## Can unconscious characters be willing? [duplicate]

This situation came up last week during our session. The party was facing a pretty difficult mob of enemies and one of the party members was knocked unconscious. Seeing the situation worsening, one of the players decided to use the Rod of Security (DMG p. 197). In the text, it says:

The rod then instantly transports you and up to 199 other willing creatures you can see to a paradise that exists in an extraplanar space.

At first glance I thought this was actually a pretty good time to use the rod. The question came up though, what about the party member who is unconscious? In the end I made the call that the character went with them to keep things moving and more fun.

However, I’m feeling like back pedaling a bit and notifying my players that for future uses, the line “… willing creatures…” will be more strictly enforced as I don’t feel like an unconscious creature could be willing.

Did I handle this the right way?

## Can weapons with Reach be used to attack “through” willing allies?

I’m picturing the Greek Phalanx formation, where soldiers were arranged in rows and the men in Row B or even Row C could attack the enemy by thrusting their spears between the soldiers in Row A.

Can you do that with a Reach weapon in DnD 5e? Attack an enemy even though there’s an ally (or even a row of allies) directly between you and them?

## Is there a standard way to handle spells that have *willing creatures* as targets but no ruling for unwilling ones?

Some spells allow to target willing creatures and specify what unwilling ones should do (usually, a saving throw) to avoid the magical effect (see Scatter, for example).

Other spells use wording such as "up to $$X$$ willing creatures", "You touch a willing creature" and similar, but they do not have any rules for not willing ones.

Is there any standard/common way to handle spells belonging to the latter case? Or does the magical effect simply take place?

Most of these spell are buffs, hence usually the targets are willing creatures. Down below I report a couple of example situations in which a creature may want to avoid the spell’s effect.

Catnap

You make a calming gesture, and up to three willing creatures of your choice that you can see within range fall unconscious for the spell’s duration. The spell ends on a target early if it takes damage or someone uses an action to shake or slap it awake. […]

The party is fighting a group of 3 ogres and they are heavily injured, they want to run away from combat: the bard casts Catnap and the ogres fall unconscious even they are not willing to do so.

Water Walk

This spell grants the ability to move across any liquid surface–such as water, acid, mud, snow, quicksand, or lava […]. Up to ten willing creatures you can see within range gain this ability for the duration.

If you target a creature submerged in a liquid, the spell carries the target to the surface of the liquid at a rate of 60 feet per round.

A group of enemies cast Water Breathing for fleeing under water from the party. The wizard casts Water Walk to force them to emerge from the water: now they are easy targets for the ranger.

## does Psi Warrior’s telekinetic movement allow you to move a grappled or restrained willing creature?

Telekinetic Movement. You can move an object or a creature with your mind. As an action, you target one loose object that is Large or smaller or one willing creature, other than yourself. If you can see the target and it is within 30 feet of you, you can move it up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. Alternatively, if it is a Tiny object, you can move it to or from your hand. Either way, you can move the target horizontally, vertically, or both. Once you take this action, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest, unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to take it again.

It lacks any clause for the creature, just that they have to be willing

## Can you make an unwilling creature willing? In other words, what defines “willing”?

Going through the spells, I see the phrase “Willing creature” used to determine who you can cast some spells on. I don’t ever see a proper definition of what a willing creature is, but I would assume that it would go something like if you asked them “Can I perform this spell on you” they would answer yes. Is there a more formal definition of what makes a target willing in 5e?

What are the ways I could make an otherwise unwilling creature willing? Suggestion spells, for instance, should probably work but what other options do I have?

## Does mounted combat require a willing rider as well as mount?

A party is traveling on a path through a woods when they are simultaneously attacked by a group of orcs and a single, overly-clever ogre. The ogre grabs the party’s fighter (successful grapple attack) and announces his intention to move 20 feet (speed halved) among the orcs, subjecting the fighter to multiple opportunity attacks as she leaves their reaches.

"Wait!" protests the fighter. "The opportunity attacks rule says…

You can make an opportunity Attack when a Hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach…[but you] don’t provoke an opportunity Attack when you Teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your Movement, action, or Reaction.

"Since you are moving me, the orcs cannot attack me as you drag me past them."

"Hmmm…" considers the ogre. Knowing full well that specific beats general, he tries to think of a case in which something can explicitly provoke opportunity attacks even if it is being moved. "Aha!" he says brightly. "The grapple rules say…

When you move, you can drag or carry the Grappled creature with you

The ogre easily flips the fighter across his shoulders. "Now I am carrying you."

"That doesn’t matter."

"If I am carrying you, I can be your mount. And the mounted combat rules say…"

if the mount provokes an opportunity attack while you’re on it, the attacker can target you or the mount.

"That’s ridiculous," says the fighter indignantly. "First of all, you can’t provoke an attack of opportunity from the orcs unless you and they are Hostile, and clearly you are allies."

"You don’t know that," says the ogre. "We are actually from different tribes, and it was a coincidence that we both ambushed your party at the same time. If we win, I expect we will fall to fighting one another over your loot." The orcs nod in agreement. "Besides, the DMG definition of Hostile is…

A hostile creature opposes the adventurers and their goals but doesn’t necessarily attack them on sight.

"Setting aside the adventurer-centric language, as NPC’s these orcs and I oppose one another’s goals. As I move around, they could certainly choose to attack me rather than you."

"Point taken – but you still can’t be my mount."

"Why not? The Mounted Combat rules say…

A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you and that has an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount, using the following rules…"

"I am a willing creature," says the ogre, "I am at least one size larger than you, and, as you will note from your position atop my shoulders, I have appropriate anatomy. It is still my combat turn, and I say that I am your mount."

"That’s not for you to decide! I mean, you can’t be my mount against my will! It says a creature can serve as a mount, and you are most definitely not serving me."

"There’s no game definition of serve."

"Right, so we go with the common English meaning of ‘being in service to’, ‘following commands’."

"I rather prefer the English meaning of ‘able to be used as’; like after the orcs kill you, your helmet will serve as my chamber pot."

The rules make it clear that to be a mount, the creature has to be willing. But does the rider have to be willing as well?

And if the rider does have to be willing, does that mean a rider that has been rendered unconscious no longer counts as a rider for the purposes of mounted combat? (an unconscious person on a moving horse could not receive opportunity attacks because they could no longer consent to be a rider?)

## Does a “willing” creature know the outcome of the spell that is being cast on them?

Perhaps put another way, can you lie when casting a spell on a "willing creature"? For instance, I could cast Dimension Door on myself and one willing creature. I may tell him we’re going across that gorge, but in reality, we’re going 500 feet up for some tasty 20d6 fall damage for both of us, because why not?

Does a willing creature know what they are subjecting themselves to specifically? Or do they merely allow a spell to be cast on them, trusting that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do?

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## What counts as willing movement?

So this is something I just found out about that I find odd:

• Opportunity attacks—trigger off of movement that uses the creatures movement (action, move action, bonus action, reaction.)
• Sentinel—Whenever a creature within 5 ft of you makes an attack at a creature other than you.
• Booming blade—If the target willingly moves.
• Mental Prison spell—if it moves, attacks through it, or reaches any part of body out of it.

So the “willingly” is different than other rulings for how effects related to movement works. However what exactly fits willing?

• Cause fear—nope magic is having them move.
• Dissonant whispers—same thing. They have to immediately move.

So the creature has to want to move completely of its own accord.

• Crown of Madness—Humanoid creature you choose must make a wisdom saving throw. On a fail it is charmed by you. (Next is flavor text so skipping.) While charmed in this way the target must make an attack on a creature other than itself that you mentally choose on each of its turns before moving. It can act normally if you choose no creature or if none are within reach.

Crown of madness isn’t making them move but doesnt specifically say willing. And if the ruling for willing is movement not caused by magic what about magic causing situations where you take damage if you don’t move. Would a creature shimmering with evocation energy be spared because he moved out of the magical blender that is cloud of daggers? If no, then what is the go-to rule for willing movement that I should be using?

In short, what movement counts as willing, and where can it be found? Is moving out of obvious danger caused by magic, willing? Is moving away from an ally so you don’t hit them, willing?

If there isn’t any actual ruling on willing, that’s fine; I’ll go back to running it with my interpretation, so that it has same wording as AOO. If there is an actual 5e term or explanation for willing (that isn’t Sage Advice), please let me know. I just don’t see why it was necessary to put a term in the spell that isn’t used anywhere else. I understand it could have been overlooked since it was in a splatbook or has just been ignored since most people probably assume that there is “Forced ” and “Willing” movement, with the willing being defined as: any movement from an action, move action, bonus action, or reaction. In same way AOO work.

## Can a willing creature targetted by Animal Shapes choose to drop the animal form

The Animal Shapes spell allows the caster to transform “willing” creatures in range into an animal.

The transformation lasts for the Duration for each target, or until the target drops to 0 Hit Points or dies.

Would an affected creature be able to drop this form at will?

On one hand, the spell explicitly states only 2 events can break it (spell naturally ending, creature dropping to 0HP)

However, it could be argued the creature no longer meets the criteria to be transformed since they are no longer willing.

The spell requires concentration which also lends credibility to the idea that the willingness check may be a continuous thing.