Dread (3.5e Condition)
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Dread is the condition of being exposed to extreme fear or stress. It is a quantification of unease typically associated with psychological trauma or resulting from extremely cruel forms of attack, and can accumulate in order to cause a devastating spiral of worsening fear effects as the dread grows thicker.
A creature struck by an attack or affected by a spell or effect that inflicts dread builds up "dread". When this dread value equals or exceeds the creature's dread tolerance (3 + their Wisdom modifier, with a minimum of 1), their dread increases by a stage and the dread buildup resets to 0.
A creature that has a bonus to saving throws against fear adds half that bonus to their dread tolerance. Creatures that are immune to fear have effectively infinite dread tolerance.
Stages of Dread
Normal creatures unaffected by any fear effects are considered as having Stage 0 dread. From there on in, Stage 1 is shaken, Stage 2 is frightened, Stage 3 is panicked and Stage 4 is insane. Once a creature achieves Stage 4 dread, it stops accumulating further dread until the insanity is cured.
Other sources of fear effects cannot cause dread build-up, but may be able to inflict specific conditions that are equivalent to a specific stage of dread. Whenever a creature incurs a fear-based condition, it automatically gains the associated stage of dread and also reduces its dread buildup to 0, unless the creature already suffers from a higher stage of dread. For example, a creature that became frightened due to a specific effect is treated as having stage 2 dread. A creature that becomes frightened (stage 2) due to an effect while already being panicked (stage 3) due to dread build-up will retain its stage 3 dread and not lose its current dread build-up.
Unlike similarly working conditions such as bleed, dread does not recover naturally during battle. Built-up dread is recovered out of battle at a rate of 1 point per minute, though if one or more stages of dread have accumulated, one stage is recovered every hour spent out of battle. The exception is Stage 4 dread which, like the insanity spell, is permanent until cured. Fear effects with a specific duration (i.e. not caused by buildup of dread) still end normally when intended.
Other than the above, dread can only be removed in battle through conscious action, as follows:
- A creature can attempt a DC 10 Wisdom check to aid an adjacent ally suffering from dread as a move-equivalent action. In so doing, the ally recovers 1 point of dread, plus an additional point of dread for every 5 points that the check result exceeds 10.
- A creature can self-inflict injuries, such as stabbing themselves, biting their tongue or causing harm or pain in other ways in order to stave off dread. As a free action, a creature can instantly do up to twice its own HD worth of damage to itself in order to recover 1 point of dread for every 5 points of damage dealt.
- Spells that counter fear also partially or fully counter dread. Remove fear suppresses up to 2 stages of dread, and its bonus against fear effects also increases the affected creature's dread tolerance. Greater restoration restores any number of stages of dread.