8
\$\begingroup\$

Both the Cambion and the Succubus/Incubus have abilities that allow them to charm a humanoid, who must then obey their commands until the charm effect is broken. However, both include clauses that state that if the charmed humanoid is given a suicidal command, they can repeat the saving throw, ending the charmed condition on a success.

From Cambion (MM, pg. 36):

Fiendish Charm. [...] The charmed target obeys the cambion’s spoken commands. If the target suffers any harm from the cambion or another creature or receives a suicidal command from the cambion, the target can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.

From Succubus/Incubus (MM, p. 285):

Charm. [...] The charmed target obeys the fiend's verbal or telepathic commands. If the target suffers any harm or receives a suicidal command, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success.

If the charmed humanoid succeeds, clearly they will not do the suicidal thing they were told to do (unless they genuinely wanted to, for some reason).

But what about if they fail? Do they still go ahead with the command, or is the command somehow invalidated but the charm effect persists? If a cambion charmed a barbarian and told them to jump off a massively high cliff, and the barbarian failed the repeated saving throw, would they now jump to their death?

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad you asked this question. (We may be tossing a cambion at the party in a later part of our adventure) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 6 at 14:42
10
\$\begingroup\$

Yes. They obey commands, and can save if they get an obviously suicidal order, but if they fail the save, then the first part of the ability remains in force and they go through with the command as it was given.

Compare the text of these abilities to spells that grant some control over a creature but don't allow suicidal commands --

geas:

You can issue any command you choose, short of an activity that would result in certain death. Should you issue a suicidal command, the spell ends.

command:

The spell has no effect [...] if your command is directly harmful to [the target].

suggestion:

Asking the creature to stab itself, throw itself onto a spear, immolate itself, or do some other obviously harmful act ends the spell.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jumping from a high cliff is an obvious suicidal command because it most likely results in death, especially at lower levels, but what about "slit your throat"? Do you die regardless of your HP, or do you simply roll damage of some sort? \$\endgroup\$ – StackLloyd Sep 6 at 14:50
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @stacklloyd Honestly, ask your GM. Damage is a thing that can be defined and described in drastically different ways and the interpretation of an improvised action (a called shot, which 5e does not have) would be up to the GM \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 6 at 14:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @StackLloyd This question may cover that for you. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 6 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although the answer in its original form was correct, adding the spells for contrast in definitely an improvement, and makes the answer more obviously correct. Accepted. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Sep 7 at 9:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.