Casters in Pathfinder have many means of countering creatures that are invisible (such as by See Invisibility, Glitterdust, area attacks, etc) but that leaves too much on casters who may not have such spells prepared yet not enough options for the rest of a party to contribute.

What options exist for non-casters to effectively negate the total concealment that invisible creatures have. That would be both to identify which square they are in and then how to negate their concealment so they can be attacked with moderate success.

Preferably affordable alchemical items or repeatable tactics rather than expensive single use items like Dust of Appearance which costs 1'800gp per use.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is hitting your casters with a stick for failing to do their job an option? \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jun 16 '16 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Slightly related: NPCs detecting (greater) invisible PC after he attacks their ally \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jun 16 '16 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon there aren't enough sticks nor sufficient time in the day. Even if the caster did prepare Glitterdust and did use it they may blow it affecting the wrong area. Even if they did it right, the rest of the crew is standing around feeling useless, I'm trying to give all the players a sense of agency. As in: everyone is contributing to finding the invisible assassin. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 16 '16 at 13:32

You can use any kind of powder (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/goods-and-services/herbs-oils-other-substances#TOC-Powder-Normal):

Powdered chalk, flour, and similar materials are popular with adventurers for their utility in pinpointing invisible creatures. Throwing a bag of powder into a square is an attack against AC 5, and momentarily reveals if there is an invisible creature there. A much more effective method is to spread powder on a surface (which takes 1 full round) and look for footprints.

It costs 1cp for 1/2 lbs, so it is not expensive at all, however the powder can be removed quite easily.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there something steadfast and unambiguous in the rules on how long "momentary" is and also whether "pinpointing" negate benefits of total concealment, how does this interact with the "+20 stealth if moving, +40 stealth if stationary" aspect of invisibility? \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 16 '16 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I vaguely remember one can remove the powder with a move action and an easy Reflex save, however I don't have the sources for this. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jun 16 '16 at 12:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TREB in terms of pinpointing, its more talking about the square the character is in, thus giving you the ability to know which square to hit and give you even that 50% chance to hit them (instead of guessing at a random square). \$\endgroup\$ – Gnomejon Jun 16 '16 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gnomejon doesn't seem that helpful as you have to figure out which square to throw the dust into as a Standard Action to know you were right when you could have just attacked that square. If you don't attack and only "momentarily pinpoint" what square they are in they can move on their turn. I guess you could reveal square for others to attack, but going square by square you'll probably guess wrong. Except splash weapons can affect one square and its adjacent squares so 15x15 area. See comments on Slagmoth's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 16 '16 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hitting at random, if it miss, don't indicate if there is someone here, whereas the powder as it doesn't target the invisible creature, it pretty certain to hit (and don't have that 50% missing chance). \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jun 16 '16 at 15:02


Although powders are easier, my favorite solution is the Scent ability. Relevant quotes below.

The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell...

The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.

This isn't an efficient usage of actions. You can note detect a creature (if it is within range) for free, but must use a move action to determine which direction the creature is. Then you move until you come within 5 feet of the creature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Scent is not something many non-caster characters have. I think this answer would be better if you provided a few easy (or fairly cheap) ways to get scent. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jun 17 '16 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon a human doesn't have scent but a Riding Dog does, which according to Ultimate Equipment costs only 150gp to buy as a pet d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/animals/dog/riding-dog so the dog spends a move action to tell which direction something is then runs over and stops next to where they are then do the nose point thing to indicate which space. Then throw marker dye (mixed with Glowing ink) into that area, which you could have prepared to throw as a Ready Action. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 17 '16 at 20:42

I have used that flour trick alluded by Anne Aunyme in 2nd edition and although flour is not as easy to get off of you in real life it is a game obviously so follow rules as posted if they make sense for a given situation.

One idea is to use the flour to find out which square they are in and use what would be the equivalent of a paint "flask". Essentially, a bladder filled with paint or something alchemical that sticks and is harder to remove. This obviously has weight and transport would be more tricky than a powder but your request for an absence of magic would have at least some draw back. Plenty of rules for crafting Alchemical items, use your imagination, in my opinion they were under used by some campaigns and I sort of miss them in 5e.

Only way to get rid of something like paint is to become visible and recast if I recall the text correctly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a "Marker Dye" in Pathfinder archivesofnethys.com/… so that wouldn't disappear if it landed on an invisible creature? As a splash weapon it affects one square and all adjacent squares so 15x15ft area. Also can mix in glowing ink so they cannot hide in darkness. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 16 '16 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is tricky... Dye by definition would change the color of what it hit and changing the color of something invisible, well you get the idea, whereas paint would be a material "on" the mob. This would be up to the DM but it could work if he was on board. The glowing can't be hidden by invisibility so I think that would be the best of all worlds on that front, I like that, I can now tell my players it is your fault TREB :) \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jun 16 '16 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question doesn't mention a flour trick, to which flour trick is your answer referring? Please try not to answer questions by responding to other answers. If you are referring to something written in another answer on this page, please link to the answer and clarify which one you refer to. Each answer on SE should be wholly formed and be able to stand on its own. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Jun 17 '16 at 12:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude still fairly new, I have included the reference from the answer and will keep this in mind in the future. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jun 17 '16 at 13:01

First of all your scout can pinpoint the position of an invisible enemy with a percepition check, the invisible creature have a +20 to their stealth check (on the bright side ususally an inviaible creature don't try to hide, so the dc is just 20).

Once you know the square you can try to hit it. Sticking an arrow or any way to make your enemy dirty would leave a visible mark for the rest of your team. this work beacuse only the stuff you are carrying when you become invisible turn invisible with you, you have to hide anything else under aomething already invisible

iIrc You are stuck with a 20% miss chanche after the dirtying, wich is far better than the usual 50% anyway.

i can't link you the source right now, but you can find the rule under the percepition page and the invisibility


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