Command is a 1st-level spell belonging to the Bard, Cleric, and Paladin spell lists.
Command is a unique spell that gives a player the ability to control a target, similar to some type of mind control.
The Player’s Handbook states the following:
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: 1 round
The caster speaks, giving a one-word command to a target that they can see within range.
The chosen target must complete and succeed in a Wisdom saving roll or follow the given command on their next turn.
Note: Command has no effect if the target is undead.
Command will not work if the target doesn’t understand the language of the caster and if the command given is harmful to the target.
If a player gives a command not mentioned below, the DM may determine how the target will behave. However, the spell immediately ends if the target cannot follow the command.
Approach: The chosen target moves towards the caster using the shortest and most direct route, then ends its turn if it moves within 5 feet of the caster.
Drop: The chosen target drops whatever items they are holding, then ends its turn.
Flee: The chosen target will spend its turn moving away from the caster using the fastest means available.
Grovel: The chosen target falls into the prone position, then ends its turn.
Halt: The chosen target will not move or take any actions. Flying creatures stay aloft, provided they can remain in flight that long. If the target must move to stay aloft, it moves the minimum distance needed to remain in its current flying position.
At Higher Levels: When Command is cast using a spell slot of the 2nd level or higher, one additional target will be affected for each level above the 1st. Targets must have been within 30 feet of each other when targeting them.
Classes Able To Use Command
Traditionally, the Bard, Cleric, and Paladin classes can use Command.
Subclasses like Eldritch Knights (Fighter) can choose Command as a part of their spell list.
Is Command Good?
Yes, Command is a spell that changes how supportive classes can be helpful on and off the battlefield.
Where Paladins, Clerics, and Bards are usually supportive classes, Command gives them a greater purpose than merely soaking damage or healing their party.
Advantages of Command
The Command spell is available to players as soon as they learn it and has an open level 1 spell slot. Most players will therefore unlock this spell almost immediately upon leveling up.
Having access to a spell this powerful while being low-level can change how the game is played. Parties with access to Command will likely want to use this spell to gain an advantage before engaging in full-blown combat.
Ease of Use
There is no hidden complexity to Command. It only requires a Verbal command and an understanding of what can or cannot be said. After that, the spell becomes as simple as a Cantrip.
The most prominent issue players might have would be the rules of the DM. Therefore, before creating your commands, find out what is acceptable in the campaign.
It would be a letdown only to discover specific rules after the game starts.
Only Verbal Component
Spells requiring only a Verbal component are straightforward to cast. Merely speak the incantation clearly, with a powerful voice, and players can cast the spell.
Note: However, be careful of conditions that silence the spellcaster; without being able to state the incantation clearly, players cannot cast the spell.
When players choose to cast Command with a 2nd level spell slot or higher, each spell slot will allow the player to target one extra target.
For example, using this against the minions of a boss or leader can make a large sum of their men useless.
It takes the strain off your frontline and allows the damage dealers to put in more work towards the primary target.
Drawbacks of Command
Language Must Be Understood
Most creatures throughout the game can understand common; however, as the game progresses, players might find ancient beings or civilizations unable to understand the common tongue.
Therefore, with that in mind, players should always try to discover the type of enemy they might face. In the end, it’ll help them prepare accordingly and help them know if Command is viable.
Not Directly Harmful
Command deals zero damage when cast traditionally. Many players might use this as their only reason not to take Command, which is fair, as dealing enough damage stops enemies from destroying their party.
Therefore, players who want to use Command must think outside the box.
It will be inherently more complex and come with additional challenges, which many players don’t like when playing a board game to relax.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does My Target Have To Hear Me?
The rules of Command don’t expressly state that the target must hear the caster.
It only says that the target cannot be undead, it must understand your language, and the command cannot be harmful.
Does a Target Know They Have Been Commanded?
Similar to the Charm spell, after Command wears off and the round is complete, the target will understand that it has been commanded.
Note: This has a more significant effect when players use Command in the social aspect against NPCs living in the world.
Should I Use Command on Large Groups?
If you can use Command against larger groups by casting it with a higher-level spell slot, then you should.
It can drastically change most battles’ outcomes and make it less likely for party members to become wounded.
Command is a highly creative spell that players should implement more into their spell list. It can be devastating against enemies when used on the battlefield, but it can be just as fun off the battlefield.
Nothing is better than Commanding one of your party members to start a fight in a tavern. Yes, they might be beaten and wounded, but is that such as bad outcome?