A character or creature affected by paralysis becomes immobile for the duration of the spell's effect. The victim can breathe, think, see, and hear, but he is unable to speak or move. Coherent thought needed to trigger magical items or innate powers is still possible. Paralysis affects only the general motor functions of the body and is not the ultimate destroyer of powerful creatures. It can be particularly potent on flying creatures, however.

The adventurers encounter a beholder, a fearsome creature with magical powers that emanate from its many eyes. After several rounds of combat, the party's priest casts a hold monster spell, paralyzing the creature. The paralyzed beholder still can use the spell-like powers of its eyes and move about (since it levitates at will). But, on the other hand, it is not able to move its eyestalks to aim. Since all of its eyes were most likely facing forward at the moment of paralysis, the adventurers cleverly spread out in a ring around the creature. To attack one or two of them with its powers, the beholder must turn its back on the rest.

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