[RPG] Does Truesight allow you to see through or behind solid objects


From what I understand in the references in the MM and PHB to Truesight, it seems that a creature with this sense can see into the Ethereal Plane and see invisible things/creatures. However, does this allow the creature to see through solid rock, e.g. if a PC was out of typical line of sight, with 100% cover, hiding behind a large tree or a stone pillar?

There was some confusion about this in a recent campaign. The way I would interpret it is that having Truesight does not allow a creature to see through objects, e.g. like x-ray vision. For me, seeing the "invisible" does not mean the same as seeing the "non visible".

I would appreciate any RAW answers using 5e literature and/or experience on applying a house-rule regarding this matter.

Best Answer

No, you can't see through solid objects just because of Truesight.

Thomas Markov's answer covers the ability's phrasing and the Border Ethereal topic sufficiently.

I want to add onto that, however; Xanathar's Guide to Everything features an eldritch invocation for warlocks called "Ghostly Gaze" (p. 56/57):

Ghostly Gaze
Prerequisite: 7th level
As an action, you gain the ability to see through solid objects to a range of 30 feet. Within that range, you have darkvision if you don’t already have it. This special sight lasts for 1 minute or until your concentration ends (as if you were concentrating on a spell). During that time, you perceive objects as ghostly, transparent images. Once you use this invocation, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

This invocation elaborately describes gaining the ability to see through solid objects and how you perceive them (as it would be very inconvenient if you couldn't see solid objects at all while using the invocation).

If Truesight were intended to grant the same benefit, we would expect it to have a similarly accurate phrasing. Remember: in 5e, rules only do what they say.

As a sight note, if you want to see around corners or behind solid objects, Blindsight may be what you're looking for:

A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius. Creatures without eyes, such as oozes, and creatures with echolocation or heightened senses, such as bats and true dragons, have this sense.

It's not explicitly stated that this allows looking around corners, but it's how I interpret it.

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