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Suppose Bob the wizard is out and enjoying a stroll through the woods of mild peril and he happens across a Basilisk, which has a 30' gaze attack that could turn Bob to stone.

Bob decides to blind the creature using glitterdust which (after Bob makes his first save for looking at the creature so he can cast the spell) succeeds and to his mind makes sense as Bob has not studied these creatures, poor Bob.

Subsequently the Basilisk is blind.

However, the GM, checking the statements for Blind and Gaze can't see any mention of blindness in gaze attacks or gaze attacks in the blind condition. Bob is still in peril.

This seems rather counter-intuitive; but I can't find any ruling in the standard books about this and blinding a creature that has a gaze attack does nothing to protect victims, especially since facing in Pathfinder is abstract and it doesn't matter which way the creature looks, it's if anyone is looking at the creature.

So; Has there ever been any kind of clarification or update regarding blind creatures with gaze attacks, or have I missed something? Will blinding a gaze attack creature protect you?

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    \$\begingroup\$ (For those worried about Bob, he dropped the Basalisk down a pit and survived) \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Feb 2 '17 at 11:09
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By the rules, it is only half effective:

A creature with a gaze attack can actively gaze as an attack action by choosing a target within range. That opponent must attempt a saving throw but can try to avoid this as described above. Thus, it is possible for an opponent to save against a creature's gaze twice during the same round, once before the opponent's action and once during the creature's turn.

So there are two gazes. Passive one, when you look into creature's eyes, and second one is active, when creature chooses to gaze in your eyes. To do so, creature must know where you are, and you still have total concealment against it.

The big question is - is Basilisk's gaze an activity that relies on vision? If so, then we can use rule for blinded condition:

All checks and activities that rely on vision automatically fail.

My personal ruling would be that active gazing is indeed an automatic failure, and for the passive gazing it is the character who is looking, his vision working OK - characters would benefit 50% chance to avoid having to make a saving throw - covering monster's face with dust or making it unable to look around would count, in my opinion, as a way of Averting Eyes. Still, it is also reasonable to rule that gaze simply fails, no matter what.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Would that also mean that if you avert your own character's eyes while dealing with a blinded monster that has a gaze attack you would have only a 25% chance of being blinded? \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Cohoon Feb 2 '17 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JesseCohoon Don't know. Stacking in Pathfinder is tricky. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Feb 2 '17 at 13:07
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Blinding the creature should prevent it from actively making a gaze attack but not from the passive one that happens by you looking at it.

A creature with a gaze attack can actively gaze as an attack action by choosing a target within range. That opponent must attempt a saving throw but can try to avoid this as described above. Thus, it is possible for an opponent to save against a creature's gaze twice during the same round, once before the opponent's action and once during the creature's turn.

This assumes that the creature has no other way of locating you. If it has blindsight or scent (and is adjacent to you) blinding it might not even protect from that. But luckily for Bob basilisks seem to have neither of those.

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I guess it also depends on how the Basilisk is blinded.

If you applied a blindfold to the Basilisk, then it would be blind and unable to actively attack, but the passive attack would also be disabled.

If you shine a beam of strong light in its eyes, then it would be blind but the passive attack would still be valid as you could see its eyes.

Glitterdust works by covering everything in the area in a thick layer of unremovable, sparkly golden dust. I'd argue that this would prevent anyone seeing the Basilisk's eyes even if staring right into them (because they've just been painted over) so you'd be safe from the passive attack too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Or, does it work by coating enough of your field of vision with sparkly golden dust that you cannot see between the sparkles, rather than actually coating? Like, tonnes of small flashlights shining in your eyes, making it hard to see through the glare? \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Feb 2 '17 at 14:26
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In your opinion, would you consider a gaze attack to be different than sight?

For example, I believe superman's eye beams are separate than his actual vision, he just wouldn't know where he is aiming his eye beams without being able to see.


Mechanically, I would say the basilisks gaze attack would still exist, but an applicable miss chance, save bonus, or cover bonus would have to be considered, since the basilisk wouldn't know where exactly to aim it.

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