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There are many ways to create new creatures in D&D 5e, one of which is animate objects which gives the player full control of the creatures when he/she uses a bonus action:

As a bonus action, you can mentally command any creature you made with this spell... You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor.

There seems to be no such language for Find Steed but does say:

Your steed serves you as a mount, both in combat and out, and you have an instinctive bond with it that allows you to fight as a seamless unit.

Does this mean that player does have full control of the steed or is it still an NPC and therefore under control of the DM?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related, if not dupe \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Mar 8 '18 at 2:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ben This is specific to what out-of-game person decides what actions, etc. the steed takes, not whether it is a controlled mount or independent mount. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 8 '18 at 2:10
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The description of find steed says:

You summon a spirit that assumes the form of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed, creating a long-lasting bond with it. [...] Additionally, if your steed has an Intelligence of 5 or less, its Intelligence becomes 6, and it gains the ability to understand one language of your choice that you speak. [...] While your steed is within 1 mile of you, you can communicate with it telepathically.

And according to Jeremy Crawford:

Find Steed summons a mount that is under the paladin's control, regardless of the mount's Intelligence.

And another relevant exchange:

Crawford: "Find steed: you can command your steed however you like while you're not mounted."

Twitter user: "excellent. And will it follow the commands to the best of its ability?"

Crawford: "Yes."

So in practice, the player would be in control of the steed's actions, at least when the caster is within a mile and able to command the steed. The spell doesn't specify what happens if the caster dies or is unconscious, so the DM would likely take control of it in that case; similarly, if the steed is more than 1 mile away and thus can't be commanded directly, it'd be reasonable for the DM to take control of it as long as it continued to obey the caster's most recent commands.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to note more explicitly that this means the character controls the mount directly, and so the player does not (re the title & question body) except insofar as they can have their character attempt to control the mount. This distinction is relevant because, unlike direct control, where the mount could be controlled independently and separately from the PC (just like a 2nd PC), the ability of the player to influence the mount is dependent on the mount being within command range of the PC. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 8 '18 at 2:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the player controls the character, and the character controls the mount, then the player controls the mount. If there's a situation where the player wouldn't control it, like you stated with range, then that's when command changes, and not before. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Mar 8 '18 at 23:33
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Yes ... and No

A summoned steed is not a player character, ergo it is a nonplayer character controlled by the DM.

Therefore the DM decides what it should do subject to the proviso that "serves you as a mount, both in combat and out, and you have an instinctive bond with it that allows you to fight as a seamless unit." How it serves you are decisions it (i.e. the DM) makes based on the "instinctive bond" and the intelligence (in the broadest sense) of the steed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If a character is not a player character than it is a nonplayer character. It is a well-formed dichotomy. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 8 '18 at 3:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron yes, a thing that isn't a thing is a non-thing covers pretty much everthing \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 8 '18 at 3:55

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