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D&D 5E Mind Blank against Command

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sure, and that's absolutely my experience as well. However, there's an excluded middle that was jumped over like they were playing a game of "the floor is lava".
Lava gnomes! cough sorry. Reflex.
The options are not: A) hyper-focused and precise rules for everything, or; B) vague, easily abused rules.
I agree with there being a middle ground. I don't think that B is much of an issue with 5e, though. Players can't abuse rules very easily because there's a DM to make rulings.
You can write precise rules that are broadly applicable. Something as simple as "all spells of the enchantment school are considered charms" would have worked. They actually did this in the description of the enchantment school, but because it's in natural language instead of rules-speak, there's enough wiggle room for the lawyers. So here we are. Having an argument about how a clearly mind-altering spell isn't actually a mind-altering spell because the rules aren't written precisely enough.
And by the guy who says 5e keeps the rules lawyers at bay. The irony is strong. On the other hand, most of these arguments occur on the forums which bears little resemblance to a game being played.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
It's a rulings over rules edition. It doesn't need to be written there. It's clear that RAI is for mind blank to stop mind affecting spells. It's clear that despite nothing being written into command about being mind affecting, that it is. I would rule that mind blank stops command, because that makes the most sense.

I agree with most of this except for the underlined part above. It's obvious to you, and from history I would have a tendency to agree with you, but from a pure 5e perspective, mind affecting spells are usually categorised as using the charmed condition, and command does not.

Again, I'm would probably rule the same way that you do, I'm just pointing out that from RAW, it's not the case (but you know me as well, RAW is not the most important thing for me, but it is for some people).

But it's not a question of the relative power of the spells, and it's not a question of the spell school...
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I agree with there being a middle ground. I don't think that B is much of an issue with 5e, though. Players can't abuse rules very easily because there's a DM to make rulings.

Exactly, back to the basics of a TTRPG, a contrario to table to combat board games... ;)

And by the guy who says 5e keeps the rules lawyers at bay. The irony is strong. On the other hand, most of these arguments occur on the forums which bears little resemblance to a game being played.

I think you misunderstand me, I'm just trying to present all perspectives so that DMs know what they can expect, while at the same time thinking that some arguments are plainly wrong, like the one about "all enchantments".
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I agree with most of this except for the underlined part above. It's obvious to you, and from history I would have a tendency to agree with you, but from a pure 5e perspective, mind affecting spells are usually categorised as using the charmed condition, and command does not.
Lack of the charmed condition does not equal not mind affecting. 5e is filled with exceptions and contradictions. Just look at the thread on which magic items need attunement.

Command is a 1st level ENCHANTMENT that requires a WISDOM save. It's very clearly mind affecting. If it wasn't, it would require a dex, con or strength save. Int, wis and cha are mental saves. Anything require those saves affects the mind in some way, and is therefore mind affecting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think you misunderstand me, I'm just trying to present all perspectives so that DMs know what they can expect, while at the same time thinking that some arguments are plainly wrong, like the one about "all enchantments".
"Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. Such spells can make enemies see the caster as a friend, force creatures to take a course of action, or even control another creature like a puppet."

It's right there on page 203 of the PHB. Affects the minds = mind affecting. Controlling behavior. Forcing a course of action. That's the Command spell. A mind affecting enchantment that controls the behavior of the target, forcing a course of action.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
"Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. Such spells can make enemies see the caster as a friend, force creatures to take a course of action, or even control another creature like a puppet."

It's right there on page 203 of the PHB. Affects the minds = mind affecting. Controlling behavior. Forcing a course of action. That's the Command spell. A mind affecting enchantment that controls the behavior of the target, forcing a course of action.

Again, enchantment does not mean mind affecting (Hex, Hold Person which has a Wisdom spell as well). And it could be argued that Command "control(s) another creature like a puppet", in which case it affects just the body, like hold person which paralyses it.

Just to be clear, I'm not discussing your interpretation which would probably in the end be mine as well, but there are others which are closer to the RAW if not the RAI and in any case the history of the spell as being mind affecting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Here's a list of mind affecting enchantments that do not have the charmed condition.

Animal Messenger
Antipathy/Sympathy
Bane
Bless
Calm Emotions
Command
Compelled Duel
Compulsion - which is interesting in that it does not charm the target, but won't affect a target that cannot be charmed.
Confusion

I'm stopping at C, because my point has been made. Up to this point there are about twice as many mind affecting spells that do not charm as there are that do.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Again, enchantment does not mean mind affecting (Hex, Hold Person which has a Wisdom spell as well). And it could be argued that Command "control(s) another creature like a puppet", in which case it affects just the body, like hold person which paralyses it.

Just to be clear, I'm not discussing your interpretation which would probably in the end be mine as well, but there are others which are closer to the RAW if not the RAI and in any case the history of the spell as being mind affecting.
Both Hex and Hold Person affect the mind.

Hex affects the mind of the target, causing him to have disadvantage with a chosen ability. The necrotic damage should be necromancy, but spells are just one school in 5e and they went with the mind affecting portion, not the necromantic portion.

Hold Person causes a mental paralysis. Since it's an enchantment, it is mind affecting and paralyzes by shutting down the target's ability to use his mind to move his body. Had it been a physical paralysis, the save would have been strength or constitution and probably transmutation school.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
Here's a list of mind affecting enchantments that do not have the charmed condition.

Animal Messenger
Antipathy/Sympathy
Bane
Bless
Calm Emotions
Command
Compelled Duel
Compulsion - which is interesting in that it does not charm the target, but won't affect a target that cannot be charmed.
Confusion

I'm stopping at C, because my point has been made. Up to this point there are about twice as many mind affecting spells that do not charm as there are that do.

Some of these don't have to be mind affecting, you know, you are colouring your list with your bias: Bane, Bless, animal messenger, compelled duel, etc. could be simply "body puppet" spells rather than mind affecting ones, or simply divine effects in the case of Bane and Bless.

As for confusion, it clearly says "This spell assaults and twists creatures' minds", so it's clearly affecting the mind.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Some of these don't have to be mind affecting, you know, you are colouring your list with your bias: Bane, Bless, animal messenger, compelled duel, etc. could be simply "body puppet" spells rather than mind affecting ones, or simply divine effects in the case of Bane and Bless.
It doesn't matter if they have to be mind affecting. The rule is that they ARE mind affecting. We have a situation where you have to go out of your way to declare that you know better than the rule and that the rule is wrong, without language supporting you, in order to say that they are not mind affecting. Whereas all I have to do is understand that the rule applies to all enchantments and explain it mentally.

Both the rule and Occam's Razor say you are wrong. The simplest explanation is that the rule is correct and enchantments are mind affecting in some way. Every spell I listed is either clearly mind affecting or can easily be explained in a mind affecting way. You have to defy both the rule and Occam's Razor to come up with a non-mind affecting explanation.
As for confusion, it clearly says "This spell assaults and twists creatures' minds", so it's clearly affecting the mind.
But it doesn't charm. All enchantment spells are mind affecting per the rule. All that's left to do is come up with how they are mind affecting for those spells that don't get specific with that portion, if it's even necessary.
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
...are you all saying "the victim is forced to do something contrary to its will, therefore it must be mind altering, therefore Mind Blank works"?
I'm going to play the game despite the rules.

I will say, "he is protected by mind blank and your attempt to command him fails."

If you protest I'll say, "sorry that's my ruling, let's move on."

If you persist, I'll quickly cave and say, "fine, your command spell works against him."

Anything to continue playing the game.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
It doesn't matter if they have to be mind affecting. The rule is that they ARE mind affecting.

You know what, you are absolutely right. I did not realise that the definition of the school was so encompassing, thanks for pointing that out.

And that being the case, it's normal that Mind Blank protects against Enchantment spells in general. It might have been better to spell it out in the description, as it already protects against divination, so adding enchantment would have made things much easier.

Overall, it makes Mind Blank even more desirable, protecting against two schools, and in a sense enchantment is much more aggressive than domination.
 


jgsugden

Legend
Let's just state the obvious and keep it in mind: They didn't settle upon the best wording here. They had an intent, they tried to reduce it to words, but their words did not achieve their goals.

If they wanted all enchantment spells to be blocked by Mind Blank, it would have been easy to put that in place. They did not.

Further, when we read the second sentence, we can consider it in one of two ways. Either the "affect the target's mind" can be seen as broadening the list from the first sentence to all mind influencing magic, or it could be a way to summarize the items from the first sentence that affect minds, despite not having the specificity of that first sentence's list. It could either be saying, "Hey, no enchantments at all!" or it could be saying, "You can't charm, even if you use a wish to do it!" Honestly, neither option is well served by the way the spell is written.

In the end, I take the WOPR approach - "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

While Mind Blank, as written exists in my campaign, so does a variant that specifies that any spell that influences or controls the actions, behaviors or thoughts of the target is blocked. Guess which one is found more often.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
Well, in 1st and 2nd edition AD&D, mind blank specifically calls out command as one of the spells it protects against. In D&D 3rd and 3.5, mind blank blocked all "all mind-affecting spells and effects", and command was a specifically-labeled "mind-affecting" spell.

It seems pretty obvious that in 5e they tried to de-technicalize and shorten the wording from the previous versions (while throwing in protection from the new psychic damage type), with the issue that "[mind-affecting]" was no longer a special spell label. Since pretty much everybody in the playtest would know "how it's supposed to work" from the way it worked in previous editions, and high levels (where mind blank enters) wouldn't have gotten much testing anyway, any ambiguity with the new wording would have been hard to catch.

(The mind blank from Supplement I: Greyhawk does not affect anything other than various forms of divination. The equivalent mind barrier spell from BECMI and the Rules Cyclopedia gave a +8 to saves against "mind-influencing attacks" instead of immunity.)
 

Gadget

Adventurer
Let's just state the obvious and keep it in mind: They didn't settle upon the best wording here. They had an intent, they tried to reduce it to words, but their words did not achieve their goals.
This is true of many spells in 5e. Many of us remember the Barkskin debacle in early 5e, where the wording had to have an official interpretation to clarify. Or the Contagion "interpretation" that they later had to errata. Or the official interpretation that twin spell does not work with Dragon's Breath, even though by the logic used in the interpretation, it would not work on haste either.

I don't know if the designers intended Mind Blank to exclude all of the Enchantment school, as that is pretty extreme. I can see the argument though. That would include the Power Word spells as well.

I have a hard time buying the "Charmed condition is the mind-affecting tag for spells" argument though. There are so many obviously mind-affecting spells that do not have the charmed condition. And it would be awkward to add it for some like Compel Duel. Many spells say they do not work if the target cannot be charmed, that seems like a better option to me, though they would have to go in add that verbiage to a number of spells; and I'm not sure that is desirable in some instances.

Another conundrum for Mind Blank: what if your Mind Blanked character runs into an NPC under the Foresight spell? Will the Foresighted NPC still get advantage on rolls against the Mind Blanked PC? Will the Mind Blanked PC suffer disadvantage on rolls against the Foresighted NPC? RAW, you could argue that Foresight is a Divination spell that reveals information about the Mind Blanked PC, so it should not provide the normal bonus it does against almost all other opponents. But I can see it being hard to remember to do that in play, since Foresight is more of a passive, always on thing.
 

In a tournament one-shot between PCs where Mindblank shouldn't nullify more of opposing characters repertoires than need be I would go with the most conservative RAW reading and wouldn't let Mindblank stop Command.

In any other context, if a player spent their 8th level spell slot to avoid having their mind messed with I wouldn't let people mess with their mind, and that includes Command. Nor would I let them command around the BBEG archmage.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
Since pretty much everybody in the playtest would know "how it's supposed to work" from the way it worked in previous editions, and high levels (where mind blank enters) wouldn't have gotten much testing anyway, any ambiguity with the new wording would have been hard to catch.
Oh, something to note about this point: mind blank wasn't in the public playtest packets. Since I don't know what went on in the private playtests, it's actually possible that the 5e wording wasn't playetsted by anyone, ever, before the PHB was published. Even if it was, relatively few eyes ever evaluated it.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That spell is much more powerful in social pillar than combat. Imagine the political rallies in a world where a 1st level cleric (standing inconspicuously in a crowd) can whisper "pee" or "defecate" (if they went to high school) from within the applauding crowd...
While that would be fun, but I'd rule that it wouldn't work. While it doesn't say it outright, the fact that the target has to understand the language is a very strong indicator that it also needs to be able to hear you. That cleric would have to shout at the top of his lungs and hope the crowd doesn't drown out his voice.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If they wanted all enchantment spells to be blocked by Mind Blank, it would have been easy to put that in place. They did not.
They did. It's called rules. The spell blocks everything that affects the mind. Enchantments are by RAW all mind affecting spells. It's right there in crystal clear language. To spell it out further within the spell would be redundant.
Further, when we read the second sentence, we can consider it in one of two ways. Either the "affect the target's mind" can be seen as broadening the list from the first sentence to all mind influencing magic, or it could be a way to summarize the items from the first sentence that affect minds, despite not having the specificity of that first sentence's list. It could either be saying, "Hey, no enchantments at all!" or it could be saying, "You can't charm, even if you use a wish to do it!" Honestly, neither option is well served by the way the spell is written.
It's an 8th level spell that has one purpose, so it's not unreasonable for it to just stop all enchantments like the wording says. We also know that making you immune to mind affecting things is consistent with what the spell did in prior editions.
 

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