If you are invisible can you see yourself and things you are holding? For example can you use a scroll whilst invisible assuming you can't see invisible yourself?


3 Answers 3



The invisibility spell's description states:

The creature or object touched becomes invisible, vanishing from sight, even from darkvision.

No part of the spell's description makes an exception for the subject of the spell's sight. On the contrary, the spell's description goes out of its way to clarify that the caster can't see creatures that they make invisible using the spell unless they have the ability to see invisible stuff. (The spell does contain the line "If you cast the spell on someone else, neither you nor your allies can see the subject," but that doesn't automatically mean that if you don't cast the spell on someone else, you can see the subject.) The spell doesn't even allow a saving throw to disbelieve the illusion.

Moreover, the invisibility spell is part of the glamer subschool - and unlike some other subschools of illusion, glamers aren't mind-affecting, don't only affect certain creatures, and explicitly change the sensory qualities of the things they affect. This means that you're not removing the appearance of the subject from the minds of everyone nearby; rather, you're magically altering the subject such that it has no appearance for them to see in the first place.

Nearly every effect in the game that renders something invisible references the invisibility spell, meaning that all other sources of invisibility are subject to this same limitation. (As kindly pointed out by Peregrin Took, one known exception is invisibility sphere, which explicitly states that those affected by the spell can see each other and themselves - a line conspicuously absent from invisibility.)



The reason for this is that invisibility is a glamer:

A glamer spell changes a subject’s sensory qualities, making it look, feel, taste, smell, or sound like something else, or even seem to disappear.

Invisibility is not mind-affecting, so there is no belief/disbelief. If it were a figment, phantasm, or other mind-affecting type of illusion, then a creature could disbelieve to ignore the effect, with casters always automatically able to disbelieve their own spells since they have proof the effect isn't real. Instead, it alters the physical qualities of the thing(s) made invisible.


Informally yes, formally it doesn't matter.

D&D being a game of exceptions, if you were unable to cast from a scroll whilst under the invisibility spell effect that prohibition would be called out in the spell description. To suggest that because it doesn't state you can see yourself when the spell is cast upon you, you should assume a whole host of other assumptions are conclusive is no proof of correctness.

The invisibility sphere spell description states that it functions like invisibility, except that this spell confers invisibility upon all creatures within 10 feet of the recipient. This is the exception that is being referred particular to that spell. It then goes on to state those affected by this spell can see each other and themselves as if unaffected by the spell. However this is neither qualifier nor disqualifier as to whether or not the recipient of an invisibility spell sees themselves while invisible. It's pertinent solely to the invisibility sphere spell not the invisibility spell.

If it were the case a recipient of the invisibility spell could not see themselves while under the spell effect and that was the intent of the designers then one would think game penalties would be imposed on the target of the spell simply by way of the fact they can not perceive their physicality.

So in summary, if it is not expressly called out in the rules that you can't do a thing that you could otherwise do within the rules when not under the affect of the spell effect, formally you should treat as being able to do that thing within the rules of the game.

Additionally Skip Williams in Rules of the Game, There Not There, part one had this to say in reference to the matter:

Although the rules don't specifically say so, assume that a creature using a magical invisibility effect is invisible to others but not to itself. This helps avoid arguments about exactly what an invisible creature can do without a penalty. Even if you assume an invisible creature can see itself, it still does not cast a shadow or a reflection (or at least not one most people could notice; see Part Two).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wasn't Skip Williams talking about 3rd edition D&D? wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20040914a \$\endgroup\$
    – user56480
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't see what the link refers to being as it leads to the wizards of the coast home page. Yes he was talking about 3rd edition however 3.5 is an update of 3rd and therefore has applicability if not either contradicted or revised by 3.5. Being as there is no contradiction in 3.5 to the above statement. It is still the case that the 'rules don't specifically say so' and there is nothing to revise being as it is a suggested general assumption / advice rather than a 'hard' rule, the above statement is still very much as applicable to 3.5 as it was to 3rd. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally I may well have misinformed you as I'm not exactly certain if the Rules of the Game articles refer to 3rd edition they might actually refer to 3.5. The reason why is that I'm scanning the whole body of text right now and I see references to sources such as the Expanded Psionics Handbook, a book which was certainly published for 3.5 edition. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 12:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @user56480 The Rules of the Game columns begin in early 2004, after 3.5 revision in June 2003. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 14:23

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