The description of the fear spell states, in part:

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.

The description of bonus actions in the Player's Handbook (p. 189) mentions that:

anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

Does the fear spell "deprive you of your ability to take actions", and thereby prevent you from taking bonus actions?

I'm asking cause I've seen people in some games understand it that way. I know it's up to every DM, but what would be the interpretation by RAW?

What is behind this question: I want to figure out if a Sorcerer under the effects of the fear spell could cast any spell as long as he used the Metamagic option Quickened Spell.


Yes, you can use your bonus action

Fear requires you to take the Dash action. You can use your action to do this, or your bonus action (e.g. the Rogue’s Cunning Action), or even a magic item that gives you the Dash action (off the cuff, I’m not aware of any) - you don’t lose your action or bonus action. As such, you are free to use any action or bonus action you might have that you haven’t used. So, for a sorcerer, a quickened spell is one such option.

Just a note that if you have the Rogue’s Cunning Action feature, you don’t have to use it to Dash. In fact, you can use your bonus action to take the Dash action, leaving your action free for whatever you want. This is because it says you “must take the Dash action”, not “you must use your action to Dash” - so long as you Dash through some means, you have met the requirements of the spell.

Furthermore, you have to “move away by the safest available route” only; the spell doesn’t require you to move as fast as possible. Because you are frightened you can never move closer, but so long as you move away, 5 feet away will meet this requirement. Of course, bolting as fast as you can to get out of line of sight might be the best option but you can do a slow, terrified retreat.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ “Furthermore, you have to “move away by the safest available route” only; the spell doesn’t require you to move as fast as possible. Because you are frightened you can never move closer, but so long as you move away, 5 feet away will meet this requirement.” I think the intention here is that you use the full dash distance and in a sensible way i.e. not to run around in circles. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael
    Jun 28 at 7:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Michael please quote the part of the spell or the condition that gives effect to that "intention" \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 29 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ It’s just that something like “I hop from one square to the other, back and forth 120 times” (assuming you use grids) is allowed by the spell as written but would make little sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael
    Jun 29 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Michael no, you must Dash and must move further away (from the spell) and can’t move closer (from the condition). Beyond that, there is no limit. On a grid, you must never move closer and must end further away - you could move back one space and stop, or you could circle around and then move back one space etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 29 at 6:19

Great question.

As written (I believe), quicken spell states "When you cast a spell..."

The fear spell states the only action that you are allowed to take is Dash.

RAW flow never allows you to get to the point where you could cast a spell to alter its speed.

As a side note, fear does not deprive you from taking actions...it only determines which action you can take. If quicken spell was worded something like "The speed of spells that take 1 action are turned into bonus actions" (subtle but important difference) then it would imply that you could use a bonus action to cast.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't confuse the Frightened condition with the effects of the Fear spell :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28 at 19:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry. Good point. my mistake. Edited. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nupraptor
    Jun 29 at 15:30

Your fastest possible speed involves using your action to dash as well as your full movement. But unless you have the ability to dash as a bonus action, I would say you can still use the bonus action for other things.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Where does the spell or condition say you have to move away as fast as possible? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 28 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM "You must ... move away" implies that you must move away. If you stop mid-movement for no reason, you are doing something other than moving away. Now if there is a reason, then it's up to the DM if they accept it, but without a reason to not to, you must take any safe enough route away, until you can't. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28 at 6:53

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