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In our Curse of Strahd campaign, the group's Paladin has just hit level 5 and is requesting that I, as the DM, would allow him to summon a Giant Owl for his Find Steed spell.

The spell does say "Your DM might allow other animals to be summoned as steeds"; however, none of the creatures listed have flying speeds, and I'm afraid allowing this might result in unbalanced encounters. That plus the Giant Owl's 60-foot flying speed and Flyby ability essentially eliminating opportunity attacks sounds ripe for exploits.

Are my worries accurate? Would allowing a flying creature for Find Steed cause problems?

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It doesn't break anything, but it is a misuse of the spell level

Allowing a flying steed for Find Steed breaks the balance of the 4th Level Find Greater Steed. A Paladin has to wait until 13th Level to get Find Greater Steed, but in this case they get the flying aspect at 5th Level.

It isn't any more broken than giving the Paladin a Broom of Flying at Level 5. It's powerful, but not game-breaking.

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