D&D 5E: Status Conditions, Explained | Screen Rant

2022-05-29 10:55:25 By : Ms. Rachel Li

The monsters in Dungeons & Dragons can do more than deal damage, as there are status conditions that can be just as deadly as a blade (if not more).

The monsters in Dungeons & Dragons can defeat the party with physical or magical damage, but the status conditions used in combat can be just as deadly. A powerful D&D party might be able to take on a dragon, but effects that rob them of their strength or magical prowess will them susceptible to D&D's weakest monsters in the game.

The status effects in D&D 5e are notably weaker than they were in the old editions of the game. This is an overall improvement, as there were too many "save or die" situations in the old days, with spells like hold person and a mind flayer's Mind Blast power being able to steamroll the party. The spells that have debilitating effects in D&D 5e tend to last for a short period of time and give the target saving throws each turn. There are still some spells that can annoyingly trap someone in an effect, with D&D's polymorph spell being too strong in this regard, but the game is a lot more forgiving than it once was.

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D&D 5e has codified the different status conditions in the game. This means it's a lot easier to keep track of what everything does, rather than creatures having specific rules for each of their special abilities. These special conditions can also be used by the party and are especially useful when taking prisoners, rather than slaying foes.

Blinded prevents the character from being able to see and can be afflicted in a number of different ways. A creature who is blinded automatically fails any ability checks that require sight, they have disadvantage on attack rolls, and creatures fighting the blinded person have advantage. The blinded condition also prevents the use of certain spells that require sight, such as magic missile, while spells that target self (like fire shield) will still work.

Charmed is when a creature has been influenced into liking another creature against their will and it's often caused by spells from D&D's Enchantment school of magic, or through the use of psionics. The charmed creature cannot willingly target the person who has charmed them with an attack, which includes splash damage effects from spells. The charmer also has advantage on ability checks to interact socially with the charmed being.

Deafend prevents the character from being able to hear and it's often inflicted by spells that use the thunder damage type. A creature who is defeaned automatically fails any check that involves hearing. The deafened condition is actually a lot more forgiving in D&D 5e than it was in older conditions, as it meant that spells had a chance of fizzling out.

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Frightened is when a creature is scared of an enemy and it's something that D&D's powerful dragons can naturally use in combat, with their Frightful Presence ability. A frightened creature has disadvantage on all attacks rolls and ability checks while the source of their fear is within their line of sight, and they cannot willingly move towards their target. It's still possible for the frightened creature to attack the source of their fear with ranged weapons or spells, and they can be physically pulled towards it by other means.

Grappled is when one creature binds another as part of an attack and it's one of the potential actions that can be taken in combat. A grappled creature has its speed reduced to zero and they gain no benefit from their speed. If the grappler is affected by the incapacitated condition or is physically moved by other means, then the grappled condition ends.

Incapacitated is when a creature loses the strength to perform actions and only a few abilities can inflict it, such as D&D's incredibly powerful banishment spell. A creature that is incapacitated cannot take any actions or reactions, but it can still move. A creature that is incapacitated can still speak, which means it could cast spells that don't have a somatic component.

Invisible is an effect where a creature vanishes from sight and is often caused by the invisibility spell or one of its upgraded versions. The invisible creature can only be detected by alternative means, such as scent, hearing, or if they leave some physical remnant outside of the boundaries of the effect, like footprints in the dirt. All attack rolls against the invisible creature have disadvantage, and all of the invisible creature's attacks have advantage.

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Paralyzed is when a creature loses the ability to move its body and it's inflicted by many spells and monsters, such as the poison of a carrion crawler. A paralyzed creature suffers the same effects as an incapacitated creature, with the additional penalty of being unable to move or speak. The creature automatically fails any Dexterity or Strength saving throws, all attacks against them have advantage, and any attacks made within 5ft of the creature are treated as critical hits. This is assuming that the D&D game uses the critical hit rules.

Petrified is a condition where a creature has been turned to stone and is famously associated with the Medusa. A petrified creature is frozen in time and has their weight increased by ten, which means it no longer needs to breathe and can be stored in a bag of holding or similar item. A petrified creature is treated as incapacitated, they cannot move or speak, they are unaware of their surroundings, attack rolls made against them have advantage, they fail all Strength and Dexterity saving throws, they have resistance to all damage, and are immune to poison or disease.

Poisoned is a condition where a creature has been injected with poison, such as from a giant spider, and it's a favored weapon of D&D's Lolth-sworn drow. A poisoned creature has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. A lot of the attacks that inflict the poisoned condition also tend to deal additional damage when used. Contrary to popular belief, drinking an antitoxin won't cure the poisoned condition, as it only provides advantage on saving throws against being poisoned.

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Prone is when a creature is knocked over, such as by an attack or spell. A prone creature can only crawl or stand up as part of its movement action and they have disadvantage on attack rolls. An enemy in melee range has advantage on attack rolls against a prone target, but any enemies further than 5ft away have disadvantage.

Restrained is when a creature has been bound, such as being tied up with a rope. A restrained creature's speed becomes zero and they cannot benefit from bonuses to speed. The restrained creature has disadvantage on attacks and Dexterity saving throws, while enemies have advantage on attacks. In D&D, a bound spellcaster can cast while restrained, as they can do it with one hand.

Stunned is when a creature is temporarily dazed. They become incapacitated and cannot move, but can still speak falteringly. The stunned creature automatically fails any Strength or Dexterity saving throws and attacks made against them have advantage.

Unconscious is when a creature is knocked out. They become incapacitated and cannot move or speak, and lose awareness of their surroundings. The unconscious creature drops what they are holding, they automatically fail any Strength or Dexterity saving throws, attacks made against them have advantage, and any attack made within 5ft is treated as a critical hit. The unconscious condition is one of the worst and deadliest in Dungeons & Dragons.

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Scott has been writing for Screen Rant since 2016 and regularly contributes to The Gamer. He has previously written articles and video scripts for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. A graduate of Edge Hill University in the UK, Scott started out as a film student before moving into journalism. It turned out that wasting a childhood playing video games, reading comic books, and watching movies could be used for finding employment, regardless of what any career advisor might tell you. Scott specializes in gaming and has loved the medium since the early ‘90s when his first console was a ZX Spectrum that used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set. Scott now writes game reviews for Screen Rant and The Gamer, as well as news reports, opinion pieces, and game guides. He can be contacted on LinkedIn.