I always assumed you needed to be hidden to get advantage when attacking/disadvantage when being attacked, but after looking at the rules I'm fairly certain this is not the case. There's a chance I'm reading into it incorrectly, though.

For example, assume I have greater invisibility cast on myself. No matter how many attacks I make, or whether or not my enemy knows where I am (but can't actually see me), do I still have advantage to hit and they have disadvantage to hit me?

I think that's what's accurate. This would implicate that "Hidden" means "Enemies don't know where you are and think you could be anywhere", which changes my prior understanding of hiding drastically.

Am I correct on this?


You do not need to hide

As you've stated, the rules for advantage are regarding Unseen Attackers and Targets.

Hiding successfully* simply means that they are uncertain or unaware of your location because you have, hopefully, successfully hidden yourself (unless they have another sense that discloses your location).

As soon as you attack, your location is known but the rules on Unseen Attackers and Targets remains in place (as long as you are still unseen.)

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden--both unseen and unheard--when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

*Hiding successfully includes things such as a stealth roll beating perception and DM approval of your hiding spot as a valid location to hide.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth using an example such as: a target who's blinded can still know exactly where you are thanks to sound, but not be able to see you, thereby qualifying you for sneak attack despite not being hidden. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Sep 12 '18 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki I"m looking for textual support, but I think in this case I need to go with the plain english. A hidden creature is not detectable by sight or sound (unless they have truesight or some other means of detection.) "In this case, if the creature has Hidden successfully, then their location is unknown. They are unseen and have actively worked to not be heard or create anything that would give away their location. At this point, they'd just be guessing - and to guess, they'd have to know you were there in the first place." \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 12 '18 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki Relevant: Does hidden just mean unseen and unheard?, which came to the conclusion of "Hidden means they don't know where you are, not whether or not they can see/hear you". To compound this, to be hidden, nobody can know where you are, which is why a single person spotting you removes your "hidden" status. They still can't see you, but you're no longer hidden to them because their ally noticed you. Knowledge of where you are is enough to remove the hidden status. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Sep 12 '18 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch A clarification: hidden creatures are detectable by sight and sound. If they make noise then others detect their location. If someone rolls well enough on their Perception check they can see the creature. There are specific mechanics for seeing and hearing hidden creatures, but it is possible. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Nov 20 '19 at 5:51

You are reading this correctly.

Being hidden specifically means unseen and unheard. If you're merely unseen but still heard, you are not hidden, but still have all the benefits of being unseen, including advantage when attacking and others attacking you with disadvantage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hiding means you are trying to be unseen and unheard, it does not mean that you are unseen and unheard, and merely being unseen and unheard does not mean that you are hiding. One example is an invisible creature attacking a deaf creature. The invisible creature is both unseen and unheard, but it is not hidden and does not have its location revealed. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Nov 20 '19 at 7:43

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