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 GM determines how the target behaves. If the target can’t follow your command, the spell ends.
Approach. The target moves toward you by the shortest and most direct route, ending its turn if it moves within 5 feet of you.
Drop. The target drops whatever it is holding and then ends its turn.
Flee. The target spends its turn moving away from you by the fastest available means.
Grovel. The target falls prone and then ends its turn.
Halt. 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.
At Higher Levels. 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.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: 1 round
School: 1st-level enchantment
Player’s Handbook, pg. 223
Command is a satisfying spell that has enemies scrambling to obey your one-word demand. Creative players skilled in brevity and the imperative mood can come up with some clever uses outside of the spell’s listed examples.
Who Can Cast Command in 5e?
The following classes have Command on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Command for free:
- Cleric (Knowledge Domain)
Warlock (The Fiend)
- Cleric (Order Domain) (TCoE 31)
Paladin (Oath of the Crown) (SCAG 31)
Paladin (Oath of the Conquest) (XGtE 37)
What Does Command Do in 5e?
Command causes the targeted creature to perform any action you command it to, so long as your command is limited to one word and won’t cause the target self-harm. The creature must also not be undead and must understand the language you speak your command in.
Command only works if the target fails a Wisdom saving throw; otherwise, nothing happens. If Command works, the creature will follow the command on their next turn.
While the spell text suggests possible commands, there are plenty of other uses for Command, discussed below.
What Are the Rules for Command in 5e?
The rules for Command in DnD 5e are as follows:
Command cannot (directly) break concentration. Concentration is not broken by “normal activity, such as moving and attacking” (PHB 203). Concentration is only broken in three circumstances:
Casting another spell that requires concentration
Taking damage and failing a Constitution saving throw
Being incapacitated or killed
None of the effects caused by Command are meant to be powerful enough to immediately incapacitate an enemy (that’s for 9th-level spells like Power Word Stun). However, if a player sets a clever trap, Commands the creature to approach, and the creature takes damage, then that damage might break the creature’s concentration.
Commanded creatures cannot exceed their normal abilities. The most common example is players trying to command a target to “Sleep.” Players may try to Command a creature to “Sleep,” but creatures cannot perform actions outside of their normal abilities.
Unless the targeted creature is narcoleptic, it will simply spend six seconds trying to get ready for bed (achieving the same results as “Grovel,” forcing the enemy to lie prone).
Here’s Jeremy Crawford talking about Suggestion, but the discussion of how suggested courses of action and sleepiness work together is useful here.
Command is not a Charm. If a spell causes the Charm effect, it will explicity say so. Being Charmed is a specific condition laid out in PHB’s Appenix A (PHB 290). This means things like Fey Ancestry don’t work on Command.
Command is a save-or-suck spell. The target must make a Wisdom spell save against your spell save DC — if it passes, Command has no effect whatsoever.
The target must be able to understand what you want it to do in one word. For example, you cannot say “open the east door,” but “open” might work to force a creature to open the door nearest them.
The effects of Command don’t occur until the target’s turn in the initiative order. If you issue the command “drop,” for instance, they won’t immediatley drop their weapon and shield.
“Direct harm” refers to self-attacking, stepping off a cliff, walking into dangerous machinery, or doing anything else that a self-preserving being would never do.
Command only lasts for six seconds. Because that’s how long one round of combat is. So trying to force a creature to reveal detailed plans mightn’t be possible in one casting of Command.
All Command targets must be within 30 feet of each other. Cast at higher levels, Command can affect additional creatures, but those creatures must be within 30 feet of the initial spell target.
How Do I Use Command in 5e?
Command has too many possible uses to collect here, but a few more examples of great one-word commands include:
Drink. Have you concocted a nasty poison, but can’t be bothered trying to sleight of hand it into someone’s drink? Just hand them a mug of pure poison and tell them to gulp it down — no trickery or fast hands required.
Dismount. Unsavory characters might use Command for banditry. But good guys can also use Command to bring a mounted foe down to their level. Note that some GMs might argue dismounting is directly harmful if the creature is currently moving at speed.
Release. If one of your friends is being restrained by an enemy, Command can end the situation right away. Or you could get a guard to release a drawbridge or set of a trap (if you already know it’s there).
Sign. Some adventurers kill dragons, others bilk nobles out of their estates. Or you could acquire a signature, seal, or other proof of ID for later use.
Betray. You can order a minion to turn on his master — just remember it has to be fairly close to its master at the time, because Command only lasts for six seconds. Also note that some GMs might twist your intent and interpret betrayal as something other than immediately attacking.
Approach (with a trap set). Setting a trap in the most direct path between you and your target can ensure that the idiot you’ve commanded walks right into your trap. Just make sure that your trap isn’t too obvious, or you’ll break the “direct harm” spirit of Command’s rules.
Choke. We don’t literally mean “choke and die.” We mean like an athlete choking in a big moment. If you’re watching a contest (or even involved in one), Command can work to completely mess with your adversary.
For example — are you wrestling with a barbarian chieftain to win their respect? How about Commanding them to “Fall” as you shove them, giving you the an edge in the melee that ensues. Or say you’re watching a buddy go head to head in a jousting tournament, you could shout the Command “Miss” to his opponent as they approach.
Because Command only has this one verbal component, you can usually get away with stuff like this.
Some players might also try to use Command as a way of ending an enemy spell caster’s concentration — it’s up to a GM to rule on this, as it does make Command quite powerful as a first-level spell.
Who Can I Target With Command 5e?
You can target most intelligent creatures with Command, although undead creatures are immune to the spell’s effects. Command is not a Charm, so creatures that are immune to Charm effects are not immune to Command (this cuts both ways, for players with feats like Fey Ancestry).
The creature must be able to understand your language, so Command won’t work on animals or other creatures that don’t speak. You’ll also need to know how to say the word you want to Command in a language they know, so having more language proficiencies opens up more potential targets for Command.
Or you could make it a mission to check out a library and learn a few choice words prepared in another language. For instance, if you’re going to deal with Fire Giants, you might try to find a way to learn a handful of words in Giant.
For every level above the first, you can also target one additional creature in range with Command. However, the second creature must also be within 30 feet of the initial Command target. This means if you want to Command 3 creatures, you should aim for the middle one to maximize the spell’s spread.
Is Command 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Command is a good utility spell with great combat and role-playing potential. It does require a Wisdom spell save to land and it has no effect on a successful save, so Command can be a risky spell to cast in combat.
Command 5e Compared to Suggestion
Suggestion is much more powerful than Command because it allows you to suggest a full sentence rather than just one word. Additionally, Suggestion lasts for up to 8 hours as long as the caster can maintain concentration.
You can also set a trigger for Suggestion, opening up even more role-playing potential.
Suggestion has similar limitations and upcast potential as Command, also requires a Wisdom saving throw to land, and is also a save-or-suck spell.
Command does have three small advantages over Suggestion: twice the range, no material component requirement, and the ability to cast it on enemies that are immune to Charm (which you cannot do with Suggestion).
Command 5e DM Tips
Command is a spell that begs for rules-lawyering as creative players try to get their money’s worth out of one word. They’ll try to gesture simultaneously, make compound words that don’t exist, and all other sorts of shenanigans.
Fun is king, and if players aren’t suggesting any game-breaking commands, it’s usually best to let them on. Just be sure it makes sense that the creature would understand what’s being commanded in that one word. Something like “confess” is a weak command unless the creature knows what you’re expecting of it and can sum up their confession in six seconds.
“Betray” can also be a tricky one, but you can have fun twisting the player’s intent and causing the creature to betray their allies in a less violent way. Or you can let it work and cause an infighting scene à la The Lord of the Rings. Whatever seems suitable for the occasion.
There’s also the case when a player will try to command a creature to do something that they don’t know is harmful in the time. If a creature doesn’t know that the action is harmful at the moment, then the Command should work.
For example, if players set a deadfall and the Paladin commands the enemy to “Approach,” it’s reasonable that the creature would follow the command, not knowing that a trap awaits.
Command 5e Simple Spell Text
Command: (1st-level, 60 feet, V) Force a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the target follows a one-word Command you speak on their next turn. Does not work on undead or those who don’t understand your language. Cannot command a creature to take a directly harmful action. | +1 creature per slot level above second; creatures must be within 30 feet of each other.