I'm currently playing a bard and I picked up vicious mockery as one of my cantrips. My group and I had an encounter with some giant rats and I tried to use the spell on them, but the DM said they are not affected with this spell because they are not humanoids.

But reading the spell it says

You unleash a string of insults laced with subtle enchantments at a creature you can see within range. If the target can hear you (though it need not understand you), it must succeed on a wisdom saving throw or take 1d4 psychic damage and have disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn.

So I thought if the creature is capable of hearing me, it should be affected. Who is right?


1 Answer 1


By the rules, you are correct. The spell affects a creature (a rat qualifies) you can see (which you could) that can hear you (which it could).

However, DMs do have the ability to change the rules for their game. I'd approach him again and get clarification on the ability for future use, noting "it just says a creature." If he's only going to let it work on humanoids, then you could ask if you could switch cantrips since that one's being severely nerfed past what it says in the rulebook.

  • 12
    \$\begingroup\$ ... also pointing out that the thing that causes the effect is the magic - not the words. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 0:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you for the quick response, thats what i thought that the magic only travels on sthe sound waves not the words. i will ask the DM to change cantrip \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 0:58
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ ... also pointing out that the rule clarifies that the creature need not understand you, which a rat probably wouldn't, nor would most other creatures, though many humanoids probably would, at least to some degree. \$\endgroup\$
    – user36832
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:11

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