Paladin’s and famous mounts go waaay back in Dungeons and Dragons. They go way back in history, to be honest. Napoleon had Marengo, Alexander the Great had Bucephalus, Zeus had Pegasus (as in, the original), Odin had Sleipnir, and the Lone Ranger had Silver.
While their paladin status is debatable, the point is that famous warriors and their mounts go way back. (This also means that Shadowfax is a good reason why Gandalf could be a Paladin. Technically, Drizzt’s panther follows the rules of Find Greater Steed, even though he may not have been a paladin.)
But what about those legendary heroes whose mounts were a bit more impressive than regular horses? Not just Odin and Zeus but also Queen Mab, who rides a unicorn; the dragon riders of fantasy; or even Aang, who rides Appa?
Heroic steeds are a staple in fantasy, just like famous cars and ships can be a staple in Science Fiction (Kit from Knight Rider or even The Bebop). This spell is how Dungeons and Dragons 5e makes that happen for these reputation-based and charisma-based heroes. This post is a breakdown of not only the spell but the various ways you can use it as a player and as a DM in Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
Find Greater Steed
- Casting Time: 10 Minutes
- Range: 30 ft.
- Duration: Instantaneous
- School: Conjuration
- Class: Paladin
- Level: 4th
- Damage/Effect :Summoning
- Attack/Save: None
- Components: V, S
- Ritual / Concentration: No
You summon a spirit that assumes the form of a loyal, majestic mount. Appearing in an unoccupied space within range, the spirit takes on a form you choose: a griffon, a pegasus, a peryton, a dire wolf, a rhinoceros, or a saber-toothed tiger. The creature has the statistics provided in the Monster Manual for the chosen form, though it is a celestial, a fey, or a fiend (your choice) instead of its normal creature type. Additionally, if it has an Intelligence score of 5 or lower, its Intelligence becomes 6, and it gains the ability to understand one language of your choice that you speak.
You control the mount in combat. While the mount is within 1 mile of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. While mounted on it, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target the mount.
The mount disappears temporarily when it drops to 0 hit points or when you dismiss it as an action. Casting this spell again re-summons the bonded mount, with all its hit points restored and any conditions removed.
You can’t have more than one mount bonded by this spell or Find Steed at the same time. As an action, you can release a mount from its bond, causing it to disappear permanently. Whenever the mount disappears, it leaves behind any objects it was wearing or carrying.
Spell Tags: Summoning
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 156
Who Should Cast This Spell?
Other than simply “Paladins,” you should cast this spell if you are typically a mounted combatant. While, yes, you could technically cast this spell if you simply need a ride, it would be a bit like hunting roaches with a pistol. It’s too big of a weapon for your target.
If you just need a ride somewhere, use the lesser form of this spell to get a horse. The only benefit to using this spell would be that you could fly straight to your destination, but unless you absolutely need to fly, don’t bother. If 8 hours in a regular saddle is rough, what about 8 hours in the saddle when you’re 2,000 feet off the ground? I’ve got two words for you: clench and chafe. Ugh.
Use this spell if you are a mounted combatant. Here is a brief recap of that feat:
You are a dangerous foe to face while mounted. While you are mounted and aren’t incapacitated, you gain the following benefits:
- You have advantage on melee attack rolls against any unmounted creature that is smaller than your mount.
- You can force an attack targeted at your mount to target you instead.
If your mount is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw and only half damage if it fails.
Tags: BUFF, WARDING
Player’s Handbook, pg. 168
You can see that taking this feat will make you want to be mounted all the time; so, the better your mount, the better your combat ability.
If mounted combat is your thing, then you definitely want to take this spell as soon as you can and cast it every chance you get.
When Should I Cast This Spell?
Every chance you get.
The steed does not disappear unless it gets below 0 Hit Points. That means the steed remains active and in play for as long as it has Hit Points, so it will persist day after day
until you sacrifice it for yourself unless it falls in an epic battle.
Which Steed Is the Best?
For now, let’s talk about the list of steeds available and how you can choose which one you would rather have from a mechanical perspective. For a roleplaying and flavor perspective, scroll down.
You’ve got some decisions to make since no steed is obviously better than any other. What matters here is your position on the battlefield.
Among the fliers, the Pegasus has the greater speed and more HP than a Peryton, but it doesn’t have the special attacks of a Peryton or the multiattack of a Griffon. The Peryton can do some heavy damage, but you are fairly close to the battle and can’t escape as quickly as the others. The Griffon is not as fast as the Pegasus but gets more attacks.
Therefore, if you are a mounted and ranged combatant, consider the Pegasus, but if you want to do high damage with a dive bomb early on and then drop to the ground while your mount continues to harry your opponent, choose the Peryton. If you could go either way, pick the Griffon.
The land-based steeds have a similar balance to maintain. Will you be mounted? Pick the mount with the best defense and offense that doesn’t need a whole lot of space to charge and maneuver: the Saber-Tooth Tiger. If you will be alongside your mount, the Dire Wolf will be the better combatant, although the Rhinoceros will add girth and help you dominate the battlefield — not to mention what they can do in a charge.
For a More Flavorful Mount…
No, you can’t eat your mount. It disappears when it gets to 0 Hit Points — you bad-bad paladin, you.
I’m talking about that feeling when you look at the list and think, ‘”That’s an arbitrary list of monsters, and to be honest I think it’s silly. I want to ride something else!” There is a way to handle this. All of the creatures in the Find Greater Steed spell are CR 2 creatures that are not humanoids.
Therefore, you could simply negotiate the ability to have any CR 2 creature as a greater steed, provided it fits with your character’s flavor. Dinosaur Skeletons, Giant Crawfish, Cave Bears, Dragonnels, Sharks, or maybe even an Animated Ballista, if you can talk your DM into it, could work. As CR 2s, they shouldn’t upset game balance too much.
Alternatively, you could simply use the stats for a creature listed in the spell and re-skin it to be what you’d like to mount (Stop laughing. No, you are being childish!). If you’d really like to ride a small dragon, simply take the stats for a Pegasus or a Griffon and say it looks like a dragon. Easy-peasy.
Common Questions About Find Greater Steed
We get a lot of random questions about every topic here at the Citadel, so I pulled all the archives I could find about Find Greater Steed and put them here for you!
What Level Do Paladins Get a Greater Steed?
This is a 4th-level paladin spell, so you will gain access to it at 13th-level paladin. This is good because in Tier III is when you start to get really flashy and start working on what makes you memorable and legendary in your universe. Consider Tier I to be your origin story. Tier II is when you start a reputation, and Tier III is when you start working on your legacy. Part of that legacy could be a famous steed.
Can You Cast Find Steed and Find Greater Steed at the Same Time?
No. The description of Find Greater Steed clearly says any other steed you summon disappears when you cast this spell.
Does the Steed Disappear After a Rest?
No. The steed remains until it reaches 0 Hit Points, which means it could stay alive for as long as you take good care of it.
Can I Sacrifice the Steed?
Yes! You can place the steed between you and danger. The steed does not necessarily die, it just disappears until summoned again. But you can’t eat the steed or sacrifice it to feed starving children. It disappears after 0 Hit Points, so the only way you could eat it and not have it disappear from your stomach is to keep it alive and eat it slowly … provided that doesn’t break your paladin oath…
Can I Fight the Steed for XP?
That’s up to your DM, but I would say no. Full Stop. If you were at my table, I would spray you with my Bad Player Spray like I would any other beloved pet who misbehaved.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.