Glitterdust and Invisible Creatures

Rules Questions

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This may seem like a dumb question, but in my group, we've always played that Glitterdust practically dispels invisibility and never really thought about it that much. But reading the description again, Glitterdust simply outlines invisible creatures and gives them a penalty on stealth checks. It never states that creatures lose the benefit of total concealment that invisibility provides.

So, my question is, is everyone playing it like this and 'visibly outlines' means only that you don't need to make perception checks to locate the creature's square but it still gets its 50% miss chance?

RAW it seems so, the language used in glitterdust isn't the same as that in faerie fire and doesn't say it negates the effects like that spell. Odd as it is a level higher... I suppose we should hit the FAQ button to get it cleared up.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

And outline is all you see with normal vision against a non invisible target unless you have so form of x-ray vision. If you outline a 3d object, the outline forms a hollow 3d object. It still has the same height, width, and depth of the base object. Are you really missing 50% of the time because you cannot see into the depths of their eyes?

RAW I read it as them now being visible. I read it that what were visible and invisible creatures now look the same - like beings made of golden dust. The effect would be similar to an invisible something wrapped in visible cloth.

Glitterdust ends the invisibility. The concealment is granted by invisibility, so it too is killed. It's not exactly the best written spell.

Grand Lodge

I could see it ruled as gaining some kind of concealment, for a few reasons. First, outline. You can't make out any weak points in armor. Additionally, fighting has a lot of reading body language, expressions and whatnot, to predict moves. An outline can't quite give you that. I still play it as dispels though.

Glitterdust ends the invisibility.

If it stated so, then I wouldn't have asked the question. Since it doesn't specifically say that it does, it's open to debate what entails 'visibly outlined'.

Silver Crusade

The condition of invisible talks about the creature being visually indetectable, but glitterdust makes that go away. Perhaps they should reference the condition being gone?

PRD wrote:

Invisible: Invisible creatures are visually undetectable. An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents' Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any). See Invisibility, under Special Abilities.

condition invisible

special ability Invisibility

You should take 'outline' to mean 'ends the invisibility effect'. :)

Silver Crusade

Cheapy wrote:
You should take 'outline' to mean 'ends the invisibility effect'. :)

Should that be updated in the PRD then?

Glitterdust doesn't state anything about removing the condition, it imposes a penalty on stealth rolls, re read the spell description.


A cloud of golden particles covers everyone and everything in the area, causing creatures to become blinded and visibly outlining invisible things for the duration of the spell. All within the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and continues to sparkle until it fades. Each round at the end of their turn blinded creatures may attempt new saving throws to end the blindness effect.

Any creature covered by the dust takes a -40 penalty on Stealth checks.

RAW, you have a horrible penalty to stealth (equal to the bonus on invisibility when standing still) but still maintain total concealment and other bonuses for being invisible, so an opponent knows which square you are in but still would have to roll the miss chance.

Compare that to the Faerie Fire which states it actually removes the condition...

Whatever it may seem like it should do, it isn't written to do what people are expecting so we should hit the FAQ button. Obviously it has come up before (thanks for the link) but it is surprising that there hasn't been errata or a FAQ since then.

I thought the 'visibly outlines' was the same as 'visible'. It'd be like throwing a bucket of paint on an invisible person. You don't actually seem them, just a 'visible outline'.

Otherwise, it would spell out that the visible outline is not as good as normal visibility.

Good call bringing up faerie fire, as that helps explain what "outlined" means.

Outlined creatures do not benefit from the concealment normally provided by darkness (though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally), blur, displacement, invisibility, or similar effects.

Cheapy wrote:

Good call bringing up faerie fire, as that helps explain what "outlined" means.

Outlined creatures do not benefit from the concealment normally provided by darkness (though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally), blur, displacement, invisibility, or similar effects.

Unfortunately 'outlined' isn't a game mechanic definition in that respect. 'Outlined' gets regular use in this game and rarely does it have any mechanical connotation. We have two spells that both use the term descriptively, only one of them contains the actual wording that removes the conditions, the other doesn't and it doesn't refer back to the other spell (often what happens to save word count).

I agree the spell should work the way the OP was using it (and the link explains it should remove invisibility as well), but RAW doesn't back it up... unlike Faerie Fire which states exactly what it does to the 'outlined' target. RAW from the book, glitterdust blinds and gives a nasty penalty to stealth, that is all.

But that's not the case with Glitterdust since, in your quoted post, Jason states that it doesn't affect other forms of concealment.

Yea, that's why I said "helps" rather than just "explains". :)

You'll probably have better luck in the errata thread for this issue.

Although if I recall correctly, Jason says that what he said was based on the wording of the spell. So that'd mean he thinks RAW is different from what's being put forth in thus thread. Of course, I may be misremembering the exact phrasing of his posts.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

On a related note: If a creature is hit with a Glitterdust spell and THEN casts Invisibility on itself, is it invisible as the glitter is actually on the creature rather than outlining it as per Faerie Fire? For instance, some Fae are able to go invisible either multiple times a day or at-will. If they were hit with Glitterdust, shouldn't they be able to cast Invisibility again to negate the Glitterdust's anti-invisibility elements?

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