D&D 5E How to play identical conditions with different effects, save mechanics and DCs


What if two different things cause the same condition but with different saves and different rider effects. How do you handle it?

For example I use a pipes of Haunting: This causes DC 15 save or be frightened, with another save at the end of every turn. The enemy is "frightened", which is debilitating, but that is all.

So after I frighten some enemies with my pipe, a summoned Demon blasts them with a Fear spell. This is DC 11 and also causes frightened condition, but additionally, while they are frightened by the spell they have to flee and they don't get to save again unless they break line of sight.

If an enemy who is already frightened by the pipes fails a save against the Fear spell how do things progress?

1. Does the fear just overide the pipes and you ignore the pipes going forward? So from here on out it is DC 11, but they can't save until out of sight?

2. Do you continue to roll the DC 15 save against the pipes every turn, even if they are still within sight? And if they make that save are they still frightened by the fear (and running away).

3. If they get out of sight do you roll one time for both effects with a DC 15 or DC 11 do you roll separately for each?

Why this is important:
We are surrounded by a hoard of Hill Giants. My Halfling Bladesinger, Joy, is holding down a choke point on the southern flank against 6 Hill Giants with her summoned Babau Demon named Brahms at her side. Joy has pipes of haunting. We started fighting at about 11:45 PM on Monday, but an unseen benevolent Wizard must have cast TIME STOP since we seem to have been frozen in time and space since midnight Monday evening. I have it on good authority that the TIME STOP is going to expire at 8:00 PM on this coming monday and the fight is going to resume. I am near the top of the initiative and debating my next move and that of Brahms who is, for now at least, still under my control.
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As GM I would allow both to be in place, but overlapping effects would not stack. In other words, they would not be "double debilitated" but they would be subject to the specific effects of the demon's power. The enemy would make saves for each effect independently, as described by that power.


No rule is inviolate
Summary: for creatures who fail both saves, both effects stay in place until broken or the duration runs out. A target will get 1-2 saving throw attempts to break the effect at the end of their turn. See below.

Basic Rules, Appendix A, Conditions (PHB 290)

If multiple effects impose the same condition on a creature, each instance of the condition has its own duration, but the condition's effects don't get worse. A creature either has a condition or doesn't.

Round 1: Pipes impose "frightened" condition. Duration 1 minute. Unlike the fear spell, there is no special requirement to attempt another save to break the spell.

Frightened is defined as having disadvantage on skills/attacks, and unable to move closer to source of fear.

Round 2: Fear spell imposes "frightened condition." Duration 1 minute. While the effect can't get worse, fear specifically says the targets are unable to attempt another save unless out of sight of fear source.

The Fear spell imposes non-condition penalties, including drop items and run away.

Foes will save twice each round, assuming the fear prerequisite is made, because each instance has its own duration. If a foe saves against the Pipes, they still have to get out of sight to break the fear spell. If a foe only saves against the fear spell, they don't have to run away anymore, but they still have to save against the Pipes to lose the frightened condition. It doesn't go away just because they made one save. Only the fear spell stopped working.

Now, if two folks had Pipes of Haunting, the same would apply even if the effects were identical, and a save against one doesn't make one immune to the Pipes of another.


I agree with MarkB, but you appear to be the player in this situation. It's going to be your DM's call, not ours.
Agreed. However, when faced with out of the normal situations my DM often asks "ok how does this work" for things players do (player action, player responsibility to understand the rules). I am expected to give my honest understanding/interpretation of the RAW, which he usually (not always) takes as the way to do it.

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