In D&D 5e, do most wands no longer require command words?

In the section on magic items in the DMG, under Activating a Magic Item, it states:

Activating some magic items requires a user to do something in particular, such as holding the item and uttering a command word, reading the item if it is a scroll, or drinking it if it is a potion. The description of each item category or individual item details how an item is activated.

Further down, under Spells in the same section, it states:

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item, often by expending charges from it. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell and caster level, doesn’t expend any of the user’s spell slots, and requires no components [emphasis mine] unless the item’s description says otherwise.

Note this emphasized text does not say material components, just components. That would suggest verbal and somatic components as well as material.

The general description of wands says nothing about command words, either:

A magic wand is about 15 inches long and crafted of metal, bone, or wood. It is tipped with metal, crystal, stone, or some other material.

Further, some wand descriptions specifically mention a command word. For example, the wand of enemy detection says:

This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action and expend 1 charge to speak its command word [emphasis mine]. For the next minute, you know the direction of the nearest creature hostile to you . . .

So going by the tenet that in 5e, the specific overrides the general, all this would suggest wands no longer need a command word to function, unless otherwise stated. But this seems like a really strange change to make from previous editions, and I’ve scoured both the rest of the rules and the web to see if I missed something.

Are you still two-weapon fighting if you’ve thrown one of your two weapons and are no longer holding it?

In this question we see that two-weapon fighting with darts is not possible because they are not melee weapons. Let’s replace the darts in that scenario with daggers, which are valid light melee weapons for two-weapon fighting, and also have the thrown property.

Two-weapon fighting says:

Two-Weapon Fighting.

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

Consider this scenario:

Bob the rogue has two daggers drawn and ready to go. He throws his first dagger as his attack action, satisfying the condition of "when you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand."

At this point, he is no longer holding this weapon in hand because he has thrown it. He is now holding only one dagger, in his other hand. In this case, the condition above has been met, but does he get to use the bonus action to attack with a "different light melee weapon [held in his] other hand" even though he is now wielding only a single weapon?

In other words, is the bonus attack granted at the moment the first attack made, as long as you meet that first condition of "attack[ing] with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand," regardless of how many weapons you end up holding after the first attack?

How can I make combat challenging, without simply making it take longer?

My players and I like to have fewer, harder combat encounters, as we’d rather be roleplaying than working through combats that we know the PCs will win.

It seems hard to arrange for this in 5e. I calculate the XP thresholds for my three PCs, and build a hard encounter, and either (a) they are wiped; or (b) they win, but it takes ages and ages because enemy HP is so high.

How can I build hard but winnable encounters which don’t drag due to very high monster HP values?

What happens when a banished creature would return to an extradimensional space that no longer exists?

Consider the following scenarios.

1. Banished from a portable hole, portable hole is destroyed.

A portable hole is described as a ten foot deep, six foot diameter extradimensional space. Suppose I jump into my portable hole after spreading it out on the ground, and I am followed by an enemy. Once we are both inside my portable hole, I cast banishment:

If the target is native to a different plane of existence than the one you’re on, the target is banished with a faint popping noise, returning to its home plane. If the spell ends before 1 minute has passed, the target reappears in the space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied. Otherwise, the target doesn’t return.

My enemy is banished to its home plane. Next, I climb out of my hole, get a safe distance away, and toss in my bag of holding:

Placing a bag of holding inside an extradimensional space created by a handy haversack, portable hole, or similar item instantly destroys both items and opens a gate to the Astral Plane.

The portable hole is destroyed, and finally I break my concentration on banishment before the full minute has passed.

2. Banished from a rope trick right before the spell ends.

Rope trick says:

an invisible entrance opens to an extradimensional space that lasts until the spell ends. […] Anything inside the extradimensional space drops out when the spell ends.

So I cast rope trick while I’m being chased, and my pursuer pursues me into my little rope trick room, where I am patiently holding banishment. I banish my pursuer, climb out of my rope trick room, and and cast dispel magic on the rope:

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends.

Again, no space to return to as I break my concentration on banishment before the one minute is up.


What happens to the banished creature when banishment ends? Banishment is very specific that the creature returns to the space it left from. Both the actual extradimensional space and the 5 foot square space the creature previously occupied is gone, as well as all nearest unoccupied spaces. What happens?

Does the spell Rope Trick fail if the rope is longer than the height of the room?

The spell description for rope trick (PHB, pg. 272) states:

You touch a length of rope that is up to 60 feet long. One end of the rope then rises into the air until the whole rope hangs perpendicular to the ground.

What happens if I cast rope trick on a 60 foot rope in a 12 foot high room? The ceiling is not high enough for the whole rope to hang perpendicular to the ground; conceivably, it either stops rising when it hits the ceiling or it begins to pile up on the ceiling until 12 feet of it dangle to the floor. Either way, the rope does not satisfy the bolded condition in the spell description.

Does the spell fail? Do I need to cut down my rope to be less than the height of the room before casting the spell?

Does casting a spell with a longer casting time end a spell that you were previously maintaining concentration on?

From D&D Player’s Basic Rules v0.3, p79:

Longer Casting Times

Certain spells (including spells cast as rituals) require more time to cast: minutes or even hours. When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so (see “Concentration” below). If your concentration is broken, the spell fails, but you don’t expend a spell slot. If you want to try casting the spell again, you must start over.

Does casting a spell with a longer casting time force the caster to end an active Concentration-duration spell?

Concentration on a spell while casting a spell with a longer casting time [closed]

Is Casting a spell with a casting time longer than 1 action considered „concentrating“ on it, for the purpose of keeping concentration on a different spell already cast?

Ex.: flaming Sphere on the field, next round starting to cast conjure minor elemental (1min). Does the flaming sphere puff at the start of the minute or at the end when the spell slot is spend and the spells effect takes place?

Are Simic Hybrids no longer able to access the features of their original race?

I am creating a drow monk character who, to oversimplify things, was altered by an ex-member of the Simic Combine in order to put them in a sort of Witness Protection. For this question, the only two details that are important are that she’s a drow who still identifies as an elf, and she was enhanced with animal parts, because the more I thought about it, the more I realize this race is a D&D version of a classic philosophical question:

“How many enhancements do you need before you stop being human?”

In GGtR, P. 20, it states:

The Simic Combine uses magic to fuse different life forms together. In recent years, the Simic Combine has extended this research to humanoid subjects, magically transferring the traits of various animals into humans, elves, and vedalken. The goal of the Guardian Project is to build a Simic army of soldiers perfectly adapted to a variety of combat situations. These hyper-evolved specimens are called Simic hybrids, though they sometimes refer to themselves as guardians.

Also:

A hybrid’s biological enhancements can change its appearance drastically, though most hybrids retain their basic physical form. All are augmented with characteristics of animals, mostly aquatic, reptilian, or amphibian creatures.

And:

Animal Enhancement. Your body has been altered to incorporate certain animal characteristics. You choose one animal enhancement now and a second enhancement at 5th level.

So putting all this together, it seems like the being would still be fundamentally an elf, human or vedalkin, simply with additional parts they have control over (Kinda like Spiderman’s Doctor Octopus without the mind control)

If this is the case, then would my drow still be able to reach her racial feats, or has D&D determined that one enhancement process has no longer qualified her to identify as an elf?

Similarly, the Elf race has it’s players starting with one known cantrip under the idea that you’ve been so exposed to magic, you learned to do one party trick, but do it really well. Since you become a hybrid as an adult, does this mean the Simic Combine stole your ability?