I'm trying to get a better understanding of the workings of the hat of disguise (Dungeons Master's Guide 258) (1,800 gp; 0 lbs.).

If a creature that interacts with the illusory disguise created by the hat succeeds on the saving throw to disbelieve that illusory disguise, can the hat's wearer employ the hat of disguise again so as to create a new illusory disguise that the creature must successfully disbelieve anew to penetrate? (Perhaps the hat's wearer could even create an illusory disguise of the same thing?)

If the hat can be used in this way, how long must the wearer wait after the creature penetrates the disguise before the wearer can use the hat again to create a new illusory disguise that the creature must penetrate again by successfully disbelieving?


The wearer of the hat wouldn't necessarily know if someone had seen through the illusion.

If Character A is wearing a hat of disguise and Character B says: "Aha! I have seen through the illusion you are wearing!", then Character A can, as an action, use the hat of disguise to change to a different illusion. (The hat is based on the disguise self spell, so a good mental model is that it allows you to cast disguise self at will. This probably requires a command word to activate.)

Of course this is dumb: Character B knows that there's an illusion there, because they just saw through a different illusion and then watched the new one appear. https://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm says: "A character faced with proof that an illusion isn’t real needs no saving throw [to disbelieve]" -- so, even if Character A changes their illusion, Character B can still automatically see through it.

So, if Character A wants to try again, they have to go off and hide somewhere, change their illusion while Character B isn't watching, and then talk to Character B again while plausibly appearing to be a different person. It will be up to the DM to decide whether Character B is still suspicious, after being tricked the first time, and should get a bonus to their save.

The hat of disguise always appears in some form on the character's head, and that could make it even more difficult for Character B to continue the deception.

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Disbelieving the illusion doesn't make it go away.

Figments and phantasms, when disbelieved, become transparent with a faint outline. Disguise self (which the Hat of Disguise uses) creates a glamer, which actually alters your appearance. If someone makes the Will save against the illusion, the illusion is still there; they've just become convinced that it's unreal. Recasting the spell to create the same illusion again will change nothing.

How is that going to convince anyone?

I'm Lord Ulrich the Tall and you're a guard at my tower. I walk up to the gate, you salute and lower your spear and say "Hail Lord Ulrich", and as I walk past, I forget to duck under the doorframe. Instead of banging my head against the doorframe, the top two inches of my head somehow goes right through it. You roll your Will save and conclude that this is not right. "Halt!" you say, raising your spear.

So I fiddle with my helm for a second and you watch in horror as I change, my bone structure and body contours shifting. I lose about four inches of height and forty pounds. I turn around to face you and I'm now Lady Agatha, Lord Ulrich's wife of ten years.

"Oh," you say, "well, that explains it. Hail Lady Agatha!"

No, what you do is raise the alarm! This is clearly some shapeshifting demon or sorcerer that needs to be killed with fire. And send someone to check on Lord Ulrich, because he's probably dead or tied up in a basement somewhere.

Suppose I'm wearing a mundane disguise, like a fake nose. We're talking and I sneeze really hard and my fake nose falls off. So I pick it up and put it back on. Do you now think it's my real nose?

Once they know you're wearing a false appearance, any reasonable person is going to be suspicious of both your appearance and your motives.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But if it is used to make a new or remake the same illusion, it is a different Illusion. They would still need to save against it, wouldn't they? \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 15 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei If I pull a different fake nose out of my pocket and put it on, do you believe that's my real nose? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Apr 15 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which is to say, it doesn't matter if they save against the new illusion. Their knowledge that you were wearing an illusion doesn't go away. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Apr 15 at 18:36

This isn't an effective use.

First, the wearer of a hat of disguise isnt informed if the observer made the save to disbelieve the effect.

Second, the +10 bonus is when using the hat while preparing a disguise, which takes 1d3 x 10 minutes, and is done before being observed by those you wish to deceive.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In no way does this answer stated question. \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 15 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei the second point absolutely does. In no uncertain terms, no, you do not get a +10 to disguise while using a hat of disguise while observed, as you are not performing the "prepare disguise" use of the disguise skill. \$\endgroup\$ – Kommissar Apr 15 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see that the spell says: "If you use this spell to create a disguise", and I see that creating a disguise takes a long time. But I also see that the spell takes "1 standard action" to cast. How do we reconcile this? \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 15 at 18:19

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