5E Light Emanating from an Invisible Character

Esker

Explorer
I'm planning out tactics for a boss fight my group just started at the end of our last session, and trying to figure out how to think about what should happen if a creature who is invisible is also shedding light. In my specific case, the creature would hypothetically have Greater Invisibility up and then cast Crown of Stars, a side effect of which is shedding bright light. How would that look? Would the light give away the creature's location (assuming a successful hide check) despite the invisibility? Would it make a difference if Crown of Stars were cast before Greater Invisibility?

And then I got to thinking about variations on this: What if a creature without darkvision is in the dark holding a torch and then goes invisible? If the light becomes invisible too, can the creature still see? Can their allies who were depending on that torch? If the creature can see because of the torch light, is their location deducible because of the light even if they roll high on stealth?
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Interesting. Well, of course each person will have their own solution, but my take is this:

If the source of light, such as a light stone, is held openly by an invisible creature, the light is seen. If the stone was closed within the creature's hand, it would not be seen. Given the spell in question, Crown of Stars, I would say the light would definitely be seen. Now, you might allow a hood to cover them? I don't know, that depends too much on how the table envisions the spell working.

Hiding with such a spot-light (sorry for the pun) on a creature would probably have those looking for the creature getting advantage on their checks to notice.
 
Wow, that's an age-old question. IIRC, back in the day, the line was that the light was still shed, but the source could not be located - much like a light spell cast into the air.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
If light is invisible then it can't be seen, therefore is not light at all.

Therefore either the light can be seen so the source can also be seen, or the light can't be seen so unless you have darkvision or another source of light you are in the dark. I'd let the player decide which they prefer and then that is canon.
 

MarkB

Hero
The invisible creature sheds light, but still can't be seen. If they're the only source of illumination, a smart creature can deduce their position as being the centre of the circle of illumination, or the spot of floor that's most brightly lit.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I don't think there is a definitive answer. The way I run it is that light is still shed, and if someone makes an attempt to locate the source - say looking at shadows for two things that are far apart and figuring where it had to be from there - then the square the invisible character is in will be known.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I rule that a caster with a light source still shows a a glowing light emanating from nowhere because the illusion just makes it so that you can't see the target. There's no reason to think the caster is in a bubble that stops light in either direction.

In this case since the illusion just stops people from seeing the caster and anything they are holding the stars are visible. The caster is not holding the stars in the crown, they orbit around his head and are visible.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I would rule that you give off light, the light is still seen by everyone else. If you have light radiating off you, you should not cast greater invisibility since you may be invisible, but you would have an outline of light still giving your location to others. Sometimes in the search for an advantage, you just need to say no.

If the invisible PC is holding a torch it would look like a ball of light floating along. I'm not sure if I would take away the disadvantage to attack the PC, but as a minimum the attacker would have -2 to hit. I can see where you could fool the attacker and they would still have disadvantage to hit you, but it is not quite the same as being totally invisible.
 

darjr

I crit!
By a strict reading of the rules the invisible creature is still completely invisible. The stars are not.

So people can easily guess what square the invisible character is in, always, while the stars are there.

They still can not see them. So spells that require seeing the target won’t work and attackers have disadvantage to hit and the creature has advantage to hit.

Also while the invisible creature can try and hide, the stars will be a dead giveaway to what square/squares the creature is in.
 

darjr

I crit!
On the question of a torch held by a creature that casts greatest invisibility or invisibility, the torch becomes invisible.

However nothing is blocking the light from the torch. Invisibility doesn’t do that. So the light from the torch still works and lights up the area around it. You just cant see the torch.

Game wise i’d give advantage to try and guess where the invisible creature is if it was hidden, but that’s up to the DM imho.
 

darjr

I crit!
As an aside, I think animate objects is better for this situation. It won’t give away the invisible creatures position. At 7th level it’ll have 16 independent little flying buggers with blindsight that do 1d4+4 and operate on their own.


Then, if hiding isn’t working, I’d also have it cast crown of stars.
 

Esker

Explorer
As an aside, I think animate objects is better for this situation. It won’t give away the invisible creatures position. At 7th level it’ll have 16 independent little flying buggers with blindsight that do 1d4+4 and operate on their own.


Then, if hiding isn’t working, I’d also have it cast crown of stars.
Yeah, but that's concentration, so not compatible with greater invis
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
As folks have been saying, I think the most intuitive solution is that the creature is invisible, but the light is not. I would rule that other creatures can easily pinpoint the invisible creature’s location, so it does not qualify to be able to hide, and it can be directly targeted by attacks. However, attacks against the invisible creature would still have disadvantage.
 

Esker

Explorer
Yeah, but that's concentration, so not compatible with greater invis
Hopefully my players aren't reading this, but my plan is to have the bbeg (a Slaad Bard) teleport into the corner not too far from where the PCs are, go invisible, project an illusory duplicate across the room to draw them that way, then hit them from behind. I might just use Animate Objects anyway and drop invisibility though: the room is full of glass shards and body parts of slain guard creatures. It's a pretty entertaining visual to have a wall of glass and disembodied limbs protect the BBEG.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
It is magic, so to a large extent, anything not explicit in the rules is up to the DM.

In my game, a creature that is invisible, but not hidden, is easy to locate - roughly. They're still concealed so attacks against them have disadvantage, but unless they are focused on hiding, they give away their position through a variety of clues (sounds, etc...) A creature generating light can't hide, generally, so enemies will know where they are when they are invisible.

However, knowing where they are, roughly, will not reveal their exact shape, reveal their appearance, or make it easy to attack them. While you may be able to locate them, you can't see them for purposes of spells that require you to see a target (magic missile, for example, requires you to see the target).

That approach works very well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My simple rule is this: no light comes out.

This means an invisible person at night or in a dark passage can't light his-her own way by carrying a light source, which has led to some interesting logistical issues in the past.

I rule that a caster with a light source still shows a a glowing light emanating from nowhere because the illusion just makes it so that you can't see the target. There's no reason to think the caster is in a bubble that stops light in either direction.
Actually only one direction. Light always goes "in" to someone invisible, otherwise that person would be blind.

But light doesn't come out. By the same logic that says a staff carried by an invisible person is itself invisible, a torch carried by an invisible person is also invisible (though the smoke it generates is not), as is a continual-light stone or a glowing longsword even if uncovered or unsheathed.

In this case since the illusion just stops people from seeing the caster and anything they are holding the stars are visible. The caster is not holding the stars in the crown, they orbit around his head and are visible.
Absolutely right. The stars are detached from the invisible person and thus would be visible. An Ioun Stone orbiting around the caster's head would similarly be visible until-unless the caster grabbed it.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
As an aside, I think animate objects is better for this situation. It won’t give away the invisible creatures position. At 7th level it’ll have 16 independent little flying buggers with blindsight that do 1d4+4 and operate on their own.


Then, if hiding isn’t working, I’d also have it cast crown of stars.
Yeah, but that's concentration, so not compatible with greater invis
Unless someone else in the party cast the greater invisibility on the PC who then casts crown...
 
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Coroc

Explorer
I'm planning out tactics for a boss fight my group just started at the end of our last session, and trying to figure out how to think about what should happen if a creature who is invisible is also shedding light. In my specific case, the creature would hypothetically have Greater Invisibility up and then cast Crown of Stars, a side effect of which is shedding bright light. How would that look?
....
Pretty transparent :p

Light does cancel darkness in some cases, it does not cancel invisibility. I would rule that the illumination of the area would not be traceable also shadows would not apply and give away the invisible creature.

Edit: ok so the stars are seperate? like dancing lights? yea maybe then it would give away the position eventually.
 

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