A creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target’s person. The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 2nd.
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S, M (an eyelash encased in gum arabic)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
School: 2nd-level illusion
Who can cast Invisibility? Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, and Artificers have Invisibility on their class spell lists. Circle of the Land Druids get Invisibility for free and always have it prepared. Eldritch Knight Fighters can choose to learn Invisibility at 8th, 14th, or 20th level, and Arcane Trickster Rogues can learn it starting at 7th level.
A staple of the fantasy genre and role-playing games in general, Invisibility is a classic DnD spell that does just what you’d expect. However, some confusing rules regarding the invisibility effect make this spell a little less straightforward than you’d imagine.
I’ll cover how both the Invisibility spell and effect work in 5e, as well as go into details about the fun and optimal applications of the spell.
How Does Invisibility Work in 5e?
The spell Invisibility causes a creature you touch to become invisible. The invisibility condition means that the target is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense (like Blindsight or Trusight). Attack rolls against the invisible creature have disadvantage, and the invisible creature’s attacks have advantage — even if a creature can “see” the invisible creature, these benefits still apply.
Technically, being invisible does not help you succeed in taking the Hide action, because Hide requires a Dexterity (Stealth) check. However, you normally need cover to even attempt hiding. With Invisibility active, you can always attempt to Hide. But that will be your action for the turn, and you’ll need to make another check if you try to move again. Most DMs will grant advantage on Stealth checks if you’re invisible and no special senses are in play.
Note that an invisible creature’s presence can still be perceived through other normal senses, like sound or smell, and by any evidence of the creature’s passing, like muddy footprints.
All objects that the invisible creature is wearing or holding also become invisible. Invisibility ends when concentration is broken, the duration (1 hour) expires, or the invisible creature attacks or casts a spell.
Invisibility can be upcast, allowing you to target +1 creature for each spell slot level above 2nd.
How to Use Invisibility in 5e
We’ve all dreamt of gaining the ability to become invisible on command — all those dreams are true in DnD. That being said, the rules of the game make some uses of Invisibility more optimal than others:
Buffing martial classes. Granting a Rogue or Fighter the ability to get into the perfect position and strike with advantage is the most combat-focused application of Invisibility. Letting your Rogue start the fight with a big Sneak Attack can be just the thing to tip the scales in your favor, or even get past a lone sentinel without triggering an alarm.
Sending in a scout. Because Invisibility doesn’t affect multiple party members until it’s upcast at higher levels, it’s not usually available as a party-wide buff. But the ability to send in a scout who can report on what threats lie ahead can be invaluable for creating a smart plan.
Escaping a botched scouting mission. On the flip side, you can also try your best to scout things out without using Invisibility, and then cast it if you get caught snooping. It won’t put the enemies’ guard down completely, but at least you’ll be able to get back to your allies in one piece.
Kidnapping. Notice that Invisibility’s text doesn’t say anything about a “willing” creature. That means you can force this effect on somebody you’d like to move from point A to point B without too many questions being asked. Coupled with some tied-up hands and a gagged mouth, and you’ve got yourself one easy kidnapping.
Un-Counterspellable casting. One niche benefit of Invisibility not breaking until after you’ve cast your spell is that an enemy cannot use their reaction to Counterspell you. If you want to guarantee that your big damage spell doesn’t get shut down, Invisibility is one surefire way to accomplish that.
What Are the Rules for Invisibility in 5e?
The rules for Invisibility in DnD 5e are as follows:
Invisibility breaks when you attack or cast a spell, regardless of whether it lands. The spell text does not specify that your attack or spell needs to do damage or cause any effect at all for Invisibility to break. However, this doesn’t happen until after you attack/cast a spell, as confirmed by Jeremy Crawford.
Taking damage does not break Invisibility. However, if you self-cast it, you will have to roll to maintain concentration, possibly ending the effect early.
Some special senses negate Invisibility. Special senses like Blindsight and Truesight allow for creatures to see invisible creatures (which in turn allows them to target them with spells that require sight of the target, make opportunity attacks, etc.). However, even if such a creature knows exactly where an invisible creature is, that creature still benefits from the invisibility condition (attacks with advantage, is attacked with disadvantage). Confirmed in this interview with Jeremy Crawford.
Detect Magic does not reveal Invisible creatures. But it does allow you to sense that a magical effect is present within 30 feet. You cannot see the aura around the invisible creature, because the spell states that the faint aura is only seen around a “visible creature.”
MOST targeted spells can’t target invisible creatures, because they require sight. Area of effect spells, however, can still damage you (although the damage won’t end Invisibility’s effect). There are some exceptions to this, like Guiding Bolt. Interestingly, this can be a negative thing if you have an Evocation Wizard in your crew, as they require sight of the target to use their Sculpt Spell ability (PHB 117).
A target that is both Invisible and under the effects of Mind Blank will not be visible to a creature using True Seeing. Because it is a Divination spell, which Mind Blank blocks. However, a creature with natural Truesight will still see an invisible creature.
You cannot hide a body with Invisibility, as corpses are considered objects, not creatures. But you can hide an unconscious creature.
Invisibility ends after you attack or cast a spell. As Jeremy Crawford puts it, the spell “doesn’t predict what you’re about to do.”
You cannot Counterspell an Invisible spellcaster. Because A) Counterspell requires sight of a creature and B) the creature has to be casting a spell (as in in-progress). By the time Invisibility breaks, the spell is already cast, and you were never visible while casting.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) August 8, 2017
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) November 30, 2016
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) July 12, 2016
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) August 8, 2017
The invisibility spell doesn't prevent you or your gear from emitting light, yet that light makes you no less invisible. The light appears to be coming from the air. Spooky! #DnD https://t.co/t3PhEjX65R
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) November 8, 2017
Who Can I Target With Invisibility 5e?
You can target any creature with Invisibility, friend or foe, as long as you can touch them.
Sorcerers can use the Distant Spell to increase Invisibility’s range to 30 feet, or Twinned Spell on it, as long as they’re using a 1st-level spell slot (to target 2 creatures).
Is Invisibility a Good Spell?
Yes, Invisibility is a good spell from the early game to the end game. It has plenty of applications, especially when you can upcast it on multiple party members simultaneously.
Beyond the attack advantages and defensive bonuses, Invisibility allows players to reposition or set up a fight in a way that provides tactical advantages as well. Plus, it’s just a fun spell to use with plenty of opportunities for flavorful role-playing (pantsing a Goblin, anyone?)
Invisibility 5e Compared to Greater Invisibility
Greater Invisibility is a 4th-level illusion spell that grants a shorter invisibility effect (only 1 minute) that does not break upon dealing damage or casting a spell.
Naturally, this opens up the door to much more combat potential (10 rounds of attack advantage for the target and attack disadvantage for anyone who tries to attack the target).
Both spells require concentration, meaning you’re vulnerable to taking damage and having the spell end early. But the one-minute maximum length of Greater Invisibility is far shorter than Invisibility’s one-hour duration.
Not to mention that Invisibility can be upcast to eventually cover your whole party, potentially skipping whole wings of dungeons.
Overall, Greater Invisibility doesn’t make Invisibility obsolete. They each have a unique function in a spell caster’s utility belt.
Invisibility 5e DM Tips
As a DM, it’s important to remind players from the outset that invisible does not mean undetectable. The greatest source of frustration for new players using Invisibility is getting caught because they were moving too confidently without considering the other senses that creatures possess.
Ultimately, the invisibility spell and condition are needlessly complex in 5e.
As a DM, you don’t have to get bogged down in all of that, though. You’ve imagined the rules of invisibility your whole life — just apply sound and consistent logic to your games, and it’ll work out just fine.
Simple Invisibility 5e Spell Text
Invisibility: (2nd-level, touch, concentration, up to 1 hour, V/S/M (an eyelash encased in gum arabic)) A creature and all it wears and carries become invisible. Effect ends if target attacks or casts a spell. | Can affect +1 creature per slot level above second
DnD 5e Invisibility FAQ
Invisibility DnD 5e FAQ:
Does invisibility give advantage on stealth? No, invisibility doesn’t give advantage on stealth checks. However, according to the Player’s Handbook, “the DM can decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result” (PHB 173).
Can a creature with blindsight detect an invisible creature? Yes, a creature with blindsight can detect an invisible creature. Blindsight allows a creature to perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, making it effective at detecting invisible beings (PHB 183).
However, an invisible creature still benefits from the invisible condition, meaning they still make attacks with advantage and are attacked with disadvantage, even against a creature with blindsight (they just know their location, is all). On top of this, a creature with blindsight can make opportunity attacks against an invisible creature, since they can “see” invisible creatures (Sage Advice Compendium).
Does wild shape cancel invisibility? No, using wild shape ability does not cancel invisibility. Invisibility only ends after you attack or cast a spell. Wild shape is neither of these things; it is a class feature. And since the feature is silent about conditions dropping when wild shape is used, they are not dropped (including invisibility).
Do grappling and shoving break invisibility? Yes, grappling and shoving break invisibility. Both actions use the Attack action, and invisibility ends when you attack.
Additionally, being grappled while invisible does NOT break the invisibility effect, but it does keep you in place, meaning that attackers no longer have to guess your location (but they still have attack disadvantage while you are invisible). But the grapple and shove attempts themselves are not made with disadvantage against an invisible creature, because they do not involve attack rolls; they are ability check contests.
Does invisibility give advantage on grapple and shove attempts? No, invisibility does not give you advantage on grapple and shove attempts. These actions depend on ability check contests, not attack rolls. Invisibility only gives advantage on attack rolls, not ability checks.
Does invisibility negate opportunity attacks? Yes, invisibility negates opportunity attacks. Opportunity attacks can only be made against “a hostile creature that you can see.” (PHB 195). Unless you can see the invisible creature (like with blindsight), you cannot make an opportunity attack against them when they move out of your reach.
Does taking damage end invisibility? No, taking damage does not end invisibility. Only casting a spell, attacking, or losing concentration on the spell end invisibility.
Does guiding bolt negate invisibility? No, Guiding Bolt does not negate invisibility. If a creature is hit by guiding bolt, it becomes outlined in a radiant light, making it visible so that other creatures don’t have to guess their location when making an attack. However, the invisible creature still benefits from the invisible condition (attacks with advantage and is attacked with disadvantage).
However, since the next attack after guiding bolt lands is made with advantage, the attack disadvantage and advantage cancel out to a normal attack roll. Additionally, guiding bolt can be cast at an invisible creature (guessing their location and making the attack with disadvantage), since the spell does not specify that it must target you can see, like many other spells do.
Can magic missile target an invisible creature? No, Magic Missile can’t target an invisible creature. Magic missile can only target “a creature of your choice that you can see within range.”