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While petrified is the character aware of its surroundings or the passage of time?

In our last session, the entire party except for an NPC got petrified. Instead of killing them off, I'm going to have the NPC spend the next several years searching for a way to undo the petrification. When he finally returns will the characters have any idea how long it as been? Will they have been aware of anything happening in the room they're in?

Thanks in advance.

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From the PHB page 291, emphasis added:

  • A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone). Its weight increases by a factor of ten, and it ceases aging.

  • The creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can't move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.

So the character will not be aware of their surroundings. Since they cease aging, I would also rule that they have no knowledge of how long it has been.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This also makes pertification less horrific than the alternative. \$\endgroup\$ – John Apr 15 '18 at 16:41

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