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Part of the description of the robe of eyes magic item says:

The robe lets you see in all directions [...] The eyes on the robe can't be closed or averted. Although you can close or avert your own eyes, you are never considered to be doing so while wearing this robe.

Does this mean that the robe can see through a cloak that you’re wearing over your robes?
Or would a cloak, or a blanket for that matter, obscure the robes to the point that you wouldn’t be able to see out of the robe of eyes, and thus you would actually consider your eyes closed while wearing the robes?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the point of wearing a cloak over the Robe of Eyes? Is it for sleeping, fighting Medusa, something else? The proposed solution for the original problem might be not optimal. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Jul 13, 2021 at 18:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Robe might be worn by an opponent, and the character might contemplate throwing a blanket over them. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2021 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does my answer solve your problem well enough for a green check? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2021 at 14:53

4 Answers 4

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There is a case to be made either way.

This is a great question, and it is going to come down to a DM ruling, as there is a compelling case to be made for either ruling. Unfortunately, I cannot give a definitive answer either way, but I can offer some arguments and let you decide. The first is a more strict rule-oriented approach, that is, let's just go by what is written without trying to make sense of it; and the other is a more "simulationist" approach, that is, what makes the most sense in the context of the narrative. The DM and the players should just work out how they want to rule on the Robe, and apply that ruling consistently over the course of the campaign.

Interpretation 1: You can still see in all directions, even while the robe is covered by another article of clothing.

There is a case to be made here based on the Robe's interaction with creatures that have abilities that trigger when they are seen. The medusa has an ability called Petrifying Gaze:

When a creature that can see the medusa's eyes starts its turn within 30 feet of the medusa, the medusa can force it to make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw if the medusa isn't incapacitated and can see the creature.

To avoid this, a creature can usually avert its eyes:

Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the medusa until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again.

While wearing the Robe of Eyes, a creature is never considered to be averting their eyes:

Although you can close or avert your own eyes, you are never considered to be doing so while wearing this robe.

If you can never avert your eyes from the Medusa, you can always see the medusa, even while wearing another article of clothing over the robe.

Interpretation 2: The eyes on the robe are doing the seeing, so they would see only the article of clothing that covers them.

Alternatively, we can make an argument from the spell description that the eyes are function as points of sight, and what you see is relative to their position on the robe. Usually magic items don't tell us how they work - magic be magic. But with the Robe, it seems to indicate how it works:

The eyes on the robe can't be closed or averted.

This seems to indicate that the position of the eyes matters, so covering the eyes with another robe would mean they see the inside of the robe only.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd lean towards the second interpretation - nothing in the description mentions the robe's ability to see though objects, so it seems reasonable to throw on a sufficiently voluminous cloak and cover it. Almost as reasonable as just taking the robe off. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pottermost
    Jul 13, 2021 at 17:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pottermost Yeah, that is definitely the more simulationist interpretation, whereas the first is the more strictly rules-oriented approach. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2021 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pottermost By that interpretation, how "on" does the robe need to be? Could you e.g. hold the robe in one hand and dangle it down a well to see what's down there? The robe is still on your hand, so it's technically being worn. If the robe is large enough for 2 small people (halflings?) to fit inside, can they both see in every direction? If there are rats or other small critters on the ground around your feet under the robe, can they temporarily gain the benefits? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2021 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarrelHoffman I don't really see these as reasonable extensions of the argument. I suppose what 'wearing' means is up to your DM as I'm not aware of a strict rule, but this same logic lets you use helms on your feet and gloves on your ears, which I suspect won't fly at most tables. As for the two hobbits in a trenchcoat plan, I do love that use case (and could see my players trying to argue for it), but the robe does require attunement. I would expect any reasonable interpretation of 'wearing a robe' would mean you have your arms in the sleeves, item closed around the torso, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pottermost
    Jul 14, 2021 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarrelHoffman The rules handle this: "A magic item meant to be worn must be donned in the intended fashion: boots go on the feet, gloves on the hands, hats and helmets on the head, and rings on the finger." \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2021 at 14:49
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You retain the effects if the cloak is covered

The description of the Robe of Eyes lists its effects and a little information on its appearance. Nothing about this description states that the wearer actually sees out of the eyes on the robe; in fact, they are described as only "eye-like patterns" initially. The portion you quoted comes the closest to indicating that the eye-like patterns are related to the item's effects, but it is not explicit and the rest of the item's effects make no mention of the eye-like patterns at all. Thus I conclude that the eyes are essentially decorative, and the effects of the robe are granted to the creature regardless.

Covering the robe with a cloak might make it more difficult to target with a light spell, or hide the fact that you have this magic item, but all the main effects seem like they would be unaffected.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be arguing that the player can have their cake and eat it too... either it can see through the clothing and thus be affected by Daylight within (I think) 5 ft or it can't see and thus not affected. Why argue for the benefit but not the hindrance? \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Jul 13, 2021 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth OP is arguing that the overcloak makes the robe harder to target with light spell (presumably because of LOS on target), not that the overcloak would protect it from the effects of a successfully cast spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 13, 2021 at 19:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Rather than the eye-like patterns being "essentially decorative", I would assume that the crafting process was using sympathetic magic \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 13, 2021 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your argument seems to be that the item's description doesn't say whether the eyes on the robe do anything or not, so they definitely don't. Can you explain that step in your reasoning? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jul 17, 2021 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells The item's description doesn't say that the eye-like patterns shoot fire and scream; I conclude that they do not. I don't see any need for additional steps in that reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 18, 2021 at 2:37
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The rules don't say the robe's eyes can't be covered, nor do they make any statements about how a robe of eyes interacts with other clothing/blankets/etc. It's entirely unsupported by anything in the rules.

That said, since the robe's description specifically calls out that the robe's eyes can't close or avert (and thus make you unable to benefit from doing so), it's heavily implied that the eye-patterns on the robe are actually doing the seeing that gives you all those special bonuses. Given that, it's reasonable to expect that covering your robe's eyes would prevent them from seeing, and thus allow you to close your eyes or avert your gaze -- but your DM is the final arbiter since it isn't explicitly stated that this is an option. Your DM could easily rule that the robe just magically sees everything around you regardless of clothes, equipment, and so on.

That said, if a DM ruled that you could cover the robe to shut down its magical vision, it would follow that covering the robe in this way would remove all the benefits of wearing the robe in the first place. If the robe's actual eyes are the source of its magical vision effects, then covering them should prevent you from using those abilities, and besides, it would be entirely unfair to allow you to gain the benefits of the robe without the very minor drawbacks.

But, if covering the robe also turns off its powers, then that ruling would render "cover the robe completely" effectively identical to simply taking off the robe, which certainly seems fair to me but also makes the ruling nearly pointless since it's almost certainly more effort to cover the robe fully than to remove it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't call this "not an answer", but it is definitely under-supported. If you can come back and provide some more details about why you think each ruling is reasonable, that would be a great improvement, otherwise I will return and vote to delete per our guidance on unsupported answers. Reviewing "Looks OK" for now, but please improve the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2021 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I expanded on my answer, let me know if you think I still have failed to support it. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2021 at 20:44
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Yes, a cloak would block their vision. Because the description talks about "The eye on the robe...", it is not just a magical effect: the eyes - be they embroidered patterns or squishy eyeballs - matter. Covering them with a cloak would be the same as not being able to see something on the other side of a door. Your mileage may vary from DM to DM.

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