There are times during games where nobody knows what to do, or how you are suppose to handle it. One of those times is when one or more persons, NPCs, or monsters is invisible. What a nightmare! I mean, the DMG lists a characters chances of hitting an invisible target as –4. –4? Where do they get this number from? If you are attacking an invisible force with a bow and arrow, do you still only have to worry about a –4 penalty? And, if so, what exactly is the bonus for being invisible?
Well, this area really does need some enlightenment. What is invisible in the game? What are the rules which govern it? The answer to all of these questions and more is one of those things which requires a Dungeon Master to determine. Thankfully, however, there are rules which form the guidelines to help us get this done.
Being invisible is more difficult then it sounds. Light passes through you, and you can’t see yourself either. Most tasks are easily preformed, getting on a horse, drawing your weapon, picking up money; however tasks which require fine-motor skills are much harder when you can’t see your fingers. Tasks such as picking a lock, shooting an arrow, catching an object which was tossed to you. These tasks are much more difficult, and may not even be possible! It is up to the DM to decide if a task simply can’t be done, or s/he can impose a –3 penalty to a characters chances of performing a non-weapon proficiency, else a –15% to all percentage based skills.
Of course if there is more then one person invisible, then you run into some severe problems, you have no idea where the other people in the party are and you’re just as likely to strike them if you draw your weapon to attack something. In cases like this, the only person who will know exactly who you are attacking is the DM, somebody may be in the way, unless some plan is made before hand, becoming invisible and rushing into battle is a fools mission!
Invisible is invisible to both normal vision & infravision, however there are some tricks available to those who are being heckled by invisible foes. Mud and powders which stick to the invisible being will remain visible. While an invisible person who is swimming doesn’t leave a hole in the water, viewers may notice the water moving differently as it flows around the invisible force. Invisible people also leave visible foot prints! Notice that all of this depends on how giving a DM is at the moment. An invisible creature in the perfect conditions will be completely invisible, opponents will only be able to attack him when he attacks them. The –4 to hit requires that the person who is trying to hit the invisible being knows exactly where the creature is, if this isn’t known, even a true 20 will miss the target.
Another consideration is light. If the invisible creature requires light to see and moves into a dark area, he’ll need to bring a lightsource with him if he wants to see. If the lantern or torch which the creature is using was on him when the spell was cast, then the vessel (the lantern or torch) will be invisible, however the light will not be. Foes can use this light to pinpoint the location of the invisible person . . . or at least the vessel.
Using a Detect Magic spell does not work, the caster is aware that magic is in the air, however he cannot use the spell to pinpoint the invisible creatures location. Only Detect Invisibility is effective, and that is it.
HOWEVER! Once the DM feels that there is a chance of the character or NPC to notice a sound, smell, or something else from the DM’s deviously brilliant brain that may give away a creatures location, he is allowed to either give the player a Saving Throw vs. Spell or roll one secretly. Making this Saving Throw DOES grant you a –4 to hit, and this is where that modifier comes from. It is totally up to the DM to choose all penalties and to decide if maybe the penalties can be ignored entirely! Of course bribery will get you nowhere, but it never hurts to try.
When dealing with non-intelligent creatures or stupid races/individuals, being alert to the presence of an invisible creature may not be enough to provoke an attack, wild animals and such will be higher on guard! But they aren’t necessarily going to leap and attack something which their eyes tell them isn’t there. Anybody who has ever dealt with a ghost (NASTY creatures) or even heard of a ghost, may instantly flee in fear that the invisible person IS a ghost, which considering how nasty ghosts are, really isn’t all that bad of an idea once you think about it.
Friday, May 22, 2009
vision and light
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