How Hard is it to Pinpoint an Invisible Wizard?


Rules Questions


Right, I'm stumped by this and would appreciate some help.

I'm thinking of playing a halfling wizard in an upcoming game, which will start at 3rd level. I want to focus on summoning and buffing while invisible. This means I'll be casting quite a few 1 round spells (Enlarge Person, Summon Monster).

What I need to know is how hard it will be for foes to pinpoint my square while I'm casting. So I go to Invisibility, in the special abilities section (p563 core rulebook, identical text in the PSRD) and try and work out the pinpoint DCs.

On the whole these look the same as in 3.5. The table's a bit confusing (you start with a base DC40 and add or subtract the table mods), but maybe it's bound to be with Listen rolled into Perception and Move Silently rolled into Stealth. And the way it all combines with the Stealth description is also less than clear, but I think I get it (you can't use Stealth at all if you're audibly casting: in that case you just use the base invisibility pinpoint DC). Anyway, it all works, with one exception.

Pathfinder has added an entry to the special ability table. When you're 'not moving', the DC to pinpoint you is now 40 easier. If you're spellcasting verbally, this stacks with a -20 to the base 20 DC, for a total base of DC -20 (base 40 minus 60). By comparison, the DC to pinpoint a charging, shouting creature is DC 0, the DC to pinpoint a silent charging creature is DC20, and the DC to pinpoint an invisible creature talking and moving at half speed is DC15.

There's something amiss here, but I can't see how to correct it. A simple change from -40 to +40 is clearly wrong - that would mean the invisible motionless summoner can only be pinpointed with a DC60 Perception check (base 40 +40 -20). -40 to +20 would tally with the rules for Stealth - which give you +40 when invisible and motionless - but results in a base DC40 to pinpoint the invisible summoner, which also seems to me too high.

My gut tells me this entry shouldn't exist at all. This gives a DC20 to pinpoint the speaking, invisible summoner within 30' (this is all within 30') instead of the normal DC40. I could also see the logic of 'not moving' attracting a -5 or -10 to the Perception DC, but putting -40 when you mean -5 or -10 doesn't seem a natural typo.

I haven't seen this problem come up elsewhere on the boards, so any clarification or advice would be helpful. Cheers,

The Porp.


It's opposed skill checks -- stealth versus perception.


Abraham - thanks for replying, but that doesn't solve the -40 'not moving' modifier issue.

(I also think that you can't use Stealth at all if you're audibly spellcasting. From Stealth: "If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth." Therefore, if you're invisible but actively talking - audibly spellcasting - Perception isn't opposing Stealth but the base DCs given for Invisibility. Stealth only modifies those base DCs).

Whether the invisibility pinpoint DC is modified by Stealth or not, though, the -40 DC modifier for 'not moving' makes little sense to me. What do you think it means?


Well stealth carries some restrictions that falls in line with invisibility. But, I think if you are invisible and not moving and not speaking then how is anyone supposed to find you? You could use a kind of tracking with Survival, but if no tracks are evident you have no clues to go on.

Check out these rules for stealth:

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. You can move up to half your normal speed and use Stealth at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than half but less than your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty. It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.

If you run while invisible you're giving away a lot about your position, if you move at greater than half your speed you're taking negative penalties and if you move full speed I'd rule its now -10.

So an invisible wizard moving at full speed only gets +10 to stealth. Seeing as most wizards to not have any ranks in stealth and it is not a class skill it wouldn't be impossible for an observant character to discover their location.

A character with perception as a class skill and a +2 wisdom modifier receives +8 to perception checks at level 3..


Well, the DC is 20.

PFSRD states:

Quote:

A creature can generally notice the presence of an active invisible creature within 30 feet with a DC 20 Perception check.

It's practically impossible (+20 DC) to pinpoint an invisible creature's location with a Perception check.

Even once a character has pinpointed the square that contains an invisible creature, the creature still benefits from total concealment (50% miss chance). There are a number of modifiers that can be applied to this DC if the invisible creature is moving or engaged in a noisy activity.

If the person is casting, the +20 DC is negated, so the DC is a flat 20.

Look under special abilities and it explains it there. I can't link it because I don't know how.


I guess I'm not being clear. What I'm seeking advice about is just this:

An invisible wizard casts Summon Monster. He is not moving for a round, but is talking. What is the Perception DC to pinpoint his position?


Globetrotter -

That's what the DC should be, I think. But it's not.

The base pinpoint DC is 40, as you say.

Talking (audibly casting) is on the table, and reduces the DC by 20, to DC20.

Not moving is also on the table, and reduces the DC by 40, to DC minus 20.

It is the last of these table entries that is not fitting.


Maybe I didn't get what you asked...

If you are standing still, the DC goes up. But if you are casting, I would say that condition is the same as being in combat since you have to speak in a strong voice.

SO that is how I came to that DC. If he is finished casting, so the next round, it would depend on what his is doing.

If he is just standing, then it is 40.

At least that is how I see it. It is a bit confusing.

Liberty's Edge

porpentine wrote:


I guess I'm not being clear. What I'm seeking advice about is just this:

An invisible wizard casts Summon Monster. He is not moving for a round, but is talking. What is the Perception DC to pinpoint his position?

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/special-abilities#TOC-Invisibility

So -20 to perception check (speaking) to pinpoint the location at attack that spot vs stealth. Wizard still has total concealment even if pinpointed.

At least that is my reading.


If you are just standing then the DC is 40. The table may be wrong, but it is 40. If you cast a spell it drops to 20.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Looks like d20PFSRD has been errataed. Scroll down and check out the table there. There's a link to a post by SKR on the issue.

EDIT: It's apparently fixed in the 4th printing of the core book but not yet in the PRD.


http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/glossary.html

Look here under special abilities to figure out things about invisibility. Indeed the DC drops from 40 to 20 if the wizard speaks or casts a spell that involves speaking.


It sure is confusing me. And I like to know how a character is going to play.

If he is just standing, invisible and making no sound, then Stealth can kick in. Stealth gives +40 for being invisible and motionless (in the Stealth section) and is added to to base pinpoint DC (on the Invisibility section table). The Invisibility special ability table also gives -40 for being motionless. If the table is right, neither of these +40/-40 adjustments is worth the ink. They cancel out, and the DC to pinpoint is the base 40+Stealth.

If he is just standing for a round, invisible and audibly spellcasting (I don't know if you have to speak in a strong, clear voice, but regardless), he can't use Stealth - he's being 'observed' with one of the senses, according to the Stealth section. He then suffers a -20 and a -40 to the base pinpoint DC of 40, for a running total of DC minus 20.

DC40+Stealth, to pinpoint an audibly casting invisible summoning wizard, is very high - higher than the normal DC40 to pinpoint (and this is a halfling wizard I'm thinking of playing, too).

DC minus 20 is ludicrously low.

DC20 feels right, but that's not what the table says.


porpentine wrote:


It sure is confusing me. And I like to know how a character is going to play.

If he is just standing, invisible and making no sound, then Stealth can kick in. Stealth gives +40 for being invisible and motionless (in the Stealth section) and is added to to base pinpoint DC (on the Invisibility section table). The Invisibility special ability table also gives -40 for being motionless. If the table is right, neither of these +40/-40 adjustments is worth the ink. They cancel out, and the DC to pinpoint is the base 40+Stealth.

If he is just standing for a round, invisible and audibly spellcasting (I don't know if you have to speak in a strong, clear voice, but regardless), he can't use Stealth - he's being 'observed' with one of the senses, according to the Stealth section. He then suffers a -20 and a -40 to the base pinpoint DC of 40, for a running total of DC minus 20.

DC40+Stealth, to pinpoint an audibly casting invisible summoning wizard, is very high - higher than the normal DC40 to pinpoint (and this is a halfling wizard I'm thinking of playing, too).

DC minus 20 is ludicrously low.

DC20 feels right, but that's not what the table says.

It is not hard to pinpoint a 5 ft square by sound. It is a decent size area if you map it out in real life. Remember distance penalties to perception still apply so it should be higher than 20 in the end depending on how far the opponent is away.


Joana wrote:

Looks like d20PFSRD has been errataed. Scroll down and check out the table there. There's a link to a post by SKR on the issue.

EDIT: It's apparently fixed in the 4th printing of the core book but not yet in the PRD.

Joana, thank you - that's exactly the information I was looking for.

(Although...it still doesn't feel like the right correction. Changing the 'not moving' modifier from -40 to +20 means that pinpointing an invisible, motionless, talking wizard requires a DC40 Perception check. That's awfully high...)

Wraith, I agree (though all this assumes 30' by the book; range mods are separate). I think it should be DC20, but the errata Joana links to says DC40 (base 40, minus 20 for speaking, plus 20 for not moving). Guess I'll present all this to the future DM and see what he prefers.

Liberty's Edge

porpentine wrote:
Joana wrote:

Looks like d20PFSRD has been errataed. Scroll down and check out the table there. There's a link to a post by SKR on the issue.

EDIT: It's apparently fixed in the 4th printing of the core book but not yet in the PRD.

Joana, thank you - that's exactly the information I was looking for.

(Although...it still doesn't feel like the right correction. Changing the 'not moving' modifier from -40 to +20 means that pinpointing an invisible, motionless, talking wizard requires a DC40 Perception check. That's awfully high...)

Wraith, I agree (though all this assumes 30' by the book; range mods are separate). I think it should be DC20, but the errata Joana links to says DC40 (base 40, minus 20 for speaking, plus 20 for not moving). Guess I'll present all this to the future DM and see what he prefers.

Well moving if the spell has a somatic component he isn't standing still.

I would interpret still as motionless.


porpentine wrote:
Joana wrote:

Looks like d20PFSRD has been errataed. Scroll down and check out the table there. There's a link to a post by SKR on the issue.

EDIT: It's apparently fixed in the 4th printing of the core book but not yet in the PRD.

Joana, thank you - that's exactly the information I was looking for.

(Although...it still doesn't feel like the right correction. Changing the 'not moving' modifier from -40 to +20 means that pinpointing an invisible, motionless, talking wizard requires a DC40 Perception check. That's awfully high...)

Wraith, I agree (though all this assumes 30' by the book; range mods are separate). I think it should be DC20, but the errata Joana links to says DC40 (base 40, minus 20 for speaking, plus 20 for not moving). Guess I'll present all this to the future DM and see what he prefers.

Realize that's a perception check with nothing else adding in to help you. Instead using See Invisibility, blindsense, blindsight or the whole host of blind-fighting feats that just came out could really help cause your wizard to be found quickly.

Not to mention the fact that they don't have to pinpoint you to lob a fireball in the correct area (or bomb, alchemist fire, AoE spell, etc) which could really ruin your day.

Simply watching you summon monsters or cause other magical effects could give away your position to a canny opponent that knows spell effect ranges.


In the table... under special abilites: Invisibility.. it says.. again...

If the creature that is invisible is in combat OR speaking they get a -20 to their check to avoid being detected. That includes standing still and speaking...


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There is a sorcerer in my game that sometimes turn invisible, and this is how I handle it. The info below includes a house rule that allows a caster to target an invisible creature with an area effect with a +10 modifier to Perception, instead of the +20 modifier to pinpoint a square. Also, I posted this info before the errata correction came out, but I think my adjustment does the same thing as the errata.

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Invisibility is a lengthy section, so I'm just going to include the points I find most relevant.

Quote:


The ability to move about unseen is not foolproof. While they can't be seen, invisible creatures can be heard, smelled, or felt.

Invisibility makes a creature undetectable by vision, including darkvision.

Invisibility does not, by itself, make a creature immune to critical hits, but it does make the creature immune to extra damage from being a ranger's favored enemy and from sneak attacks.

A creature can generally notice the presence of an active invisible creature within 30 feet with a DC 20 Perception check. The observer gains a hunch that “something's there” but can't see it or target it accurately with an attack. It's practically impossible (+20 DC) to pinpoint an invisible creature's location with a Perception check. Even once a character has pinpointed the square that contains an invisible creature, the creature still benefits from total concealment (50% miss chance). There are a number of modifiers that can be applied to this DC if the invisible creature is moving or engaged in a noisy activity.

If an invisible creature is doing anything within 30 ft besides standing still, it can be noticed with a DC 20 Perception check. Pinpointing the exact location increases the DC by +20, so a DC 40 Perception check allows you to target the square of an active invisible creature. There is also a house rule that allows you to notice the general area of a creature with a +10 modifier, so a DC 30 Perception check allows you to target an active invisible creature with an area effect (i.e. fireball, channel energy, etc). But the invisible creature still has total concealment, so attack rolls have a 50% miss chance and spells that require you to see the creature would not work (i.e. magic missile requires a target, but scorching ray does not - it creates a ray, which in turn, can be shot wherever you want).

All this being said, many actions modify the Perception check DC. The following chart is taken from the book, and I have included modified DCs based off the DC 20 to notice an active invisible creature within 30 ft.

Quote:

Invisible creature is...Perception

In combat or speaking: -20 = DC 0
Moving at half speed: -5 = DC 15
Moving at full speed: -10 = DC 10
Running or charging: -20 = DC 0
Not moving: -40 (typo??)
Using Stealth: Stealth check +20
Some distance away: +1 per 10 feet
Behind an obstacle (door): +5
Behind an obstacle (stone wall): +15
Quote:

To recap, the base check is Perception DC 20 to notice an active invisible creature within 30 ft, +20 to pinpoint the square (DC 40), or +10 to target with an area effect (DC 30). Adding the above modifiers means...

Combat, speaking (i.e. casting spell with verbal component), charging or running impose a -20 penalty, so it becomes Perception DC 0 to notice activity within 30 ft, DC 20 to pinpoint the square, or DC 10 to target with an area effect.

Moving at half-speed imposes a -5 penalty, so it becomes Perception DC 15 to notice activity within 30 ft, DC 35 to pinpoint the square, or DC 25 to target with an area effect. This could be good to do if you have a terrible Stealth modifier but want to be just move around somewhat sneaky.

Moving at full speed imposes a -10 penalty, so it becomes Perception DC 10 to notice invisible activity within 30 ft, DC 30 to pinpoint the square, or DC 20 to target with an area effect.

The "Not moving" line seems incorrect. It make more sense that the DC should go down when immobile, and the Stealth skill does note that when invisible, being immobile gives a +40 bonus to Stealth checks, and the bonus is +20 while moving. It seems like being immobile increases invisible sneakiness by +20, so applying the same increase here gives Perception DC 40 to notice an immobile invisible creature within 30 ft, DC 60 to pinpoint the square, or DC 50 to target with an area effect.

When using Stealth, the Perception DC is Stealth check +20, and making a Stealth check requires moving at half-speed. Or you can move at more than half-speed but less than full speed with a -5 penalty (i.e. Stealth check +15). Also, being immobile while invisible is Stealth check +40. If you make a Stealth check of 17, the Perception DC would be DC 37 to notice you within 30 ft, DC 57 to pinpoint the square, or DC 47 to target with an area effect.

All these DCs are to notice an active invisible creature within 30 ft. Beyond that, the DC increases by +1 per 10 ft.


Reefwood - thanks, that's the kind of stuff I was looking for.

Stynkk and others - yes, talking lowers the Perception DC by 20. Keep reading the table. It also says that not moving lowers the Perception DC by 40. These stack.

The base pinpoint DC is 40. These two modifiers say that, within 30', the 1-round caster's square can be pinpointed with a DC-20 Percpetion check. That's minus 20.

To illustrate the ludicrousness of this: each 10' beyond 30' adds 1 to the Perception DC. A one-eyed, one-eared, one-nostrilled beggar will pinpoint the invisible summoner's square 230' away, since this will bring the Perception DC to 0, if you go by the book.

The errata Joana links to (which hasn't been applied to the psrd) changes the not moving modifier, from -40 to +20. In my opinion, this overcompensates. It means that the 1-round invisible caster's square can only be pinpointed with a DC40 Perception check.

My gut tells me the not moving modifier should be +0 when you can't use Stealth (eg when you're audibly spellcasting). That results in a DC20 Perception check to pinpoint.

On a separate note, the more I look at the the Invisibility condition modifier table, the worse it is. The not moving modifier is clearly wrong - but the movement modifiers are also at odds with those that apply to Stealth.

So there needs to be a second table errata/a second houserule: the movement modifiers on p563 apply only when Stealth can't be used (for example, when the invisible caster is audibly casting).

For example, if the wizard isn't talking, he can use Stealth, and can then move half his speed without penalty. If he can't use Stealth, he must have to use the p563 modifiers, which apply - among other things -a penalty (bonus to the Perceptor) if the wizard moves half speed.

Horrible, horrible table.

The Exchange

Try this. Put on a blind fold. Have several of your friends engage in conversation at various locations 10' to 30' around you. Have one of these friends say, "I'm casting a spell". Point at that person and remove the blindfold.

Are you pointing directly at him? Kinda close?

For the record, I've not tried this and have no idea how it would come out, but I suspect it will be harder than you think.

Sovereign Court

Joana wrote:

Looks like d20PFSRD has been errataed. Scroll down and check out the table there. There's a link to a post by SKR on the issue.

EDIT: It's apparently fixed in the 4th printing of the core book but not yet in the PRD.

I have to say, D20PFSRD is updated a lot faster, I don't bother with the PRD anymore.


porpentine wrote:

Reefwood - thanks, that's the kind of stuff I was looking for.

To illustrate the ludicrousness of this: each 10' beyond 30' adds 1 to the Perception DC. A one-eyed, one-eared, one-nostrilled beggar will pinpoint the invisible summoner's square 230' away, since this will bring the Perception DC to 0, if you go by the book.

Your very welcome.

As for the 230' away, you could change the -1 per 10 ft modifier based on conditions. For example, if someone invisible was running down a dirt road, DC 0 at 230' away doesn't seem out of line since they will have a big line of kicked up dust behind them in addition to noise and possibly footprints. Lots to see there even with the person invisible, and there is still the 50% miss chance for total concealment. Even someone walking at regular speed could leave somewhat of a trail of dust, footprints, and noise.

But in situations where you think it should be harder, you could increase the modifier to -2 per 10 ft (i.e. if they are making noise but leaving no signs of movement - like casting without moving, so the beggar gets to use hearing but not sight...hmmm, but this would assume no movement, so if the spell requires a somatic component, that requires moving and any gear or armor could make noise...so I guess, someone who is just standing still and talking while invisible may not necessarily be the same as someone standing still and casting, especially if they are waving a hand around and have items on them that can rattle and make noise).

Invisibility is kind of odd to replicate perfectly into the rules because most people see better than they can hear, so it would seem that removing sight imposes a bigger penalty than removing hearing...which the rules actually do...though, not directly to the Perception modifier, but the difference does come up in other ways that benefit the invisible person, such as the 50% miss chance for total concealment.

I guess it somewhat comes down to how detailed you (and your DM) want to get with this. You could have all sorts of special modifiers set up for different situations, or your DM could come up with them on the fly, or if you want to keep it simple just stick with the rules provided.

A couple other tricky things that came up in the game I run is how using the fly spell affects invisibility detection. The target isn't walking, so that it no footprints and could be less noise, but I didn't want to get caught up in too many conditional modifiers, so we didn't make any adjust to Perception DC while he was flying, especially since he was wearing armor. The other thing was...what happens when someone tries to pass through the square of an invisible creature? I handled it like Bull Rush (that's the one where you try to move through an opponent's square, right?), so the invisible target could let the person pass through or block them, but if the person ended their square in the invisible target's square, the person would be bumped back to their last legal square or the closest legal square (as per the normal rules).

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