Spell Archive: Hold Person

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means…let’s take a look at the newest addition to our Spell Archive: Hold Person!

This week we’re taking a look at one of my favorite support spells

Hold Person

2nd-level enchantment

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 60 feet

Components: V, S, M (a small, straight piece of iron)

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Choose a humanoid that you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be paralyzed for the duration. At the end of each of its turns, the target can make another Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the spell ends on the target.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you can target one additional humanoid for each slot level above 2nd. The humanoids must be within 30 feet of each other when you target them.

Spell Talk

Welcome to literally every creature’s worst nightmare; correction, every humanoid’s worst nightmare. That wording is incredibly important when it comes to using this spell and I will explain a little more in the tips and tricks section. If you have a problem enemy humanoid that is dealing a lot of damage to your party or is preventing your casters from doing their thing, then hold person is your best friend. At 2nd level it can paralyze a target; do you know just how deadly the paralyzed condition is? Not only do you automatically fail DEX and strength saves but you are considered incapacitated, all attack rolls are at advantage, and a hit within 5 ft. is considered a critical hit…the rogue just became your new best friend. In fact? Every martial class just became your new best friend. Oh! By the way, at higher levels? You get to target more people, enough said.

Tips & Tricks

First thing is first, humanoids. This spell is super useful if you fight a lot of humanoids, fight in “civilized” areas, or fight a lot of orcs and goblins. If you don’t want to look it up in the Monster Manual try to remember two things; does it stand on two feet? Is it Medium size? If yes to both then it’s worth a try. Granted this is by no means a surefire way and there are always exceptions; but I often see people get confused when to use the spell. Remember if its an Ogre or a Giant then they are considered Giants, not humanoids. Most “humanoid” creatures are medium or smaller but obviously not all. So if you aren’t sure try to ask yourself these two questions and then proceed.

Pro tip, if you have a Paladin, Rogue, or Barbarian on your team they will become your new best friends. But nothing works best for a paladin smite or a rogue sneak attack than a paralyzed individual, because an auto crit means doubled smite dice or doubled sneak attack dice. And finally, if you are a sorcerer you can pick up twin cast and hold two people for the price of one. 


Hold Person can be reflavored in so many different ways depending on your style and theme. If you’re a psychic, Jedi, or any mind based themed character then hold person is a simple use of the powers that you have access to and can easily be reskinned into an extension of your character.

Techy characters can easily reskin this into a shock charge that gets triggered and tossed underneath an enemy, setting the poor sap into an electric shock that leaves them unable to move. Druid? Vines wrap all around your target. If you’re an elemental controlling, avatar-esque like character then you can easily reskin it as earth coming up and clamping them in place. Whatever you decide I am sure will be great, so try not to miss out on this amazing spell.

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