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I am examining niche ways to cast Find Steed. I'm specifically interested in ones that don't require me to take levels in Bard, Thief Rogue, Wizard, or Paladin.

I had the idea that I could True Polymorph into a creature that has the Use Magic Device ability, or access to the Paladin spell list, and then cast Find Steed off of a paladin scroll.

background reference: What creatures can cast spells from spell scrolls?

Question

Is it even viable in theory that a character without access to paladin spells uses True Polymorph to turn into a creature who can use paladin spells, casts Find Steed from a scroll and then retains the summoned steed afterwards?

An important follow-up question: what is an example of a published creature able to use paladin spell scrolls? I want to satisfy the case where the DM insists that you need to have a published creature of some sort in order to cast True Polymorph.

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Yes, you can use those scrolls if the true polymorph form can

True polymorph states:

The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form. It retains its alignment and personality.

The class feature that allows the form to count as a paladin (or have the paladin's Spellcasting) for the purpose of magic items is included in the game statistics, so you gain them while under the effect of true polymorph.

This answer discusses why monsters with the Spellcasting special trait can use spell scrolls if their connected class spell list contains the spell on the scroll. The Introduction explains that this special trait works the same as the class feature in the Player's Handbook:

A monster with the Spellcasting class feature has a spellcaster level and spell slots, which it uses to cast its spells of 1st level and higher (as explained in the Player’s Handbook).

The monster has a list of spells known or prepared from a particular class... The monster is considered a member of that class when attuning to or using a magic item that requires membership in the class or access to its spell list.

One such monster for paladins is the Death Knight from the Monster Manual (you can use this D&D Beyond search to see all of the potential options, there may be some spoilers for adventure modules):

The death knight is a 19th-level spellcaster... It has the following paladin spells prepared:

Does a found steed persist?

The found steed will indeed persist and heed your commands as "you" have not become a different entity. You are merely assuming a different form:

If you turn a creature into another kind of creature, the new form...

However, the language the steed learns will have to be one that the new form speaks...

[the steed] gains the ability to understand one language of your choice that you speak.

since at the time where the steed gains the language, your ability to speak particular languages may change.

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Yes, your idea will work, but there are simpler ways to achieve the same thing.

Blackguards and Deathknights can cast paladin spells, so once you have True Polymorphed into such a creature, you can use paladin scrolls, and therefore cast Find Steed. You would retain the steed afterwards, as the steed only disappears when you either dismiss it or it drops to 0 hit points.

Depending on how your DM interprets True Polymorph, you could also simply polymorph into a 5th level paladin:

The new form can be any kind you choose whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target’s (or its level, if the target doesn’t have a challenge rating).

However, this is a really expensive way to cast Find Steed unless you're a 17th-level spellcaster or higher, as True Polymorph is a 9th level spell. Also, you don't have access to True Polymorph unless you are (or know) a wizard, warlock, or bard (and you don't want to play a bard).

Another idea: Spell Storing.

This would achieve the same thing in a different way, and might be accessible to you long before you're able to access 9th level spells like True Polymorph.

You'd need to find a Ring of Spell Storing, a Shield Guardian, or a Moonblade, and ask a friendly Paladin (or Thief or Bard) to cast Find Steed into the ring, guardian, or blade.

From the Ring of Spell Storing description:

Any creature can cast a spell of 1st through 5th level into the ring by touching the ring as the spell is cast. The spell has no effect, other than to be stored in the ring.

This would allow you to later cast Find Steed yourself:

While wearing this ring, you can cast any spell stored in it. The spell uses the slot level, spell save DC, spell attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the original caster, but is otherwise treated as if you cast the spell.

Third idea: Wish.

Why cast True Polymorph and waste a spell scroll when you can achieve the same thing using a different 9th level spell?

From the Wish spell's description:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

If you have access to 9th level spells anyway, why not simply wish for a steed?

Note that this idea will only work if you've taken levels in sorcerer or wizard.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 30 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good call on the Wish spell. As a DM, I would be much happier with a player who chose to use a Wish than one who tried to circumvent the class system. \$\endgroup\$ – Kristen Hammack Apr 30 at 19:59
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Yes, but maybe not like you're thinking...

You've asked us the following (bold added):

I had the idea that I could True Polymorph into a creature that has the Use Magic Device ability, or access to the Paladin spell list, and then cast Find Steed off of a paladin scroll...and then retains the summoned steed afterwards?

So the answer to the second part of this question is an an unambiguous "yes." You would absolutely retain the Steed indefinitely after casting this spell. But since you mentioned "afterwards", I want to clarify and make sure we're on the same page.

Casting Find Steed will take Concentration

Once Find Steed is cast, the stay with you without requiring you to spend Concentration (unlike some other summoning spells). However, the spell Find Steed has a casting time of 10 minutes. And ever since an errata to the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), the rules state (DMG, p. 200):

Spell Scroll:...Casting the spell by reading the scroll requires the spell’s normal casting time.

This is significant because True Polymorph is a concentration spell. And the rules for casting spells with "longer casting times" state (PHB, p. 203, bold added):

When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so. (see “Concentration” below).

Since you asked if you could True Polymorph into a creature, I assume that you intend to be the one who casts True Polymorph. If that's the case, then you'll be concentrating on it while transformed. So while you're True Polymorphed, you can't cast Find Steed from a scroll without ending concentration on True Polymorph.

Of course, you could just let True Polymorph's duration finish, and then cast Find Steed afterwards. But once True Polymorph duration is completed, its effects become permanent. What exactly that means could be subject to the views of your DM. The SRD (p. 185) claims that True Polymorph lasts "until dispelled", but this change has not made it into the PHB (in spite of numerous Erratas). So depending on which sources your DM is using or accepting (or how funny they think this dilemma might be) it might become difficult to change back!

Naturally, this could be circumvented by having someone else cast True Polymorph on you, thus permitting you to cast Find Steed while they concentrate on the transformation. But if you intend to cast both spells yourself, you may find things work a bit differently than you're expecting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting point! However, if nothing else, you can dispel True Polymorph by somehow taking enough damage to reduce yourself to 0 HP, at which point you revert to the HP you had before transformation. A DM could houserule differently, but that would be a houserule. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden May 1 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Interesting! I hadn't considered whether or not a creature would revert after hitting 0 hp if the change had become "permanent." Has that been addressed via its own question here? Seems like it deserves one. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 1 at 13:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Update: yes, this question has been asked before, (actually, it's been asked twice). While there is more than one available answer, the highest voted answers in both cases are that the creature doesn't revert upon reaching 0 hp if the spell has become "permanent." But that's just popular opinion: the issue is still ambiguous. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 3 at 19:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ That being said, Jeremy Crawford tweeted something that contradicts this ruling! He suggests that since the spell "has no effect on creatures with 0 hp", it ends on a creature with 0 hp even when permanent. So RAI is certainly in contrary to the way the rule is often read. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 3 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The SRD (p. 185) claims that True Polymorph lasts "until dispelled", but this change has not made it into the PHB (in spite of numerous Erratas)." - This is actually not true. Someone with the latest version of the PHB has confirmed for me that the latest PHB does say "until it is dispelled" - it's just yet another change, like the fighter's Action Surge and the Great Old One warlock's Awakened Mind, that was made to the PHB but not noted in the errata document for some reason. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 3 at 22:34
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I think David's answer handles the technical aspect of this question, and Apocalisp's answer handles the question of why you would use such a complicated method to achieve something that should be relatively simple.

But in general, I would suggest that you talk to your DM about what you want to do. When I DM, I'm usually amenable to interesting character choices that require a bit of class feature rework, such as having a wizard that has an affinity with animals switch a spell slot out for Find Steed. 5E is written to encourage roleplay over rules, and I like to embrace that.

Your statement of "I want to satisfy the case where the DM insists that you need to have a published creature" throws warning bells to me, since D&D is a collaborative effort between the DM and the players to create something mutually enjoyable (generally; yes I know there is a competitive scene also). Once again, talking to your DM (and other players) about the intended vibe of the game can keep things from going sour before they even start.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! (Though I see you've had an account for a while, this is your first answer here.) Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 1 at 1:01

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