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So the Find Familiar spells says that the caster can see and hear through the familiar's eyes and ears. I'm wondering what happens if the familiar encounters an illusion, say a Minor Illusion, when this is happening. Who makes the intelligence check to disbelieve the illusion, the familiar or the caster? Or do they each get a check?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In your particular situation, who actually is capable of investigating the illusion? The familiar, the caster or neither of them? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 20 '17 at 21:41
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They both make checks if needed

Find familiar indicates the caster sees through the eyes of the familiar, so the caster is observing and hearing possible illusions:

Find Familiar, PHB pg 240.

Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar's eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has.

The familiar continues to see and operate on its own; you can give it telepathic instructions to fly that-a-way, or "That's not real!".

So the familiar too sees, hears, and smells the illusion, although with such low intelligence, the DM may rule it probably won't use an action to disbelieve it unless the wizard tells it to (exceptions maybe for pseudodragons, quasits, and the like).

Likewise, both caster and familiar would have to make saving throws if in range observing a medusa.

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There are no saving throws to disbelieve illusions

How illusions are penetrated is described in each spell description - there is no general rule.

For example, Fear requires a Wisdom saving throw which would be made by the familiar as that would be the creature targeted. In contrast, Major Image and Minor Illusion are detected either by physical interaction (by the familiar) or by using an action to make an Intelligence (Investigation) check (by you or the familiar, whoever is best at it - probably you). And Mirage Arcane requires a creature (the familiar) to have truesight to see the illusion.

In addition, what happens when you have determined that something is an illusion is detailed in the description. For example, Fear just stops, Major Image and Minor Illusion become faint and you can see through them but Mirage Arcane continues to affect you even if you do have truesight.

Even knowing a thing is an illusion doesn't mean that you don't believe in it - think of it as the difference between the intellectual and the emotional: your brain knows it's not really a dragon but your legs are having nothing to do with that! You also can't see through illusions that you have cast yourself unless and until you meet the criteria in the description. Clearly, having cast the illusion or otherwise having strong evidence that it is an illusion should give you advantage on the Intelligence (Investigation) check, if any.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The investigation check is to "determine that it is an illusion". If you have just cast it, you already know it is an illusion without checking. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 20 '17 at 1:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega of course you know it's an illusion but in order to see through it you must either physically interact with it or use an action and make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. As I see it, these spells create real visual, audio etc. effects the cumulatively deceive you, only when you confirm the source is false do they turn translucent etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 20 '17 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The check is made to deduce the information that it is an illusion. If you were the one to cast it, you already have that information and there is no need for deduction. "lf a creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the creature can see through the image" It does not say that the only way to do this is by making a check. Even if you say the caster has to take an action, he should automatically succeed on the check. Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/86918/… \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 20 '17 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega seen it, read it and I stand by my unpopular answer to it - you play it your way I'll play it mine \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 20 '17 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is actually an interesting concept if generalized. A world where the magic you wield is more powerful than you and your control over it is in question. Might add nice flavor. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 20 '17 at 13:47
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As said in the Player's Handbook Minor Illusion spell description:

If a creature uses its action to examine the sound or image, the creature can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell DC. If the creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the illusion becomes faint to the creature.

Although the tooltip further says that

"Physical interaction with the object reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it."

So I guess that if you can interact with the the illusion (touch it) then you don't need any check, but if you are only seeing or hearing it, then you need the investigation check.

So answering your question, as both the familiar and the familiar's caster are seeing the illusion, I think that both would qualify for the investigation check.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering that the creature must "use its action to examine the image", is it supposed to actively do something to reveal the illusion, isn't it? If so, it would be wrong to ask the player make an Investigation check without any reasons, check just because the character saw the illusion. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 20 '17 at 21:44
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Checking illusions requires an action to use an investigation check, but if I recall, you have to use your action to maintain the sense-sharing, so it'd have to be the familiar checking.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site, and thank you for offering your time to help others. If you haven’t yet, I recommend checking out the Tour, it has a lot of useful advice. In particular, we really are looking for answers here that demonstrate expertise or research—if you can’t recall for certain, it is best to wait until you can double-check before you answer. Quoting the rules you refer to would be even better. Doing that would improve your answer, and make it more likely to attract upvotes and ward off downvotes. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 22 '17 at 20:48

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