Command is a level one enchantment spell that has a range of 60 feet and lasts one round (roughly six seconds). On a failed wisdom saving throw, the target utters a one-word command that the target must obey. The command will not take effect if it is directly harmful to it, taking out the “suicide” or “sepuku” commands. Here are some commands that can be particularly helpful depending on your situation.
Command Combat uses
This command will cause the target to lie down on the ground and waste a turn. This is particularly helpful for melee attackers because targets in a prone position give it’s attackers an advantage on melee attacks but disadvantage for ranged attacks. This will allow all your frontline fighters to essentially pincushion a single enemy for one turn.
2. Drop / Throw
These commands will cause the target to either drop what they have in their hands at their feet or throw their possessions in a direction at the DM’s digression. This command can effectively disarm the opponent for the rest of the battle, if his weapon is recovered by your party or the weapon thrown is unreachable.
This command can be particularly helpful in encounters where the target is taking someone or something hostage. In the case of a person, the target would let them go. In the case of an item or object, the target would ideally give the item up, instead of dropping it from the “drop” command.
4. Break / Push / Pull
These words are helpful for a target that you want to interact with a specific object. Get the target to smash the mirror in their hands that is controlling the others. Get the vanguard to push caravan into the hallway. Or maybe get the guard to pull the lever to bring down the gates.
5. Dispel / Cast
A helpful command against another magic user. Dispel will cause the enemy caster to dispel whatever magical effect she has up at the moment. An additional effect could be for them to use their magic to actively dispel the magical effect of an item or another caster.
Cast is a more unpredictable command, as the target could cast any of the spells available to him. The magic cast could be helpful or harmful to your party.
This command will compel the target to take off clothing and/or armor for a turn. This can be helpful for an enemy that is particularly hard to hit. Although light and medium armor still take a full minute or 10 rounds to doff, one could argue that the integrity of the armor is at least lessened and there for lowering the armor class of the target.
Stir up the feelings of resentment and paranoia with this command. This command can cause the target to become a turncoat to his own party for a turn.
The beauty of this command is that even though it is only one attack, the morale of the enemy group will be changed for the rest of the battle. Can the leader orc let this attack go or will the traitor have to be made an example of? My money is on the latter.
8. Halt / Stop / Approach / Flee
These commands are useful to position a target in relation to the caster. The commands can stop them, bring them closer, or push them away, respectively. Halt and stop are helpful for keeping the distance between the caster and the approaching enemy while still keeping them in attack spell range.
This command may help turn the tide of a losing side. Command the leader of the losing party to surrender and the rest of the party may follow suit. Although it will only last one round, the passing six seconds could be what the enemy leader to assess the situation and agree to the surrender.
At the very least, it would be dishonorable for a leader who has just shown the signs of surrender to resume the attack.
Roleplay / Adventure uses of command in 5e
Similar to backstab, this command can be used to sow the seeds of paranoia. Command the trusted advisor to betray his leader. The traitor could be jailed, banished, or executed.
The leader could be killed out right, having no defenses for a surprise betrayal. If she does survive the betrayal, she would at least be wary of the rest of her “trusted” advisors.
2. Drink / Eat / Consume
Command your target to eat or drink the food in front of them. These commands can ensure that the target finishes the meal you just poisoned. However, the target must not initially know that the food is poisoned or the spell will not take effect.
3. Vomit / Puke
Command your target to spend their turn trying to expel the contents of their stomach. This is helpful should you suspect your party of being poisoned and that the food and drink was laced with extra ingredients.
4. Dance / Sing
This command will cause your target to sing or dance for the next six seconds. A nice distraction for you to use to slip by.
5. Punch / Attack
Command your target to punch or otherwise attack the person they are interacting with.
6. Yawn / Relax / Sleep
These commands will cause the target to be in a relaxed state, more likely to miss the ambient noises around them.
Compel your target to steal an object, leaving her red handed and pockets full.
8. Atone / Confess
This command can be used to get a confession from a guilty party.
This command can compel the target to verify ideas that are communicated to them, such as the location of a certain item or the accuracy of a map.
Commanding in Action
Command can be a difficult spell to master because the feeling of what you want to happen tends to need more than a single word. Keep in mind that the effect is not permanent and lastly roughly six seconds. The word also has to be understood by the target, so bare in mind the intelligence of the target. The key is to make the command succinct and straight forward. Communicate with the DM your intent to begin with.
Command Spell in Combat
In combat, the command can be pretty straight forward. Grovel will make the enemy not attack for one turn and at the same time making himself easier to hit. Drop or toss will disarm him and possibly render him useless for the rest of the battle. Give a single straight forward command to interact with specific objects. Pull the lever. Release the prisoner. Dispel the magic.
Creative Uses of Command Spell
The command spell really shines in the adventure and role play aspects of the game. Imagine that you are infiltrating a prison. Commanding a guard to yawn can give you a few precious seconds of having her eyes shut. If the guards are in a group, commanding one of them to sing or dance for the next six seconds can be a very effective distraction.
Maybe the group is surly and drinking, a punch command is all it is going to take to push them to fight it out. A guard that is dozing off, could be gently coaxed into sleeping. If you are gathering information, getting a target to verify your crudely drawn map will make the infiltration more likely to succeed.
If you need to blackmail someone, command her to confess her involvement with a crime. If any party members are particularly skilled with poisons, you can command the most paranoid to consume the tainted food and drink.
The Long Game of Command Spell
My personal favorite with command is the long game of distance and intrigue. With a 60 foot range and only verbal components, command can be used to make others misbehave.
The spell does not indicate that the target knows whom is manipulating them. For groups, I use command to divide the group and sew mistrust among the members. A well placed betrayal or backstab command can fracture a group’s morale and isolate the true intended target.
Scenarios of Political Intrigue and Power Plays
In scenarios of political intrigue and power plays, a confession could reveal plans or resources. Imagine the local sheriff has a friend of yours locked up. You try to negotiate with him but no dice. He tells you he can’t help you as he hasn’t been paid a fair wage in the last month. Working your way through the dark channels of information you find out that the culprit is the mayor.
At their next meeting at the sheriff’s office, you just so happen to be listening from the open window. Maybe the governor finds it in his heart to confess to the sheriff that he has been embezzling from the tax coffers. That jail cell is going to be tight with two occupants, so you talk the sheriff into letting your friend go. Of course, you could always make it overt and take credit for your fine work. I prefer to work my commands in the shadows.
In conclusion, Command Spell can be a powerful tool in D&D when used creatively and effectively. From combat to adventure and even political intrigue, it can give players an edge in various scenarios. Just remember to communicate with your DM, be succinct with your commands, and use them wisely.