The Frightened Condition 5e: A Guide To Getting Scared

Last Updated on November 11, 2023


A frightened creature has disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of its fear is within line of sight.

The creature can’t willingly move closer to the source of its fear.

Source: 5th Edition SRD

What Is the Frightened Condition?

The Frightened condition is a debuff (penalty) your player can gain in certain situations. While affected, you have disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of your fear is within sight. You also can not willingly move closer to the source of your fear.

There are many spells that can be used against you to cause the Frightened condition, and there are many, many monsters that can just make you Frightened without needing a spell.

Simply put, you need to know about this condition, how to prevent it, how to use it against your foes.

It’s also great to completely demoralize and destroy the players at your tab – uh… I mean… you can… use this in a completely fair and objective way as a DM. 😉


Prepare to be Frightened in D&D

The best way to deal with the Frightened condition is to be prepared against it.  Which isn’t very easy to do.

Your best protection is a high wisdom-saving throw, as the Frightened condition most often occurs after failing one of those. 

Another easy way is to have a bard or a paladin in the party. At 6th level, bards get the countercharm ability, which gives the bard and their allies advantage against the Frightened condition.

Paladins gain the Aura of Courage ability at 10th level, which grants immunity.

In addition to these general class abilities, there are a number of spells, subclasses, and even two races that either grant advantage, grant immunity, or dispel the effect altogether.

What Do I Do if I Am Frightened?

Run away, usually. But that isn’t all if you’re smart. And I know you’re smart because you are reading a Black Citadel RPG post, you genius!

Position yourself for Advantage on an attack.  You are frightened, and have disadvantage because of that condition.  However, gaining advantage cancels that out and your attack would simply be resolved normally.

You could do things that don’t require a roll, like interact with an item or cast magic missile which always hits.

If you’ve been putting off doing something like taking a healing potion or casting a buffing spell on your party, now is the time to do so!

So remember, you’re frightened but you’re not helpless.

Until next time!

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