I'm looking for a clarification for my group about the Invisible Spell feat from CityScape on how it interacts with Summon Monster (specifically Summon Undead).

The book states:

You can modify any spell you cast so that it carries no visual manifestation. All other aspects of the spell, including range, area, targets, and damage remain the same. Note that this feat has no bearing on any components required to cast the enhanced spell, so the spell's source might still be apparent, depending on the situation, despite its effects being unseen. For example, fireball cast by someone with this feat could be made invisible in the moment of its detonation, but everyone in the area would still feel the full effect (including the heat), and any flammable materials ignited by the explosion would still burn visibly with nonmagical fire. Those with detect magic, see invisibility, or true seeing spells or effects active at the time of the casting will see whatever visual manifestations typically accompany the spell.

Given that, would it make the summoned creature invisible, or mearly the magic surrounding the act of summoning invisible (and therefore be worthless)?

If the creature, would this invisibility act as regular Invisibility or Greater Invisibility, meaning if summoned creature does go invisible would it reappear when it makes an attack?


2 Answers 2



Summoning spells have the effect of bringing creatures (or objects) in your presence (and often of giving command over them):

A summoning spell instantly brings a creature or object to a place you designate. When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from.

Both these effects are already invisibly so the feat is useless. The creature himself isn't a creation of the spell so is unaffected by the feat.

The feat mainly speak about 'visual manifestation' of the spell while the Effect line of the spell is a technical term to indicate what the spell summon, not what is the effect of the spell. The effect of the spell is teleport+command, like said by the school's description but I admit that it could be clearer.

From Spell Description:


Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that my answer isn't claiming that Summon spells create their own creatures ex nihilo (they don't, per your quote about the Summoning subschool). Just that, whether it's created or teleported, the creature is explicitly an effect of the spell, and to the (limited) extent that Invisible Spell clearly says anything, it says that the effects of your spells are invisible. \$\endgroup\$
    – A_S00
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 23:43
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In my opinion the creature isn't an effect of the spell, the appearance of the creature is the effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – fabio
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 12:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Ice Beast line of spells would work, though, because they are [creation] rather than summoning. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 9:27

The summoned creature will be invisible, because the creature is explicitly an effect of the spell.

From the SRD entry on Summon Monster I:

Effect: One summoned creature

Note that "Effect" is not among the items that Invisible Spell lists as unchanged ("range, area, targets, and damage"), and that the feat describes your spell's "effects being unseen".

This would not be the case for the Planar Binding line, which targets a creature, rather than having one as its effect.

If, as this answer claims, the summoned monster is invisible, then it would remain so after attacking. The Invisibility spell only disappears upon attacks because the spell description says so. The Invisible Spell feat makes no mention of causing your spells to be invisible "as the Invisibility spell" or similar, so there is no reason to expect it to inherit that clause from Invisibility's spell description. It simply makes spell effects invisible, full stop.

Finally, as a less RAW-focused note, the fact that you are receiving two contradictory answers to this question is a symptom of the fact that Invisible Spell is a terribly-written and extremely unclear feat (summoned creatures are the least of its problems...what happens with invisible illusions?). You would be wise to have a long talk with your DM about this feat and what exactly it does before taking it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is one of those rare situations where I'll upvote two contradictory answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Invisible illusions are actually potentially useful, to foil people with see invisibility perhaps. Though admittedly, invisible obscuring mist or similar is often preferred for that purpose (since that would also block true seeing). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 2:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ My objection isn't that they're not useful, but that it can be unclear what they do. Like, purely visual illusions like Minor Image are mostly fine (most people see nothing, See Invisibility reveals what the illusion is showing). But what about spells that have mechanical effects as well, like Blur? Does the subject gain concealment even though the blurring effect is invisible? Seems like that shouldn't happen, but the spell description doesn't say anything about having to see the blurring, just being able to see the subject. And what the heck happens with invisible Invisibility? \$\endgroup\$
    – A_S00
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 4:45

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