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One of the creatures in Kobold Press' Tome of Beasts for D&D 5e is Koschei, a Slavic Lich whose soul is hidden within nested objects. Here is the relevant part of the trait in question:

Hidden Soul. A creature holding the egg containing Koschei’s soul can use an action to compel Koschei as if a dominate monster spell were cast on him and Koschei failed his saving throw. [...]

The spell Dominate Monster, which requires concentration, states, in part:

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. [...]

Each time the target takes damage, it makes a new Wisdom saving throw against the spell. If the saving throw succeeds, the spell ends.

With no concentration or saving throws required, does this mean a player character holding the egg has complete, unlimited control over this CR 17 creature? It seems like there is nothing to stop players from keeping Koschei as a luxury minion, or ordering him to commit suicide.

Am I missing something? How is this trait intended to work?

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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. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 23:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool. Koschei the Deathless! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koschei \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 2:35

1 Answer 1

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PCs need to sleep

And eat. And defecate. And etc.

This takes your action. Your one and (usually) only action. Every turn. Forever.

Because the turn you don’t do this, Koschei is going to rip your head off.

Because you do not get the full effect of a dominate monster, only the “use an action to compel” part.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That would seem to have the opposite problem of making it entirely useless. That is, unless you always make it commit suicide (and hope that it doesn't get out of it with a wisdom roll.) \$\endgroup\$
    – trlkly
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trlkly not really. It’s extremely useful when you are fighting Koschei and, when you kill him, you can destroy it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM So is your interpretation that hidden soul only grants the "use an action to take total control" part of Dominate, and not the "simple and general course of action" which the target "does its best to obey" part? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2022 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ How do you get that reading? "as if a dominate monster spell were cast on him and Koschei failed his saving throw" sounds like you gain full domination over him, with the telepathic link and everything. Just like the spell when the target fails, yeah? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2022 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ What I mean is, this answer seems very incomplete without an explanation of why you believe the ability should be read as only the "action to assume direct control" rather than the full Dominate Monster package. That question is core to the answer, yet you just assume it's obvious that this is the reading that should apply. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2022 at 17:06

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