I am about to grant one of my PCs an item that has properties similar to a Robe of Eyes. I am also planning to introduce some Basilisk-like monsters at some point in the near future. So, I'm trying to resolve how I'm going to handle the Robe of Eyes drawback in relation to the Basilisk's Petrifying Gaze.
The eyes on the robe can't be closed or averted. Although you can close or avert your own eyes, you are never considered to be doing so while wearing this robe.
A creature that isn't surprised can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If it does so, it can't see the basilisk until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If it looks at the basilisk in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.
It seems very clear to me that a creature wearing the Robe of Eyes cannot avert their eyes to avoid seeing the Basilisk and thus being subject to the saves to avoid becoming Restrained and subsequently Petrified.
What I'm not sure of is exactly how best to let the player avoid this. I want the drawback to be meaningful, but not to completely screw them over.
My thought process is that they could use a free action to remove the robe which would then allow them to avert their eyes. However, I don't think they'd be able to do that quickly enough to avoid the first save. Logically, it seems like seeing something and looking away would be easier than seeing something, looking away, and then taking off a piece of clothing.
Of course, that'd mean there's a decent chance they'd become restrained before they could remove it. Then, if I'm reading the Basilisk correctly, they'd be subject to the second save to avoid becoming petrified on their next turn whether they averted their eyes after that or not.
First, have I read this correctly? Second, how might you resolve this in a way that makes the drawback meaningful, but also doesn't feel like I railroaded the PC into getting petrified?
FWIW, I had considered a DC15 or DC20 DEX ability check to determine whether the PC could take the thing off quickly enough to avoid the save, but I'm not sure if there's a better way.