I'm making a dungeon with a bunch of ghosts in it. The situation is:

  • Time Stop is cast by a necromancer using an artifact at the very end of the dungeon. The PCs will see the whole dungeon, realize everything's frozen, and then have to fight their way out after recovering the artifact.

Will the Horrifying Visage would work if the ghosts were time-stopped? (i.e., if the PCs just saw a frozen ghost face coming out of a wall). I am not sure if I should treat Horrifying Visage as an active effect that the ghosts use(like Bilbo), or if I should treat it as a passive ability.

The Monster's Manual (p. 147) entry for ghosts contains this entry:

Horrifying Visage: Each non-undead creature within 60 feet of the ghost that can see it must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. If the save fails by 5 or more, the target also ages 1d4 x 10 years. A frightened target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the frightened condition on itself on a success. If a target's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to this ghost's Horrifying Visage for the next 24 hours. The aging effect can be reversed with a greater restoration spell, but only within 24 hours of it occurring.

I have one question with two parts:

  1. If I have 4 ghosts in my dungeon, does each PC need to successfully save against each ghost, and only be considered immune for that one ghost?

  2. If, at the start of the dungeon, everything within the dungeon is subject to a Time Stop spell, would visible ghosts still gain the benefit of horrifying visage?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note: the Time Stop spell (PHB pg. 283) does not work as you intend it to. It stops time for everyone (everywhere) for 1d4+1 turns. It doesn't stop time in a specific area, nor does it only stop it for creatures in that area. Even if it did do that, why would the PCs not get 'time stopped' when they entered the area? If you want the result you describe, I suggest you home-brew a spell. You might get rules lawyer players arguing with you (as it is). The idea itself is awesome though; one I might be stealing for my own game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ladifas
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it was my own homebrewed version of it. A necromancer held the self-made Stones of Eternal Life that froze time for all living and undead creatures (essentially, anything that wasn't a construct or non-sentient). (A frozen tree on top of the dungeon hinted as to what was happening.) Once the stones are knocked together, everything in a 500' radius is frozen until the stones are pulled apart. If anything interacts with something that has been frozen, the spell dissipates in a 20' radius around that newly unfrozen creature. If PCs use the stones, they could be frozen for a LONG time! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick Sweet
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


I'll deal with the simplest question first - Horrifying Visage is listed under the Ghost's Actions section, so it requires an action to use. While under the effects of Time Stop, this is impossible for them.

As for the question of multiple Ghosts using Horrifying Visage, the answer is contained in the rules quote you included:

If a target's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to this ghost's Horrifying Visage for the next 24 hours.

Immunity is only to a specific Ghost's Horrifying Visage, not to any Ghost's Horrifying Visage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great - thanks. That makes a lot of sense. I was thinking of it as a passive ability, which would make it overpowered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick Sweet
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 13:21
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @NickSweet If you're interested in seeing a similar ability that is a passive for contrast, the Sea Hag (under Hags) has one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 13:22

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