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Does a creature turned by an Oath of the Watchers paladin's Channel Divinity option Abjure the Extraplanar have to move away, even if it means it will take damage?

Suppose a fiend is on the edge of a cliff, and an Oath of the Watchers paladin uses Abjure the Extraplanar on it.
Would it have to jump off the cliff? Or would it take the Dodge action, since it cant keep "walking" away from the paladin?

The cliff example is a little extreme. But you could also suppose that the fiend is on a jagged mountain and the floor is considered difficult terrain such that a creature walking over it takes damage.
Would the fiend placed in this situation walk over the difficult terrain to take the most efficient path to get away from the paladin? Or would it try to sidestep the danger?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Despite the title simply mentioning "a turned creature" in general, I assume you're asking about Abjure the Extraplanar in particular, since there are no general rules for "turning" outside of specific features such as that one that "turn" certain types of creatures and force them to flee/move away. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 18, 2021 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since Oath of the Watchers is from the playtest material, I suggest asking about the regular Channel Divinity: Turn Undead which have very similar wording: "A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action." \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    May 18, 2021 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor: The Oath of the Watchers paladin subclass was published in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 18, 2021 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast my bad, looking up "Oath of the Watchers" at dndbeyond for some reason gives you "Oath of the Watchers (UA)" as the first result \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    May 18, 2021 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor: Yeah, for some reason, some old/archived UA listings haven't been fully hidden from search results and such. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 18, 2021 at 22:04

1 Answer 1

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By RAW, yes, it would have to move

The description of the Oath of the Watchers paladin's Channel Divinity option Abjure the Extraplanar states, in part (TCoE, p. 55):

A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can't willingly end its move in a space within 30 feet of you.

Walking off of a cliff would provide more distance between the creature and the paladin so it would be forced to step off the edge, provided there was no other method by which it would safely get even further away from the paladin.

Difficult terrain doesn't actually cause damage, but there are hazards that can cause damage which may also be difficult terrain. Whether a creature would willingly walk into an area that could cause damage is unclear. Turned creatures aren't actually moving in a blind panic, and they may or may not be aware that taking damage will end the effect. A smart creature might take damage deliberately to end the effect, while a less intelligent one might choose to avoid taking damage. Or a smart creature might avoid the damage in order to get some distance in order to escape or regroup. I'd say it is the decision of the DM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I completely missed that the effect ends after they take damage so while it may be useful in the cliff case, in the terrain that causes damage it seems the effect would immediately end after they cross one tile. thank you for the answer :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Lermacto
    May 18, 2021 at 23:38

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