How Frightened & Other Conditions Work

Five Pathfinder characters stand together in front of foggy background.

Conditions are temporary state-altering features in Pathfinder that can significantly impact how players approach their campaign. These features can affect players, non-player characters, and monsters by either helping or hurting them or even leading to additional status effects.

Incorporating a mechanic to boost or lower statistics is common in tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons and can be due to various factors, such as being hit with a specific weapon, insufficient calorie intake, or holding too many items. To fully enjoy their role-playing experiences, players must understand the causes of conditions, their effects on gameplay, and how they are implemented differently in various games.


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What Are the Conditions in Pathfinder?

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Pathfinder offers an abundance of conditions that enrich the game by adding various challenges and boosts for players throughout their adventures. However, remembering each condition can be challenging, so players may benefit from having a cheat sheet to help them while playing.




Players are immune to visual effects but fail all visual Perception tests.


A condition that affects items, rendering them unusable for normal functions once their Hit Points are less than their Broken Threshold.

Clumsy X

Penalty based on the value of X applied to all Constitution checks and reduction of Hit Points.


Players are difficult to see and harder to target, with creatures needing to succeed at a DC 5 flat check to affect the Concealed person.


Players must use all actions to attack. They gain the Flat-Footed condition and can’t Delay or Ready.


Players are a puppet to someone else.


All creatures and objects are Concealed from the player.


Players fail all hearing Perception tests. However, they are immune to auditory effects.

Doomed X

The value associated with Doomed will lower the player’s Dying Value, which causes the player to expire if it reaches zero.

Drained X

Players take a status penalty equal to the Drained Value on all Constitution-based checks. They also lose Hit Points and have their maximum Hit Points lowered.

Dying X

Players with this condition are also Unconscious and must roll recovery checks at the start of their turn each round. They die if their Dying Value reaches 4.


Inflicts a 10-foot penalty to Speed and adds Clumsy 1.

Enfeebled X

Players take a penalty based on the condition value of all Strength-based rolls and Athletics checks.


Players can’t use actions involving Concentrate and take a -2 penalty to Perception and Skill Checks.


Players take a -1 penalty to saving throws and AC.


Players take a -2 penalty to AC.


Players must use their actions to escape and can’t Delay or Ready.


This describes a creature’s disposition. Friendly creatures are likely to fulfill simple player Requests.

Frightened X

The player takes a status penalty equal to the Frightened condition value on all checks.


Players need to succeed at a DC 5 flat check to perform actions with the Manipulate trait. They also gain Flat-Footed and Immobilized conditions.


Creatures who are Helpful will accept Requests from the player.


A creature looking for a Hidden player becomes Flat-Footed and must succeed at a DC 11 flat check to effectively attack them.


A Hostile creature won’t accept Requests and will actively try to hurt the player.


Players are unable to use actions with the Move trait.


Creatures with this condition are neutral toward the player.


Players can’t be observed while Invisible except through magic or special abilities.


It’s possible for Hidden or Undetected creatures to become Observed when the player tries Seeking with precise senses.


Players can use Recall Knowledge. Otherwise, they are Flat-Footed and can’t act.

Persistent Damage

Persistent Damage affects the player at the end of their turn. They can end the condition by succeeding at a DC 15 flat check.


Players are stone and can’t act.


Players take a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and the only movement actions available are Crawl and Stand.


Quickened grants players an extra action to be used at the start of their turn.


Unless attempting to Escape or Force Open bonds, players cannot use actions. They are also Flat-Footed and Immobilized. Overrides Grabbed.

Sickened X

Players take a penalty based on condition value to all checks and refuse to eat. They can use an action to roll a Fortitude check to reduce the Sickened value by 1.

Slowed X

Players lose an action at the beginning of their turn that is equivalent to the condition value.

Stunned X

Stunned players lose actions based on the value of the condition. Overrides Slowed.

Stupefied X

Players take a status penalty equal to the condition value to checks involving Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.


Unable to act, players take a -4 status penalty to AC, Perception, and Reflex saves. They also gain Blinded and Flat-Footed.


Players can’t be targeted in this condition. Creatures gain Flat-Footed until they are detected.


Creatures with this status distrust the player and won’t accept Requests.


This condition is important for spells requiring the target to be totally unaware of the caster’s presence. Unnoticed players are also Undetected.


If a player recovers from Dying, they become Wounded and need someone to cast Treat Wounds to remove the condition.

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How Conditions Work in Pathfinder

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Group of characters fight while one uses magic in Pathfinder 2e

Players can be affected by conditions via magic, either by being the target of a spell or by wearing spelled items. The duration and strength of these conditions depend on the caster’s level and typically require an action to use. In comparison, spelled items grant passive conditions either while being worn or being carried, and can last indefinitely or for a specified time. Determined players can wear up to 15 magical items in their accessory slots to receive the most boosts possible without effort on their part.

Conditions can also arise from certain actions performed by or on the player. For example, when players sleep, they become Unconscious and Prone, which limits their capabilities until they wake up and stand. Additionally, creatures can impose non-magical conditions on players, such as Restraining them, which causes them to become Flat-Footed and Immobilized. By incorporating non-magical conditions, Pathfinder becomes more realistic, as players must consider factors like rest, weight limits, and potentially unfriendly creatures.

Players can only be affected with one condition with the same value at a time. So, if a monster inflicts Slowed 1, and another makes the player Slowed 1 for three rounds, they would only take the longer of the two conditions without the strength of it being increased. However, conditions with different values are considered individually. For example, if a player is Enfeebled 1 for two minutes and Enfeebled 2 for one minute, they would use the higher value until it expires, then use the lower condition for the rest of its time. Players should also be aware of certain conditions overriding others. In these cases, a player will only take the effects of the replacement condition and keep track of the time duration remaining for the overridden condition.

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How Pathfinder Conditions Differ From Dungeons & Dragons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Three characters from Pathfinder 2e stand in combat positions

Pathfinder features an additional 27 conditions compared to the game that inspired it, Dungeons & Dragons, making it a more realistic and unique game. While most conditions in Dungeons & Dragons primarily come into play during combat or while traversing challenging terrain with limited vision, Pathfinder‘s conditions are prominent throughout gameplay. Players face more consequences for neglecting aspects like resting, carrying the correct weight, and maintaining health, as these can lead to status defects. Furthermore, interactions with non-player characters should be approached with caution, as requesting too many favors can make them less likely to help in the future.

In contrast with Dungeons & Dragons, where conditions are separate from one another, Pathfinder has more interconnected gameplay, with certain conditions causing additional ones. For example, being Encumbered lowers a player’s speed and applies Clumsy 1 and its effects. It can also be seen when the player’s movement is restricted, as these conditions also typically cause Flat-Footed. The presence of interconnected conditions forces the player to be more careful because the consequences are more severe. This adds a sense of urgency and can instantly change the player’s position from favorable to unfavorable.

While the gameplay can be similar between Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons, one area where the former excels is how conditions are used. Players are forced to slow down and consider their actions or risk of gaining multiple adverse conditions due to their carelessness. Even though learning these mechanics and their effects can be cumbersome, it can be worth it for those looking for a more immersive gameplay experience.


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