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A few DMs I play with all seem to believe that being invisible (such as via the invisibility or greater invisibility spells) grants advantage on stealth checks. However, I could not find any support for this in the rules. Of course, these aforementioned DMs are all people I know from the same gaming store, so it's possible that they are all under the same misconception, or that they just all like using that house-rule, but the way they speak of it implies that they believe it to be RAW.

I'm aware that each DM is free to grant situational advantage by DM fiat, and being invisible seems like a reasonable situation for a DM to grant advantage to a stealth roll; see Advantage and Disadvantage (PHB, p. 173):

The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.

Given that I am also running a game at this store with some of these people, I want to be sure on this in case a situation arises where they believe it to be RAW in a situation where I believe advantage wouldn't be granted (of course, if it turns out that it is RAW, and that I was just missing something, then I'll let them have their advantage on stealth checks whenever they are invisible).

So, RAW, does being invisible for any reason grant advantage to stealth rolls? Remember, I'm looking for RAW evidence of whether being invisible grants advantage on stealth checks, not justifications on why it should be like that, or more general discussions on how stealth/hiding works. Does being invisible grant advantage on stealth checks?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very useful document on the subject of Hiding and Stealth - dmsguild.com/product/210790/… \$\endgroup\$ – Bruno Souza Dec 5 '19 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little unsure what you're getting at here. If you believe that "being invisible seems like a reasonable situation for a DM to grant advantage to a stealth roll", then the rules say you should give them advantage. Are you looking for another rule that also says they get advantage? Or are you looking for guidance on whether it is a reasonable situation? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Dec 5 '19 at 22:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells No, the rules say that a DM can grant advantage when they want. I'm looking for something explicit. For example, a DM can grant advantage to an attack roll if they want to, but as an explicit example, taking the Help action grants the next attack advantage. There's a rule that says that explicitly, without needing the DM to grant situational advantage via the generic rule I've quoted in the question. Does that makes sense? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 5 '19 at 23:40
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No, being invisible does not grant advantage on stealth checks, RAW

I was going to present this in my question as evidence of what I'd already looked into, but then decided it was better off as an answer, attempting to assert the position that being invisible doesn't grant advantage on stealth, since that's what I concluded after looking into it. Here's what I found:

The spells invisibility and greater invisibility just make you invisible

Invisibility (PHB, p. 254) says:

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

And greater invisibility (PHB, p. 246) says:

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.

Both of these spells just make the target invisible, and neither mention stealth checks or advantage.

The Invisible condition doesn't grant advantage on stealth, but does grant the heavy obscured status

Invisible is a condition, which is described in the PHB (p. 291):

  • An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature's attack rolls have advantage.

The only mentioning of advantage is in relation to attack rolls, not stealth checks, but it does mention hiding, and being considered "heavily obscured".

Being heavily obscured doesn't grant advantage on stealth checks

Under Vision and Light, PHB (p. 183):

a heavily obscured area–such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage–blocks vision entirely. A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A).

Plus some errata:

Vision and Light (p. 183). A heavily obscured area doesn't blind you, but you are effectively blinded when you try to see something obscured by it.

So, the effect of being heavily obscured is that others are treated as being blinded. This means an invisible creature can always take the Hide action, but do they get advantage on that? That's hinges on what the blinded condition imposes on the opposing creature...

Being blinded does not grant others advantage on stealth checks

Back to the description of conditions in the PHB (p. 290):

  • A blinded creature can't see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature's attack rolls have disadvantage.

So once again, the only mentioning of advantage is in relation to attack rolls, and there is no mentioning of hiding or stealth checks.

This is where the trail seems to end, and I have found nothing that indicates that stealth check should be made with advantage, so it appears that, RAW, being invisible does not grant advantage to stealth checks (though, as always, a DM may still rule that it does).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 5 '19 at 15:06
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NathanS covers this answer very well, and is absolutely correct. While invisibility doesn't give advantage on Stealth checks, you cannot even attempt to Hide if you're being seen; invisibility allows you to do so at any moment.

That being said, I want to address your quote on

The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.

While being invisible, per se, does not give you advantage, it does provide the DM with a different perspective on determining whether you should have advantage on the Stealth check.

Imagine Toddy, the invisible Fighter, is in a loud market, everyone yelling and talking. Because there is a lot of background noise, it is reasonable for the DM to give Toddy advantage on his Stealth check, as sound is the most likely other way for Toddy to be found. Were Toddy not invisible, or if the market had a bunch of dogs and Toddy hadn't showered in a week, things might have been different.

My point is that, when hiding, the target should remain unseen, unheard, unsmelt. Because invisibility mostly guarantees that Toddy is unseen, the DM can pay closer attention to how the environment affects Toddy's ability of being undetected otherwise.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget unfelt in a crowded market, jostling would give you away at times as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Dec 5 '19 at 16:49
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No, but it gives disadvantage on Perception checks to find the invisible person

Very closely related: Is a Perception check against an invisible target made with disadvantage?. See my answer there.

Short version: Being invisible is equivalent to being heavily obscured, and being lightly obscured imposes disadvantage on (most) Perception checks, so being heavily obscured should, too. (If you want to argue about whether this is "RAW", remember that by RAW, the DM can decide that circumstances warrant disadvantage on any skill check.)

This would include the passive Perception check that contests the initial Stealth, and as usual, disadvantage on a passive check is a -5 penalty.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch They aren't really separate. The Invisible condition says "For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured." \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Dec 5 '19 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Being invisible is equivalent to being heavily obscured, and being lightly obscured imposes disadvantage on (most) Perception checks, so being heavily obscured should, too." - Being heavily obscured causes others to automatically fail ability checks relying on sight. However, it has no effect on ability checks involving hearing. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 5 '19 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast No, being heavily obscured causes others to automatically fail ability checks requiring sight. Being lightly obscured imposes disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight. The only piece of this that's not explicit in the rules is the assumption that going from lightly to heavily obscured should never make anyone easier to see. Again, see the linked question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Dec 5 '19 at 22:22
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No, but being invisible would allow you to use stealth when otherwise impossible.

A character needs cover or an obstruction to hide from others. In plain sight, nobody can use stealth. Stealth has both visual and aural effects, and you can't hide if you can't provide both.

For a parallel, the wood elf's Mask of the Wild trait says:

You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Therefore, "lightly obscured" is not enough to hide without a special trait. That's all up to the DM, though, as the rules state:

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. Also, the question isn’t whether a creature can see you when you’re hiding. The question is whether it can see you clearly.

But we can be sure that "in plain sight" and "lightly obscured" are not enough to hide. Invisibility grants the "heavily obscured" state without the "blinded" condition and allows one to "hide in plain sight".

It could also grant disadvantage on the Perception check, if the conditions otherwise would allow. Since Perception is not entirely sight, it is not an automatic disadvantage.

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