Someone said he read somewhere on this site, that if the creature can't run away (dash safely) then there is no effect and they can then move up and lash out at the caster as they would normally.

Yet the rules clearly state that under the Frightened condition:

  • A frightened creature has disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of its fear is within line of sight.
  • The creature can't willingly move closer to the source of its fear.

So, am I correct in assuming that even if they can't run away, they cannot move toward the caster, and if they happen to somehow be in a position to actually attack the caster, it is only with Disadvantage?


1 Answer 1


I believe there are two effects that are being confused here: the frightened condition, and the Fear spell.

The frightened condition, as you quoted, specifically prohibits moving towards the source of the fear. It does not matter where the frightened creature is and whether or not it is blocked by anything else, it cannot move towards the source of its fear.

The Fear spell requires that

While frightened by this spell, a creature must take the Dash action and move away from you by the safest available route on each of its turns, unless there is nowhere to move.

If there is nowhere to move, the creature who has been targeted by Fear may attack, but it cannot move closer to the enemy, as it is also subject to the frightened condition.

When they attack, in either case, it will be with disadvantage, unless they are under some effect that will allow them to gain advantage, in which case they will cancel out and the frightened creature will attack as normal.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to cite this series of Crawford tweets to further support that "if a creature has nowhere to move, it can take actions normally" \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Feb 13, 2019 at 5:00

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