Coping Mechanism: Shutdown (5e Disease)

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Contracting Shutdown[edit]

Shutdown is less a disease and more a disorder created by the body's efforts to protect itself from trauma. Many contract Shutdown disorder from traumatic or highly stressful events which may be one-time or ongoing. Most victims of Shutdown disorder contract it as children or young adults. With the exception of magical and divine means, no other method of contracting the disorder is currently known.

There are 5 grades of severity for Shutdown disorder.

Severity Wisdom save DC Duration of action avoidance
Grade I 12 1 minute
Grade II 14 10 minutes
Grade III 16 1 hour
Grade IV 18 10 hours
Grade IV 20 1 day


  • Whenever the victim is Frightened, it is also Paralyzed. The victim can still speak while Paralyzed from this effect.
  • At the DM's discretion, certain events may provoke the victim to Shutdown. In these events, the victim must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (see above for DC) or become Frightened for 1d12 rounds. If the triggering event is an action attempted by the victim, the victim fails to carry out the action and cannot make the same action for a period of time determined by the disorder's severity. Examples of such events include:
    • Failing at a task
    • Seeing someone die
    • Learning of a big challenge or obstacle to overcome
    • Getting in an argument
    • Facing a monstrosity or abomination
    • Being reminded of trauma
    • Having their privacy violated
    • Becoming wounded


Another creature can attempt to treat Shutdown by casting Greater restoration and making an insight check with a DC of 10 + Shutdown's will save DC. The casting time for Greater restoration becomes equal to Shutdown's Duration of action avoidance. On a success, the disorder's severity decreases by 1 Grade, and is cured if the severity reaches Grade "0". Alternatively, if the disorder was caused by one or more traumatic events, Shutdown can be cured by removing the victim's memories of said events such as by the Modify memory spell.

The victim is treated as cured from Shutdown while affected by Calm emotions or Mind blank.


  • If a player's character contracts Shutdown disorder, the player and the DM should work together to determine the types of events that might trigger the character to Shutdown.
  • This disease works well as a Flaw for players that enjoy more mechanics-based personality traits

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