I love the spell command, and I am looking for a way to get someone to temporarily blind themselves. Yet, for the life of me I cannot find a solitary verb that means to close your eyes. Funny how bad the English language is, haha.

What command can I give with the command spell to temporarily blind an opponent?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem with grovel is that we have serval ranged fighters and they get disadvantage on units I prone. Blind gives everyone advantage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


Don't look for a word, look for an agreement with your DM

You say

I am looking for a way to get someone to temporarily blind themselves. Yet, for the life of me I cannot find a solitary verb that means to close your eyes. Funny how bad the English language is

But Command says (emphasis mine):

You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range...You might issue a command other than one described here. If you do so, the GM determines how the target behaves.

You may be under the impression that if only you can find the 'perfect word', you can force the DM to impose the blinded condition to a foe on a failed save. That's not how the spell works. There are no 'hacks' to "Rule 3: The DM Narrates the Results".

Consider the "typical commands and their effects" in the Command spell - Approach, Drop, Flee, Grovel, Halt. Note that none of them have to be ruled the way they are by the nature of the word itself; rather, the game designers decided on an outcome that was appropriate for the power level of the spell and then used them as model examples for DM's and players. Suppose one of these specific words had not been included in the spell description, and a player was presenting it as a novel word "other than the one described", but the DM considered the suggested effect too powerful:

Player: "I'd like to use Approach to have the target move toward me by the shortest and most direct route, and end its turn if it moves within 5 feet of me."
DM: "Command allows a single word only - what you are describing is "Approach (me)". How does the target know who or what to approach? And why do they end their turn? They have only used movement and have their other actions."

Player: "I'd like to use Drop to have the target drop whatever it is holding and then end its turn."
DM: "Command allows a single word only - what you are describing is "Drop (things held)". How does the target know not to "Drop (self)" and fall prone with their items still in hand? And why do they end their turn? Dropping things is a free action - what you are describing is more like 'Drop and Halt'."

Player: "I'd like to use Flee to make the target spend its turn moving away from me by the fastest available means."
DM: "Command allows a single word only - what you are describing is "Flee (from me)". How does the target know not to Flee from one of your teammates, or someone in their own party, or their home?"

My point is that none of these words inherently force the condition on the target by the nature of the word itself. Instead, they were considered appropriate effects and then the word was chosen as representative.

As a further consideration of how your well-intentioned search for the 'perfect word' is actually misguided, consider that you admit that finding such a word is difficult due to the deficiencies of English. But (unless you are in a very specific campaign), the word actually used by your caster is not in English - it might be in Common, or Gnome, or Draconic. Under Rule 1 ('the DM describes the environment'), it is the role of the DM to decide the vocabulary of these imagined languages within their campaign world. So, even if you could find a 'single word' in English to use as a Command for someone to close their eyes (and I would suggest squint or blear), the DM is well within their purview to say that such a concept does not exist as one word within the language the caster is actually using in the game.

So, rather than looking for a perfect word, first go to your DM and ask whether it would be acceptable to have a Command result in the Blinded condition. As you note yourself in comments, Blinded is strictly superior to Prone for your use, so your GM might consider that too powerful an effect.

If your DM does approve the kind of effect or condition you are looking for, choose any word that evokes that feeling, but realize that the word itself is just for descriptive flavor, not inherent power. The DM might even say, "Okay, your command is 'Blind yourself' but don't worry that it is two words in English; it is only one word in Common!"

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ You could add that the character probably doesn't speak English. A few real languages actually have a single word for "to close your own eyes". Common, Dwarvish or Elvish can also be one of such language. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Try arguing that your character's native language includes a word for "commit suicide," and see how far it gets you. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 22:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Edited, thank you. I don't know if you played in 1e. I remember reading the description of command there saying that the word had to be unambiguously a verb, without the possibility of being used as a noun. And then every single example given could be a noun in English! \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 3:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe my native language actually has a word for «to commit suicide», but you can’t use it for Command anyways since the command can’t be «directly harmful» according to the spell description. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 9:51

I didn't find a verb for it, but I thought about something that might do what you want: Sleep

The target may not fall asleep from this command, but, DM wise, it is likely to, at least, close their eyes and maybe even lay down on the ground.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you done this? How did it work out? Were other casters who actually have the sleep spell okay with this guaranteed usage of a same spell level where there's doesn't (even though there's lasts longer if successful?) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch It is not guaranteed, command allows a save. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 17:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Closing your eyes and laying down are just two of the many preparations you could make before sleeping. But sleeping itself is not actionable, DM wise, I think it falls under this command clause: "If the target can't follow your command, the spell ends." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What happens if I cast the Command spell and command a creature to “Sleep”? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 2:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish - Sleep is a spell named sleep. Sleep is also a function almost every race does. Shy of an elf, this would work in my games since commanding somebody to sleep would indeed have them begin to drift off for 6 seconds until next turn when they snapped back awake. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 11:34

"Enshroud!" could work situationally, subject to the same kind of ambiguity as other Command words

The verb "enshroud" means "to cover completely as with a shroud" (OED), and absent an object it means to enshroud oneself. So "Enshroud!" could be a command to cover oneself completely in something, with some caveats:

First, for this to be to readily doable (within a 6-second round) the target would have to be near something like a blanket or tapestry, or wearing a bulky cloak, etc. which they could pull over themselves completely. Upon so doing, if the material is not sheer or translucent, then they would be effectively blinded until the fabric is removed by them or someone else.

Second, this is subject to the object-ambiguiuty pointed out in other answers here (and in comments below). Just as a "Stop!" command could merely make the target stop talking or stop whistling when you'd hoped he'd stop moving, so "Enshroud!" (as your teammate tosses the target a blanket) could result in him covering up a nearby chair. Here, as is always the case with Command, the DM determines how it plays out. But you have a chance to get him covering his eyes with "Enshroud!", and its ambiguity is technically no worse than that of many other command words.

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    \$\begingroup\$ “Enshroud what?”, said the bandit chief, as his confusion lasts long enough for your spell’s magic to expire. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 7:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov The way imperative mood generally works is that if no object is specified where it is possible for the verb to be reflexive, then the reflexive sense is assumed. "Sit!" means sit yourself -- there's no question of it meaning you should act like an usher and sit someone else. "Stop!" means stop yourself, don't go over and stop someone else. "Rest!" means rest yourself, it doesn't mean maybe rest your dog or your pet monkey trailing along beside you. And so on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valley Lad
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 7:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad If I heard “enshroud”, I would try to obscure the area (fog cloud maybe). The rule for what object is “assumed” is not as simple as you say (counter examples: “write”, “take”, “fight”: the imperative only makes you the subject). \$\endgroup\$
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 10:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Laurel If we want to argue that "Enshroud!" is too ambiguous as to its object, why do we not complain about all the other verbs employed in the Command spell that could be just as ambiguous? "Eat what?", says the bandit chief seated at the banquet table. "Eat my hat? Eat your heart after I rip it out?" I suppose a GM who wanted to could be making all kinds of fun out of how Command plays out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valley Lad
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I have edited the answer to address the ambiguity issue, which Kirt's answer explains also, and which I think is not technically different with "Enshroud" than it is with many other Command words. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valley Lad
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 17:57

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