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I'm choosing spells for my now 6th level Warlock, and I'm reluctant to get Hypnotic Pattern for her as she already has Fear, and it looks like they both serve a similar purpose (Area of Effect that imposes a condition) and have a similar weakness (Wisdom save to ignore/recover from the effects):

Fear:

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.

Hypnotic Pattern:

On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed for the duration. While charmed by this spell, the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0.

The spell ends for an affected creature if it takes any damage or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor.

I don't see much point in having both, especially as warlocks have so few spell slots; I'm rarely going to need to cast both as far as I can see?

To my knowledge, we aren't facing any enemies that would be immune to charm instead of being immune to being frightened, nor a reason to prefer cones vs cubes etc.

So I'm now, instead of trying to pick between similar spells, I'm looking for spells that can serve as utility knives - able to impose multiple conditions. Either by the casters choice at time of casting, or automatically imposed together. Spells like Eyebite come to mind, but I can't find others on D&D Beyond due to my searches looking for either condition not both.

What spells fit that criteria (I'm interested in ones available to all classes in case my GM is feeling generous in what I can learn)?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While the question is entirely answerable as it stands, I'm not sure it's necessarily useful to conflate all conditions as interchangeable or equally useful. Incapacitation, for example, reduces a creature's combat effectiveness more than fright, as an incapacitated creature can't do pretty much anything. (The fear spell adds some bonuses that reduce affected targets' effectiveness beyond the raw frightened condition, of course.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 0:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LouisWasserman it's true that some combinations are more useful than others (a corollary to the fact conflating them as interchangeable isn't useful) but drawing a line on what is or isn't useful is an exercise in futility. Much smarter to list them all and leave which is useful as an exercise to the reader. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 25, 2022 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LouisWasserman Which conditions are useful is a matter of opinion, while which ones are attainable is much more objective. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jan 22, 2023 at 2:01

5 Answers 5

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There aren't many spells that offer the flexibility that you want, especially at lower levels, unfortunately. But there are a few that are within the realm of what you're looking for (ordered by level):

  • command - 1st level spell, doesn't explicitly offer multiple conditions to impose, but does offer tremendous flexibility in what it can do.
  • blindness/deafness - 2nd level spell, does what it says on the tin; let's you choose between imposing blindness or deafness.
  • pyrotechnics - 2nd level spell, can impose blindness or heavily obscure an area.
  • glyph of warding - 3rd level spell, It's a trap! Allows you to set a magical trap, either with an explosion, or to store another spell of 3rd level or lower.
  • contagion - 5th level spell, initially inflicts poisoned, but with three failed saves, inflicts one of a number of horribly debilitating diseases.
  • hallow - 5th level spell, allows you to bind an effect to an area, limitation is a 24 hour casting time
  • eyebite - 6th level spell, gives a choice of unconscious, frightened, and a feature similar to poisoned.
  • divine word - 7th level cleric spell, not exactly what you're looking for, but imposes deafened, blinded, and stunned on any number of creatures you see within range with 50 hit points or less.
  • prismatic spray - 7th level spell, imposes one of several different conditions and effects, limitation is that you do not get to choose.
  • symbol - 7th level spell, It's a trap! Allows you to set a magical trap with several effect options.
  • imprisonment - 9th level spell, gives a choice of several effects much stronger than any basic conditions
  • prismatic wall - 9th level, same effects as spray, but presents as a wall that imposes effects when touched, several layers.
  • wish - 9th level spell, allows you to reproduce any spell effect of 8th level or lower.
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You can already use Blindness/Deafness and Hideous Laughter

There may be others in additional publications, but these at least cover the Player's Handbook. Hideous Laughter is first and Blindness/Deafness is second level, and alrady available at your level. The rest all are higher:

Spell Blind Deaf Stun Fear Prone Incap. Restr. Petrify
Blindness/Deafness Yes Yes
Contagion Yes Yes
Divine Word° Yes Yes Yes
Eyebite Yes Yes
Hallow † Yes Yes
Hideous Laughter Yes Yes
Imprisonment Yes* Yes
Prismatic Spray Yes Yes
Prismatic Wall Yes Yes
Sleet Storm † Yes Yes
Symbol Yes Yes Yes*
Wish § Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

* Sleep causes this, if you use Xanathar's optional rules
° Depending on hp the target has, one or more can apply
† Darkness or heavily obscured effectively blinds
§ wish of course can imitate any spell, and cause any condition thereby

I'd like to add that while we can make a list of multi-condition imposing spells here, if you are really looking for flexibility and multi-purpose uses of a spell, you should also take a look at other kinds of spells that have multiple effects or applications:

  • glyph of warding, which you can prime with many different effects,
  • illusions, which allow hiding, misdirecting, scaring, tempting, e.g. major image
  • spells causeing multiple other effects like Stinking Cloud (heavily obscured, retching)
  • transmutations such as polymporph or true polymorph, which can be used to both bolster your team or provide special modes of movement or to remove opponents, or fabricate, which can transform materials to build all kinds or crazy contraptions
  • force walls such as resilient sphere and wall of force which can be used to protect you, isolate or neutralize opponents, change the shape of the battlefield
  • spells that allow you to manipulate others, such as command or suggestion, which can be used both in and outside of combat
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Blindness through "Heavily Obscured" is your best best

A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.

For spells that can apply two conditions at the same time, these are the only ones I can think of of the top of my head.

Examples are:

  • Sleet Storm - Prone + Blindness
  • Stinking Cloud - Retching (not really a condition but close enough) + Blindness

"One then Another"

I only found one example of this but

  • Watery Sphere - Restrained then Prone

Difficult Terrain?

If you stretch the definition of condition, you can include the slowing effect of difficult terrain which opens up a few more such as:

  • Grease - Prone + Difficult terrain
  • Web - Restrained + Difficult terrain
  • Sleet Storm - Prone + Blindness + Difficult Terrain

There are also plenty of other effects that offer tactical advantage while not being actual conditions (which are quite limited in 5e) such as forced movement, disadvantage not covered by conditions, penalties to rolls... which you could look into to expand your search.

Unconscious

Cheap answer, but any spell that deals damage can inflict the Unconscious condition (either through the enemy not outright dying - DMs choice, or by the player choosing to knock the creature out).

Therefore, any spells that does damage + condition can technically apply two conditions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For the "automatically imposed together" part of the question, these spells are so rare that I think the 1st part of the question is enough on its own to be useful. I added some text to the second part to make it more of a frame challenge regarding the limits of "conditions". \$\endgroup\$
    – Grooke
    Dec 23, 2022 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ That does seem like a reasonable frame challenge. Feel free to ignore my previous comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Dec 23, 2022 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a useful answer. I thought about adding effects like Stinking Cloud and refrained because they are not explictly causing two "Conditions", but functionally for what ASR is looking for, these are also a good fit. You can add Flesh to Stone too, if you want to include "first one than another" effects - first Restrained, then Petrified (Thomas suggested to me to not do those, though). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2022 at 11:48
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Phantasmal Force does not directly impose conditions, but its spell text allows you to create effects that might duplicate them (depending on your DM) on a failed save.

This is a fairly lengthy spell, but I'm going to attempt to highlight the important parts.

  • Int save, on fail create a phantasmal object, creature, or other visible phenomenon of your choice that is no larger than a 10-foot cube and that is perceivable only to the target for the duration.
  • Target must use Action on Int(Investigation) against your spell DC to end the spell on itself, or it lasts for the duration/concentration automatically.
  • The phantasm includes sound, temperature, and other stimuli, also evident only to the creature.
  • While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real. The target rationalizes any illogical outcomes from interacting with the phantasm.
  • Each round on your turn, the phantasm can deal 1d6 psychic damage to the target if it is in the phantasm’s area or within 5 feet of the phantasm, provided that the illusion is of a creature or hazard that could logically deal damage, such as by attacking. The target perceives the damage as a type appropriate to the illusion.

There's some creative liberty at play here, but as long as your target fails the save, while you can't actually blind them, you can create a hazard- like, say, an iron maiden they believe they're trapped in - that effectively blinds them.

Because you can make an iron maiden only take up 5 square feet of space, and design it to 'stab' them every time they move, and because they believe it's real and rationalize, you can present a viable argument that a creature who believes such a thing is real and rationalizes it will not move nor notice that they can push their arms outside of it - until they pass that all-important investigate check.

Because the illusion can include auditory elements, you can make it sound like they're surrounded by a cyclone, which might effectively deafen them to the rest of the world.

What about red hot manacles? If the creature believes it is restrained, even if it isn't, the specification that the target treats the illusion like it's real would imply to me that it wouldn't try to take actions it wouldn't normally be able to take while restrained; so you effectively get the same results. (The creature desperately spending its action to try to break free of the manacles every round and failing to do so while it gets 'burned', even if this actually presents as an investigation check).

It's a very flexible spell, but it doesn't work on undead or constructs, and you have to sell the DM on it; so get creative in a way you know they'll like.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Pretty sure the topic has come up before, of using Phantasmal Force to get conditions like Restrained. It certainly makes the spell more powerful than it looks on paper, outside of the situational terrain conditions like a chasm to bridge or a cliff. Can the Phantasmal Force spell knock and hold someone prone? has at least one "no" answer, even using the same example of illusory chains. Chris Perkins opined: no, spells only cause status effects if they say they do: sageadvice.eu/… \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 10:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes These things are all true, I'm certain, but I don't claim that it actually causes the condition; I claim specifically that, depending on your DM, you can sell them on an effect that replicates a condition. The creature inside the iron maiden can see just fine, but just like a Major Image of fog, if it fails the save, it still doesn't see through the fog (although blindsight makes this a dicier proposition). The RAW notation is there, but we are still talking about an illusion that (explicitly) manipulates your senses. "Target that you can see" is a discriminator even if not blind. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ 2/2 On the knock and hold someone prone, the person wouldn't actually be prone. You wouldn't get advantage on attacking them b/c they aren't prone, but the spell doing what it says it does says the creature will believe it's prone. This means it might spend half its movement trying to get up, or that it might drop that longsword to fire a crossbow. IMO as a DM, the former option would lead to its action as an investigation check to see if it can break the chains and move. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ It wouldn't actually be prone? A creatures own movements in response to the phantasm aren't illusory, those really happen. I don't think it's plausible for them to believe they're prone while still actually standing up. The phantasm would have to override their proprioception (aka kinesthesia), the body's sense of its own position of how your limbs are bend and so on, as well as the inner ear for orientation. And the sense of touch on the ground under your feet vs. elbows and knees, so that's requires illusory sensations other than from the phantasm itself. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for blocking sight, sure, yes, illusions can stop people from seeing targets, effectively blinding them. No disagreement on that. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2022 at 21:43
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Arcane Hand

Not a warlock spell, but at 5th level it could be cast by your warlock if, as you say, your DM might allow you an off-list spell. Its flexibility comes from the effects of the different hands possible, and note that you can change back and forth between the different forms as a bonus action (the same bonus action used to move it and to do whatever that particular form does).

Clenched-fist: strikes for damage, no special conditions imposed

Forceful Hand: Pushes a target up to 30 feet "in a direction you choose". If you choose 'down', DM might allow this to impose the Prone condition.

Grasping Hand: Grappled condition and can simultaneously damage.

Interposing Hand: Provides cover for you, but not your opponent. Causes at least difficult terrain, and might render it impossible for a creature to approach you..

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