Can a paralyzed creature hold its breath, or continue holding its breath if it is paralyzed while holding its breath.

For example, a Chuul grapples and drags an overbold adventurer under water, the adventurer starts holding their breath. On the next turn the Chuul uses its tentacles to paralyze the adventurer. Does the adventurer continue holding their breath, or do they immediately go to choking?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You breathe by using your diaphragm to draw air into your lungs. I would imagine any form of paralysis would only make it harder to breathe, and by contrast easier to hold your breath. (The real question is, what's the nature of the Chuul's paralyzing poison?) \$\endgroup\$
    – chepner
    Mar 27 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think creating different types of paralysis conditions in the game will bring many benefits. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 27 at 15:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MindwinRememberMonica There’s already five paralysis-like conditions: paralyzed, stunned, incapacitated, petrified, and unconscious. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 27 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


There is nothing that indicates paralysis changes the rules for suffocation.

Nothing in the description of the paralyzed condition indicates any change to or interaction with the rules for suffocation. So there is no change or interaction. Follow the suffocation rules as written:

A creature can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 1 + its Constitution modifier (minimum of 30 seconds).

When a creature runs out of breath or is choking, it can survive for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 round). At the start of its next turn, it drops to 0 hit points and is dying, and it can't regain hit points or be stabilized until it can breathe again.

Obviously, being paralyzed will greatly compromise a creature’s ability to stop suffocating since they can’t move, but the condition does what it says it does; we don’t need to make it worse by inferring further effects that aren’t stated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. The rules do what they say, and only what they say. A paralyzed creature fails Str and Dex checks, cannot take actions, cannot concentrate, etc. It says nothing about holding one's breath or suffocation. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 27 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused about what both of your answers are saying. Is that a yes or no? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 4 at 0:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .