Restrained Condition: Full Guide on How It Really Works in 5e

Last Updated on November 15, 2023


  • A restrained creature’s speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to its speed.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.
  • The creature has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.

Source: Basic Rules

Restrained is a tough one because there isn’t a whole lot of difference between it and other conditions. 

I went around and talked to the experts here at Black Citadel, and we’ve come up with a guide to tell you exactly what it is, what it isn’t, how to use it, how to avoid it, and how to exploit it.

What Is the Restrained Condition?

Restrained is a condition either you or your opponents can suffer from. While Restrained, you can not move at all and you have disadvantage on attacks and DEX saves while attacks against you have advantage.

How Is Restrained Different From Other Conditions?

Restrained is different from stunned and incapacitated in one major way: you are conscious and aware. As soon as you lose consciousness, you automatically change to incapacitated or unconscious. 

When you are grappled, you are in much the same situation as restrained, yet you can stop the grapple to regain your movement. 

With restrained, something has you stuck. It’s like grappling but without all the sweaty grunting.

How To Apply Restrained as Written

There are only three ways to force the Restrained condition on a target using the Rules As Written (RAW). These are with a net, the Grappler feat, and magic. 

If you want to get creative and start tying people up, that requires a little more negotiation between you and your DM – which is only appropriate. 

First we will go over the RAW applications, then we will get creative which, at Black Citadel, can get a bit scary. 


A net is a difficult weapon to gain proficiency with, but once you have it, the Net is a very fine choice for a non-spellcaster to gain some control over an enemy.

Combine it with some teamwork effort to gain Sneak Attack on a restrained enemy, and you can systematically clean up the battlefield in a frighteningly efficient manner. 


If you look at an enemy and decide that you just want to hold them close, then this feat is for you.

If you are a fighter with the Unarmed Fighting Style, a Rogue with a high strength/athletics skill, or a Monk, this feat will give you the ability to deal some extra damage while controlling your target’s movement. Can’t argue with that!

Spell Table

There are quite a few spells that bestow this condition. At lower levels, Restrained is the main power of the spell. As the spells gain more power, restrained is like a bonus effect in addition to the spell’s main ability.

Who Can Restrain You?

There are over a hundred monsters who can restrain you with a variety of tools like spells, tentacles, big beefy biceps, a glance… 

If you have the DnD Beyond app, all you need to do is run a search on the word Restrained and filter for monsters.

There you will find all flavors of big, milky XP bags to throw at your players. That way you can get them all tied up and they will thank you for the pleasure. 

But… What if I Use a Rope? For the DMs

Alright, let’s put the kiddies to bed and talk as DMs. This is where we get creative. How do you handle it when your players want to restrain an opponent without one of the above RAW methods?

This is where the magic happens. You have to determine which skill the PC is using to do the tying. So talk to the PC. Ask a few questions and make a decision.

Here’s a guide:

  • Where did they learn ropecraft?
    • Did they learn in ranger-boy scouts? Survival
    • Did they learn in the rodeo? Athletics
    • Did they learn while interning at the local asylum or hospital? Medicine
    • Did they learn in the circus? Performance

But be careful! Ask serious questions, and make the player do the work because as soon as you open it up to discussion, they will try to make it their best skill.

Leave a Comment