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Pathfinder 1E Does Detect Thoughts break Invisibility? When?

Sammael

Adventurer
If an Invisible caster casts Detect Thoughts and then scans an area behind a closed door, would that break the Invisibility spell? Presumably, the caster has no idea what's behind the door - friends, foes, neutrals, etc.
 

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howandwhy99

Adventurer
Extra Sensory Perception like Detect Thoughts falls under normal sensory perception rules. Seeing, hearing, smelling, and so on of another creature aren't treated attacks, so neither would D.T. or Detect Undead and probably most any other divination ability. But YMMV.
 

CroBob

First Post
If an Invisible caster casts Detect Thoughts and then scans an area behind a closed door, would that break the Invisibility spell? Presumably, the caster has no idea what's behind the door - friends, foes, neutrals, etc.
Which edition? Will it break his invisibility, or that of the people whose mind he's trying to read?
 

Sammael

Adventurer
Pathfinder, as I labeled the thread. I am referring to the caster's invisibility. As per the PF rules, for invisibility: "For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe". Detect thoughts is a spell whose area may include a foe, but the caster is not immediately aware of this at the time of the spell's casting.
 

CroBob

First Post
Pathfinder, as I labeled the thread. I am referring to the caster's invisibility. As per the PF rules, for invisibility: "For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe". Detect thoughts is a spell whose area may include a foe, but the caster is not immediately aware of this at the time of the spell's casting.
His invisibility failing might be a big hint that his spell effected hostile creatures.
 

Bad Paper

First Post
oo I hadn't seen this asked from the POV of an invisible caster! RAW says yes the caster loses invisibility.

What if the spell is detect magic? That, too, can include foes in its area, but there's no saving throw the way there is for detect thoughts.
 

paradox42

First Post
Intent is critical for judging whether something is an attack. If the caster does not know before casting DT that its area includes hostile creatures, then the caster stays invisible- because at casting time, as far as the caster is concerned, the AoE does not contain enemies.

If, however, the caster casts DT knowing in advance that the AoE includes hostiles within it, then the spell is an attack, and the caster becomes visible. In such a case, this is easy to justify, as the reason for casting DT on an area one knows to contain enemies can only be to see what those enemies are thinking (so as to better fight back).
 

CroBob

First Post
Intent is critical for judging whether something is an attack. If the caster does not know before casting DT that its area includes hostile creatures, then the caster stays invisible- because at casting time, as far as the caster is concerned, the AoE does not contain enemies.

If, however, the caster casts DT knowing in advance that the AoE includes hostiles within it, then the spell is an attack, and the caster becomes visible. In such a case, this is easy to justify, as the reason for casting DT on an area one knows to contain enemies can only be to see what those enemies are thinking (so as to better fight back).
I disagree that intent would really matter, here. To be fair to the PC, perhaps he could sense his invisibility fading as he's casting his DT, giving him the chance to cancel the casting before his invisibility fades and saving his DT. That, however, is a nice thing for a DM to do, not necessary or suggested.
 

pemerton

Legend
Intent is critical for judging whether something is an attack.
I disagree that intent would really matter, here.
I think I agree with CroBob, at least as far as the rules go, but maybe it's not crystal clear.

The rules say:

Invisibiity
The spell ends if the subject attacks any creature. For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe. (Exactly who is a foe depends on the invisible character’s perceptions.)

Detect Thoughts
Range: 60 ft.
Area: Cone-shaped emanation​

So first, to [MENTION=24674]Bad Paper[/MENTION], a saving throw doesn't matter: the criterion for an attack includes "a spell whose area includes a foe". This is true of Detect Thoughts, and would be true of Detect Magic also.

The key interpretive question is the meaning of "the invisible character's percpetions". Does that mean "standing dispositions to judge" or does it mean "present conscious awareness"? If the former, then someone is a foe if the caster would judge them such once s/he knew about them, even if s/he is currently ignorant of them. Conversely, if the latter than beings of whom the caster is not aware can't be foes.

Even if you go with the latter interpretation (which is more generous to the caster), it is not "intention" that would matter, but rather "knowledge/awareness".

The relevant spells in Rolemaster are similar, and so this problem came up in my game, but the spells are not identical. In particular, the spell that does the detecting part is separate from the spell that does the mind-reading part. The way I solved the problem was to treat the detecing spell as non-attack (so, for example, a psioniscist could turn invisible and scout around scanning for thinking beings) but to treat the mind-reading spell as a targetted attack (so using it would unambiguously break invisibility). Mind reading is, in my view, powerful enough that it doesn't need to be doable while invisible! Whereas invisible scouting is, for me at least, a reasonable part of the game.
 

Matthias

Explorer
Intent is critical for judging whether something is an attack. If the caster does not know before casting DT that its area includes hostile creatures, then the caster stays invisible- because at casting time, as far as the caster is concerned, the AoE does not contain enemies.

If, however, the caster casts DT knowing in advance that the AoE includes hostiles within it, then the spell is an attack, and the caster becomes visible. In such a case, this is easy to justify, as the reason for casting DT on an area one knows to contain enemies can only be to see what those enemies are thinking (so as to better fight back).

This is splitting hairs...

"Exactly who is a foe depends on the invisible character's perceptions."

This ought to preclude, for example, an elf caster trying to lie to himself that those orcs behind the door won't attack on sight, because he still knows the truth that orcs are generally nasty creatures and would turn hostile if they were aware of him.

This also depends on what is meant by "foe". Does this mean currently having hostile intent, or the potential for it? Orcs could not harbor hostility toward a specific creature they aren't immediately aware of, but if orcs and elves generally don't get along, then the hostile intent may be present without the direct knowledge of the proximity of an elf caster, or even without any given orc currently dwelling on just how much they hate elves at that moment.

I'd probably do what CroBob suggests-
I disagree that intent would really matter, here. To be fair to the PC, perhaps he could sense his invisibility fading as he's casting his DT, giving him the chance to cancel the casting before his invisibility fades and saving his DT. That, however, is a nice thing for a DM to do, not necessary or suggested.
I would probably require some kind of die roll to drop the Detect Thoughts in time. Wisdom check, caster level check, Spellcraft check, something else?
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
"Exactly who is a foe depends on the invisible character's perceptions."

...

This also depends on what is meant by "foe". Does this mean currently having hostile intent, or the potential for it?

I would personally rule that a foe in this case is defined by the caster's action rather than caster's perception or the target's intentions, because traditionally the limitation of Invisibility has been that it should end whenever you do something aggressive. Detect Thoughts is not directly aggressive, hence I wouldn't end the invisibility effect. Should the caster have an ability to inflict some damage via Detect Thoughts, then in that case I would consider that an aggression and end Invisibility.
 

Sammael

Adventurer
I would personally rule that a foe in this case is defined by the caster's action rather than caster's perception or the target's intentions, because traditionally the limitation of Invisibility has been that it should end whenever you do something aggressive. Detect Thoughts is not directly aggressive, hence I wouldn't end the invisibility effect. Should the caster have an ability to inflict some damage via Detect Thoughts, then in that case I would consider that an aggression and end Invisibility.
As a DM, this is the interpretation that I would go with. However, I think that it is not in accordance with RAW, which is why I posed the question in the first place - I am a player in this campaign and I want to use the Invisibility/Detect Thoughts combo myself, so I wanted to make sure it is a valid tactic. I will also discuss it with the DM, of course.
 

paradox42

First Post
The people who responded to my post by saying intent doesn't matter misunderstood what I meant, I think. Or perhaps just didn't think it through.

As pemerton posted, the Invisibility spell itself states that the caster's perceptions are a determining factor in exactly what constitutes a "foe." By this wording, if a creature counts (in the caster's view) as a "foe," and the caster uses a spell which includes said creature in its area or as a target, then that spell constitutes an "attack" for the purposes of Invisibility.

Saying that a spell which includes a creature within its area that the caster might consider a foe after the spell is cast, constitutes an "attack," is patently absurd. The caster's perceptions at casting time do not include the (potential!) enemies, and therefore cannot be counted against the clause in the Invisibility spell description. Consider the case of an Elf caster casting Detect Thoughts and aiming it at a closed door which neither the caster nor any allies has opened or checked through. If the caster then detects thoughts from the other side indicating that there are Orcs on the other side of the still-closed door, this does not suddenly make the spell an "attack" which then breaks Invisibility; it rather makes the spell a scouting tool which told the caster (and presumably, by extension, his allies) that enemies exist beyond the door.

By contrast, if the caster is in a room within which his allies and several other creatures exist, including some angry-looking Orcs who will almost certainly Charge into battle given the flimsiest excuse, and the caster casts and aims a Detect Thoughts so as to include the angry Orcs in its AoE, then that constitutes an attack- because the Orcs are clearly Enemies as far as the caster is concerned, and the caster obviously knows they are there (in fact, the spell was specifically aimed so as to catch them). That breaks Invisibility.
 


paradox42

First Post
Right there. The caster, upon determining thinking things are on the other side of the door, labelled those things "enemies". So did he cast the spell into an area where it effected enemies? Yes.
And at casting time, he didn't know. Therefore, it was not an attack when initiated, and Invisibility is not removed.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
And at casting time, he didn't know. Therefore, it was not an attack when initiated, and Invisibility is not removed.

What about a paladin using Detect Evil, then? If he gets a result, that is almost certainly an enemy, as a paladins detect evil is almost the same as detect enemy?

My question is a bit silly, but also kind of fun theoretically. Its about semantics, really.
 

paradox42

First Post
What about a paladin using Detect Evil, then? If he gets a result, that is almost certainly an enemy, as a paladins detect evil is almost the same as detect enemy?

My question is a bit silly, but also kind of fun theoretically. Its about semantics, really.
My point is that the result doesn't matter. Only the caster's perceptions at casting time matter. Casting time is when the action is taken; therefore, only at casting time can the action be labelled an "attack."

If the Paladin uses Detect Evil and pings a critter that he didn't know in advance was Evil, as Evil, then he knows that said critter might be an enemy (and please note: simply having an Evil aura does not make the critter an automatic enemy of the Paladin except in the most knee-jerk unthinking-reflexive-alignment worlds- a majority of GMs would require more than simple detection of Evil to justify the Paladin attacking the critter without taking a hit against his/her Code of Conduct) and then and only then will further actions taken against said critter be an "attack" by Invisibility.

Because concentrating on an active effect is itself an action, there is a gray area wherein a GM might say that a caster continuing to use a Detection effect upon critters he/she perceives to be hostile after something the spell detected causes the caster to label them as "enemies," is itself an "attack." In such a case, then a caster who concentrates to maintain the effect would lose Invisibility. But causing the caster to lose it at casting time clearly goes against the RAW, and the evident intent of the rules.
 

CroBob

First Post
And at casting time, he didn't know. Therefore, it was not an attack when initiated, and Invisibility is not removed.
It doesn't matter when it was initiated. Invisibility states "For purposes of this spell, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe". Therefore, if you use a spell, any spell, that includes an enemy in the area or the effect of the spell, you just effectively made an attack and cancelled the Invisibility. Even if you didn't know it would happen beforehand, it did. It doesn't matter when it was cast, because the effects persists beyond casting time. This is a pretty black and white issue. Either an enemy was in the area of the spell, or there was not one. Either or.
 

Thotas

First Post
Finding an enemy via the casting of a divination is a result of the spell. For that result to then have results for the casting itself is a reversal of causality. So I'm gonna say you stay invisible.
 

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