Specifically, the ring states that "solid Objects within that radius appear transparent and don't prevent light from passing through them". Does it apply to solid objects created through illusion?

It seems unlikely that the ring works selectively, and illusions can't plausibly "know" they are being viewed in that way.

By extension, the Ring of X-Ray Vision seems to allow its wearer to inspect the internal organs of a person (be it through selective sight if we consider it to work like Superman's X-Ray Vision, or by standing 30 ft from the intended target so that the target's body is only partially within the ring's radius (RAW explanation). If that's the case, do spells like Disguise Self also disguise the internal organs of an affected character in such a way as to fool a person with a Ring of X-Ray Vision?

For example, would the user of Ring of X-Ray Vision be able to tell if a target has a second heart, or has only one lung, or is undead (dead organs) if that target is affected by spells like Disguise Self?

Moreover, would a Ring of X-Ray Vision allow its user to see selectively through clothes? If so, what about illusory clothes and other illusory objects? I am thinking that it should, otherwise its wearer could use it to automatically detect any illusion, which is not what it says in the description (no truesight, just see through solid objects).


4 Answers 4


Yes, you can see through illusions of objects. No, you can't see if a creature is missing a lung.

The ring of X-ray vision doesn't allow you to see through creatures, only objects, so if someone makes an illusion of a wolf, you can't see through it (even partially). If someone makes an illusion of a wall, then you can see through it, because until you save vs the illusion, you treat it as if it were real, which means that with your ring of x-ray vision, it is considered an object that you can look through.

Also consider the alternative: that you can't see through the illusion. That means that you would automatically detect any illusory objects withing 30', because, suddenly, there's a wall, or large rock, barrel, crate, or whatever that you can't see through, making it incredibly obvious.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Only automatically if you use the command word, which only lasts a minute. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cecilao
    Jan 31, 2020 at 3:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cecilao but it has no limit to the number of uses per day, and all you need to do is make a DC 15 Con save to use it more without gaining a level of Exhaustion. Not super difficult to have it on a good portion of the time, especially if you have Con save proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 19:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would be curious (more from a fluff than RAW perspective) why the ring can see through some materials but not others. Lead blocks the vision, is it simply the same for flesh? Or is it something about the life within? What about the frozen carcasses of cows hanging in the butcher's meat locker? What about a creature under the effect of Flesh to Stone? It's still a creature, but now made of an allowed material. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neato
    Feb 8, 2020 at 20:49

It doesn't do what you think it does

While wearing this ring, you can use an action to speak its Command Word. When you do so, you can see into and through solid matter for 1 minute. This vision has a radius of 30 feet. To you, solid objects within that radius appear transparent and don't prevent light from passing through them. The vision can penetrate 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, or up to 3 feet of wood or dirt. Thicker substances block the vision, as does a thin sheet of lead.

You can see through objects; you can't see through creatures. Further, you can no longer see the objects you can see through until you reach the distance at which your x-ray vision can't penetrate. So, you can't look inside a living creature and you can only see inside a dead body if it is more than 3-foot thick (assuming it's made of flesh).

You should picture yourself standing in a 30-foot "bubble" where all objects disappear unless they are thicker than the specified dimension. Assuming you are standing on the earth, looking down, you see nothing for 3-feet.

Interaction with illusions

An illusionary object/creature behaves as an object/creature; each illusionary effect has its own rules for what it can and can't do and for when it is revealed to be an illusion (and what happens then as well) so it's impossible to generalize.

X-ray vision is not Truesight so unless the specific illusion has something to say about it (AFAIK, none do), being able to (or not able to) see through it makes no difference.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am inclined to agree with you about interaction with illusions, but what about illusions that affect both creatures and objects? For example, Disguise Self that alters "clothing, armor, Weapons, and other belongings" as well as your own appearance. I would assume that "clothing, armor, Weapons, and other belongings" function as objects (worn or carried), hence they would be transparent, but the creature affected by Disguise Self would still look disguised even without clothes, right? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, transparent does not mean invisible. An item can be transparent and still be perceivable, and I believe the Ring of X-Ray Vision is meant to allow you to see through items while still perceiving said items (like they were made out of glass). The wording "see into and through" does not imply that you can't see the solid matter itself, right? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Illusions are treated as real until you successfully save against them. In the case of, say, Silent Image, it would be treated as an object until you successfully saved (at which point you would be able to see through it without having to use the ring). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 20:53

A creature is not an object

Basically everything physical in the D&D multiverse is either a creature or an object, and virtually never both. A creature upon death becomes an object, namely a corpse. That corpse can become a creature through necromancy! Perhaps the best way to consider the difference is to look at the spell true polymorph.

A creature typically falls into one (or more) of the following categories:

  • Aberration
  • Beast
  • Celestial
  • Construct
  • Dragon
  • Elemental
  • Fey
  • Fiend
  • Giant
  • Humanoid
  • Monstrosity
  • Ooze
  • Plant
  • Undead

If it's not one of those, it's probably an object.

Does it make sense that a magic ring can see through objects but not creatures? No, but it's magic so sense need not apply. The Ring of X-Ray Vision allows you to treat objects as if they were transparent (clear like a window) to see what's on their other side (up to the limitations of 1 ft. of stone, 1 in. of common metal, 3 ft. of wood or dirt, or any thin layer of lead.)

Is an illusion an object? Typically No

Illusions are not real. If you disprove them, they often turn faint and transparent. They are tricks of the eye, or the mind. If illusions were real, the Wizard School of Illusion level 14 feature Illusory Reality would be a real dud. And furthermore, the description specifies a solid object. Unless an illusion says that it creates an object, it does not.


With the Ring of X-ray Vision, Yes, you can detect most illusions because they will not be affected by the magic of the ring. Perhaps you'll get an Intelligence check (Investigation) at that point, because you will have a reason to doubt its authenticity. What a phantasm does to make you justify its true threat might be up to your DM to decide.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right creatures are not objects, but if illusions are tricks of the eye or the mind, doesn't that extend to x-ray vision as well? Disguise Self specifically mentions "physical inspection" and the description of Ring of X-Ray Vision does not mention seeing through illusions. Also, Minor Illusion allows you to create the "image of an object". Are you sure that X-Ray would see through that, and not treat this illusory object like any other object? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 11:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right that the ring does not mention seeing through illusions. So it does not. Because illusions are not objects, the illusion will persist, even when you try to see through it with the ring. The point is that you see the illusion with your normal sight as well as your X-ray Vision. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cecilao
    Jan 30, 2020 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ But @Cecilao, illusions are meant to trick any sort of visual perception unless stated otherwise (tremorsense, blindsight, truesight). For example, Major Image states " create the image of an object, a creature, or some other visible phenomenon" and that "It seems completely real, including sounds, smells, and temperature appropriate to the thing depicted". I would think that the spell would account for being able to see through an object with special visual senses. Consider an illusory object in complete darkness and casting darkvision to perceive it. It still looks real. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the Ring of X-Ray vision allow you to see through a Rug of Smothering?(Apparently a mimic polymorphs into an object.) No. A creature is not an object. The logic is parallel for an illusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cecilao
    Jan 30, 2020 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Uuhhhh, no, that's incorrect. An illusion is treated as actually being whatever it appears to be until a creature saves against the effect. Some illusions (such as Silent Image) have clauses that restrict their effects to only one sense (sight, in the case of Silent Image) and allow automatic successes when interacted with using other senses, but prior to that point, all other effects treat it as real (as in, it's a "real" wall that blocks normal vision). Therefore, a character with X-ray vision would treat it as a normal wall (aka CAN see through it) until they save against it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2020 at 20:57

No, you can't see through Illusions that aren't solid matter.

I agree with the answers that state that you wouldn't be able to see through illusions, so long as you can actually interact with them. (You wouldn't be able to see through Silent Image for example, since it's not solid matter).

The main reason I'm submitting a separate answer is because I disagree with the other answers on this point:

Yes, it could be used to see into or through a Creature.

The answers here are all referring to the one bit of text that you quoted from the ring's description. looking at the full text of the ring, it states:

While wearing this ring, you can use an action to speak its command word. When you do so, you can see into and through solid matter for 1 minute. This vision has a radius of 30 feet. To you, solid objects within that radius appear transparent and don't prevent light from passing through them.

So it seems as if it contradicts itself. In one line it says 'solid matter', and in another 'solid objects'. I'd say because objects are made of matter, the more general case would be applicable here. On another note, it seems unlikely to me that the intention was to exclude Creatures from the effect.

Now it does also seem to suggest that the object as a whole must be in the radius for this to take effect, so unless the creature is more than 3ft thick, I don't think you'd be able to see into it.

With all that in mind

Let's circle back to the original question and look at Disguise Self spell as an example. The spell states:

The changes wrought by this spell fail to hold up to physical inspection. For example, if you use this spell to add a hat to your outfit, objects pass through the hat, and anyone who touches it would feel nothing or would feel your head and hair.

Because the illusion is not solid matter, the Ring of X-Ray Vision wouldn't be able to see through it. This would immediately tip anyone off using X-Ray vision, because they wouldn't be able to look into or through the disguised individual as they would normally; the illusion would hold up.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, simply because the ring states "This vision has a radius of 30 feet. To you, solid objects within that radius appear transparent and don't prevent light from passing through them." \$\endgroup\$ Feb 4, 2020 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Consider the text of Major Image " It seems completely real, including sounds, smells, and temperature appropriate to the thing depicted." Doesn't that imply that a person watching a Major Image with a Ring of X-Ray Vision will see whatever is "appropriate to the thing depicted"? I would argue that the ring does not allow you to indirectly discern illusions. Illusions are treated as real unless the viewer makes the save to discern them, or has some other means to explicitly observe them (trueseeing etc). I don't think the ring qualifies as such. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5, 2020 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for emphasizing solid matter first and foremost. A more specific clarification about solid objects doesn't invalidate the earlier sentence or reduce it to meaningless fluff. BTW everyone saying creatures aren't objects, neither are buildings, vehicles or terrain, yet the obvious implications that you can see through walls go unchallenged. I do think @TheodoreKoukouvitis has a point about Major Image though, but more as a specific-beats-general case. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 19, 2020 at 18:52

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