[RPG] Does the Frightened effect of Dreadful Aspect mean the target is afraid of everyone or just the Paladin


In a game I'm DMing, the party was in combat with a bugbear. The Oathbreaker Paladin used Dreadful Aspect and the bugbear became Frightened. The Oathbreaker was in sight at all times.

In the next round, the bugbear wanted to attack, and at the time I ruled that he had disadvantage no matter what his target was as per the Frightened condition description. For example, he would have disadvantage even if he attacked the party's Warlock instead of the Oathbreaker.

The next day however, double checking the Dreadful Aspect description, we wondered if he should have only had disadvantage against the Paladin. The feature specifies that he is "frightened OF THE PALADIN", and this is not present in other features that cause the Frightened condition, e.g. Oath of Vengeance – Abjure Enemy or Dragon fear.

Does a creature affected by Dreadful Aspect have disadvantage on attack rolls against all targets, or just against the Oathbreaker Paladin?

Best Answer

The Frightened condition, emphasis mine (PHB, pg 290):


  • A frightened creature has disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of its fear is within line of sight.
  • The creature can't willingly move closer to the source of its fear.

As you say, Dreadful Aspect specifies that the target is frightened of the Paladin. This is specifying that the Paladin is the "source of fear" from the Frightened condition. I'm not sure why this ability calls it out and the Abjure Enemy and Frightful Presence abilities don't, but the source of fear is clear in all cases.

The target will have disadvantage on attack rolls against everyone while the Paladin remains in sight.