Stemming from another question: Does an invisible enemy within 5 feet of you still impose disadvantage on ranged attacks? there is a niche scenario described where this could be applicable (potentially with others niche cases elsewhere)

Scenario: I'm a Ranger, wanting to shoot at a target 30 feet away that is in plain view without cover. Normal attack roll.

Little did I know as the Ranger, there was an invisible observer during this whole battle, a wizard keen to learn how we fight as a team, who's sole task throughout this fight was to remain invisible, hidden, unmoving, to silently observe the combat for use of this knowledge later.

Without knowing it, my Ranger just so happened to back up next to this invisible wizard (within 5 feet) before I made my attack against a target 30 feet out. Is this creature next to me considered Hostile, which the DM would then tell me to roll with disadvantage?


  • Making a ranged attack against a far off target
  • I'm unknowingly within 5 feet of a creature that makes no attempt to interact with nor interrupt me (specifically trying to avoid doing so) during my attack.

Is this creature hostile to me? (And by extension, Should I be at a disadvantage for this attack?)

Should it be a consideration that suddenly rolling this attack at disadvantage will reveal the fact that an invisible creature is near me when I otherwise had no idea?

The ruling on disadvantage for ranged attacks are as follows: The pertinent Ranged attacking in close combat rules (PHB 195):

Aiming a ranged attack is more difficult when a foe is next to you. When you make a ranged attack with a weapon, a spell, or some other means, you have disadvantage on the attack roll if you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature who can see you and who isn’t incapacitated.

This rule would seem to suggest that if the creature is not actively hostile nor making any attempt to distract me, the fact that they are within 5 feet doesn't really matter.

Is this the only example of an enemy being non-hostile? Or is this creature considered hostile just by sitting there, while specifically doing nothing else.

Another example:

Would a Green Hag, who is raising a human boy, caring for them and keeping them safe as they grow up be considered a hostile to the boy (who considers it his mother) if it was later found out that they only protected the boy so they can charm and control him later?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/65491/… \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2022 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused as to what you are asking. If it is simply whether an adjacent, invisible creature is considered hostile, then I think your question is a duplicate \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2022 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't answer my question as a creature that is simply invisible and adjacent does not equate hostile in order to satisfy the requirement to impose disadvantage. Hostile in the context of social interaction (attitude) as a noble who is dismissive and jealous of the party for gaining the attention of the king is quite different than the difference between slashing at someone with a weapon and standing motionless with no intention to interact at all. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2022 at 21:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ and immediately below, the same answer states: "If you're talking more about being invisible, then an invisible creature not engaging in a hostile act would be neutral." which would describe both of my scenarios. (as well as the roleplay remarks after, as this creature is intending NOT to impede the party) Additionally, these answers do not have rule book references, which I'm hoping someone would supply. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2022 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DangerLake Then it sounds like a bounty would work better here. As far as I can tell, your question asks the same thing as that question; whether the answers are satisfactory or complete doesn't matter \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2022 at 21:55


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