Jimothy Page is a level 20 bard. He learned the spell find greater steed with his 10th level Magical Secrets, and with his 18th level Magical Secrets, he selected time stop.

Find greater steed has an interesting feature that allows a spell that targets only the caster to also target the steed:

While mounted on it, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target the mount.

While riding his mount, a pegasus named Paul McCartNeigh, Jimothy casts time stop, a spell with a range of Self that states:

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.

This leads to the conundrum: either time stop targets only the caster, or it targets every creature in the universe, or possibly, time stop targets time itself. Thus, we really have two questions here:

  • "Does time stop count as a spell that only targets the caster so that it can be used together with find greater steed?"
  • "If so, how does it work?"

But, these questions can be summarized simply: What happens when a bard riding a found steed casts time stop?

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you clarify the conundrum here? "time stop, a spell with a range of Self" and "any spell you cast that targets only you also target the mount" seem to go wonderful together \$\endgroup\$
    – npst
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 14:24
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @npst lots of spells with a range of self seem to target other creatures. See this answer for a list. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want it to be only from 5e? The flavour in previous editions it was always you're moving so fast all other things appear to be still, but are actually going about their business normally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Warcupine
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 14:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Warcupine Yes, only 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related on Do spells with a range of self target the caster? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 18:29

5 Answers 5


You could target both yourself and your steed, but you'll have to be careful how you proceed

The question is a very interesting one, and mostly based on a semantic distinction. After all, if time were to speed up for you, or slow down (to the point of stopping) for everyone else, the experience of the two events would be virtually identical.

Fortunately, there are a number of sources of information that can help us conclude that Time Stop "targets only you."

Evidence Time Stop normally targets only the caster.

1.) It has a range of self

Now, there are certainly spells that have a Range of self which target more than one thing. Wish springs to mind, because it can create any number of effects that explicitly target something or someone other than the caster (e.g. it could be used to cast Fireball). Also, some spells like Blinding Smite (which has a range of self) explicitly mention a second "target" in their text, which means they do not target only themselves.

However, Time Stop not only has a range of self, it does not refer to anything else in its text as a "target" of the spell. While not conclusive, that's good evidence that it might be able to also target a found steed.

2.) There is consensus that it targets only the caster

There is a very related question on this stack: "Can a creature take turns as normal if they are inside an Antimagic Field while another creature casts Time Stop?" This cuts to the heart of the issue, as it is essentially asking whether other creatures are under the effect of the spell, or if the spell is only changing things for the caster.

In that question, there is consensus amongst the higher voted answers (like this and this, with more than 10 upvotes at the time of this posting) that the spell Time Stop is influencing the caster, not the people around them. While consensus is not firm evidence in and of itself (Galileo was right even when the majority was wrong), it does help our argument.

3.) Jeremy Crawford has given clarification that can help

The arguments in the higher voted answers linked above in point #2 rely on the idea that the caster is taking multiple turns simultaneously (within one turn), rather than everyone else doing nothing on their turns because they are frozen. This perspective is backed up by unofficial designer commentary. In a tweet, Jeremy Crawford stated:

Legendary Actions can be taken only at the end of another creature's turn, so they can't be taken while you're under the effect of the time stop spell, which involves you taking multiple turns in succession.

This indicates that other creatures are not taking multiple turns but doing nothing: rather the caster of Time Stop is taking multiple turns instantaneously. This wording implies that Time Stop is influencing only the caster: otherwise, other creatures’ turns would still be happening (they just would be doing nothing during those turns because they were immobilized).

Crawford has also given explicit (though unofficial) definition to the criteria of spells that are shared with a Found Steed:

Find steed: a spell you share with your steed must have a range of self (without an area) or target only you.

Time stop unambiguously has a range of self, without an associated area (unlike the spell Thunderwave which has an area of "Self, (15-foot cube)"). And the above points of evidence are helpful in determining that it also has no additional targets. So it seems to fit this (unofficial) criteria.

None of these points on their own are definitive: each is based on subjective or qualified evidence. But taken together, they make a fairly consistent argument that Time Stop targets only the caster, and thus could also target the caster's Found Steed.

So... why do I need to be careful?

Let's imagine that your bard character cast this spell, targeting both themselves and the Found Steed. Both of you would then be under the effects of the spell, and have to obey its rules. For example (PHB, p. 283, bold added):

This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you.

Now, a separate question arises: does this prohibition mean that the caster and steed's actions aren't allowed to affect each other? That is a bit less clear. One could make the argument that the "you" in the above sentence is meant to refer to the target of the spell, so both Caster and Mount are included, and thus are allowed to affect each other. On the other hand, a DM could rule that the "you" in that sentence refers to each being separately, and as such is a prohibition that applies to each.

It is also unclear whether the word "action" here refers to the Action which every creature can do once on their turn, or a more informal sense of the word. At first, it might seem obvious that it is intended to be the former: after all, the word "action" is used quite carefully in this game. However, it's possible that it is meant as the latter (and movement also is not allowed to affect other creatures): for example, a person casting Time Stop could try and steal an enemy's sword as part of their movement, arguing that they can interact with one object for free on their turns and that this doesn't use an action: but it's likely that a DM would overrule that idea, claiming that the influencing of an object being worn or carried by someone else is clearly meant to stop the spell.

As such, there's an argument to be made that the simple act of a mount carrying the caster around is "affecting" a creature other than itself (as well as the items being carried by that other creature), and thus would end the spell.

But that's not an argument I'd personally make.

Personally, as a DM, I would completely allow the Steed and the Caster to influence each other (i.e. allow one to ride the other) without ending the spell. It mostly would just give the caster extra mobility during the Time Stop, and is empirically cool. And the ambiguities in the language are vague enough that it could be ruled either way. As such, I'd trend towards RAF.

Beyond that personal ruling though, you'd need to check with your DM. If that DM feels that the main intention of the prohibition in Time Stop is to prevent you from influencing those creatures (or objects) frozen in time, then they likely will allow you to interact freely with your mount during Time Stop, and give aide to each other. On the other hand, if they read the rules very literally, they might conclude that your mount must not affect you, nor you your mount, at all during Time Stop, or it will end for you both. As such, though it seems clear that Time Stop can target both a caster and their Found Steed, a caster might want to choose to target only themselves for fear of ending the spell too early.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ And how about a third position? I agree with your logic that it includes the found steed. However, I would only permit that so long as you continue to remain on the steed. If you get off the steed I would say the steed freezes as everything else, but it doesn't end the spell. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 0:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @LorenPechtel That’s a fun idea! (And this is a game, which is for fun, so that counts for a lot). But I would be surprised if that rule was applied to other spells as well (for example, Haste), and there is nothing in the rules that makes me think Time Stop in particular would operate this way (i.e. end for your mount if you lost contact with it). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another choices is that the Time Stop is serialized. As it is your turn, you pick who goes first; you or your steed? Once that is finished, the other one goes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme I would apply it to anything that the steed got through such sharing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LorenPechtel Interesting! So you take the “while mounted on it” provision of sharing spells to be ongoing. I get that logic. Never really thought much about it myself, especially since most spells that can be shared benefit from staying mounted. This might warrant its own question! (Haven’t checked if it has one already) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 22:17

Time stops except for both of you ...

RAW, this probably doesn't work the way you want it to.

Time Stop has a Range of "self", which means that it targets "you" and only "you". That could be interpreted as "you stop time, but the magic lets you keep moving" or the 3.5e/PF fluff of "you move so fast it looks like time's stopped for everyone else".

targeted vs. affected creatures

Note that "targets only you" and "affects only you" can be different things; as this answer points out, there are spells with "Range: self" which affect other creatures (eg., Eyebite has a range of "self", but it clearly affects the "creature of your choice within 60 feet of you that you can see" that might be put to sleep, panicked, or sickened). That is: even with the "time stops, but you keep going because magic" interpretation, Time Stop's target is still just you.

Since Time Stop targets only you, Find Greater Steed will allow you to target it, too.

Unfortunately, 5e's use of the word "target" is somewhat ambiguous: it can mean both "the creatures or point in space where the magic is focused" or "the creatures affected by a spell". For example, Fireball has a range of 150 feet to which a "bright streak flashes from your pointing finger ... and then blossoms ... into an explosion of flame", so it targets one point in space; however, it also says that "Each creature ... must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage...", so it also targets all of those creatures. I would much prefer that the spell said "each affected creature takes 8d6 fire damage", but they didn't ask me.

Compare Chain Lightning, which allows you to "create a bolt of lightning that arcs toward a target of your choice .... Three bolts then leap from that target to as many as three other targets". The caster is specifically choosing which creatures (or objects) to target with the spell.

My criteria for differentiating between a "target" and an "affected" creature are a little fuzzy, but they mostly boil down to:

  1. who does the spell describe as targets?
  2. does the caster need to make an attack roll when casting the spell? If so, definitely a target.
  3. is the spell's range "self"? The caster is definitely a target, and often the only target of the spell.
  4. if a save were offered when casting the spell, who would make it? Those making the save are probably targets.
  5. can the caster choose who is affected when casting the spell (like they can for Chain Lightning)? If so, they're probably targets.

Time Stop's analysis of targets is thus:

  1. Time Stop doesn't include the word "target", so no help here.
  2. no attack roll, so no help here.
  3. yes, range is "self" - the caster is definitely a target
  4. if casting Time Stop offered a save, who would roll it? Either the caster might get to save against their own spell (which would be odd, but not impossible) or literally every other being in the metaverse would need to roll a save. Neither option really makes any sense, but the caster saving against their own spell is less fraught (eg., it doesn't bring up questions about how the spell interacts with deities, magic-immune creatures, or even just the 5% of the metaverse's population that make their save with a nat 20 - not to mention any number of other planar oddities like null-magic or timeless planes).
  5. the caster can't really choose who's affected - depending on the fluff, it's either "the caster" or "everyone in the metaverse except the caster". So, again, not a lot of help here.

Thus, it makes a whole lot more sense to view Time Stop as targeting just the caster than it does to see it targeting "everyone and everything else in the metaverse".

Chain Lightning's analysis has steps 3 and 4 agreeing: those creatures that the caster chooses get to make a save, so they're the targets. Of course, step 0 has already designated them as targets, but it's nice when things agree.

Fireball's analysis has steps 3 and 4 disagreeing (those in the AoE get saves but the caster can't choose exactly which creatures are affected). Since 3 says they are targets, I'd err on that side. Again, though, since the spell description explicitly calls them targets, that wins.

And, Eyebite:

  1. the spell talks about targets, but it's in the context of targets of a thing the caster does after they've cast the spell on themselves.
  2. no attack roll
  3. yes, range is "self" - the caster is a target
  4. those the caster chooses to try to put to sleep, panic, or sicken get saves, so they're probably targets
  5. the caster chooses who is affected, so they're targets here, too

... but, I can't help but read Eyebite as targeting just the caster, granting them an ability which itself allows them to target other creatures - if a spell gave the caster an extra limb with which they could make a slam attack as a bonus action, the spell isn't really targeting those other creatures. For that reason, I'd probably let a caster share Eyebite with their Greater Steed.

... but probably not for long.

However, Time Stop also includes this bit:

This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you.

Read strictly, that means that Time Stop will end if you direct your steed to do anything (including moving) or (read incredibly strictly) if your actions cause (eg.) the steed's saddle or bridle to move (eg., by letting go of the bridle).

So, using a strict reading of the rules: time would stop for everyone except for you and your steed, but would probably resume for everyone else shortly as you cause something on your steed (or your steed itself) to move.

But, that's silly.

As a GM, I find that interpretation silly, even if it's literally, strictly correct. I would be highly inclined to rule that the steed (and mounts, generally) would count as part of "you" for the purposes of determining whether an action ends the spell - that is, that you could still direct your steed to move, remove something from your steed's saddlebags, etc. without ending the spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer could use some further support for the distinction between "affected" and "targeted", in this answer I outline a case that fireball targets those in its area of effect, but in the dichotomy you outline in this answer, those in a fireball should be affected, but not targeted. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov : Yeah, it's unfortunate that 5e uses "target" somewhat ambiguously... \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I find that the rules use "targets" to mean "affects" too many times to be able to draw a sharp distinction between the two. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov : While re-reading spell descriptions, I tend to agree, but the 3.5/PF player in me really wants to; I've expanded that "target vs. affect" section to try to make more sense of the subtle dichotomy. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whoo, big expansion, I look forward to reading it. I'll let you know what I think when I get to it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 17:25

Time stop doesn't actually "target" anything. The spell does not mention a target in the text and has a range of self. From the SRD (emphasis mine):

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Note that when describing spells that have ranges expressed in feet or touch spells, it uses the language "target". Spells with range of self "affect" the caster, not "target".

Therefore, the clause in find greater steed does not apply because the spell is not targeting, so the flow of time would stop for the mount.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm misunderstanding your argument here, but it looks like you definitively show that "Self" spells affect the caster, but I'm not understanding how you are getting from there to "Self spells do not target the caster". It seems the rule you present here doesn't say anything about targeting the caster, either in the positive or negative, but you present it as evidence for Self spells not targeting the caster. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 18:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @user3139918 I don't see where the rule is making a distinction between "target" and "affect", if anything, it appears to be using them in parallel fashion, which would indicate they mean the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 18:33
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @user3139918 Even the way we leverage the phrase "rules as written" is an interpretation. There is no "universal objectively correct" RAW interpretation or application. It's just one way an individual might filter information through their own experience. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 18:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ My point was that you and I disagree about what the RAW ruling should be here because "rules as written" is just another way individuals interpret the rules. "Rules as written" is an interpretation method applied by the reader, not a set of rulings every reader should arrive to. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If anything, you are actually trying to make a case for "rules as intended" here, not "rules as written". You seem to be inferring that by using "affected", instead of repeating "targeted", the author intended to make a distinction between spells that target and spells that do not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:42

For practicality, the Time Stop ends as soon as you select your steed

Find Greater Steed allows you (emphases mine):

While mounted on it, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target the mount.

The other answers to this question discuss whether Time Stop is in fact a spell that targets only you.
Let's assume that it is. What would happen then?

Time Stop says (emphases mine):

This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you.

In order to also target your mount, you have create an effect that affects a creature other than you. Your selection of the mount as a target is precisely such an effect; the act of targeting the mount is an effect that affects the mount, as the mount is now a target of the spell. If you are permitted to do this, as soon as you do it you have created a condition that ends the Time Stop spell for both you and your mount.

As Thomas Markov notes, this answer relies on counting the time during which you target your steed as being within the 'period' in which the time stop is in effect, which is hardly a given. Do your 1d4+1 'extra' turns begin immediately (interrupting your own turn), or do they start when you finish the turn in which you are casting time stop? If the 'instantaneous' spell does interrupt your current turn, is it already in effect when you select yourself and your steed as targets, or has it not started yet? I don't think that there are clear RAW answers to these questions. Typically time is not parsed that finely, and doing so requires DM interpretation, as a perusal of questions about which triggers one can ready an action in response to will show.

I'm all for RAW when they are clear, regardless of how thorny that makes a situation. But when RAW is unclear and it falls to me as a DM to interpret, my experience has placed a high value on simplicity. In this particular case, if the timing is unclear I would prefer to simply say the spell ends as soon as you attempt to target your steed, rather than allowing it and from that point on having to decide whether each thing you do while on top of your mount 'affects' it, and similarly whether anything it does affects you, when the spell provides no baseline for what 'affects' means.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ The objection that immediately comes to mind here is that time stop says: "any effects that you create during this period". It is not obvious to me that the spell targets the steed during the period in which time is stopped for me. It seems to me that myself and the steed would be targeted at the same time, and as such, the targeting of the steed does not occur during the period where affecting the steed would end time stop. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ If we consider the act of targeting the steed and the start of the spell to be effectively simultaneous, there is some RAW guidance for how to handle that: namely, the caster's player would decide what order the two events happened, provided the spell was cast on their own turn (XGtE, p. 77). Related: "How do I resolve multiple 'start of turn' triggers?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 17:35

Let us invent a thought experiment spell.

I am the biggest makes you twice as large as the largest creature within 100 miles.

You do this while mounted on your steed. You cast it. You then make it also effect your steed.

  1. The universe divides by zero, because you are both twice the size of each other.
  2. You both grow to twice the size of the tarrasque.
  3. You grow to twice the size of the tarrasque. Then your steed grows to twice your size.
  4. Your steed grows to twice the size of the tarrasque, then you grow to twice the size of your steed.

Now, choice 2 and 3 is consistent with the XgtE rule that when two simultaneous magical effects occur, the creature whose turn it is picks which one occurs first.

So you'd pick if you have a steed larger than you, or if you smush your steed.

I do this thought experiment, because we can apply the same logic to Time Stop.

  1. The universe divides by zero, because everything stops.
  2. You both get the same number of turns and while everything else is frozen.
  3. You take your turns while your steed is frozen, then your steed takes your turns while you are frozen.
  4. Your steed takes its turns while you are frozen, then you take your turns while your steed is frozen.

All of these are reasonable readings of what happens. When you modify a spell in D&D, you have to deal with the fact the spell was originally written to assume it isn't modified.

Now, if you are both moving at the same time, the DM could treat you as referring to the non-frozen beings (you and your steed); the plural you; or, she could treat you as referring to each individual creature.

If it refers to each creature individually, you run into annoying problems where affecting each other makes the spell end. Which could be as simple as "being mounted on". That makes the spell pretty boring.

By far the simplest way to handle it is to have both you and the steed be in the same "time stop" effect, have both be able to act, and able to interact with each other while doing it.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .