The one answer to my previous question suggests that all Illusions conjured by Disguise Self and Seeming can be seen through by the user, but not by outside viewers.

The two spells Disguise Self and Seeming both differ from traditional Illusion spells in that they contain no clause that causes the Illusions to "fade" or "become transparent".

Instead, successful Investigation checks allow viewers to "discern" and "become aware" that the target is disguised.

Can viewers succeeding on the check literally see through the disguise? If a Half-Elf disguises their race to look like a Drow, does the viewer know their true race if their check beats the disguise, RAW?

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that your previous question that only has one answer with 4 upvotes and 3 downvotes is a good example of consensus. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed - it could be worded differently. I wanted to acknowledge the similarities in the questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nicbobo
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be best just to remove that and just give a related link to it in the comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


Spells do exactly what they say:

Disguise self reads:

To discern that you are disguised, a creature can use its action to inspect your appearance and must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC.

Seeming Says:

If it succeeds, it becomes aware that the target is disguised.

Both imply the success mean they know you are disguised, not necessarily what you look like under the illusion. The DM can rule what that means for your table.


Illusions become translucent only if they say so

As you mention: some illusion spells (like Minor Illusion and Programmed Illusion) state:

If a creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the illusion becomes faint

But other illusion spells (like Disguise Self, Seeming and Mirror Image) do not have this clause.

This appears to be intentional based on desired effect (especially in the case of say, Mirror Image).

Historical note (if desired) - this was also how they behaved in previous editions. In 3.5e, the "translucent outline" effect only applied to a figment or phantasm (like Minor Image or Programmed Image)


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