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Since Mage Hand can be made invisible, is the opposite true? Can Mage Hand be made opaque?

My idea is to cast Mage Hand and have it cover a creature's eyes, like when someone comes up behind you and covers your eyes and says "Guess who?" It isn't attacking and so wouldn't do damage, but most creatures need to see you to attack or cast a spell or move.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about Mage Hand or the Trickster Rogue's Mage Hand Legerdermain? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mage Hand - PH256 \$\endgroup\$ – Zhiltch Mar 28 '18 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a way to do this with crativity and a tablecloth:) \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Mar 31 '18 at 20:47
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No, Mage Hand can not be Opaque or Invisible.

Invisibility?

Mage Hand (PHB, 256) does not allow for it to become Invisible. The language is clear in it's description of what it looks like:

A spectral, floating hand appears at a point you choose within range. The hand lasts for the duration or until you dismiss it as an action. The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again.

Using it to Blind

The language around how you can use your mage hand is also fairly clear(emphasis mine).

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

The hand can't attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

While using it to "blind" a creature isn't necessarily an attack, there also isn't an action that generally does this. Allowing a cantrip to easily give the Blinded condition would be significantly overpowered. If you aren't sure how that would play out, you could imagine that the hand tries to cover the eyes, and the creature simply moves their head. Without being able to 'hold' it over their eyes (which is basically an attack), then there is no way to keep it in front of them.

Spectral form

It is also spectral in form. That suggests that you can see through it as well even if it was over your eyes.

Mage Hand Legerdermain

You may be confusing Mage Hand with the Arcane Trickster's Mage Hand Legerdemain (PHB, 98)

Starting at 3rd level, when you cast mage hand, you can make the spectral hand invisible...

Bigby's Hand

The spell Bigby's Hand (PHB 218) is a 5th level spell that doesn't even allow giving the Blinded condition. It can interpose itself between you and attacker giving 1/2 cover (and do a lot of other very cool things, including Grapple.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would also think 'spectral' would mean it's transparent. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 28 '18 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso As would I and I have that line right above the Legerdemain section :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow... Read right over it. Great answer \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 28 '18 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, mage hand can be invisible in one instance -- arcane trickster. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Mar 28 '18 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tschallacka How is that not an attack? Again, I'd be wary of allowing anything that minimizes the Arcane Trickster's Legerdermain, Vicious Mockery, etc. Clever is good, but don't step on and over abilities and spells that are already existing and have greater cost. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 29 '18 at 17:14
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No.

Mage Hand being made invisible is a special ability granted exclusively to Arcane Tricksters. Changing the opacity of the Mage Hand falls outside the standard scope of the rules, so it would appear that you can not use Mage Hand in this way.

I believe this also clearly goes beyond the intention of the spell, which is meant to be a utility spell as opposed to an attack spell.

Additionally, covering a creature's eyes is not covered in RAW. If your DM would allow for the action of covering a creature's eyes, it would most likely fall under the banner of Grappling, which is, in fact, an attack. It would require an Athletics score, or at the very least a Strength score. Mage Hand has neither of these.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to include that doing something to Blind a creature is not a standard Grappling option. YMMV with your DM on being able to do so - and always beware that what you do to a NPC can be done to you. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your update is even better than what I was saying :) Well done! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 14:57
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Mage Hand appears as a spectral, floating hand.

The spell can do very little in combat. The spell explicitly lists a few things it can do which involve manipulating objects. It also explicitly disallows several things, such as attacking or using magic items. It is not meant to be used in combat.

Only Arcane Tricksters can really take advantage of using Mage Hand in combat. What you are asking to do (blinding the enemy) is basically the 13th level ability of an Arcane Trickster and should not be given away for free to anyone with the cantrip. And even in such a case, an Arcane Trickster can only use Mage Hand to get advantage (for yourself only), not to impose a condition like Blinded.

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    \$\begingroup\$ and even then it's mostly to give you a Help action, not an ability to Blind an opponent. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 14:31
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Put a glove on it.

Or make it carry a towel or pull the enemy's hat over their face, etc. But, as others have pointed out, it will be up to the DM to make the call as to the effect that will have in a combat scenario. As a DM, if that's what my player wants to spend their time doing, then they're welcome to have at it, but it's not going to have the same effect as the higher level spells and abilities that others have mentioned.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If I were the DM in that case, I might grant the player a bonus for cleverness if they came up with this (perhaps giving the enemy disadvantage). However, I would rule that the enemy can simply move around the hand since it can't clasp onto their face. It acts as a minor distraction at best. \$\endgroup\$ – Mage Xy Mar 28 '18 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the towel/hat/etc idea is the closest you will get to "combat utility" for this spell. I might house-rule that this activity grants disadvantage to the affected enemy: if you're trying to take a shot/cast a spell/etc and focus on your target, dodging an uncoordinated (in the sense that it's not actively pacing to follow your head movements) obstacle like that isn't difficult, but is mildly distracting. Hah, ninja'd by @MageXy ! (for some reason the comment didn't show, and it didn't do the usual "show 1 more comment" thing) \$\endgroup\$ – Doktor J Mar 28 '18 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ That turns mage hand into a no save Vicious Mockery without the damage. I'd be wary of allowing it. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 28 '18 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I hope DM's would always factor in saves. Also, this would take up a mage's action to pull off, which they could have used for a more effective cantrip, potentially. As for Arcane Tricksters, I'm not sure how to balance that off the top of my head. \$\endgroup\$ – lunatamis Mar 28 '18 at 22:19
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There are several good Rules-as-Written answers to this question. Here's an entirely Rules-as-Interpreted answer, from the perspective of a DM who views his job as collaborating to show his players a good time (not the only appropriate perspective for a DM, just to give context):

The problem with giving a wizard cantrip (or any Utility-grade power) a combat effect is that it makes the player more powerful in a general sense relative to the opponent. This may or may not unbalance the encounter in the players' favour. Making an encounter too easy kills fun just like making it too difficult. So the DM must consider:

  1. On the one hand, does letting the wizard strategically blind opponents in addition to everything else they can do make this battle easy / boring?
  2. On the other hand, are you taking away the possibility for the player to do something superawesome (technical term :)) just because of a technicality?

The answer to both those question might be "yes". So, rather than ruling against allowing Mage Hand to blind, the DM may wish to restrict the ability, e.g.

  • perhaps it only works this once, after which the enemies adapt to avoid it
  • perhaps the player must choose to sacrifice another action because of the increased focus required to keep their Mage Hand in the correct position

Or, the DM can use their toolkit to re-balance the encounter, adding a trap, or minions, or other minor challenges to keep the pressure on the players.

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