In this question, I asked about the ramifications of monsters causing exhaustion:

How dangerous is exhaustion?

The answers concluded, that this would generally be very risky and dangerous.

I therefore decided to limit myself to a reduced threat version for the time being, which has the following modifications:

1. Limited effect

A target only gains exhaustion levels this way up to three levels. Any excess levels that would be caused this way are not applied.


2. Easy recovery

Taking a short rest or casting lesser restoration removes one level of exhaustion gained this way. Taking a long rest or casting greater restoration removes all levels of exhaustion gained this way.

How does this compare to other harmful conditions, such as stunned or paralyzed? Could I replace a stun or paralyze effect with one level of this reduced threat exhaustion and maintain a similar power level of the monster?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast The answers to that other question clearly stated that it was ill-advised, as you say. Therefore I wanted to tone it down drastically before even putting it into my game for a test. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Jul 23, 2020 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, got it, comment gone. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Pretty powerful.

The problem with it, compared to other harmful conditions - it doesn't go away without a spell. Most effects that cause stun or paralyze (or most other harmful conditions) have a very limited time (like 'until next turn') or allow a save every round and often have options like 'when you've saved - you are immune'.

And even three levels of exhaustion can put party in quite a serious disadvantage in combat.
1st level - gives them disadvantage on ability checks - which may be not that often used in combat, but still sometimes called for - casters use it to counter higher-level spells, for example.
2nd level - halves movement - which means that with some smart maneuvering - melee fighters are out of combat as enemies would always outrun them (if battlefield allows for it, of course). And fragile casters would have troubles escaping from harm.
3rd level - disadavantage on attack rolls and saving throws - affects all the party, so only caster with save-based spells are more or less unaffected.

And there is no way to remove such condition, except for burning a spell slot or healing ability. So, as an ability that monster(s) can spam every turn - it feels a bit overpowered. It may work as an ability that monster can fire once or twice per combat - though still feels quite powerful (assuming that there is more than one monster of such kind).

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Re: 1st level - Athletics and Acrobatics, so disadvantage on ability checks cripples any grapple builds, and makes it easier to be grappled by enemies. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Jul 23, 2020 at 10:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Stealth and Perception are also skills used in Combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Jul 24, 2020 at 0:35

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