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A level 5 goblin warlock moves behind a large tree and uses their bonus action to Hide. Their Stealth check beats the enemy's passive Perception. The hidden warlock then casts eldritch blast and rolls...

  1. Both beams with advantage?
  2. The first beam with advantage and the second beam without?
  3. Neither beam with advantage?

In case it makes a difference, assume that I (as the DM) rule that the enemy is close enough to clearly hear the "chanting of mystic words [...] with specific pitch and resonance" from the verbal components of eldritch blast.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m almost certain both parts of your question have been asked before, but I can’t find a good link at the moment; I’ll keep searching. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 1, 2021 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related Does a hidden creature that casts a spell reveal its position? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 1, 2021 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Heavily related to my answer here rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/163699/… \$\endgroup\$
    – 1600hp
    Oct 1, 2021 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @1600hp That answer is indeed pretty close. It covers advantage on one vs many attacks, though it's focused on invisibility, which may break at a different time than stealth. \$\endgroup\$
    – Red Orca
    Oct 1, 2021 at 18:18

2 Answers 2

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So there are two issues to consider, and my original answer only considered one of these. I can't find a definitive answer, but interpreting RAW to answer:

Issue One: Does a Verbal Component Spoil the Hidden Advantage?

Short Answer: GM's Call

There's no general rule I can find which dictates how loud/obvious verbal components are. There's a couple of specific spells, but nothing general. So it's a GM's call as to whether the verbal component can be heard and understood to be an attack. I'd err on the side of the player in most cases, esp if combat is already underway; the noise of combat would probably cover most verbal components.

If the GM rules the noise reveals the warlock, then none of the attacks will have advantage.

Do Separate Attack Rolls from Eldritch Blast All Use Advantage?

Again, there's no RAW which definitively answers this. But we can infer an answer using two other rules:

Attacking while Hidden, PHB, p195

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden-both unseen and unheard-when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Eldritch Blast Cantrip, PHB, p237

You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.

Since you're making a separate attack roll, you give away your location on the first roll, so you'd have advantage on the first, but not on the subsequent rolls. There's no wording to suggest the two (or more) blasts are simultaneous.

As a GM, I can imagine a circumstance where a player might convince me otherwise. But that would probably be outside of RAW.

So, in the specific case of your Goblin Warlock, It's GMs call if the first attack gets Advantage, but the second should definitely not.

A lot of D&D is the GM making calls like these. The rules are pretty good as a baseline, but far from comprehensive.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll edit something in, but there's no rule I can find that dictates how loud the verbal component is for most spells. It's purely a GM call. The closest I can find is a Crawford Tweet that still seems to leave up to the GM the question of how audible the verbal component is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Longspeak
    Oct 7, 2021 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but that ambiguity is itself the GMs call. Answer edited to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Longspeak
    Oct 7, 2021 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you skipped a step in your logic, the rules say "When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it." but you say "you give away your location on the first roll, so you'd have advantage on the first, but not on the subsequent rolls". That doesn't quite connect. Would you mind explaining your logic there? The rules say "when a creature can't see you", not "when a creature doesn't know your location", correct? For example invisible creatures still attack with advantage despite their location being known. \$\endgroup\$
    – user73918
    Nov 9, 2021 at 5:27
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Both beams with advantage

The duration of Eldritch Blast is “Instantaneous” meaning all beams attack at the same time. At that time the warlock is hidden so the attacks are made with advantage.

Indeed, after the warlock casts Erdrich Blast, they might still be hidden. Casting a spell or making an attack does not, of itself, end the hidden “condition” - hidden is not invisibility and has different end states. Neither does making a noise.

It reveals the warlock’s location, but we knew that anyway (“behind a large tree”). Hiding ends when you are seen and only for those creatures that have seen you.

Now, it’s perfectly sensible for a DM to rule that the “circumstances are [no longer] appropriate for hiding” once the warlock has cast the spell but I can see cases where they might be. For example, Eldritch Blast has a range of 120 feet, well beyond the range of most Darkvision or light sources. A goblin sniping with Eldritch Blast from where no one can see them might still be hidden after doing so.

As for losing the hidden state during the casting of a spell: don’t. Within the mechanics of D&D spells with a casting time of 1 (bonus) action are indivisible in time (Counterspell excepted). That is, within the structure of the game, no time passes between starting to cast and finishing casting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Instantaneous means that each beam is instantaneous and can't be dispelled, only counter spelled. It doesn't mean that the beams aren't fired sequentially. The rules state: "when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses." which contradicts "Hiding ends when you are seen and only for those creatures that have seen you." You can be unseen (see: unseen attacker) but not hidden (see: hidden condition). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 7, 2021 at 0:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your instantaneous argument is unconvincing, and probably irrelevant, because you make a solid argument "It reveals the warlock’s location, but we knew that anyway (“behind a large tree”). Hiding ends when you are seen and only for those creatures that have seen you." which I think should be the focus of your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user73918
    Nov 9, 2021 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich Be careful, hidden isn't a condition. It's a mechanic that governs how a character is perceived. There is no contradiction in the text you point out - nothing in the hiding rules requires you to be in an "unknown location" to remain hidden. As Dale M said: "It reveals the warlock’s location, but we knew that anyway (“behind a large tree”)". You can have a known location but still be hidden, and your location may not be known but you are not hidden. Those are two separate concepts, beware confusing them. \$\endgroup\$
    – user73918
    Nov 9, 2021 at 5:52

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