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5E As you the you all see Steel Defender being ridden by a miniforged.

ManBagel

Messing up everything in DnD since 2019
So back to Iron Defenders. I read the mounted combat rules, and I feel they aren’t made that well. I doubt they meant an Iron Defender to be an option, but a new question has been brought up. Can a Iron Mount take multiple actions?
Mounted Combat Rules
Battle Smith

In mounted combat rules a mount can disengage, dash, or dodge on your turn. For a Battle Smith they can use a bonus action to have the Iron Defender to do an attack and other actions on a turn after them as a bonus action. for example. I feel that I read RAW incorrectly and if not, RAI should be used here.
 

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NotAYakk

Legend
Mounts are either controlled or independent.

Independent mounts move on their own turn, and do actions as normal.

Controlled nounts do not get their own turn, and can only do the controlled mount actions.

So no, basically one set of actions by RAW.

Myself, I'd let a BS use a bonus action to let the defender mount attack instead of dash/disengage as a controlled mount.
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
So back to Iron Defenders. I read the mounted combat rules, and I feel they aren’t made that well. I doubt they meant an Iron Defender to be an option, but a new question has been brought up. Can a Iron Mount take multiple actions?
Mounted Combat Rules
Battle Smith

In mounted combat rules a mount can disengage, dash, or dodge on your turn. For a Battle Smith they can use a bonus action to have the Iron Defender to do an attack and other actions on a turn after them as a bonus action. for example. I feel that I read RAW incorrectly and if not, RAI should be used here.
It's not a mount (for the purpose of the mount rules). It is a creature the character happens to be riding on that they are controlling by other means. If the mini-warforged rides on some other character's shoulders that also does not make them his mount. Only certain creatures are willing and able to serve as proper "mount rules" mounts.

Note this means the Steel Defender actually makes a fairly poor mount in some ways, as it takes its turn immediately following the Battlesmith and can't move or take any action before the end of the Battlesmith's turn, which means that the rider's action always has to take place wherever they start the turn if they want to stay on this robo-ride and rely on it for movement.
 
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MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
You have two options, controlled mount or uncontrolled mount.

For the uncontrolled mount, everything would be as normal battle smith.

For controlled mount, it says, "It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge. "

They way I read it, it's saying that these are the only things it can do no matter what, so using the bonus action to make it attack would not work, since attacking is not one of the options above, and you'd still have to use your bonus action to command it to dash or disengage because of the limits on iron defenders.
 


Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
You choose to use it as a controlled mount (free dash disengage or dodge) or uncontrolled (functions normally).

Your call.
The creature can only dodge, move, and take reactions without the use of the Artificer's bonus action. I see no reason why making it a controlled mount would allow it to dash or disengage without the Artificer's bonus action being used to command such, the limitation is intrinsic to the creature by the subclass that causes it to exist.

Not that letting it function as a normal controlled mount would be horribly unbalanced or anything.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
You choose to use it as a controlled mount (free dash disengage or dodge) or uncontrolled (functions normally).

Your call.
Dash and Disengage are things that a horse can choose to do of its own volition, in general. With a rider, the pair takes those actions as a unit.

The Steel Defender, as written, is not capable of taking Disengage or Dash actions of its own volition, in general. I requires an instruction from the Artificer to do so. So, I can see the reading that the Artificer's Bonus action is still required.

This becomes more clear when you consider someone other than the Artificer riding the Steel Defender. Does the Artificer give up control of their creation because someone happened to jump on its back?
 



NotAYakk

Legend
Dash and Disengage are things that a horse can choose to do of its own volition, in general. With a rider, the pair takes those actions as a unit.

The Steel Defender, as written, is not capable of taking Disengage or Dash actions of its own volition, in general. I requires an instruction from the Artificer to do so. So, I can see the reading that the Artificer's Bonus action is still required.

This becomes more clear when you consider someone other than the Artificer riding the Steel Defender. Does the Artificer give up control of their creation because someone happened to jump on its back?
It does if the rider is capable of riding the creation as a controlled mount.

If it isn't able to ride the creation as a controlled mount, then the artificer controls it as normal.
So is the party Goliath.
debatable.
 

I would allow the artificer to choose if the steel defender is a controlled of uncontrolled mount. There are advantages and drawbacks to either option.

There is a lot of variation in artificer creations, if an artificer designs it to function as a mount then it can do that. That might even mean it can be ridden as a controlled mount by someone else if incorporated into it's design specs.


The rules say "intelligent" mounts are always uncontrolled, without defining what intelligent means, but the steel defender has an INT of 4 and can't talk, which I would think makes it "not intelligent", unlike the party goliath.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So is the party Goliath.
I think, if it really wanted to, the party goliath could train to learn how to follow the party gnome's orders. Ever seen Ratatouille?

I think it would be silly for it to do so, because the goliath acting intelligently is so much more efficient, but it could learn.

While intelligent to a degree, the Steel Defender cannot really act on its own, which is where the analogy to the goliath breaks down.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
The only definition of "mount" I can find in the rules is on PHB p.198: "A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you and that has an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount, using the following rules." So if a halfling can ride a dog I don't see why a miniforged couldn't ride an iron defender. But I agree with the ruling that the iron defender doesn't suddenly gain the ability to Dash and Disengage when it couldn't before.
 

I think, if it really wanted to, the party goliath could train to learn how to follow the party gnome's orders. Ever seen Ratatouille?

I think it would be silly for it to do so, because the goliath acting intelligently is so much more efficient, but it could learn.

While intelligent to a degree, the Steel Defender cannot really act on its own, which is where the analogy to the goliath breaks down.
There is little doubt that a halfing can ride on the shoulders of a goliath, or any other medium party member strong enough to carry a halfing and their own gear.

However, there is also little doubt that even a particularly dumb PC is a sentient being (I'm pretty sure @NotAYakk was joking). And therefore cannot be a controlled mount - i.e. they always act on their own turn, not the rider's.

I agree that the Steel Defender is not sentient, and therefore it is DM's call if it is a controlled or uncontrolled mount.
I agree with the ruling that the iron defender doesn't suddenly gain the ability to Dash and Disengage when it couldn't before.
There is nothing to indicate that the Steel Defender is incapable of using the Dash or Disengage actions - only that the Artificer cannot use a voice command to tell them to do so.

Certainly the Iron Defender (the NPC version) has nothing to indicate they cannot Dash or Disengage.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Certainly the Iron Defender (the NPC version) has nothing to indicate they cannot Dash or Disengage.
Folks, when discussing rules, being incomplete or vague doesn't help. The Steel defender explicitly can Dash and Disengage, but needs the Artificer to use a bonus action to order it to do so.

"In combat, the steel defender shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes on its turn is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take one of the actions in its stat block or the Dash, Disengage, Help, Hide, or Search action. "

The only "when it couldn't before" (from 77IM) is "when the Artificer didn't use a Bonus action to order it to".

I'm currently playing an Artificer. The GM is reticent to make it work just like a normal mount, because there's exactly zero risk it will misbehave it I allow it to be autonomous. So, it has a mode switch. When mounted, the Artificer can take an action (expensive, I know) to change the mode. In "controlled mount" mode, it can move, Dash, Disengage, and dodge, like a controlled mount - it loses its Attack, Hide, Help, and other actions. Limiting the possible actions removes the need to take the Bonus action. It keeps the Deflect Attack reaction, but it only applies to the rider.

In normal mode, it has all its actions available, but requires the Bonus action from the Artificer. He's going to be flexible on when the movement can happen, and he thinks he wants to be flexible on the Disengage action as well.

As primarily a ranged fighter, I will be extremely happy if he allows the Defender's Disengage to be before my action. I suffer a whole lot of disadvantage when the enemy gets close....
 

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