Unconscious Condition 5e: Quick Guide & Discussion

Since you find yourself here, you’re likely curious about what the unconscious condition applies to and how you can become unconscious or perhaps how to inflict the condition on someone else, either way you’ve come to the right place.

It may be self-explanatory but when you are knocked or rendered unconscious, you can’t move or speak and you’re unaware of your surroundings. You drop whatever you’re holding and fall prone and you automatically fail strength and dexterity saving throws.

All attack rolls against you have advantage and any attack that hits you is an automatic critical hit as long as the attack is within 5 feet of you.  

Unconscious

  • An unconscious creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.
  • The creature drops whatever it’s holding and falls prone.
  • The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
  • Any Attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.

How To Help Someone Who Has Been Knocked Out or Rendered Unconscious

So the best way to help your knocked-out ally would be obviously to heal them before they attempt or perhaps fail their death saves.

A medicine check would be necessary (DC of 10 usually) unless you have someone who can administer a potion or utilize a healing spell of sorts.

A stable creature doesn’t need to make death saves but will still remain unconscious unless healed above 0.

If you suffer a critical hit while in the dying state, you suffer two death save failures, so having someone stabilize you before that can happen is definitely optimal. 

You can, however, avoid the condition entirely if something like a power word kill spell or a cone of cold spell just outright kills you or if you take more than half of your maximum hp into the negatives – that will result in instant death and completely skip over the unconscious condition entirely. 

Aside From Physical Attacks, What Spells or Monsters Can Knock You Out? 

There aren’t many spells in DnD 5e that can render you unconscious, and there are even fewer monsters with the ability to do so; however, there are some, and I’ll list them here. 

As for spells that can cause you to either “fall asleep” or fall unconscious, the first one that comes up is Eyebite, which renders you unconscious as part of the Asleep aspect of the spell.

The second spell is Symbol, which can literally knock you out if you fail the wisdom saving throw.

The 3rd spell would be Imprisonment with the slumber effect of the spell forcing the creature to fall asleep and not be awoken. 

A few monster effects that knock you out or put you asleep are listed as follows: 

  • The Chasme’s drone ability
  • Ogre Chain Brute’s chain smash ability
  • A Beholder, Death Tyrant and Gaunt’s sleep ray
  • A Brass Dragon’s breath attack
  • A Satyr with Pipes lullaby

As you can see, there aren’t a great many monsters that can apply to effect. It’s also worth noting that DMs typically don’t have monsters fall unconscious.

Once they hit 0 HP, they typically just die outright except for extremely important NPCs or bosses with a crucial role in the campaign.

If you’re looking to knock someone out, you typically want to use a melee option combined with a stealth option for flavor perhaps as you can see there aren’t a great many spells to “knock out” our opponents.

A good bonk on the head along with enough damage can do the trick in some situations. 

Be sure that if you fall unconscious or you’re able to foresee that it may happen, that you try and get yourself to a healer or rather close to one and keep away from enemies.

Any physical attack on you could prove fatal while you’re unconscious (as it could in real life) and completely skip over your death saves if you’re not careful.

It applies to very similar rules in real life, so if you keep that mindset and try to get to safety before you go down, your rate of survival will be much higher, and you’ll never have to worry about what happens while you’re knocked out.