I’m playing a multiclassed 6th-level Lore bard/2nd-level druid. Could I use the Cutting Words feature while in Wild Shape?

My DM wasn’t sure, so I was wondering if I can.


1 Answer 1


The College of Lore bard's Cutting Words feature says:

Also at 3rd level, you learn how to use your wit to distract, confuse, and otherwise sap the confidence and competence of others. When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll, you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and subtracting the number rolled from the creature’s roll. You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but before the DM determines whether the attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails, or before the creature deals its damage. The creature is immune if it can’t hear you or if it’s immune to being charmed.

The relevant part of the druid's Wild Shape feature says:

  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can’t use any of your special senses, such as darkvision, unless your new form also has that sense.

Now, despite 'words' being in the title of the ability it never says you need to be able to speak. In fact, you simply "distract, confuse and otherwise sap the confidence of others".

It says the target creature needs to be able to hear; it does not say it needs to be able to understand you. So, although the final call will come down to the DM, it seems likely that you can still disrupt and distract by roaring, screeching, etc. in your wild shaped form. A dancing, roaring bear, for example, is still pretty distracting.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I hope that DMs aren't nerfing Cutting Words by making monsters that don't understand Common immune to its effects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Feb 23, 2020 at 1:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would hope so too, it would weaken Bard's utility pretty significantly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Feb 23, 2020 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for a sourced and thought-out reply. The part where is says "The creature is immune if it can’t hear you or if it’s immune to being charmed" in my view as a DM would be the only thing preventing from "Cutting Words" (or Cutting Screeches, Howls & Growls) from being effective in Wild Shape. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thank-Glob
    Feb 23, 2020 at 14:34

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