My wizard ally wants to go invisible and use the "Help" action to help attacks while remaining invisible. My DM ruled that physical interaction with the enemy would constitute an action that breaks invisibility.

I was thinking of using the same action on my invisible imp familiar. What specifically could they do that wouldn't break invisibly?


1 Answer 1


An imp's invisibility does not end when taking the Help action

The Help action states:

[...] Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally's attack more effective. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage.

Note, that there nothing says an ally is actually required to see the helper, nor that the helper be able to see their ally. Thus, an invisible familiar is able to take the Help action. The question then, is whether or not the Help action ends the Imp's invisibility. The Invisibility feature states:

The imp magically turns invisible until it attacks or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the imp wears or carries is invisible with it.

Taking the Help action is not an attack, as it does not involve an attack roll whatsoever. Furthermore, no part of the Help action describes the Help action as an attack.

However, your GM has already made a very similar ruling to the contrary so I cannot say what your GM will allow a familiar to do

Note that your GM has already ruled that your Wizard's invisibility would end from taking the Help action; however, looking at the invisibility spell we see the following:

[...] The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell [...]

Taking the Help action is not making an attack nor casting a spell so ordinarily taking the Help action would not end invisibility, but your GM has already ruled that it does. It is thus very likely that your GM would also say that the familiar's invisibility would end.

One way around this is the greater invisibility spell

One possible way around this is to become invisible in a way that making an attack does not end the invisibility such as by the greater invisibility spell which states:

You or a creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target's person.

No part of the description states that it ends when making an attack, or doing anything at all (besides losing concentration), so this would allow you or your familiar to remain invisible even after taking the Help action.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ We play with miniatures and follow the advice of this answer. If your DM does read this; a counter within the rules of how a smart monster would handle this situation: It knows that the familiar will likely help, so it will choose the ready action, on the condition that when the imp helps (it must be within 5ft) it can be targeted (invisible condition is not equal to hidden). Attacks against invisible targets are of course at disadvantage but given a familiars hit-points and the common tactic of remove the weakest first, this would be a logical counter measure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Quaternion
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quaternion AWESOME. So great to have this tactic in my pocket to hand to my DM if he thinks Help from familiars is OP. I have to risk my familiar to get advantage, and the enemy has to give up an action in order to deal with the familiar. I guess your DM doesn't tell you what the enemy is doing? Seems like it would result in a turn where your familiar just Helps with a different enemy if they are standing there looking paranoid (which is how I'd describe it if I was the DM) \$\endgroup\$
    – jerclarke
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another countermeasure strategy for DMs: Just say it only works once. The person is distracted by the WTF of having some invisible force fluttering around them, but if they are smart, the next time nothing happens. I'm honestly tempted to give them a Perception check to see if the help works, and the DC goes down each time you use it (and maybe a nat 20 gives them an AoO) . A bit elaborate, but would avoid the move being OP and it sounds exciting to use. \$\endgroup\$
    – jerclarke
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also once it works on someone, if they are smart, they could shout "they're trying to distract us with somethin' invisible! Ignore it and kill them!" after which they are immune to that distraction. \$\endgroup\$
    – jerclarke
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt I'm unsure where those rules are, but there are plenty of ways to distract somebody without attacking such as by screaming or who knows what else. It may be worth asking as a separate question how an invisible creature could reasonably take the Help action: actually, I think it already has been asked and I agree with the answers there \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 15:53

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