Compelled Duel 5E — DnD spell explained 2023

Challenge foes to face you with the Compelled Duel 5E in DnD spell. Ensure that adversaries' attention remains solely on you.

Compelled Duel 5E: DnD warrior holding blade with monster in the background
© Dice Cove

What is Compelled Duel 5E?

Compelled Duel 5E (PHB, p. 224) is a 1st level enchantment spell exclusive to Paladins, that requires a bonus action and vocal component to cast. When you cast the spell a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save the creature has disadvantage on attacks against creatures other than you, and must make a Wisdom saving throw to move more than 30 feet away from you, being able to ignore that movement restriction for one turn if it succeeds on that saving throw.

Is Compelled Duel 5E a good spell?

Absolutely, when playing a tank character the ability to incentivize a monster to focus on you rather than your allies is invaluable, the added movement restriction is a juicy bonus. The spell being a bonus action to cast means that you can still get your normal attack routine in, potentially adding a Divine Smite or two as you see fit, whilst the duration being a minute means that it can last throughout most combats. Can, because it, unfortunately, requires concentration and you’re pointing the monster’s attacks right at your concentrating noggin. 

The concentration restriction makes this spell somewhat less appealing in earlier levels, but once a Paladin hits 6th level and acquires their Aura of Protection feature maintaining concentration becomes significantly easier, if not trivial.

How can you get Compelled Duel 5E?

Unlike some other spells we’ve covered, the list of ways to grab Compelled Duel is exceedingly short, because of this we are including two methods (marked with *) that we would not normally include. This is because they are very setting specific options that can prove controversial with DMs:

  • Paladin – The only class with CD on their spell list makes them an easy and essential part of this list.
  • Oath of the Crown (Subclass) – This Paladin subclass has Compelled Duel as an Oath Spell, meaning that it is always prepared for you, freeing up your other spell choices. It’s also worth noting that this Paladin also has a Channel Divinity option that is similar in purpose to Compelled Duel.
  • Magical Secrets (Bard Class Feature) – This feature allows you to choose any spell you like and make it a Bard spell for you. This is a Tier 3 ability for most Bards, but the College of Lore gains additional choices at 6th level if you want earlier access.
  • Mark of the Sentinel (Human Variant)* – This race variant from Eberron: Rising from the Last War adds Compelled Duel, among other things, to your spell list if you have the Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature.
  • Gruul Anarch (Background)* – This background from Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica adds Compelled Duel to your spell list, if you have one, in the same way the above race variant does.

How to roleplay Compelled Duel 5E the spell

Need some help roleplaying the Compelled Duel spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • As you cast the spell, you feel a surge of divine energy coursing through you. You focus your gaze on the enemy, and suddenly they seem to be the only thing in the world that matters. You call out to them, challenging them to a duel, and they are compelled to accept your challenge. They can’t seem to take their eyes off you, and all their attention is focused solely on you.
  • You brandish your weapon and shout a challenge to your enemy, invoking the power of your deity to compel them to fight you alone. As the enemy stares back at you, you can feel their resolve weakening as they become more and more fixated on you. They can’t seem to turn away from you, and their desire to fight you becomes all-consuming.
  • You close your eyes and take a deep breath, calling on the magic of the spell to help you in your battle. As you open your eyes, your gaze locks onto your enemy, and you can see the fear in their eyes as they realize they must face you alone. They try to turn away, but they can’t seem to escape your hold, and they are forced to engage in a one-on-one fight with you.

Hopefully, you found this article compelling and informative. if you’re interested in reading about other spells check out our 5E spells section, or if you’re here preparing for your next Paladin then check out our Paladin 5E guide. Good luck out there adventurers, and remember, the number of paces you walk in a duel is always one less than the other guy.