Is a creature with Blindsight affected by illusions? For example, would a bat familiar be able to see through a Disguise Self spell?

My understanding is that it can certainly "see" through invisibility. My feeling is that immaterial visual illusions, like Silent Image or Disguise Self, should be transparent to blindsight, but I'm not sure if that's consistent with RAW.


2 Answers 2


No, except at higher levels.

While there is no specific rule, I would say this is a reasonable interpretation. Creatures with blindsight "can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius". It seems that most blindsight works on some physical interaction with the object (hearing echoed sound waves for bats, sensing heat for snakes, etc.). Most low-level illusion spells are non-reactive visual and/or auditory illusions, like Minor Illusion and Disguise Self. These spells could not create a illusion that could react to a creature's blindsight in a way that would seem real.

This interpretation seems to be supported by a line in the Blur spell, stating "an attacker is immune to this effect if it doesn't rely on sight, as with blindsight." That said, at higher level, illusion spells can be complex enough to fool certain senses (Major Image) or be able to physically interact with it's surroundings (Phantom Steed).

These are in general cases, of course. Ultimately, it is up to the ruling of the DM whether or not the situation allows the illusion to appear more or less real. For example, maybe you are somewhere where it's really loud and your DM rules that the area is heavily obscured from your bat's blindsight. It would be reasonable to assume that you couldn't sense an object, through echolocation, that you could see visually, so your bat could be fooled by a purely visual illusion (like Disguise Self) in that case. I hope this answers your question.


In general, blindsight doesn't help against illusions

Illusion magic is described as deceiving the mind and the senses (paraphrased from memory) - blindsight is as susceptible to this as anything else.

There may be specific illusions which specific types of blindsight might defeat depending on the wording and DM discretion.

The school of illusion has ...

...magic that dazzles the senses, befuddles the mind, and tricks even the wisest folk. Your magic is subtle, but the illusions crafted by your keen⁠ mind make the impossible seem real. (PHB, School of Illusion)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont think this is correct. Illusions are detected immediately if "interacted with" echo location is a direct physical interaction that involves bouncing sound waves off things. (start talking out loud and put your hand in front of your face you will hear a difference.) In addition bats can see as well as humans. they have both sets of senses available to them so they can sense a difference. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2020 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb and if my illusion has auditory components including a fake echo? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Mar 8, 2021 at 8:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .