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The Cloak of Displacement says:

While you wear this cloak, it projects an illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against you. If you take damage, the property ceases to function until the start of your next turn. This property is suppressed while you are incapacitated, restrained, or otherwise unable to move.

I was considering using this cloak on an NPC that is mounted. Such an NPC would naturally be sitting on the saddle of their mount, and is not unable to move. How does this work? Would the cloak show you standing next to your mount, even while you are sitting? Would it show you sitting and still grant the mechanical benefit? Would it make you and your mount appear displaced to grant the mechanical benefit? Or does the cloak only work when you are standing?

Bonus question: What if you were standing on your mount, where a displacement would be quite obviously fake, showing you standing in the air next to your mount?

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2 Answers 2

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The actual RAW is: no matter what you're doing, you're "appear to be standing in a place near your actual location", and you get the mechanical benefit. Furthermore, you can't even turn it off. That's what it says, so that's RAW. As is so often said here, if it did something else, it would say so.

To your example of riding a horse, by RAW, you appear to be standing near the moving horse. You mentioned in a comment, attacking, lunging, jumping. I'll add a few more: sitting, running, dancing.

Doesn't matter. It says "you're standing", so you're standing. It always grants attackers disadvantage, no more, no less.

Actually, there's nothing in the description that says the viewer can detect the displacement. It's just a cloak of imposing disadvantage.

Ask the DM

Of course, that's you. The answer really depends on your narrative.

You, the DM, are the RAW, here

Of course, you know that.

There's narrative gap between the rules and the game. This is a great example. The cloak of displacement refers to "standing". It does not address what happens if you ride, sit, run, jump, attack, dance, or any other action; nor does it address any visual discrepancies that arise.

It's easy to say the RAW is stupid or broken. Maybe it's more useful to think of it as a basic structure, and there for the DM to build upon.

What is your plan here?

So, the question is what do you plan to do here?

Once you answer that for yourself, then maybe that helps inform you how it behaves.

The most important thing is to come up with a way to proceed that makes your game more, not less, fun.

My advice

As the DM, focus on the magic of it, not the science.

Don't focus on the "standing". It's magic. The wearer of the clock isn't quite where they appear to be, and that's enough information.

"You see a rider coming at you. The horse's mane and the rider's cloak are flowing in the wind. It's strange, there's a slight blurriness to them. Maybe there's something weird going on, not sure. Roll initiative. By the way, you guys have disadvantage on attacks here."

"You see the horse running away into the distance. The rider swings at you with their sword. It's strange, you feel the glancing blow, but your eyes are telling you the rider should have missed entirely. And the sound of the rider and the image don't quite line up. It's like they're not actually quite where you think they are. You have disadvantage on attacks."

You're the DM, you choose the narrative. You need to describe enough to paint the story. You need not fill in every blank. In fact, it's better if you don't. You can't narrate every leaf fall, there's not enough time.


As an aside, my fingers kept typing "clock" instead of "cloak". The clock of displacement is surely a much different item.

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    \$\begingroup\$ WTB 1 Clock of Displacement. Will pay seller 10k gold if they bring it to the town square of Freeport city at noon, yesterday. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roger Hill
    Commented May 9 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ As the DM, focus on the magic of it, not the science. Don't focus on the "standing". It's magic. The wearer of the clock isn't quite where they appear to be, and that's enough information. Doing this would render about a third of the questions on this site moot. 😎 Well said, Jack! 😁 \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 31 at 13:52
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The cloak works, but it may be awkward

RAW, the cloak is clear in its function:

While you wear this cloak, it projects an illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against you.

  • It only projects an illusion of the wearer. The mount is not included in the illusion.
  • The illusion always appears to be standing. When mounted, the illusion would reasonably appear nearby on the ground. There's no more reason for it to appear in the air than when used unmounted.

In short this would result in the NPC appearing to be standing somewhere near the mount rather than on the mount. Even if an enemy knew that the NPC is actually mounted, the NPC would still appear to be on the ground. It should still grant disadvantage.

This is a little awkward conceptually though. You would have a mount charging around with no rider and a person running(?) alongside it.

Since this is your NPC anyway, you could simply describe the cloak affecting the mount and rider together. You don't have to grant the mechanical benefit to the mount (e.g. "it's too large to benefit") but the description would make more sense.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good explanation of the rules with a good application for play. Nice work. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 9 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, if you always appear standing because that's what the cloak says, what if you walk around? What if you attack, lunge, jump? You still alleays appear to be standing? I know names are no strict rules text, but it would seem to make more sense, if you be doing whatever you happen to do, just displaced a bit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 9 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin "You see a gnome fall past your cave at breakneck speeds, screaming in terror. He seems to be standing perfectly upright on the air as he hurtles towards the crocodiles below." \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Commented May 9 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am actually wondering if "standing in a place ..." means "standing (on feet) in a place ..." or just "being in a place ..." \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented May 9 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Eddy, 'standing' in this context should be read to mean like 'existing' rather than specifically upright and balanced on two legs. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10 at 22:13

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