This is in my sci-fi D&D 5e campaign. I have a warlock who's using a spell from the Modern Magic unearthed arcana called remote access. I also have another player who is playing a homebrew android race which we've been considering a construct. The warlock has expressed that if they get annoyed with the other player, they would use remote access on the android.

Would that be possible, and if so, how could I prevent it from happening? I imagine the other player would be really pissed about being taken over.

Here are the race traits of the homebrew Android race:

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Alignment. They don’t tend towards any one alignment, as they were programmed to form their own opinions.

Size. You have the similar height and build to humans. Your size is medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 ft.

Mechanical Nature. You do not need to eat, drink, or breath to survive. But, you do need to recharge your power, which you can do by being near an electrical source during a short or long rest. You need to you run out of power by going 5 days without recharging, this puts you in an inactive state until you are able to recharge again. During a rest, you regain hit points like normal, during this time you make repairs on yourself. Your immune to the poisoned condition and poison damage. But, every time you take acid damage you take an extra 5 points of damage.

Sleep Mode. You only have to rest for 4 hours to get a long rest and 2 hours for a short rest. During this time you’re still conscience of your surroundings.

Wired Connection. You can connect to electronic devices gaining a +2 bonus to all saves and skill checks involving using that device.

Search the Web. When you make an ability check for any skill you can search the internet for tutorials, videos, ‘how to’s’, and other resources giving yourself a +2 bonus to the roll. You can only use this once per long rest.

Languages. You speak English and one other language of your choice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The generally established rule around the table is that pvp is highly discouraged. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gwideon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd add in what you said about PvP, and also just 'quote' the relevant bit of the Android that matters for Remote Access. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ What would Remote Access even accomplish? Unless it's something that the caster could do manually there's nothing the spell would do \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, you're asking how an UA spell interacts with a homebrew race in a PvP context? oh boy... \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ You need to you run out of power by going 5 days = Was this intended to read when you run out of power.. still conscience of your surroundings should be still conscious of your surroundings Your copy editor for the moment, KS. :) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 20:58

3 Answers 3


The remote access spell should not work here, or at least is hardly the best option

The remote access spell states:

You can use any electronic device within range as if it were in your hands. This is not a telekinesis effect. Rather, this spell allows you to simulate a device's mechanical functions electronically. You are able to access only functions that a person using the device manually would be able to access. You can use remote access with only one device at a time.

With an entire Android (an entire robotic being) it's unclear to me what exactly one could do while holding said Android. At least from a practical standpoint, there would not be any sort of on/off switch as this would become exploitable during combat. How one would even possibly "use an Android manually" is unclear to me (I cannot imagine a single thing this would accomplish), so I'll say its up to the GM.

The remote access spell allows you to accomplish tasks that normally require you to be directly in front of some set of controls/electronics. If the PC here really wanted to accomplish something of this nature they could simply knock the Android unconscious or use the sleep spell or something similar and then literally, manually do whatever they were planning to do through remote access.

Player agency is a serious matter

Another thing to note is that PvP, especially antagonistically and extremely especially here where there is a loss of agency, is best avoided. The dynamic/feel I get from your question is not one I would want at my tables, so I do hope the ideas there have been talked about in a session zero. If scenarios like this have not been discussed I suggest having another session zero; a fellow party member removing agency from another is a serious matter.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ yes I agree. also just a note I am the gm. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gwideon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Having read through that UA, it's nice to see this answer refer to it. The reasoning here is pretty solid. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ So about the best you could do with remote access is tickle the other player. Which is a waste of a spell slot (could be done with the Mage Hand cantrip on any player) and is still a from of PvP \$\endgroup\$
    – Spoonless
    Oct 16, 2019 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ My first thought when I saw "as if it were in your hands" was "ok, roll to grapple" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2019 at 21:51

Remote Access wouldn't work

Remote Access requires (emphasis mine):

You can use any electronic device within range as if it were in your hands.

An Android is not an electronic device, it is a creature of some type. You end up with invalid target and can either use the optional rules in Xanathar's Guide to Everything in Chapter 2 (under "Invalid Spell Targets"), or can come up with something on your own.

The larger issue

As you've stated, you explicitly highly discouraged PvP at your table. This is PvP. You can support it not working within the rules, but you should also consider having another Session Zero to establish ground rules and what will and won't be acceptable for you and your table.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The Android is still electronic in nature so I feel like it would still be a valid target. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Himitsu_no_Yami Creatures are not generally devices. That's the differentiator. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree, this is a group play style issue more so than a rules issue, and shutting it down only via the rules might give the player the impression that hostile PvP will be allowed if only they can find a rules-supported way to do it. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 18:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer with a particular +1 for the larger issue bit. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 21:13

For an in world answer you could tweak the Android race to give them a firewall

Something similar to the GOO Warlock Patron's Thought Shield feature but without the damage reflection might work

Firewall: You have an internal firewall that blocks out any foreign access. You are immune to any electronic effect that would attempt to take control of your body and you automatically pass any saving throws that would be caused by such an effect. You are still susceptible to non-electronic effects such as Charm Person or Command

The wording on this could probably be improved but that's the best I've got. Think of it in terms of the race has a will of its own and an intelligence so something like remote access wouldn't work

  • \$\begingroup\$ That would be an interesting addition though you'd have to allow for charming and the such to work so maybe "you have an internal fire wall that protects you from any electronic attempts to take over your systems. you are still vulnerable to charm and other such affects" \$\endgroup\$
    – Gwideon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's already much better. I wasn't thinking of the other, non-electronic methods of taking over someone's body when I wrote it \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gwideon I've added that idea into my post as an edit. If there's anything else you think could be added let me know. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ yeah I'll be sure to let you know \$\endgroup\$
    – Gwideon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 19:42

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