I've seen the debate on whether Mage Hand can be used without being seen or being cast in an area that cannot be seen by the caster, but my question is can you feel through the mage hand?

For example, Mage Hand is cast and the caster has the mage hand travel around the corner to a shelf to grab a specific object? I've read that some DM's rule this as a Sleight Of Hand check with a blindness condition and thus disadvantage but that is assuming you can feel what the mage hand is grasping? Heck, if you can't feel the mage hand, you wouldn't even know if you were holding something in the mage hand without seeing it.

Obviously this ties in to being able to only use Mage Hand if you can see what you are manipulating. I love the flexibility of the spell and the imaginative ways it can be used, but it's also a cantrip that can break the game if not properly defined.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 12, 2019 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mage Hand indeed knows love and loss; it has experienced both joy and sorrow; the actions of Wizards and Sorcerers have brought the Mage Hand to anger and despair. All of these things and yet you ask "Can the Mage Hand feel?". \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Mar 13, 2019 at 12:34

2 Answers 2


No, mage hand has no ability to feel.

Spells do what they say they do.

The description of the mage hand cantrip says:

A spectral, floating hand appears at a point you choose within range. The hand lasts for the duration or until you dismiss it as an action. The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again.

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

The hand can't attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

The spell doesn't describe any sensory capabilities. Thus, it has none. The caster must rely on their own senses. (Anything beyond that is up to DM fiat.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally have ruled with your answer but I've seen discussion that my players have brought up with regards to a point you choose. Essentially casting the hand behind a locked door and opening it, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – VIP3Rss
    Mar 12, 2019 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VIP3Rss casting behind locked door has several issues, like line of sight and line of effect. Try searching this site, and maybe asking your own question for details. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Mar 12, 2019 at 9:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast, done. I didn't think it worth a whole answer as it just built off of yours. As such, I did copy some of your text. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Mar 12, 2019 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Molot: I agree with you because the base rule for spellcasting mentions a clear path to the target so that is easy to clear up with the players. \$\endgroup\$
    – VIP3Rss
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast: My player's contend that in order to achieve what the spell describes (retrieve an item from an open container) the hand must return tactile feel or you would have to be looking into the container. \$\endgroup\$
    – VIP3Rss
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:44

RAW - No, mage hand has no ability to feel.

Say it with me, "Spells do what they say they do."

Per the description of mage hand:

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

The spell doesn't list any capabilities to feel.

However, RAP (Rules As Played) there has to be some tactile sensation.

Without senses, how would the caster know how much pressure to apply to the vial so it can be gripped without breaking? Or know that you have a firm grip on that door knob you're trying to open?

Specifically, the Arcane Trickster gains mage hand, and part of the additional tasks it can perform is:

  • You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

It would be virtually impossible to pick locks without the tactile feedback of feeling the tumblers "tumble" and when there is resistance in the mechanisms.

As a matter of playing, I rule that the hand cannot feel (and thus relate back) things like hot, cold, pain, wet, or windy. But it can still transfer pressure to the caster.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Mage hand legerdemain is very different from standard mage hand.It does a lot of things the standard version can't. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 12, 2019 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, actually it's not different. Per the description, "...when you cast mage hand...". It doesn't say it's a new spell; it's the same spell with variation and more power. That doesn't invalidate the fact that even a normal mage hand should confer some level of tactile. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Mar 12, 2019 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I guess I read it as the Legedermain ability allows it to do more and work differently so for me I can't compare the two or give mage hand abilities that only the Legerdemain provides. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your RAP arguments seem to be based entirely on the premise that doing those things with your actual hand requires tactile feedback regarding pressure, etc. However, Mage Hand is not your actual hand and it's conceivable that the spell could manage those details itself in accordance with your intentions without needing to pass tactile feedback to the caster, thus staying within the confines of "spells only do what they say they do". \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2019 at 10:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaveSherohman The spell does not say that mage hand possesses any kind of intelligence to "manage those details itself", though, so "spells only do what they say they do" cuts both ways. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Feb 10 at 17:07

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