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A level 5 paladin gains the spell-like ability special mount that, in part, says that "the paladin may release a particular mount from service (if it has grown too old to join her crusade, for instance)" (Player's Handbook 44).

When such a mount is released from service, does the paladin first employ his spell-like ability to bring before her the mount then take a free action (as if to dismiss the mount) to release the mount on the Material Plane right there in front of her, the mount thereafter acting of its own accord? (As a spell-like ability of the calling subschool, the mount gains "the one-time ability to return to its plane of origin, although the spell[-like ability] may limit the circumstances under which this is possible" (173), but the creature doesn't have to use that one-time ability, like, right away or anything!)

Or is releasing such a mount from service a mental—or even spiritual—act that takes some indeterminate amount of time (metaphorically) off-screen so that the old, released mount remains in the celestial realm and a newer mount appears when the paladin next employs her spell-like ability special mount?

Or is releasing a mount from service done in some entirely different way?


Note: Ultimately, I'm uninterested in the special mount ability of the paladin per se and, instead, interested in the identical ability of the City of Splendors: Waterdeep prestige class knight of the Blue Moon (81–4) and like classes that lack the paladin's considerable baggage (so that other nongood monsters might be options). Don't get too hung up on the alignment or code implications of possible outcomes. Consider, instead, paladin as a placeholder for any class with the special mount spell-like ability.

See, I'm doing a bit of world-building and trying to figure out where monsters come from. I'm considering the spell-like ability special mount as one origin of the setting's monsters. That is, if a dismissed special mount can opt to remain on the Material Plane, a by-the-book campaign setting may be populated by any number of celestial heavy warhorses, giant eagles, giant owls, unicorns, and other creatures that were called as mounts then immediately released from service at the rate of one per day per each of the setting's high-level paladins et al. since the dawn of paladinhood (or since the dawn of the Knighthood of the Blue Moon or, y'know, whatever). (This DM can imagine a high-level paladin that's hopelessly stuck ruling a kingdom ("I must wear the crown for the greatest good, but it's so boring being queen!") using her otherwise pointless summon mount special ability for just such a purpose!)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last paragraph indicates to me that you need to do a little Bottom Line Up Front work in the body of your question. Please take a look at what you really really want and move it into a separate section, or fold it into the main body of the question. (BTW, interesting question, yet another HICC productions quality product. :-) ) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 19 '18 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I rearranged the note. Since the question isn't really paladin-specific and the only answer so far is, I figured maybe it'd be best to put that higher up. That work for you? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 19 '18 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, looks good. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 19 '18 at 12:15
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The D20 SRD and the Player's Handbook only say that a special mount can be released from service at any time, "The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the paladin may release a particular mount from service." There isn't anything official published by wizards with any additional verbiage about releasing mounts.

I think this is up to the Dungeon Master to adjudicate. Gaining a special mount required a special quest in 1st and 2nd-Edition AD&D. Releasing a mount from service should probably be a special ritual in which the mount is summoned by the paladin and then formally released. However, the paladin isn't required to do so.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Michael, Welcome to RPG.SE. If you take the tour and visit the help center you'll see that a Q&A site in the SE model is not a discussion forum. Since HeyICanChan asked about D&D 3.5e in particular, it would be best to frame your answer within that edition of the game's rules/texts/rulings/game experience you have had. Please revise your answer to address the question as asked, which is regarding the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Once again, welcome, and we hope you'll check out some of the other Q&A on topics of interest to you. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 18 '18 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this answer: it's not canonically described in the rules, which means it's left to the DM to the adjudicate. I find it reasonable to draw on the lore of earlier editions to suggest ways the DM might best rule on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Jun 19 '18 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard Thing is, the answer doesn't demonstrate much 3.X research. I really am comfortable with referring to an earlier edition's lore when no current answer's present, but first I gotta know that in the nearly-a-decade's worth of 3.X canonical material that this issue went unaddressed. I think this answer offers a solution, but I don't know if it's the solution. (That and I find the concluding sentence a bit judgy, implying as it does that the sole possible outcome of a reading with which the answer disagrees is Munchkin-level shenanigans.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 19 '18 at 1:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I removed the aforementioned sentence that some people viewed as being judgmental. I apologize if any offense was taken. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Bastian Jun 20 '18 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ (O, no offense taken—I've been accused of being a munchkin far more directly and not been offended by it! :-) However, I was worried that others more thin-skinned thank I might shun answering the question in the affirmative for fear of being accused of munchkinism. That is, were the answer to've traced how munchkinnery would result because of the ruling, I'd've been totally on board and not even mentioned it!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 20 '18 at 16:58

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