Invisible Objects and Spell Effects under RAW

We don't all like the rule, but it is there.
Really? I, for one, do like the rule. It means that fighting invisible creatures is actually possible, instead of being a frustrating, no-fun experience.

Imagine:

GM: Something invisible hits you.
Player: I hit it back.
GM: You can't, because you don't know where it is. It hits you.
Player: I shoot it!
GM: You can't, because you don't know where it is. It hits you.
Player: I fireball over there.
GM: You don't appear to have damaged anything. It hits you.
Player: I quit.
 

Harzel

Explorer
A little injury is often good for the soul.

But think about this question... if a sword is invisible in the middle of the desert that no one visits, does its existence matter?

If a cup on a table is invisible, does it matter to the story or the plight of the problem? If it does then give clues and well enough of them for them to find the cup.
In which case, there is no point to the cup being invisible in the first place.

If it doesn't then why bother with the theorem at hand.

Another way to look at it... if the player's NEED to find a secret door to enter the next room (and it is the only way to proceed further), then DCs and skill checks matter not. They find the door.

The way forward should always be attainable for the PCs. If the elements don't matter...then think why they are occurring in the first place.
Come on, think about what you are saying. Something can matter without being critical.

If someone wants to give the feeling of being watched (as Arcane Eye), just tell the players they feel like they are being watched. Then they can cast true seeing or detect magic to help deduce the problem, if they are so inclined.
Or they might be able to detect it without using magic. There's no harm in making that a possibility if you are so inclined.

Give them clues that it appears some force knows where they are going before they get there.
Sure, but that's not really relevant to what the OP was talking about.

Not everything needs to have a DC roll in the game;
True, but that doesn't say anything about this case.

especially when there is no interaction with the players.
Which is clearly not the situation that the OP is talking about.

I shake my head at these things because... well they don't need answers. If they did they would be rules in the book.
That's demonstrably incorrect. Lots of interesting and important question arise that are not addressed by the rules.

But if one wants to go with that route and have everything rolled.
No one was suggesting rolling for "everything". Exaggeration is not helpful.

Well, just have them do a perception or investigation check. Set the DCs per the baseline guidelines. Easy ->10, Medium -> 15, Hard ->20, etc.
Thanks, but I think we're all pretty familiar with that table already.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I shake my head at topics like this. why do we have to have rules or 'opinions' on non-existence rules.

1) Don't like a rule, change it. Our group just allows a 'free action' to hide for invisible/heavily obscured creatures. We don't like the rule, so we change it.

2) If there is no rule - such as objects and whatnot. Adjudicate one. That's one of the jobs as a DM.

3) just use common sense. why try to shoehorn a 'fall-back' rule.

4) if they need to know, give them clues. If they don't why bother. Detect Magic is also overlooked.

5) make the story go forward and have fun.
Exactly, I couldnt have said it better. I agree. If the rules really state that you have to take a hide action to hide while invisible thats ridiculous. Thats why I rarely refer to rules while were playing. Pretty sure one of the very first things stated in the PHB is that everything written ruleswise is a guideline and suggestion.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
Really? I, for one, do like the rule. It means that fighting invisible creatures is actually possible, instead of being a frustrating, no-fun experience.

Imagine:

GM: Something invisible hits you.
Player: I hit it back.
GM: You can't, because you don't know where it is. It hits you.
Player: I shoot it!
GM: You can't, because you don't know where it is. It hits you.
Player: I fireball over there.
GM: You don't appear to have damaged anything. It hits you.
Player: I quit.
Id quit too if the GM I was playing with was that inept.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In 5E, invisible creatures are not hidden by default. Even though you're invisible, until you take the hide action, your location is obvious due to your sounds, tracks, etc... We don't all like the rule, but it is there.

What about invisible objects or spell effects? If a cup is made invisible, what needs to be done to detect the presence of it on a table? What does a creature need to do to detect an arcane eye or rope trick portal?

From what I can tell, you fall back to generic rules of setting a perception DC to perceive something that is hard to spot under the RAW - perhaps a DC of somewhere between 15 and 25. Is that how you'd handle the PCs attempting to detect an arcane eye, a rope trick portal, a scrying sensor or an invisibile object on a table?
That's not precisely true. By RAW, something that is both unseen and unheard is hidden.

Page 195 of the PHB: " If you are hidden—both unseen and unheard—when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses."

So as you can see, the game considers you to be hidden if you are both unseen and unheard.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
Really? I, for one, do like the rule...
Of course, really, yes. Just because you like the rule does not mean there is nobody that dislikes it.
That's not precisely true. By RAW, something that is both unseen and unheard is hidden.

Page 195 of the PHB: " If you are hidden—both unseen and unheard—when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses."

So as you can see, the game considers you to be hidden if you are both unseen and unheard.
When you are hidden you are unseen and unheard. That does not mean that if you are unseen and unheard you are hidden. They give examples where someone is invisible and their location is given away by upsetting their environment, for example.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
In regard to the OP, I think the word 'obvious' is probably not the word we're looking for. The location of an invisible creature isn't obvious, generally speaking. Perhaps in some situations (deep snow etc). That isn't the meat of the topic at hand though, and some of the fixes there are pretty obvious (for example, attacking an invisible creature is a thing that has rules, and it's not cripplingly hard), so I'm going to move on to the cup.

With the cup, and this applies generally to invisible objects, the difficulty, or means (or both) by which those might be discovered, for me anyway, depends entirely on why the invisible object is there in the first place. How key is it that the party find the invisible object? The more important it is the more handholds you need to put into your encounter to make it possible (or likely). Personally, I'd probably tailor that specifically to the party in question, rather than picking arbitrary difficulties or whatever.

Context matters too. If you're talking about a wizard's study, the chances that someone is going to bust out detect magic are pretty high, so problem solved. If the object is sitting in a random corner of an otherwise unimportant 10x10 room somewhere, the party will probably never find it unless you tip your hand. Also a part of context is the frequency in your campaign that magic stuff in general occurs and needs to be checked for. Magic traps, enchanted whatnot, charmed NPCs, evil curses - whatever it is, if the party is already trained to expect that sort of thing, then they'll look for it, and if not, they probably won't.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
Of course, really, yes. Just because you like the rule does not mean there is nobody that dislikes it.
When you are hidden you are unseen and unheard. That does not mean that if you are unseen and unheard you are hidden. They give examples where someone is invisible and their location is given away by upsetting their environment, for example.
Never underestimate the power of the "Silent But Deadly. It'll give you away everytime. Next time one of players try to hide I'm going to make them save vs. bodily function.
 

BigBadDM

Explorer
Oh, my sweet summer child...
I always enjoy when people use ellipses in a passive-aggressive manner, rather than using them for their literary intention.

Anyhow, since you wanted to chime in--what are your thoughts on the OP topic at hand?

While I might have given a colorful response; we do live in the collective of the world, where I do find it important to view all sides (though disagreement often runs rampant). I'm curious your take?
 

BigBadDM

Explorer
That's demonstrably incorrect. Lots of interesting and important question arise that are not addressed by the rules.
It's a game. So, not really. If there isn't a rule for something--then well it doesn't really need an answer or least any firm one. I have no qualms about the question, but it is one that doesn't need an answer. It is a general rhetoric question without any specifics.

But I have already given my two cents: ranging from using magic, reverting to the standard DC difficulty tables, giving the player's clues, not using such 'mechanisms' in game, etc. There are many solutions to open ended questions such as these and I thought I outlined solutions well enough; perhaps not.

I mean, at least I am putting my thoughts out there on the OP topic. I think it is a better use of the forum rather than pitting intellect against another commenter. I mean, at least I am staying on topic.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I always enjoy when people use ellipses in a passive-aggressive manner, rather than using them for their literary intention.
I was wondering myself what was left out of that post and even what it meant.

I bet 99% of people who use ellipses in texts or elsewhere have no clue what there true use is.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
...With the cup, and this applies generally to invisible objects, the difficulty, or means (or both) by which those might be discovered, for me anyway, depends entirely on why the invisible object is there in the first place. How key is it that the party find the invisible object? The more important it is the more handholds you need to put into your encounter to make it possible (or likely). Personally, I'd probably tailor that specifically to the party in question, rather than picking arbitrary difficulties or whatever.
This is addressed above, but generally speaking - As a DM, I don't railroad. I do not set a difficulty for an event based upon whether I want the PCs to succeed or not. Instead, I make sure the world makes sense and make sure the story we're telling together works if the PCs succeed or fail. I'm not telling the story to the players, I'm setting up the world and we're discovering how the story unfolds together. For me, anyways, the difficulty or means by which the cup would be discovered are independent of the reasons the cup was there.

So, for purposes of this conversation, you might consider that finding the cup is useful, but not essential?
Context matters too. If you're talking about a wizard's study, the chances that someone is going to bust out detect magic are pretty high, so problem solved...
For an invisible object or creature, Detect Magic would reveal that magic is present, but not a location or aura. Look for the word visible in the spell description. Detect magic does not olve the problem of invisibility, especially if there is a lot of magic in the area as there tends to be with most PCs.

I was hoping that someone had some ideas on this topic that I had not considered. I'm not seeing any novel ideas, yet. Anyone else?
 
I always enjoy when people use ellipses in a passive-aggressive manner, rather than using them for their literary intention.

Anyhow, since you wanted to chime in--what are your thoughts on the OP topic at hand?

While I might have given a colorful response; we do live in the collective of the world, where I do find it important to view all sides (though disagreement often runs rampant). I'm curious your take?
A thing can be both passive-aggressive and used for it's proper intention ;)
 

Hriston

Adventurer
In 5E, invisible creatures are not hidden by default. Even though you're invisible, until you take the hide action, your location is obvious due to your sounds, tracks, etc... We don't all like the rule, but it is there.

What about invisible objects or spell effects? If a cup is made invisible, what needs to be done to detect the presence of it on a table? What does a creature need to do to detect an arcane eye or rope trick portal?

From what I can tell, you fall back to generic rules of setting a perception DC to perceive something that is hard to spot under the RAW - perhaps a DC of somewhere between 15 and 25. Is that how you'd handle the PCs attempting to detect an arcane eye, a rope trick portal, a scrying sensor or an invisibile object on a table?
I’m not sure what the problem is. I’d ask the players what their characters do and go from there.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This is addressed above, but generally speaking - As a DM, I don't railroad. I do not set a difficulty for an event based upon whether I want the PCs to succeed or not. Instead, I make sure the world makes sense and make sure the story we're telling together works if the PCs succeed or fail. I'm not telling the story to the players, I'm setting up the world and we're discovering how the story unfolds together. For me, anyways, the difficulty or means by which the cup would be discovered are independent of the reasons the cup was there.

So, for purposes of this conversation, you might consider that finding the cup is useful, but not essential?For an invisible object or creature, Detect Magic would reveal that magic is present, but not a location or aura. Look for the word visible in the spell description. Detect magic does not olve the problem of invisibility, especially if there is a lot of magic in the area as there tends to be with most PCs.

I was hoping that someone had some ideas on this topic that I had not considered. I'm not seeing any novel ideas, yet. Anyone else?
What else do you want? You can house rule invisibility to make it Terminator invisibilty where you can detect ripples of light because it's not 100% perfect.

But by RAW? If you want to give the PCs a chance to notice the object, give them some way to notice it. Since it's invisible, that's probably going to have to be something external in the environment.
 

Mistwell

Hero
I always enjoy when people use ellipses in a passive-aggressive manner, rather than using them for their literary intention.
Well then it was a double benefit. You enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it! Woo hoo!

To be clear, the "sweet summer child" quote is not a complete quote, and therefore the ellipses are appropriately being used to indicate it is a partial quote. Also, there was nothing passive about it.

If you want the full quote:

“Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, "what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods”

Anyhow, since you wanted to chime in--what are your thoughts on the OP topic at hand?

While I might have given a colorful response; we do live in the collective of the world, where I do find it important to view all sides (though disagreement often runs rampant). I'm curious your take?
The idea that, if something needs an answer then by definition it "would be rules in the book," is patently absurd to anyone who has played role-playing games of any kind for any reasonable period of time to have formulated an opinion on that topic. The rulebooks for all RPGs lack answers to some questions which will come up in your game. They are a toolset to deal with different questions which may come up, and not a complete tome of answers to all possible questions which may come up.

From that I conclude either you were perhaps making a joke, or engaging in extreme hyperbole, or sarcasm, or lack the experience to realize how erroneous your comment appeared. But perhaps I am wrong. Care to clarify?
 

Advertisement

Top