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I believe it is clear that a wild shaped druid is a beast and therefore1 a valid target for dominate beast:

You attempt to beguile a beast that you can see within range [...]

I am having trouble determining what happens if the wild shape ends while the spell is still affecting the druid, namely:

It must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you for the duration

According to this line one would assume that after being affected, the spell no longer cares whether the target is still a beast so the druid would continue to be charmed.

While the beast is charmed, you have a telepathic link with it as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence. [...] (emphasis mine)

Now the part about the telepathic link specifies "the beast" so the link should perhaps be broken.

The worst part comes from the next paragraph that simply states:

You can use your action to take total and precise control of the target. [...] (emphasis mine)

I assumed that this action uses the telepathic link but that is not specified and is actually in a separate paragraph, so I have no idea how this would work.

Is there a rule I am missing or is this ultimately just up to the DM to decide how this interaction should work?


1 Sage Advice

Henry Homiller
@HHomiller
@mikemearls @ChrisPerkinsDnD Druid uses wild shape, are they a valid target for dominate beast or dominate person? What about w/ polymorph?
2:37 PM - 18 Aug 2016


MikeMearls‏
@mikemearls
their type becomes beast, so they can be affected by spells according to that type
1:39 PM - 18 Aug 2016

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The Dominate Beast spell will end

There was a (somewhat confusing) sage advice tweet about this topic. Jeremy Crawford stated (emphasis mine):

In #DnD, the exceptional trumps the general. (No longer being a valid target trumps condition carryover.)

When a wildshaped Druid reverts to their normal form, we have those two conditions: the target changing type, and condition (charmed) carrying over. The target changing type makes it an invalid target which, as confirmed in the sage advice tweet, trumps the charmed condition carrying over.

Since the spell would no longer has a valid target once the druid changes back, the spell will end.

What about the other two Dominate X spells?

For completeness, let's run through the two other dominate spells.

Dominate Person requires a humanoid target. All official PC races are humanoid, so while the druid is in its normal form it can be targeted and charmed by a Dominate Person spell. If the druid wildshapes into a beast, its type changes to match that beast. So, the druid is no longer a humanoid, the target of Dominate Person is invalid, and the spell ends. In this way, it works in reverse of the Dominate Beast spell.

Dominate Monster works on any creature. Whether in beast form, humanoid form, or even in a Circle of the Moon druid's elemental form, the druid is still a creature. Thus, even going in and out of wild shape won't make the druid an invalid target. Since the target is still valid, the Dominate Monster spell will still have full effect, even if the druid wild shapes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the effect end, or does it just not work? Ie, does the Druid become dominated whenever she becomes a beast for the duration of the spell, or does blinking to a person break the spell forever? The tweet seems unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Mar 21 '17 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk Now that you mention it, it does seem a bit unclear. But I would argue it like this: When the spell is cast, you attempt to charm the target. After that, the concentration is just to maintain that effect. Once the druid shifts into an invalid form, the charm is broken. Since the target is no longer charmed, the spell either ends completely, or it has no effect, so there is no point maintaining concentration. There is no rule that I know of from any source which suggests that the charm would be suspended, rather than broken. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 21 '17 at 14:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adam Well, other than the rule of awesome. A druid manages to transform into a beast, avoiding the domination effect; but the druid cannot safely return to humanoid form until the dominator is defeated. (Yes, that requires the dominator screw up, or some external way to uncontrolably trigger the wild shape happens) \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Mar 21 '17 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk Certainly. Though, my argument is up in the air enough in that regard that if you wanted to look for a more authoritative source, you should definitely do so and post it as an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 21 '17 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kelhendros In general, I would use the same logic as above and argue that the spell would end, at least for that one creature. Though, I think that question is good enough for its own dedicated post. Especially if you have any specific examples or cases that you are thinking about. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam May 10 '17 at 12:52

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