• A stunned creature is incapacitated, can’t move, and can speak only falteringly.

  • The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws.

  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.

Player’s Handbook, page 292


  • An incapacitated creature can’t take actions or reactions.

Player’s Handbook, page 290

Read more about how the incapacitated condition works in DnD 5e

Stunned 5e

The DnD 5e stunned condition is incredibly powerful and the cornerstone of the monk’s combat utility. But many players and DMs feel that it fails as a fun game mechanic, or that there should at least be a condition that’s a half-step less powerful than stunned, but similar in effect.

But before I get into that, let’s cover the actual rules of the stunned condition, how to cause it, and how to get out of stuns. I’ll also cover the spells that stun and creatures immune to stun, for curious players and DMs alike.

What Does the Stunned Condition Do in 5e?

The stunned condition causes a creature’s turn to be skipped, and also makes them more defensively vulnerable. More specifically, a stunned creature:

  • Can’t take actions, reactions, or move.

  • Automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saves.

  • Is attacked with advantage.

Stunning is one of the most powerful conditions you can afflict on a creature in DnD 5e.

How Do You Stun Creatures in 5e?

You can stun creatures in 5e with spells, the Monk’s Stunning Strike feature, magic items, and, as a DM, environmental effects and creatures:

Spells That Stun 5e

Spell Name Level Saving Throw Available To
Contagion (Slimy Doom) 5th Constitution (3x) Cleric
Symbol (Stunning) 7th Wisdom Bard
Divine Word (21-30 HP) 7th Charisma Cleric
Power Word: Stun 8th Constitution Bard
Psychic Scream 9th Intelligence Bard
  • Contagion: 5th-level spell available to Clerics and Druids. Only one of the optional disease effects, Slimy Doom, causes the stun condition (whenever the target takes damage). This, however, requires three failed Constitution saving throws to take effect, so it takes a while to set up.

  • Divine Word: 7th-level spell available to Clerics. Instantaneously stuns, blinds, and deafens any creature with between 21-30 hit points for 1 hour who fails a Charisma saving throw. There is no chance for additional saving throws on subsequent turns.

  • Symbol: 7th-level spell available to Bards, Clerics, Druids (TCoE), and Wizards. The aptly-named “Stunning” glyph will force a Wisdom saving throw to all creatures in a 60-foot radius, stunning all who fail for 1 minute. There is no chance for additional saving throws on subsequent turns.

  • Power Word Stun: 8th-level spell available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. Automatically stuns any target with 150 hit points or fewer. The creature can break free with a successful Constitution saving throw on subsequent turns.

  • Psychic Scream: 9th-level spell available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. Deals 14d6 psychic damage and stuns up to 10 creatures who fail an Intelligence saving throw. Affected creatures can break free with a successful Intelligence saving throw on subsequent turns.

Unimportant pedantic point: Technically, the spell Investiture of Stone can also stun the caster if they end their movement in solid earth or stone.

Class and Subclass Features That Stun 5e

  • Stunning Strike: 5th-level class feature available to all Monks. By spending a ki point, a Monk can force a target they hit with a melee weapon attack to make a Constitution saving throw. If they fail, they are stunned until the end of the Monk’s next turn.

    This is the bread-and-butter ability of Monks, as it is almost always the best way for them to spend their ki.

  • Rend Mind: 17th-level subclass feature for Soulknife Rogues. Forces a Wisdom save that uses Dexterity as your spellcasting ability modifier, and stuns for up to 1 minute. Affected creatures can break free with a successful Wisdom saving throw on subsequent turns.

Magic Items That Stun 5e

  • Hammer of Thunderbolts: +1 Legendary maul (DMG 173). Can be used at a 20/60-foot range to force creatures in a 30-foot radius to succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be stunned for one turn. Has five charges, which are regained daily at dawn.

  • Robe of Scintillating Colors: Wondrous item, very rare (DMG 194). Forces enemies in a 30-foot radius to succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be stunned until the effect ends.

  • Staff of Thunder and Lightning: Staff, very rare (DMG 204). When the Thunder ability is used, it stuns a target who fails a Constitution saving throw for one turn.

  • Whelm: Dwarf-exclusive legendary warhammer (DMG 218). Forces creatures in a 60-foot radius to make a Constitution saving throw or be stunned for 1 minute. Affected creatures can break free with a successful Constitution saving throw on subsequent turns.

Environmental Effects That Stun 5e

  • Psychic Wind: d20 roll of 1-8 (DMG 48)

  • Short-term Madness: d100 roll of 81-90 (DMG 259)

  • Massive Damage: d10 roll of 4-5 (DMG 273)

Creatures That Stun 5e

  • Many creatures in DnD 5e’s main sourcebooks can cast spells or have abilities that cause the stunned condition. Here’s a look at a few of the stunning creatures you’re most likely to run into:

    • Mind Flayers: The most common DnD creatures that can stun are Mind Flayers. Two of the Mind Flayer’s attacks — Tentacles and Mind Blast — stun targets who fail on a DC 15 intelligence check.

    • Vrocks: A Vrock is another common stun-wielding creature (demon) that can stun multiple creatures around it once a day with its Stunning Screech ability.

    • Myconid Adult: These little mushroom dudes are only CR 1/2, but if you fail their Constitution saving throw, you can be stunned for up to a minute — actually pretty scary if you’re also outnumbered.

Creatures Immune to Stun 5e

  • Swarms of animals (CR 1/4-5)

  • Helmed Horror (CR 4)

  • Revenant (CR 5)

  • Skull Lord (CR 15)

  • Phoenix (CR 16)

  • Steel Predator (CR 16)

  • Demilich (CR 18)

  • Leviathan (CR 20)

  • Astral Dreadnought (CR 21)

  • Molydeus (CR 21)

  • Zaratan (CR 22)

  • Jubilex (CR 23)

  • Elder Tempest (CR 23)

d&d troll mini vs. party

How to Get Out of Stunned in 5e

To get out of stuns in 5e, you either need to succeed on a spell’s associated saving throw or be targeted by a Power Word Heal spell. Here’s how to break stun in 5e:

  • Succeed on a saving throw. Almost every ability or spell that causes the stun condition involves a saving throw, with Constitution being the most common of the bunch. Many of the spells and abilities that stun also allow the target to make those saving throws again on subsequent turns — that’s usually your best way to get out of a stun.

    With that in mind, you should try to tactically boost your saving throw capabilities whenever you’re up against creatures that frequently use stun effects. A few examples of resources to boost your saving throws:

  • Mercy Monk. Physician’s Touch is a 6th-level subclass feature that allows a Monk to use spend ki to end one of several conditions, including stuns, afflicting a creature they touch (TCoE 50).

  • Be targeted by Power Word Heal. This 9th-level spell is available to Bards and Clerics. It’s the only spell in the game that can end the stunned condition, and it can’t be acquired until 17th level at the earliest.

  • Wait. Sadly, this is the only option you have sometimes. For stun effects that last for one round of combat, you’re simply not involved for that round.

Rules of the Stunned Condition 5e

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

  • A stunned creature automatically fails grapple and shove contests. “You succeed automatically if the target is incapacitated” (PHB 195 + 196).

  • Being stunned ends concentration. Because concentration ends when a creature is incapacitated (PHB 203), and the stunned condition incapacitates a creature.

  • A stunned creature cannot stand up from being prone. Standing from being prone uses movement and therefore qualifies as moving. A stunned creature can’t move.

  • A stunned creature cannot take bonus actions. “Anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking bonus actions” (PHB 189). The stunned condition incapacitates you, which deprives you of your ability to take actions.

  • A stunned creature cannot use the Ready action. The Ready action is still an action. Incapacitated creatures can’t take actions, and stunned creatures are incapacitated.

  • A stunned creature cannot make opportunity attacks. Opportunity attacks require a reaction. Incapacitated creatures can’t take reactions.

DM Tips for the Stunned Condition

Here are some general tips on the stunned condition for DMs:

  • Don’t stun players (usually). DnD is a game where each player only gets to do something about 20%-25% of the time. And with rounds of combat lasting a few minutes each, having that number drop to 0% for a round (or more) just feels bad. Chronically-stunned players can quickly start to feel like spectators rather than adventurers.

    While stun is certainly powerful, it’s also just not fun. There’s not much players can do to counter stuns once they land — they just have to eat it and wait twice as long to play the game again.

    On the other hand, stunning a PC can be great for challenging groups that have advanced tactics that rely on one player’s ability as the lynchpin. By entirely removing this player from the fight (briefly), you can challenge players to think of a new strategy.

    Basically, you should avoid stunning your players for the most part, but keep it in your back pocket for veteran groups that need an extra challenge.

  • Use DnD 4e’s Dazed condition. It represents a less powerful version of stun that can be appropriate for certain occasions. I’m not suggesting that you nerf Monk’s stuns to this effect, but consider dazing your players instead of stunning them if the situation is already challenging enough.

    Here’s what the Dazed condition did in DnD 4e (roughly translated to 5e terminology):

    • Dazed creatures attacks have disadvantage; attacks against Dazed creatures have advantage

    • Dazed creatures can only do one of the following on their turn: take an action, take a bonus action, or move

    • Dazed creatures cannot take reactions

  • I like the Dazed condition because the player can still take their turn — they’re just limited in what they can do and noticeably less effective offensively and defensively.

  • Use minions to counter Monks. If your BBEGs keep getting completely shut down by a Monk player’s repetitive Stunning Strike tactics, I suggest including minions in your encounters. I especially like small groups of powerful henchmen who are a real threat to the party’s backline.

    When confronted with this, the Monk will have a legitimate reason to consider using their Stunning Strike to protect an ally rather than focus fire the boss.

  • Employ stun-immune creatures. There are surprisingly few stun-immune creatures in 5e’s official monster sourcebooks. And most of them are found at the god-level of difficulty (CR 20+). However, swarms of animals are great for any level.

DnD 5e Stunned Condition FAQ

DnD 5e stun FAQ:

  1. How long does stun last? The duration of a stun is dependent on the effect that caused the stun. For example, a Monk’s stunning strike only lasts until the end of the Monk’s next turn, power word stun lasts indefinitely but can be broken with a successful Constitution saving throw, and a spell like divine word lasts for up to one hour on one failed Charisma save with no chance at follow-up saving throws.

  2. Does stun break concentration? Yes, being stunned ends concentration, because being stunned causes the incapacitated condition, which ends concentration.

  3. Can you make saving throws while stunned? Yes, you can make saving throws while stunned. However, you do not make Strength and Dexterity saving throws while stunned, because you automatically fail those. Other saving throws, however, are unaffected by the stunned condition.

  4. Can you use evasion while stunned? Yes, you can use evasion (the 7th-level Rogue feature) while stunned. However, since you automatically fail the Dexterity saving throws while stunned, evasion simply guarantees that you only take half damage from the area effect.

  5. Can a creature use legendary actions while stunned? No, a creature cannot use legendary actions while stunned; being stunned also causes the incapacitated condition, and monsters “can’t use legendary actions while incapacitated” (Monster Manual, pg. 11).

  6. Can a stunned creature still grapple? No, a stunned creature cannot still grapple. The grappled condition ends if the grappler is incapacitated, and the stunned condition causes the incapacitated condition.

  7. Can you cast spells while stunned? No, you cannot cast spells while stunned. Being stunned incapacitates you, which means you “can’t take actions or reactions” (or bonus actions). All spellcasting requires an action, bonus action, or reaction, so you cannot cast spells while stunned.