Displacements prevent sneak attacks?


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So has this ever been settled? Specifically, immunity to sneak attacks?

Blur = immunity?
Cloak of Minor Displacement = immunity?

Displacement = non-immunity?
Cloak of Major Displacement = non-immunity?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Really? Nothing? I want to know if the cloak of minor displacement makes you immune to sneak attacks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Dude, don't disturb the dead!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Dude, don't disturb the dead!

I will cut this corpse open and see if the answer is written in the blood spillage if I need to, but the answer to my question must be found.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

I'd initially believed it negated sneak attacks, but now I'm actually inclined to believe it doesn't.

Under sneak attack, we have that rogues can't SA something with concealment. Under blur, we have that it grants the subject concealment (which itself grants 20% miss chance). A cloak of minor displacement grants the wearer a continual blur effect, so this should seem easy. What stands out to me is the wording used in the cloak of minor and major displacement entries.

Cloak of Major Displacement wrote:
This item appears to be a normal cloak, but on command its magical properties distort and warp light waves. This displacement works just like the displacement spell and lasts for a total of 15 rounds per day, which the wearer can divide up as she sees fit.
Cloak of Minor Displacement wrote:
This item appears to be a normal cloak, but when worn by a character, its magical properties distort and warp light waves. This displacement works similar to the blur spell, granting a 20% miss chance on attacks against the wearer. It functions continually.

In what ways can the cloak work 'similar to' rather than 'just like' the spell?

Blur wrote:

The subject's outline appears blurred, shifting, and wavering. This distortion grants the subject concealment (20% miss chance).

A see invisibility spell does not counteract the blur effect, but a true seeing spell does.
Opponents that cannot see the subject ignore the spell's effect (though fighting an unseen opponent carries penalties of its own).

From the description the only meaningful difference I can infer is that the cloak grants a miss chance rather than actual concealment. While the latter is the most common granter of the former, we have from the displacement spell (and WotC's 3.5 FAQ) that they are not always the same thing. Sneak attack is negated by concealment, but does not make any mention of miss chance.


I have a hard time believing this spell was supposed to be inferior to blur in these respects, the way I play it is that it negates SA but it doesn't prevent AoO, I'd like to have some developers opinion on this one though.

My reasoning being that the displacement still shows when the target is exposed or vulnerable so can still take a swing at him/her.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A displaced pencil. Just so we all have a visual referent here.

That is what you see when you look at someone under displacement, more or less. The part of the pencil that's out of the water is the real caster, the part that's in is the image. Now, we lack the visual cue of the water to tell us which one is the real location, and moreover, at any given moment, real caster and image could occupy any space within the square they occupy.

You can perfectly see where the caster's vitals are. You can target them normally. If you can flank or deny Dex, then you can attempt a sneak attack. But half the time you hit the insubstantial image instead.

For further reference, here's how Baldur's Gate depicted a Cloak of Displacement: notably not as invisibility.


The Displacement spell does seem to be vaguely worded.

Intuitively, I think that the level 3 spell should be at least as good as the level 2 Blur - but it isn't. Why is the duration of Displacement rounds while Blur is minutes? This makes no sense.

From the point of view of balancing the spells, if I had to adjudicate as a GM this during a game, I would rule that Displacement should block sneak attack.

As a player, I'm never going to take Displacement over Blur anyway because of the combination of higher level and shorter duration.


Beware threadomancy!


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Doesn't the spell grant a miss chance, but not concealment?


Princess Of Canada wrote:

By all intensive purposes then Displacement is practically useless then against Rogues, everyone should use Blur instead even through that spell is a weaker version of Displacement. I would rather have a 20% miss chance that guarantees a Rogue could never sneak attack me whereas I'd have a spell that might protect me from it 50% of the time.

Missing a target by 2 feet and winging it accidentally (and luckily) is not delivering precise attacks to vital areas.

That is like saying your poking a training dummy in the heart but its somehow hidden by an illusion and you actually poked at where you thought it was and somehow clipped it in the arm.

And as for using it to sneak?, no, because your still there, albeit the illusion is there doing everything you do exactly, and it stays within 2 feet of you, it would not provide you with any advantages for stealth because the illusion is fully visible to all just as you were.

First regardless of descriptive text about the actual location of the target being 2 feet away the spell specifically uses the phrase "as if it had total concealment" indicating it does not actually have concealment but grants the same 50% miss chance it would get if it did.

Contrast this to Blur that actually flat out says "This distortion grants the subject concealment (20% miss chance)."

There is nothing in the spell that indicates that if you get by the 50% miss chance that you only hit an arm or a leg. That is your personal addition. There is nothing in the spell that indicates that if you get by the 50% miss chance you just "wing it" or "clipped it" or any of the other terms you have used. That is just how you view the spell working and you are reading it in there.

Displacement is NOT useless for all intents and purposes against a rogue because there is still a 50/50 chance that any given attack is going to miss you entirely. Sure with blur he can never get a sneak attack but is going to be actually hitting you a lot more often.

Scarab Sages

Displacement combined with Silken Ceremonial Armor of Fortification seems like the most effective option...

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