The Calm Emotions spell says:

...suppress any effect causing a target to be charmed or frightened. When this spell ends, any suppressed effect resumes, provided that its duration has not expired in the meantime.

On first read, it seems that the expiring duration would suggest waiting out a fixed time frame. However, a lot of fear effects permit saves throughout the duration to end them.

So two questions:

  1. While a fear effect is suppressed are saves still made to end it?
  2. If so, does a creature need to comply with special requirements to attempt the save while the effect is suppressed by Calm Emotions?

To clarify, this is the text for a Red Dragon's Frightful Presence and the Fear spell, respectively:

Frightful Presence

Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and aware of it must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.


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 the creature ends its turn in a location where it doesn’t have line of sight to you, the creature can make a Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the spell ends for that creature.


Yes, you roll the saves

In order to full explain my case, I'll first justify why one might say you do not roll the saves, and then provide rebuttals to those points. It will help set up the context of this answer.

The case for why you do NOT roll the saves

The effects that cause you to be charmed or frightened are suppressed. To be "suppressed" is not an official game term, so it just means what it would in idiomatic English. To be suppressed is, in my own words, to be prevented from taking effect.

Fear effects do not have to allow an affected creature to make saving throws at certain points. Whenever saving throws have to be made for them, those saves are called out as part of that particular game mechanic. In the case of Frightful Presence, its effect includes both a way to inflict the Frightened condition and a way to remove it.

Since the effect causing fear in this case is Frightful Presence, that entire thing is suppressed - including the means of being free from it.

The case for why you DO roll the saves

There is no rule that says Frightful Presence is one discrete effect. We can argue that it is made up of multiple effects. In this case, one effect causes fear (this will be suppressed by calm emotions), whereas another effect removes fear.

Calm emotions only suppresses the effect that causes the fear, not necessarily the entire ability causing it.

Furthermore, the Combining Game Effects section of the 2018 DMG Errata states:

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. [...] Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. [...]

It refers to Frightful Presence, a monster ability, being a "game feature" and treats "game features" as having "effects." So, while there is no glossary of terms that define what an "effect" is, it seems that, at the very least, the DMG Errata treats effects as the components of a game feature.

So, if you are with me that multiple effects make up a game feature (of which Frightful Presence is one), then while the fear effect of Frightful Presence is suppressed by calm emotions, the other effects that it has are not suppressed.

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