I mean, seriously, it's not "The One Ring", which came with its own set of problems for the benefit of making its wearer invisible. Invisibility is a 2nd lvl spell (Duration 1 min) although the duration is indefinite in ring form, you cannot attack or cast spells.

Compare this to a ring of Regeneration (Very Rare) which lets you regain between 144 and 864 hit points in a 24 hour period and will regrow your left arm if your last encounter went a little off the rails.

It seems to me that being invisible is much more useful in tiers 1-2.5, after which the enemies start to have abilities that overcome invisibility - true sight, blindsense, tremorsense, and so on.

  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ What kind of answers are you looking for here? Rpg.se isn't a site designed to for idle speculation or ideas generation so if that's what you're after, you may be better off with a forum. Are you looking for a mechanical explanation, insight from the designers themselves, something other than just "here's what I think" answers? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 7:30

5 Answers 5


Because it is game breaking

Having a Ring of Invisibility isn't just being able to cast Invisibility a dozen or so times a day, it's being able to turn invisible as an action whenever you want. A character with this ring can and likely will...

  • Be invisible at the start of every combat. High level enemies like dragons have ways to handle this but monsters are going to be lost.
  • Turn invisible any time they would normally dodge. Attacks have disadvantage if you can't see the creature and you can't make opportunity attacks against a creature you can't see. Dodge and Disengage in one action, and you'll still be invisible next round.
  • If the character has a way to consistently attack as a bonus action they can use that every round, then turn invisible again with their action. Attacking from invisibility grants advantage so fantastic.
  • Combined with an expertise stealth check the character will simply never be found by most creatures.
  • In danger? Turn invisible.
  • Sleeping? Might as well be invisible and sleeping.
  • Traveling the road? Why not be invisible? It's free and the only downside is your friends can't admire your new haircut. You can always end it as a bonus action if you feel like it.

While not unassailable invisibility is a powerful, versatile, ability that requires particular abilities for monsters to handle effectively. Unlimited invisibility can make enough situations utterly trivial that an item that provides it is the stuff of legends.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please list some ways to attack with a bonus action, without attacking with your Action \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the enemy has an area attack, invisibility does not matter. If not, it will just attack some other party member, so there is no net benefit for the party. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @András Spiritual Hammer, Dragon's Breath, Healing Word and 33 other spells...and that's just spells. Now think of all the Bonus Action class abilities, racial abilities, etc etc etc etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 11:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @aaron9eee, Spiritual Weapon fits, but Dragon's Breath came out months after my comment. Healing Word does not attack, just like most of the 33 other spells. The wast majority of class and racial abilities has the requirement that you attack with your Action, before it lets you attack with your Bonus Action. So the actual list is extremely short, for most characters simply empty. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 21:43

The only reason I see is that this ring is unique.

DMG 135 - Rarity. Some legendary items, such as the apparatus of Kwalish, are unique. The game assumes that the secrets of creating the most powerful items arose centuries ago and were then gradually lost as a result of wars, cataclysms, and mishaps.

There is also - I think - a somewhat clear reference to the Lord of the Rings in the next paragraph, which would be the other reason why the ring is legendary.

That said, rarity shouldn't get in the way of your campaign's story. If you want a ring of invisibility to fall into the hands of a 1st-level character, so be it. No doubt a great story will arise from that event.

What would happen if a simple creature like a hobbit found such a ring in a river ? Probably a great story :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't expect a hobbit to find something so precious just lying in a river. Must be that birthday luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 21:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ But please give the hobbit a few eagles to speed up the journey cough cough \$\endgroup\$
    – Gigala
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 11:33
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gigala no, you give that hobbit a cave to hide in and orcs to prey on. And then you give the heir of his property's thief an eagle to speed up the transport. He should make sure to feed them first though, as a roc needs a halfling sized snack after 2d20 hours of flight and it is an 48 hour flight to the magma forge. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 11:56

Indefinite stealth is a looooottt more powerful than just a minute before you're busted. With indefinite stealth it's trivial to sneak in almost anywhere, assassinate anybody not magically guarded. You just slowly advance, waiting for opportunities and finding jussssst the right moment. If you only have a minute, you might set up a sneak attack, or avoid one set of guards, but you're not going very far.

  • \$\begingroup\$ invisibility does not make you undetectable, it just lets you roll stealth \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 9:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andras it makes you undetectable by sight. Most DM's could likely be convinced that's an Advantage for stealth checks. Even if you are detected narrowing down your location is going to be an exercise in frustration for most creatures. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ceribia
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 10:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ceribia invisibility does not grant you advantage on stealth, it makes rolling for stealth possible when it otherwise might not be. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle By default you are correct however PHB p.173 says that DM's can also decide that the circumstances can grant advantage or disadvantage on a check. Being unable to be seen even if you mess up, so you only need to focus on not being heard, is a pretty great circumstantial advantage for sneaking around. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ceribia
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now imagine a whole party like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xavier
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 21:25

Ceribia gives you a very good list of reasons why a full fledged invisibility ring is a monster item. By default, there are no limits to the number of time you can trigger the magic and become invisible. This means, even though it is only a level 2 spell, it is as if you had a wizard with a 14,100 slots of level 2... (60 * 60 * 24 = 86400 seconds per day, divided by 6 [turn duration] is 14,100 -- that's assuming you bypass sleeping, though, and you are constantly activating the ring...)

If you are the DM and want to offer such an item of lower greatness, you can do so by offering a ring of invisibility that only works 1 to 3 times a day. Maybe it has a curse (like The One Ring) and maybe the player does not know how many charges are available on that day. You could also limit it in time (i.e. the invisibility could last just 1 minute like the spell.)

You mentioned the ring of regeneration. I actually gave such a ring to a 1st level player, only that ring (1) only started kicking in if you reached 0 hit point, (2) only worked after 1d4 rounds [so you could still die before it worked], (3) only gave 1 hit point every hour after that [so max. 24 in a day and sleeping a whole night anyway gives you all your hit points!], (4) it was cursed, if you removed it, you'd be killed by the curse after about 4 hours; the curse was to make you tired, as if you were hit by one level of exhaustion every hour or so. The player lost it to a deck of card, though.


It is Legendary to make it unlikely that the whole party has it

The ring is close to useless in combat after the first attack*. Sure, you do not have to concentrate on it, and it does not take a spell slot, but activating it spends your most valuable resource in combat, your action. Even if you can find a way to attack using only your bonus action, you basically throw out at least half your DPR, 100% if you not a caster. If you decide this is still worth it to you, the monster can just attack someone else.
Based on its combat abilities, I would rate it Rare.

It is much more useful to avoid combat altogether, but it is very hard to sneak past the guard if only half your party is invisible. If at the time of the running into monsters only one of the characters is visible, they will focus their fire on that one, making it much more likely to bring him down in the first turn. So for the whole of the party, having some members invisible is arguably worse than none.

I guess the designers wanted to avoid everyone having invisibility by making it extremely rare and expensive

*Not even every attack of the first turn


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