Whilst most spells begin as part of the canon of the wizardly classes and then are acquired by non-spellcasters, Compelled Duel is one of the rare batches of spells that are only available to one specific fighting class.
What is Compelled Duel Spell?
Paladins are by nature fighters for good, and their ethics dictate that if they can fight in the place of a weaker being to prevent harm, or if employing solo trial by combat, they might avoid a more significant conflict, they will take that option. This makes them masters of the Duel.
What this spell does is to help force such situations rather than let them spill out into more extensive destruction or bloodshed.
Compelled Duel Spell Description
The Player’s Handbook will tell you that it is a 1st level enchantment spell with the following properties.
“You attempt to compel a creature into a duel. One creature you can see within range must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is drawn to you, compelled by your divine demand. For the duration, it has disadvantage on attack rolls against creatures other than you and must make a Wisdom saving throw each time it attempts to move to a space that is more than 30 feet away from you; if it succeeds on this saving throw, this spell doesn’t restrict the target’s movement for that turn.”
So, a target of your choice, should they fail their saving throw, will be compelled to engage you in hand-to-hand, one on one combat rather than take part in any other combat.
Compelled Duel 5e Stats
|Casting Time||1 Bonus Action|
|Duration||Concentration, up to 1 minute|
|Damage/Effect||Disadvantage on attack rolls|
How Does Compelled Duel Work?
There are several ways to use the spell tactically. Choosing an enemy leader as your fellow duelist can affect enemy morale if they are defeated.
The spell can be used to draw out targets who might prefer to hide away from combat, and it is also helpful if the Paladin chooses to fight a rearguard action, drawing a powerful foe to a duel whilst the rest of the party attempts to escape.
Is Compelled Duel a Good Spell?
Yes, it’s an excellent choice for Paladins. They are usually charismatic leaders of parties or, if not actual, at least a de facto one, and it is hard not to get caught up in their sense of decency.
This spell compels opponents to go along with your plans, and if you choose an enemy leader as your target, their defeat in single combat can often deliver a hammer blow to the enemy’s morale.
Which Classes Can Use Compelled Duel?
Paladins! And that is it.* It is one of the few spells to appear on a non-spellcaster list and not be found in the core canon of the wizardly classes.
*While not in the core canon, there are a few exceptions to this. In certain cases, the following classes can also use the Compelled Duel spell.
- Oath of the Crown (Paladin Subclass) – This Paladin subclass has Compelled Duel as an Oath spell, meaning that it’s always prepared.
- Magical Secrets (Bard Class Feature) – At Tier 3, Bards can choose any spell and make it a Bard Spell. The College of Lore grants additional choices at 6th level.
- Mark of the Sentinel (Human Variant) – If you have Spellcasting or Pact Magic features, Compelled Duel is added to the spell list for this race variant from Eberron: Rising from the Last War.
- Gruul Anarch (Background) – Similarly, if you take this background from Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, Compelled Duel is added to your spell list.
Using Compelled Duel on Adventures
It’s a significant spell for a Paladin as it plays right into their ethical outlook. It is also an excellent opportunity for some dramatic roleplaying as the Paladin calls out their foe, and the opponent, unaware that the thoughts of solo combat are driven by anything other than their own bravado, puff up their chests and hurl a tirade of taunts and trash talk at the Paladin.