Command 5e Spell
Last Updated on February 6, 2023
The thug tasked with killing the priest and had finally found the perfect spot. The priest had just sat down at his campsite along a river. All he had to do was stab him with his sword and the job was complete.
“Say your prayers, holy man!” the thug shouted as he ran up on the priest sitting by the fire.
The priest barely moved. He simply looked up and said, “THROW” as he pointed to the river. The thug threw his sword as far as he could into the center of the raging waters.
“Whaa?” Confusion crossed the thug’s face.
What is Command 5e Spell?
The Command Spell is a 1st level Enchantment spell that can be found in the Cleric and Paladin spell lists. It’s a utility spell that can help you control mobs of enemies at higher levels or individual characters.
It deals no direct damage, but creative characters will find ways to manipulate others.
Command 5e Spell Description
From the Player’s Handbook:
You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a wisdom saving throw or follow the command on its next turn. The spell has no effect if the target is undead, if it doesn’t understand your language, or if your command is directly harmful to it.
Some typical commands and their effects follow. You might issue a command other than one described here. If you do so, the DM determines how the target behaves. If the target can’t follow your command, the spell ends.
The target moves toward you by the shortest and most direct route, ending its turn if it moves within 5 feet of you.
The target drops whatever it is holding and then ends its turn.
The target spends its turn moving away from you by the fastest available means.
The target falls prone and then ends its turn.
The target doesn’t move and takes no actions. A flying creature stays aloft, provided that it is able to do so. If it must move to stay aloft, it flies the minimum distance needed to remain in the air.
When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can affect one additional creature for each slot level above 1st. The creatures must be within 30 feet of each other when you target them.
Command 5e Spell Stats
- Range: 60 feet
- Components: V
- Duration: 1 round
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Level: 1
- School: Enchantment
- Classes: Cleric, Paladin
- Subclasses: Lore, Fiend
What Commands can I give?
The commands, Approach, Drop, Flee, and Halt are the examples given, but any simple 1-word command can be used in the spell.
You could for example tell them to eat, jump, climb, run, spin, or anything else you can think of.
Again, the only real limitations are single-word commands and the command cannot directly involve hurting themselves. And that’s where your creativity comes into play.
They cannot stab themselves in the leg because you told them to, but you can tell them to Confine themselves in some handcuffs or chains or Stop moving while you do it.
You can also tell them to Move away from opponents. That won’t directly cause them to be hurt, but you can position them to get hit with opportunity attacks. Running does not directly cause damage, but having them running past a gauntlet of allies will definitely count as indirect damage from the opportunity attacks.
Command Spell Social Uses
At first glance, the Command spell looks great for non-combat-related applications. There is however a caveat that makes it not as useful as it appears.
Targets know they are being commanded or at the very least know that something happened to them after its use, which again only lasts 1 in-game turn or 6 seconds.
This means trying to use Command to get a discount at a shop is going to get the city watch called on you after 6 seconds.
If you’re particularly careful in the wording of the spell and how you use it, you may be able to get away with it by having your targets only suspect that something is amiss.
For example, if you have a Bard character performing in the street for money, you may give an introduction like so, “Please ENJOY the music, and if you’re feeling generous, throw us a coin.”
The NPCs will stick around and enjoy the music, and depending upon the situation, they may simply attribute the Command spell to a really good song. Of course, this all depends on your creativity with the spell, but DMs will have the final say.
Command Spell Combat Uses
The Command spell has many uses in combat. You won’t be able to directly hurt your opponents, but you can cause some serious damage by indirectly hurting them.
The standard options of Flee, Halt, and Grovel are all fantastic ways to help control the battlefield.
One of the major benefits of the Command spell is that since they are using their own movement to Flee, they are eligible for opportunity attacks. You could technically line everyone up and have them run a gauntlet of opportunity attacks like the world’s worst frat initiation.
You could also maneuver them to walk into traps that they are not aware of. Have them run across a rope bridge and then simply cut the ropes or have them stand on a big X on the ground and drop a piano on them. It’s entirely up to you.
Command Spell Limitations
There are a few limitations to the Command spell.
Most notably, targets will never obey a command that directly causes them harm. Indirect damage is perfectly fine, but they will never actively hurt themselves.
You won’t be able to have someone Flee right off the edge of the cliff, for example. That’s a little too direct for the Command spell, but if you combine Minor Illusion to have the target think there’s a bridge or a few extra feet of walkway, they would go tumbling down.
The next limitation is the command itself. It must be a single-word command. You can’t say RUN THERE. It would have to simply be RUN as a command. Unfortunately for the caster, the DM will have control of how they actually respond to the command.
Other Command Words
Any 1-word command can be used in the Command spell as long as it does not directly harm the target. So you won’t be able to simply tell them to DIE, but such an open-ended spell can be used to cause some serious damage.
It’s not all about dark and mischievous commands.
Bards and performers could easily get a helping hand from a command word that makes people happy with whatever they’re currently doing.
The results of the Betray command are going to be entirely up to the DM if they allow it.
The Command spell states that you can’t physically harm yourself, but it doesn’t say anything about attacking their allies.
If something is thrown at us, most of the time we’ll catch it on reflex. With the Command spell, the target will be compelled to catch whatever you throw at them.
It could be a knife, a bomb, a box filled with springs and knives, etc.
Or it could even be used to focus their attention on an object and run towards it to catch it. Either way, it’s a pretty handy command word.
Got an enemy with a particularly nasty enchanted weapon?
Make ’em throw it as far away from them as they can.
This is a bit of a weird one, but follow me on this.
If a bad guy decides to buff themselves or heal themselves mid-fight by swallowing a potion of strength or healing potion, just make them vomit it back up.
This could offer mixed results. During an interrogation, some characters might not be willing to give up information easily.
By using the Command spell you could force them to answer, confess or speak. Whether or not what they’re saying is true is up for debate.
You could use the Command spell to have them make a false confession in front of someone though, and that’s oftentimes just as useful as the truth.
This could be a tricky one and to get the most use out of it, you would need permission from your DM.
A sneaky character could poison any number of things without an NPC knowing, and then command them to eat or drink. They wouldn’t knowingly be putting themselves in direct danger and therefore follow the command on a failed Wisdom save.
Command 5e Spell FAQs
How does the Command spell work 5e?
The target of the Command Spell must make a Wisdom saving throw or must follow the 1-word command given by the caster. They cannot give a command that would directly harm the user.
What words to use for Command spell?
Any 1-word command that does not directly harm the user can be used in the Command Spell.
Is Command a harmful spell?
The Command spell itself does not cause any damage, but it can be used in a way that indirectly causes damage. For example, having a target run past allies can trigger opportunity attacks using the Command spell.
Is the Command spell a charm?
No, the Command spell is a 1st level Enchantment spell. It is up to the DM whether or not targets know they are being targeted by a spell, but it is generally considered that targets know they are having a spell cast upon them.