet again fallen down.  Clumsy bugger. At least she knows where the good meds are.

Meanwhile, Sparky’s launched himself at the neck of another zombie. Crushing it in his maw. As he starts to develop a taste for zombie marrow, another zombie lurches mouth first at Sparky, taking a chunk out of his hind quarter. Sparky yelps again, zombie neck escaping his mouth, as he leaps through the now opened door as Janet fends off the other zombie. 

Good job Sparky. Have another wound.

While this is happening, hippy fortune teller, Talia Jones, is rummaging through the Grocery Store for supplies. She goes into the back office and finds a med kit in the store manager’s office. A headless clerk lies on the ground nearby. Talia rifles through the clerks pockets. Sweet! In the clerk’s jean pockets she finds a small bag of dried mushrooms.

Talia takes a small one out and chomps down. Holy shitballz. This is some serious stuff. Her spirit leaves her body and drifts over the town. She can see what is going to happen next. Drool running from her mouth, she fumbles for her hand radio pressing the call button to radio to the colony. “More Fuel,” is all she could say before drifts deeper into her trip.

Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter is a table-top cooperative survival board game for 2 to 5 players. The premise is simple, as a small colony of survivors, you must help each other to survive after a zombie apocalypse.

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Hobo – Monster

Hobo – Homebrew  Monster – D&D 5e

Below is a copy of a homebrew Hobo monster. I am using this NPC for my campaign Slaves of Troustar. In play-testing these stats came ups pretty go against my players who were level one, unarmed and unarmoured (long story).

Why there was no Hobo in the D&D Monster Manual 5e is beyond me. You really haven’t lived until you have got into a fight with a hobo.

The Hobo doesn’t really have much skill considering their constant state of inebriation. However, due to the numbing factors of the booze, their constitution is generally better than most commoners.

The only ability that the Hobo has is Why Has The Rum Gone which gives the Hobo advantage on attack rolls on any who have hidden or are in possession of their booze.

Fistycuffs is their weapon attack. As the name suggests, it is bludgeon damage from fists with a 1d4 Hit.

I modified a Challenge Rating Sheet created by Krispy KremeGuy if you want to give it a go yourself. It doesn’t Challenge Rate monsters with a CR of zero, but it is easy to modify.


Warlock – Three Times I Found Mask of Many Faces Useful

Warlock – Eldritch Invocations – Mask of Many Faces(Disguise Self)

At first, I really didn’t think that non-combat spells were all that useful compared to the immediate need of a combat spell, particularly in what was turning out to be mostly a dungeon crawl. However, I wanted to stay true to my character so upon reaching second level my half-elf Warlock, Sagan Bra’el acquired the mastery of Mask of Many Faces.

In the D&D Player’s Handbook 5e p.107, Warlocks at level two begin to learn fragments of forbidden knowledge know as Eldritch Invocations. At this level you uncover two invocations and at higher levels you get more. Most invocations are available unless they have a prerequisite. For example, at level one,my character Sagan learnt the cantrip Eldritch Blast (p237). Eldritch Blast is a prerequisite for the Eldritch Invocation, Agonizing Blast (p110) which allows the Warlock to add its Charisma modifier to the damage it deals.

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A Fitting Death: Do We Always Need to Live to Save the Day?

Dungeons and Dragons 5e

The Story

I send a message to my DM letting him know I am going for the Rod of Ruin. My note reads simply:

My mistress compels me to seek the Rod of Ruin, I have no choice but to follow her command.

Careful to make sure some of the metagamers in the group don’t see me, I slip the note to the DM. Distracted by the euphoric end to game, my companions don’t see the hand over.

This Kalarel bugger is a right nasty fellow.

Kalarel, the arch nemesis of our campaign, was almost dead and I made the first of my dex(stealth) rolls. Being a -1 on Dexterity was no help, but my mistress Silussa was looking down on me this day. My first roll was an 18 followed by my second, a 17. I send another note to my DM giving him the results and telling him I can make it to the Rod in two turns.

On our second round, Kalarel is toast. I can’t even remember how he died. I was too focused. I needed the rod and then I had to get to the portal to Orcus.

We continue our round according to initiative. I don’t move my character so the metagamers don’t know where I am headed.

I quietly whisper to my DM that I have made it to the rod while my companions attempt to examine the room and try and destroy the portal to the Underworld, and Orcus. I make a strength check of 15, plus 1 for my strength modifier. It should be enough. Let’s see what the Dungeon Master thinks.

Orcus, Lord of the Undead.
Orcus, Lord of the Undead.

I scratch out a note as the party attempt to make Medicine and History checks. They must get 8 successful check before they make 3 failures. They are up to 3 successes and 1 failure right now. I palm the message to the DM:

I’m gonna make a run for the mirror and try and jump through.

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Of Prodding, Procrastination and Noncompliance

“So let me go down and take a look. I have this cool ability call Mask of Many Faces (a glorified Disguise Self, but for Warlocks) that I can cast at will and it lasts for about an hour. I reckon I can have a bit of a look around and case out the joint. You know, see what we might be up against.” I manage to get this out among the competing ideas of this massive party of seven. I’m starting to learn when there pauses are in this particular group and figure out what words to say to get them motivated to do a task – which is good because my charisma is supposed to be the shiz. So now, here I am and they have all stopped talking and are all staring at me waiting for me to explain.

A cat sauntering away from an explosion.
This is pretty much the result of our past encounters. Only, that fireball is fuelled by other party members.

Bugger, I don’t really know what to say. I often don’t get this far. Imagine if house cats could play Dungeons and Dragons. Come on, look deep. Think about their behaviour. That’s it. There you go, that’s us. We are far from a cohesive group of players. First, our characters are pretty diverse and the sheer number of chaotic good/neutral in our groups suggest that these lone wolf-kittens would much prefer to go it alone.
Okay, here goes, “Look, I will be extra careful and I certainly won’t engage.”
“If you start attacking something in there, I’m just going to leave you there to rot. I’m sick of people not following to plan and thinking they can take on any battle only to realise that they are, once again dead,” Our gruff dwarven cleric mutters, with no small amount of out of character irritance in her voice.
I empathise with her, I really do. We have a problem. Our party really finds it difficult to comprehend the concept of reconnaissance. You know, having a sneaky peak of the baddies, or maybe testing their strength a little before withdrawing (without having used a spell slot) to come up with a solid plan.
For some of our party, they blame our utter inability to follow instruction, which is hilariously ironic considering we are all teachers. And this is quite true, but I think there are a few other things at play here too and they all result in one thing – boredom.

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