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Let's say my players used Dominate Monster on a Kraken:

While the creature is Charmed, you have a Telepathic link with it as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence. You can use this Telepathic link to issue commands to the creature while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey.

Or my Necromancy Wizard successfully commanded Stradh:

If it fails, it becomes friendly to you and obeys your commands until you use this feature again.

Can the player have the creature use its legendary actions, lair actions, and regional effects?

I'm aware that spells like True Polymorph don't allow this. I wondered whether these do (or should!).

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Mind control is almost always left up to the GM

Technically, you simply cannot tell a creature to "use a legendary action" as those don't exist in-character; you'd instead have to describe what you want the creature to do and then the GM would determine how that plays out. This is the case for mind control in general, and this is no exception.

When you tell a monster to do something, perhaps the easiest way for them to do that would be by using their legendary, lair, or other sorts of actions. Whether the creature actually uses these is the GM's decision because the game's rules are silent here. There's no exacting description or definition of the extent of what you can force a creature to do through generic commands.

That said, let's look at dominate monster more closely:

While the creature is charmed, you have a telepathic link with it as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence. You can use this telepathic link to issue commands to the creature while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey. You can specify a simple and general course of action, such as "Attack that creature," "Run over there," or "Fetch that object." If the creature completes the order and doesn't receive further direction from you, it defends and preserves itself to the best of its ability.

You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. Until the end of your next turn, the creature takes only the actions you choose, and doesn't do anything that you don't allow it to do. During this time, you can also cause the creature to use a reaction, but this requires you to use your own reaction as well.

You cannot specifically tell a monster to use a particular legendary, lair, or other sort of action because that command would be far more specific than a general course of action. In order to do this, you would have to take total and precise control of the target, which the spell explicitly allows you to do. Then you would have to describe what you want the creature to do and the GM would narrate the results.

However, again, if the generic course of action is best carried out through specific actions it will fall to the GM to determine what actually happens at the table. This is the case for almost every single command you could give - the GM determines what happens.

Similarly, the Necromancy Wizard's Command Undead feature says that the creature "obeys your commands". What this means, what you can command it to do, the amount of knowledge you have about its available actions, and the precision allowed in your commands is entirely going to be up to the GM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ you don't really answer OP's question imho. You do make valid points ("character doesn't know stat block"), but that doesn't answer whether the legendary actions are usable if the character knows that they are within the creature's capabilities. For instance, I think that telling a kraken to "hide us in ink" would be a reasonably simple enough course of action - but it can only do so by using its Ink Cloud legendary action. Another example: telling a unicorn to "heal itself", while still being a very generic and simple command, is also only possible if it used its legendary action "Heal Self". \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Nov 22 '20 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you have time, of course, "tell me what you can do" is feasible. \$\endgroup\$ – Mary Nov 22 '20 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice answer. +1 for mentioning "the amount of knowledge" the PC has. Perhaps at the GM's discretion its feasible where a PC who has studied and observed the particular creature, or creatures like it, and knows its regional effects and lair effects, or has fought or studied the creature in enough detail to know about its legendary actions. \$\endgroup\$ – Senmurv Nov 22 '20 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer hinges itself very heavily upon that the player character does not know what a creature's stat block is. Fine, but that's a failing of the DM in that situation. The spell specifically indicates that the player character forms a telepathic link with the target; in that regard now the player should know the stat block (at least as it relates to attack options) and thus now the player character knows whatever they need to know in order to know the stat block. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Nov 23 '20 at 0:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ For me as a DM the general command would be enough. If a player commands the Kraken to obliterate that other monster, it will use its Legendary Actions as well to achieve that goal. Anything else is cheating from the DM \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Nov 23 '20 at 9:49
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Yes

If you have a spell that causes a creature to obey your commands, then that spell will cause the creature to obey your commands even if the commands involve using a legendary action.

You've asked this question because you've written:

I'm aware that spells like True Polymorph don't allow this.

The errata you're thinking of seems to be this:

If a creature assumes the form of a legendary creature, such as through a spell, it doesn’t gain that form’s legendary actions, lair actions, or regional effects.

This errata does not prevent you from commanding a creature to use its legendary actions on your behalf.

It sounds like your real question here is: "Does there exist some sort of other secret errata that prevents this from working even though none of the rules I can see would interfere with it?"

The answer appears to be no. You can browse the errata for the Monster Manual and Player's Handbook (https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/MM-Errata.pdf and https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/PH-Errata.pdf) and search for the keyword "legendary" to reassure yourself that this is so.

Oddly, it also appears to be legal to gain a creature's legendary actions by possessing the creature (eg, with magic jar). This is probably a loophole.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, lots of downvotes. Is this wrong? \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Nov 22 '20 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a guess, but this doesn't seem to be related to the kind of controlling like Dominate monster does. \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Nov 22 '20 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanB I don't believe this answers the actual question that was asked. \$\endgroup\$ – PJRZ Nov 22 '20 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it does answer the question. The asker knows that True Polymorph doesn't allow legendary actions, but isn't sure whether that's true of dominate monster. This answer shows that the reason the former doesn't work is a specific exception, which doesn't apply to the latter. It could possibly be more explicit about that connection, though. \$\endgroup\$ – 1600hp Nov 22 '20 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @1600hp The answer was changed after I added my previous comment \$\endgroup\$ – PJRZ Nov 23 '20 at 10:30
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Yes

The following things are key from the Dominate Monster spell:

While the creature is charmed, you have a telepathic link with it as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence.

and:

You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. Until the end of your next turn, the creature takes only the actions you choose, and doesn't do anything that you don't allow it to do. During this time, you can also cause the creature to use a reaction, but this requires you to use your own reaction as well.

In the case whereby a character is spending their Action to take total and precise control of the target, I interpret this to mean that they are focusing entirely upon that telepathic link they've forced upon the creature. Whether that creature wants to give the caster information about its abilities (legendary or otherwise) is irrelevant, because the spell forces it to do so.

This may also be the case for when the caster does not exert total control, but in that instance the DM has more latitude.

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Yes if you take total control but this is very much down to individual GM interpretation.

Let me expand looking at the text and how I interpret it.

You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. Until the end of your next turn, the creature takes only the Actions you choose, and doesn't do anything that you don't allow it to do. During this time, you can also cause the creature to use a Reaction, but this requires you to use your own Reaction as well.

The words total and precise control are the key for me. This means the player has given up there action to fully control the Monster including using any and all legendary actions as required. If you tell your creature to attack another then it will do so to its full extent, including using legendary actions to do so.

What I will say is that the situation requiring this consideration is going to be very small, first of all most creatures with legendary actions also have saves and so, unless they have been forced to use up all 3 saves already as a GM this is a spell I will always use a legendary save against. 2nd a monster like this is likely to have a high save throw anyway. But when a player does manage to achieve this (and it has happened 3 times in many years I can remember) and takes full control I do then allow the player to understand what the monster is fully capable of.

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