If I am invisible and pick up a smaller injured character to help remove him from the melee area, I understand that unless I completely cover or conceal him (like stuff him in a pack or cover him with my voluminous robes) he will remain visible.

If an attacker then attempts to swing at his (apparently) hovering body, but my invisible body is between him and the attacker, what now?

Does the attacker swing at me, and I use my armor class? Is the 50% miss chance still in play because I am invisible?

Does the attack go against the visible character being carried, using his AC but my invisible body gives him cover? If the attacker then misses him because of the cover then I get hit? In that case, do I get to use my AC?

Please help as our group is in disagreement on how to proceed.


3 Answers 3


So you're invisible and carrying a helpless creature? Here's what could happen…

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 doesn't allow a creature to interpose itself between an attacker and the creature's burden, much in the same way that a creature can't carry, for example, a barrel or a coffin and claim the object's providing cover. Further, the system isn't granular enough to handle turning one's back on one's foe to take a hit for someone or something else, and, anyway, getting cover (or granting it) to something is largely unique to a special use of the tower shield, not just anything (or anyone) that's being carried that also happens to be bulky. Nonetheless, as can be seen below, it's actually kind of lucky that the game doesn't seem to consider a helpless creature much of a creature. (When engaged in combat, friends and foes alike grant each other soft cover all the time, but carrying a helpless creature follows different rules.)

The Rules Compendium on Sharing Spaces says

You can freely enter a square that contains a helpless creature, unless the DM rules otherwise, sharing that creature’s space. If you’re in a space with a helpless Small or larger creature that ceases being helpless, and for whatever reason that creature can’t share spaces with you, the creature must be or remain prone, attempt to grapple you, or leave your space at its first opportunity. It provokes attacks of opportunity as normal for what it does. (62)

And it says, "You can… share spaces with a creature you’re… carrying… (95). Finally, on Carried Creatures says

A Small or larger creature can carry a Tiny or smaller creature, which then shares the carrier’s space. If the carried creature is visible to an attacker, it can be attacked as if it were a carried object, including the benefit of the Improved Sunder feat. The carried creature uses the higher of its carrier’s or its own Dexterity modifier to determine its AC. (142)

An unconscious creature has an effective Dexterity of 0, by the way.

The size limits above technically prohibit carrying creatures bigger than size Tiny, but in this reader's opinion this is an oversight geared toward, for example, allowing the typical familiar to be worn as hat and not supposed to disallow, for example, a fireman's carry. Hence a reasonable house rule allows creatures to carry helpless creatures of their own size category or littler. (Tables I've played at have allowed picking up helpless creatures of the same size category without feeling the need to formally house rule the Rules Compendium.)

As no mention's made of them being lost, you retain the benefits of being invisible despite carrying the other creature, but, no matter how quiet you are, this DM would have reasonably intelligent foes assume that you occupy at least one square (you know, the one with the floating unconscious dude in it) and launch attacks accordingly, unless perhaps the party had previously demonstrated comic book-style telekinesis or casual use of multiple unseen servants. Also, carrying capacity might limit the weight of a creature you can carry while retaining your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class.

Another DM may require the helpless creature be instead grappled then moved. Fortunately, this is usually easy. Unfortunately, this would likely qualify as attacking the helpless creature, ending an invisibility spell.

In Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition an attack against a foe with cover could hit the cover (PH (2000) 213); the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 revision eliminates this rule.

…But you might be on your own

The game makes it really, really complicated for a creature to carry another creature. What mightbe preferable is first either taking a move action to pick up an item (i.e., in this case, the helpless creature) or taking a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity to move a heavy object (i.e., again, in this case, the helpless creature—no offense) then taking a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity to store the creature in a bag of holding or whatever, like sheathing a weapon. If rescuing fallen foes while invisible all the time, I urge you to spare the DM and yourself some grief and get the bag of holding forthwith. Just be sure to free the poor creatures stuffed in the bag before they suffocate.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, the DM chose this path to resolution: the attacker's swing contacted the interposing invisible guy, using the invisible guys AC (including Dex bonus as he was not bothered by the weight of the person he was carrying), and did damage to him. He did not receive the benefit of the 50% miss chance. When we told the DM "Hey, a missed attack does not do damage to cover" he said "The invisible guy is not cover, he was in the targeted square and was targeted whether the attacker was aware of his presence or not". \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:42

According to the Rules As Written, you get cover against melee attacks if "any line from any corner of your square to the target's square goes through a wall (including a low wall)". So the defender would not have cover; the attacker can attack the defender unhindered.

If the attacker were using a ranged attack, we'd use this line: "Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks." So the defender would then have cover (+4 to AC) against the attack. The defender's AC is likely very low (being unconscious carries some severe penalties) so this may not help.

Rules as Written, if the attacker misses because of cover, the attack still does not do any damage to the thing that provided cover.

It would be very reasonable for the DM to rule that the defender gets cover (or even total cover) if the invisible creature holding the defender is directly between the attacker and defender. It would also be reasonable for the DM to rule that any attack that misses because of cover strikes the invisible creature instead, assuming that the attack roll was high enough to hit the invisible creature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, the DM chose a different path to resolution that I guess we are OK with. The attacker's swing contacted the interposing invisible guy, using the invisible guys AC (including Dex bonus as he was not bothered by the weight of the person he was carrying), and did damage to him. He did not receive the benefit of the 50% miss chance. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ When we told the DM "Hey, a missed attack does not do damage to cover" he said "The invisible guy is not cover, he was in the targeted square and was targeted whether the attacker was aware of his presence or not". \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:40

Sorry it took so long, I had a hard time finding the rule I was looking for.

From the DMG P24:

Variant: Striking the cover instead of a missed target

In ranged combat against a target that has cover, it may be important to know whether the cover was actually struck by an incoming attack that misses the intended target. First, determine if the attack roll would have hit the protected target without the cover. If the attack roll falls within a range low enough to miss the target with cover, but high enough to strike the target if there had been no cover, the object used for cover is struck. If a creature is providing cover for another character and the attack roll exceeds the AC of the covering creature, the covering creature takes the damage intended for the target.
If the covering creature has a Dexterity bonus to AC or a dodge bonus, and this bonus keeps the covering creature from being hit, then the original target is hit instead. The covering creature has dodged out of the way and didn't provide cover after all. A covering creature can choose not to apply his Dexterity bonus to AC and/or his dodge bonus, if his intent is to try to take the damage in order to keep the covered character from being hit.

This is up to the DM whether they wish to use it or not, but it is the best RAW I could find for this specific circumstance (emphasis mine).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the response. As I understand it this variant rule is specific to ranged attacks, which our scenario was not. If we were to use it, for an invisible creature providing cover who was missed because of the 50% miss chance provided by his invisibility (rather than from his Dex bonus to AC or Dodge), what happens? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's true, but it would logically follow that cover could apply against a melee attack in some situations. I would rule that invisibility would be treated the same as dex or dodge. The enemy aims at the visible target, the invisible character can either use their invisibility to dodge the blow or make no attempt to move out of the way. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I guess that seems fair. If the attacker has a good enough attack roll... someones going to get hit. I just think that my ability to move (Dex and dodge) should help protect the guy I am carrying, and that if I avoid the hit using my Dex and dodge, my friend should not be automatically hit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you have to imagine is your friend is prone and helpless, you might be able to dodge, but you're only really parrying attacks and sidestepping swipes in combat (this is what your dex + dodge represent, you're never moving from your 5ft square). So it's a bit unreasonable to assume that you can also manage to toss around over 50 lbs of dead weight to avoid that and you being hit by a determined attacker (who can clearly see his target). To get a rough feel, try picking up a 5kg (about 12lbs) bag of potatoes and stop a friend from touching it or you without moving out of a 5ft square! :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 16:04

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