The spell Command states the following:

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. [...]

Therefore, one would not be able to naturally command beasts which don't speak any or at least not your language.

If I were to be under the effect of the spell Speak with Animals, however, would the beast then be able to understand me and therefore forced to follow the command? The spell doesn't say that it “understands my language“, but I can verbally communicate with it.

You gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts for the duration. The knowledge and awareness of many beasts is limited by their intelligence, but at minimum, beasts can give you information about nearby locations and monsters, including whatever they can perceive or have perceived within the past day. You might be able to persuade a beast to perform a small favor for you, at the DM's discretion.

Similar to that, the Great Old One Warlock's Awakened Mind feature states:

Starting at 1st level, your alien knowledge gives you the ability to touch the minds of other creatures. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.

So this would specifically rule out beasts that don't naturally speak any language, but other beasts (that speak for example slyvan) would, whether or not I speak that language.

Also, can I use Awakened Mind with Command at all? The latter mentions “You speak a one-word command [...]“, while Awakened Mind just allows communicating telepathically.

Thank you in advance!


2 Answers 2


Speak with Animals works, Awakened Mind doesn't

You really said it all:

You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range. [...] The spell has no effect [...] if it doesn't understand your language

Command has a verbal component, you need to speak a word. Since Speak with Animals lets you verbally communicate with animals, you can command them. Since Awakened Mind lets you telepathically communicate with creatures, you can't use it to command them.

In general, any spell /feature that let's you verbally communicate would let you use Command, and any that doesn't won't.

That's RAW (or at least as far as I can tell), but if your DM is ok with Awakened Mind letting you employ Command (as long as it does not get rid of the verbal component) I doubt it would be too unbalanced. If DM and player are onboard, go with it.

Also, a very conservative interpretation of Command could argue that "Speak with Animals" is not technically a language and so Command still wouldn't work, but since

You might be able to persuade a beast to perform a small favor for you

I'd say that making Speaks with Animals insufficient for Command is a bit absurd. Sage Advice agrees on this point:

Iain A. Phillips: @JeremyECrawford does casting Speak with Animals allow you to cast spells like Command or Suggestion on beasts? #DnD

Jeremy Crawford: Yes.

Also here is Sage Advice for the interpretation that Awakend mind or other forms of telephatic communication don't work for verbal components (not explicitly saying that Awakened mind won't let you use Command on a creature that doesn't understand your language if still performing a verbal component, but strongly implying it):

Jeremiah mcDonald: @JeremyECrawford oh Ruler of rules, can you advice on using Awakened Mind to cast vocal component spells such as Command or suggest?

Jeremy Crawford: Sound is the key part of a verbal component, so saying the component in your mind doesn't help. #DnD

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    \$\begingroup\$ the way I understand the Command spell is that you, like with most other spells, use the verbal components to invoke a certain effect - which in this case is to force the creature to obey your follow-up command. Therefore, I think I would (house-)rule (since I'm looking at this from the perspective of a DM) that it is possible to say the command word with Awakened mind (not the verbal component!). After all, since you still have to use a verbal component, it won't affect the mechanics, but it might allow for roleplay flavor. Could be especially interested if cast as a subtle spell :) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2018 at 11:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I completely agree with this houserule, and I've actually let players (in other systems) get away with things like this. RAW and RAI may say one thing, but my favoured rulings are RAF (Rules as Fun). In case some player think it's odd just say that the warlock issues the telepathic and verbal command at the same time (saying, for example, jump as verbal and pwn'glui in cthulhuian as telephatic) \$\endgroup\$
    – LordHieros
    Jan 25, 2018 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Also, a very conservative interpretation of Command could argue that "Speak with Animals" is not technically a language and so Command still wouldn't work" But even a conservative interpretation of Tongues seems to suggest you could. (See also @gatherer818's first comment on this answer to another question) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2019 at 16:09


It is not because of the V component

The answer given by LordHieros is correct, but for the wrong reason.

The verbal component of the command spell is used for spellcasting purposes. Knowing its spellcasting component is useful for counterspell, Mage Slayer, silence, and other effects that can negate or interrupt a spell with a V component. This V component is not the same as the command word.

For example, a Divine Soul will be able to use Subtle Spell with command, making their casting undetectable.

It is because the spell requires the command word to be spoken

The command spell says:

You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range.

Thus, you must verbally say the command word out loud, even when you are a Divine Soul who has cast it with Subtle Spell!

Of course, in the case of a command with Subtle Spell, it would just appear to others that your words are compelling people to obey you. They would not know a spell was cast, unless they were the target of the spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ isn't that what @LordHieros mentioned at the beginning of his answer, where he differentiated between verbal and telepathic communication? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2018 at 16:15

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