Find Steed reads:

You summon a spirit that assumes the form of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed, creating a long-lasting bond with it. Appearing in an unoccupied space within range, the steed takes on a form that you choose, such as a Warhorse, a pony, a camel, an elk, or a Mastiff. (Your DM might allow Other Animals to be summoned as steeds.) The steed has the Statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice) instead of its normal type. [...]

That mount is a spirit, not a common animal of that type. Since the spell doesn't go into details, I assume I don't have to feed it as I'd have to feed a warhorse, for instance. However, do spirits need to eat in D&D?

The reason being: although celestials/fey/fiends most likely eat unless otherwise specified (ex: angels), they can be killed by bringing them to 0 HP.
On the other hand, a mount from Find Steed "disappears leaving no physical form" and can be brought back fully restored -- basically, if it drops to 0 HP its body simply fades and it won't die.
That fits the spirit part in the spell's description and strongly indicates that it's not just fluff, as it doesn't work exactly like the usual celestials / fey / fiends nor the base animal.

The summoned spirit might come in the form of a celestial horse, but that doesn't imply it actually eats like one, just like it doesn't die like an ordinary horse or celestial.

The question: is there any factual or explicit rule to conclusively support a "yes, it eats/no, it doesn't" answer?


Most likely yes

The spirit part of the effect seems to have no rules associated with it. What we should be looking at is the fact that it becomes a Celestial, Fey or Fiend. The question then becomes, do Celestials, Fey or Fiend require sustenance?

I scoured the monster manual and found various examples of Fiend type creatures eating, such as the Hellhound and Rakhasa eating humanoid flesh and most demons feeding on Manes. It's not mentioned whether it's a physiological need or just pleasure, but some descriptions speak of their "hunger", so I'm tempted to go with he former.

No information about whether or not Fey and Celestial type creatures require food, but I would infer that yes, they do. It doesn't say that specifically about any creature type in general, but pretty sure the majority of creatures in the MM do need food anyways. The exception to this would be some undead creatures which have the follow feature:

Undead Nature. A ghost doesn't require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Going back to your specific case, the Horse does require food and it would appear that becoming one of those creature types does not get rid of this need.

Clarification for your second question: Still YES

In the rules, specific always trumps general. The spell effect states that the creature behaves differently when brought to 0 HP. Since, as you correctly pointed out, not all the creatures of the aforementioned types behave in this way upon being destroyed, this information had to be added to explicitly point out the differences between this Horse and a typical Fiend/Celestial/Fey Horse.

The rules of being a Fiend/Celestial/Fey Horse continue to apply, but with the listed modifications ONLY. Since those modifications do not point out that it stops requiring sustenance to survive or apply a mechanic that would lead to it gaining such feature, I'm forced to conclude that it does nothing to change that result, the same as before.

A spirit creature type or template description would be required to actually know the full implications of that effect.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ If it helps, the Monster Manual often sites <creature type> Nature (undead, ooze, etc.) that specifies what that type of creature doesn't need. Oozes don't need sleep, but undead nature specifically cites not needing food (MM pg. 147). I think this helps confirm your argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Guy Apr 1 '17 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good find, man! \$\endgroup\$ – ChibiNya Apr 1 '17 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Point of order, there is no “fluff” in spell descriptions. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/78012/… . The fact that the steed is a spirit adopting a form doesn't affect the conclusion you reach, but it can affect other things. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Apr 2 '17 at 3:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate your input. Please, read my edit for some more debate. \$\endgroup\$ – Pedral Apr 2 '17 at 8:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unless it is specifically mentioned as not having to eat, the assumption is that it does. There is no compelling evidence to the contrary, only speculation. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Apr 2 '17 at 17:18

The rules don't specify.

So it will be up to your DM.

My interpretation is that the summoned steed is a magical spirit that doesn't require sustenance. Even if a DM doesn't interpret the spell in that way, they should still ask themselves what having the steed require food adds to the game. Remembering that the caster of find steed can always release a summoned steed and conjure a new one, it doesn't seem like there's much real gameplay value in fiddling around with the player character having to forage for sprit-horse feed. As a DM, I'd rather that the players enjoy the benefits of having a magical spirit animal to ride without any of the tedious realities of horse ownership.


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