How does having two gaze attacks work? I'm guessing that creatures must make saving throws against the effects separately, but if the creature focuses its gaze, must the creature pick a gaze or do both gazes occur simultaneously?

For example, a level 9 binder that makes a pact with both Balam and Geryon (Tome of Magic 25-26 and 32, respectively) gains the supernatural abilities icy glare and acidic gaze, both gaze attacks. What happens when such a binder takes a standard action to focus its gaze upon a foe?


1 Answer 1


The gaze rules are kind of... a mess. For one thing, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Rules Compendium disagree on the action necessary to actively use a gaze (DMG has it as an attack action; RC has it as a standard action separate from the attack action); see here for the confusion and controversy around RC supplanting core.

For another, the rules clearly do not consider the possibility of a creature with more than one gaze attack at all. This makes it very difficult to deduce how things are “supposed” to be. I will offer a pedantically-literal rules-as-written analysis, but with the caveat that really, it seems clear to me that the rules just don’t consider this situation at all and really you should ask the DM.

Passive Gaze Attacks

Each character within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw (which can be a Fortitude or Will save) each round at the beginning of his turn.

This statement makes no distinction between where the gaze is coming from; just forces all creatures in range of any gaze to make a saving throw against it each round. So if there are two gazes, each character is making two saving throws each round. The two gazes do not interact at all.

Active Gaze Attacks

A creature with a gaze attack can actively attempt to use its gaze as an attack action [RC: standard action]. The creature simply chooses a target within range, and that opponent must attempt a saving throw.

The issue here is “its gaze.” Is that the gaze attack referred to in the previous sentence? If so, then the creature has to choose a single gaze attack to focus on a target. Or is that just the creature’s gaze, which includes at least one gaze attack but possibly more? If so, then the creature has to roll... a single saving throw against all of them? After all, the rules as “a saving throw.”

  • \$\begingroup\$ The single save seems dubious, given that one could potentially have one save requiring a fortitude save and one requiring a will save. In this case, I am the DM, so there's no passing the buck for making the decision \$\endgroup\$
    – StephenTG
    Jun 2, 2017 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @StephenTG As I said, this is the pedantically-literal rules-as-written interpretation. I do not think that anyone can offer any authoritative alternate interpretation, because the rules are so clearly just missing for the circumstance you want to consider. Anything but the RAW answer would just be my opinion, which doesn’t seem particularly valuable to you (I would probably force the gazing creature to pick a single gaze to focus, but that’s neither here nor there). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 2, 2017 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given the lack of clear RAI, looks like the best I can hope for is opinions. Probably going to end up ruling the compromise of 1 attack action per individual targetted gaze \$\endgroup\$
    – StephenTG
    Jun 2, 2017 at 16:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @StephenTG Opinion-gathering/polls are not allowed on this site. You may need a discussion forum for what you want. Note that the phrase “attack action” means something very different in the rules than people think it does: it refers to the standard-action option known as Attack, not to the “action” used to make any given attack. Compare gaze here (“as an attack action”) with disarm (“As a melee attack”), sunder (“use a melee attack to”), or trip (“as an unarmed melee attack”). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 2, 2017 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko Breath Weapons are hardly a good example for the situation. Gaze Attacks are something that is "always on" and requires no effort from the creature to evoke. Actively gazing requires an action to meet the opponent's gaze, not to evoke the Gaze Attack's power. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2017 at 9:41

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