There seems to be some discrepancy regarding the frightened conditions's line of sight rules, since line of sight is not clearly defined. Perhaps intentionally so. Frightened's disadvantage on ability checks is what I'm concerned with here.

A frightened creature has disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of its fear is within line of sight.

Since you can't cast spells through wall of force or semi-transparent objects, should the frightened condition follow similar rules? Does a piece of glass block line of sight? Can you draw a metaphorical line of sight through transparent barriers and objects?

We already know that simply not being able to see the creature does not negate the disadvantage. My question is whether or not being able to see through a barrier affects that disadvantage.


1 Answer 1


Line of Sight:

To precisely determine whether there is line of sight between two spaces, pick a corner of one space and trace an imaginary line from that corner to any part of another space. If at least one such line doesn't pass through or touch an object or effect that blocks vision - such as a stone wall, a thick curtain, or a dense cloud of fog - then there is line of sight. (DMG p. 251)

So if an object does not block vision, it does not block line of sight; though, it would block line of effect.

For example:

If you see a lich through a window, you would be affected by the lich's Frightening Gaze since you can see it. However, you could not cast a spell at the lich, since the window would stop the spell from reaching the lich.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, essentially, the rules for targetting especially require that no object blocks the path, not that it doesn't block the sight, this is why spells can't go through even transparent objects. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 14, 2018 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint -- well depends how you define "targeting". You can "target" but the spell would erupt when it contacts the barrier instead of reaching the target. Which leads to a discussion of what if any spells might break the glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Jun 14, 2018 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, so a non-obstacle does block line of sight, like a Darkness spell \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2018 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov - yes, if the source or affected creature is within the area of darkness. Though, there has been some discussion about whether you can see something on the opposite side of an area of darkness. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Jun 14, 2018 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ravery: For the Darkness spell, the spell description explicitly says "A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness". Other sources of heavy obscurement work (e.g. Fog Cloud) similarly in preventing you from looking through the heavily obscured area, except for nonmagical darkness - you can obviously see a torch that's on the other side of an area of darkness if nothing else is between you and the torch. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 14, 2018 at 16:16

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