During your adventure, you’ll encounter a variety of different plants, animals, and monsters. Along with these individuals, you’ll also encounter situations and abstract concepts that will both benefit and hamper your quests.
One such situation that can be particularly troublesome is the Restrained condition. In this guide, I will explore what it means to be Restrained in 5e, how it can be caused, how it can be broken out of, and how to use it to your advantage in the game.
What is Restrained 5e?
Restrained is a condition, which means it’s not really just “one thing”. Think of it more like a symptom of a disease – many symptoms can be caused in different ways by many diseases. Likewise, you won’t find just one source of the Restrained condition.
Restrained is a status effect that severely limits a creature’s ability to move, or in some situations, act. When a creature is stricken with the Restrained condition, its effective speed becomes 0, its speed can no longer benefit from bonuses, attacks against the restrained creature have advantage, the creature’s own attacks are disadvantaged, and finally, the stricken creature has disadvantage on Dex saving throws.
Now that’s a lot to process but it’s pretty straightforward: you’re restrained, little ‘r’, and you can’t move. If you can’t move, why would your speed get any bonus? You’re easy to hit, so attacks against you have advantage. You’re struggling, so your attacks have disadvantage. You’re unable to dodge very well, or at all, so disadvantage on Dex saves.
Restrained vs. Grapple
The Restrained condition is very similar in scope to another condition: Grapple. While there are many parallels between the two conditions, you can think of Grapple as an active status that you can fight against while Restrained is a condition that has only affected you.
Grappled also sees the afflicted creature’s speed reduced to 0, however, advantage and disadvantage aren’t applied in any aspect to the target. Also, if the target is removed from the range of the source of the Grappled source, then the condition is removed from the target. This isn’t so with Restrained.
Think of Grapple as being tied up by a giant, monstrous octopus. Its tentacles have you locked well, but if an ally launches you across the battlefield away from the killer cephalopod or punts the malicious mollusks back into the ocean, the condition ends.
Restrained is more like being hogtied by a bunch of Hog Folk. Your half-giant comrade could toss you off the side of a mountain and you’d still be tied up all the way until you… stopped… at the bottom! Distance doesn’t matter with the Restrained condition, making it a bit dicier to deal with.
How Restrained is Caused
There are several ways to cause the Restrained condition in 5e. One of the most common ways is to use spells or abilities that specifically cause the condition, though these are far from the only ways to cause the condition.
Examples of some spells that can cause Restrained are Web, Hold Person, and Entangle. Some examples of non-spell situations that could cause the Restrained conditions are being caught in an actual web, being tied up by a person, or being entangled in a bunch of vines.
How to Break Out of Restrained in 5e
Breaking out of the Restrained condition can be a bit tricky, but there are a few ways to do it. The most straightforward way is to use an action to attempt to break free if you want to break free.
The afflicted creature needs to make an Athletics check or an Acrobatics check, depending on the source of the condition, against the DC of the effect that causes the condition. If the creature succeeds, it breaks free and the condition ends.
Certain spells, in certain situations, can also be used to break out of the Restrained condition. Some spells include but are not limited to, Misty Step, Dimension Door, Teleport, or similar spells that allow a creature to teleport any distance without requiring them to first move.
Using the Restrained Condition in Your 5e Game
While being Restrained can be a frustrating experience for players, it can also be a powerful tool for DMs to challenge their players. By restricting the movement and abilities of a powerful creature, DMs can create interesting and challenging encounters that force players to think creatively.
Restrained 5e FAQs
Can you dodge while Restrained?
It depends on what you mean by “dodge”. Actually dodging, sure. That’s basically what DEX saves entail. Using the capital D, Dodge action? No. Dodge loses its effect if your speed is reduced to 0 like when you’re restrained.
Can you teleport while Restrained in 5e?
It entirely depends on the circumstances surrounding your condition. Are you restrained in a way that hampers your hands’ movements and your spell requires Somatic components?
Are you restrained and gagged and your spell requires Verbal components? If yes, then you cannot use those spells to teleport out of the condition. However, the text of the condition itself does not rule out teleport.
Can I cast Misty Step while Restrained?
By the RAW, yes. However, if your DM specifies that you are gagged while Restrained, then you cannot cast Misty Step as it requires verbal components.
Does Restrained stop Somatic components?
Not in the RAW. However, you should clarify with your DM about the situation regarding your Restraint. If your hands are bound, your DM might rule that you are unable to fulfill the somatic requirement.