Using Dominate to get the Truth from a Captive

Dominate person offers two modes of operation for a dominated creature:

  • Simple commands:

    You can use this telepathic link to issue commands to the creature while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey. You can specify a simple and general course of action, such as "Attack that creature," "Run over there," or "Fetch that object."

  • Precise control:

    You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. Until the end of your next turn, the creature takes only the actions you choose, and doesn't do anything that you don't allow it to do.

Can either of these be used to force a captive to answer questions to the best of their ability?

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes, you can force them to tell you or relay things to you

You can accomplish this easily with the simple command mode of dominate person.

You can use this telepathic link to issue commands to the creature while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey. You can specify a simple and general course of action, such as "Attack that creature," "Run over there," or "Fetch that object."

If you command them to "answer truthfully" or "respond to the question truthfully" you could get any information you needed out of them. This is because you are telling them to speak (thus they cannot remain silent) and be truthful (thus they cannot speak falsely). You can even further refine the questioning with more specific simple commands ("speak more about that" etc.).

A clever wording of the simple commands is all you need.

A simple workaround is to have one person ask a question, and you give the command "Answer that truthfully."

Tell the truth is vague, and the DM could argue that they say the sky is blue, or I am an orc as a glib answer as they try to resist (RP shenanigans).

It could very well be argued that with precise control you can only have them take actions, or say phrases that you devise yourself.

From a prior version of Rubiksmoose's answer:

Combined with a simple command of "tell the truth" you could get any information you needed out of them.

This would not work, as it requires the combination of both modes. Dominate is either/or.

  • 4
    Since answers are often ordered by vote count and they can be sorted a number of ways, "above" isn't always the same. I edited to make it reference the other answer directly. – David Coffron Sep 21 at 23:55

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