Invisibility is one of the staple spells in the fantasy realms, and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), is no different. Over the many editions of the rules, the spell has seen some major changes, but now that we’re in the 5th edition of the player handbook, it’s good to refresh ourselves on how the spell works. Join me as we consider how invisibility works, how attacks work, and the general limitations of the spell, as well as how to use it effectively.
How Do You Use Invisibility in 5e?
Invisibility lasts up to an hour and is cast on a target of the caster’s choice. This spell will then make them and anything touching them such as what they are wearing and carrying completely invisible.
Invisibility is a concentration-based spell. If the entity made invisible makes an attack or casts a spell, that causes the effect to vanish, making them visible again. Being invisible does not hide your location on the map, using the hide action does. It is important to note that not only does the spell have a use case in combat, but also in roleplay (RP) encounters.
For combat, it is a great defensive spell, as you can use it on yourself or another party member who is about to be attacked, allowing them to reposition easily. For a RP situation, if your character gets into some strife at a nearby village or with the law, it’s easy enough to run around a corner and then cast it to prevent being captured.
Can You Cast Invisibility on Yourself in 5e?
Invisibility can be cast on yourself or someone else. Invisibility is a relatively easy spell to get your hands on even in the early game, and its effects end if the target attacks or casts a spell.
It has a range of 15 squares, and there is also a weight limit although this is unlikely to affect most characters in D&D as it scales with level.
How Do You Counter Invisibility in 5e?
A general understanding of what invisibility is and what it is not, as well as the specific rules that apply to it in D&D, will be a good start to understanding how to counter it properly.
Keep in mind that this spell is sometimes controversial, so be sure to discuss it with your dungeon master beforehand so you understand how it will be treated. Invisibility enables you to become completely hidden from sight, generally via some form of magical effect. In the D&D world, this is via the 2nd level illusion spell, invisibility.
This causes sight-based perception checks to fail every time automatically.
There is another spell named See Invisibility which should be fairly straightforward to understand given its name. The ability True Sight, which is not uncommon as you get to higher levels, will also pierce the veil. There are also several magic items that can see invisible objects and characters.
An invisible creature is impossible to see without using magic, an item, or some special sense.
For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. As per the flavor text of the spell, the creature’s location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves. This can be a serious issue if the creature is not breathing (eg golems) or flying. Any attack rolls against the invisible entity will incur a disadvantage, whereas the creature’s attack rolls have an advantage applied.
Some esoteric strategies have been theorycrafted, such as a player casting a spell-like moonbeam, then having a second player casting invisibility on the first, and the invisibility will stay as long as player two maintains concentration. This could allow player one to continue to move moonbeam around and cause damage despite being invisible, as moving moonbeam is not an attack action. Technically it’s not casting a spell but as it is taking up player one’s concentration slot, that is a fair price.
Keep in mind that a caster can’t maintain more than one spell at a time.
Can You Be Attacked While Invisible per 5e?
If you’re invisible, then spells are not going to be able to target you, as spells require the caster to see the target. Without other aids as discussed above to see invisible creatures, any other attacks will also fail.
While under the spell, your character will become heavily obscured which means attacks against you have a disadvantage, and attacks you make have advantage if somehow an entity is able to target or guess approximately where you are to launch an attack.