DND & Unconsciousness: 11 Things You Need To Know

If you want to be the best Dungeons & Dragons (DND) player that you can be, it’s important to be familiar with the various conditions of a creature.

Case in point, unconsciousness in DND:

Unconsciousness is a condition where an attacker reduces an opponent’s hit points to 0 using a melee attack. This “knocks out” the creature until they can recover with a successful DC 10 Wisdom check or healer’s kit. This condition is similar to sleep but follows different rules.

In this rundown, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about DND & unconsciousness.

11 Things You Need to Know About DND & Unconsciousness

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Here are the 11 most important things that you should know about DND and unconsciousness to enhance your gameplay.

1) What Is Unconsciousness in DND?

Unconsciousness is one of the 15 Conditions that a creature can be in the popular roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.

The condition is a result of a variety of factors.

But the most common is that the creature has had its hit points lowered to 0 by way of a melee attack.

DND unconsciousness can be reversed, but only with the right game moves. Unconsciousness can affect your ability to play the game and is often a negative effect that holds your player back.

2) What Happens When Your Character Is Unconcious in DND?

There are a few things that happen when your character is rendered unconscious due to a melee attack.

First, the player is now considered incapacitated.

This means that the player cannot move or speak, and is totally unaware of its surroundings.

Next, the player drops whatever item it is holding. The item falls prone as a result.

When there are Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws, the incapacitated player will now automatically fail those throws.

Any Attack throws made against the player now have an advantage.

Finally, a successful Attack that hits the player now becomes critical, as long as the attacker is located within 5 feet of the incapacitated player.

As you might expect, this condition and the resulting effect severely hinder your ability to play the game effectively. As such, it should be a priority to reverse the condition as soon as possible.

3) Is Unconsciousness the Same as Sleeping in DND?

Though the Unconscious state is somewhat similar to the Sleeping state and surely contains some things in common, it is not the same thing.

Any creature that is sleeping is unconscious, but creatures that are unconscious are not always sleeping.

Sleeping can be brought on by a spell or other reason.

When a creature is put to sleep, it has all of the same effects as a creature that is unconscious, plus more.

However, a creature that is unconscious is made so by a melee attack reducing hitpoints to 0.

So, the two conditions are brought on differently and are solved in different ways.

However, they both have similar effects on the mobility of the creature and their ability to play the game.

4) Can You Heal Unconsciousness in DND?

Yes, you can heal unconsciousness in DND.

Eventually, a creature will become stabilized if they are at 0 hit points, but not before they reach the Unconscious state first.

When this happens, they are no longer in danger of dying.

Also, they can be revived by a number of different methods. The way you go about it depends on what you have available to you as an adventuring party.

Here are a few of the easiest ways to revive an unconscious creature:

  • Healer’s Kit + Medicine Check
  • Healing spells
  • Patience (wait it out in safety)

The Healing Splint is a small leather bag that holds helpful first-aid materials such as splints, bandages, and ointments.

Players can use the kit for up to 10 applications (and more with a little bit of ingenuity). One of the main uses is to stabilize an unconscious creature, expending an Action instead of a Medicine check (also known as a Wisdom check).

With a Wisdom (Medicine) check, the unconscious creature is revived and brought back to 1 hit point.

This will also return the creature back to 1 hit point.

Any healing spell – such as Cure – will immediately restore the creature to 1 Hit Point.

Once the creature reaches more than 0 hit points, consciousness will be restored.

5) How Do You Wake Someone Up From Unconsciousness in DND?

When we’re talking about DND & unconsciousness, you probably want to know how to wake someone up.

There are actually a few ways that you can go about waking someone up from Unconsciousness.

The first way is to use something called the “Stabilize” spell.

This spell will automatically stabilize a creature and stop them from bleeding out. The creature will regain 1 hit point but will remain unconscious.

The second way to wake someone up from Unconsciousness is to use the “Heal” spell. This spell will not only stabilize a creature, but it will also restore hit points.

The amount of hit points restored depends on the level of the spell.

A third way to wake someone up from Unconsciousness is to do it the old-fashioned way by slapping them in the face.

This will cause the creature to make a Constitution saving throw.

If they fail the save, they will wake up.

Unconsciousness can be a hindrance to your game, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

With a little bit of know-how, you can easily wake up your fallen comrades and get back to the task at hand.

6) Can You Cast Spells While Unconcious?

Many players wonder if you can cast spells while unconscious.

This area is a little bit ambiguous, as some magic activities work while unconscious but others do not. This will largely depend on the verbiage within the spell description.

Some spells have an effect that lasts for some time.

If your character is rendered unconscious during that time, the spell itself does not just stop working as a result.

Instead, the spell will carry on until specified.

However, your character can’t take any action that is required for any form of magic while unconscious.

This includes things like casting spells, ending spells, and responding to spells.

DND & unconsciousness also prevents:

  • Preparing rituals
  • Verbal components (speaking a spell)
  • Somatic components (gesturing a spell)

So, no, you cannot cast spells while unconscious.

However, non-concentration spells will still take effect if cast prior to the moment of unconsciousness.

7) Can You Use Second Wind When Unconcious?

Second Wind cannot be used when unconscious.

This ability can only be used when you are conscious and have taken damage. Once you become unconscious, you can no longer take any actions, including using Second Wind.

DND & unconsciousness is a powerful state of incapacitation.

However, another magical character can cast a spell such as Cure on the unconscious player.

8) How To Remove Unconsciousness in DND?

There are two main ways that unconsciousness can be removed in DND.

The first is that you wait the requisite amount of time for your character to regain consciousness. This could take over a day.

The other way is that one of your mates can restore you using either a spell or healing kit, which will bring your hit points back to 1.

9) Does Unconcious Mean 0 Hit Points?

No, Unconscious does not necessarily mean 0 hit points.

A creature can be knocked unconscious for a number of reasons, such as taking too much damage, being affected by a spell, or failing a saving throw.

For example, a player might get bopped over the head by a Troll.

However, when a creature reaches 0 hit points, they are automatically knocked unconscious and are in danger of dying.

For this reason, DND & unconsciousness is usually paired with having 0 hit points.

10) How Do Unconcious Saving Throws Work?

When a creature is unconscious, they have to make a Constitution saving throw.

The purpose of this save is to see if the creature can resist being put into a coma or death.

The DC for this save is usually 10, but it can be higher or lower depending on the situation. If the creature fails the save, it will either slip into a coma or die.

If the creature succeeds in the save, they will remain unconscious but stable.

This means that they are not in danger of dying and can be revived with either magic or curative medicine within a healing kit.

11) How To Use Unconsciousness in DND

For a clever (and possibly mischievous) Dungeon Master, unconsciousness can be a powerful tool.

Not only does it add an element of danger and suspense, but it can also help to make the game more challenging and fun.

There are many ways to use unconsciousness in a DND game.

Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Start the game with one or more characters already unconscious. This can add an element of mystery and intrigue, and it can also help to set the tone for the game.
  2. Include unconsciousness in dungeon traps. This can add a new level of danger to the game, and it can also help to make the traps more challenging.
  3. Use unconsciousness at the worst possible times. For example, let’s say a character is flying or climbing when they suddenly become unconscious. This can jack up suspense and danger, making the game instantly more challenging (and, therefore, more satisfying to survive).
  4. Capture an unconscious player and take them prisoner. Now the rest of the party must launch a dangerous rescue mission.
  5. Use the unconscious character as bait. An enemy might try to lure the other players into a trap.
  6. Force the player party to abandon an unconscious player. Out of necessity, the player group must leave an unconscious character behind in a dangerous area. You’ll need strong motivational circumstances to pull this off!
  7. Bargain with an unconscious character. The knocked-out player could be used as a bargaining chip in hostile negotiations.
  8. Pack the unconscious player with loot. An unconscious character could be searched for valuables or important items.
  9. Force the players to go unconscious to survive. For example, the players must choose unconsciousness while a magical sea fairy transports them safely to an underwater hideaway.
  10. Make the players deal with an unconscious NPC. Perhaps, the players need to “babysit” an unconscious noble or passed-out wizard. Transporting the “body” can lead to all kinds of fun and challenging situations in the game.

Before you go, here is a good video about the Base Rule in DND & Unconsciousness:

YouTube video by Brachyzoid – DND & Unconsciousness

Final Thoughts: DND & Unconsciousness

This rundown should have answered all of your questions about the incapacitated state of DND & unconsciousness.

Now that you know a bit more about this state, what it means, and how to recover from it, you can play the game accordingly and hopefully avoid it at all costs!

We have tons of other articles about DND on this site – check out a few below.

Other posts related to DND & Unconsciousness:

Sources

Wizards of the Coast

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