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In light of the revelation that an Instrument of the Bards requires a spell with a material component to be used, what spells can it actually be used on?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is this not closed as too broad? \$\endgroup\$
    – user24827
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 20:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rogem Because there is a very specific answer to this. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 20:39

3 Answers 3

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The November 2018 DMG errata replaces the last paragraph of the old description with:

You can play the instrument while casting a spell that causes any of its targets to be charmed on a failed saving throw, thereby imposing disadvantage on the save. This effect applies only if the spell has a somatic or a material component.

The means that a spell qualifies if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The spell causes the Charmed condition

  2. The spell calls for a saving throw which, if failed, inflicts the charm effect

  3. The spell has a material and/or somatic component

The spells meeting these 3 conditions currently are:

  • Animal friendship

  • Charm monster

  • Charm person

  • Crown of madness

  • Dominate beast

  • Dominate monster

  • Dominate person

  • Hypnotic pattern

  • Modify memory

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    \$\begingroup\$ One could be even more specific and say the the spell requires a non-costly material component that is not consumed (since foci cannot replace material components with a cost, or components that are consumed on casting) \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 19:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ The instrument does also specify that spells cast from the instrument or when the instrument is used as a spellcasting focus are affected, but the only spell any version of the instruments offers which causes anyone to be Charmed is... Animal Friendship, again. Access to a few more spells is pretty useful of course but one can't help but feel that this secondary aspect of the instrument's power was not really thought through at all... \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 21:19
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As of the November 2018 DMG Errata:

Instrument of the Bards (p. 176). The final paragraph is replaced with the following: “You can play the instrument while casting a spell that causes any of its targets to be charmed on a failed saving throw, thereby imposing disadvantage on the save. This effect applies only if the spell has a somatic or a material component.”

There is no longer a requirement that the instrument be used as the focus, and it works as long as there is a somatic or material component. While the character still needs to be a bard to attune it, it can be used with non-bard spells.

Based on a quick filter on D&D Beyond, the list appears to be:

  • Animal Friendship
  • Charm Monster
  • Charm Person
  • Crown of Madness
  • Dominate Beast
  • Dominate Monster
  • Dominate Person
  • Hypnotic Pattern
  • Modify Memory

Some of the spells under that same search (not listed above) are there because they cure or suppress the charmed condition. Of those that aren't curatives, a few others don't make muster for use with an Instrument for other reasons:

  • Awaken imposes charmed, but has no save.
  • Compulsion, Suggestion, and Mass Suggestion don't actually impose the charmed condition, despite un-charmable people being immune.
  • Geas only has a verbal component.

Suggestion actually doesn't appear at all on that search, but Mass Suggestion does. That indicates there may be a problem in the site's indexing functions, so there may be other spells that reference the Charmed condition that aren't being found.

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A casting of hypnotic pattern that imposes disadvantage on the save is entirely worth it. A half dozen opponents suddenly becomes effectively one or two, maybe zero. As powerful as that combo is, what more do you really need?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour to see how a Q&A site in the SE format is different from a discussion forum. Also, please take a look at how to write a good answer. You've got a good start, please follow through with those guidelines in mind. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I don't completely disagree, this doesn't answer the question and feels more like a comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 14:34

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