So this is something I just found out about that I find odd:

  • Opportunity attacks—trigger off of movement that uses the creatures movement (action, move action, bonus action, reaction.)
  • Sentinel—Whenever a creature within 5 ft of you makes an attack at a creature other than you.
  • Booming blade—If the target willingly moves.
  • Mental Prison spell—if it moves, attacks through it, or reaches any part of body out of it.

So the “willingly” is different than other rulings for how effects related to movement works. However what exactly fits willing?

  • Cause fear—nope magic is having them move.
  • Dissonant whispers—same thing. They have to immediately move.

So the creature has to want to move completely of its own accord.

  • Crown of Madness—Humanoid creature you choose must make a wisdom saving throw. On a fail it is charmed by you. (Next is flavor text so skipping.) While charmed in this way the target must make an attack on a creature other than itself that you mentally choose on each of its turns before moving. It can act normally if you choose no creature or if none are within reach.

Crown of madness isn't making them move but doesnt specifically say willing. And if the ruling for willing is movement not caused by magic what about magic causing situations where you take damage if you don't move. Would a creature shimmering with evocation energy be spared because he moved out of the magical blender that is cloud of daggers? If no, then what is the go-to rule for willing movement that I should be using?

In short, what movement counts as willing, and where can it be found? Is moving out of obvious danger caused by magic, willing? Is moving away from an ally so you don't hit them, willing?

If there isn't any actual ruling on willing, that's fine; I'll go back to running it with my interpretation, so that it has same wording as AOO. If there is an actual 5e term or explanation for willing (that isn't Sage Advice), please let me know. I just don't see why it was necessary to put a term in the spell that isn't used anywhere else. I understand it could have been overlooked since it was in a splatbook or has just been ignored since most people probably assume that there is "Forced " and "Willing" movement, with the willing being defined as: any movement from an action, move action, bonus action, or reaction. In same way AOO work.


2 Answers 2


Willing means the character can choose to move or not.

Lacking a specific in game definition, use the vernacular. In this sense, "willing" means:

: of or relating to the will or power of choosing : volitional

Many effects dictate that the character is moved or must move. Any effect that removes the choice of the character to move or not means the movement is not willing.

Examples of movement that is not "willing" include:


A movement forced by a spell/condition is not willing movement.

"Willingly" means: "readily; of one's own free will".

RAI support - Jeremy Crawford supports this interpretation when he states:

Booming blade hurts you if you move away willingly. Dissonant whispers forces you to move—doesn't trigger BL.

Dissonant whispers clearly forces movement on a failed save. Hence, it is a very applicable comparison and the ruling is transferable.

However, crown of madness doesn't affect character movements, so movement by the targeted creature is not forced by the spell; thus, movement by that creature is based on that creature's will, and is thus "willing movement".

Some of my references came from: Does the movement from Infestation count as willing?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Mk so when it boils down to it the only actual statement of how it works is sage advice which is optional, just gonna run it in sessions the way I have since SCAG came out because I don't want chased by pitchfork wielding players XD. Thanks for your input I appreciate it <3 \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2019 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant Crawford tweet on why some spells require willingness to work, in-universe... Twitter user: "lore wise/in world,how would you describe "willing creature" spells? mental request?" - Crawford: "The creature's will helps fuel the spell." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jan 27, 2019 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Please avoid using the RAI acronym, or use it carefully & be clear in context. You might want to expand the acronym or rephrase the answer to not use it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 16, 2019 at 5:50

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