Blinded Condition

  • A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.

  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.

Player’s Handbook, page 290

Blinded 5e

The blinded condition may not be the strongest one in DnD 5e, but it has more utility than many realize at first glance. It also comes with a bit of confusion, as the rules for blindness are some of the least clear/easy to understand in the game.

In this article, I’ll go over how to cause and remove the blinded condition, what it does exactly,

What Does the Blinded Condition Do in 5e?

The blinded condition causes a creature to automatically fail at sight-dependent ability checks, be attacked with advantage, and make attacks with disadvantage (roll 2d20 and pick the highest/lowest). It also comes with some other side effects not explicitly listed in the condition’s description:

  • Cannot cast spells that require sight. Many targeted spells include verbiage to the effect of “a target you can see” — when blinded, these spells are unusable.

  • Must guess the target’s location when attacking. Unless a blinded creature has a reason to know where a creature is (e.g., they just became blinded and their foe is still right beside them/making a lot of noise), they have to guess the location of their attack targets, using the rule for “unseen targets” in the Player’s Handbook (pg. 194-5).

How Do You Blind Creatures in 5e?

You can blind creatures in 5e with spells, subclass features, and, as a DM, environmental effects and creatures:

Spells that Blind in 5e

Spell Name Level Saving Throw
Color Spray 1st-level X
Blindness/Deafness 2nd-level Constitution
Pyrotechnics 2nd-level Constitution
Blinding Smite 3rd-level Constitution
Feign Death 3rd-level X
Hunger Of Hadar 3rd-level X
Wall of Sand 3rd-level X
Contagion 5th-level Constitution
Holy Weapon 5th-level Constitution
Wall of Light 5th-level Constitution
Sunbeam 6th-level Constitution
Divine Word 7th-level Charisma
Prismatic Spray 7th-level Dexterity
Holy Aura 8th-level Constitution
Sunburst 8th-level Constitution
Prismatic Wall 9th-level Constitution

Blinding Subclass Features

  • Wild Magic Sorcerer: Wild Magic Surge. On a d100 roll of 75-76, blind any creature that ends its turn within 5 feet of you for one minute.

  • Celestial Warlock: Searing Vengeance. 14th-level feature that allows you to stand/regain hit points instead of making a death saving throw, and blinding creatures of your choice within 30 feet.

Blinding Monsters

  • Solar

  • Rug of Smothering

  • Behir

  • Cloaker

  • Darkmantle

  • Demilich

  • Blue Dragon (Lair Action)

  • Brass Dragon (Lair Action)

  • Gibbering Mouther

  • Kraken

  • Dust Mephit

  • Smoke Mephit

  • Mummy Lord

  • Purple Worm

  • Remorhaz

  • Shambling Mound

  • Tarrasque

  • Giant Frog

  • Giant Toad

  • Any spellcasting creature with a spell that causes the blinded condition

Blinding Environmental Effects

  • Wilderness Chase (5 on a d20 roll)

  • Malice (Inhaled Poison)

  • Long Term Madness (56-65 on a d100 roll)

Magic Items

  • Gem of Brightness

  • Wand of Wonder (91-95 on a d100)

  • Moonblade (95-96 on a d100)

More monsters, environmental effects, and magic items that blind exist; this is just a list from the Monster’s Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

blind demon d&d

How to Use the Blinded Condition Effectively in 5e

  • Stop spellcasters. Many spell attacks require sight of the target to cast. In a sense, blinding a spellcaster is like a less powerful version of using Silence on a spellcaster. Whereas silence prevents all spells with a verbal component (95%+ of 5e’s spells), blind prevents a much smaller pool of spells. Most area-of-effect spells, for instance, do not require sight of a target.

  • Hinder ranged enemies. Blind sucks for an archer’s accuracy much more than a melee enemy in most circumstances. Not only do they have to attack with disadvantage, but also have to guess where their target is — much worse than just plain disadvantage.

    Melee enemies who are already engaged with your melee allies, however, will likely have a much better sense of their locations, even when they become blinded, unless your allies take evasive maneuvers like disengaging, hiding, and/or using cover.

  • Dogpile the blinded enemy. Free attack advantage on a blinded target is a big offensive advantage, especially for classes that especially love critical strikes (e.g., Rogues, Paladins). Focus fire is usually the best course of action in 5e’s combat system, where numbers are everything, and death is the best debuff of all.

How to Remove the Blinded Condition in 5e

  • Make a Constitution saving throw. Most of the effects that cause blindness involve a Con save, and many of those effects involve repeated saves at the end of blinded creature’s turns. Having a high Constitution modifier is the surest way to avoid/remove short-term blinded conditions.

  • Cast Lesser Restoration. A 2nd-level spell that removes a few conditions, one of which is blindness.

Rules of the Blinded Condition in 5e

Here are answers to some common questions about how the blinded condition works in 5e:

DM Tips for the Blinded Condition

  • Roll a d8 for “guessing” a PC location when you have meta-knowledge of where they are. If you’re using a map with a grid, it’s impossible not to know where your players are. But if you still want to add randomness and simulate guessing, choose a point you want to target with your blinded creature. Then roll a d8, with each number corresponding to a square around the location you targeted.

  • Figure out a mechanic that works for movement. Many players find it odd that a blinded creature can move around their environment without any issues or speed penalties. Rules as written, this is working as intended, and you don’t need to do anything to fix it.

    But if RAW doesn’t feel right to you, you can always come up with situation-specific movement penalties for blinded creatures, like having to make Dexterity saves to avoid falling prone on furniture, or treat their movement as difficult terrain so they move at half speed.