Revised Fear Effects (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Tarkisflux (talk)
Date Created: June 17, 2010
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Revised Fear Effects[edit]

The default fear effects included in the game function well enough generally. But there is room for improvement, for these effects are not without their problems. Like so many effects, some of the fear effects impact spellcasters less than others. There is insufficient granularity between the two higher levels of fear effects, and a frightened condition is often just as good as a panicked one. Lastly, the current stacking rules for the conditions lead to less diversity in a party rather than more, as it's possible for everyone to take the same minor fear effects and panic entire encounters with relative ease. This variant intends to correct these deficiencies, and is intended as a complete replacement for the SRD topic and conditions.

Fear[edit]

Fear attacks can have various effects. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken[edit]

A shaken creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. They also suffer a 15% failure on all powers, psi-like abilities, spells and spell-like abilities.

Frightened[edit]

A frightened creature take a -4 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. They also suffer a 30% failure on all powers, psi-like abilities, spells and spell-like abilities.

If a frightened creature takes a total defense action or takes at least one move action to retreat from the source of its fear and other obvious threats, it instead takes penalties as if it were shaken for the round. Spells cast in a direct attempt to more quickly escape the scene suffer this reduced penalty as well.

Panicked[edit]

A panicked creature take a -8 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. They also suffer a 60% failure on all powers, psi-like abilities, spells and spell-like abilities.

If a panicked creature drops what it is holding and flees the source of its fear and all obvious threats at top speed, choosing randomly at any splits in the path, it instead takes penalties as if it were shaken for the round. Spells cast in a direct attempt to more quickly escape the scene suffer this reduced penalty as well.

Becoming Even More Fearful[edit]

Fear effects are not cumulative and do not stack. A creature who suffers a frightened condition from the cause fear spell will not become panicked if they fail a second save against the same spell, even if cast from a different source, nor will they become panicked if someone shakes their resolve with Intimidate. Instead, the duration of the existing effect is simply replaced if the new duration would be longer than the current one, as is the case with any other buff or debuff spell in the game.

A character can be shaken and frightened and panicked all at the same time as a result of this change. Since [Fear] effects do not stack, you should apply only the strongest applicable fear effect at any one time. When the duration of the strongest effect has expired, apply the next strongest fear effect that would still be affecting the target.

Common Fear Effects[edit]

Fear Aura (Su)[edit]

The use of this ability is a free action. The aura can freeze an opponent (such as a mummy’s despair) or function like the fear spell. Other effects are possible. A fear aura is an area effect. The descriptive text gives the size and kind of area.

Fear Cones (Sp) and Rays (Su)[edit]

These effects usually work like the fear spell.

Frightful Presence (Ex)[edit]

This special quality makes a creature’s very presence unsettling to foes. It takes effect automatically when the creature performs some sort of dramatic action (such as charging, attacking, or snarling). Opponents within range who witness the action may become frightened or shaken. Actions required to trigger the ability and the condition inflicted are given in the creature’s descriptive text. The range is usually 30 feet, and the duration is usually 5d6 rounds, but these are often modified by the specific ability description. This ability affects only opponents with an equal or lower challenge rating or level than the creature has. An affected opponent can resist the effects with a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 frightful creature’s CR + frightful creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC should be given in the creature’s descriptive text, but all existing ones were not built to this specification). An opponent that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to that same creature’s frightful presence for 24 hours.


Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewVariant Rules

AuthorTarkisflux +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
Rated ByGhostwheel +, Havvy +, Foxwarrior + and Leziad +
RatingRated 3.8 / 4 +
SummaryRules to bring fear effects more in line with other conditions and to increase the differences between fear levels. +
TitleRevised Fear Effects +