Basic D&D: Changes to Conditions

The new edition of Dungeons & Dragons continues the trend of having a list of Conditions that can befall characters and monsters. Conditions provide a useful shorthand for the game, allowing the designers to create spells, powers and rules that share a common language. The list of conditions in 3E and Pathfinder is quite long, but the list was pared back in 4E, and the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons keeps the list short. The 4E Dungeon Master’s Screen uses one of its panels to list the effects of the conditions, and it has been the most referenced part of the screen in my 4E campaigns.

Here are the list of D&D Next conditions, along with the changes (if any) since the Interim Rules Supplement.

Blinded – no change

Charmed – no changes. This is a new condition to D&D, and one that is very useful, as it much better defines what happens due to the charm person spell and similar effects.

Deafened – no change

Frightened – the interim version of this condition meant that a character could get closer to the target of its fear as long as it ended the turn further away. The final version removes that exception.

Incapacitated – a new condition. Interestingly, while it stops the character from taking actions or reactions, it does not prevent movement.

Incorporeal – this condition is not in the current rules.

Invisible – no change

Paralysed – this has had a few changes. The interim version allowed mental actions, but the new version is incapacitated plus can’t move and speak. Attacks against the target from within 5 feet are now automatic critical hits, but the target no longer automatically falls prone when incapacitated.

Poisoned – this is a new condition, causing problems for the character acting but not reducing their defensive abilities. (It appears to be a revised version of the interim condition Intoxicated, but without the problems with casting spells).

Prone – no change

Restrained – no change

Stunned – this condition is the intermediate state between incapacitated and paralysed. The character can speak a little (so better than paralysed), but can’t move or take actions (worse than incapacitated)

Unconscious – even worse than paralysed! It has the same additional clauses as does the revised paralyse description.

That’s thirteen conditions. A fourteenth, special condition, “Exhaustion” also exists. For comparison’s sake, there are sixteen in 4E, and it is notable that 5E does not have the Dying or Weakened conditions of 4E; Dying certainly exists, but it isn’t listed as a condition. I can’t remember off-hand how many there are in 3E, but Pathfinder has at least 34 conditions, some of which cover game states in 5E that aren’t considered conditions as such.

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