Effects that take a combatant out of a fight for a few turns, like hold person, sleep, or Stunning Fist are interesting and useful tactical weapons. But, when used against a Player Character, they can be a lot like saying “Hey you, stop having fun for the next 20 minutes”. The Character is disabled, but so is the player, often for such a long time that they might as well wander away from the table and read a book.
As a result, I rarely use such effects because, like instant death effects, I don’t like the idea that one unfortunate die-roll can take a player out of the game for a whole encounter (or longer).
The solution I’ve decided to implement -or at least to try, is thus:
- The save DC’s of any stunning, paralysis, fear, or other disabling effect that cancels normal action that persists for more than 1 round is increased by +2.
- The victim, instead of being incapacitated for the full duration, may make 1 save every round to shake off the effect. On a successful roll, the victim still loses the current turn, but will be free to act normally afterwards; they can take immediate and opportunity actions, and their next turn is unaffected.
- As always, if you are curious whether a power or spell is affected, ask the DM.