Is there really anything one can do to expedite vanquishing or neutralizing a victim in an incapacitated condition from Hypnotic Gaze?

The Wizard School of Enchantment gives the skill Hypnotic Gaze at 2nd level which leaves a creature that fails its save with the condition incapacitated. Incapacitated means the creature cannot take actions or reactions. Damage ends the effect.

Theoretically, using the reaction action, all damage from multiple PCs could be delivered at one time - but those attacks are not at advantage or auto-critical because incapacitated doesn’t mean paralyzed.

Though attaching manacles might seem to be one option or throwing the creatures weapon away so it is unavailable could be another - both apparently could be resisted by an incapacitated victim as noted by the first answer below.

What are other viable combat actions that could be used to optimally increase the chances of dispatching an opponent with the incapacitated condition?

Of note — this is not a duplicate of How does one dispatch a helpless opponent?. None of the answers in that question apply. Paralyzed & unconscious creatures (which that question addresses) and sleeping creatures (which that question addresses) are not the same as incapacitated. Incapacitated simply means the creature cannot take actions or reactions. Attacks don’t have advantage and hits aren’t automatic criticals like with paralyzed or unconscious victims. The creature isn’t helpless when incapacitated - despite the typical real world meaning of the word. Lastly and most importantly, paralyzed and unconscious conditions don’t end with damage like the condition does with hypotic gaze which changes the possible actions. These are different questions requiring different answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ These are not duplicate questions. See the explanation in the original question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Praxiteles
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ "reaction action" isn't a term with a definition in 5e. Characters can take the Ready action, which will later require them to use their reaction in response to some trigger. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for pointing out so clearly the distinction between this question and the other. That's exactly how we like to see responses to incorrect duplicate marking handled. :) Now that the other question's link has been removed along with the duplicate banner, I added a link in this question to give context for the paragraph about the distinction. Thanks again! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


There's no easy way.

Incapacitated doesn't mean helpless, or that a creature's defenses are down.

Incapacitated creatures are aware of what's happening around them, can move normally and interact with objects, and can oppose attempts to move, grapple or disarm them.

Grabbing an incapacitated creature still requires a Strength(Athletics) check opposed by the creature's Strength(Athletics) or Dexterity(Acrobatics). Depriving them of something they are holding would also be resisted by their Strength(Athletics).

Incapacitated creatures aren't especially vulnerable to intimidation, persuasion, or anything else. Their AC isn't lowered. And so on.

The Hypnotic Gaze feature, however, has the specific additional effect of also charming the affected creature; that means that some interpersonal interactions can be attempted (by the enchanting enchanter) with advantage. But that also wears off as soon as any damage is dealt.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The only thing I can think of is incapacitation stops reactions, so you can move around the creature without provoking opportunity attacks, but that's a pretty weak benefit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 21:25

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