I'm gonna be a GM for an upcoming DnD 3.5 game. I want to do an adventure into an house of mirrors / spookhouse / house of illusions. The big bad would most likely be a beholder. Given the number of mirrors there'll be, I wondered how magic interacts with mirrors.

I'm pretty sure evocations would just smash into the glass and/or explode on contact, but the other spell effects are trickier.

  • Are rays reflected?
  • Are beholder rays reflected (might not be the same, who knows)?
  • Are gaze attacks reflected?
  • Is the antimagic gaze reflected?
  • Are illusion reflected?
  • Can you cast a spell which requires line of sight through a Mirror?
    • (telekinesis' slam attack, magic missile, illusions, cloudkill, summon monster)
  • Would true sight and see invisibility and all those fancy vision spells grant you their benefits if the vision bounce on a Mirror?
    • (ex. there's an invisible foe around a corner and a Mirror in the said corner: would true sight reveal it through the mirror?)
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    \$\begingroup\$ seriously? vote to close? i don't know how i could be any more on topic, precise and clean-cut-answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mouhgouda
    Feb 17, 2016 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ My guess is that the vote came from your having 6 questions within a single question post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patrick vD
    Feb 17, 2016 at 16:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't need six questions: I would group them into four questions. The beholder, rays, and antimagic elements in one question. The gaze reflection in another. (though I think you can find in the rules of an addition how gazes work with mirrors ...). Line of Sight is another question. True Seeing and Illusion in the same question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2016 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mouhgouda The problem is probably the fac that in general broad questions require broader (ie. less precise) answers and, at the same time, they are harder to effectively search and the core assumption of all SE sites is that they can serve not only the asker but everyone who has similar problem. Your first four bullet-points could be squashed into something like "Which spells can bounce via a mirror?" and that, in my eyes, would be enough to not have this marked as too broad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maurycy
    Feb 17, 2016 at 17:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ My VtC was for exactly the reasons @Maurycy mentions above, and I think the breakdown KorvinStarmast provides above would be excellent. (And please don't take a VtC personally--we're all here spending our time trying to make the site work well, and sometimes workshopping a question is part of that.) In addition to the points Maurycy makes, having a bunch of questions lumped together freezes out users who might be able to provide a great answer to one or two of them, but not all. Future users are deprived of those answers. Posts are cheap--go ahead and create two or three questions =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Feb 17, 2016 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


There is a mirror listed in the DMG under Goods and Services; it has no listed mechanics, which is already a bad sign. Additionally, Dungeonscape does not consider a mirror to be useful dungeon-delving gear, since it fails to mention it.

Rays and spells in general: No

Line of sight does not say anything about mirrors.

To determine line of sight, pick any corner of your space and trace a line from that corner to every corner of the target's space. If at least one line doesn't pass through or touch an object or effect, then you have line of sight.

For spells, you're also boned by the Line of Effect rule.

A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier.

Despite being shiny, a mirror is a solid barrier. So no, you could not bounce a ray off a mirror to have it affect a creature that you don't have LoS or LoE to.

Gaze: No

Gaze attacks explicitly don't work with reflections. From the description of the "Gaze Attacks" special ability:

Looking at the creature's image (such as in a mirror or as part of an illusion) does not subject the viewer to a gaze attack.

There is one explicit exception to that rule, the Thought Slayer's Mind Consuming Gaze:

If a thought slayer’s gaze is met indirectly (such as through a mirror or a reflection in water), the opponent does not die on a failed save but instead is dazed for 14 rounds.

Illusions: Probably

Illusions also do not mention mirrors. However, it makes sense that an illusion would reflect in a mirror, since you are still looking at it (albeit not directly). Defeating the entire school of Illusion with a 10gp mirror would be very sad indeed.

Special vision: Depends on the spell

Different vision spells have different rules. For example, see invisibility works "within your range of vision" so a mirror would definitely work. However, aura sight needs subjects to be within Line of Sight to work 100%:

The owner of each aura is revealed, unless the individual is outside your line of sight.

There is a similar clause in arcane sight:

If the items or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Spellcraft skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly, this poses a few nice questions on how a simple clear glass window could be used to defeat spells relying on line of sight. It's a solid barrier after all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roflo
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it defeats them only as long as it takes someone to break the glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Roflo Glass doesn't block line of sight. It's one of the most common examples of something that blocks line of effect but not line of sight. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2016 at 16:32

The exception to the rule you are looking for:

Inside Lords of Madness, the go to book on Beholders (and Illithids, Aboleths, and a few other aberrations), there is a magic item by the name of Sphere Mirror (page 46).

It is a 10' by 5' mirror that does not reflect light, but does reflect beholders, so flawlessly that you need a DC 30 spot check to discern that the reflection isn't another beholder. (And it has high hardness and hit points, so throwing rocks to tell the mirrors from the beholders is no help.) On top of that minor effect, a beholder can bounce an eye ray off of one of those mirrors, as if the ray originated at mirror's location. Which does mean it can blast a single eye ray miles down a zigzagging corridor with enough mirrors.

A beholder is limited to using a single eye ray as a standard action on a round he is using such a mirror.


How does magic interact with mirrors?

It doesn't interact with them any differently than anything else.

Theres no rule governing magic interacting with mirrors in any special way. So a destructive spell would destroy the mirror the same as an axe would. Illusions trick the mind so unless you know its an illusion you would see it in the mirror too.

The only exception here would probably be infravision. Although if you are in pitch black why are you looking in a mirror? You need light to reflect an image.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Infrared is light. Not visible light, but it will bounce off a mirror. Of course, I'm not even sure if infravision is just the ability to see infrared light. Anyway, better protect those mirrors from being shattered to pieces. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roflo
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The way they describe infravision in D&D is sensing heat, not light. I was being colloquial because not a lot of people understand that infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, rf and more are all wavelengths of light. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2016 at 18:05

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