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If someone uses the spell command and says "drop", would you drop your backpack as well and all its contents, or just what's in your hands?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are they holding the backpack in their hands or wearing it? \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 5:27

2 Answers 2

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The spell is usually left up to the GM but "drop" has a specific effect

Much of the spell is left up to the GM's interpretation:

You might issue a command other than one described here. If you do so, the GM determines how the target behaves.

That said, the "Drop" command in particular is an example the spell provides:

Drop: The target drops whatever it is holding and then ends its turn.

So for this example a target would simply drop what it is holding and using the standard English meaning the target would not drop things it is carrying such as a backpack, let alone pour out all of its contents.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah if you stretch the meaning of holding so far it includes worn backpacks it should logically include things like clothing as well. Now of course if they are currently holding their backpack in their hands, say after picking it up, that's a different story. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 5:27
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If the target fails its Wisdom saving throw, then during its next turn the target will drop any and all objects or creatures "it is holding", and then end its turn.

Drop: The target drops whatever it is holding and then ends its turn.

In D&D 5e, appendages like hands and sometimes tails or pseudopods, are used to "hold" an object. (Presumably a creature could also hold an object in its mouth.)

There do not appear to be any published instances of "holding" an object by wearing it, therefor there is no reason to believe the intent is for worn items to be dropped: Worn items are not "dropped" unless they are being "held" in place. (If it said "drops whatever it is carrying", this would be another matter.)

Notably, the spell makes no mention when a target must follow the Drop command, during its next turn:

Conceivably, the creature could go about its turn normally, then drop any items it is holding & then end its turn; then pick up those items as a free object interaction, the turn after that.

(Contrast this with the "Flee" command, which causes a creature to "spend its turn moving away from you by the fastest available means", implying that no actions may be taken except those which result in ending the turn farther from you.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This has been downvoted, but I'm not sure why: Disagreement that "on" is ambiguous, as compared to "at the start of"? Is there a ruling that all Command effects are initiated at the start of the target's next turn? Because any action taken during a turn, could reasonably be said to be taken on that turn. I'm not sure how to improve my answer: Any given GM might feel that "on" is intended to mean "at the start of", but I've actually had a GM rule that it did not, & I must concede that the phrasing does not enforce "at the start of"... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with this line: "no actions may be taken except those which result in ending the turn farther from you." This would prevent even the Attack action, since it doesn't move you away, while Dashing or casting misty step (wasting a spell slot) would. I would have assumed the spell only compelled movement and not actions, bonus actions, reactions, expensive resources, and everything else as well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, you would interpret "The target spends its turn moving away from you by the fastest available means." as still allowing any/all actions the target desire, so long as they don't cause it to end less distant from you? I think the phrase "spends its turn" implies 'uses its whole turn', but that could be ambiguous too! Almost moreso than whether it prevents other actions, it's concerning that "the fastest available means" could cause the target to cast spells or use movement feats, to get extra distance... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have usually ruled that it just forces movement expenditure, similar to dissonant whispers. I don't think command would be immensely more powerful than DW when they're both 1st level spells and command already has immense versatility built into it. I also think a 1st-level spell potentially causing daily or high-level resource expenditure is just not how the rules would be interpreted. "Flee" could certainly get its own new question, I just find your interpretation extremely strong for an already massively versatile 1st-level spell \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 12:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree that any resource expenditure from "moving away from you by the fastest available means" feels very overpowered for a 1st Lvl spell. A reasonable interpretation of "spends its turn" would seem to imply using up the whole turn, but mechanically that is overpowered. In fact, "Halt" is the only Command which explicitly precludes taking Actions during that turn. All the other listed commands are interpretable as allowing a full turn, then obeying the Command last... still following the command "on" that turn; just at the end of it! "At the start" is usually specified, when that's meant. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 20:32

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