As a D&D player, you know that sometimes your character can find themselves in some… interesting situations. Setting aside, for now, annoying questions like “What did we learn?” and “Whose fault is this?” that so many of us who play Chaotic Good and Chaotic Neutral Alignments aside for the moment, it’s important to understand the many different conditions you may find yourself afflicted with as a result of completely unforeseeable and unpreventable circumstances.
The Conditions in D&D 5th Edition can significantly impact gameplay, from the mildly poisoned to being straight up paralyzed – understanding how the mechanics of each one works can help you adjust your tactics and strategy to roll with the punches accordingly. A good use of conditions by the DM can add many exciting layers to the game. Knowing about these Conditions and how they can affect your game can put you one step ahead.
In D&D 5th Edition, there are 15 unique conditions can be used as an impairment or advantage. These conditions are:
D&D is a world of surprises, which is true both for the DMs and players. As scary as it often may be, if you are well-prepared, you can conquer almost any challenge. And this guide comes in with detailed explanations of every condition in the 5th Edition and how it is used.
So, whether you want to gain the upper hand in combat or explore the full range of effects, read on to become a master of the Conditions.
5E Conditions Guide: Master Every Effect
Battles and adventures are almost always filled with surprises in D&D campaigns. Players have to navigate through various challenges to progress and win. And one of the most crucial aspects of D&D 5E is understanding the concept of conditions.
What Are Conditions in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition?
Conditions are a set of general rule mechanisms, found on Page 290 in the D&D 5e player handbook, that change how a creature interacts with the world around them. They are a type of status effect or affliction that affects a creature’s abilities and actions in specific ways, often creating advantages or disadvantages.
Conditions are essential in combat but can impact social interaction and exploration in unique ways, as well. We’ve had some amazing roleplaying result from blinded, deafened, charmed, or poisoned characters at various points when the player really leaned into it.
On a side note, D&D 5E also determines a creature’s success or failure in performing a particular action by rolling a 20-sided die (d20) (balanced – don’t use a spindown dice for D&D) and adding modifiers such as Armor Class (AC), spell/save DCs, and proficiencies. And Checks and Saves are the primary mechanics used to determine a creature’s success rate in D&D.
These are basics, but they do come into play when dealing with conditions that are going to come up during the course of a campaign.
A great example is that if a player is trying to pick a lock, they will roll a Dexterity check to determine if they successfully pick the lock.
Some additional key notes to keep in mind are:
- Automatic saves can occur when a player’s stats are high enough to pass a challenge automatically.
- Passive perception is another vital aspect of D&D 5E, determining if a player notices something without actively searching for it.
Throughout this guide, we will explore each of the fifteen unique Conditions in D&D 5E and how they come into play in the game. And by the end, you’ll understand how Conditions work and how to equip them to your advantage (or avoid disadvantage) in combat, exploration, and social interaction.
The Blinded condition refers to a state where a character or creature cannot see what’s around them, even temporarily. The player must then rely on other senses to cooperate with the world since they are now engulfed in pitch-black vision.
This is a distinctly different situation from darkness or magical darkness, which can impose challenges but blinded is just that – fully blind regardless of racial or heritage traits that would otherwise usually prevent these problems for a player.
Effects of the Blinded condition:
- The character is unable to succeed on any ability check that relies on their vision
- The creature’s attack rolls have a disadvantage
- Attack rolls against it have an advantage
- Creatures suffering from the blinded condition can make saving throws against it to remove the effect.
- The Lesser Restoration Spell can also cure blindness.
If a creature fails to remove blinded, it can lead to a bad situation, such as limited options for spellcasters, which is a significant disadvantage in combat.
Note: Blindness can also occur when a creature is poisoned. Following that case, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw to also prevent possible blindness. That said, it’s worth mentioning that spells like Protection from Poison can prevent or remove the blindness caused by poison.
Regenerate and Heal are also two spells that can be used if the blindness is caused by physical damage.
Blinded is rare to apply as a player, though. Some Charisma-based casters can cause the blinded condition on enemies, which isn’t a common feature for most classes but it can be a useful (or dangerous) condition to deal with that pops up from time to time. In certain situations, these abilities can still be practical even if they are not always reliable
Players can also use spells that offer blindness as part of their effects, like:
- Wild Magic Sorcerers, who can use a Wild Magic Surge outcome that blinds adjacent creatures until they move away, and Celestial Warlocks, who can use Searing Vengeance to blind nearby enemies and also get up from other conditions such as unconsciousness.
Many spells, such as Color Spray, can cause blindness without offering a saving throw. The archetypal blindness spell is Blindness/Deafness, which allows you to blind or deafen foes, although it can also be removed via Lesser Restoration.
Overall, the blinded condition in D&D 5e can be challenging for a character or monster to endure. While it’s a significant disadvantage in combat, it can also be a potent tool for players to use against enemies, provided they can apply it.
The Charmed condition refers to a state where a character or monster is influenced by another creature’s Charm or compulsion, causing them to regard the charmer as a trusted ally.
Effects of the Charmed condition:
- While under the Charmed condition, the affected creature is unable to attack the charmer or use any harmful abilities or magic against them
- The charmer has an advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the charmed creature.
Creatures suffering from the charmed condition can make saving throws against it to remove the effect if the source of Charm allows it.
Note: The saving throw used to resist the Charmed condition in 5E depends on the source of the Charm. In most cases, it is a Wisdom saving throw, but it can also be a Charisma or Intelligence saving throw, depending on the spell or ability that is causing the charm effect.
Spells like Greater Restoration or Power Word Heal can cure the charmed condition, both offering a way for your Cleric or appropriate spell caster to break the Fighter, Barbarian, or other heavy hitter with low INT or CHR that enemies using this type of effect will generally have the intelligence to target.
Spells like Protection from Evil and Good can offer protection against charm effects.
Several classes in D&D 5e have access to spells or abilities that can charm creatures. The most notable ones are the following:
- Enchantment Wizard
However, other classes can also access charm effects through multiclassing or magic items. For example, a Paladin can use their Channel Divinity feature to charm undead creatures, and a Cleric can charm creatures with spells like Command or Charm Person.
Note: Specific subclasses such as the Glamour Bard or the Archfey Warlock specialize in charm effects, making them even more effective at manipulating their targets.
Players can also resist Charm by taking damage from the source of Charm or an ally or having a class feature that prevents or suspends Charm, such as Mindless Rage for barbarians. Ultimately, the Charmed condition offers a unique way for players and monsters to interact with each other, adds depth to the gameplay, and provides an interesting role-playing element.
Common monsters that LOVE to use the charm effect include Vampires, Incubus, Succubus, and a wide variety of Fey creatures. In fact, if you have an adventure that is pointing you to the Fey Wild, you need to seriously take on the upcoming charm spells and effects that are found throughout the Fey Wild and can easily render an unprepared party.
Deafened in D&D 5E refers to a condition where a character or creature cannot hear, rendering them unable to detect sounds in their environment. Deafened can be beneficial in situations where a character needs to avoid loud noises or sonic attacks.
For example, it could help a rogue remain undetected while sneaking past a group of guards shouting at each other. However, it can also be detrimental when hearing is necessary for communication, perception, or combat.
Effects of the Deafened condition:
- The deafened creature can’t hear and automatically fails any ability check that requires hearing.
- Any attack rolls that rely on hearing are made with a disadvantage, and the creature is also disadvantaged on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing.
- Creatures suffering from the Deafened condition cannot make a saving throw against it to remove the effect, as it is not an active magical effect.
A condition remains active until it is removed or the effect that caused it expires, as determined by the rules governing the effect. With that said, some possible ways to remove the Deafened condition in D&D 5e are:
- Wait for the effect to wear off if it is temporary.
- Use a spell that can cure conditions like Lesser Restoration or Heal.
- Use a spell that can heal injuries, such as Regenerate, if the deafness is caused by physical damage.
Note: Some creatures, such as some constructs or elementals, may be immune to the Deafened condition due to their lack of hearing organs. Additionally, some spells or abilities may create areas of magical silence, which can cause Deafened in those who enter the affected area.
Other than the Blindness/Deafness spell (2nd-level necromancy spell), Deafened is often mostly situational, mainly resulting from abilities and spells. For example, spells like Thunderwave or abilities like a Banshee’s wail can inflict it upon a creature or character. Somtimes a fast casting of the Silence spell can save a party when properly used.
Some classes, like Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards, have access to spells that can cause deafness or Deafen as a secondary effect.
For example, the Thunderwave spell deals thunder damage and can also deafen creatures in its area of effect. Subclasses specializing in sonic or thunder-based abilities, like the College of Valor Bard or the Storm Sorcerer, may have additional spells or features that can cause deafness as well.
The Invisible condition in 5e refers to a state where a character or creature cannot be seen with normal vision, rendering them impossible to detect without the aid of magic or a special sense. This condition is more advantageous for the affected than others on the list. An invisible creature is also undetectable by sight-based attacks, including ranged weapon attacks and spells that require a target to be seen.
Attack rolls against the creature are disadvantaged, while attack rolls have an advantage, as it is easier to take opponents by surprise. However, the creature is still subject to attacks relying on other senses such as smell, touch, or tremorsense.
For example, a creature with the Keen Smell ability can still detect an invisible creature if it has a scent. Likewise, a creature with tremor sense can detect the invisible creature’s movement by sensing vibrations in the ground. Other tools that can count Invisibility include Echolocation, Blindsight, and Truesight.
Some methods to remove the Invisible condition are:
- Casting a spell that reveals invisible creatures, such as see Invisibility or faerie fire
- Using a magic item that grants true sight, such as a gem of seeing or a robe of eyes
- Attacking or firing a spell while invisible typically stops the effect (unless you’re using a magical item such as a cloak of Invisibility or a ring of Invisibility)
- Spells like Gust of Wind or a Dispel Magic spell can remove a creature from the range of Invisibility
Some fiends or undead may be immune to the Invisible condition due to their ability to sense their surroundings through non-visual methods. Also, some spells or abilities may create areas of magical darkness, which can cause Invisibility in those who enter the affected area.
Invisibility can be an excellent tool for sneaking past guards or other enemies without detection. Be sure to move as silently as possible and be aware of your surroundings; any noise you make can change your situation. Most players also use Invisibility to get the edge on a surprise attack, especially on a central target the party needs to focus on.
Classes like Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards have access to spells that can cause Invisibility, like the Invisibility spell. Subclasses specializing in stealth or trickery, like the Assassin Rogue or the Trickery Domain Cleric, may also have additional features that may grant Invisibility to players who go down that route.
Note for DMs: no specific roll is required to activate Invisibility in a tight situation. So it may be up to the DM to decide if the situation allows the character to act to activate their invisibility spell or ability. Like if a player is being actively pursued and surrounded by enemies – the DM may rule that the character cannot take the time or space needed to activate their invisibility spell without first dealing with the immediate threat.
Exhaustion is a condition that represents the effects of fatigue on a creature in D&D 5e. It has six levels, each with a different penalty. Various factors experienced throughout quests, such as lack of sleep, extreme weather, or magical effects, can cause Exhaustion.
Levels of the Exhaustion condition:
- Level 1: Disadvantage on ability checks
- Level 2: Speed halved
- Level 3: Disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws
- Level 4: Hit point maximum halved
- Level 5: Speed reduced to 0
- Level 6: Death
It’s critical to note that each level adds a new penalty on top of the previous ones. If a player who has reached level 3 of Exhaustion will have a disadvantage on ability checks, speed halved, and disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws.
Exhaustion can be beneficial when a character needs to conserve energy or remain alert over an extended period. But this can be risky since it can also be detrimental when actions require physical or mental endurance, such as combat or performing complex tasks.
There are several ways to remove Exhaustion in D&D 5E, including:
- Finishing a long rest reduces Exhaustion by 1 level if you eat and drink
- The spell Greater Restoration removes 1 level of Exhaustion
- The Potion of Vitality removes all levels of Exhaustion
- Some DMs may use rest variants that affect how long it takes to remove Exhaustion
An example of save checks for Exhaustion include:
- A player can usually make a Constitution saving throw to avoid gaining a level of Exhaustion from certain effects or environmental hazards.
Note: The DC of the saving throw depends on the source of Exhaustion. For example, a character subjected to starvation for three days must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or advance a level of Exhaustion. Other effects may cause Exhaustion without a saving throw, such as the Wish spell or Tenser’s Transformation.
DMs can really have some fun with Exhaustion! They can use it to create challenging situations for players. Like if they are stranded in the desert without water, they may have to make Constitution saving throws to avoid gaining levels.
Additionally, some monsters or creatures may have abilities that can cause Exhaustion, making them more challenging opponents.
The Frightened condition is a status effect that can be applied to a creature. When Frightened, players (or enemies) experience an overwhelming sense of fear and cannot approach or attack the source of its fear.
Mechanically, Frightened has much more control over the battlefield than in similar conditions like Charm. When a creature is Frightened, it has a disadvantage on attack rolls or ability checks while the cause of the condition is within line of sight, and it cannot willingly move closer to the source of its fear.
The Frightened condition lasts until the end of the creature’s next turn, and it can repeat the saving throw at every turn to end the condition early. A frightened creature also has several disadvantages within the line of sight of the source.
There are several ways to remove the Frightened, such as:
- Saving throws: Some effects that cause this condition allow the target to make a saving throw at the end of each turn or when it takes damage to end it. The type and difficulty of the saving throw depend on the effect that caused it.
- Spells: Some spells can remove or prevent this condition, such as Calm Emotions, Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil and Good, Heroism, etc.
- Abilities: Some abilities can remove or prevent this condition, such as a paladin’s Aura of Courage, a bard’s Countercharm, a barbarian’s Mindless Rage, etc.
Note: The saving throws required to avoid being frightened depend on the source of the effect that causes it. Usually, it is a Wisdom saving throw, but some effects may require a different type of saving throw or none at all.
The difficulty of the saving throw also varies depending on the source of the effect. You can find out what saving throw is required by reading the description of the effect that causes this condition.
- A frightening example is when you are affected by a dragon’s Frightful Presence. Players must make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + the dragon’s proficiency bonus plus its Charisma modifier – Yup, it does get that intense.
Additionally, a frightened creature has an advantage in various actions, such as being immune to being charmed and becoming immune to the Frightened condition for a certain period. For instance, some classes, such as barbarians, bards, and fighters, have abilities or feats that can grant immunity to Frightened, such as the Indomitable feature of the fighter class.
Petrification is a big no-no for D&D players and should be avoided at all costs if possible. Petrified creatures and their nonmagical belongings become solid, inanimate substances (usually stone) in this condition. Affected players (or creatures) are incapacitated, unable to move, speak, or perceive anything, and unaware of their surroundings.
Fun fact: Petrification also stops aging, and the target does not need to breathe in this state.
Common creatures that you will find that can cause this include Cockatrices, Basilisks, Medusas, Gorgons, and Beholders. They can cause this condition from spells like Flesh to Stone and Petrifying Gaze.
Saving throws against Petrified:
- Constitution is the main saving throw against Petrified as it determines whether the target can resist being turned into a petrified state
Effects of the Petrified condition include:
- The petrified creature is completely paralyzed and cannot move, speak, or perceive its surroundings
- Attacks against the creature are more likely to hit due to its vulnerability
- The creature is unable to resist or dodge attacks, making it easier to damage
- The creature is more durable than usual and takes less damage from all sources
- The creature cannot be affected by poison or disease while petrified, but any existing poison or disease remains in its system until it is cured
A petrified character may be seen as a story hook as it is often viewed as a character’s death. DMs should remind players that there are solutions to every problem.
Being more of a possible side quest than a condition, the DM can set a route for the party can work together, possibly hiring a guest character (played by the Petrified character).This can go anywhere, but a good path would be to find a character that can use a greater restoration spell (Usually from Bards or Clerics) to get them out of this situation.
Restrained refers to a condition where a creature’s movement and combat abilities are significantly impeded. A restrained player has a speed of 0 and cannot benefit from any bonus to its speed. Restrained players have a disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. However, attackers within 5 feet of the restrained player have an advantage on their attack rolls against them.
Restrained is usually countered by making a saving throw or a check, which costs an action or a bonus action. The saving throws required to remove the restrained condition depend on its source.
- If a spell such as Web or Entangle is restraining you, you must make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw at the end of your turn to break free
- If you are restrained by a creature’s attack like a Giant Spider’s Web or a Roper’s Tendril (kudos to you as DM if you’re using a Roper – super nasty underrated monster), you usually have to make a Strength check as an action to escape
- If you are restrained by a class feature like the monk’s Stunning Strike or the fighter’s Trip Attack, you usually have to wait until the end of your next turn or make a Constitution saving throw to recover
- Acrobatics and Athletics checks can be made if you manage to see the trap coming and wish to dodge it
The restrained condition can severely limit a creature’s options in combat, and removing it is critical to regaining mobility and fighting capabilities.
Certain classes like druids, rangers, and wizards have spells like Ensnaring Strike that can restrain creatures. Martial classes such as fighters, monks, and barbarians can also use their abilities to restrain enemies temporarily.
Players can also take the Grappler feat, which allows them to pin a creature they have grappled with and make them restrained. Remember that all creatures must also make their own saving throws unless their stats are high enough for an Automatic Save.
Note: The Restrained condition will end if the grapple succeeds, and the target will become Incapacitated (mentioned next).
The Incapacitated condition in D&D 5e is a status effect that prevents a creature from acting or reacting. Other conditions like unconsciousness, paralysis or stun effects commonly cause it. This condition is crucial in battles, as it acts like a pause button for the affected target, rendering them unable to act, attack, or defend themselves.
This condition can be caused by various sources such as spells, abilities, and special effects from monsters or items. Some common sources that can cause Incapacitation include various other conditions, such as:
- Unconsciousness: When a creature is reduced to 0 hit points, they become unconscious and Incapacitated. They can regain consciousness by regaining at least one hit point.
- Paralysis: Some monsters and spells can cause paralysis, which leaves a creature Incapacitated and unable to move or take actions or reactions. A successful saving throw may be required to prevent paralysis.
- Stun: A creature that is stunned is also Incapacitated and unable to move or take actions or reactions. Stun can be caused by spells or abilities, such as a monk’s Stunning Strike.
- Special effects: Certain monsters or items may have special effects that can cause Incapacitation. The rules for these effects should be followed in these cases.
The Incapacitated condition can be a game-changer, as it can prevent a creature from taking any actions or reactions, essentially taking them out of the fight. This can be particularly useful when dealing with formidable enemies with powerful attacks or defenses.
Note: When a creature is Incapacitated, it cannot take bonus actions either.
Removing the Incapacitated condition:
First, the source of the incapacitated condition must be established.
- A player must follow the specific rules for a special effect if it is affected by a monster or item to end the incapacitated condition
- Greater Restoration, Lesser Restoration, and Heal are spells or abilities that can remove the Incapacitated condition
Among many classes, spells or abilities that can charm and stun enemies are common; some great examples include:
- A bard that can cast Hypnotic Patterns to affect creatures in a 30-foot cube with a charming effect
- Monks can deliver a Stunning Strike with a melee weapon attack
- Wizards that can utter Power Word Stun to stun a creature with 150 hit points or less
Paralyzed refers to a condition where a creature is completely immobilized and unable to act.
A paralyzed player is incapacitated and cannot move or speak. Paralyzed players automatically fail Strength and Dexterity saving throws, and attack rolls against them have an advantage.
Also, any attack that hits a paralyzed player within 5 feet of it is a critical hit – keep that in mind!
- If a spell such as Hold Person or Hold Monster is paralyzing you, you must make a Wisdom saving throw to break free
- A creature’s attack, like a Ghoul’s Claws or a Basilisk’s Gaze, will need you to make a successful Constitution saving throw to recover
- If you are paralyzed by a class feature like the monk’s Quivering Palm or the paladin’s Abjure Enemy, you usually have to wait until the duration expires or make another type of saving throw to end it
The paralyzed condition can devastate any friend or foe in combat, rendering them helpless and vulnerable to attacks. Removing it as soon as possible is vital to surviving and regaining control.
- Certain classes, like clerics, sorcerers, and warlocks, have spells like Hold Person that can paralyze creatures.
- Other classes, such as monks, paladins, and bards, can also use their abilities to paralyze enemies temporarily.
Note: Players can also take the Resilient feat, which allows them to choose one ability score and gain proficiency in saving throws with that ability score. This can help them resist or overcome paralysis more easily.
Poisoned refers to a condition where a creature is afflicted by a toxin that impairs its abilities. Also, a poisoned player (or creature) has a disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. Poisoned players can still move and act normally, but the poison’s effects hinder their performance.
- The most common saving throws to avoid being poisoned are Constitution saving throws.
Note: Constitution represents a creature’s health and stamina and how well they can resist diseases and toxins. Most sources of poison require a Constitution saving throw to avoid or end the poisoned condition. However, depending on their nature and origin, some sources may require a different type of saving throw.
The poisoned condition can be troublesome for a creature in combat, as it reduces their accuracy and skill. Removing it sooner rather than later can help them regain their edge and effectiveness.
Defending against the poison condition:
Don’t let those sneaky traps, assassins, and drow get the best of you!
- With a simple touch, you can cast Protection from Poison and shrug off any venom coursing through your veins. You’ll also have an edge against future attempts to poison you for the next hour.
But beware, there are many ways to deliver a deadly dose. In fact, there are four of them
Each one has a different effect and difficulty to resist:
- Contact poisons can be smeared on objects and triggered when touched
- Ingested poisons must be swallowed to take effect
- Inhaled poisons fill the air and affect anyone who breathes them
- Injury poisons are applied to weapons and wound their targets
Knowing this can help you plan to defend against them while also thinking about how you could utilize poison during a campaign.
- Certain classes, like druids, rangers, and rogues, have spells or abilities that can poison creatures. Other classes, such as clerics, paladins, and fighters, can also use their features to cure poison or grant immunity to it.
Note: Players can also take the Durable feat, which allows them to add their Constitution modifier (minimum of 1) to the number of hit points they regain when they spend Hit Dice during a short rest. This can help them recover from poison more easily.
As you’ve already seen how it can connect to the Restrained condition, Grappled refers to a state where a creature is physically restrained by another creature using its body or appendage. When a creature (or player) is grappled, its capacity to move is stalled, reducing its speed to 0. Plus, any bonus to its speed will not be effective.
Note: The grappling condition will cease if the grappler cannot continue the hold or if an external factor causes the grappled creature to move out of the grappler’s range.
- To initiate a grapple, you must use one of your attacks (if you have multiple) to make a special melee attack, a grapple
- Have at least one free hand to grapple a creature
- Be within 5 feet of your target
- You must make a Strength check contested by the target’s Strength or Dexterity check (the target chooses which check to use)
If you succeed, you cause the target to become grappled, and If you fail, nothing happens, and you don’t lose your attack. The grappled condition can help restrain enemies and prevent them from escaping or moving around. It can also set up other conditions like prone or restrained, giving you and your allies more advantages.
Note: Players can also take the Grappler feat, which gives them an advantage on attack rolls against creatures they are grappling with and allows them to pin them down as an action.
Common creatures to be aware of:
- Particular creatures, like Giants, Dragons, and Rocs, have special abilities that allow them to grapple creatures with their claws or bites
- Other creatures, like Octopuses, Krakens, and Roper tendrils, can use their tentacles or appendages to grapple multiple creatures at once
6 Tips to avoid being grappled:
- Stay out of the reach of the grappler’s limbs or appendages
- Use ranged attacks or spells to attack from a safe distance
- Use spells or abilities that allow you to move away or teleport out of reach
- Increase your AC to make it harder for the grappler to hit you
- Use the Dodge action to impose a disadvantage on the grappler’s attacks
- Use abilities that make you immune or resistant to grappling, such as the Freedom of Movement spell or the Barbarian’s Rage feature
In the Prone condition, creatures are lying on the ground due to being knocked down or tripped down, as the name implies. Also, when a creature (or player) is prone, it has a disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks that depend on physical movement. Any attack rolls against the prone target have an advantage if the attacker is within 5 feet.
Note: The prone condition can be ended by using half of your movement to stand up. You can also crawl while prone, but your speed is halved, and you provoke opportunity attacks from nearby enemies.
- To cause a creature to fall prone, you can use a special melee attack called a shove.
- You must be within 5 feet of your target and make a Strength check contested by the target’s Strength or Dexterity check.
- Some spells or abilities can also cause creatures to fall prone, such as Thunderwave, Grease, or Trip attack
The prone condition can help incapacitate enemies and make them more vulnerable to melee attacks. It can also hinder their movement and prevent them from escaping or pursuing you.
Note: Many creatures have traits that make them immune or resistant to being knocked prone, like flying creatures or quadrupeds.
Stunned refers to a condition where a creature is overwhelmed by a physical or mental shock and unable to act or react. When a player is stunned, they can’t move and can speak only falteringly. Stunned characters also automatically fail Strength and Dexterity saving throws, and attack rolls against them have an advantage.
Note: The stunned condition usually lasts until the end of the creature’s next turn or until a specific condition is met. For example, some spells or abilities require the creature to make a saving throw at the end of each turn to end the stun effect.
- To cause a creature to become stunned, you can use certain spells or abilities that affect the creature’s mind or body. For example, you can use Hold Person, Power Word, or Stunning Strike.
- The target must make a saving throw (usually Constitution or Wisdom) against your spell save DC or ability DC. If it fails, it becomes stunned for the spell’s duration or ability. If it succeeds, it resists the effect, and the turns continue.
Keep in mind that some creatures have immunity or resistance to being stunned, such as undead, constructs, or creatures with legendary resistance. The stunned condition can help incapacitate enemies and make them more vulnerable to attacks. While also preventing them from taking any actions or reactions on their turn.
Note: Some spells or abilities have additional effects on stunned creatures, such as dealing extra damage or causing them to drop what they hold.
Common creatures to be aware of:
Some creatures have special attacks that can stun you with their gaze, breath, or venom, such as Basilisks, Beholders or Yuan-ti.
Other creatures have abilities that can stun you with their psionics, magic, or martial arts skills, such as Mind Flayers, Githyanki Knights, or Monks
As you can imagine, Unconscious refers to a state where a creature is entirely unaware of its surroundings and unable to act or react. When a creature is unconscious, it falls Prone and can’t move or speak. It is unaware of its surroundings and drops whatever it’s holding.
It also automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws, and attack rolls against it have an advantage. Any attack that hits the creature is critical if your attack is within 5 feet of the creature.
Note: The unconscious condition usually lasts until the creature somehow regains consciousness. For example, some spells or abilities require the creature to make a saving throw at the end of each turn to regain consciousness. Alternatively, the creature can be healed by magic or medicine or be shaken awake by an ally as an action.
- To cause a creature to become unconscious, you can use certain spells or abilities that affect the creature’s mind or body. For example, you can use Sleep, Power Word Kill, or Feign Death.
- The target must make a saving throw (usually Constitution or Wisdom) against your spell save DC or ability DC. It becomes unconscious for the spell’s duration or ability if it fails.
Note: Some spells or abilities have additional effects on unconscious creatures, such as dealing extra damage or causing them to die instantly.
This condition can be a game-changer in certain situations. It can turn an otherwise tricky encounter into an easy win, especially for those inclined towards darker deeds. It’s a condition that is often overlooked but is even deadlier than being Paralyzed, albeit only by a small margin.
So, unlike being Paralyzed, Unconsciousness can be ended by taking damage. Although, some spells or abilities may specify the amount of damage needed to end the condition. When attacking an Unconscious target, making that first hit count is crucial. Consider using abilities like Sneak Attack, Divine Smite, or adding poison to your weapon to maximize damage.
- Spells like Magic Missile or Scorching Ray can also be effective. Using all the tricks at your disposal is vital to take advantage of the situation.
Common creatures to be aware of:
- Some creatures have special attacks that can render you unconscious with their gaze, breath, or venom, such as Medusas, Banshees, or Purple Worms
- Other creatures have abilities that can make you fall asleep with their psionics magic, such as Dryads, Nymphs
Great Video By Dungeon Dudes on Conditions in D&D
DnD Conditions, In Conclusion
Don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of information to take in! Use it as a starting point to learn and tackle challenges gradually, making each one more manageable for your party by being prepared, taking advantage of different situations, and making the most of them.
Remember, conditions are a way to add realism to your D&D 5e campaigns and make them even more exciting!
Other D&D Guides of Interest
- 5E D&D Feats Graded
- Types of Damage 5E D&D
- What Are D&D Core Stats?
- How Do I Calculate Passive Perception?
- D&D 5th Edition Players Handbook on Conditions: anyflip.com
- Forgotten Realms Fandom: forgottenrealms.fandom.com
- Conditions found on Roll20: Conditions | D&D 5th Edition on Roll20 Compendium
- D&D Masters Guide: anyflip.com
- 5e PDF Copy
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.