Potion of See Invisibility - if you really would need one as a GM


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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If you really would need a potion of see invisibility to be found by the PC (let's say, you'd like to GM a pirate-style 1st Ed PF adventure and this magical item appears to be essential to advance the plot), which level, rarity, and cost would that item be in PF2?

Liberty's Edge

Since both Invisibility and See Invisibility are 2nd level spells, I think you’d be safe just mirroring the Invisibility Potion, so 4th level, 20 gp.

If you think it’s actually going to get used, close enough Is probably close enough.

Shadow Lodge

The potential issue with a See Invisibility potion is that it is completely unaffected by scaling (no counteract checks or spell level restrictions), so this low-level potion will actually stay pretty useful all the way through end-game (minus the occasional end-game power that specifically defeats it) and every adventurer should have a pack of them...

Considering this spell was not available in potion form in PF1e (no potions of personal spells), I'm not certain why you feel the PCs will need it...


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If you "really need one to advance the plot" then do the players know that? What happens if they use the thing early/wrong?

If you're handing them a potion of see invisible with blatant instructions of when and where to use it, that feels like weird and awkward railroading to me.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
The potential issue with a See Invisibility potion is that it is completely unaffected by scaling (no counteract checks or spell level restrictions), so this low-level potion will actually stay pretty useful all the way through end-game

Well, that's a characteristic of the spell. If it's homebrew, the potion doesn't need to cast the spell exactly.

You can make a Lesser Potion of See Invisibility that can see 2nd level invisibility, and a Greater Potion of See Invisibility that can see all invisibility.

You could also have it come with drawbacks - the lesser potions sometimes create hallucinations and the greater potions have fewer or none.

---

As a general note: the cost/level is irrelevant if the only way to get it is to find it. The rarity becomes WhateverTheGMWants and it could be Level 28 and cost 1,000,000,000 gp.


You could also just substitute it to Searching vs a higher DC than normal. That seems much easier.

Liberty's Edge

A parrot that has the ability to see the exact invisible thing that is needed, and no other invisible thing. And who can tell the PCs about it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
I'm not certain why you feel the PCs will need it...

Thank you for your deep insight, and... because a 1st-level PCs should follow an invisible opponent to the secret hide out of its boss after consuming this potion. Nothing railroaded, just a simple 1st-level puzzle to be solved.


I definitely don't remember this coming up in, ah, a pirate-style PF1 adventure. Maybe in the underwater exploration PF1 adventure, but not that one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:

If you "really need one to advance the plot" then do the players know that? What happens if they use the thing early/wrong?

If you're handing them a potion of see invisible with blatant instructions of when and where to use it, that feels like weird and awkward railroading to me.

Thank you for your concerns, but yes, the players will know, and no, their PCs can't use it too early or wrongly.

The plot will not blatabtly railroad the PCs to an unwanted target like mindless GM-controlled minions but instead give their players the opportunity to perceive and solve a puzzle (earning their XPs) as the PCs advance to the hideout of the level boss. It should feel like an achievement.

Shadow Lodge

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Scharlata wrote:
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
I'm not certain why you feel the PCs will need it...
Thank you for your deep insight, and... because a 1st-level PCs should follow an invisible opponent to the secret hide out of its boss after consuming this potion. Nothing railroaded, just a simple 1st-level puzzle to be solved.

Mechanically, I'm not certain this actually works: Invisible objects still have concealment ('You can see invisible creatures and objects. They appear to you as translucent shapes, and they are concealed to you.'), so they are free to make hide and sneak checks normally, which means the only difference the lack of full invisibility makes is they are no longer protected from becoming observed on a critically failed sneak check.

Technically speaking, being 'hidden' doesn't help you sneak away, as people know which square you are in ('While you're hidden from a creature, that creature knows the space you're in but can't tell precisely where you are.'), so an invisible creature that tries to move without successfully sneaking can be followed by anyone.

So what I'm seeing is:

  • If the target makes his sneak checks, he'll probably get away (potion or no potion),
  • If the target fails his sneak checks, the PCs can follow him normally (potion or no potion),
  • The fewer PCs that pursue, the better the target's chances to get away (due to fewer potential spot checks), and
  • the more PCs that pursue, the more likely the target will notice them (someone will be bad at stealth or just roll poorly).
Maybe something more along the lines of a distinctive object + Locate scroll combination might work better???


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Watery Soup wrote:
You can make a Lesser Potion of See Invisibility that can see 2nd level invisibility, and a Greater Potion of See Invisibility that can see all invisibility.

Oh, that's a nice catch.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
You could also just substitute it to Searching vs a higher DC than normal. That seems much easier.

Could do it, but that's NOT THE SPIRIT of searching through the creator's workshop who had a "bad feeling" about the PCs findings and brewed a potion or two to better find those "invisible pests" before she/he/it got abducted by those them...

Just think of it like you stumble into an empty workshop of someone you talked to earlier and stated your concerns and the potion's creator said "Wait until tomorrow, I've to get to my books tonight and do some preparations. Come back tomorrow!" just to get mystically lost in the meantime...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
So what I'm seeing is:
  • If the target makes his sneak checks, he'll probably get away (potion or no potion),
  • If the target fails his sneak checks, the PCs can follow him normally (potion or no potion),
  • The fewer PCs that pursue, the better the target's chances to get away (due to fewer potential spot checks), and
  • the more PCs that pursue, the more likely the target will notice them (someone will be bad at stealth or just roll poorly).
Maybe something more along the lines of a distinctive object + Locate scroll combination might work better???

Aha, that's of more relevance, of course. Thank you again for sharing your analysis.

But then I wonder why see invisibility as a spell exists if it's that irrelevant. I still assume that even in PF2 if you are invisible, you are much harder to "see" than if not or if anyone cast see invisibility to see translucent, concealed shapes that are mere hidden than undetected. At least you have a chance to start seeking/searching - contrary to not having a chance at all to spot anything in a crowded street. I'm I that wrong?

Shadow Lodge

Scharlata wrote:
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
So what I'm seeing is:
  • If the target makes his sneak checks, he'll probably get away (potion or no potion),
  • If the target fails his sneak checks, the PCs can follow him normally (potion or no potion),
  • The fewer PCs that pursue, the better the target's chances to get away (due to fewer potential spot checks), and
  • the more PCs that pursue, the more likely the target will notice them (someone will be bad at stealth or just roll poorly).
Maybe something more along the lines of a distinctive object + Locate scroll combination might work better???

Aha, that's of more relevance, of course. Thank you again for sharing your analysis.

But then I wonder why see invisibility as a spell exists if it's that irrelevant. I still assume that even in PF2 if you are invisible, you are much harder to "see" than if not or if anyone cast see invisibility to see translucent, concealed shapes that are mere hidden than undetected. At least you have a chance to start seeking/searching - contrary to not having a chance at all to spot anything in a crowded street. I'm I that wrong?

Just to be clear, I was referring to your 'See Invisibility' potion in my list, not the 'Invisibility' potion.

Low Level stealth is greatly hampered by two major restrictions:

  • You need to have cover/concealment both at the end of your sneak and for the entirety of the 'not your turn' period, and
  • You are restricted to half speed, which is only 10' per sneak action for most starting characters.
The Invisible condition goes a long way towards making sneaking viable by allowing you to cross more than a single square of open space, but you still need to make the appropriate sneak checks, so it's not really a 'free escape option' for the low dexterity character untrained in stealth and wearing full plate (it makes a sneaky character sneakier, but it doesn't really make a non-sneaky character sneaky, which makes sense when you consider how cheap a potion is versus how much investment a sneaky build takes).

See Invisibility still leaving the target concealed is the 'issue' in your plan: Honestly, I hadn't actually looked at it before this discussion, but it seems pretty weak now. It's still pretty useful against opponents who use the 'does not break on hostile action' version and skip the sneak checks entirely while attacking you, but it seems fairly useless against someone actually trying to sneak around...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Low Level stealth is greatly hampered by two major restrictions:
  • You need to have cover/concealment both at the end of your sneak and for the entirety of the 'not your turn' period, and
  • You are restricted to half speed, which is only 10' per sneak action for most starting characters.

The plot would be: There's a super-low level minion that is tasked to stay invisible (2nd level) all the time by its boss just to spy and report on the PCs. After "discovering" the (lesser) see invisibility potion [that any one PC could consume/use - maybe the one with the best Stealth/Seek statistics], the PC(s) just will have a chance to start to pursue the invisible minion that is "casually sneaking" amongst the street crowds to accidentally reveal the boss's hideout [just as it befits a low-level minion spoiling the "masterplan"].

I would handle the pursuit the way it is suggested in that adventure plot and was interested in the mechanics and the cost/rarity/level of such an item. I'm new to PF2 as a GM even if I'm "into the game" since the 80s of last century. I'm trying to get a feeling for the new mechanics, and you are helping me. Thank you.


Ah. If you're leaving it as one of many ways to find the hideout (and one that doesn't require that they know how to use it ahead of time), that works better. Remember your Three Clue Rule, and you should be fine.

I will say that if you leave them an invisibility potion and they don't realize that there's someone invisible nearby, they're likely to try to save it for later. If they do realize that there's someone invisible nearby, and they decide to use the potion, there's a decent chance that they'll try to jump the guy and pump him for information instead of following him. I'd suggest giving that a solid chance to work if they come up with it, giving them a few clues (but not certain proof) that there's someone invisible nearby, and counting the entire thing as one "clue" on finding the hideout.

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