Dominate Person states the following:

Each time the target takes damage, it makes a new Wisdom saving throw against the spell. If the saving throw succeeds, the spell ends.

As written, this would presumably include damage from an ally - am I right?

From a gameplay perspective, this is a great boon to players who lose a team member to a vampire (or whatever) since it is a lot easier to damage the ensorcelled player with ranged or AoE attacks than with a greater restoration which is a touch spell. Nothing in the Vampire's Charm description indicates that it is different from the Charm spell; it does specifically refer to it as magic, rather than innate.

Is there something that I am missing?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll add that the description of Vampire includes "Each time the vampire or the vampire's companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw" so I would interpret that to mean that only such damage would afford the saving though. So, a vampire's Charm is better than a normal Charm in at least this one aspect. \$\endgroup\$ – Keith Hanlan Jun 10 '18 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Better in some ways, worse in others, because "anything harmful" is significantly broader than "takes damage". \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Jun 10 '18 at 15:10

If it takes damage, it gets a saving throw

Damage from allies is not automatically distinguished in D&D 5e, so yes you could damage your own allies to break a spell. Unless the spell specifically states that the damage must come from a specific source, it means all sources. This is a valid strategy and part of the balance of the spell.

As you've rightly pointed out, the description of the Vampire specifically outlines the difference between who is damaging the charmed target.

Each time the vampire or the vampire's companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw

While "harmful" is less specific than "takes damage", you can see that a distinction has been made between any attacker and the Vampire's companions, and thus the absence of such a clause in Dominate Person indicates that any damage will trigger a saving throw.

Keep in mind that you can't predetermine how much damage you're doing to a friendly creature. If you crit, you crit. If you deal max damage, you deal max damage. You could, of course, make an unarmed attack and deal 1+STRmod damage, since there are no dice to be affected by a critical hit, or use an improvised weapon which deals 1d4 + proficiency bonus damage.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Remember if you are worried about killing or dealing too much damage, you can always use improvised weapon, such as throwing a peeble, a log, or whatever. It only deals 1d4 dmg+modifier. \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Jun 11 '18 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe improvised weapons do d4+STR? \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Jun 12 '18 at 2:41

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