Published on December 18, 2023
Uncover the truth behind truesight in D&D 5e. Discover its mechanics, ways to gain it, tactical uses, and limitations.
Raymond Swanland - Wizards of the Coast - Oracle's Insight
Table of Contents
Truesight in D&D 5e
In the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, where you’ll be going up against creatures that can turn invisible, create illusions, change their shape, and are sometimes from other planes of existence, it’s a good idea to have a way to see through the deception.
In this article, we’ll delve into the best sense you can have in D&D 5e, truesight. We’ll cover its mechanics, implications, and tactical uses, in hopes that you, as well, can see the truth behind this extraordinary ability.
What is Truesight?
Truesight is a special sensory ability that allows creatures to see things as they truly are, piercing through most forms of illusions, invisibility, and even into the Ethereal Plane. It’s a rare and coveted ability, often reserved for powerful creatures and high-level spells.
According to the Basic Rules, truesight provides its wielders with the following capabilities:
- They can see in normal and magical darkness
- They can detect invisible creatures or objects
- They can detect illusions and automatically succeed in saving throws against them
- They can perceive the original form of a shapechanger or a creature transformed by magic
- Finally, they can see into the Ethereal Plane
Ways to Gain Truesight
Truesight is incredibly powerful and normally reserved for high CR monsters. It can only be obtained by player characters through high-level spells and legendary magic items in D&D 5e:
- True Seeing: This 6th-level divination spell grants truesight for a duration, the caster also gains the ability to see doors hidden by magic, which is something not specified by truesight.
- Gem of Seeing: This rare gem allows its user to gain truesight for a 10 minutes by using one of its three charges.
- Crystal Ball of True Seeing: This legendary version of the classic crystal ball not only allows for scrying but also grants the user the ability to use truesight when scrying.
- Eye of Vecna: A legendary and infamous artifact, the Eye of Vecna grants numerous powers, including truesight, and is the only way in D&D 5e for a player character to permanently receive truesight. However, its use comes with great risk, as the Eye is known for the high cost of wielding its power.
Fighting Monsters with Truesight
Seeing as truesight is far more common in monsters than player characters, it will cause players more headaches than DMs.
When facing creatures with truesight, players must rethink traditional tactics that rely on deception and invisibility. Since these monsters can see through illusions, invisibility, and even into the Ethereal Plane, players need to employ more creative, mundane strategies.
Which D&D 5e Monsters Have Truesight?
First off, which creatures will you have to worry about seeing through your illusions? Unless you’re high-level party, you shouldn’t worry too much, but there are some exceptions:
- Demons and Devils: Higher-ranking demons and devils, such as balors, pit fiends, and certain archdevils, often possess truesight.
- Celestials: Powerful celestial beings, including solars and planetars are endowed with truesight. This ability aligns with their divine nature, enabling them to see the truth and pierce through illusions.
- Liches: As masters of arcane magic, many liches have truesight. Corrupt and suspicious, liches will employ any means necessary to guard their phylacteries against intruders and thieves, including the powerful ability of truesight.
- Modrons: Modrons are beings of absolute law from the plane of Mechanus. While the least powerful of their hierarchy aren’t too frightening at a 1/8 CR, every modron possesses truesight.
How to Counter Monsters With Truesight
So, you’re heading down into the Nine Hells and are planning the tactics you’re going to use against the various fiends with truesight you’ll encounter down there. Here are some tips:
- Physical Cover: Since truesight doesn’t allow creatures to see through solid objects, using physical barriers for cover remains an effective strategy. This includes smoke, fog, poison clouds, etc. Just remember, creatures with truesight can still see through magical darkness.
- Non-Visual Deception: Employing tricks that don’t rely on visual deception, such as Persuasion or Deception, is be one of the only ways to mislead a creature with truesight.
- Non-Magical Disguise: I hope you’ve got a good props department, because creatures with truesight can still be deceived by a disguise that doesn’t rely on magic.
Truesight 5e FAQs
How to Get Truesight in 5e?
Truesight is difficult for players to obtain in 5e. Only the 6th-level divination true seeing can provide this ability, as well as a few rare magical items.
How Does Truesight Work in 5e?
Truesight allows a character to see in normal and magical darkness, detect invisible entities, see through illusions, see the true form of shapechangers or magically transformed beings, and perceive into the Ethereal Plane.
Can You Hide from Truesight in 5e?
Hiding from truesight is difficult as it allows seeing through most illusions and invisibility. However, it doesn't penetrate solid objects, so physical cover can still hide you.
Can You See the Truth?
Truesight in D&D 5e is a powerful tool, offering unparalleled perception abilities. Whether obtained through spells, magical items, or inherent to a creature, it can significantly impact how players and DMs approach various situations, from unraveling mysteries to engaging in combat.
But, while it’s indeed a strong tool, it’s not infallible. Once you understand the nuances of truesight, you’ll be ready to go up against even the highest CR creatures without any surprises.