Restrained 5e

  • A restrained creature’s speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to its speed.

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

  • The creature has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.

Player’s Handbook, pg. 292

Restrained 5e

The restrained condition in 5e seems simple, but in many ways it defies our normal understanding of the word “restrained.” As such, DMs and players alike have plenty of trouble imagining exactly what the restrained condition looks like in a game of DnD.

Hopefully, we’ll clear up exactly what happens when a creature is restrained, as well as answer all the edge-case rules that aren’t explicitly laid out in the condition’s description. We’ll also give advice for DMs on how to run restrained at your table.

How Does Restrained Work in 5e?

The restrained condition prevents a creature from using its movement speed, as well as giving it disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against a restrained creature have advantage.

There are a few ways to cause the restrained condition, including spells, the Grappler feat, magic items, and the special Net weapon. Typically, resisting the restrained condition involves a Strength saving throw, and breaking free involves a Strength (Athletics) check. We’ve got more details on causing and breaking free of the restrained condition below.

But for now, let’s turn to the thornier rules surrounding the restrained condition in 5e.

Restrained 5e Rules

  • The restrained condition can prevent casting spells with a somatic component, depending on the nature of the restraint. While rules-as-written, the restrained condition has no direct interaction with spellcasting, it might affect a spellcaster’s ability to use a free hand to cast a spell.

    As the Player’s Handbook lays out, “if a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures” (PHB 203).

    In other words, if both the creature’s hands are restrained, then they won’t be able to cast spells that require a somatic component. If any other part of their body is restrained, the caster can still cast spells that require a somatic component. Here is Mike Mearls on the matter on Sage Advice, as well as a more thorough explanation from Jeremy Crawford.

    Of course, Sorcerers who use the Subtle Spell metamagic can cast any spell without verbal or somatic elements, making it a moot point which body part of theirs is restrained when using this feature..

  • A creature can be pushed/shoved while restrained. While a restrained creature’s movement speed drops to 0, there’s nothing preventing them from being forced to move (as opposed to being forced to use their movement speed, covered below).

    For example, spells like Thunderwave can still force a restrained creature to be pushed 10 feet, or a player could use the shove action to force them away 5 feet, etc.

    Note that if the source of the restrained condition is localized (such as the Grappler feat’s effect, the Entangle spell, etc.), then the restrained condition will end if the creature leaves the area.

  • A creature can teleport out of the restrained effect. While a creature’s speed is 0 while restrained, spells like Misty Step can still be cast while restrained. If moving 30 feet away is enough to break the restrained condition, then the restrained condition also ends after teleporting.

    Note that this also applies to something like the Storm Sorcerer’s Tempestuous Magic feature (XGtE 52), as this Sage Advice thread points out.

  • A restrained creature can still interact with objects (if they have at least one free hand). The Player’s Handbook lays out a number of “free” object interactions that players can take on their turn in combat (PHB 190), as well as the rules for using an object as an action (PHB 193).

    Just like casting spells with somatic components, however, using/interacting with an object typically requires the use of one’s hands. So if a player suffering the restrained condition because their hands are restrained, then a DM could definitely rule they wouldn’t be allowed to interact with objects (unless they’re taking an action like listening at a door or kicking a stone).

  • A creature that is prone cannot stand up while restrained. When a creature is prone, it costs half their movement speed to stand up (PHB 190-1). Since the restrained condition reduces a creature’s movement speed to 0, they will be unable to spend the necessary movement speed to stand up.

  • A creature cannot be forced to use its movement while restrained. This comes down to small semantic differences in spells like Infestation, Dissonant Whispers, and Fear.

    Because these spells all involve forcing a player to use its actual movement speed to move, and a creature’s movement speed is 0 while restrained, that part of the spells’ effect doesn’t happen.

    Of course, if the creature becomes unrestrained while still suffering from one of these spells, this part of the spells’ effect will immediately kick in upon being freed.

  • A creature does not have advantage trying to grapple or shove a restrained creature. While attackers have advantage on attack rolls against a restrained creature, grappling and shoving aren’t attack rolls; they’re Strength (Athletics) ability checks (SA Compendium 9).

    Of course, a DM could easily rule that this doesn’t make sense for a given situation, and grant advantage on the ability check all the same.

  • The Grappler feat allows a creature to restrain a creature that they’re grappling with. To do so, a player has to succeed on a second grapple check, which causes both the player and the creature they were grappling with to become restrained (PHB 167).

  • With the Grappler feat, the restrained effect ends when the grapple ends. It’s right there in the feat — “you and the creature are both restrained until the grapple ends” (emphasis added). Also confirmed on Sage Advice.

  • Breaking free of the restrained condition resets a creature’s movement. If a creature becomes unrestrained somehow (passing an ability check or saving throw, freeing themselves, etc.) during its turn, its movement is automatically back to normal. It’s not like the prone condition where it takes half your movement to recover.

    As the rules point out “a creature either has a condition or doesn’t” — there’s no middle ground (PHB 290). It’s not like a creature’s movement is stuck at 0 for their turn just because they were restrained at one point during that turn.

    A creature can also break up their movement on their turn, “using some of [their] speed before and after [their] action” (PHB 190). So, if a creature were somehow restrained mid-movement (via an enemy’s readied spell, for example), and broke free that same turn, they could continue on as normal.

  • A Rogue can still benefit from sneak attack if their ally is restrained. A Rogue’s Sneak Attack feature allows them to deal extra damage if they have advantage on the attack roll or 1+ ally of theirs is within 5 feet of their target (PHB 96).

    While this feature does point out that the Rogue’s ally can’t be incapacitated, it says nothing about the restrained condition.

  • Getting out of tied knots. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything introduced explicit rules for tying knots and untying knots, using the variant: skills with different abilities laid out in the Player’s Handbook (XGtE 78, PHB 175).

    While this doesn’t directly link to the restrained condition, there’s no doubt that tying people up is a fairly common way of achieving the restrained condition, sans magic.

    A creature tying a knot makes an Intelligence (Sleight of Hand) check (rather than Dexterity), whereby they add their Intelligence modifier to their Sleight of Hand modifier, applying proficiency bonus if the creature has it for Sleight of Hand. This sets the DC of the knot.

    A creature trying to untie the knot can make an Intelligence (Sleight of Hand) check, while a creature trapped in a knot can make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. Succeeding would end the restrained condition on the creature.

druid casting restrained 5e spell

How to Cause the Restrained Condition in 5e

Here are all of the ways that players can cause the restrained condition in DnD 5e, as outlined in the game’s main rulebooks:

  • Net. There’s a special weapon in the Player’s Handbook, the Net (PHB 148). When a creature uses an action, bonus action, or reaction to attack with a net, they can only make one attack that turn.

    If the net hits a Large or smaller creature, it is restrained until freed. A creature can make a DC 10 Strength check to free itself, or another creature can make the check to free it. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the Net (AC 10) also frees the creature and destroys the net.

    Nets are classified as Martial Ranged Weapons, so a creature will need proficiency with them to add their proficiency bonus to Net attacks.

  • Spells. Many spells can cause the restrained effect. All of them are listed below. The DC to resist and/or break free of a restrained effect caused by a spell is typically the spell save DC of the caster.

  • The Grappler feat. The Grappler feat allows a player to make a special action while grappling with a creature. The player makes another grapple check, and if they succeed, both the creature and the player are restrained until the grapple ends (PHB 167).

  • Magic items. Here’s a list of official magic items that can cause the restrained condition:

    • Iron Bands of Bilarro (DMG 177)

    • Rope of Entanglement (DMG 197)

    • Wand of Wonder (d100 roll of 98-100) (DMG 209-10)

  • Tying knots. Using the rules outlined above, a creature might be able to tie up another creature. A DM could reasonably rule this the restrained condition. Of course, a DM could also set pretty strict limitations on the necessary prerequisites for tying a creature up (stunned, Hold Person, etc.)

And here are all of the ways that DMs can cause the restrained condition:

  • Environmental effects. DMs have a few ways to implement the restrained effect through rules outlined in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. More details in the DM Tips section below.

  • Monsters. Several creatures in the Monster Manual are capable of causing the restrained condition with one of their effects. Comprehensive list below.

How to Use the Restrained Condition in 5e

As for how to use the restrained condition in 5e, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Set up big combos. As a party, you want to do your best to take full advantage of restrained creatures in your midst. Having advantage on attack rolls against restrained creatures, as well as the restrained creature’s disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, opens up some powerful combinations.

    For example, a Rogue will almost always get their bonus Sneak Attack damage on a restrained creature. And plenty of spells require a Dexterity saving throw, something spellcasters should definitely take advantage of.

    For even more powerful combinations, go for spells that restrained groups of enemies before blasting them with an area of effect spells that require a Dexterity saving throw. For instance, a Druid casting Entangle on a group of enemies before the Wizard follows up with a devastating Fireball.

  • Hold someone in place. Sometimes, the important part of the restrained condition is the fact that the creature can’t move or gain movement speed bonuses. For example, if you’d like to take someone out of the fight while you deal with their allies or keep a key person alive long enough to answer your party’s questions.

    To make the most of this, try to restrain a creature that can’t cast spells or attack at a distance. Even though they’ll have disadvantage on attack rolls, it’s best to be out of their line of sight or just entirely untargettable.

  • Winning the action economy. Many spells and effects that cause the restrained condition require a restrained creature to use their action in order to break free of their restraints. Every time an enemy makes this choice, they’re wasting valuable actions they could be using more productively.

    The more often you can put a foe between a rock and a hard place like this, the better. Just keep in mind that this will be less useful against spellcasters with saving throw-based spells, as those suffer no disadvantage while restrained.

How to End the Restrained Condition in 5e

Here are the ways to break free of the restrained condition in 5e:

  • Make a saving throw or check. The most common checks for the restrained condition are Strength saving throws and Strength (Athletics) ability checks. Dexterity and Dexterity (Acrobatics) are also common.

    Untying knots requires an Intelligence (Sleight of Hand) checks, but in general, being strong and/or dexterous is your best bet for ending most effects that cause the restrained condition.

  • Spells. Two spells can help deal with the restrained condition; Freedom of Movement (PHB 244) and Speak With Plants (PHB 277).

    Freedom of Movement is a powerful 4th-level spell that stops spells from causing the restrained condition on a player. It also lets the creature break free of nonmagical restraints by spending 5 feet of movement.

    Speak With Plants has a hyper-specific niche use of being able to end the restrained condition caused by the Entangle spell. A DM might also rule that Speak With Plants can end the restrained condition in other situations where it fits.

  • Magic items. There are three official magic items in 5e that interact with the restrained condition:

    • Ring of Free Action (DMG 191) makes a creature immune to magically-caused restrained conditions.

    • Wand of Binding (DMG 209) allows a creature to use a reaction and 1 charge to gain advantage on saving throws to avoid being restrained.

    • Ghost Step Tattoo (TCoE 128) allows a creature to spend 3 bonus actions per day to become incorporeal for a turn, making them immune to the restained condition.

DM Tips for the Restrained Condition in 5e

If you’re a dungeon master running the restrained condition at your table, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use common sense. The restrained condition’s specific rules don’t always cut it. The obvious example of this is that, while the rules mention nothing about spellcasting, its possible for a restrained creature to be prevented from casting spells that require a somatic component.

    Another example is that creatures don’t have advantage on the Strength (Athletics) ability checks required for the special Shove and Grapple actions. Depending on the situation, you might rule that a restrained creature is definitely easier to shove and/or grapple (their ankles are caught, their arms are completely restrained, etc.).

    Finally, you might also rule that a spell like Speak With Plants works to end any restrained condition caused by plant life, not just when it’s caused by the Entangle spell.

  • Set players straight. It’s best to talk to new players and/or players who hope to make the restrained condition a part of their character build early on. Make sure they understand some of the counterintuitive nature of the restrained condition, as well as how you plan to rule the edge cases that are likely to come up.

    Also, make sure to use the rules for the Net special weapon and tying knots as a baseline for creating a more consistent model of how makeshift restraints should function in your universe.

    You might also want to talk to players about necessary prerequisites for successfully tying someone up without magic, such as incapacitating them first (hard mode) to just needing a successful grapple and some good teamwork.

  • Use the environment and traps. And here is a comprehensive list of traps and environmental effects that cause the restrained condition in 5e:

    • Dungeon Hazards: Webs (DMG 105)

    • Wilderness Hazars: Quicksand (DMG 110)

    • Traps: Falling Net (DMG 122)

    • Wilderness Chase Complications (d20 roll of 7) (DMG 254)

    • Net Trap (XGtE 114-5)

    • Far Realm Effects (d100 roll of 55-63, 73-79) (TCoE 152)

    • Mimic Colony Lair Action (TCoE 168)

    • Natural Hazards: Avalanches (TCoE 169)

Spells That Cause the Restrained Condition in 5e

Below is a comprehensive list of all the spells that cause the restrained condition listed in the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The spells below require Strength saving throws and/or Strength/Strength (Athletics) checks, unless otherwise specified:

    Player’s Handbook

  • Ensnaring Strike (PHB 237)

  • Entangle (PHB 238)

  • Evard’s Black Tentacles (PHB 238) Dexterity saving throw; optional Dexterity check

  • Flesh to Stone (PHB 243) Constitution saving throws

  • Imprisonment (PHB 252) Must use the “Chaining” option

  • Prismatic Spray (PHB 267) On a d8 roll of 6; Constitution saving throws

  • Telekinesis (PHB 280-1)

  • Web (PHB 287-8) Dexterity saving throw

  • Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

  • Bones of the Earth (XGtE 150) Dexterity or Strength check

  • Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp (XGtE 161)

  • Mental Prison (XGtE 161) Intelligence saving throw

  • Snare (XGtE 165) Dexterity saving throw; optional Intelligence (Arcana) check

  • Transmute Rock (XGtE 169) Rock to Mud: creature can pull itself free, no check required; Mud to Rock: rock can be broken (15 AC, 25 HP)

  • Watery Sphere (XGtE 170-1)

  • Whirlwind (XGtE 171) Dexterity or Strength check

  • Wrath of Nature (XGtE 171)

Two class features can also cause the restrained condition:

  • Paladin (Oath of the Acients). Channel Divinity: Nature’s Wrath (PHB 87)

  • Fighter (Rune Knight). Runecarver: Fire Rune (TCoE 44)

Creatures That Are Immune to the Restrained Condition in 5e

  • Banshee

  • Shadow Demon

  • Air Elemental

  • Fire Elemental

  • Water Elemental

  • Ghost

  • Invisible Stalker

  • Kraken

  • Shadow

  • Specter

  • Water Weird

  • Will-o’-Wisp

  • Wraith

  • Swarms of tiny beasts

  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters

  • Slithering Tracker

  • Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

  • Allip

  • Dybbuk

  • Juiblex

  • Eidolon

  • Leviathan

  • Phoenix

  • Elder Tempest

  • Nightwalker

  • Star Spawn Larva Mage

  • Spirit Troll

  • Vampiric Mist

Creatures That Cause the Restrained Condition in 5e

Monster Manual

  • Basilisk

  • Behir

  • Beholder

  • Death Tyrant

  • Vine Blight

  • Cockatrice

  • Couatl

  • Marilith

  • Chain Devil

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex

  • Water Elemental

  • Ettercap

  • Djinni

  • Gorgon

  • Grell

  • Kraken

  • Kuo-Toa

  • Lizardfolk Shaman

  • Medusa

  • Mud Mephit

  • Mummy Lord

  • Gelatinous Cube

  • Otyugh

  • Purple Worm

  • Remorhaz

  • Roc

  • Roper

  • Salamander

  • Shambling Mound

  • Tarrasque

  • Water Weird

  • Yuan-Ti Abomination

  • Yuan-Ti Malison

  • (Giant) Constrictor Snake

  • (Giant) Crocodile

  • Giant Frog

  • Giant Octopus

  • Giant Spider

  • Giant Toad

  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters

  • Banderhobb

  • Death Kiss

  • Boggle

  • Choldrith

  • Froghemoth

  • Korred

  • Mindwitness

  • Morkoth

  • Neothelid

  • Slithering Tracker

  • Tlincalli

  • Trapper

  • Yuan-Ti Anathema

  • Yuan-Ti Nightmare Speaker

  • Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

  • Balhannoth

  • Choker

  • Deathlock Mastermind

  • Rutterkin

  • Fraz-Urb’Luu

  • Hellfire Engine

  • Orthon

  • Geryon

  • Drow Arachnomancer (Giant Spider Form)

  • Zaratan

  • Shadow Dancer

  • The Hungry

  • Star Spawn Larva Mage

  • Stone Cursed

  • Canoloth

  • Oinoloth

Some creatures also have access to lair actions that can restrain players:

Monster Manual

  • Blue Dragon

  • Green Dragon

  • Copper Dragon

  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters

  • Annis Hag (Regional effect)

  • Bheur Hag (Regional effect)

  • Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

  • Juiblex

  • Yeenoghu

  • Geryon