The trigger for counterspell is originally:

which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell

For a player character that is blind, I want to change it to this:

which you take when you perceive a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell

which presumably would include blindsight. Of course, then it would cover 'hearing' the verbal component too. Presumably, a spell with verbal component can normally be counterspelled since you can see the a creature lips chanting the verbal components, so it wouldn't change much, but I'm looking for ways this change might be a bad idea.

Does this change break the game, somehow? If yes, how can it be mitigated?

Of course, I can just regard allowing blindsight count as 'seeing', but technically it is not, so an answer should not just use that as answer.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Blindsight counts as seeing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Should this rather be tagged Houserule than Homebrew review? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 18 at 7:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TreeSpawned Probably yes. There is a lot of slack on how these two are used in practice. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 18 at 8:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TreeSpawned the OP wants to introduce this altered counterspell only "for a player character that is blind", so it's just a homebrew spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Jun 18 at 9:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ What if the change were, "when, if your character were sighted, you would have seen..." Counterspell grants the caster the ability to identify others who are potentially vulnerable to it, specifically those whom a sighted character would be able to see casting a spell. A blind character might not be able to see them, per se, but they can "sense" them as vulnerable to the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – drew
    Commented Jun 18 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


It makes it more powerful by including sound

Think of the following constellations:

  • Evil Wizard A stands behind a pillar and casts a spell. You know he is there, but the pillar grants complete cover.
  • Black Wizard B stands in a zone of Darkness and can not be seen. But he can be heard casting the spell.
  • Blue Wizard C is protected from sight by Greater Invisibility. However, that does not muffle his sounds as he casts.

Under the old rule, those spells can't be counterspelled, because complete cover or darkness prevents you from seeing them, as does the Greater Invisibility's effect that is not ended by casting a spell.

Under the proposed new rule, you can counterspell all those spells of someone you can not see as soon as you can hear them: Hearing them is included in perceiving them.

Even Tremorsense and Detect Magic would suffice to counterspell

There are also other ways to perceive a caster without sight and hearing, such as tremorsense. With that, casting counterspell would work through a wall when you don't even hear the verbal component.

If the wall is less than the equivalent of 1 inch lead/1 foot stone/3 feet wood, Detect Magic would work too. A single foot of wood would swallow all sound by the way.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Also casting from darkness will no longer be counterspell safe \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jun 17 at 22:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't Evil Wizard A still be safe? Spell casting in general requires the target to be in line-of-sight, not just a known location. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BillThePlatypus As reworded, the spell can be considered to have special targeting conditions - such as scry. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 19 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your edit doesn't address how Counterspell can target Wizard A when there's no clear path to target, at least not a straight path, because of full cover. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19 at 19:41

This won't break your game, but it is unneccesary

In principle this will allow you to counter a spell that you only can hear being cast. Spells however need a clear path to the target (p. 204, PHB). Counterspell says

You attempt to interrupt a creature in the process of casting a spell.

If you consider counterspell targeting the creature you interrupt, you still need line of effect to counter the spell, so it won't work to counter by ear if they are behind cover, and makes no difference unless there is no total cover and instead they are invisible.

Casting from behind cover

Spell descriptions do not need to use the word target, and have no formal targeting section in the header, so resolving what counts as a target falls to the DM in cases where it is not explicit.

I think most DMs would consider the other caster your target, but even if not, these spellcasters usually need line of effect to target you, so they also cannot target you from behind cover. In addition, there is a good number of spells that require outright line of sight (about a hundred, so more than a quarter in the core rules), and if they are not invisible, if they can see you, you can see them too. So in most cases, even if you do not need to target them, this again won't matter.

If countering someone in cover were allowed, it would help if they were trying to cast a spell on Self in hiding, which is again is about a quarter of them. They also might be able to place an area effect spell nearby that will affect you and it would help there, but then, they need to know or suspect that you have a wizard that can counterspell to even worry about this.


The other way for them to be able to cast on you while unseen is if they are invisible. Situations where the opponent casting a spell at you is also invisible are uncommon. They surely do happen, for example the Mage NPC or the Drow Mage NPC have greater invisibility and will make use of it if they can, but this will be far from a regular situation in most campaigns.

I think one aspect is that if you change counterspell in general, this is likely to hurt the PCs at least as much as the opposition, because now all their little tricks like casting from Darkness with Devil Sight, or casting while invisible due to greater invisibility, dark environments and Gloom Stalker multiclassing can now be countered. In addition, if that is how the spell works in general, enemy casters will know about this, and if they are aware you can use it, may try to avoid it by prioritzing casting their spells when out of range, or may be able to counter-counterspell you.

You don't need this change

Still, it will make counterspell even stronger, and bang-for-the-buck it is already one of the strongest spells in the game, if not the strongest, so that is probably not a good thing. And as @ThomasMarkov pointed out in a comment, blindsight counts as seeing, so it is not needed, if the reason you want it is because you have a blind PC with blindsight. They can just counter normally using their blindsight anyways (provided the blindsight has 60' range).

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Hmm, when exactly is the spell cast? Does invisibility end as soon as you begin casting the spell or after you've finished casting the spell? At what instant are you seen for the purpose of counterspell? \$\endgroup\$
    – TREB
    Commented Jun 18 at 9:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @TREB, Normally you cast a spell when you start casting it, you select its targets when you end casting. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 18 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The cover interpretation is... questionable: there's many reasons why a caster might be in cover from the counterspeller but have other valid targets.# \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 18 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish I think the main point about full cover is that you cannot target them, and while there is some degree of DM interpretation if CS targets the other caster, what else would it target? You generally can only target areas, creatures or points in space, and the uncast spell is neither of them. I believe this actually makes the main argument of your answer incorrect as you cannot counter in those cases (it still works if they are just invisible). Or do you mean something different here? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Specific beats general: the text of the spell - in the altered version - would override normal targeting rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 19 at 2:18

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