From reading through conditions such as paralyzed (PHB 291) or unconscious (PHB 292), I realized that incapacitated seems to act largely as shorthand so each condition that inflicts it (paralyzed, petrified, stunned, and unconscious, for those keeping track) doesn't have to repeat the text "the creature can't take actions or reactions" every time. But I got to wondering if an effect exists, accessible either to player characters or monsters/NPCs, that inflicts incapacitated and nothing else.

Not even enchantment wizards' Hypnotic Gaze (PHB 112) or the spell hypnotic pattern (PHB 252) inflict only incapacitated; instead they inflict charm and have incapacitated act as a "rider" condition while the charm is active, starting and ending when it does.

So, are there any features that inflict this condition without making it reliant on or a component of another condition, or is incapacitated a (convenient) shorthand?


2 Answers 2


There are only a few times where the only condition is incapacitated

The Arcane Archer's Banishing Arrow states:

While banished in this way, the target's speed is 0, and it is incapacitated.

Both the banishing smite and banishment spells state:

While there, the target is incapacitated.

The symbol spell states:

Pain. Each target must make a Constitution saving throw and becomes incapacitated with excruciating pain for 1 minute on a failed save.

The wind walk spell states:

Reverting takes 1 minute, during which time a creature is incapacitated and can't move.

The Tomb of Levistus Eldritch Invocation:

[...] you gain vulnerability to fire damage, your speed is reduced to 0, and you are incapacitated. [...]

The Short Term Madness table in the DMG states:

21-30 The character becomes incapacitated and spends the Duration screaming, laughing, or weeping.

The Wild Magic Sorcerer's Wild Magic Surge tables states:

41-42 You turn into a potted plant until the start of your next turn. While a plant, you are incapacitated and have vulnerability to all damage. If you drop to 0 hit points, your pot breaks, and your form reverts.

And the Unearthed Arcana Raven Queen Warlock's Sentinel Raven feature states:

While perched on your shoulder, the raven can't be targeted by any attack or other harmful effect; only you can cast spells on it; it can't take damage; and it is incapacitated.

Most of these either make the target go to another plane of existence or they affect the player character and not a target. The only one that could be used offensively is the symbol spell's Pain option.

There aren't even very many ways to apply the incapacitated condition with other conditions, which, as user @thedarkwanderer pointed out, would inflict only the incapacitated condition if a monster were immune to the other condition.

The Tasha's hideous laughter spell which inflicts the prone condition:

The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or fall prone, becoming incapacitated and unable to stand up for the duration.

And finally the feign death spell which inflicts the blinded condition:

The target is blinded and incapacitated, and its speed drops to 0.


The Pain effect of the symbol spell inflicts incapacitated and no other conditions.

One of the options I can choose for the symbol spell (PHB 280) is:

Pain. Each target must make a Constitution saving throw and becomes incapacitated with excruciating pain for 1 minute on a failed save.

While it lists the inconvenience as described in Ben's answer, it does not inflict any other conditions, mechanically speaking.

Maybe I should have looked harder before asking.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that Ben's answer has since been deleted. You may want to edit your answer as needed. (Also, Medix2's answer already includes this information as part of it... so you may or may not want to delete your answer.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 30, 2020 at 9:44

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