[RPG] Can disguise self give advantage in attacks


I have a character who is using disguise self to make himself look smaller and make his battleaxe appear as a simple dagger.

The spell states that in this case an observer could feel that you are not what you appear, or could spend an action inspecting you to gain a save.

The character wants to use disguise self in combat such that the opponent won't know that the puny 4" dagger wielded by the 5' 100 pound guy in rags is really a 2' battle axe held by a hulking 6' 220 pound killer in full armor. They will notice when the 'invisible' battleaxe lands a solid blow, but it won't appear visible unless they make a save. I suspect that in this situation I should be granting the creative character advantage on at least the first attack and perhaps more than one attack if the opponent fails to save and discern the deception. The opponent will surely not be prepared for the reach and efficacy of the disguised character.

Anything in the rules on this, or opinion from the other game masters?

Best Answer

I think I would compare it to another spell that offers similar benefits: Invisibility.

Invisibility grants advantage in combat once, upon the first attack. Also, Invisibility requires concentration. Neither of these are required by Disguise Self.

Given that Invisibility is considered the more powerful spell (2nd level vs. 1st), it seems problematic if Disguise Self were to grant advantage continuously with no concentration requirement.

Here is my opinion:

  • Make Disguise Self require concentration, at least in combat.
  • Give a saving throw before the first strike to see if the disguise is discovered, minus of course the subject being hidden or likewise indiscernable. (The justification for this is that in combat, you pay attention to details since your opponent is trying to kill you, thus triggering the "fail to hold up to physical inspection.")
  • After the first attack, the deception is automatically discovered and negated thereafter.
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