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A paladin's special mount ability says, in part, that

Once per day, as a full-round action, a paladin may magically call her mount from the celestial realms in which it resides. This ability is the equivalent of a spell of a level equal to one-third the paladin’s level. The mount immediately appears adjacent to the paladin and remains for 2 hours per paladin level; it may be dismissed at any time as a free action. The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the paladin may release a particular mount from service.

So, poof, when the paladin wants her horsey, it's there. And when she doesn't, the horsey's off in the "celestial realms," doing what paladin mounts do when the paladins aren't around (e.g. complaining to each other about their riders, playing poker, hittin' da clubs). Sure. Whatever. Then the paladin takes the feat Dragon Steed (Draconomicon 105) and decides she'd rather have something a little less...

Damn, that's stupid-looking monster.

...let's just say self-satisfied than a dragonnel (Dr 151-2).

She wants a real dragon.

But the Draconomicon explains that

A paladin who wishes to be able to summon a dragon special mount must select the Dragon Steed feat....

A paladin must provide her [dragon] special mount with a suitable lair; even a loyal silver dragon mount won’t live in the stable with the other mounts. The Monster Manual describes what type of lair each kind of dragon prefers; any dragon denied the ability to build and reside in an appropriate lair will certainly rebel against its paladin.

The dragon must also be provided treasure to keep in its lair. A minimum hoard of 1,000 gp per Hit Die of the dragon is typical, with the exact makeup depending on the type and likes of the dragon.

So when a paladin picks a dragon dragon (not some goofball wannabe) for her feat Dragon Steed, how does this change the paladin's special mount ability?

  1. The paladin no longer summons her dragon steed from the "celestial realms," and she instead summons her dragon steed from a lair she makes for it on the Material Plane.
  2. The paladin summons her dragon steed from the "celestial realms," but when it's around it's all grumpy if the paladin hasn't made a lair for it.
  3. Something else.

No one in my campaign's taken this feat, but it's a possibility for one character. What's the best way to deal with the seemingly semi-contradictory text?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes but does it spew flame, acid, lightning, whatever out its nose? Is it intelligent? Can it cast arcane spells? Will it be you BFF and lend you a little cash if you are down a month? I would take those considerations into account also. But that is just me. \$\endgroup\$ – DoStuffZ Dec 16 '14 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing I hear often is Dragons being compared to cats if that helps any. \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Dec 16 '14 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aaron in that they have a mind of their own, are strong willed, and are manipulative? ...or in that they get scale-balls in mid-battle and TPK the party when they start hacking? \$\endgroup\$ – David Wilkins Dec 16 '14 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I'm concerned about the fact your question has a +20 non-answer on it, which is just talking about how a dragon is fussy. In light of that, I'm editing the title to describe your actual question. Hopefully people will catch on. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 17 '14 at 3:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Fair enough. (The original title's fussiness referred to the dragon potentially demanding a lair full of treasure that he'd never use to be the paladin's steed else he'd be a grump and abandon the paladin, but, yeah, I agree with the change.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 17 '14 at 9:12
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Well, if it is a dragon dragon (not some goofball wannabe), a powerful, intelligent being that doesn't tend to be friendly to humanoids and other pests, a more important factor than the amount of gold would be simply respect.

For a dragon to be feel treated with respect, providing a massive hoard and a comfy lair is a good start. If the dragon is treated with the proper deference, he might even overlook if the hoard is not quite up to his expectations (keyword: might). The dragon might even have goals compatible with the paladin's and take that into account.

So to answer the original question, yes, a dragon 'steed' can certainly be fussy and a fussy dragon can be deadly.

How to deal with it? Create a dragon NPC with a suitable personality and decide by roleplaying. If your paladin treats it like a horse bought with a bunch of gold pieces, he shouldn't survive for very long. If she does things right, she might get something much more valuable than a steed with a lot of hit points.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this answers the literal question in the title, it doesn't address what to do about the text that's quoted in the question. It seems to suggest that the dragon now resides on the Material Plane, but explicitly providing an answer to the question in question's text would make this more useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 16 '14 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ So what part of the 1/2/3 listed at the end of the question is this? This doesn't appear to actually fully answer what to do with summoning the dragon, and where the dragon goes after being released. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 16 '14 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Specific overrides generic? That said, this answer does need a bit of clarification in this regard. \$\endgroup\$ – Aviose Dec 16 '14 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited the title to more accurately reflect the question itself: this answer really isn't answering the details of the question, and hopefully that stands out a bit more now, because the question itself was never about whether the dragon was fussy and how to roleplay it being fussy. (Only the title mentioned that, and answering the title is... plusungood.) This needs heavy modifications to actually address and answer the question. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 17 '14 at 3:22
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The Draconomicon says

Only a lawful good dragon should be allowed to serve as a paladin’s special mount. The dragonnel (see Chapter 4) is a special exception to this guideline.

It also says

A paladin who wishes to be able to summon a dragon special mount must select the Dragon Steed feat (see page 105). The paladin must choose a dragon capable of bearing her as a rider (which limits a Medium rider’s selections).

(emphasis added)
This makes a case for the dragon being summoned from its Celestial Plane home from a RAI standpoint. Regardless, and more importantly, the dragon must be summoned from the Celestial Planes according to the RAW.

Nothing about the Dragon Steed feat nor the Dragons as Special Mounts rules changes the Summon Mount class feature in such a way as to affect the method of summoning or the origin of the summon. It should be noted that a paladin who chooses a wannabe dragon (dragonnel) is choosing to have a neutral creature living in the celestial realms as his mount. This is fine; just as paladins may associate with neutral but not evil creatures, even Strongly Aligned planes don't kill people of slightly differing alignment automatically. Such a dragonnel would merely take a -2 penalty to Cha, Wis, and Int checks while at home. It should also be noted that the rules specifically call this out as an exception.

That said then, what about the lair? The rules do say that you need to provide an appropriate lair for your dragon-companion, and must stock its lair with treasure. They do not say where that lair ought to be, other than saying that it must be provided because dragons resent being sent to the stables the summoned horses normally reside in. This seems to indicate that the lair ought to be built on the Celestial Plane on which the dragon chooses to reside. Even if you decide not to enforce this mechanically, any dragon is likely to refuse to accept a lair which it never has access to and, since your summon mount ability only functions while the Dragon is on the Celestial Plane, having it lair elsewhere is likely to make your summoning of said dragon limited to appointments by prior arrangement only (though this might already be the case, socially). Building the lair on a celestial plane does not, of course, remove the preferential terrain requirements of your dragon. Fortunately, many celestial planes (especially the Beastlands) are conducive to a variety of high-quality lair locations. Indeed, this may be why your dragon chose to live in the Celestial realms to begin with.

TL;DR: It is not silly of the dragon to demand a lair, it is silly of you to build it where the dragon can't use it and you can't summon the dragon from. Build the lair on a Celestial Plane.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I slightly disagree with your reasoning that just because the text says you summon a dragon, that automatically means you summon it from the Celestial Plane. I see no reason why that text can't mean that you simply give your dragon a cellphone and go "hey homes, how's stuff at your lair, come on over to my place and let's vanquish some evil, yes?", then wait for it to fly over. Summon can mean a lot of things and RAW there is nothing that states this summoning works anything like a normal celestial mount summoning. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Dec 31 '14 at 9:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Nothing about the Dragon Steed feat nor the Dragons as Special Mounts rules changes the Summon Mount class feature in such a way as to affect the method of summoning or the origin of the summon." Of course, the Paladin Class rules state: Once per day, as a full-round action, a paladin may magically call her mount from the celestial realms in which it resides. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer May 15 '15 at 4:54
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I think feats should have precedence on what it's written on the PHB. The feat says that the dragonnel replace your special mount. I read it as "your special mount is no longer the creature that is specified by the rules in the PHB", thus it is no longer summoned from the celestial realms. So I'm inclined toward your first interpretation: the paladin no longer summons her dragon steed from the "celestial realms". She summons her steed from a lair she makes for it on the Material Plane.

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Where the steed is summoned from would be up to your DM but the rules seem to lean toward it residing in the material plane in its lair and being summoned from there. It could easily be swung that the steed resides in the Celestial Realm and you give it treasure to take to its lair when you summon it.

When you take a draconic steed you must provide it with a lair somewhere filled with 1000 gold worth of treasure per Hit Die. EX: The dragon is 5HD it would need 5000 Gold worth of treasure in the lair.

How the Dragon would act if the requirements were not met could be up to the DM. Personally I would roll a percentile with a fail chance of 2 times how each 100 Gold treasure the character is short by. On fail the dragon would refuse to come. EX: The dragon requires 5000 Gold but only has 4500. The fail chance would be 10%.

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The feat doesn't specify where the Dragonnel (or a Dragon, if chosen) actually comes from, and the flavor text for Dragonnel only states that:

In the wild, dragonnels typically lair in hidden caves located far from civilization

So there are two possible answers to where the creature comes from (and your DM should decide which one applies):

  1. You pay the Dragonnel (or Dragon) to spruce up its home in the celestial realms (which would be weird - the dragonnel isn't a good creature, it's neutral according to the Draconomicon (p. 151) so maybe he comes from neutral realms?)

  2. You find the Dragonnel a lair in the Material plane and spruce it up accordingly

As for what happens when you don't make him happy, I imagine the DM would do something like this: he would become less and less loyal, eventually deserting you, requiring you to train a new one, which takes six weeks and a new handle animal check (Drac. p. 152)

Also supporting this answer, the Draconomicon on page 139 (emphasis mine):

Dragons as Special Mounts

A paladin must provide her special mount with a suitable lair; even a loyal silver dragon mount won’t live in the stable with the other mounts. The Monster Manual describes what type of lair each kind of dragon prefers; any dragon denied the ability to build and reside in an appropriate lair will certainly rebel against its paladin

And:

Finally (and perhaps most important), the dragon must be treated with the respect that a creature of its intelligence, power, and stature commands. It is not a dumb beast to order around, nor is it merely a minion to command. Even lawful good dragons are willful creatures with their own desires and needs.

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The rules for paladins summoning their mounts from somewhere else have been written later than the Draconomicon.
When the draconomicon came out, mounts always resided on the same plane of the paladin and did never get portaled in. The descriptions in the Draconomicon reflect that status. How to reconcile that is something the DM and the group should aree upon before such a character enters play.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Draconomicon is a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 book so summon mount is a thing. (Were the Draconomicon a Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition product, which treats paladin's special mounts differently, that'd be a different thing.) However, if you've a source post-Draconomicon that explains the quoted discrepancy, that would be awesome. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 16 '14 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was pretty sure Draconomicon was printed earlier... :( \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Dec 17 '14 at 19:03

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