Detect Magic Vs. Invisibility


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13 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the errata.

So I played a PFS game recently in which a character used detect magic to isolate an imp under invisibility down to one particular square. He claimed that he'd still be able to see the aura of the creature.

In my primary game group, detect magic cannot pick up anything from invisibility. They are completely invisible. The senior player in our group puts it this way: "How stupid would it be a for a level 2 spell to be countered by a cantrip? No. Just no."

So when someone uses detect magic and looks for someone else under an invisibility spell, what's SUPPOSED to happen?


This is a very hotly debated topic on these boards. I tend to agree with your primary game's GM, but plenty of others agree with the PFS game ruling. That is the RAW interpretation. I just don't like it.


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I agree with your GM as well. I'd never let Detect Magic detect an illusion. An invisible person is invisible because they have a mind effecting enchantment that makes you not notice them. If there was a camera, they would be on the film. If you looked at the camera while they have the spell up, you would not see them.

In my opinion, using DM to detect invisibility would make sense if the invisibility was evocation - a physical bending of the light. As a mind affecting spell, it doesn't matter what he's radiating - you won't notice it because you can't notice it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Cranefist wrote:

I agree with your GM as well. I'd never let Detect Magic detect an illusion. An invisible person is invisible because they have a mind effecting enchantment that makes you not notice them. If there was a camera, they would be on the film. If you looked at the camera while they have the spell up, you would not see them.

In my opinion, using DM to detect invisibility would make sense if the invisibility was evocation - a physical bending of the light. As a mind affecting spell, it doesn't matter what he's radiating - you won't notice it because you can't notice it.

I would agree with you but the problem is invisibility does not stop divination spells. It says so in the rules. it is in the glossary section under invisibility.

Here is the PRD page scroll about 3/4s of the way down to invisibility and it is the 2nd to last sentence in the section.

PRD scroll down to invisibility section

Remember that detect magic takes 3 rounds and is a cone, if the invisible person moves out of the cone the 3 rounds to detect them start over.


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Cranefist wrote:
I agree with your GM as well. I'd never let Detect Magic detect an illusion. An invisible person is invisible because they have a mind effecting enchantment that makes you not notice them.

No matter your stance on DM and Invis, this is patently wrong. If it were true, Invisibility would be Enchantment (mind-affecting), not Illusion (glamer).

Being able to pinpoint a creature that's invisible after 3 rounds of concentration (not negating the 50% miss chance, still can't hit them with a targeted spell) isn't terribly broken. And if the creature gets outside of the cone? Those 3 rounds start over.

DM is not a great counter to Invis. Let's stop pretending like it is.


The imp was stupid, invisibility doesn't trump detect magic, but it also takes three full rounds of observing a given area to pinpoint aura locations. If I'm running the imp, it doesn't stand still for 18 seconds when people are actively looking for it.

Each time the detector turns to examine another area, the clock starts over.

So all the imp has to do is move to the right side of the caster once every nine seconds. He can do that easy, assuming he stays within 60' of the caster to begin with.

EDIT: Because I screwed up basic math in my head & thought 3 rounds = 3x3 = 9 seconds, instead of 18...


1st Round: Presence or absence of magical auras.

2nd Round: Number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura.

3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Knowledge (arcana) skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each. (Make one check per aura: DC 15 + spell level, or 15 + 1/2 caster level for a nonspell effect.) If the aura emanates from a magic item, you can attempt to identify its properties (see Spellcraft).

First it would be three rounds until you could get a location. During those three rounds he could not move out of line of sight, or I'd rule that he had to start over on his three rounds. He also could not have a higher level area effect spell going or that higher level area effect spell would mask the invisibility aura in its own.

Also, this;

Lingering Aura: A magical aura lingers after its original source dissipates (in the case of a spell) or is destroyed (in the case of a magic item). If detect magic is cast and directed at such a location, the spell indicates an aura strength of dim (even weaker than a faint aura). How long the aura lingers at this dim level depends on its original power:

So a high level area effect spell in an area would effectively blind the detect magic for ....

Original Strength Duration of Lingering Aura
Faint 1d6 rounds
Moderate 1d6 minutes
Strong 1d6x10 minutes
Overwhelming 1d6 days

Based on
Spell or Object Aura Power
Faint Moderate Strong Overwhelming
Functioning spell (spell level) 3rd or lower 4th-6th 7th-9th 10th+ (deity-level)
Magic item (caster level) 5th or lower 6th-11th 12th-20th 21st+ (artifact)


Brotato wrote:
Cranefist wrote:
I agree with your GM as well. I'd never let Detect Magic detect an illusion. An invisible person is invisible because they have a mind effecting enchantment that makes you not notice them.

No matter your stance on DM and Invis, this is patently wrong. If it were true, Invisibility would be Enchantment (mind-affecting), not Illusion (glamer).

Being able to pinpoint a creature that's invisible after 3 rounds of concentration (not negating the 50% miss chance, still can't hit them with a targeted spell) isn't terribly broken. And if the creature gets outside of the cone? Those 3 rounds start over.

DM is not a great counter to Invis. Let's stop pretending like it is.

I disagree on a fundamental level with the writers, and I didn't claim to be coming from the book when I answered. I don't care what you think of that. The book is wrong. His GM is right in my opinion.


Ah! Okay.

I'm more inclined with the "you don't pick up anything" interpretation myself, but I didn't know about the 3 round thing. And seemingly, neither did the PFS GM at the table. In play it was "I detect magic. He's over there!" *points*

The three round thing seems pretty fair. Thanks much, everyone!


The greatest benefit, by far, for being invisible is that nobody knows you are there in the first place. Allowing a cantrip to reveal that someone is present means a cantrip is negating the purpose of a level 2 spell.

I fundamentally disagree entirely with detect magic revealing invisible creatures. It's one of the very few actual house rules I have.


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There is a common theme in Pathfinder I like to call the sanctity of choice. The reason you can "just" hit harder is because power attack exists. The reason you can't "just" throw sand in someone's face is to gain a benefit is because the dirty trick maneuver exists. The reason you can't see invis with detect magic is because "see invis" exists. If those line of spells (see invis, true seeing, etc) were completely moot and could be accomplished with detect magic and the like they wouldn't exist.

So, when people are picking and choosing their spells, feats, etc those choices should matter. This is the sanctity of choice and is a good rule of thumb to determine whether something is balanced or not and if something is being used incorrectly.

Shadow Lodge

Cranefist wrote:

I agree with your GM as well. I'd never let Detect Magic detect an illusion. An invisible person is invisible because they have a mind effecting enchantment that makes you not notice them. If there was a camera, they would be on the film. If you looked at the camera while they have the spell up, you would not see them.

In my opinion, using DM to detect invisibility would make sense if the invisibility was evocation - a physical bending of the light. As a mind affecting spell, it doesn't matter what he's radiating - you won't notice it because you can't notice it.

than how can you see them with a hugh enough perception check, in 3.5 you could do this even with a spot check.

or for that matter blind sight and blind sense are explicitly stated to work on them or sent, immune to mind altering does not however mean see invisable.


You would know there was an aura. And it doesn't have to be invisibility, it COULD be a lingering aura. You wouldn't know for three rounds. By then, no longer there.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
You would know there was an aura. And it doesn't have to be invisibility, it COULD be a lingering aura. You wouldn't know for three rounds. By then, no longer there.

Again, the presence of the aura is proof of the presence of an intruder.

This "you can't pinpoint for three rounds, so it's balanced" argument is nonsense. I'm invisible, I'm sneaking. It's a level 2 spell. The whole mission I am on depends on me getting past you. You pop up an AT WILL, UNLIMITED cantrip and "whoops! someone's in here! Close the doors and grab the flour, we're gonna have some fun!"

As I said, in my games no infinitely available cantrip is going to nullify a level 2 spell.


You wouldn't know it was invisibility. Until the third round. Just that there was a magical effect somewhere in the room.


And someone is going to stand there continually spamming detect magic all night? I could have some REAL fun with that one.


Arssanguinus wrote:

You wouldn't know it was invisibility. Until the third round. Just that there was a magical effect somewhere in the room.

I'm a guard. The first thing I do is make sure there is no magic in the damn room. So if some idiot thinks being invisible will make them "invisible" I can spot an aura and know "hey, someone's in the room."

Understand?

What, you think magical items just lay around all over the place?

"Hey, Joe, there's some magic aura in here."
"No worries, it's probably just something Merlin dropped."
"Yeah, he's always dropping magic stuff all over the place."
"Really annoying. Makes me keep thinking there's someone invisible in the dang room."


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Invis has two purpose. One to not let anyone know you are there. Two, they dont know "exactly" where you are, even if they know you are there.

Detect magic only bypasses one of those.

Also it only take a DC 20 perception check to know an invisible creature is in the area. That is not a hard check at all. Once you make the check I see now issue with spending 3 additional rounds to locate the creature square(approximate location) if he is not smart enough to move to another location.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:

You wouldn't know it was invisibility. Until the third round. Just that there was a magical effect somewhere in the room.

I'm a guard. The first thing I do is make sure there is no magic in the damn room. So if some idiot thinks being invisible will make them "invisible" I can spot an aura and know "hey, someone's in the room."

Understand?

What, you think magical items just lay around all over the place?

"Hey, Joe, there's some magic aura in here."
"No worries, it's probably just something Merlin dropped."
"Yeah, he's always dropping magic stuff all over the place."
"Really annoying. Makes me keep thinking there's someone invisible in the dang room."

How many guards are capable of spamming Detect Magic?


Wraith, it bypasses the most important of those.

If I know someone's present, there are dozens of ways to pinpoint their location.

Where do you see that it's a straight DC 20 to spot in invisible creature? What I see is that it's a PLUS 20 on a stealth check, meaning if I'm already stealthy, invisibility is going to make me impossible to detect.


Besides to make a secure room ... Seal the floor and cover it with water. Have trained dogs with high perception checks, etcetera. So many ways to get basically the same effect.


The best use of this I have seen in a game.

A wizard who is escaping casts invisiblity, then relocates. Player casts detect magic. Next round, player moves forward until they detects something, drops DM then casts Cone of Cold. Player looks at me and says I don't need to know exactly where he is... Note, this was done in 3.5 where Detect Magic wasn't spammable.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:

You wouldn't know it was invisibility. Until the third round. Just that there was a magical effect somewhere in the room.

I'm a guard. The first thing I do is make sure there is no magic in the damn room. So if some idiot thinks being invisible will make them "invisible" I can spot an aura and know "hey, someone's in the room."

Understand?

What, you think magical items just lay around all over the place?

"Hey, Joe, there's some magic aura in here."
"No worries, it's probably just something Merlin dropped."
"Yeah, he's always dropping magic stuff all over the place."
"Really annoying. Makes me keep thinking there's someone invisible in the dang room."

You understand the area of effect is a cone?


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Charender wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:

You wouldn't know it was invisibility. Until the third round. Just that there was a magical effect somewhere in the room.

I'm a guard. The first thing I do is make sure there is no magic in the damn room. So if some idiot thinks being invisible will make them "invisible" I can spot an aura and know "hey, someone's in the room."

Understand?

What, you think magical items just lay around all over the place?

"Hey, Joe, there's some magic aura in here."
"No worries, it's probably just something Merlin dropped."
"Yeah, he's always dropping magic stuff all over the place."
"Really annoying. Makes me keep thinking there's someone invisible in the dang room."

How many guards are capable of spamming Detect Magic?

All really good guards take a level of Diviner.


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Since this is the Rules section by RAW Detect Magic would reveal the presence of the magic in round 1, and after 3 rounds would reveal the presence of the Illusion spell.

Invisibility is only a 2nd level spell and isn't the be all and end all of stealth. The Detect Magic counter is slow and clumsy. See Invisible is a vastly better means of detecting invisible and this is shown by it being a 2nd level spell.

If you want uber invisibility you will have to wait till you can cast 8th level spells and get Mind Blank. Then you have your uber invisibility and 15th level or so is about the right power level for that kind of ability.

Even with Detect Magic picking up invisible opponents Invisibility is a great 2nd level spell.


Arssanguinus wrote:
Besides to make a secure room ... Seal the floor and cover it with water. Have trained dogs with high perception checks, etcetera. So many ways to get basically the same effect.

Fine, then take those steps instead of spamming an unlimited cantrip.

It's not as easy to do those things you listed as you think, and it is also easy to defeat them. Levitate or fly will get you off the floor. You can also cover scent.

But you CAN'T stop a simple unlimited spammable cantrip.


Funky Badger wrote:


You understand the area of effect is a cone?

You understand I can spam it all day long?


And the other side could easily use something much more effective than that cantrip.
Such as simply making sure that the person has to open a door or window to enter.


Arssanguinus wrote:

And the other side could easily use something much more effective than that cantrip.

Such as simply making sure that the person has to open a door or window to enter.

And now we are into the realm of move and countermove. You THINK you "made sure" that I had to open a door or window, but I don't necessarily have to move through open doors or windows.

Anyway, this is the rules forum. By strict interpretation of RAW you can't hide from observers simply by being "invisible". All they need to do is spam detect magic and you're screwed. That's RAW.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

The greatest benefit, by far, for being invisible is that nobody knows you are there in the first place. Allowing a cantrip to reveal that someone is present means a cantrip is negating the purpose of a level 2 spell.

I fundamentally disagree entirely with detect magic revealing invisible creatures. It's one of the very few actual house rules I have.

Trust me I had the same argument. I ranted and raved about it myself. But fact is by RAW detect magic can tell you what 5' square an invisible person/item is at after 3 rounds of concentration.

Now that said, it DOES NOT negate the 50% miss chance for attacking an invisible creature. And if that invisible creature moves out of your cone you have to start the 3 rounds over again to find him.

Remember a DC 20 perception check will let you know there is someone invisible in the room with you, flower can be used to show what square that person is in for 1 round. There are lots of ways to detect someone who is invisible this is just one of them and an imperfect one at that. All you know is the general area that the person is.


This is the second time someone has asserted that detecting an invisible person is a straight DC 20 perception check. According to BOTH the "invisibility" spell and the "perception" skill description, invisibility is not a straight DC 20, it is a PLUS TWENTY to the perception check DC.

Perception goes against stealth. So how are you getting it's a straight DC 20?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

This is the second time someone has asserted that detecting an invisible person is a straight DC 20 perception check. According to BOTH the "invisibility" spell and the "perception" skill description, invisibility is not a straight DC 20, it is a PLUS TWENTY to the perception check DC.

Perception goes against stealth. So how are you getting it's a straight DC 20?

First off I said it was DC 20 to notice they were in the room with you. You can see it in the PRD PRD Scroll down to invisibility section

But if you do not feel like scrolling down here is the quote.

PRD wrote:
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.

Detect Magic allows them to pinpoint the square the invisible creature is in after 3 rounds, but it does not negate the 50% miss chance.

In fact by the rules if the invisible creature is in combat with you they are at a -20 to the DC to pinpoint the square they are in so you only need a DC 20 perception check then also.


Banecrow, please explain to me what an "active invisible creature" means. Because if I'm trying to hide from you, even while invisible, I'm going to be as "inactive" as I can possibly be.

It does not say you can notice the presence of "an invisible creature in the room". It says an "active invisible creature within 30 feet."

Thus the DC 20 does not necessarily apply. If I am deliberately trying to hide from you, then you need to make a perception check against my stealth. And that's when the +20 to the DC applies.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Banecrow, please explain to me what an "active invisible creature" means. Because if I'm trying to hide from you, even while invisible, I'm going to be as "inactive" as I can possibly be.

It does not say you can notice the presence of "an invisible creature in the room". It says an "active invisible creature within 30 feet."

Thus the DC 20 does not necessarily apply. If I am deliberately trying to hide from you, then you need to make a perception check against my stealth.

Look at the chart in the invisibility section I linked in my above post.

In the case of they are TRYING to hide from you then it is DC 20 + your stealth check. It lays it all out for you there.

By active I take it to mean it is not taking extra actions to hide its presence such as using stealth etc.

You are right about the 30' but then most rooms are not much bigger than 30'.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Wraith, it bypasses the most important of those.

If I know someone's present, there are dozens of ways to pinpoint their location.

Where do you see that it's a straight DC 20 to spot in invisible creature? What I see is that it's a PLUS 20 on a stealth check, meaning if I'm already stealthy, invisibility is going to make me impossible to detect.

The flat DC 20 check is to notice the creature.

The 20+stealth roll is to pinpoint(find the square it is in) the creature.

If you go to the "Invisibility" section of the glossary it gives you a flat DC just to notice an invisible creature.

Quote:

Invisibility

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.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Banecrow, please explain to me what an "active invisible creature" means. Because if I'm trying to hide from you, even while invisible, I'm going to be as "inactive" as I can possibly be.

It does not say you can notice the presence of "an invisible creature in the room". It says an "active invisible creature within 30 feet."

Thus the DC 20 does not necessarily apply. If I am deliberately trying to hide from you, then you need to make a perception check against my stealth. And that's when the +20 to the DC applies.

Fair enough. It does not say in the room, but the flat DC still applies if you are within 30 feet. It does not say you can only use it within 30 feet, if........

edit:and like I like the flat DC only lets you know someone invisible it is there. The +20 mod is to find the square they are in.


Buri wrote:
... The reason you can't see invis with detect magic is because "see invis" exists. If those line of spells (see invis, true seeing, etc) were completely moot and could be accomplished with detect magic and the like they wouldn't exist...

Agree with this. And there is also the second level Glitterdust spell, which main purpose seems to be outline invisible targets. True Seeing (available from 5th to 7th level) is also a counter to invisibility.

Unlimited Detect Magic is already too powerful, without letting it nerf Invisibility. At most, I might allow a caster using Detect Magic to gain a +10 Perception bonus to find an invisible creature/item.


They completely negate invisibility ... Which is more than detect magic can do.


I'm not saying this is 100% RAW, but the way I always saw it, the DC 20 Perception was to notice something that was invisible, but not trying to hide. Say a pixie got into the room and was just buzzing around invisibly, it'd be a DC 20 to notice it. If the pixie then tried to use stealth, the DC to notice it becomes 20 plus the stealth roll.

Essentially, the DC 20 "notice active invisible creature" would be an opposed check against a Stealth roll of 0 (because the creature made no attempt to hide). Any actual effort at stealth increases the DC to notice it. Even on a nat 1, trying to hide can't be less effective than not hiding, unless you've got negative Dexterity mods and no ranks, in which case you are objectively a clumsy oaf.


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Dakota_Strider wrote:
Buri wrote:
... The reason you can't see invis with detect magic is because "see invis" exists. If those line of spells (see invis, true seeing, etc) were completely moot and could be accomplished with detect magic and the like they wouldn't exist...

Agree with this. And there is also the second level Glitterdust spell, which main purpose seems to be outline invisible targets. True Seeing (available from 5th to 7th level) is also a counter to invisibility.

Unlimited Detect Magic is already too powerful, without letting it nerf Invisibility. At most, I might allow a caster using Detect Magic to gain a +10 Perception bonus to find an invisible creature/item.

It worked in 3.5 so it works in Pathfinder. Nothing in the rules changes this.

Remember this is the "rules forum".

3.5 rules of the game wrote:

Invisibility does not foil detection spells.

A detect spell doesn't make an invisible creature or object visible, but if an unseen subject is in the area where the spell is aimed, the spell can give some hint of the unseen subject's presence. For example, a detect magic spell reveals the presence or absence of magical auras in the area where it is aimed. An invisible creature using an invisibility spell or magic item has a magical aura (thanks to the active spell or magic item) and a detect magic spell aimed into its area will reveal that aura. All the spell user knows, however, is that there is magic present somewhere within the area where the spell is aimed. If the detect magic user scans that same area for 3 consecutive rounds, the spell can reveal the location of the invisible magical aura (if the creature is still in area). The spell doesn't reveal anything else about the creature, or even that it is a creature at all. The spell user could aim an attack at the creature's location and have a chance to hit it

Before the "this is not 3.5" argument comes up, unless the rules have changed then the are the same, and when you compare the 3.5 wording of detect magic and invisibility, both still work the same way.


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Cranefist wrote:


I disagree on a fundamental level with the writers, and I didn't claim to be coming from the book when I answered. I don't care what you think of that. The book is wrong. His GM is right in my opinion.

Seeing as how this is in the Rules Questions forum, you need more than just "I disagree because I don't like it" to back up your assertions. People want evidence not opinions.

I, Wraithstrike, and several others have both shown how DM detecting Invis is both RAW, RAI, and not an optimal way to counter the spell.

Seriously, it's a concentration duration cone that takes 3 rounds to actually find something. It's not a game breaker.


See Invisible, Glitterdust, and True Seeing (I believe) all negate all aspects of Invisibility and Greater Invisibility - including the 50% miss chance.

Personally, I don't see it as overpowered. It's numerous rounds of concentration to identify the exact square, still leaves a 50% miss chance, and can be overcome simply by moving (stealthily) to another square out of the cone.

More than that, before I would let a caster use Detect Magic in this fashion he'd need to have a reason to do so - which would be a high-DC Perception check.


Natch wrote:

I'm not saying this is 100% RAW, but the way I always saw it, the DC 20 Perception was to notice something that was invisible, but not trying to hide. Say a pixie got into the room and was just buzzing around invisibly, it'd be a DC 20 to notice it. If the pixie then tried to use stealth, the DC to notice it becomes 20 plus the stealth roll.

Essentially, the DC 20 "notice active invisible creature" would be an opposed check against a Stealth roll of 0 (because the creature made no attempt to hide). Any actual effort at stealth increases the DC to notice it. Even on a nat 1, trying to hide can't be less effective than not hiding, unless you've got negative Dexterity mods and no ranks, in which case you are objectively a clumsy oaf.

That is incorrect.

Even in 3.5 they had an article on this.

The DC to "notice" a creature, and the DC to "locate" a creature are not the same. The flat DC 20 is just to nice someone within 30 feet. The actual stealth modifier is to pinpoint the square the creature is in.

If you wish to pinpoint the square of the invisible creature the DC is 40(assuming they are not stealthing. That is because of the +20 modifier for pinpointing the creature. Remember, then you make a perception check to locate an invisible creature it is to find the square, not to notice them. That is why noticing them is only a flat 20, but to find the square they are in is much more difficult.


A flat DC 20 to notice an invisible creature trying to hide in a room is absurd on the face of it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Natch wrote:

I'm not saying this is 100% RAW, but the way I always saw it, the DC 20 Perception was to notice something that was invisible, but not trying to hide. Say a pixie got into the room and was just buzzing around invisibly, it'd be a DC 20 to notice it. If the pixie then tried to use stealth, the DC to notice it becomes 20 plus the stealth roll.

Essentially, the DC 20 "notice active invisible creature" would be an opposed check against a Stealth roll of 0 (because the creature made no attempt to hide). Any actual effort at stealth increases the DC to notice it. Even on a nat 1, trying to hide can't be less effective than not hiding, unless you've got negative Dexterity mods and no ranks, in which case you are objectively a clumsy oaf.

That is incorrect.

Even in 3.5 they had an article on this.

The DC to "notice" a creature, and the DC to "locate" a creature are not the same. The flat DC 20 is just to nice someone within 30 feet. The actual stealth modifier is to pinpoint the square the creature is in.

If you wish to pinpoint the square of the invisible creature the DC is 40(assuming they are not stealthing. That is because of the +20 modifier for pinpointing the creature. Remember, then you make a perception check to locate an invisible creature it is to find the square, not to notice them. That is why noticing them is only a flat 20, but to find the square they are in is much more difficult.

It is not always 40 there are modifiers to that DC depending on the situation.

In combat or speaking –20
Moving at half speed –5
Moving at full speed –10
Running or charging –20
Not moving +20
Using Stealth Stealth check +20
Some distance away +1 per 10 feet
Behind an obstacle (door) +5
Behind an obstacle (stone wall) +15

The base DC is 20, to notice if they are within 30'. If you try to pinpoint it then it is still base 20 but you add +20 for invisibility then you add any modifiers.

Example Invisible creature is 20 feet from you and is moving at 1/2 speed and makes a stealth check of 15 the DC to notice them would be 20 (base) + 20(invisible) + 15 (Stealth) +2(distance) -5(movement) = DC52


Funny thing is I think I'm in this group that the OP is talking about. But I didnt have any idea as to what the correct answer would be.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:


You understand the area of effect is a cone?
You understand I can spam it all day long?

But you can't look in every direction, all day long.


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You know, it’s all very nice and all that in someones home-ruled game, Detect Magic (since it can be “spammed” ) doesn’t work against Invisibility. Of course, in some folks games, there is no Invisibility. Or spellcasters. And in others, the “Ghostbusters’ style goggle they can buy down at the high tech shop can detect invis, and then they can shoot them with a rail-gun (powered by peasants) . But who gives a rodent’s rear end?

The question here is what the rules say. And the RAW (and the RAI) both say that given certain circumstances, a Detect Magic can show you generally where a Invisible creature is.

Dems the rules. Take your houserules to the Houserules section, where you can also take about you allowing pulse-lasers, Time-lords, and Pokemon critters. May be fun, but it's not Pathfinder.

Sovereign Court

Even the wording of higher level divination spells imply that they don't beat invisibility (Arcane Site, Greater Arcane Site, Analyze Dweomer, etc) - I believe all three of them say something along the lines of " ... on a creature or object you can see" which to me implies that you have to be able to see something first to see the the aura on it.

It would be nice to get a FAQ on what can see invisibility and what can't.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
A flat DC 20 to notice an invisible creature trying to hide in a room is absurd on the face of it.

I agree, but those are the rules.

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